4 Oct 1996
The "two-way communication" techniques for prayer seem to work
most of the time. When it works well, I am frequently filled with a sense
of God's love, and this presence I've told you about is very strong. But
feelings can be misleading, and I regularly talk myself into a labyrinth
of cynicism and doubt.
For years I have been telling myself that none of these "strange"
occurrences or feelings are real. And now I am treating these "feelings"
as reality. Half the time I don't know what to believe.
Recently I was "nudged" into writing my sister a letter that said,
"I was told to write you a letter and tell you that you are not alone.
I know it's hard right now, but hang in there. I love you."
She called me, full of questions. "Why did you write this?"
"I was meditating and... praying, and I just got a sense that I was
supposed to do this."
"I don't really know, but I think from God."
"I don't know. I suppose because you needed it."
"Well what else was said?"
"Not much. Just that you needed the letter."
"Why? What for, specifically?"
"I don't know!" I said again. At this point I was frustrated and
embarrassed. What I did not tell her was that the message also said that
she was depressed. But Ben, my sister has been depressed for years. It did
not seem worth mentioning, and I was concerned that I may have added that
bit of information to the message. The problem with not actually "hearing"
the message, is that I cannot always differentiate between my thoughts and
"Well, I have been awfully depressed lately," my sister said.
"Honey, you need to go to a doctor and get this checked out,"
I told her. "I think you are really clinically depressed. It's a chemical
imbalance in your system."
"I just need to get some sleep and eat right," she said.
"That will certainly help," I said, "but it will not fix
clinical depression. You need medication for that, and often counseling."
"Trudy, you think everyone needs counseling," she said critically.
"You always think you have all the answers!" she shot at me.
And so... here I sit with my wounded feelings, wondering if this whole incident
wasn't just generated in my own head, brought on by my concerns for my sister.
It is pointless to be like the Cassandra of Greek mythology, forever delivering
messages that will not be believed; and worse, even doubting the messages
As to the St. Augustine incident: I know now, after reading your web pages,
that I was sensing the presence of angels, not the Indian ghosts. But I
did not know that then. I did not (still do not) know what an angel "feels"
>Where did that thought "your prayer" come from?
I've thought a lot about this the last 2 weeks. I remember reading about
people who had near death experiences. When they described their conversation
with the Light, those who were Christian often thought the Light was Jesus
or an angel. People who were atheist or agnostic, frequently thought of
the Light as a good and wise being, but not necessarily a holy one, since
"holy" was not a concept they embraced.
My first reaction to that contact in St. Augustine was disbelief. Not because
I felt the presence of "others." I had felt that before. But because
there was a sense of something I'd never experienced. At the time I could
only comprehend it through a series of concepts: Recognition of my "self"
at a level beyond a friend or family members ability to recognize me --
as if they were seeing me as I really was, not with the restrictions of
our physical senses. Acceptance of me as a person without the filters of
prejudice and cultural assumptions, and without judgment or condemnation.
Gratitude and joy beyond anything I'd ever experienced. Up to that time
I had never experienced the reality of the Kingdom of God. It did not occur
to me that the communication could be coming from anyone but the Indians.
I remember the week I was in St. Augustine was a rare week for me, when
I seemed particularly at peace with God. I had been attempting to focus
on God as much as possible, and I did this by holding "conversations"
with God in my head, as if He were walking beside me throughout the day
-- just like one would talk to a friend. So when I reached the grave-site,
I walked in with God, so to speak. And when I prayed, "God please bless
them," it was as if I turned to my right and whispered it to God standing
beside me. Ben, I did not really believe God was listening. I just sort
of hoped He was. And although I understood that my sudden realization of
entities and their gratitude was a result of my prayer, it never once occurred
to me the communication could be coming from God, or from angels. That was
the stuff of myth, or religious fanaticism, or madness.
I was (and still am) entirely schizophrenic about this. I know every parable
in the gospels, every story Jesus told about the abundant joy and love of
His Father's Kingdom. But I have lived with concepts of God as Santa Claus
with a flame thrower, and God as callous and arbitrary and indifferent.
The Kingdom of God was for others, not for me. And angels talked to God
and mystics and prophets, and even "good" Christians, but not
In one of your letters you wrote, "I can usually tell by the style
or vocabulary when a thought isn't just coming out of my own mind. But it
doesn't really matter whether a thought is coming from a spirit through
your subconscious mind or just from your subconscious mind. The content
of the thought is what is important, the implied purpose, the attitude or
motivation. So, accept worthy thoughts and reject unworthy thoughts, no
matter where they come from."
So... fine. Good advice. I suppose on some level it is arrogant of me to
be concerned about whether God's message comes via an angel, or spirit,
or incarnate being, or my own subconscious. But it is of infinite importance
for me to know that it is God Who is sending a message, and not some delusion
on my part.
I remember as a child being constantly told to "get [my] head out of
the clouds!" I was told that I had no hold on reality, that I spent
too much time thinking. And I learned that "normal" people did
not see and experience and feel the things I did. I know now, of course,
that a number of people do, and that there is a conspiracy of silence. But
on some level I still believe the things that were told to me when I was
When I read this letter, I am amazed at the extent of my self doubt. Interesting
thing, denial. I am trying very hard to quit denying the reality of my life.
But until I am able to work out what part of this internal conversation
is from God, and what part, if any, is self-delusion, I will continue to
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