When I see dolphins or other sea mammals break the surface of the ocean, I feel I am not only observing a magnificent sight, but also experiencing a parable about the soul.
For less than a second, the fish sees “another world,” but then plunges back into the water to live in the world created for it. I wonder what it thinks about what it has seen in only a flash.
It also uses the moment to come up for air, but the oxygen from this world is given to allow the dolphin to survive in the sea.
Similarly, our souls “break the surface” and catch a momentary glimpse of another world. It is enough to provide us the sense that we are part of something larger, and from that other world our spirits inhale God’s oxygen to sustain us.
But we are made for the sea–for this world. In fact, like the dolphins, if we end up on the beach, something is wrong–as is any hyper-spirituality that gives more attention to the “other world” than the one we’re created to live in.
Life in the ocean is the place dolphins are made for, just as humans are made for land. Ah, but those momentary glimpses are enough to put other impressions in them–and enough to put a sense of larger things in us.
Good mystics are like dolphins–content to live where they are created to live, but always ready for “breakthroughs” and “oxygen” to sustain their journey.