The Vision Quest
Your sacred place is where you can find yourself. Our demons are our own limitations […] each of those demons is conquered by a vision quest. – Joseph Campbell
Since ancient times vision quests have been customary within native societies when important answers or the purpose of a life were inquired. It is an old ritual consisting of fasting for a certain amount of days and sitting with fire until visions or inner voices gave a direction or hint.
I chose to go on a small vision quest of 2 nights and one day, fasting in the presence of fire. Saturday evening I arrived on Leonard´s beautiful property in Staunton. It is huge, consisting of a big white, wooden main building and surrounded by trees, horse stables and dhunis. (A dhuni is a little, simple hut used for fire meditation. It has a fire place at its center and a wooden bedstead)
After arriving I took wood on a wheelbarrow into the dhuni. I was equipped with a torch, a few books to read, something to write on and water. Starting the fire was an easy job. It flared up almost immediately. For a while I just gazed into the flames. Then I realized a massive tiredness. Thus I unfolded my sleeping bag and snug into its warmth. Later that night I woke up, because it had gotten quite chilly. My fire was burning very low and had to get up and feed it. I climbed outside to empty my bladder and looked with wonder at the many stars. It was a beautiful clear, cold night. The stars shone so bright and the moon was but a thin crescent. When I noticed the chill, I returned back inside. For several more times I had to get up that night to place new pieces of wood into the fire. At 6.30 am the alarm told me that it was time for a new day. I took fresh clothes and went up to the main house to have a bath. It was very soothing after a cold night on a wooden bed. For about 40 minutes I deeply relaxed and allowed my muscles to soften in the warm comfort of the water. Meanwhile I did some breathing exercises and returned energized to the fire for a day of silence and contemplation. First I went through a little Yoga routine and meditated on the fire. It´s presence was magical, cleansing my mind and body. At some point, I had lost the feeling for time, I left the dhuni to collect more wood. The sun was shining brightly and a soft fresh autumn wind carried a mosaic of colored leaves through the air. Back in my little hut I began to study the work of Byron Katy. What a great lecture. She presents such a simple technique of inquiry into the mind that allow by the questioning of beliefs, personal laws and stories a deep understanding of one´s own life and personal patterns. Through this process everyone can learn how to overcome habits that have ever since caused pain and suffering. If you are interested, go to: thework.com
While I went through the pages and dived deeply into my mind, many of my unconscious beliefs were reveled to me. I had to realize that my past suffering had been but self created, believing the stories that I had invented. Phrases such as: “this means, that I am not worthy, something is wrong with me, I am weak and people don´t like me if I say what I want”, surfaced and showed me that they had crippled my life to some extend and hindered my authentic expression. What a humorous joy to realize that you have been full of shit and still are at times, because you still react to old believes when buttons get pushed. Now I could see where I had been manipulative, offensive and inauthentic. Unintentionally, ruled by past memories that had nothing to do with the actual events. This realization might make me conscious enough to not always act like a retard again when those situations come up again. But allow that I every once in a while catch myself in the process or beforehand so that I may act according to the present moment.
The day went by quickly. Contemplating those insights and analyzing them took a lot of time and was only interrupted by putting more wood and toilet breaks. When the sun set I felt exhausted, but happy. Again I took my towel and went for a bath. Once inside the comforting bath tub, I listened to a few Hans Zimmer tracks and relaxed fully. It was such a wonderful experience. The night in my dhuni went by quickly and I had a deep sleep full of dreams. The dreams didn´t give me insights as they were all very weird but when I got up the next morning I felt very alive and cleansed. My mind was more still and my body energized.
Hence the vision quest did not offer me a vision per se, but it showed my a picture of myself that I hadn´t been familiar to yet and for that I am very grateful.