Lessons From a Swim with Dolphins

I've just returned from Hawaii where I received the precious gift of swimming with some spinner dolphins. I always heard that dolphins are intuitive and that they allow you to be near them on their own terms. When I swam out to them, these wise, wild creatures were kind enough to let me hang out with them for a little while! It was a life-changing experience as I was able to be a part of their easy, graceful presence in their watery world.  The phrase "go with the flow" resonated over and over as we dove and surfaced, allowing our separateness to dissolve. There was no effort and no resistance to the moment. There were no worries about safety or how to act. I was told to merge, and merge I did. It was pure flow. Just breath. Just the movement. Just the water and their beautiful presence. It was beyond words and all about gratitude. It was a moment of pure yoga.

We earthbound humans have so much to deal with. We have jobs and families and illness and traffic and difficult relationships. We stand in line, endure noise, get tired and worry about everything. Our bodies get sick and we have to take medicine and treatments that may make us feel sicker before we get better. Sometimes I think the dolphins had it right when they chose to be ocean dwellers! They sent me a message that day of going with the flow, even as the flow eventually took me far away from them. This is my life and as much as I want to remain in the ocean, it’s not where I belong. I belong in the world of people, but I’m fortunate to have an experience of flowing through yoga. Yoga clears the body and mind, freeing us to keep moving forward, day by day, with some bit of grace and freedom. Yoga reminds us that we’re so much more than our bodies; that our brilliant minds and deep emotions and clear spirits are just as important.
Now that I’m home and the experience seems so far away, I close my eyes to remember the lightness and joy of that moment. It was like a dream in that it was beyond any expectation I may have had, and I wonder sometimes if it was real.
The word numinous means sublime or awe-inspiring. It’s often used to describe special dreams that bring us intuitive information and that we remember for their clarity and beautiful imagery. I’d say that pretty well describes my time with the dolphins. I’m so grateful to have met them, because that afternoon took me beyond the pedestrian world and reminded me that all is not as it seems. I hope to hold onto this lesson of consciously relaxing into life, taught by my natural teachers, the dolphins.
Susan Whitaker