Years ago New Mexico opened my eyes and life to the magic, the mysterious, the unexplainable. There in that rarified place my spirit came alive. What other explanation for the transformation that began over 20 years ago in the high desert of The Land of Enchantment. I painted like I’d never painted before. I encountered serendipity wherever I went. Even the so-called tragedies of a resistant strain of bacteria around my spine and the loss of my beloved home there turned out to be unanticipated wonders, enriching my life beyond any possible expectation. How else could I see moving to Costa Rica, finding the love of my life at the ripe age of 66? Now from this simple Tico house with the view over San Isidro, I welcome the reminders that life is magical, mysterious and unexplainable. And the reminders are there always if we just can remember to notice. And then to pause and consider if they are beyond coincidence.

Not long ago I saw a post from the Seattle Times about 3 dozen orca whales (killer whales) that surrounded a ferry from Seattle as it approached the terminal on Bainbridge Island. Now this sort of thing doesn’t usually happen – and no one can recall seeing this many orcas all jumping, diving, essentially celebrating all around a ferry. Could the reason have been that on board were about 500 ancient artifacts being returned to the Suquamish tribe for their newly completed Suquamish Museum? Also aboard was the Suquamish Tribal Chairman, Leonard Forsman, who was returning from an unrelated event. Forsman said that there is a spiritual tie between the tribe and the orcas. While some described the event as ‘coincidental’, ‘moving’ or ‘uncanny’, I considered it to be much more.

And then the question. Did the orcas know what was on board? And if they did – how?

Scientists have long been struggling with the idea of animals having consciousness. I can remember well when I sat in a zoology class at the University of California listening to Dr. Hardin say that animals do NOT have consciousness. He went on to say that they operate instinctually although some elephants have shown something that looks a lot like empathy towards others in their herd. That was 1962. It would take the scientific community 50 years to finally assert that animals are conscious.

On July 7, 2012 there was a remarkable signing of a declaration at the conclusion of an International Consciousness Convention in Cambridge, which includes “Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non human animals, including all mammals and birds, and many other creatures, including octopuses, also possess these neurological substrates.” This group of internationally recognized cognitive neuroscientists, computational neuroscientists, neuroanatomists, neuropharmacologists and neurophysiologists signed the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness in Non-Human Animals in the presence of Stephen Hocking.

Okay. Orcas are mammals and they are conscious. Is it possible that they could have communicated mentally with each other and even with the humans on the ferry? So many examples of similar occurrences suggest that the answer is Yes.

  • I witnessed an elegant ‘magpie funeral’ in New Mexico where huge numbers of crows and magpies suddenly flew in from all around to perch in the trees above a field next door. When I looked into the field, I saw that their collective focus was upon my dying racing pigeon under the talons of the hawk. How did they know?
  • Two separate herds of wild elephants in Thula Thula walked two days to arrive at the home of their benefactor and friend, Lawrence Anthony. He had died 2 days earlier. How did they know?
  • A herd of buffalo were grazing by the beach in Bang Koey, Thailand when they “suddenly lifted their heads and looked out to sea, ears standing upright.” They turned and stampeded up the hill, followed by bewildered villagers, whose live were thereby saved from the tsunami that came awhile later. How did they know?
  • A dog suddenly goes to the door to wait for its owner before receiving any visual or auditory cues. How did the dog know?

Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, a Cambridge University biochemist is at the forefront of empirical research into the telepathic communication between people and animals. He wrote the book, Dogs Who Know When Their Oweners Are Coming Home. In a well documented series of experiments using video recorders, random timing and different modes of transportation, Dr. Sheldrake’s observations showed that when the dog’s owner was returning home their dog companions would react to the moment when their owner decided it was time for them to begin their journey home. He believes that this phenomenon is due to Morphic Fields, defined as the idea that, through a telepathic effect or sympathetic vibration, an event or act can lead to similar events or acts in the future or an idea conceived in one mind can then arise in another. He goes on to say that morphic fields are how everything is structured – from self-organizing systems such as flowers, our own form and even the form of the consciousness. The Morphic field defines the form of everything from its own memory – and its memory remembers everything, including thought. Because of this, when a dog’s owner decide it is time to go home that decision becomes a part of the Morphic field’s memory. Once tucked away in the vast library of information, that information can then be shared by all other forms, including the owner’s dog. Furthermore, Dr. Sheldrake believes that telepathy from human to animal as well as animal to animal is not in the slightest bit a paranormal phenomenon but something that is really quite normal and very common.

Dr. Sheldrake’s Morphic Resonance theories are being studied and reviewed by other theoretical scientists. Although there is controversy, Dr. Amit Goswami of the University of Oregon has shown how morphic resonance is compatible with quantum mechanics.

For me, the evidences we see all around prove what is true. The animals know because they are connected by a kind of telepathic resonance that we are also a part of. But often we don’t pay attention. Perhaps our complex and brilliant brains are too quick to brush aside the gentle reminders and ubiquitous examples. Perhaps we are resistant to believe because of the implied responsibility. After all, we might come to believe that we need to take care of those we’re connected to. Perhaps we’ll find out that animals have much to teach us and that some may even have mental abilities surpassing our own.

It is time for us to look around and see that the animals are showing us the wonder, beyond coincidence.

“I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.”

– Wallace Stevens