flashback: wilderness vision, september 2011


reflecting on last september’s backpacking trip to the trinity alps, a vision quest through thick mountainous pine forests near mount shasta in northern california– the pivotal moment for me on the trip I’ve been taking ever since, when I received the response that answered my fierce plaintive cry to the world at large: who am I? and what is it that I was born onto this planet, as this human person, to carry into being?

it’s been exactly a year now since I took the journey that prompted my heart to follow this wild path it loves. a year of blessings, for sure– sometimes obvious, radiant gifts from the everything, sometimes though disguised as trials, tests to overcome to validate & assert the truth of the tracks in which we stand.

on the second morning of solitude, I received— totally out of the blue— the vision I’d been crying out for on my meditation rock all along the previous day.

when I awoke it was still cold. the sun had yet to cross the high ridge to the east. but the voice of the guru within me urged me to go to the lake for an early morning swim.

it’s a voice entirely my own, but strong and wise, a voice that knows what it knows from the heart of my heart.

I trust it. I follow the path down to the lake.

I take a deep breath and slip into the cold water. as I swim the sun crests the pass and illuminates the basin, first inch by inch, then in wild insouciant steps of ever more light towards me. I am bathed in it. I stand up tall, grounded in dark-wet underwater earth, the air around me clear and bright.

there it is, in plain sight: my reflection in the lake, my shadow. surrounded by bright white light. as the clear water drops from my body into the lake around me, the angle of the morning sun refracts just so. and there it is: rainbows, millions of them, dancing in haloes of light from my shadow, my heart center sending out ripples of color like a gigantic prism. the ripples grow from my body and expand out into the lake.

I am a small body. the world is a great cold lake. and yet, and yet—

I can stand tall and reflect, radiate and expand like a brilliant rainbow the white light of dawn— endlessly, because it is the light of god (for I am but a lantern)— and with the whole of my being I devote myself to this vision and this promise: let me be a clear vessel for your light— a perfect prism. let my heart be a lighthouse by which all other hearts may find their way home, safe and sound in your love.

I can’t put in words how beautiful this vision was, how it made my whole heart cry out with the ecstasy of remembering, like a buried treasure found at the bottom of a cold lake, or a bright strong fire at the center of a dark forest— I can’t say there would be even a point to it, but I write to remember this vision always, to carry it within that heart of hearts that knows, and to awaken that same truth in each being who listens for we are all that

and I know who I am. and I know what my place is in this world. and I know where to go from here. and I will walk this path with courage, and joy, and lovingkindness, and the utmost gratitude.


it may be time very soon to return to the source of the call, and to kneel in humility and sweet submission to ask, again, what gifts I can bring home from the journey into the incredible presence that dwells both in every rock, plant and animal in the wild world and within the chambers of the human heart.


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