In the last week or so I have been presented with some beautiful words of wisdom that span that sands of time and that I would like to share with you. The first piece is the oldest of all of them and was written by Lao-tzu 2,500 years ago. It comes from a translation of part of one of the eighty-one verses that form his book, titled Tao Te Ching.
Work without doing.
Taste the tasteless.
Magnify the small, increase the few.
Reward bitterness with care.
See simplicity in the complicated.
Achieve greatness in little things.”
Sometimes I need to remember that not taking action can be as important as, if not better than, taking action. Because I tend to be impulsive a lot of the time this is a lesson that I need to practice.
The opening words in this quotation also reminded me of another great person who lived in great simplicity but had an enormous impact on modern day history. Here is a memorable one-liner from Ghandi that I found tucked in my purse.
“No matter how insignificant what you do may seem, it is important that you do it.”
Another ancient philosopher, Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1207-1273) wrote some of the most beautiful poetry that I have ever read. Most of it is quite mystical and, I think, very spiritual. Just a week ago a good friend passed me this piece of writing by Rumi.
“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?
Absorbed in this world, you’ve made it your burden. Rise above this world. There is another vision. All your life you’ve paid attention to your experiences, but never to your Self. Are you searching for your Soul?
Then come out of your prison. Leave the stream and join the river that flows into the Ocean. Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love. It will not lead you to stray. Let the beauty you seek be what you do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. Question the scholars and philosophers, but God is beyond their understanding. Then look in your Heart and it was there where God dwells that you will see; God is nowhere else to be found.
Everything in the Universe is within you. There is a link between matter and Spirit. And your heart is looking for that path.
Consciousness is clear and pure like water.
And pure water is a perfect mirror for moonlight.”
Coming closer to today, a gentleman was at a meeting that I attended a short while ago. During a break he handed out small slips of paper to other attendees. Mine contained the following quotation from Mark Twain. I have been carrying it in my wallet so that I can take it out and read it frequently.
“Three daily reminders: Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Have the courage to do the right thing because it is right.”
I have to constantly remind myself to practice the first reminder!
The last words of wisdom for today were written by a modern day writer/philosopher, Paul Ferrini. I came across this quotation recently “by mistake” (in other words, by God-incidence). There is so much packed into this one sentence that I remain in awe every time I read it.
“The door to the Divine Presence opens when you no longer need to make reality fit your pictures of how it should be, when you can surrender everything you think you know and come to each moment empty of expectations.”
Wow!! Methinks I shall have to get some of Mr. Ferrini’s books. He has written over forty of them. I have never heard of him before but Larry Dossey says of him: “Paul Ferrini is a modern-day Kahlil Gibran – poet, mystic, visionary, teller of truth”. I am always ready to read new (to me!) authors who may open up new doors, new visions on my spiritual path.
I returned to Rimini and “my dolphin” in 1991. I don’t think I mentioned in the first story that after the dolphin show we stayed and talked with the trainers. We found out that the big dolphin who I had my mystical experience with was called Speedy.
As soon as we arrived we descended to the underground gallery that surrounded the pool. Through enormous picture windows we could see the dolphins as they circled and swam around. From this vantage point the muscular strength and the grace of these mammals is very evident. I suppose it could be likened to seeing the rippling muscles in a fine thoroughbred horse.
As I stood staring through the glass, out of nowhere a dolphin suddenly swam from the center of the pool straight to the window. He came head on, stopping abruptly with his bottle-nose up against the thick double glass. He hung suspended there gazing directly at me. I knew instinctively that it was Speedy. We just looked at each other reflectively; he knew me and I knew him.
As we gazed, lost in time, three of the other dolphins swam by and their comparatively smaller size confirmed to me that indeed, this must be Speedy. I looked around to find Richard, who was there with me, but he was nowhere to be seen. I turned back to find an empty window. Richard returned shortly thereafter and we went upstairs to take our seats.
We sat as near to the trainer’s platform as possible. It was here that the dolphins came to rest between the various events, and I wanted to see them as closely as I could. Richard excused himself and came back five minutes later with a program. He disappeared one more time before the dolphin show started, saying that he needed to find a bathroom.
The lights went down and the trainers appeared. The connection between them and their dolphins was quite stunning. The intelligence of these beautiful creatures is amazing and I longed for the chance to communicate with them.
Then came the moment in the show when the trainers ask for volunteers to come over to work with the dolphins. Suddenly I am hearing my name being called over the speaker: would Signora Margo Hay come to the platform please. How could they possibly know that I was there? I looked at my husband in disbelief and saw the huge conspiratorial grin spread across his face. Then I understood his disappearances before the show.
I went over to the platform and with great trepidation asked if I could work with Speedy. The next ten minutes were like a special bubble in time. There were four of us and we were shown hand movements and taught small sounds to make, and then it was us and the dolphins. All I could see was “my dolphin”, and he was working with me.
Eventually we were allowed to get down on our knees and touch our dolphins. Once again I disappeared into my own time capsule with Speedy. It was him and me in our own universe and I could have stayed there forever. All too soon the trainers broke the spell and I had to return to my seat. I felt as though my face was glowing like the full moon and as if my heart would burst with joy.
I couldn’t speak when I sat down. I kissed my husband in gratitude and watched the remainder of the show in a state of bliss. Before leaving, Richard bought a copy of the video tape of the show for me. But when I have watched it over the years it cannot compare with the pictorial memories inside my head and the feelings that run like electrical current just below the surface of my skin.
I will be forever grateful to Speedy for the gifts that he gave me. Who knows if I will ever be able to return to Rimini again and reconnect with that wonderful creature.
This is a story that I wrote twelve years ago. It will be the first of several dolphin stories that I will share.
In May 97 I traveled from Naples, Italy, where we live, to Rimini on the North East coast of Italy. We stopped there on our way to Venice and because we wanted to visit the tiny Republic of San Marino. After checking into the hotel, we went to have dinner in a local restaurant then decided to go for a walk along the seafront. It was as we were walking that we noticed the bright lights and signs for a dolphin show, and so began my love affair with dolphins.
I need to mention here that I had seen dolphins before. We had lived in Norfolk, VA for two years and on many visits to the beach we had seen whole families of dolphins jumping and frolicking about 200 yards from shore. At the time I remember thinking, "Wow that’s neat", then getting on with the business of sunbathing.
That evening in Rimini, we bought our tickets and headed into the seating area around the dolphin tank. My husband and daughter made a dash for some front row seats around the other side of the pool, but I walked over to the edge of the tank and looked in. There were five dolphins in all, swimming around and gliding and rolling over each other. We learned later on that the biggest dolphin was the father, a 30-year old creature, and that he was accompanied by his mate and their two off-spring, a male and a female, and one other female – sister to the other adult female.
I stood there for a few moments mesmerized by their sleek bodies and their fluid, effortless movements. Suddenly, the father broke away from the group and swam straight towards me. He came to a halt in front of me, raised himself up somewhat in the water and gazed directly into my eyes. Even now, as I recall that mystical moment, I feel a strange warmth flood through my body along with a rush of emotions that sit right there in my chest and the back of my throat.
His eyes were large and liquid and full of a compassion that I had never experienced before. I felt rooted to the spot yet wanted to run; I felt like crying and laughing at the same time; I wanted to scream and shout but also wanted to sit in perfect silent harmony with this awesome creature. I have no idea how long we remained in that amazing communion of the soul, he bobbing gently in the water and I clutching fiercely onto the rail around the pool.
"Mummy, Mummy, come and sit down." I heard my daughter’s shout from far away as though in a dream world. "Come on Mummy." I dragged my eyes away from my new soul friend and acknowledged my daughter then turned back to look at the dolphin. But the moment was gone. He leaned his head over slightly to one side then nodded to me, almost in salute, before he rolled over and returned to the group and continued to swim around, leaving me with a sense of loss and a huge emptiness inside.
I watched the show and was truly amazed at the agility, the intelligence and the beauty of these unique creatures. It was also very obvious that there was a special love and relationship between the trainers and their mammal friends. There was a connection that I would describe as a meeting of the minds and of the souls. I felt both humbled and in awe.
As we walked back to our hotel my husband commented that he could see that something very special had happened to me, that the experience had left a deep impression on me. I couldn’t speak. I was aware of the tears welling up in my eyes. He just held me tight in understanding. When I could finally voice my feelings, two phrases came to mind reflecting what the experience had meant to me. The first was that it had felt as though I had been looking into the soul of the universe. The second was that it had felt as though I had had the wisdom of all ages right there before me. No wonder I had felt so bereft when it was over!
I will never forget my Rimini dolphins and I hope to get back there again one day.