Why I Trust the Ocean With My Life

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Why I Trust the Ocean With My Life

Entering the ocean is clearly a confrontation with many fears – the fear of what lurks in the unknown, of encountering beings that operate in apparently entirely different ways from us – creatures that exist as colonies rather than individuals, that have the ability to ‘breathe’ in water, that have teeth and all sorts of other weaponry we don’t understand – fear of entering into murky waters, fear of being immersed in an element that moves so differently from those we are more accustomed to, fear of getting frozen to the bone in cold waters, fear of getting swept along by unpredictable currents. In a very real sense, the ocean is a symbol of the human subconscious, and our fear of it mirrors our fear of what we don’t have conscious control over in our inner landscape. The ocean is the home of the shark – perhaps the creature that most potently embodies that which humans archetypically fear.


Then why is it that I trust the ocean so intrinsically?

I recognize that when I enter the ocean, I am being received by the sacred womb of life. Each entry is a sacred act for me, a conscious movement into a liminal zone where I leave behind my fixed understandings of how life works, and allow life itself – LIFE herself – to guide me. I become the innocent babe learning from the great mother in a way that feels immediate and tangible.

As soon as I enter into the water, it takes over my senses. I am surrounded by liquid form that makes my body weightless. Entering into the icy waters of the Cape, the only control I have over my body temperature is the choice to surrender and let life teach me what is real here. As I relax, I find that the opening to the cold awakens every cell in my body to a state of ecstasy that is pure and supreme. And life moving through me will clearly indicate to me when it is time to take this experience back on to land and warmth.


The ocean kisses me as intimately as the beloved – simultaneously, and all around.

As I open the eyes of my heart, the consciousness of the ocean notices, and sweeps me along into a profound experience of oneness. On land, I find my human experience conditioned by the all-pervasive belief that we are all discreet and separate objects moving around in time and space. Somehow, this human belief system has a massive impact on the experience of moving on land. However much we humans have entered and plundered the oceans, we still have not dominated it with our consciousness of separation. The beings of the ocean move with one mind, one intelligence, expressing itself in a myriad of forms. As soon as I open to that one mind, it begins to teach me.

cow shark 2

I have swum with southern right whales right underneath my body and have not been able to ‘feel’ them as separate forms. Their consciousness is so profoundly one with that of the water. What makes this phenomenon more noticeable is the sheer fact of their size. How a creature of that mass and size can disappear into the waters to the extent that my body does not feel the displacement of water they create is proof to me that our sensory experience is a result of the consciousness that creates it.


Even in the shallowest water, I meet this experience of unity. Schools of fish disappear in the liquid reflection of light in the water, and reappear again as the waves tilt. My first impulse on a sudden encounter with a large school that suddenly appears is often a slight shock – the shock of encountering the unexpected. But then somehow by now, my heart quickly readjusts and flies wide open in the joy of meeting myself in this exquisite new form – as a school of fish. The fish respond instantly to these currents of love coming their way by turning towards me, making eye contact and including me in the dance of their movement as a school. A meeting like this can last for a few seconds, and yet the impact of it keeps opening up new places in this body.


Shakti and Aaron sharkSomehow being in the ocean brings me to an encounter with fear that also instantly releases me from the illusion of it. We humans encounter fear on two levels: Real and symbolic. Most often, our fear is symbolic and conceptual, e.g. the fear of arriving late for a meeting. There is no actual threat to your life in arriving late, but the symbolic associations – of for instance being seen as slack, as a failure, or as un-together – land in our nervous system as equally threatening to something that actually threatens us. In the ocean, we meet forces that can actually take us out, quite easily and quickly. We could die of hypothermia, we could drown, we could get lost in the vast expanse of waters. We could get bitten or stung by some creature that is infinitely more used to the element of water than we are.


I find that the mere experience of encountering that which is a true cause for fear – that which can kill me – is in itself a liberation from the quagmire of symbolic fears. There is a next level though – that of discerning whether what could potentially kill me, is actually threatening in this very moment.


My discovery here is that the ocean becomes infinitely more threatening when I don’t allow myself to merge with it, and with the intelligence it holds. The ocean demands to be entered, and to enter, into every pore of your skin. If you hold, for instance, cold as a threat to be kept out, your mind will start to create the cold as an enemy. So powerful is the human mind that it will actually take you into a biological state of hypothermia way before your body actually is too cold. Similarly, when you tense up against the experience of not being able to breathe, you will be out of breath in a fraction of the time that your body is actually able to stay with one breath. So literally, through creating separation with our minds, we then put our lives at risk.

The same principle applies when encountering an ocean creature that can kill you in seconds, such as a shark. Although the shark is an actual threat in that it can kill you, most of what we encounter when we meet a shark, is our associations and beliefs about sharks. We see Jaws play off in our minds. We feel every instinctual human fear evoked and our nervous system response is a recoil, a contraction away.


While your mind is interpreting the shark through these filters, you will project out to the shark that you experience as an enemy. Sharks, contrary to our human beliefs, are not just killing machines. They are highly sophisticated beings with sensory mechanisms that are in some ways much more refined than ours. When we meet them with honor and with open hearts, they respond with immediate intelligence. Being able to greet these great masters of the ocean in this way, has made it possible for me to stroke my body over sharks larger than me that eat dolphins and whales. It has enabled me to hold the highly sensitive bodies of smaller sharks in my hands as though I am holding the body of a lover.


dolphins2But enough about sharks and cold water now. I want to invite you here to an ocean experience with me that is infinitely more easeful: Entering the Liquid Body – From 29 October to 9 November, I am co-facilitating with Courtney Ward of Halo Gaia a 10-day encounter with dolphins in the lusciously warm waters of Mozambique. My intention is very clear: I would like each one of you to have the experience of stepping into the ecstatic field of oneness with the ocean and her creatures that life has been gifting me with. You won’t find a better guide for meeting the dolphins than Courtney, and you won’t find better guides for the next step of your life than the dolphins, who use more of their brain capacity than we do, and have phenomenal powers of heart. The Mozambique waters are teeming with awesome beings, including whales, whale sharks, rays and turtles – all of whom we may encounter. The ocean encounter requires minimal fitness and even people who can’t swim, will be given an opportunity to safely enter the water. On land, I will be guiding you through the Tantric practices that I teach to deeply connect to your intrinsic fluidity and your bliss body, and Courtney will enchant you with her profound sound journeys. This is an opportunity of a lifetime – don’t miss it. To find out more, click here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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