I had the great opportunity to spend three weeks in Hawaii recently. Beyond the spectacular landscape, sunshine and surf I witnessed one of nature’s most profound lessons. One evening near Kona on the big island of Hawaii we decided to take a snorkel with the Manta Rays. They dropped a bunch of curious travelers in the ocean with a float bar and shone a big spotlight into the water from above. Within minutes giant shadows appeared below us gliding through the depths much to dim to make out the full form. Suddenly this massive Ray was coming right at us with its car sized mouth wide open…My heart took a few skips! Lucky for me they are vegetarians and are actually eating all the photosynthetic organisms that are welling up from below because of the spotlight. These rays were about the size of a car and were considered medium small. With their giant mouths wide open as they come up to feed I could see they had no teeth, they filter their food with lung slits. They also have no stinger and really no real defense mechanisms. In the Manta Rays evolution it has let go of its stingers and teeth because it no longer needs them. This was quite the realization for my rational scientific mind that went through university following Darwin and his survival of the fittest; we acquire traits that serve our survival. As a research scientist with Bacteria I witnessed the addition of traits for survival? Bacteria take on new traits that help them survive in the laboratory conditions we subjected them too.
But the Manta Rays lost these significant traits? This all started to make sense though, nature is absolutely efficient at being however it needs to be. There is no use in holding on to anything that no longer serves function, that would be very inefficient energetically, thus the Manta Ray lost its stinger. Remembering back to my time in the lab, I also realized that when given sufficient time our bacteria would generally revert back to their initial characteristics if we weren’t stressing them out. They could readily lose the traits they acquired if no longer needed. It takes more energy to hold onto that which we no longer need than if we just let it go. Imagine now how much extra energy we have available to evolve, to be the most Natural we can be in every moment.
This is my inspiration for the next Shine Yoga series Tuesday June 7 and 14. We will explore our true nature by going to some of the most unnatural of places to be. Check out Upside down and Inside out at www.shineyoga.ca for full details.