Understanding a world where you believe to be an outsider takes patience, but the payoff is massive. That ‘payoff’ is one of many lessons Craig Foster attempts to teach in My Octopus Teacher, an unusual story of the bond between Foster and a wild octopus encountered while freediving. After watching the film, I admitted to a greater understanding of life in the next world, life here in this world, and the interconnection in all worlds. 

In My Octopus Teacher, Foster followed an octopus on his daily dives while it hunted for prey and evaded predators. But, with time, Foster questioned his assumptions of man’s presumption of superior intelligence. Foster asks a crucial question early on, “If I could spend every day in a wild environment, how well could I get to know it?” 

Over the years, Foster stated that each item has a story. Each detail, each thing, was essential. And such intimate knowledge can offer fundamental transformation. The documentary reminded me of how much Kanako shared of her world that I either forgot or ignored. Yup. Of the times she showed her world, I focused inwardly and what I was to take back rather than actual interconnection. Looking back, Kanako first arrived in my world in 2014. She was translucent, peaceful, and loving and guided through her home. It was a world not unlike this earth, but each blade of grass echoed a golden hue and glistened from the warmth. I hadn’t thought much of the beauty, her beauty, until seeing Foster’s documentary. Only now do I better understand the lessons.

First, stop thinking of the life you feel you need. Instead, commit to a practice of returning to those you love, and do not be afraid to be a superficial observer with a deep sense of respect not to disturb the natural boundaries. So often, I entered a situation thinking about what I could get from it versus what I could bring. I neither thought about what I could do for other people or Kanako.

Second, everything teaches a lesson. Every pain, ache, home repair, car repair, success, applause, moments of love, and interaction teaches something. Rumi’s eloquent words chime in and ring ever so true: Yesterday, you were clever, so you wanted to change the world. Today you are wise, so you’re changing yourself.

Third, you mature and grow. When growth is complete, one moves on. In the film, ‘Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring,’ two essential principles of Buddhism were presented: Attachment and Impermanence. Attachments are beliefs or delusions that become solidified as “truth” in the mind. Impermanence is the concept that everything changes and nothing stay the same. Kanako promised she would be there upon my death. In some way, I thought we would spend time together (either as a couple, friends, or partners). However, Kanako never stated we would spend all eternity together. However, God wants to instruct us that our souls continue to mature and grow. Nothing remains permanent, even heaven.

Last, we are all interconnected. There are two different views of how we perceive the world. The first view is that all beings exist independently and that the world is a collection of independent beings. The second worldview is that all beings live in connection with other beings. Craig Foster’s documentary (and God) views everything as interconnected. God (and Kanako) tried to teach that everything is connected to other people and to other life forms we share this planet with, the air we breathe, and the universe through love. As such, I misunderstood how deeply ‘present ‘I was in my moments with Kanako and failed to see how deeply connected I am to God, Christ, spirit, eternal love, spiritual lust, the body, sparrows, midnight, stars, Christmas bells, cries of a child, the wind, my thoughts, her breath, her eyes, and love.

Sometimes we have to let go of the things we like; what we like, others will also like. Everything that we desire and avoid in life is a form of attachment. It means that without a particular person or thing, we cannot live or have the obsession to get rid of something or someone that is in our lives. 

Everything that we do and feel is in constant change. A person may feel empty at one moment; over time, that feeling erodes and surrenders to different emotions. Nevertheless, the teachings of God (and love) remain relevant in today’s world. Like the man and octopus in Foster’s documentary, God’s morals teach love, self-control, obedience, and bringing communities together. Ultimately, every living organism goes through many ups and downs throughout life; but love and connection find a way to liberate the soul if given the proper amount of fruition.