William Edelen: Vision Quest…


Toward The Mystery

Due to my current involvement with cataract surgery, my thoughts have been meditating on the broad range of “vision” implications and reflections, both outward and inward.

Interesting that I am writing this for the July 8 issue, and tomorrow on July 9th I have my conference with Dr. Shaaf about my left eye. He completed my right eye and has been waiting for total healing before doing the left eye. I have found Dr. Shaaf to be truly outstanding. My right eye is now being used without any correction glasses and the colors that are now visible to me are brilliant and pure, beauty that has been unknown to me for many years.

This experience has kept me in a reflective mood about the entire range and profound considerations of that beautiful word, “VISION.”

There are so many wonderful and perfect definitions in the dictionary that refer to the mystical, insight, intuition, awareness of the supernatural, and more.

My first thoughts went to the “Vision Quest” of the young men in the American Indian traditions. The young man goes off by himself into some isolated spot to pray and receive his “vision” for his true path in this life. Much as all creative people depend upon intuition or inspiration for their life affirming imaginings, the Lakota Indians, as well as others, depend on some sort of personal contact with the ineffable for their most precious wisdom. So the “vision quest” is a sacred ritual.

Vision can be a looking OUTward into the world of beauty and miracles, and it can be a looking INward and not being fooled. “This above all, to thine own self be true” has been said by poets and philosophers for centuries. “Know thyself” said Buddha. “Your own reason is the only oracle given you by God,” wrote Thomas Jefferson to his nephew. Inward vision is as important as outward vision.

But what always amazes me, staggers me, are the masses of human beings who walk through this beautiful world on this magnificent planet like BLIND robots, zombies, with no outward vision, seeing NOTHING as they walk. Surrounded by miracles, they see nothing.

My mother and father had a beautiful, unusual man-made pool, wandering like a stream in their back yard. My mother had planted it with lotus blossoms and other water loving oriental plants. It was simply gorgeous. And yet, not a fraction of the people who visited us, and walked through the back yard (quarter of an acre) even noticed the flowers in the water blooming with the magic of the natural rhythms of existence.

“I know of nothing else but miracles,” wrote Walt Whitman in Leaves of Grass. And he goes on in his magnificent poem Miracles about woods and birds and animals and insects, honey bees or the delicate curve of the new moon; he writes on about the fact that we live surrounded by MIRACLES and the vast majority of robots see nothing. Even with eyes, THERE IS NO VISION.

My mind was free flowing this morning on the nature of “vision,” the glory and beauty of vision, the absolute miracle of vision. My reflections flowed to the dawn hours. I wondered how many actually SEE the dawn breaking with the earth preparing to receive this magical and mysterious blessing. The juices of life are flowing. Roosters are announcing their presence. You will never SEE any painting more spiritual than dawn breaking. It is the time of day that can distinguish coarseness from a divine refinement. It is the time of day when a person can LOOK, with clear vision, deeply into himself or herself and see things and not be fooled. It is the time of day when your VISION is clear and the day begins on a high and noble plane. You are in harmony with yourself and the world. The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day. As Erasmus reminds us, “The dawn is always a friend to the muses.”

The magic and miracle that brings the glory of the dawn into your heart and soul are your eyes. VISION that can truly be a gift of the divine source of all that is.
See also William Edelen: Thomas Jefferson and The 4th of July…