A Common Heart Song: Whales Point the Way
Jan 31, 2019 10:06AM
By Mark Nepo
Just as whales are born with an instinct for the deep, we are born with an impulse toward creating a quality of life. No matter the type of work that leads us there, following that impulse is the destiny of each soul, so we search to find our medium through which aliveness can express itself. Following our instinct for the deep, we find each other.
In areas of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, whales sing basically the same song, and when a new verse is added, they all incorporate it. As humans, we have a greater capacity to communicate, yet we resist adding to our common song.
Whales occupying the same geographical areas that may include large oceans tend to sing similar songs with local variations, but whales from other regions of the world will sing entirely different songs. Once united, though, they find a common pitch. The songs are constantly evolving over time, and old patterns are not repeated. In essence, whales stay current, freshly updating their communications with each other. It’s a noble task for us all to emulate.
Most whales, especially humpbacks, compose patterns of sound that are strikingly resonant with human musical traditions. What helps whales be such good communicators is that sound travels about four times faster in water than on land. Thus, it is profoundly easier to hear in the deep. Dwelling there, we have a better chance of staying current and hearing our common song.
When we follow our instinct for the deep, we discover our common song, which brings us alive. Through this unfolding, we make our contribution to the common good. From generation to generation, all that we learn and create adds to this living work of art we call a quality of life.