A young girl said to her mother on the way home from church, “Mummy, I’m confused.”

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-

 Sweet Darkness

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.

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  1. […] at your own sacred essence (part two in the series). You need to beware of double vision, or di-vision (part four in the series). Two other resources that you might find helpful in relation to vision are […]

  2. […] source. The third part looks at the lens through which we see the world and how it shapes vision. Part four addresses the problem of di-vision, or double vision, and how size relates to […]

  3. Cheryl Hamilton says:

    Dear Ian;
    I connected to just the right article today. I did the little experiment you suggested, of writing down where I am, and where I see myself in 5 years. And finally a vision has come together. One of the key statements you made for me was, “Vision grows out of what you see inside yourself…” I had not had a vision since my business partner  and I had chosen not to start a business together. I had no vision of what I could do on my own. I was stuck… until I had that vision of my leaping off into a black abyss, and I lit up with light. It was at that moment I realized I had everything I needed to move forward. Then you were a witness to my inner vision, which gave me the knowledge that others would also see me as I really am.  With this article, I have been motivated to see my vision of where I want to be with this business. I love the syncronisity, the connections that are between people, words, places, and things! Is this not a wonderous place to be? Perfect!!
    Thanks Ian,

    Cheryl Hamilton, Coach
    Sunny Horizons Life Coaching
    Wichita, Kansas

  4. ian says:

    Awesome Cheryl- i have massive confidence in you, and cant wait to see your business flourish.

  5. Sabrina says:

    Love this. And that poem by David Whyte is one of my all-time favourites. Another aspect of it that I heard him explain (that I totally didn’t see) was the way in which we make our lives too small for us. When we are not enchanted by our partner or children or job.  It is then us that has made what is there small. Taken for granted. The two perspectives (yours which I shared) and also his explanation of his work endeared this poem to me all the more. 

  6. HelloDearFriend says:

    “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.”

    Indeed. This Resonates. Sometimes It’s A Difficult Realization. Thank You For This Article. 
    The Poem Was Lovely.  =)

  7. What a profound and inspiring sharing! It is so true that when we are connected with true Self within, when all the illusion has been let go, a whole new world emerges.Isn’t is the moment when we have graduated from the crawling caterpillar to the freely flying butterfly? To go from the one to the other, a profound transformation within has to occur. This is what your article is about,  isn’t it?

  8. Turenne says:

    “There’s something that gets in the way of da vision- division.” – Smart introduction to the concept and reality of division in our lives. Great read on the importance of showing up outwardly as we are inwardly in order to move forward harmoniously and lead a successful undivided clear path. Puts words on just where I am now, in a clear vision inside and out for the first time in my life, aknowledging what is to small for me and get past them each time clearer in my vision… Thank you!

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