We gain a vision of what our potential is from our elders and from the Teachings of the Sacred Tree. By trying to live up to that vision and by trying to live like the people we admire, we grow and develop. Our vision of what we can become is like a strong magnet pulling us toward it. Bopp, Judie. Sacred Tree: Reflections on Native American Spirituality (Kindle Locations 150-151). National Book Network – A. Kindle Edition.
My experience is having a vision is important to my spiritual life. Too often it seems we are in the middle of chaos. There are so many urgent needs. Too many people seem overwhelmed and simply give up. So many struggle simply to live day to day, and thus miss the beauty all around them.
As it says above, we gain a vision of our potential from our elders and the Teachings of the Sacred Tree (that is, from the Spirit speaking to us). It may seem contradictory to have a vision to work toward while at the same time being open to what the Inner Light is telling us at a given moment. Even though we sometimes don’t understand what the Spirit is asking us to do, I believe the Inner Light is helping us along the path of the vision we have been given. Those steps reveal more of our vision to us and others.
Having a vision guides us through the chaos. It teaches us what we are being called to do. No one person can work on all of the problems. We can have hope when we know what we are supposed to do. We learn we have to be very attentive to the Spirit all the time, so we don’t miss messages being given to us. Our work is effective.
We learn from our elders when they have been faithfully following the path of their vision. Their example teaches us how to live a spirit-led life and we have a glimpse of their vision. It is likely that our vision will build on the work they did on theirs.
As a teenager I studied the lives of those around me who had a vision of peace. An important part of that was learning about fear. Learning that we don’t know what the consequences of following our vision will be. But we do learn about the spiritual harm that will be done by not following our vision. I saw the joy that came from those who took the risks necessary to be true to their vision, even though many were imprisoned. And how that joy illuminated those around them. That example made it possible to be a draft resister, despite the fear of imprisonment.
As it says above, “Our vision of what we can become is like a strong magnet pulling us toward it.”
One of the strongest visions of my life involved the literal vision of the natural beauty I saw in the Rocky Mountains. My spiritual vision was a clear picture in my mind of that majestic beauty becoming hidden in clouds of smog. That vision led me on a path the rest of my life of living in a way to avoid the mountains being obscured. There was fear when that vision showed me I could not own a car. How could I do that in a society based on the assumption that most people had cars? Taking that chance led to so many positive things in my life. I’ve written elsewhere about how my running and photography improved, and many occasions where that story helped speak the truth about environmental damage.
The latest leadings related to that vision are about building beloved communities for the climate refugees that will be coming to the Midwest.
That vision led me to ride in a van full of people I didn’t know to Minneapolis to protect the water. When I learned of the opportunity, the Inner Light said, “do this.”
That vision led me to sign up to participate in the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March (below).