Last Friday night, I was preparing to give a power point talk on the Sunwheel at the first session of the weekend program I led on "Astronomy, Spirituality & the Mayan Prophecy" at the Rowe Camp and Conference Center. I had tested the digital projector in advance, and everything seemed to be in working order.
So I powered up my computer and the projector, and began my introduction to the talk. I was explaining that back in 1992, I went to a 2-week long camp for women led by Brooke Medicine Eagle in western Montana, and there I found a Sunwheel on former Blackfeet Indian territory. And as I spoke, the digital projector went blank and the screen became dark. "Oh no!" I cried. So I kept talking, and fiddled with the projector at the same time, hoping the images would return. As I spoke, I went on to explain that back in 1992 I was active as a research scientist, yet I knew there was more to the Universe than meets the eye. I wanted to experience the larger picture -- that part of the Universe that science cannot explain -- so I was headed for a vision quest during this 2-week long camp. And as I said this to the group last Friday night, the picture returned on the digital projector -- but this time it was upside down! "Oh no -- I've never seen this before!" I cried.
Now, as I faced this inverted picture, I knew it was slightly better than a blank screen, but was still not going to work for giving my talk. And for a fleeting second I noted to myself that the Universe was playing with me -- showing me that there is more to the Universe than meets the eye, and that sometimes it can even be upside down! Here before my eyes was a shining example of something science cannot explain, which was exactly what I went on my vision quest to experience. And I kept speaking, and Gene turned off the projector and turned it back on again -- and the picture was fine.
For the rest of the evening, and for the rest of the weekend, there were no other problems with the digital projector. Just during my introduction that first evening. I will never forget seeing the image of my power point slides upside down. I did jokingly attempt to turn my computer upside down, hoping it would re-invert the image. And for whatever reason it temporarily misfired, I am grateful that the projector ultimately worked. After all, I had a lot of beautiful pictures to show the group. And I will never forget the sense that I was experiencing the magical, even for just a moment, when my words about why I was headed off for a vision quest were matched with a never-before-seen upside down picture on my computer.
But there was a lesson in it, also. Humor is an important teacher, like having images upside down. And even though I rely on the computer in my talks, I would have been able to survive without it.
And in seeing the pictures upside down, we were being given a unique perspective. After all, sometimes it takes a new perspective for us to get the whole picture.