With Joe Wehbe Podcast Blog

A Fish Searches for Purpose. The Answer Must Be Simple.

Part I. Can you help a fish find its purpose?


A fish swims in a pond, scurrying around. Looking high and low. It darts around, inspecting rocks, pebbles, algae, and debris. It’s in a mad rush, it’s on a mad hunt.


It’s looking for its purpose. Yep, that’s right — a fish, looking for its purpose.

My question to you reader — can you help a fish find its purpose?


Part II. The solution must be…


Shout it from the rooftops.

The solution must be…



Do you agree that life is simple?




We draw charts, run studies, open big philosophical dialogues with the need to understand the story.


Who are we? Why are we here? What is our purpose?


But do you know, they found the answer ages ago? Did you know that?

I can summarise it for you in a single image.


Step right up! Step right up! 3-stages to Enlightenment!


“There are three stages in one’s spiritual development,” said the Master. “The carnal, the spiritual and the divine.” “What is the carnal stage?” asked the eager disciples. “That’s the stage when trees are seen as trees and mountains as mountains.” “And the spiritual?” “That’s when one looks more deeply into things—then trees are no longer trees and mountains no longer mountains.” “And the divine?” “Ah, that’s Enlightenment,” said the Master with a chuckle, “when trees become trees again and mountains, mountains.” — Anthony de Mello


Life is simple…


Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated — Confucius


June 2020. Amidst a global pandemic, three friends and I are sitting in the most delightful of wineries in Orange, NSW. We are surrounded by green, by wide-rolling hills, and the setting is dappled in sunshine as sunset approaches. The winter chill is delightful — nature’s thermostat has been set perfectly for the occasion — just cold enough! The crispness causes us to huddle up tightly, snug under a network of blankets, being further warmed by each sip of red wine.


I close my eyes. I hear people laughing, telling stories, sharing moments. I breathe deeply, and fresh, cool air fills my lungs. Oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin… I don’t know what neurochemicals are rushing through my brain — I don’t know how the atoms within the cells of my body are moving or oscillating at this time. Also, I don’t know what’s happening in the White House, I don’t know what the price of cryptocurrency is and I’m completely oblivious to what anyone is thinking of me.


At that moment, I don’t need to know. I’m just sitting there enjoying myself. Or as the great Eckhart Tolle would say, “in-joy-in-myself”.


Do you agree now, that life is simple?


Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated — Confucius


And your anti-lesson today is, of course, that simple is not the same as easy. But simple is simple.


What’s simpler? A steering wheel, or a car?


You cannot say to me, “Joe, a steering wheel is more complicated than a car”. The smaller part of a thing cannot be more complicated than the composite it forms just a part of.


Yes, the universe is a mystery, and atoms are a mystery. But I do not need to know the mechanics and science behind wood to use this table to write on. I don’t know how to explain to you the growth of a tree from a tiny seed, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use wood.


So if life is simple, how can anything within life, be complicated? Just as a steering wheel can’t be more complicated than a car, none of the things we complicate — relationships, business, friendship, purpose — can be more complicated than life itself.


If you’re lost on this, then you are, for the time being, at the second stage de Mello talked about. The beauty was that you were once at the first. When you were an infant, do you remember being frustrated in your relationships? Your career progress? Your financial wellbeing? Or were you just caught up in the wonder of the world you inhabited, curious and eager to explore?


Why do we have children?


Why do we produce offspring? I have, at this time, the ambition to have children. But I have no pro’s and con’s list on the subject. I have never meditated much on the reasoning. Also, importantly to someone like the great Rene Girard, I don’t feel the drive comes from the expectations of others in the outside world. I feel the drive to have children come from within.


Because intellectually, with a pro’s and con’s list, it would not make sense to have children, would it? It’s a liability, a lot of stress, a lot of risk, a lot of responsibility and a lot of time doing menial tasks. As a calculation, it doesn’t make sense… does it?


And what of the ethical, philosophical and moral conundrums? Why give birth to something that will die? That will have its heart broken at some stage? That will have to confront the tyranny of the world?


I don’t have a deadline to have children by. I don’t have an specific age by which I plan to have had children. There is no science, no strategy, no calculation. It will happen, if it will happen, in its own time.


I have spent more time in the past agonising over what clothes to wear in the morning than my decision to have children. One of the most significant and responsibility-laden decisions — to bring life into this world, is the one I have agonised over the least.


Life is simple. We complicate it, with the need to create a story that will impress ‘us’. But how did you build that idea of ourselves, that we are trying to impress?


My fish is still looking for its purpose.


When you look at fish in a pond, you see them racing around with intensity, speed, pace, vigor. Where are they going? What are they doing? Why do they move from A to B?


You can’t understand at stage one, or stage two. You can only understand — that the reason is reasonless — at stage three.


This fish racing around the pond in search of purpose misses the sun shining gloriously.


“I’m looking for my purpose, I’m looking for my purpose”


It misses the wine being sipped, the people huddled under the blankets.


“I’m looking for my purpose, I’m looking for my purpose”


It misses the laughter, it misses the stories being told.


“I’m looking for my purpose, I’m looking for my purpose”


It misses the beautiful deep breath, that fills you with fresh air, rich oxygen, and deep inner peace. All without a single thought or concern.


And when people look down upon the pond, and see the fish looking for its purpose…


They laugh. They understand the search is fruitless. How ridiculous is the notion of a fish looking for its purpose.


In the same way, some form of higher consciousness being looks down on us as we run around our pond, looking too hard for the purpose, knowing not that if we just stopped searching, we would find it immediately.


Ferris Bueller: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

The epiphany from Soul.



Would this open a Door For Someone You Know?

Remember to share it with them, after all, the best way to Open a Thousand Doors for you is to concentrate on Opening Doors for Others.

With Joe Wehbe – The Podcast

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