I’ve been thinking about whales lately. Something about them captures my attention so that when I read about them or see pictures or videos of them my heart starts to fill up with excitement.
Since we moved back to California I have made a point to search for whales anytime we drive along the coast. Finally, last month after a year of fruitless (whaleless?) gazing, I spotted a group during a drive around Big Sur. Greg pulled over and the two of us watched about 15 gray whales frolicking in a cove below us. Neither of us could peel ourselves away from the view, and we stood there in awe of their sheer magnitude and majesty.
As we got back in the car and continued driving down the coastline, I started to realize why I get so joyful and hopeful when I see or read about whales. To me, they offer an incredible example of abundance.
Whales must consume thousands of pounds of tiny food each day during the feeding season. Their very existence hinges upon their environment providing them with millions of teeny organisms to eat each day. I did some rough approximating, and determined that the human equivalent in consumption based on the scale of a whale-to-food ratio (each of the 4-6 tons of krill that humpbacks eat a day are 1/1000th of humpback size) would be like me eating 50lbs of poppy seeds a day! That’s A LOT of poppy seeds!
And yet, I don’t see whales setting up big krill farming operations to ensure that they will have enough to eat each year. Instead they seem to trust in the abundance of nature and go about their business—migrating up and down the coast, eating thousands of pounds of food a day, and singing lovely songs to one another.
Watching my thoughts during meditation, if I catch myself worrying with a mindset of scarcity, I work to adopt what I believe is a “whale mindset.” With my whale mindset I welcome the abundance that each day has to offer, be it 50lbs of poppy seeds or fulfilling and nourishing work like teaching mindfulness.