In many cases the quest into our interior world for meaning, purpose, and clarity is a choice we make. However, history tells us this has not always been the case.
Native American young men had their own vision quest. Boys were forced to head out to the wilderness, find a solitary place, and then wait. On his own in this challenging environment each boy had to find his vision of an animal spirit that would guide him into adulthood. The intention was that he would gain insight, wisdom, advice, and protection from a supernatural source. It was marked by receiving clarity of his destiny as the Great Spirit gave him his true name, affirming who he was and what his life’s purpose would be.
While this rite of passage may sound harsh to us post-modern Westerners, there was a grand tradition behind it meant to give inner clarity and purpose.
Rites of passage today are more often sterilized and concentrate on information-sharing instead of experience-gaining. The Bar or Bat Mitzvah may be arduous and beneficial but, in many instances, it does not provide deep clarity for life’s purpose; neither does the rite of “Confirmation” in the Christian religion (been there, done that…it’s cerebral!).
What the point? By abandoning such traditions or gutting the them of their experiential power, what are we left with today?
Instead of people willing to take a journey “into the wilderness” and face the highest challenge of solitude, we live in the Information Age inundated with people telling us what to do: wear this…buy that…achieve this…etc.
Noise! Noise! Noise!
The results are generations who are on-the-outside striving and on-the-inside stymied.
No matter your age or background, it is worth going on a vision quest. Take the challenge of entering your interior world.
Have the courage to block out a time of solitude (even if for ten minutes) into a weekly schedule.
Dare to give yourself the gift of silence and face the onslaught of messages you may get initially to find clarity over time.
Sit long enough so that you can gain insight into what you offer to the world.