Tom Brown Jr.
(excerpted from The Quest)
Living within the strangling confines of society, so that one's Vision becomes reality,
is the real quest in a Vision. This is the most difficult time in a person's life,
and a nearly impossible path to follow. It is a lonely path, for there are no
temples or congregations to lend support. Few speak the language of wilderness and
those of the wilderness mind find themselves alone in a land that does speak their
language or understand them. It would be all too easy to run back to the
wilderness, for there is peace and reality. It would also be easy to become part of
the society we must live within, for to give in is to have no conflict. To live
one's Vision one cannot run back to wilderness, nor can we condone the society we hope to
change. We must be fence walkers, living between two worlds. This then becomes
the razor's edge.
But there is a way to live within the confines of society, thus live the Vision of a
better world, without being trapped or isolated. I call this way of living, the
"wilderness mind". It makes little difference whether a person has to live
in a city, town, or country setting, or whether a person has to work in a factory,
hospital, or construction site. The mind is the ultimate freedom, and we are not
imprisoned by the place we live or where we work. We have choices in life,
especially choices as to the way we think and how we view the world. It is these
choices and these thoughts that make life ecstatic or debilitating.
For those of us who have a Vision to see this world change, we have no choice but to
work within society to bring about this change. We are tired of the pollution, the
wars, the hatred, the prejudice, and the constant destruction of the Earth. We can
see beyond the trappings of the flesh and into a world of spiritual riches. There is
more for us in life than the nine to five work ethic and a life of clocks, finances, and
shallow living. We are governed by a strong Vision to get people back to the Earth,
to basic and real values, and closer to the world of spirit. Those with Vision know
that they cannot run away and hide, for there is no place to hide. We know that we
must bring our Vision back to society or we become responsible for the destruction of the
There is no doubt that we are in the final days of the Earth as we know it. We
have sacrificed our own mother for the sake of the false gods of the flesh. We all
work for only four things in life: lasting peace, boundless joy, limitless love, and a
purpose beyond ourselves. Society teaches that we have to find these things outside
of ourselves, while in fact these things can only be found within. It is the greed
of society that kills our grandchildren to feed our children, and I do not forsee much
change in that attitude....
For those of us who are living our Visions every day, we must create an island in our
mind. This is the seat of the wilderness mind which keeps us from being sucked into
society's madness. Even though we must live in a world near society, we can create
that island of thought in which our conscious and spiritual mind are always thinking of
the wilderness, the purity, and the spirit. In times of need we can go back to the
spiritual mind, which is directly connected to all of creation. Thus, with a shift
in thinking, we become wilderness again even in the heart of a big city. We are at
once part of creation and creation is part of us. There is no inner or outer
dimensions and no separation of self, only a perfect oneness. The island of the mind
then becomes fused with wilderness.
In times of need we must also seek out wilderness, no matter what form it comes to us.
It could be a prolonged trip into a grand wilderness area that replenishes our
spirit and heals our soul, or it could be just a blade of grass growing between the cracks
in the sidewalk of some huge city; both are doorways back to the earth and to purity.
Nature is all around us, whether in the city or in the suburbs, all we must learn
to do is to use the doorway it provides and find our way back. All prophets,
visionaries, and teachers must get back to the purity of wilderness periodically. It
must be scheduled, as everything else is scheduled, into our lives. We must stick to our
schedule, for that is where we find renewal, answers to our questions, and directions for
Above all, we must learn to live our Vision, so there is nothing else in our lives but
that Vision. Our families and friends must become part of our Vision, with their
personal Visions blending with ours, creating a more powerful Vision. That Vision
must be lived beyond self, and we must work from the place of love. To work for self
alone is a shallow and hollow form of existence. To reach out and help others, even
when it exhausts us, is to live the Vision of love. To work beyond the self is to
find one of the true meanings of life, the meaning of love.
This path is not easy. Everyone falls now and then, but we shake ourselves off,
learn from our mistakes, laugh a little, and then get right back up. Certainly all
of us work hard for the Vision of a better Earth and a life close to the riches of spirit.
We work to stop the wars, to stop the polluting, to stop the killing, and to stop
the destruction of the Earth as we know it now. Things will get better if we all
work hard and if we all love hard and laugh hard. This was not just Grandfather's
Vision, nor is it just my Vision, but it is the Vision and the quest of anyone who wants
to heal the Earth and love all of creation, including man.
The above excerpt is Copyright © 1991 by Tom Brown Jr.
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