I once read about an injured hawk that was rescued and taken to a raptor rehabilitation center. The hawk, after recovering from its injuries, was driven back to the location where it had been found, many miles away. At a certain point in the trip, the hawk suddenly became more alert. It lifted its head and looked around sharply; it moved its wings with anticipation. It sensed in the deepest part of its being that its home was near. Such behavior can’t be logically explained by science because it has to do with the things we know without physical evidence to prove it. Awareness beyond the five senses. Author Rupert Sheldrake called it “morphic resonance” in explaining how a dog would know its human companion, a hundred miles away, had started to return home. We living beings, animal or human, feel presence and remember home from great distances. Our heart has an intelligence even deeper and wider than the brain’s.
I have experienced this time and again in my life. It is a powerful connection to the world around me. I can literally feel my awareness extend beyond time and space to people and events at great distances or in the past. Like the hawk, I have recognized “home” in my cells and in my heart. Most recently, on the return flight moving back to Boston from Florida, I visually tracked the plane’s movement up the coast, passing through state after state. I could feel my heart begin to beat faster as we neared New England. When the edge of Massachusetts appeared on the flight map, I looked out the window at the Earth below. I felt the familiarity deep within me. Then, as the plane touched down, tears filled my eyes. Anne, who had lived in the Boston area all her life, was sniffling beside me. We squeezed each other’s hands as the flight attendant’s voice came over the PA: “Welcome Home.” Yes.
A couple of weeks after arriving and settling in to our new apartment, Anne and I drove to the neighborhood where we had lived before moving to Florida. As we passed through the familiar streets and turned down ours, once again I cried. Eleven years of memories flashed through my mind: summer gardens, autumn leaves, winter blizzards, spring awakenings, sunrises and sunsets, full moons, screech owls calling at dusk, mockingbirds singing at dawn, goldfinches feeding, squirrels chasing each other, neighbors bringing banana bread and kindness. It all was alive within me. My heart remembered every moment.
Immediately I thought of the hawk and connected to its experience from within my own. We creatures of Earth are here but a short time; yet each second is imprinted on our consciousness and carried within us. Our souls know the brevity of our stay, which gives us an intensity of experience that continues throughout our lives. The homes we have here are but a reflection of the greater Home that we come from and to which we return beyond lifetimes. Perhaps in remembering our Earth homes with such emotion we are also remembering our heavenly Home. It is a mystery, this life. Still, in moments of deep connection to the present and past as one, we, hawk or human, experience the far-reaching power of the heart’s memory. And of a greater Intelligence that holds us all in its Universal Heart.