The pandemic lockdown has led me to turn ever inward. The passion to meditate and pray on a regular basis seems more poignant. I am called to open my senses to everything that is within and without. To feel the full quality of energy and emotion regardless of its character, “light” or “dark”. To experience Life fully and honestly, without the filters of egoic prejudice.
This inward journey has been partly spurred by a couple of sources. First, my friend Linda Bradak shared this moving video with me: Letter from the coronavirus. To me, it is a call to take full stock of the human world that we have created, to accept and own what we have done and recognize where we are. And it is a call to live Life fully and honestly, freely following the whisperings from our Hearts, and to imagine and manifest a new world of peace, compassion, wholeness, freedom, gratitude, abundance, and love.
Second, this beautiful article from Jeff Vander Clute, Creating Foundations of Health, reflects and expounds on some thoughts and feelings I have had around the pandemic. Indeed, “Know the True You” is the central goal of Vision Questing. Perhaps Vander Clute’s affirmation “I am Supreme Spirit” is too lofty for some or, even, most. We are too clogged by a lifetime of living false beliefs and judgements that keep us small and weak, the victims of life. Perhaps we don’t even think we have any Spirit, never mind a Supreme Spirit! And, thus, we don’t attempt this affirmation much less charge it with our Heart’s passion.
But that choice is on us! It is our choice to consider ourselves small and impotent. We look out into the world and see the evidence that we are small, impotent, damaged, unworthy, etc. But does belief follow perception or does perception follow belief? Seriously, think about and feel into this question! Don’t accept the dogma and cultural answer, research the answer to this question for yourself. And where did these limiting beliefs and judgements come from? Who put them there?
We did this. Typically, the most crippling beliefs we have, those that bury us in self-doubt, were something we concluded during a wounding from childhood. Our experience in an apparently small Earthly body, following the evidence our limited, if vivid, physical senses led us to deny our true nature. The culture at large has virtually no support or nurturance for our True Nature. Even parents who love their children more than anything rarely are able to support the Essence of their children. Not because they don’t want to but because they don’t know how. For one thing, they also are blocked by the same walls! Our senses of the more subtle realms withered as we walled them off to avoid the pain, and we turned to our physical senses to inform our awareness. And now most cultures only accept the evidence of the physical senses. We have closed off the larger (and Eternal) parts of ourselves! We did this because we found it necessary to survive the trauma of the human experience. So, it can be said that it is not our fault. We are human, and we did this to navigate what appeared to be a difficult world. There is no basis for blame or shame. Still, it is our process and, therefore, we are responsible for it.
Now, a new consciousness is stirring in Humanity. We can choose to break the cycle that keeps us locked in self-doubt. Perhaps the choice is not so much whether to break the cycle but whether or not we will cooperate with the forces that have begun to demolish of the structures that bind us. We can choose to help propel the unfolding of the new consciousness. We can set the intention to reclaim our sensitivities beyond the mere physical and unlearn the beliefs that confine us. We are not the victims of life, we are the Masters of Life!
Perhaps the pandemic is giving us the opportunity to ease the transition. Not that this is easy in any way, especially if you are personally connected to anyone suffering or passing during this turmoil. But the longer we put off this transition the more difficult it will become. We can lean into it now or have it crash on our heads later.
Vision Questing has led me along this path of Self-discovery and untying of false beliefs. It hasn’t always been easy. In fact, it probably has never been easy! A lifetime’s accumulation of false beliefs and judgements cannot be undone in short order. But the questing pathway offers a powerful tool to break up large chunks of these limitations quickly. Questing is a unique opportunity to drop the beliefs and judgements that no longer serve us. And our progress is greatly accelerated when we commit ourselves to a purpose beyond self. One of my teachers, Bear Povisils, has been gone for 20 years now. But I can still hear his booming voice as he prepared us to quest: “You always get what you need!” That is, the Vision Quest does not magically confer some “full enlightenment” (if there even is such a thing) in one step. Instead, it gives you the next step, revealing the opening needed at that moment in your life. As questers, we are grateful to simply know the next step that keeps us moving forward. And we trust that the guidance will arise as we take the steps beyond that.
If you are like me, it will take years of dedicated spiritual intent and many quests to break up the limiting beliefs to the point where a new momentum is found (note that not all questing requires four days of fasting and asceticism). Then again, I am a slow learner. I have been attached to my beliefs – they have got to be true! But when I finally accept that my beliefs are blocking my progress or simply become frustrated with my stuck way of being, I reach to the sledgehammer of spiritual tools. Vision Questing is certainly not the only way to walk the spiritual path but I am unaware of any other tool that can so powerfully break us through to the next level of our journey, the journey to “Know the True You”.
In Stillness, Matthew