If you have ever seen a dolphin, they look so happy and that feeling is contagious. It makes us feel lighter, happier and more in sync with ourselves and the world around us. They seem to emit a special energy and sound vibration through the water that has a profound effect on us. This effect is physiological and psychological.
Have you ever been to dinner with unhappy negative people? You leave feeling tired and depressed, heaviness around you. The world feels like a hard, cold place to live in and you begin to question your life choices. Yet the complete opposite happens around happy and positive people. We feel light and full of joy and good humour. The night feels lighter and we find peace in our life and our choices. In some way the dolphins affect us in much the same way as the happy people do, it’s just more profound.
Having swum with wild dolphins many times over the years, I have often found myself full of joy after each experience. The people who come away with me on our trips have also expressed great joy at having encountered dolphins in the wild. The influence they have over our emotions has long been explored and observed. There is definitely a link between how we feel emotionally and how we feel physically. This is partially due to our brain, which is a complex computer. This amazing computer sends out messages to our body to secrete various hormones and chemicals, some balancing and uplifting, others depressing and exhausting.
When we experience joy or happiness, our brains secrete endorphins which make us feel euphoric. Encountering dolphins in the wild, swimming with them and being accepted into their world allows us to drop our natural defences and negative self-concept. We go beyond the “little voice inside our head”. We sense a certain freedom and in that space we can experience love, compassion, acceptance, harmony and joy. It is this state of altered consciousness that allows natural and unexplained healing to occur. This results in a dramatic improvement in mood, energy levels, focus and happiness for many people.
Encountering dolphins in captivity does not have this effect on people. We usually find the experience fun and educational. But, when they come to you, in the wild on their own terms it feels like a miracle. An amazing gift and it is this experience, the purity of it, the lack of strings attached that can literally change your life in an instant.
Dr Horace Dobbs is a British researcher who has been studying the effects of swimming with wild dolphins on humans since the mid 1970’s. He has started a long-term study named Operation Sunshine, which aims at studying the therapeutic affects dolphins have on us. He has already discovered many remarkable things. Scientists are fascinated by mans’ need to be around and bond with dolphins. Why do we feel so drawn to them?
For many of us we are drawn to them because like us, dolphins are social beings and form complex bonds and relationships within their pods or family units. We too form bonds within our social groups. Often we feel that we don’t fit in or are different which leads to us feeling isolated and eventually depressed. So many of these people who have swum with wild dolphins have found a tremendous lifting of this feeling after the experience and one of the theories as to why they felt this way was due in part to the fact that the dolphins made no demands on them. The dolphins appear genuinely interested in us and accept us freely within their pod, swimming gently alongside us as if this was the most natural thing in the world. This is something that us as humans aren’t used to. By receiving this type of attention, perhaps for the first time ever, a persons’ perception of themselves changes. This results in healing of a certain emotional issue that they may have been grappling with for years.
It is in this way that dolphins facilitate our healing. Through their immense compassion, love and acceptance of us they allow us to see ourselves the way they do. As beautiful, intelligent beings who deserve so much more than we allow ourselves to have or experience. They show us a possibility of ourselves and then allow us to live in that authentic truth, of who we were always meant to be. It is through this acceptance of self that we finally release the emotions that we may have carried, perhaps for decades, and see ourselves in a new light. A positive light.
People have various emotional reactions to having swum with wild dolphins. Some may cry, others go very quiet and still while others become totally energised and want to dance and sing. For each person the effect is different, yet for every person the result is the same. We feel whole and healed in a way that we haven’t been able to achieve through conventional therapies and medications. This has sometimes led to the need for reduced medications in certain individuals and less therapies. The person is able to cope better and live as a functioning member of society. For many the effects of various therapies and medications are short lived. However, the long term effects of swimming with dolphins – even though in study – is profound and can stay with the person for many years after the experience. The reason for this is still unknown, however I believe that the dolphins gently affect a person’s energy field or energy body. We all have an energy field, one that can now be measured using Kirlian photography. Everything, even a large boulder has an energy field, and it is this field that can be damaged due to illness, substance abuse, negativity and poor self-image.
Through their incredible sensitive sonar, dolphins can see within our bodies, identifying tumours and pregnancies. They can also “see” our emotional bodies and sense our well being by using their sophisticated 6th sense or echolocation. They can see what is happening in our energy fields or energy bodies and instinctively they know what we need to help us to heal ourselves. For some people it’s a slow gentle swim, for others an up-close encounter. Some may experience a fast, invigorating swim while others many dive deep within the ocean with a dolphin alongside, going deep within themselves as well as within the ocean, only to return to the surface as someone new. A different person altogether.
So how is this achieved? Many studies have shown that a dolphin’s brainwaves equate with Beta and Theta waves in humans who are in a deep meditative or relaxed state. It has been suggested that the dolphins silently pulse ultrasonic frequencies that attune the human brainwaves to the Theta state, or to a deep meditative state. In this state, time has no meaning and we are totally unaware of where we are, often leading us to swim into one another or the boat, as we are only aware of the presence of the dolphins.
The environment in which we swim with the dolphins also has a deep healing effect on the human body. Water is a powerful conductor of energy. The dolphins use this conduit to communicate with one another over vast distances. In this way they can use the water we swim in and the water that makes up 80% of our bodies, to influence and facilitate our healing process. Before we were born, we spent 9 months in utero. In this space we felt safe and nurtured as we grew and developed. We are nourished and supported in this environment and until we take our first breath, this is the only environment we know. Swimming with wild dolphins can take us back to this time, to reconnect us with our original selves and with the sense of safety and unconditional love we once knew.
This is a time before pain and separation, before self-doubt and searching. The dolphins allow us to touch that part of ourselves again, to remind us that life is not all about pain and suffering, separation and isolation. They teach us that it is OK to love, to let go of our defences and be loved in return. For many reasons, this being only one of them, why floatation therapy and hydrotherapy has become so popular. This type of therapy is usually done to music or dolphin sounds being played in the background. Floatation therapies mimic the effects on the body and emotions that occur naturally in the ocean with the dolphins. So why is it then that people are still seeking that eye to eye contact with real wild dolphins and not heading for the nearest flotation tank?
It could be that as humans we crave the intensity of a physical encounter. Real smells, touch and feelings before we can allow ourselves to heal in the most natural way possible. In this state our fragile inner child reacts to the dolphins with wonder and joy. We slowly awaken the inner child to the possibility of play and games, fun and joy once more. The child wakes up, opens it’s eyes and looks around. After all these years in the dark, a weak light begins to flicker and come to life. The option of playing and having fun, just because we can, just like the dolphins do, becomes a reality for us.
I have noticed after many swims that so many people become like children again. Their faces shine with excitement and their cheeks flush. Their eyes sparkle with curiosity and the joy of pure freedom. The dolphins facilitate our re-connection to our inner child, that little boy or girl who eventually gave up on toys and games and went to silently sit in a corner somewhere, eventually to be forgotten in the whirl of business meetings, marriage, kids and e-mail. We find our inner joy again, a time when life was simple, and by reconnecting to that we discover the things that are really important to us. The things we may have forgotten over the years, and now we have a chance to revisit and heal on many levels.
For me, I have personally experienced great healing on many levels from swimming with wild dolphins. I have learnt the importance of play and downtime. I have realised how necessary it is to let those important to you know how you feel about them, how special they are and how much you love them. I have learnt to speak up when I am not happy about a situation and to speak up and praise when I am. I have learnt to really focus on whoever I am in a meeting or social setting with, to get across to them that they are the most important person to me at that moment. By doing all of this I feel healed in many ways as I am treated and respected in the same way I show others.
The dolphins have definitely assisted me in my own personal journey towards wellness of my body and mind and most importantly to live an authentic life I can and do feel proud of. By taking people to meet the dolphins in the wild in Ponta D’Ouro Mozambique my greatest hope is that they will too feel healed, whole and able to live the possibility of themselves they were once so aware of. So if you get the chance take the plunge and swim with wild dolphins in a responsible way with professionals, it will be best gift you could ever give yourself.
Michelle Sachs Of Truessence © Visit www.truessence.co.za for more information on retreats
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