For over a decade I have always asked what my purpose was while I was in shaministic ‘journeying’. I always asked this question my ‘mentor’, a man who helps me there. If I got a reply (which I often didn’t) it is always the same. Many times I’ve asked this question and many times he’s replied with a response similar to this:
He takes me to a pond in the woods. He tells me to look deep into the pond. “But all I see is blackness”, I reply. Then he says a statement that has always been with me:
“Look . .. what do you see?”
I look into the pond. It is a cold dark black, smooth as glass. There is nothing. “I see nothing,” I say. “Look deeper, look harder,” he says. “But I see nothing” has always been my reply.
This always bothered me. For over 10 years its been a mystery. I struggled with its meaning. After a period of time I began to understand.
Looking into the pool tended to represent two things:
1. Contemplation. This refers to when a person becomes as ‘nothing’ to embrace the presence of the Divine. This is comparable to the ‘darkness’ of the pond.
2. Inspiration. This refers to how we create something out of nothing. This is comparable to what I ‘pull out’ of the blackness of the pond (that is to say, what I see).
I began to see that this is what I’ve been doing all along. I’ve been struggling to do this simple thing, of peering into a black pond. In the presence of the ‘all’, the ‘mystery’, the ‘unknown’, the ‘nothing’ of life you must stand. In the presence of the all we must create something out of nothing – inspiration. In a sense, this is nothing but living and he basically told me to live. He told me more of how to live in a specific way, as a contemplative, which is not necessarily how common people live. This means the presence of ‘nothing’ is more dominant with me.
I’ve often used a similar technique when I’m purplexed about something. I look out as if into space and say what he said: “look . . . what do I see?” Just as with that pool of water I envision blackness. I do not ‘see’ anything with my eyes. I do not ‘see’ anything with thought or conceptions. I do not analyze what I think is there. I look out into darkness and watch for the ‘feeling’, a sense of something there. Once I feel it I try to move toward it to see what comes out. I do not think or analyze it. I let it come out naturally on its own. This is no easy task. It takes great energy and can take a while to do. I’ve often compared it to looking at a mountainside trying to find a squirrel.