I was profoundly moved by the story that Peter Russell told me when I interviewed him for my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything. Here is an excerpt from his story, beginning with his bio. I’ve never gone swimming with dolphins, but now I’d like to!
Peter Russell is a world-renowned futurist and fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, a nonprofit membership organization that conducts and sponsors research into the nature of consciousness. He has authored eight books, including The Global Brain Awakens, From Science to God & The Consciousness Revolution. Click here to visit his website.
In April 2003, I was conducting a “Wisdom of the Dolphins” workshop in Hawaii. We were swimming with wild dolphins off the Kona coast each day. The last day we were there, many dolphins came down the coast in pods of five to eight, which tend to be the size of their family unit. The various pods all gathered together in a single group of about two hundred dolphins in a semicircular bay.
As we arrived in the bay, following slowly behind them, ten of them turned and twice jumped out of the water straight toward us at the bow of the boat. They then swam off and rejoined the others. All of them then settled into the bay. As we got into the water with them, they were still grouped in their family pods but were hardly swimming. They were almost static. The water was exceedingly clear. You could see a hundred feet straight down.
The dolphins then began slowly spiraling down beneath us. They weren’t really swimming, they were just sort of sinking in slow spirals and eventually dropping out of sight. Five to ten minutes later, I looked down and thought I saw some fish in the water. It took a few seconds to realize that these weren’t tiny fish, they were the dolphins reappearing. They swelled up again in a spiral and floated up toward us. They took some air, and then they all went down again. This cycle went on six to eight times over a period of an hour or two.
Watching them was unexpectedly powerful and moving. I felt I was witness to some sacred dolphin space. The thought occurred to me that this bay might be their equivalent of a cathedral in the water. We humans build cathedrals as high places, where our minds can soar up into the heights where we imagine the angels are. But a dolphin’s world is inverted. Much as human beings are tied to the ground, a dolphin is tied to the ocean’s surface, which it has to keep making contact with for air. So, whereas we build cathedrals to enclose a great space and height, maybe this bay was a natural “structure” for the dolphins, enclosing a great depth.
They had come long distances to meet in this particular bay. They could have done what they were doing anywhere. The biologist’s standard explanation would likely be, “They’re just resting after a long night’s fishing.” But I don’t think dolphins would travel twenty miles just to rest; they’d rest wherever they happened to be. I had a strong intuitive sense that they had gathered here as a group for some specific reason.
I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. There were twelve of us in the water and almost everyone had the same feeling, that we were witnessing some sacred dolphin experience. The stillness and peacefulness was very powerful and precious.
Adding to the sereneness of the moment was the song of the humpback whale in the background. A few of these whales were a couple miles away, and their beautiful moaning sound carries for great distances underwater. It struck me that, just as when we’re out in nature and hear the songs of the birds, the dolphins were surrounded by the songs of the humpback whales.
Suddenly, I realized that I was a long, long way from the boat. I felt myself moving into a slight panicky mode because I’m not a strong swimmer. I had been caught in Hawaiian currents before and nearly drowned, so I’m very respectful of them. Trying not to panic, I started swimming back in the direction of the boat, which was now just a tiny speck on the water. I totally forgot about the dolphins. I was thinking, I’ve got to get back toward safety, toward the boat. Suddenly, the dolphins appeared again beneath me. They were spiraling back up.
I was amazed to find that all sense of fear and anxiety in me evaporated in an instant. Often, when I’m recovering from that kind of fearful reaction, the anxiety gradually dies away. But in this instance, as soon as I saw the dolphins, the anxiety just switched off. One moment it was there, the next it was gone. I found myself turning around and swimming back out to sea, away from the boat, following the dolphins beneath me. The voice in my head was saying, You’re crazy! You’re a long way from the boat and security and you know how dangerous these currents are. What are you doing swimming out to sea with the dolphins, away from safety? But I knew deep inside that I was totally safe, that everything was absolutely okay. I found that instant shift in consciousness quite fascinating. I swam with the dolphins for a while longer, and needless to say, I did make it back safely.
When it was time to leave, when we all climbed back into the boat and started it up, the dolphins again stopped what they were doing, swam over to the boat, leapt around it, and then followed us out a ways. They had been aware of our presence the whole time. They both welcomed us into their ceremony and acknowledged our departure. And that’s what it had felt like, like we were witnessing some spiritual ceremony in another species. That’s the only way I can describe it. It was a very magical experience and one that had a deep impact on me afterwards.
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ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?
Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
Anyone who is happy, or wants to be happier
Through God’s Eyes won first place in the “Spirituality and Inspirational” category at the San Diego Book Awards on June 22, 2013.
Here is a two-minute video introduction to Through God’s Eyes.
• an overview of the book
• the complete table of contents
• the Foreword by Caroline Myss
• my Introduction
• chapter excerpts
• a sample end-of-chapter story
• endorsements from authors and thought leaders
Just click on the link below to download your free PDF sampler!
THROUGH GOD’S EYES PDF SAMPLER
Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents on Amazon.
Order it at GodIsLogical.com.
In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?
Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.
Schedule a Mastery Mentoring phone session with Phil to learn how to apply principles of spiritual living more effortlessly and effectively. Priced affordably! Click here to e-mail Phil for details.
Phil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.
Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.
Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.