Every year, for some thirteen years, as of 2014, my wife Claudia has taken groups of people to swim with wild dolphins in Bimini, Bahamas. I have been a co-facilitator of those adventures for eight of those trips. While each of us can name ten people who know much more about dolphins than we do, it is fair to say that we have more knowledge and experience with dolphins than the vast majority of people. Yet, like everyone else, our knowledge of dolphins is filtered through and colored by our particular cultural and social contexts. Therefore, take my observations in what follows with more than a grain of salt.
The trip attracts a marvelous diversity of people. Because Bimini is a long way for most people and represents a real sacrifice of time and money, they are either fulfilling a long time longing or have a lot of money. Most people fall into the first category.
This longing sometimes has mythological foundations. For these people, dolphins have been invested with extraordinary intelligence, powers, harmony, and peace. As such, they can become something like messiahs or saviors for those who want or need rescuing. The rescuing may be from a boring job, alienation from others, loneliness, physical health problems, or long-standing depression or anxiety.
Some of these people believe dolphins are in telepathic communication with them. Others are sure dolphins are evolved beings who have been teleported here from the Pleiades. What this generally implies is that these people have unrealistically high expectations for dolphins and their encounters with them. Fortunately, due the nature of our trips, these people generally go away happy, with profound transformational experiences, simply because of the raw power of immersion in the completely overwhelming world of the ocean.
A lovely lady, Terri, came with us on a trip to swim with wild dolphins in Bimini, because she had experiences in which dolphins connected her to the divine, spoke to her, and through her. Her intuitive connection to the divine was very important to her and dolphins had somehow become a central path or bridge for her. Her story and interview demonstrates how our waking belief systems create pain and health. Terri was friendly, conscientious, helpful, empathetic, and generous. A nurse by profession, coming was a real financial sacrifice for her.
This very interesting interview reveals the interface between out of control world events: a world perishing due to human greed and ignorance, and the worried, caring, individual conscience that holds itself somehow responsible. It shows the power of the interface of two waking dreams or mythologies: the power of dolphins to heal and homeopathy, and how such inner truths can block listening to oneself even while functioning as defenses against physical and psychological pain.
Terri said, “I would like to do an interview about an event I had when I was mixing a homeopathic medication five years ago with a group of people that was led by an instructor in homeopathy. I was doing a very special mystery grinding of the “the milk of a dolphin” in a mortar with a pestal. There was a mother dolphin in a zoo in Switzerland. Our teacher asked the zoo to give him a little of the dolphin’s milk so he could make a homeopathic medication with it. In the homeopathic preparation, you take one little drop of the dolphin milk and put it into 100 drops of sugar and grind it. When we did that, very strange things happened. All our senses became very active. We heard voices and saw pictures – not all the same ones – different people heard different voices and saw different things. All our senses became very intense. This is like wishful thinking, but you still see reality also.”
“The first step of the process was a dilution of one drop dolphin’s milk to 100 grams of sugar. Then you do the same again, diluting it a second time in another 100 grams of sugar. You take that dilution and repeat two more times for a total of four times. The grinding only takes twenty minutes for each dilution, however, every step produces different visions and different illusions for the people in the group. There were forty-five people in our group and everyone got different pictures and stories, so it took altogether two and a half days to do the four dilutions. When we started to do this grinding I was tasting fresh fish in my mouth. Normally, I hate fish. I saw myself coming up from the very dark to the light above. It was the sea and I was a dolphin. For those two days I was a dolphin.”
“There are special themes that we discuss when we do the grinding for each dilution. The first theme is home country. Where is your home, where do you feel at home? The second is communication. It was a very strong theme for me. I and two others in the group were dolphins, the rest were humans. I tried to say something to the humans but they didn’t understand. Other members of the group were telling me I looked like a dolphin, with the nose and eyes of a dolphin.”
“During this time as a dolphin I saw that human civilization was destroyed. It was like the end of the world. Big earthquakes destroyed human civilization. Everything was destroyed. I knew that we humans were responsible for it. During the fourth grinding I was standing near to God and I felt very guilty for the destruction of the planet. I wanted to come back down back to Earth and tell humans not to do it, to somehow prevent it. I was begging to be sent down to Earth because there was still time to change things. It didn’t matter what shape I came back in, as a dolphin or as a bird, for example, to give this message to humans. I was standing with my head down and feeling very guilty. The Divine said, “Humans can’t understand each other. Why should they understand you as a dolphin or some other animal?” I said, “I will find a way to tell them so that they will not lose their contact with the divine.” Then I was a dolphin for several lives.”
“The back fin connects dolphins to the divine. As a dolphin, I was feeling that connection. In my vision, all the dolphins killed themselves because they couldn’t communicate with the humans about the disaster in a way that humans would hear. So the dolphins turned themselves on their backs to break their contact with the divine and drove themselves onto the land because they couldn’t contact humans. They are still trying to be heard by humans today.”
“The leader of the homeopathic grinding said that there should be a fifth dilution but not all the group could follow it. They could all sleep on it and he would decide which members could do the fifth step. Fifteen people were selected. The others were dreaming different things and got signs that they shouldn’t do the fifth step.”
“I did the step. I woke up knowing that I should do it. While I was taking a shower that morning I had a feeling that someone was pushing a knife into my back. I was feeling it and I was screaming. My roommate got me out of the shower because I couldn’t move because I was still feeling the knife in my back. It was a big pain. There was also a shaman in the group. He stopped the hurting a bit when he gave me a wooden dolphin. He told me that he wasn’t a dolphin man and that I am more dolphin than he is. I caressed the back fin of this wooden dolphin and the pain in my back went away! With this fifth grinding I was losing the ability to listen to the dolphins. At the beginning of the fifth grinding I was both human and dolphin but after the fifth grinding of the dolphin milk the dolphin went away and I was only human. Afterwards, when it was finished, I was so happy to see the people, the sun, the trees that it all was still there after seeing everything destroyed during those two days. Five years later, I still have this pain in my back sometimes; it comes and goes.”
Integral Deep Listening considers such an account a “waking dream,” or a life event that has meanings and personal interpretations that have explanatory value for us. Clearly, Terri’s experience with becoming a dolphin and taking on their pain as they take on the pain of the world has great explanatory value for her and says a great deal about her. We started this off more or less as a typical interview, interviewing the pain. The problem is, as you shall see, that Terri is talking. She is not letting the pain talk. Even later, when the dolphins talk, it is not clear whether Terri i doing the talking. Consequently, as you shall see, instead of doing a typical interview, most questions involved detective work, trying to figure out what was going on.
Associations: I have been dreaming of this dolphin trip. I would like to ask this pain why I can’t hear the dolphins anymore. When I was swimming with dolphins yesterday in the Caribbean near Bimini I heard the dolphins like a choir, but I couldn’t understand them.
Pain, why can’t Terri hear the dolphins any more? Why can’t humans hear them anymore?
The pain is there, but it doesn’t talk.
Pain, why don’t you talk?
She’s not listening. It’s as if she was just whistling….
What would be different if she was listening to you, pain?
I am still Terri feeling the pain.
Pain, what does Terri need to do to become you right now?
Are you willing to feel love right now, Terri?
I am feeling love for everyone but not for myself.
Pain, why is Terri not feeling love for herself?
It’s the same feeling that she had when she was standing next to the divine and feeling so guilty for the loss of the world.
Pain, do you think Terri should feel guilty for the loss of the world?
No, she’s not responsible. She just feels that she is.
Dolphins, I understand that you turned over on your backs and beached yourselves because you couldn’t communicate with humans, is that correct?
Yes, we did that because this back fin of power is like a connection to the divine or like a TV remote control. You can’t do what you want to do; you’re like a robot. You are helpless. We couldn’t stand that any more. We had to disconnect this connection.
I thought your connection was to the divine. Why would you want to disconnect it?
It doesn’t make any sense, but it was an inner weakness because I couldn’t take it any more. I came back many times as a dolphin.
Dolphins, are you aware that Terri feels guilty and responsible for not being able to wake the humans up who are destroying the planet?
No, that’s her problem. She’s feeling that. We know that she has wisdom like we do. We don’t make her responsible; she makes herself responsible.
Dolphins, do you think it’s realistic or helpful for Terri to make herself responsible for humans destroying the planet?
Why not, Dolphins?
She had this experience and she can understand it more than any other human, but every single person is responsible for that. They do not all know what they are doing.
Dolphins, why do you think Terri has had this piercing pain in her back?
The lack of connection of the line to the divine makes this pain. When she can listen again the pain will stop.
Is she listening right now, dolphins?
What would she need to be doing right now in order to listen, dolphins?
She has to find a quiet place, sit down, and listen.
If she does that, what will she hear? (Terri has a problem thinking the dolphins are talking to her in the interview; she has to listen to them outside of herself.)
Does Terri have to go to quiet places and be by physical dolphins to hear you or can she listen to you in anywhere, or in interviews like the one she is doing right now?
Terri: I can communicate with them here and now because I am back in contact with them. (Problems staying in role: “I don’t know which one wants to speak through me right now, the dolphin part of me or the external, real dolphins.”)
Dolphins, what does Terri have to do to no longer have physical pain?
The pain is so she won’t forget what she saw. When she starts to listen then the pain will go away.
Dolphins, do you think that Terri is listening to you right now?
What do you want to tell her, dolphins?
We don’t want to talk to her now because it is too loud.
Is she putting you off, dolphins, or is she going to talk to you tonight?
We will talk to her tonight if she will get quiet and listen to us.
Thank you dolphins. We look forward to supporting Terri and you in any way we can in the future.
When I regain this connection to the divine through my back then I will have regained my intuition.
Dolphins, how would Terri’s life be different if she naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?
Connected with freedom and happiness all the time! She shouldn’t ask, she should just live it! If she wants the pain relief she will take time to listen to us.
You say, “listen to us.” So we stop and listen to you. Then you say, “It’s not the time.” Which way is it, dolphins?
They are bored. They went off. They don’t want to talk…
Two days later:
They are talking all the time! They say, no matter where she is she needs to take time to get in contact with us!
Dolphins, thank you for talking to Terri! Has Terri had that pain in her back since she started talking to you again?
She should take the contact to the divine. The pain only returns when she is not in contact.
Can she do that through listening to you, dolphins?
They are helping”.
What are we to make of Terri’s story and interview? The challenge is, “How do we respect everyone’s individual path and particular version of the truth without validating delusions that keep them stuck?” Terri came on the trip to listen to dolphins and be one with them, to receive healing from them, yet it is quite clear from the interview that she is neither listening to them, nor do the dolphins think that she is doing so. To not make that judgment is to honor others and their version of the truth, including their self-created misery. However, to make that judgment (that she is not listening) is to claim that there are other perspectives that are valuable and worth considering. Fortunately, with IDL, you do not have to make that judgment; in this case the dolphins have already made it for you. To practice deep listening to interviewed emerging potentials doesn’t mean that those other perspectives are necessarily better or “right,” or that Terri should immediately drop her world view and pick up some other one. What it does mean is that there is a judgment that an openness to other perspectives, particularly if they reflect Terri’s own inner compass and emerging potentials, is likely to be helpful.
Terri is telling herself many contradictory things. She needs to feel guilty and she needs not to feel guilty. She is responsible for the world and she is not responsible for the world. She needs to feel pain to take on the suffering of the world and she needs to get rid of it. She needs to listen to the dolphins but she won’t listen to the dolphins. How do you help a person who so distrusts themselves?
Terri has belief systems about dolphins and homeopathy that confirm her waking world view or perspective on life. Because her waking perspective is part of how she stays stuck, like you and I, she needs to lay it aside in order to listen to other possibilities. This, however, is extremely difficult for most people to do. They are wedded to belief systems like quantum everything, energy everything, and smile or die. These systems of belief are rescuers within the Drama Triangle. We cling to them like life rings in an ocean storm, but they do nothing to stop self-created storms. If you point out to people like Terri that their entire way of looking at life is based on cultural world views that they have internalized and that are not their own, they will either look at you as if you are crazy or ignore you. This is fairly good evidence that people really don’t want to grow if it challenges the story they tell themselves about who they are and how the world works.
Fortunately, you don’t have to say or even think those sorts of things with IDL because through the interviewing process people tell themselves what they need to hear, just as the pain and dolphins told Terri she is not listening and takes on needless responsibility and guilt. If you or I tell Terri that she will probably find some way to ignore it or use it to further persecute herself. This is much harder to do when a person hears these things from themselves.
Cultural myths become real for us when we cannot easily differentiate between external voices and internal ones. Terri assumed that the dolphins speaking to her were external while her story about dolphins and homeopathy was for her internal because it was her ‘intuition.” What do we know about intuition? Studies have shown that it does not operate above random chance. You might as well role dice to make your decisions as trust your intuition. People rely on their intuition not because it is accurate but because it is unassailable. When someone says, “It’s my intuition,” they are saying, “Don’t question me on this. I know it’s true.”
Integral Deep Listening is basically about asking careful questions of unusual sources and listening to the answers in an equally careful way. This clashes with Truth, certainty, belief, intuition, and the unquestioned, unquestionable stories that we tell ourselves about who we are and what life is about.
Terri felt personally responsible for the acts of all humanity and for the destruction of the entire world. Although her intentions were based on genuine caring, is not claiming such a degree of responsibility both grandiose and narcissistic? Is Terri really so responsible? She is told that she is not. Is she listening?
Terri not only felt responsible but guilty. This added a third problem to the first two: 1) inability to distinguish internal from external guidance; 2) personalization of world responsibility; 3) guilt.
These problems were acute enough to create somatization in a way that paralleled her belief system: dolphins lost their contact with the divine through their backs; when Terri lost her intuitive contact to the divine through being a dolphin at the end of the homeopathic dilution, she developed intense and recurring back pain. All of this was real for Terri, and mirrored her belief system. This created a delusional echo chamber or house of mirrors in which you stay stuck, because there is no objective reference point to guide you out of the delusional maze.
This interview also demonstrates how Integral Deep Listening, as a form of Dream Yoga, helps people wake up out of false awakenings, that is thinking they are awake when they are not. Terri’s reality of pain in her back because of the guilt and responsibility she felt for the destructiveness of humanity is a type of “false awakening.” The suffering of the world is a real and important insight for her, so real that it is externalized as personal physical pain, yet is she awake, lucid, enlightened? Terri is clearly asleep and sleepwalking through her life, locked within the dream of her own belief system, which generates her own painful reality. This is an excellent description and example of how karma works, not as a universal law but as a self-created torture chamber. We create it out of our awareness continuously, because we think we are awake right now when we are actually in a delusional state, locked in the reality of our own delusions. This is why integral deep listening interviewing is so important and powerful. It provides you with authentic and intrinsic sources of objectivity that can guide you through and out of the maze of your own self-created delusions.
Can dolphins connect you to the divine? Life itself does not distinguish between divine and secular, good and bad, truth and delusion the way we do. It does not distinguish between connection and disconnection. Deep listening to emerging potentials connects you to life; when you do so you experience your connectedness to everything, including dolphins and life itself.
For more information about our expeditions to swim with wild dolphins while learning Integral Deep Listening, see http://www.claudia-hahm.de/welcome-everybody/