We are happy to share a chapter of Veit Lindau’s book “Soul on Fire” about his dolphin experience. He has been at WildQuest every summer for the last 12 year and has become a very dear friend to us. Enjoy the read.
Success is Natural
Once you have found out why you are alive, you can now deal with your success.
Would you describe your life as a successful life?
By the way, if you claim that success doesn’t matter to you, I don’t believe you. I am convinced that every person longs to be successful ― successful in what they really love and value.
Of course success becomes stale if you try to be successful in something that was important to your father but that doesn’t touch you at all. You waste your creative power just as much if you let yourself be carried away by the collective mainstream. But you do that, too, if you hide in your room and misuse spiritual-philosophical concepts in order to tell yourself you are not interested in success.
One of our essential needs is growth ― the urge to expand and conquer new ground. We want to unfold and retrieve a greater version of ourselves. Our relationships, our work and our works of art are manifestations of our self in the world of phenomena. Many people do not allow themselves to express themselves openly and forcefully. Why?
We hold back our creative energy
out of fear of failure,
out of fear of deviating from our true path,
out of fear of making mistakes,
out of fear of disappointment
and out of fear of others’ judgments.
I know what I am writing about. I painfully put on the brakes for many years of my life. I could feel the artificial adaptation in every area of my life. Perhaps others didn’t notice it much, but I felt the brakes every day ― in my gestures, my voice and my choice of words. I held back in my relationships. I went to work, to the work I loved so much, on only half of my cylinders. Of course my paralysis was mirrored in my limited financial success as well.
At the same time, I lived an average and good life. It could have been enough, but in my heart I was dissatisfied. My sails were not fully set. I didn’t lean out the window far enough. My bets were those of a coward and I held my cards back.
I was a man who had lost sight of his mission. I could smell the burnt rubber of the handbrake I had applied but didn’t know how to release it. I suffered from compromises and my surroundings suffered with me. My loved ones felt my tension every day. During this time I was often grumpy and unbearable.
At the time good friends told me to finally be satisfied with what I had. But I knew something was missing. I was an instrument with strings that weren’t tuned and for which the right piece of music hadn’t been found. Do you know this feeling? Nobody else can tell you when you’ve had enough. Trust this inner urge until you honestly feel satisfied and recognized.
Two days after my 38th birthday I had a remarkable encounter. It changed my attitude toward success so radically that I would like to share it with you.
Knowing well that I am offering you a good reason to see me as crazy, I will still tell you about my experience without censuring myself.
For the last eight years we have had the great fortune to spend two to three weeks a year on a small island in the Caribbean and swim with wild dolphins. I enjoyed every single meeting with these fascinating beings, but this day was different.
On this day I had dived about 6 meters below the surface when a dolphin reared up in front of me and spoke to me with intense clicking sounds. Of course I didn’t understand a single word. But I took what it said very personally. I am not a friend of mystifying or anthropomorphizing animals. To this day I can’t really explain what happened. I don’t know how long I listened in perplexity to what it said. When I was out of breath I returned to the surface.
When I was back on the boat, my whole body began to shake. I cried for two hours like a little child.
During this time I experienced something I had only read about in books. I knew without any doubt that all of existence loves me unconditionally. I realized that it is impossible to make a mistake, because my life is playing a perfect note in a sublime symphony that is beautiful beyond comprehension.
My tears washed an age-old pain to the surface. I felt how we humans, the children of life, often make everything unnecessarily difficult for ourselves.
I understood what had held me back for so many years. It was the deep fear of not being good. At some point, and ultimately it doesn’t matter the least when it was, I had lost my basic trust in existence.
While I was crying uncontrollably, I again felt the tension of decades ― the painful, so damn artificial withholding of the pure joy of life.
And then? Well, then this burden lifted from me. While the boat slowly returned to shore, these imagined boundaries dissolved in the vastness of the ocean for what felt like an eternity. My spirit flew with the birds, I played with the dolphins, ran with the gazelles and felt the quiet benevolence of the trees and the majestic calm of the mountains. My heart opened up in a single quiet song of laughter.
At this moment I knew with absolute certainty that the whole of existence is waiting for the human being to wake up and recognize itself. We are born to express our full joy. This Universe is vibrating with ecstasy. It loves me and you ― just the way we are.
Every stone, every plant, every animal on this planet is waiting for us to participate in the shout of joy of Creation and rise up in dignity to our true greatness.
Perhaps you see me as a fool. Wait till it hits you, too. Wait till your soul finds the crack in your mind and suffuses you with the light of your limitless possibilities. You will be silent. More silent than silent. And you will understand what Rumi, the Persian poet, meant with the words, “We have opened you.”
I wish from the bottom of my heart for every person to have this experience. From this day on something is decidedly different for me. The light and the darkness find more and more peace within me. I have the feeling of increasingly “coming home” within myself. I now know what it feels like when a human being truly sets off on his or her own path. I love myself the way I am and I trust my nameless and yet ever-so-clear purpose. I affirm the visions my spirit receives and I pursue them. I no longer compare my fate with those of another person, but I have set out on my own unique path.
Since then I welcome mistakes more, for I trust life more than my own judgment.
I like standing in front of people and I like being seen. I watch other people’s adventures with greater compassion and enchantment.
I smile more often, even if for a moment I am still confused when my smile is answered directly.
I more often tell people, even unknown people like you, that I find them beautiful. And I am not hurt if they are initially skeptical.
I am no longer concerned with envious people or people who hope I will fail.
I no longer hold back in my choice of words. When I want to speak about the good, the true and the beautiful, I do. And when I want to curse, I do so just as enthusiastically. For everything ― truly everything ― comes from the one source.
I no longer hold back just because another person cannot stand my greatness. I can respect the accomplishments of other people much more, for I allow myself to grow into new dimensions.
I sometimes allow my truly big mouth to express what it has to say and I equally enjoy the quiet moments.
I am telling you my story because since that day I know what success means to me. For me, success is no longer a single reachable goal. Goals are without doubt valuable and important landmarks. To me it feels erotic to tackle fascinating goals, to measure myself with them, to grow with them and as often as possible to fulfill them.
But the ultimate kick lies in my path that I experience with all my senses. Success has become a lifestyle for me, and it is based on my trust that I am all right. Since that day I know how it feels when a person releases the brakes of his fate, affirming and following his call.
Success is your degree of effectiveness here on earth.
To what extent do you succeed in expressing your true nature in every situation?
Success is the alignment betweenyour path and your true values, harmoniously integrated into the symphony of the entire Universe.
I cannot define what success concretely means for you. That is your task and, I would even say, your duty. I can only say that a person can feel when has found his/her own, truly own rhythm.
Therefore I want to call out to you, “Stop fooling yourself.” In the quiet, unvarnished minutes of your life ― when you are alone with yourself and do not have to prove anything to anyone ― you very clearly feel if you are leading a good life, in the sense that it is successful the way you want it ― or not.
Don’t be afraid to take a close, honest look. No matter how many walls you have run into or how many holes you have fallen into, get up and allow yourself to start anew. Again and again. Each time with more dignity, greater and freer. Do not fight it.
It is your fate to wake up, again and again, in an ever deeper and encompassing way. Leave the past behind you.
Today, again and again today,
is the day of your dawn.
On a day when you sail along the edge of your possibilities, all boring mental masturbation stops.
Try it out, instead of gathering reasons why it won’t work. The joy of exploring your possibilities makes the embarrassing moments pale.
Singing your own song, even off-key and imperfectly, compensates your heart for years of mute procrastination.
I want to forewarn you. Anyone who has tasted this satisfying success is forever dissatisfied with mediocrity. You have been made love to by life and opened.
Forget for a while your friends’ opinions and the books on your shelf. Let go of your concept of possible and impossible. Take life absolutely, totally personally ― as your adventure.
© Veit Lindau