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Appreciating the Energy of Autism

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Suzy Miller worked as a pediatric speech pathologist for two decades when an experience with a four-year old child helped her discover a breakthrough in working with autism.

By Suzy Miller


He looked me right in the eye and asked quizzically, “Master?” I was taken aback, and I looked at him thinking, “Who’s the master here? Him or me?”

There was just something about the way he looked at me. He spoke clearly, enunciating perfectly the word “master.” That’s just strange, I thought.

At the same time, I felt awkward yet comfortable when Riley looked at me. It may sound crazy, but it felt as though he was looking right into me, right into my soul. I had that other-worldly sensation that he saw a part of me that I hadn’t even seen myself.

I later learned that it can take many sessions to gain eye contact with an autistic child.

Much of the traditional approach toward autism at the time was geared toward forcing eye contact, which, when you think about it, is ridiculous. Riley certainly didn’t need to be forced.

He just looked right at me, with all the knowing in the world radiating through those eyes. I sat in front of the door and watched him, fascinated, with no idea of what to say to him. And that’s when I had the moment that changed my life.

First Glance of the Light Body

I looked at him and noticed an image floating above his body. I now understand that what I was seeing is defined as a light body.

Although I had never seen anything like this before, it wasn’t eerie or terrifying. Instead, I felt a deep curiosity for an experience that was beyond what I had consciously known before.

I wasn’t scared, but I remember thinking, “Oh my God, what is this? Why am I seeing what I’m seeing?”

We sat in the room together, and I gave him space while I tried to understand what was happening. I needed to calm down because I was so surprised and a little overwhelmed by what I was experiencing.

He, on the other hand, seemed perfectly calm. By focusing on my breathing, I was able to relax.

I asked myself why his energy body or his light body would be outside of him, seemingly disconnected from his physical form. Riley continued to walk around the room, making his repetitive statements—“It’s the millennium! It’s 1999!” I just let him move around the room.

I didn’t want him to feel controlled or afraid. Finally he sat down, and I went over to him.

I later learned that it’s not always easy to have physical contact with autistic children—they don’t like to be touched by new people. I had no idea, so I touched his ankle just to connect to him, and as I did so, I was aware that I was doing something to the energy field above him.

What exactly was I seeing? It was a cloudy, nearly transparent mass of pale yellow light that was an exact outline of Riley’s physical body.

It floated above him and to his right side, and it had a “tail” that dangled from the right foot of his light body to the area of his heart in his physical body. I had never seen anything like that before in my life.

Understanding the Human Energy Field

After I left, I wondered if I really saw something or simply imagined it. The minute I got home, I called my friend Ann, who was a student of Barbara Brennan’s School of Healing.

This school taught its students the nuances of the different layers of the human energy field and how chaos in any of these layers could cause disease in the physical body. I figured that if anyone would know what I had seen, she would be the one.

“I have an energy question for you,” I said, and then, too excited to let her get a word in edgewise, I described my entire meeting with Riley and the strange light I had seen.

“It was just sort of hanging there, and it didn’t move except for this tail-like thing that hung down from his foot.”

“His physical foot?” Ann asked.

“No, no, the foot on the body floating above him.”

“Oh,” she said, and then she suggested that I turn to a particular chapter of Barbara Brennan’s book Hands of Light to see if that matched what I was seeing.

This book was a guide to healing through the human energy field, and Barbara herself was one of the pioneers in energy awareness.

“It’s right on,” I exclaimed.

“You realize,” Ann said carefully, “that what you saw was Riley’s light body.”

I tried to absorb this information.

“But why was his light body hanging above him like that?”

“Because his light body is not inhabiting his physical body,” Ann said, excited for me.

Being In Two Places

Now I understood what Riley was trying to tell me—not in words, because he was nonverbal except for his spontaneous utterances about the millennium and 1999, but in another way.

I had received his message to me all at once as a kind of “knowing.” At that moment I was not sure if that knowing was a form of telepathy or what, but in those moments of interaction with him, I was fully present and open to this incredible new experience.

Riley “informed” me that he was in two different places at the same time. He could not occupy his physical body with his light body. His physical body was having one experience, and his light body was having another. The two weren’t working as one.

I realize now that he was asking me if I could help make that happen. And I further realize that I had agreed to do so, but with no idea of what I would be doing.

I had never before had an experience that could be defined as telepathic, and yet I knew this experience was real. In that moment I had no concern for what was happening or for my response, and I somehow simply knew that I had the skills to act on Riley’s request.

Over the next few sessions, I did make some attempts to engage Riley in “appropriate” therapeutic techniques.

But frankly, I wasn’t sure that showing him pictures and asking him to match objects to them was actually helpful. He seemed frustrated by every activity that I thought he should try.

Frequently, he would just flat out refuse, unless I signaled to him that I would indeed help him bring his light body into his physical form.

In Riley’s presence, I had the unusual experience of feeling that I was just following his direction. He knew what he needed. Again, who was the real master here, him or me?