The mother said, “Why is that?”
The girl replied, “Well, the preacher said that God is bigger than we are. Is that true?”
“Yes, that’s true,” the mother replied.
“He also said that God lives within us. Is that true, too?”
Again the mother replied, “Yes.”
“Well,” said the girl. “If God is bigger than us and lives in us, wouldn’t God show through?”
Yes! That’s the idea. Replace the word “God” with any one of your highest ideals; love, justice, possibility, evolution, unity, mystery…and the point holds true. When you find your calling in life, it comes from within and it shows through. You see something larger than yourself, and yet it’s still deeply grounded within you. Vision is the pursuit of a cause which is greater than you and yet still lived through you.
This is both liberating and at the same time full of personal responsibility. It connects you with creative energies that are working beyond you without removing the need to get active yourself.
When you are truly captured by a vision or a cause, it shows through. This is the fourth article in a series on vision. Vision grows out of what you see inside yourself (part one in the series). It includes squinting at your own sacred essence (part two in the series). It stretches to see what lies ahead (part three in the series).Two other resources that you might find helpful in relation to vision are this article on vision boarding, and this visualization on your life five years back and five years forward.
Part four in the series looks at the size of your vision and the danger of double vision, or di-vision, beginning with di-vision and wrapping up the series with an encouragement to BE all that you can be.
There’s something that gets in the way of da vision- division. The word “division” literally means double vision. If you have double vision, you have a physical problem. If your vision is divided, you have a spiritual problem. What does a divided vision look like?
It looks like hypocrisy, believing one thing and living another. Your vision is divided if you set an intention, but inwardly expect it to fail. Your vision is divided if you profess love for all beings but trample over people or nature to get what you want. Your vision is divided if you seek worthy things for the wrong reasons, or sabotage great opportunities with self defeating behavior. Your vision is divided if you inwardly desire peace, but outwardly compete and struggle for power. Your vision is divided if you ignore your intuition, and continue to crave things that are destructive.
Carl Jung said,
The inner man wants something that the visible man doesn’t want, and we are at war with ourselves.
A divided vision will not stand. A divided person will suffer. The same is true in communities, nations and across species. (read on for more about double vision and the size of a vision)
Abraham Lincoln borrowed the phrase first used in the Bible, “A house that is divided against itself cannot stand.” He used the phrase as part of a speech where he shared a vision to end slavery in ALL states, in both the north and the south. This warning against divided vision is not intended to squash disagreement. There is plenty of room for diversity, both within a person and in the world. As Walt Whitman said,
I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
We don’t have to agree with each other on all issues, nor even hold the same opinion ourselves for all time. You are free to change. You are free to be a bold contradiction; a gregarious loner, a pole dancing grandma, a quiet activist, a pro choice Catholic, a spiritual metal head, a constant surprise to all, full of multitudes.
But at the level of vision, when your personal integrity is involved or when an issue as fundamental as slavery (or corporate corruption, or ecological destruction) is involved, there can be no ambiguity.
A vision divided will not stand. On the positive side, a united vision cannot fail. It may not look like what you expect it to look like. But the vision will become exactly what it needs to be when it has unity. As above, so below. As within, so without. As in the vision, so in the thoughts, words and actions. A united vision cannot fail.
Be All You Can Be
Wake up to all that you can be. Shine some light on a vision that may have been buried under a pile of fears for too long. Set out on a path that may feel hard, but you know it’s right. It’s time to emerge from your own dark age and shine your light.
Explanations for human sight progressed in leaps and bounds in medieval times, which is ironic considering that it was called the Dark Ages. It was Arabic scholars around 800-1000 AD who first shed light on a correct explanation of vision, showing that light is reflected from an object into the eye. They called the study of vision, “Perspectiva” which I love because it connects our sight with our perspective. Islamic scholars helped Europe move out of the Dark Ages and paved the way for Newton who in turn paved the way for quantum theory that light behaves like either a particle or a wave depending on how you look at it.
In the same way, perspective and a broad vision help all of us to see the light of possibility. It depends on how you look at your life. It’s all about da vision. Does it matter how large the vision is?
Over the past few years I’ve thought of my vision as a large one. I see myself as part of a free spirited movement that is taking place more and more outside of mainstream religion. It is a movement that connects people across all sorts of boundaries and seeks transformation from the inside out. It feels large because it includes millions of people, and it feels large because it transforms EVERY part of life.
But is large the right word? After a recent conversation with a friend, I now prefer to measure it in terms of authenticity rather than size. Size is a detail, most of which is out of my control. Authenticity is completely in my control. Authenticity is more about depth than size.
How do you measure authenticity? By what makes you come alive.
The poet David Whyte said,
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn
anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.
Any person, any job, any God, and belief, any vision that doesn’t bring you alive is too small for you, because it’s not authentic. When a vision is authentic, all the right people and all the right resources come together synchronistically to make the vision a reality. You end up making all the right moves in all the right places, and your life unfolds in all the right ways.
Here is the whole Whyte poem-
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb tonight.
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing:
the world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness
and the sweet confinement
of your aloneness to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.