Reflections on ‘The Cove’; Reconciling Anger & Hate with Love & Compassion

by Joe Noonan on September 1, 2011

Today is September 1st. For many dolphin and animal lovers around the world, today is a dark day, for today the dolphin hunting season in Japan officially opens.

Soon the sea will run red with the blood of dolphins captured and herded into the ‘killing cove’, to be either enslaved into the marine park trade or killed for food.

How many times will I feel the flush of grief and anger over these acts? How many times will I feel my own heart harden towards those whose cultures, beliefs and actions are different than my own?

I am tired of being angry, and it hurts to hate. I am unwilling to pay the price for the righteousness to judge another.

What would the dolphins do? They do not fight the fishermen as they wade between them, separating mothers from babies, driving metal stakes into the blowholes of the scarred or marked dolphins. How easily they could lash out and hurt their killers standing upright between them.

But they do not retaliate. Who is the more evolved, who is the more conscious?

Love is, for me, the higher path. When I feel my heart hardening, I bow before love’s open arms, invite the greater, wiser me to help me see from love’s eyes.

I went to the cove myself, to face the unacceptable. Amidst the capturing of dolphins, I was introduced to one of the leaders of the Fisherman’s Union. While a part of me wanted to condemn him, I didn’t have the heart for it.

I asked the dolphins, help me see this as you do, and I continue to be both humbled and inspired by their reply…

“Just as you are spiritual beings having a human experience, we are spiritual beings having a dolphin experience. Our spirit, our essence is the same as your own. And while you take on certain veils in the process of being born human, we too have our own veils and filters, to enhance our individual journeys.

We do not fear death as you do. We see death as a small step between experiences. This moment we are dolphins, another moment, who knows? So while our biological bodies struggle in the confinement of the fishermen’s nets, while our physical forms thrash upon the rocks to escape, our spirits are unencumbered, knowing that this is just another moment in our journey through infinity.

We send love to you, our human brothers and sisters. We honor that you have chosen a brave journey much more deeply into the game of forgetting. For our brief incarnation as dolphins, we play in the moment of joy that life and the sea offers us, and it gives us great joy to extend that exuberance to you. Even in our death, we invite you to see us as playful fleeting spirits leaping in and out of form.

What you see as violence we see as yet one of many forms of transition. Life is eternal, and the journey on this earth is short and blessed. It is a joy to share this message and this journey with you. We invite you to remember, even in the face of death, yours or anothers, that all is infinite and eternal and well. Thank you for your love, and know that we are joyously celebrating our return in and out of form.”

When I find myself upset at the many atrocities in this world, I remember this message. It gives me the perspective and the inspiration I need to embrace and hold within this human heart all the polarities of our world.

I know the energy of one loving person to be infinitely more powerful than a million people in fear, and so again and again I chose love.  I chose love for myself, for the dolphins, and for all people and all beings, regardless of their culture, actions or beliefs. This is, for me, the message of The Cove.

© Joebaby

Joebaby is a shamanic wilderness guide and leads multiday retreats swimming with wild dolphins and whales.

PS: We are all able to receiving communication from the dolphins, from any living thing. We need not be trained, it is innate to us all. It is important to me to remember that what we receive is filtered through our own humanness; it is impossible to receive anything without it being influenced by our personal orientations, thoughts and beliefs.

Doing a Ho’oponopono Ceremony at The Cove in Taiji, asking for forgiveness and healing for (and from) everyone involved; the dolphins, fishermen, protesters and Japanese people.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Meredith September 2, 2013 at 4:32 am

Hello Joe xxx I am sitting here not sure what to
write … my heart on this matter does not feel light..
I don’t know how to forgive nor understand the senseless
and horrible choice of killing these most Amazing Joyful
dolphins … To me watching the movie …they were beyond frightened
Thrashing … trying to get away … When I’ve seen
Sierras videos of the dolphins caught in the shrimp
boats nets. .. they were freaking out .. and it sounded like they
were screaming to my ears … the Japanese government knowingly
fed the children the dolphin meat ( and the kids have to eat
every bite and the children were dying
from it … I will meditate tomorrow and will really
try to digest what you have written . I very happy
that you actually went to “The Cove” .. how were you allowed
there? Was it before the slaughtering was taking place?
In the movie they couldn’t get near it .. has the movie
changed things at all? What do you think about the
dolphins being captured for Sea World and the like.. do you
feel those dolphins are stressed ?? I feel guilty because
I always loved those shows .. I’m thankful that
your Huge Loving Heart was there for the dolphins at The Cove!!
.. I want to come from a place of Love and Forgiveness…
this is a really difficult one for me Joe.
Sending You Hugggggsss and Thankful to have
you in my life xxxxxx Mer


Joe Noonan October 1, 2013 at 8:34 am

Hi Meredith…

Yes it is a challenging situation and i find that i have to take a trans-personal perspective to stay in my heart. This world is finite, as is our time upon it. We all die somehow. The truth of this allows me to feel love even in the dark… I use ho’oponopono when i need help with it 🙂


Mary Getten September 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm

HI Joebaby,
Gorgeous message and blog about this horrific practice. To stand in love is more powerful than any other action. We all have our part to play in this drama and you hold this space so elegantly. I stand with you.


Joe Noonan October 1, 2013 at 8:31 am

Hi Mary,

Thank you, i feel you standing with me and a whole host of others… i appreciate you, it is good to have your friendship!!!


Mauricio Fuentes February 4, 2014 at 12:03 pm

In 04th of Jan I had an encounter with a wild dolphin, what happened during this encounter cannot be expressed in words.
I caught myself “talking” to the dolphin: Yes, I know, I understand, as she would look straight into my eyes.
When I left the water the only word I could use to describe what had just happened was: Compassion.
To my surprise I was not the one feeling compasionate, rather it was her, the dolphin who’s compassion I received.
This is how it all happened:

I hope to be fortunate enough to experience this again.
When I read the word compassion on your text, I understood I wasn’t dreaming.


Annette December 14, 2014 at 3:52 pm

I struggle with the concept of coming from a place of love when I confront the violence inflicted on an innocent animal who is filled with love by a heart filled with hate. I struggle with it because I once had an experience with two dolphins that left me stunned and reeling from its intense joy. My husband and I were at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD waiting for the dolphin show to begin. I could see two dolphins circling in a tiny holding tank just beyond the main show area. I felt such a mix of emotions for these magnificent creatures – anguish, anger, sorrow, respect, and love all mixed together. I began trying to send love and understanding to them as we waited in the bleachers for the show to begin. Suddenly, I was literally knocked backward (I mean literally!) by what felt like a large beam of light and love. It was as though someone had hit me with a powerful spotlight right in the center of my chest. I can still feel it as I write this. I cannot describe the emotion that washed over me and the lasting impact it has had. If I could love as they do, forgiving would be easier, but I have yet to figure out just how to do it, so I struggle.


Joebaby January 23, 2015 at 3:00 am

How beautiful… For me, loving that which upsets me is a process, all i can suggest is to be gentle with yourself!


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