Vision or Delusion

How can we tell the difference between wishful thinking and authentic aspiration? How do we recognize when we’ve found something that can help us understand our true nature as human beings?

When a vehicle offering understanding shows up, should we evaluate its suitability for our needs, or just take a test drive and decide on the road?

These questions came to mind a few days ago, when I received an e-mail from “Four Winds Society”, a Shamanic teaching center, which sent instructions for a journey into the upper world, where I could meet my “original self” and be reminded of the purpose with which I began this lifetime.

I can certainly believe that during the process of scrabbling out a plausible life for myself, I have forgotten my original purpose. Such forgetfulness seems to be the defining characteristic of life on this planet. It is rare to meet another human being who seems to embody a vision, of the kind with which their soul might have been deliberately launched into this world.

The opportunity to visit a higher realm, in the midst of this stumbling-along existence–and be reminded of a spiritual intention I agreed upon before I was born–sounds valuable.

The problem is that I don’t believe that my personal being, wrapped in so much forgetfulness, is a vehicle able to travel to these upper realms.

With such a skeptical attitude, I suspect I resemble many people who have little to put in place of the grand visualization that arrived in my inbox; but I have decided this exercise can serve no useful purpose in my present condition. My reluctance to inquire further is not merely due to my belief that I don’t have much capacity for visualization; it is more that I am a turtle at heart, and that I am distrustful of the ways of the speedy hare who runs into the future as if the present is a doorway into high, wind-swept meadows.

I don’t seem to have much fodder for visualization except what is underfoot as I continue my plodding journey across the hot sands. I feel like a descendant of our early ancestors who, when they left the sea millions of years ago, probably didn’t have much of a vision of the future that awaited them either.

But what about the young people, for whose well-being religious and political leaders don’t show much concern?

They too are in great need of guidance. Where can they find a reminder of why they stepped into their sail-like bodies, which are sinking like stones all around us into the depths of the sea?

I so wish I had something to share with them. I have found something for myself that helps me see this lifetime as a chance to open beyond my orbiting patterns of forgetfulness. But what I have found seems to involve a high degree of skepticism for my own opinions—so now I am a turtle who sometimes dreams of being a hare racing across the high plains.

It’s a dilemma for which I have not yet found a satisfactory resolution. Thank goodness there are still young people, undaunted in the face of their own experiences of deprivation, prejudice and suffering, who are still showing up to voice their visions for a better, more caring world.

I wish I could offer them a ride on my turtle back, warm from the late afternoon sun, as I pass under an olive bough growing on the Mediterranean coast. I wish that some older vision of what it means to be a conscious human being could radiate the comfort of a deep knowing to nurture their hearts. There were monasteries in the Himalayas from which wise men and women have been scattered across the globe. Some of them still remember their original selves, and sometimes I can hear them whispering. I hope that some of the young on whom our planet’s future is riding, will encounter these deep understandings as they struggle to reseed our world.

They are the future rising up with a new, never before seen, vision of life; like shining flags waving in the sun.

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