This Is What Humpback Whales Know About Harmony And Altruism
My jaw dropped recently when I found out all humpback whales, in a given region, sing the same song. The song evolves over time, but it evolves for all of the whales at the same time. Though each may sing a different part in the moment, all give voice to one collection of sounds like an oceanic choir.
Being part of several choirs as of a young age and into adulthood, I was always touched by the transcendent feeling of being part of a much greater body than my own that breathed and sang as one. There is something so beautifully potent in bringing our voices together to express something beyond our individual selves. I find that in the broad-hearted volunteers who make up Parvati.org, joined together to realize MAPS: the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. When I read about the whales’ potent unity, I was reminded of this: the power of our interconnection and the choice we have to contribute to a collective resonance. In each moment, we have a choice. Are we contributing to greater harmony or dissonance in the world?
Sound waves are amplified and strengthened when more than one voice emits the same note. The wave loses strength and resonance when there is a discordant sound, like a voice out of tune. It is as though the energy gets scattered. The more in tune each instrument or voice is, the more potent the overall sound.
This is true not simply of a musical ensemble, but of the universe as a whole. Our collective vibration is a song. What kind of song do we want it to be? The more we choose harmony and interconnection, the more we strengthen that note in the world and within ourselves. It helps us remember that we are part of a greater whole. It gives us the courage to do our dharma, that which is rightfully ours to do, even when we confront a situation that could be life-threatening. Here, again, whales show us the way.
The humpback whale is a baleen whale that eats krill and small fish. It has no sharp teeth to attack with. Yet, for the past half century, it has been documented to fiercely intervene to protect other species. There are many videos online now of humpback whales intervening to stop orca whales from attacking seals or the calves of other whale species, especially the gray whale. Amazingly, you can even see a video of a humpback swimming on its back along the surface, with a seal nestled in the crook of its flipper; as well as a video of a humpback pushing a scuba diver to one side, hiding her under its flipper, to protect it from a nearby shark.
Scientists cannot understand why the humpbacks would do this. They are not in competition for food. They have nothing to gain in intervening to protect other animals. The gray whale calf is not the humpback whale’s calf. The seal does nothing for the whale.
Yet, is this intervention not a natural expression of oneness and interconnection? The humpback sees a problem, and intervenes in compassion to uphold balance. Altruism is not the mystery that some scientists may think it to be. It is karma yoga. The whales know this. They sing the song of the whole.
When we come together, we can do magnificent things, inspired by courage, love and interconnection. We are born with these bodies that are vehicles to co-create with Nature and with the Cosmic Intelligence for the good of all. They can be resonant amplifiers for the voice of our soul, or they can amplify jagged discord and pain. The choice is up to us.
Parvati is an award-winning musician (I Am Light, Electro Yog, Yoga In The Nightclub), yogini (YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine), author (Aonani of Avalon, Three Supreme Secrets for Lasting Happiness) and founder of the not-for-profit Parvati.org. All her work is dedicated to protecting all life on Earth by establishing the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS).More info: parvati.tv; parvati.org.