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Friday, April 13, 2007

The Whale's Song

I’ve been pondering quite a bit, lately, my spirituality. I’m turning Buddhist without any conscious effort on my part. This transformation, this “conversion,” if you will, feels as if dark clouds are parting (as dark clouds are wont to do). I’ve simply come to understand. Very little thought has been involved. It has been a growing awareness…an acceptance…an enlightenment.

I’ve wanted to write about this…this growing certainty within me, but I am easily distracted (Oh, look! A squirrel!). I find it difficult to express my thoughts about my spirituality because reveries, such as the one that follows, keep sidetracking me.

* * *

Several years ago, I came across a science journal article about the work of a young cetologist studying pods of whales migrating along the Pacific coast.

I’ve forgotten all the details, but not the essence, of the article. This young academic spent years recording the vocalizations of discrete pods of whales. He then digitized, folded, spindled and mutilated years and years of audio recordings of whale vocalizations.

What he discovered was this: It appears that the vocalizations are something akin to songs…or an oral history. Each pod seems to sing its unique song, with a new “verse” added each year. That’s right. Whales sing their “tribe’s” story…year after year…millennium after millennium.

The very idea blows my mind.

* * *

The preacher hurls fire and brimstone from the pulpit. The imam rocks the mosque. The televangelist thrusts his hand towards me…palm up. All claim to know the “Mind of God.”

Spare me.

Don’t you dare tell me you understand the Mind of God before you sing me the whale’s song. Teach me the verses. Explain to me what a whale dreams, what the whale feels as he glides miles deep within the sunless, frigid sea. Sing to me the whale’s song. Reveal to me the mind of the leviathan. Then, and only then, will I kneel at your feet to learn the Mind of God.

* * *


Blogger Fiona said...

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES YES YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think I had a mental orgasm when I read that Jonas.

Wow. It was good for me ;)

Fri Apr 13, 02:38:00 AM  
Blogger Snow Queen said...

Even though I was a Catolic nun at a point in my life, I too have always been attracted to the spirituality of Buddhism. I am more spiritual than religious now. As I used to say, 'Never confuse God with religion'. A beautifully written piece again Jonas. I love the concept of telling the stories over millenia. Only problem for me is that I do not like listening to whale song. Love the idea of it though.

Fri Apr 13, 03:49:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Fiona! For the life of me, I never imagined I'd ever give good "post."

Fri Apr 13, 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said... really do have some amazing stories to tell!

Fri Apr 13, 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger mist1 said...

You know that deep down inside, I'm really very shallow right?

Good. Then, I can continue with my comment.

I go the aquarium about once a month to sit with the belugas and whales and the octopus and stuff. A few month ago, the beluga died. I went to sit there with the other belugas and sign the memorial book. The next week, I went to sit with the whales. The next day, one died suddenly.

I asked the management to prorate my annual membership.

Fri Apr 13, 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

My, do have a way with all living things, Mist1.

Fri Apr 13, 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger deb said...

The whales sing their songs, telling their ancestors stories. Pretty cool.

My youngest sings her songs every night as she falls asleep. It's the nicest sound for me, a sound of contentment, of feeling safe.

I feel like I am drifting towards Buddhism as well. This morning I was thinking about as I drove to work. I'm finding a balance in my life, a calm centre is developing which feels wonderful.

Fri Apr 13, 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Perhaps it's a natural progression, Deb. Bowed and burdened by toils and turmoil, we simply break. Humbled, we discover the serenity that always resided within...the serenity that resides in every living thing. It becomes joy enough to simply wash one's rice bowl...

(See, Ed...I'm paying attention)

Fri Apr 13, 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous VJ said...

Just one thought I had J man:
"And God Created Great Whales",
OP 229, by Alan Hovhaness:
(Yes, they're in there.)


And the fact that I now know where Mist1 lives. Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

Fri Apr 13, 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger Sunny Delight said...

Point, beautifully made, darling man.

Fri Apr 13, 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thanks for stopping by, VJ.

In the genre of "whale song" music, I recommend Moodswing's double-CD "Horizontal". It's hard to find, but worth a listen.

Mist1 lives in her own own world...

Sat Apr 14, 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Compliment humbly accepted, darling woman.

Sat Apr 14, 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger deb said...

I like your image of breaking, only to find serenity within. I feel like I've been caring this gift of balance all me life but it wasn't until I broke apart that I discovered it. It was inside of me along. I spent so many years looking for it outside of myself and all along, I had it within me.

Sat Apr 14, 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I really do believe that "Heaven" resides within each and every one of us.

The tricky part is finding it.

Sat Apr 14, 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Sally-Sal said...

That was so eloquently written. I needed to read that. Thank you, Jonas.

Sat Apr 14, 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

You're welcome, Ms. Sally.

Sat Apr 14, 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Cheesy said...

I've had the joy of seeing these lovely beasts up close in our Pacific waters. I want to come back as a whale! Too bad I can't sing....

Sat Apr 14, 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Oh, I think we have the makings of a children's book: "Little Cheese, the baby whale who could not sing..."

Sat Apr 14, 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger eleanor said...

Oh dear... Sometimes there are so many comments, I feel a bit presumptuous to visit here.

There seem so many others now. And then Ever Trying and Soul Rebel are so silent.

I'm still reading Jonas. Keenly, carefully.

I'm glad you're well.

Mon Apr 16, 04:31:00 AM  
Blogger Laurie Anne said...

J, I really like the connection between the two. Different.

Mon Apr 16, 09:54:00 PM  
Anonymous ebwrite said...

The whale's song is the mind of God. I think the trouble starts when we begin to separate God from the everyday.

No whale's song, no "God," no you or me ... as a Zen monk once said to his student, "From birth to death it is just this."

Fri Apr 20, 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Biby Cletus said...

zsNice post, its a really cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work, will be back.

Warm Regards

Biby Cletus - Blog

Fri Apr 20, 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Eleanor, my poet princess! I'm so very glad you made an appearance! I've missed you.

Yes, more voices have appeared here. They are good voices, sweet voices, loving voices. This blog has become a noisier place...but it's such a joyful noise!

I'm saddened by the fact that ET has grown quiet and the Reb has seemingly ridden off into the sunset. Such is life, I suppose.

Don't be stranger!

Wed Apr 25, 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thank you, Laurie Anne.

(How's Tounces?)

By the way, everyone. I've been asked why I don't keep a blog roll. The short answer is that I don't want to presume that my reading habits would be of interest to others. On the other hand, I wish to note that I follow the blogs of everyone who drops into this little corner of the blogosphere. I've found much to enjoy in the writings of kindred spirits. I encourage all of you to explore the thoughts of all who venture here.

You won't regret it.

Wed Apr 25, 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Yes, Buddha, I see God in everything. There's a post about this very idea slowly forming within my brain pot. Someday, I'll find the words...

Wed Apr 25, 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thank you, Biby.

(Quite an eclectic blog you and your cohorts have created)

Wed Apr 25, 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger PattiKen said...

I love the whale song, the history added with each generation. It's the "God" (capital G) part I struggle with.

I understood a comment you made in an earlier post about how a close look at Catholicism led you to a place of agnosticism. Me too. But as time passes and so much horror has happened in the name of some God or another, I find myself moving toward atheism. At least insofar as it relates to a capital-G God.

And those preachers, imams, evangelists (and any other "men of God") you mentioned? Any proselytizing, raising of the rabble, beating on the drum of fund-raising or other clerical speechifying... They can go pound sand. I'd rather listen to the whales.

Mon Mar 28, 10:10:00 AM  

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