A friend of mine just came back from his 7 day vision quest. Allow me to explain a little about what this entails. Essentially, you climb up a mountain and spend 7 days and nights alone in an allocated space from which you do not leave for the entire time. The space is small, around 10m2 and you are surrounded by your prayers and immersed in nature. In the months leading up to your quest, you make 365 prayers ties that are connected on one piece of string. The prayer itself is just a little tobacco put in a cotton square and tied to the string. The idea is to take time to meditate with your prayers as you reflect on your life.
The first 4 days and nights you don’t eat or drink. It’s a hard dry fast that connects you very deeply to your survival instincts and vulnerability. Some fruits and liquids are brought to you on the 5th day and you can just imagine how this tastes.
Back to my friend. Well he had a particularly challenging quest this year because an unusual heat wave hit just before he started. I loved listening to his story because it’s a testament to the resilience and intelligence of the human spirit. As a result of the heat and the battle to conserve every bit of energy, he did not sleep for virtually the entire time. He said that even his thinking drained his energy so he was careful not to entertain thoughts that pulled him down. He found that prayers that wished for things to be different depleted him. He learned that prayers of gratitude most lifted him up. For instance, gratitude for the moments when the heat lapsed through a fresh wind. Ultimately, nothing else but total acceptance got him through. He also found a tremendous resource when he thought about the people he loved. It was if in those moments they were right there with him beyond any idea of time and space.
The conversation left me with this question: When it really matters, what do you do, where do you put your energy ? We are much stronger than we imagine but we only discover that strength when we leave our comfort zones.