10/01/2013 12:58 pm ET | Updated Dec 01, 2013

Living in the Flow of Life

Sometimes, waking dreams are worth remembering. Dreams, like stories and wishes (and fears) all come from your mind. They're yours, personally and sometimes profoundly. When a waking dream is sufficiently clear, and potent -- if not magical -- it's good to pay attention. After all, it's a message to yourself and something you can share.

I woke up in a dream today: I was an observer, not an actor, and my role was watching not doing. There was an enormous pristine river flowing with ice-cold water. Many people were on the banks watching and listening to someone. Funny thing is, I never saw the someone and didn't know, or even wonder, who or what s/he was. The "who" didn't matter -- its wisdom did.

Anyhow, the someone explained that a magical dolphin would come to life in the water before our eyes. Just then, a dolphin formed from ice, huge and magnificent, that warmed into a living, breathing, frolicking mammal. It happened just that way: Colorless ice formed into the shape of the animal, and then inexplicably, the ice transformed into living substance, with color, movement and consciousness. The dolphin came alive, perfectly, and began to glory in its own vitality.

The someone explained that, "This dolphin lives as you do. At first it loves living and wants nothing more than to enjoy its body and world, to move in the current and explore, to play with others and to share experience. It is totally present, and cannot imagine any other way of being.

"Then time passes, and the living dolphin begins to degrade, because its nature is water and ice melts with the warmth that comes from being alive. As the dolphin's form changes, so too does its perception of the world, companions and life. It's not that the dolphin loves life less, but rather that it understands more. As its color fades, and the body dissolves, the dolphin rests mindfully in the water that is its nature."

With that, the dream faded, and I woke up remembering that we are like ice dolphins: formed from water and in the end, returning to the great river. For a time, we play in the stream of life as if nothing will ever change. As our bodies and minds age, the reality of change becomes too obvious to ignore. The someone's message is multifold. Stay present. Be kind and compassionate both to yourself and others. Respect your life.

There is no need for clinging to youth or mourning the passage of time. Doing so serves no purpose; the process is inevitable.

Put simply, be mindful of impermanence, not as a morbid weight, but as a guiding truth for being alive. All the someones in all the great Wisdom Traditions tell us the same thing. Be present, here and now, to live fully. Understand that life is precious so you can live fully.

As your life force diminishes, be present to those changes. Allow your consciousness to shift with the movement, because fighting reality -- like swimming against the current in an ice-cold river -- will only sap your energy and distract you from what's important.

I'm awake now; the dream has all but vanished. What remains are written memories, with words to share. I am that dolphin, still swimming and glorying in the prime of my life. You, too, are that dolphin. The dream reminds us how to live in flow of life.

For more by Deborah Schoeberlein, click here.

For more on mindfulness, click here.

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