Reflections On The Quest

by Judith Gayle

Writing about the quest for an experience of epiphany is like writing about love. We think it’s some treasure to hunt for, something to seek out, when, in fact, it’s happening around us all the time. We want it to be rock & roll when it’s really Beethoven. And here’s the conundrum: the more we want it, the more it eludes us.

As Above So Below by Stacy Bergener

As Above So Below by Stacy Bergener

We ARE love, we ARE vision; but, playing the density game, we project that outside of ourselves so we can have an experience of it. In this century, we can’t escape the intensity of that experience, however we call it to us.

Some of us are learning about what love isn’t, so we can choose more wisely. Some have chosen a life of severe tunnel vision, blind to the larger picture that might liberate them from the darkness.

Everyone seems to be in process, and most of us in deadly earnest — which means we’re not approaching this lightly enough. Too many of us are unaware that we are making everything up as we go along — every thought, word and deed the equivalent of a prayer let loose into the ethers to manifest.

That is a realization that could change the outcome of every personal journey, and save the inhabitants of this planet a good deal of grief. But even the most aware among us can’t seem to integrate the concept that we are — each of us — more powerful in the world than we ever dreamed.

Every part of our human experience — the good, the bad, and even those rare events that escape our judgment and present as neutral — is a call to self-realization. Because we are creatures of time, we think of that as a journey, but the whole of the journey, as the Avatars have told us, can take place in a split second. The awareness of ourselves, not merely as riders on this incarnational roller coaster but as the engineer who built it, the guy who sells the tickets, the cars in which we ride, the thrill — the whole of it — can come to us in a flash.

In truth, we are the journey, the quest and its conclusion. We’re the Medicine Wheel, its fullness expressed within us. We’re the circle of our astrological chart and the circle representing our Sun sign. In truth, we’re the circle of experience that inhabits both of them, including all the untapped energy within the cosmos, waiting to express. We’re the snake biting its own tail, locked in combat with itself — we’re the snake swallowing its own tale, become the eternal, unending circle of life. As T.S. Eliot told us:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

The amping of Light and vibration on this planet in the last decade has made this path easier to experience, if not easier to understand with our rational mind. Logic hasn’t much place in this conversation. This is all about heart, about soul-path, about what intuition tells us is more important than even the social pressures that dominate human behavior.

Some of you know my personal story, which I find dimmer by the moment, but — cutting to the chase — I self-identified in the ‘60s as a Seeker. At some point, decades later, I discovered that I had surrendered, had gotten off the hamster wheel of desire and become a Finder. My need for vision quest had given way to the understanding that I WAS vision quest.

Let me be more personal. If a vision quest can be described as a journey in which each new experience is examined for its influence on expanding our understanding of self, then all my life has been a vision quest. Again and again, my intuition has asked me to do things my rational mind has forbidden, and — even though my mother always said I had more common sense than anyone she knew — I did them anyway.

My learning curve is consistent with my Jupiter conjunct Chiron in the 9th house: big, expansive, explosive and grist for the spiritual mill. My journey into myself put me face-to-face with my own fixity, with ego that refused to yield, with illusions of loss and with fears I didn’t know I had. My choices put my soul into a tumbler like a gemstone, smoothing away the sharp edges to reveal more shine. It took a lifetime for my passion to become compassion. My anger became acceptance. My love turned from eros toward agape. And my learning curve surely continues.

I went home to visit family for the first time in several years this Thanksgiving, so there was a flavor of reunion in everything I consumed. The passage of time seemed to be a guest at the holiday table, and I found that so many changes had occurred with the several generations gathered, it was hard to keep up. For a while, our conversation was about the past, and then — as marriages are pending, babies newly hatched — we discussed plans for the future. Yet although never mentioned, it was apparent that many who dined that evening were not happy with their ‘here and now.’

Later, with the stars glimmering, sitting around a fire pit, I was asked if I was happy. It was a startling question and I knew my answer would perplex them. I was, I told them, content. Coming to grips with the fact that life is not one long string of happy events — nor sorrowful — but an immersion into all the emotions that life hands us takes awhile to accept and appreciate. There are always things to want, even to need, and I have my list, but they don’t intrude on my sense of wellbeing.

Time is on our side in this adventure. Once we get over the need to compete, or succeed, or prevail — whatever our personal ambition — what IS begins to be more interesting than what was or what will be. Our shoulders are wider, our patience well muscled. Reality may look ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ but that’s constantly shifting in this chaotic world; if we’re wise, we don’t latch on to it as if it were real. Very little is.

Love is real. So are beauty, compassion, kindness, tenderness. They gift us with inspirational, heart-tugging moments that lift the vibration of the planet on butterfly wings. When the magical moments come along — sight of a scarlet Cardinal on a snowy branch, a newborn wrapping their tiny hand around our finger, someone else’s heartfelt joy that spills over into tear-tracks on our cheeks — they are the quiet strains of Beethoven rising above the raucous rock & roll of the 21st century.

Acknowledging these alchemical moments, anticipating them, authoring them — that’s the quest. And owning all of it as part of our self, the very stuff of which Divinity expresses — that’s the vision.

Berkeley-born columnist Judith Gayle has been writing for Planet Waves since 2003. Her focus is politics and its relationship to psychology and spirituality. Still describing herself as a “flower child,” she has been a student/teacher of A Course In Miracles for over thirty years, and of astrology, tarot and other oracular disciplines for fifty. Judith lives in rural Southern Missouri, which she refers to as the Pea Patch.

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