Below is a personal letter of inspiration and clarification from Malcolm Ringwaldt, Quest Protector Instructor in the lineage of “Grandfather” and original chosen member of Tom Brown Jr’s first apprentices, “Coyote Thunder.”
The Vision Quest is the most powerful spiritual practice, “pound for pound,” bar none. It may not be the most fun as you sit in the scorching sun for hours waiting for any relief, or dance through the cold rain, and through it all wondering if I am absolutely crazy. But in all the years of my practice, I have never found the transformations, so readily available in the Quest, anywhere else. When we think of the Quest, too often we focus on the dis-comfort and hardship of the questing.
However, I would ask you to focus, instead on the moments of spirit soaring, of stillness and peace, and of the knowing’s and of realizations that are experienced as well.
These experiences are more “true,” more real, than the discomfort because they are glimpses of who you really are! The rest are merely the personal wounding’s we have gathered along our journey, pasted over the essential and true Self. We seem to be fully attached to our wounding’s and darkness and so focus lots of attention on them thinking they are real and important to who we are. We believe in the reality of the fear our physical senses reveal and miss our true divinity revealed only by our spiritual senses.
It is as we walk the spiritual path that we understand that these dark beliefs are merely the imaginings of a confused soul. The Vision Quest allows us to separate the false from the true about our Self— actually; the good news is that it won’t let you not separate them.
Because of this, I am always amazed when I hear people who have Quested, even some spiritual teachers – say that they have a new meditation, technique, ceremony, or practice that is more effective than the Quest. While there are certainly more comfortable practices, and easier, none touches the totality of our inner and outer experiences available in the Quest. And it works in such a relatively short time, too.
The Quest is a perfect balance of every part of our humanness with nature and spirit. It is a dance between our deepest inner awareness’s and realizations (the answers to our questions, and the struggles of our body, mind, and emotions) with the purity of nature around us. All the while, we are forever wrapped in the eternity of our true Beingness, consciously or unconsciously.
It is within all the grandeur, beauty, and harmony of nature and spirit that we quest. Nature and eternal spirit be- comes the perfect mirror that we gaze upon as the dark, misty shroud that includes all our pain, wounds, fears, and judgments eddy and swirls around us in response only to our inner imaginings and condition.