The Vision Quest
I was sitting motionless on my sleeping bag at night in the forest as the need for sleep tried to steal my consciousness from me. I wanted to be awake for this, or at least be partially awake. It had taken me months to find myself here and I did not wish to allow my slumber to stop me from consciously connecting to the spirit world.
It was September and the leaves had already fallen, allowing the full moon to peer through the normally thick canopy of leaves provided by the trees overhead. The moon seemed to be scalding my face with its bright light each time it moved from behind a limb, casting it's energy fully upon me. I couldn't have slept now if I had wanted to and spent most of night drifting on the edge of consciousness, a great place to be for someone seeking vision.
I wondered to myself. What will happen tonight? Will I be able to make direct contact with my guides? This had been my dream for sometime now. It seemed to me they held the secrets of my soul and my heart was greatly longing to find the pieces that I believed to be missing. I could no longer deny that the life I was living was not inspiring me and realized that I had to make a change. And now I found myself in the forest . . .
The choice to take part in a vision quest is born from a deep desire to be more connected to oneself, the earth, and all of creation. And to more deeply understand ones inner life and how it gets expressed in our physical world. It is one thing to have a dream, and quite another to live one.
The people of ancient cultures from our past have often sought ways to find a greater connection to themselves and to more closely align their lives with their truest desires. Although the searches have often been outside of oneself, in the outer world, many have found a more direct source to lead them in their expression into our world. Guidance from ones inner world.
Many spiritual seekers have found that when they disconnected from the group consciousness that they belonged to, by spending time alone in their natural world of nature, they could find new possibilities that existed within themselves. They discovered that by leaving the physical presence of all of their friends and loved ones, they were no longer limited by the fears they held, by the others beliefs. And at some point during this contemplation, they would be allowed a "New Vision," in which they could more abundantly direct their lives.
There are many ways to prepare for a vision quest and a clear explanation of all of the possibilities is far beyond the scope of what a brief article could deliver, but there is always a beginning to a search. Perhaps this will help.
Months of preparation usually precede a quest, as it is very important to understand as much as possible about what is going to happen leading up to the event, during the quest and afterward. I begin by spending lots of time in solitude while considering all of the troubling issues within my life. This makes my time alone with the earth more gentle, as it gradually eases me into the state of being that I will be experiencing while in the forest. And with contemplation, comes a greater understanding of the desire for this experience, slowly empowering a seeker with each passing day until he or she is ready to quest.
Although I have fasted for several days at a time, I have found for me that a briefer fast and quest, one or two days, has usually proven sufficient. The longer ones have revealed more to me than I could understand and have left me ungrounded for months. Many shorter quests I believe could have brought about the same results, leaving me more emotionally balanced and allowing me to more gradually go through the life changes that would result.
But on quest day, I walk into the forest and make myself comfortable at the location I've chosen several days before. After a few hours of solitude, I generally find that I am not able to do much of anything else, but consider my life and the challenges it is presenting to me. The absence or minimal presence of food in the body helps the mind to expand beyond the consciousness of the earth. And with no physical beings to speak to, the body, for a time becomes closer to spirit than to its physical presence in the earth. It is here that the soul finds healing and draws the power of God close to them.
It seems in this heightened state of consciousness that my mind begins to wrestle with my heart, and often continuing for many hours. But eventually the battle shifts and I feel my body becoming lighter as my mind begins to let go of the things, people and situations in my life that are no longer serving me. I have no control over this, the release that my soul is in need of, and there is no guarantee that peace will even be found. But usually, in the end I feel blessed as conscious understanding comes to me and a clearer direction for my life is found.
Then, I allow my intuition to tell me when I am finished. I try to decide if there are more issues to face, or if I have already reached high enough and have received my "Vision." And of course I allow the animals to help me along the way, paying close attention to who came to me and how can their valuable medicine be applied to the internal considerations that I was facing in the moment they arrived.
Many changes in the emotional body of an individual occur throughout the process and it can be very disorienting when returning afterward and reentering the life you have been living. The others around you will not have recently touched the God energy and may not be able to help you to adjust your life accordingly. The preparation time leading up to the quest shows its importance now, as it has the power to deepen your connection into the earth, allowing for greater balance when returning into the physical life.
Quests most always bring about a conscious desire to make changes in the way a life is being expressed in the physical dimension, giving the seeker the opportunity to embody the vision that was found. If no changes result, the vision gained silently slips back into the unconscious, waiting for a time when the quester is more able to live the new-found truths. It is the souls desire to bring the magic back into the life and to live it in every moment. And the quest reveals more of these possibilities to the conscious mind.
But if the seeker finds the courage to embrace their vision, it will take time afterward to adjust and to rebalance the desires of the physical and spiritual selves, or the left and right brain. Magic has difficulty in understanding logic. But there is a way.
By discovering the fears that inhibit our lives, we find the way to live our dreams. And by acknowledging the suffering within us, we unlock the doors to our greatest potentials. Fear cannot help but to grow weaker after being touched by consciousness and there is always a choice that can be made to lead us out of darkness. It just requires Vision.
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John Stone, a native of Texas, teaches classes on vision questing, lucid dreaming and out of body travel; and has authored Daring to Dream, a guide to lucid dreaming and The King of Camelot, a book about the life of King Arthur. His latest work is The Spiritual Life, Psychic Protection on the Internal Journey.