On a recent trip to New York City, we stayed at our favorite small hotel. We had scheduled meetings with some of our publishers, as well as a breakfast meeting with an old friend who is in the midst of making a documentary about Whitley. This man has always been rather dismissive of me–which is something I resent–even going so far as to tell me to "shut up" one time (something I don’t take well to!) Since I am the main "idea person" on the Anne-and-Whitley team, I also find this distressing because I feel I have a lot to contribute and can help made the project more successful.
I was lying awake in the hotel room the night before this meeting, my mind flowing from one subject to another as we tend to do during times of insomnia, when one of the places it stopped was the fact that, while I know so much about the Visitors from talking with other people, I personally have had almost no experiences of my own. Whitley and I feel that this is due to the "role" of the objective skeptic, which I’ve elected (or been given?) to play, but it can be frustrating at times–sort of like being in a store full of candy but not able to eat any (a scene like a nightmare than a dream). Many people who have written us describe small balls of light–and suddenly I SAW THEM. There they were, against the far wall, red lights dancing around slightly, just like so many of the descriptions I’ve read.
Some of the people who have experienced these have thought they were a form of Visitors, while others decided they were being visited by the dead. I decided to ask them for help and directed a thought to them: "Please help me to deal with what I’m dreading so much tomorrow." Suddenly I felt calmer, as if I could take care of whatever insults or comments arose. Newly confident, I was able to go back to sleep.
We got up early to go downtown for the meeting, picking up some muffins on the way, and made it on time. I can’t say that my contributions were listened to, but I made them without fear and when the filmmaker dismissed them, I frankly told him, right to his face, to go to hell. I said this several times, and while I’m not sure he got the message, it certainly made ME feel better.
Later, when we returned to our hotel, I realized what I had been talking to for so much of that restless night were merely the light switches on the wall. There were two of them there, both fitted out with small, red glowing nightlights so they could be located in the dark, and this is what I had seen. Their "movement" had obviously been an artifact caused by my sleepless, watery eyes. At one time, a realization like this would have humbled and embarrassed me but, newly confident and energized by my conversation with the light switches, I instead began to reflect calmly on what had happened. I had obviously been talking to MYSELF and it was my own mind that gave me the confidence to hold my own in that meeting, but that doesn’t mean that there was "nobody there."
In Luke 17:19-21, Jesus–my favorite shaman–tells his disciples that "The kingdom of God is within you." Buddhists would agree with this. Maybe finding God within you is what prayer is all about. I realized that I had the answer all the time–I just had to find it within myself.