Consciousness is defined (according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary) as:
: the state of being characterized by sensation, emotion, volition, and thought : mind
: the totality of conscious states of an individual
: the normal state of conscious life <regainedconsciousness>
: the upper level of mental life of which the person is aware as contrasted with unconscious processes
The definition of consciousness seems to take on a deeper meaning to those who practice presence and awareness of self and external stimuli. Personally, I have felt that my work with the dolphins has taught me to be more conscious, to get out of “auto pilot mode” and really embrace each glorious moment fully and consciously. As humans, I think it is easy for us to go through the motions of the day and to get “stuck” perseverating on various topics; work, to-do lists, what others say or think. I have come to realize that many of these focuses or hyper-focuses are not periods we are conscious, present or aware of our own selves.
I am reading a book by Rachel Smolker called “To Touch a Wild Dolphin”. Her interest in dolphins runs deep into a scientific and evolutionary background. This is a truly fascinating read. She speaks briefly about dolphin consciousness.
“Physiologically, dolphin brains differ from human brains in some significant ways. For example, the cortex is the part of the brain involved in such “higher order processes” as abstract though and reasoning. It is considered to be the seat of consciousness. It is also the most recent innovation in human brain evolution. Around one million years ago the ancestral human skull began an exponential expansion in size, apparently to accommodate an expansion of the cortex, roughly coincident with the origins of design and construction of the fine tools, art, complex civilizations, and distinctive cultures- the aspects of our own behavior that we consider to be hallmarks of human intelligence.
Dolphins also have a very large cortex, but it is spread more thinly over the rest of the brain, and the neurons that make up the cortex differ in form and organization from those in the human cortex…
Rachel goes on to ask questions: “Do they have the same powers of reasoning we have? Are they self aware? Do the feel love and hate, compassion, trust, distrust? Do they wonder about death? Do they have ideas about right and wrong accompanied by feelings of guilt and righteousness? What could they teach us about the oceans? How do they feel about one another? What do they think about us?”
From my own prospective as a bodyworker for 10+ years and being on my own journey to oneness, I am consciously aware that my process, my own evolution and my journey has shifted tremendously since I began working with the dolphins. I am aware throughout my days that I am the best version of myself, I enjoy every moment (well, I am getting there), and I move freely with flow throughout my life. With these qualities I am confident in my being and can provide opportunities for others to work on their healing journey.
Dolphins have so much to teach us about presence, awareness and consciousness. We just need to be open and willing to receive this amazing lesson and gift.