By Brad Norman, Arizona
Several years ago I lost my sweet-tempered beagle, Hanna, to old age. My heart felt a bit empty without her love. Each morning I’d wake up and sing HU, which is a love song to God. I’d ask my inner guide for help with my grief.
A hummingbird I named Anna came into my life shortly after my request for the Mahanta’s help. She arrived on a hot summer day when I was using a leaf blower to do yard work. Because of the noise plus all the dust kicking up, I was anxious to finish as quickly as possible, so I was going at a rapid pace.
Inwardly I suddenly heard, “No!” shouted loudly. This startled me, and I turned off the leaf blower.
Then, again inwardly, I heard, “Look up.”
My eyes darted to the thick, overgrown, eight-foot-tall tree in front of me, and I spotted a hummingbird nest only a few feet from where I was working. In my peripheral vision, I spotted a beautiful hummingbird flying near my head. Her brown body sparkled in the sunlight. I turned to look at her, and we faced each other eye to eye.
I immediately saw this mother bird was warning me not to hurt her young. In only a few seconds, with a burst of air from the leaf blower, I would have destroyed her low-hanging nest. Seeing that I’d stopped work and heeded her warning, she flew back and snuggled her body over two tiny eggs, about the size of pencil erasers.
Becoming Friends with Anna
From that day on, I took photos of the nest, hoping to capture the marvelous unfoldment of life it promised. I watched the babies grow from hatchlings to birds in flight—one of the most spectacular things I’ve ever witnessed.
One afternoon I walked out to the backyard to check on the nest. One of the babies had already left it. The second one was still trying to work up courage to take its first flight.
In a nearby tree, Anna flapped her wings and sang with intensity, trying to get the last baby to leave. The nest was now way too small for two birds. It was time for this little one to fend for itself.
Then it happened. I watched as the tiny hummingbird flew away. My heart immediately opened at being able to witness this. The baby bird’s flight seemed to bring me a healing from the loss of my dog, Hanna. It reminded me that Soul is eternal and free and exists because God loves It. By seeing a life just beginning for the bird, love had surprised me by sneaking into my heart unexpectedly.
Friendship with a Hummingbird
The day Anna stopped me from blowing away her nest, she and I became close friends. The hummingbird followed me as I walked around the neighborhood. She watched my son and me play ball in our front yard. She’d alert me to her presence with a kind of high whistle as she flew near. Then Anna would always land in a high tree to play hide-and-seek and watch me. Because of our bond, I’d be able to spot her tucked in among the pine needles, even though the little cones resembled her shape from far away.
Anna started flying around by our house’s back door to signal me that her food, which I had begun providing for her and her brood, needed replenishment. She enjoyed sugar water, but it had to be no more than three days old, clear, and free of red food coloring. Somehow, I registered her preferences from our inner communication, which came to me like a silent whisper in my thoughts.
The experiences with Anna have continued. Each year she lays one or two eggs and builds her nest low enough for me to observe the baby birds from the beginning of their lives. My little acts of kindness—backing off with the leaf blower, putting out food for her, and respecting the space she needs for nests—have built a bond of love and trust between us, just like that between two human friends. This love makes me feel good and happy inside. I’m eager to see her each day.
My Hummingbird Universe Expands
One day I was many miles from home and having a hard day at work. For some relief, I walked outside my office into a nearby, small, grassy area with trees. To my amazement a pair of hummingbirds flew close to my face and sang for a few seconds. My heart instantly opened. It seemed that once again, in this brief encounter, during a time of need, the Mahanta had sent me a special pair of hummingbirds so I would remember God’s love.
It seems that everywhere I go these days, I notice hummingbird knickknacks. They help me stay open to love and gratitude for all of life’s gifts. I find that the Mahanta repeatedly uses hummingbirds, as messengers, to help me remember the inner presence and love of the Holy Spirit, the ECK. These daily-life messages in the physical world are what is known in Eckankar as waking dreams. They remind me of God’s love.
Being a member of Eckankar has taught me that love is the key to life. This love has come to me in many different ways over the years. Now it arrives in very small but powerful ways—on the wings, in the songs, and through the symbols of hummingbirds.
Hummingbird visits serve as small stepping-stones to love. They help me recognize all the golden opportunities around and have made me a much more grateful, happy, loving, and giving person.
—Photos above by Brad Norman; photo below by Kristy Walker
A Contemplation Seed
You are invited to reflect on the spiritual messages in this story by contemplating on this passage from How the Inner Master Works, by Sri Harold Klemp:
When I first brought out the concept of the waking dream it was very difficult for people to grasp. Things would happen in their life, they got nudges, they responded to intuition, and sometimes they would have a dream where they would see the Dream Master [the Mahanta] come to them and say something, but they needed confirmation.
This confirmation would come to them in their daily life in the outer, physical world. Confirmation in the physical world of some inner direction is what we call the waking dream.
Now it becomes a matter of trust. How much do you trust this inner guidance from the Mahanta, the inner teacher?
What are your waking dreams? Do any of them involve animals?