“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.”– Oprah Winfrey
Although often associated with Native Americans, vision quests have been undertaken by people in diverse cultures for millennia.
In 500 B.C. Buddha went into the forest and fasted underneath the Bodhi Tree.
Christ and the Biblical prophets fasted in the desert…
Moses climbed Mt. Sinai; Mohammed retired to a cave.
These, as well as numerous Native Americans, mystics, ascetics, and seekers of spiritual truth have undertaken quests to find their direction and purpose, come close to God or Spirit, or have an authentic and profound encounter with the Source of life to guide them in the challenges of their times.
In many Native American vision quest ceremonies the person seeking a vision prepares for their experience for days ahead by purifying body, mind and spirit to make space for a vision to come to them. With their mind quieted and their body clear, they can listen for things they may not normally hear in the noise of everyday life. Things like secret wishes of the heart or long forgotten prayers, or messages from a higher place.
When the ceremony begins, the seeker goes to an isolated location in nature for a period of several days in which they give up food and drink. They then wait for a vision or a sign to appear. They might be visited by an animal, or face their fear of loneliness, or in the silence find peace they have never known. If they are blessed with a vision, once received they return to their mentor and community for support in interpreting what they have found. It is said that a vision quest can provide deep understanding of one’s life purpose.
The word for vision quest in the Lakota Sioux language translates to “Crying for a Dream.”
Are you crying for a dream?
Jonathan Swift said, “Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.”
Do you have a vision for your life?
Because as Steve Jobs said, “If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.”
When you have a vision that is strong enough and powerful enough, nothing can stand in your way. No setback, no barrier, no breakdown can keep you from persevering.
Helen Keller pointed out, “It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.”
Not having a vision is like not having a map, or nowadays a GPS. If you have ever lost your GPS signal on your way to an unknown place, you know the helpless feeling that comes with not knowing where to go next on the way to your destination. You drive down the road, taking a right here and a left there, with no idea where you are headed.
Seneca said, “To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favorable wind.”
Far too many of us accept blindly the vision which is handed to us by society, without even asking ourselves what we truly want. We are told to finish school, go to college, get a job, work for 40 years at said job, retire. And for many, this is far from the life that brings them happiness.
With so much diversity in our world, how could this one size fits all mentality be so readily accepted? And especially for those of us here in the US? Are we not built on the premise of the American Dream?
Each of has unique gifts to give the world, and unless we take the time to seek our personal vision, these gifts can lie dormant and undiscovered for a lifetime.
Your vision is a vessel, a container, a conduit.
It must be strong enough to withstand redesign.
Maybe you aren’t sure about your purpose. Rather than honing in on one specific skillset, take a look at the sunset. Notice how it spreads across the horizon? So it should be with your vision. What is most important to you?
It can look something like:
My vision is that my family is safe, secure, and happy.
My vision is to represent my country with dignity and love.
My vision is to protect others from harm.
My vision is that all children are fed and none goes hungry.
Then you have room to ask yourself with each new decision you make: Does this action/job/relationship bring me closer to my vision or further away?
Am I in alignment with my vision?
Anything that is not in alignment is not a priority.
And then your life becomes like a clear, efficient pathway to your goals.
Then it doesn’t matter what you are doing but why you are doing it.
It isn’t as important whether you are a firefighter, security guard, police officer, or social worker–you are aligned with your vision to protect others from harm.
Rather than waiting aimlessly for life to throw you a vision, cry for your dream.
Don’t stop until you find it, and when you do, find every ally to support you in creating a life that lines up with your vision.
I promise, with a strong vision, you will never be lost again.
As James Allen wrote, “Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be. Your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.”
I’m really big on vision; it’s what drives everything I do. What’s your vision?