The Quest Within
During a Vision Quest, while bathing in a running stream, I saw my Higher Self. She looked a lot like I do today, but with fewer wrinkles.
She looked older than my Vision Quest self, but not old. She looked wiser, more compassionate, more loving. Calmer.
I didn’t set out to see my actual future self. In fact, a vision quest, while it is about finding purpose and spirit guides, is really about the Here and Now. When seeking a vision it helps to be grounded, even literally. That weekend, I had camped alone, built a fire and kept it going day and night, cooked my own food at that fire, dug a latrine, did Moving Meditation, and bathed in that stream. I felt one with nature, as cliche as that sounds. That meadow and wood is where I go in my imagery of a safe space.
As I bathed and let the water run over and around my body, I felt her presence, above me and to my right, over my shoulder. I didn’t know then that she looked like my future self, only that she brought me peace and serenity, and she projected calm strength. My current body is not as free of pain as I had imagined hers to be, but it is a good body. My face, that looks like hers, has creases she didn’t have. But she is me and I am her.
We all have a Higher Self. It’s the self that wants peace and not drama. It’s the self that looks at our own silly thoughts, feelings and actions, and those of others, with compassion and even humor. It’s the self that knows and trusts that there is more to the Universe than petty emotions and pedagogical arguments. It doesn’t have to wait to be a future self, but can be accessed at any time.
To find your own Higher Self, practice what Eckhart Tolle calls the Power of Now. Focus on the physical feelings in and around your body, as I did within the flowing water. Listen to the sounds all around. I heard birds, the rippling water, and the wind in the leaves, but it works just as well with traffic sounds. Put the chattering mind in the other room, or somewhere far away, and tell it to chatter away there, while you feel the physical and listen to the sounds. Notice that there is an energy that begins at your skin and extends through your entire body, down to the cell level. This is who you are when you are born, before the brain can use words or understand sounds as words. This energy is your Higher Self, the observer. It is who you truly are. This energy and Higher Self lives always and only in the moment.
When we are caught up in fear, anger, shame, regret, or any other negative state, we can access this energy to realize that in that moment we simply ARE. And the more we access the energy that is our Higher Self, the more it begins to resemble us at our best.