Leave…and Don’t Come Back Until You Get a Name

In many cases the quest into our interior world for meaning, purpose, and clarity is a choice we make. However, history tells us this has not always been the case.

Native American young men had their own vision quest. Boys were forced to head out to the wilderness, find a solitary place, and then wait. On his own in this challenging environment each boy had to find his vision of an animal spirit that would guide him into adulthood. The intention was that he would gain insight, wisdom, advice, and protection from a supernatural source. It was marked by receiving clarity of his destiny as the Great Spirit gave him his true name, affirming who he was and what his life’s purpose would be.

While this rite of passage may sound harsh to us poste-modern Westerners, there was a grand tradition behind it meant to give inner clarity and purpose.

Rites of passage today are more often sterilized and concentrate on information-sharing instead of experience-gaining. The Bar or Bat Mitzvah may be arduous and beneficial but in many instances it does not provide deep clarity for life’s purpose; neither does the rite of “Confirmation” in the Christian religion (been there, done that…it’s cerebral!).

What the point? By abandoning such traditions or gutting the them of their experiential power, what are we left with today? Instead of people willing to take a journey “into the wilderness” and their face the highest challenge of solitude, we live in the Information Age inundated with people telling us what to do: wear this…buy that…achieve this…etc.

Noise! Noise! Noise!

The results are generations who are on-the-outside striving and on-the-inside stymied.

No matter your age or background, it is worth going on a vision quest. Take the challenge of entering your interior world.

Have the courage to block out a time of solitude (even if for ten minutes) into a weekly schedule.

Dare to give yourself the gift of silence and face the onslaught of messages you may get initially to find clarity over time.

Sit long enough so that you can gain insight into what you offer to the world.

What if…we did?

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10 Responses to Leave…and Don’t Come Back Until You Get a Name

  1. Harley says:

    I literally knew about the majority of this, but that being said, I still believed it was beneficial. Great blog!

    • Mark says:

      @Harley – thanks for the affirmation and your thoughts. Part of the blogging experience for me is to practice the discipline of writing things I know or believe in a different way or in a different context to stimulate my brain or challenge my perceptions or behavior. I’m glad it was beneficial.

  2. Mark: I love this post and that advice. I think we can learn so many things about who we are by taking that journey into the interior world. We will be amazed at what we discover and how we will be pointed in the right direction. Great post and wisdom. Thanks for passing it along.

    • Mark says:

      Sibyl – thanks for sharing! I find it so interesting of how frightful people are about taking the journey into the interior world. Then I think of how fearful I used to be about it; disguising it with “I’ll just read another book to figure things out!” So grateful for the insight I have today.

  3. Mike Limauro says:

    Mark, Your post is so right on. It is so hard for many adults to break away from the external striving to succeed. Therefore, they are not effective models to their children who need constant stimulus from the tv, Internet, and video games. From my own experience, I know that meditation gives us an experience of peace that can’t be achieved with the external focus that so many of us have. If everyone reading your blog would just take one minute to focus on their breathing, they would become immediately aware of how restless their minds are. During this brief attempt to be still, the truth of their current state of consciousness is revealed. If in that brief moment they do not find peace, then I hope that they take you up on your offer to go on a vision quest.

    • Mark says:

      @Mike – thank you for insightful response. Two things I noticed: 1) the role adults have in modeling for our children a frenetic, “externally driven” life style and, 2) the importance of meditation; even though it’s being embraced by more people for too many it still has a stigma to it, mostly because of our ignorance. Thank you for sharing how simple and practical it can be.

  4. Wonderful post Mark. We all need to take that journey. Much happiness can be found our interior world. Sometimes with all the information out there I am wondering if people will forget how to use common sense and follow there values and thoughts rather then someone elses. Learning is wonderful, but don’t loss yourself in the prossess.

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