My Long Quest
by Matt Hansen (edited from an article written for the Protector newsletter, January 2012)
My long quest was 10 days. I could not conceive of a 40 day quest. The time away from family, conflicts with employment, and, oh yeah, complete surrender to Creator. These were my bridges too far. Regarding that last item, I found such a limit at my Seven Levels of Quest class: letting go, surrendering, opening . . . the peace and freedom and reverence and gratitude and exhilaration . . . then it became too much for my ego/personality and I withdrew. Even after realizing through experience, during that class, that the space between ourselves and Creator is only the distance that *we* put there, my ego/personality was not willing to fully relax and open into that Truth.
It was never clear to me that I was really in the right place as I applied (i.e., committed) to this quest. But the dominoes were set in motion. I laughed out loud as I drove six hours north to Montana; I knew my quest had started when a question I was pondering was answered by a billboard. And by the time I settled into camp and connected with my beautiful sisters (all doing 40 freaking days!), I knew with complete clarity that I was in the Right place. The preparation time was magical, filled laughter, joy, tears, and awe. I was especially awed by my sisters and the journey ahead of them. They made my own road seem but a stroll across the street. I will never forget the magic that we shared and experienced, especially during and after Malcolm led us in Ceremony.
I experienced tremendous lessons as I searched for and prepared my quest site. Not the least of which was a grasp on how the Creator subtly stirs within me (a lesson that unfolded for many hours after it was given). But I wouldn’t say it was the long quest in and of itself that brought the profound teachings. I’ve explicitly been on a “spiritual” journey for over 20 years now, including multiple quests and facilitating multiple quests for others, and had just finished over a year of Malcolm’s “The Training” program. This quest was merely the next step along that journey. Which blow breaks the stone . . . the first or the one hundredth?
The quest was in many ways quite like other quests I have taken: A roller coaster of experience. On day seven I thought, “hey, I’m gonna make it to the end”. But, the next day was “hell” from the moment I awakened. I mean, there was nothing good about that day. Even my chipmunk brothers and sisters were unable to stir me from my darkness as they made their daily rounds.
But all things must pass, as they say. And even more deeply than I had been pierced by pain on day eight, I became filled with a deep faith during day nine. On my day one marker stick, I had carved a symbol that I was given on my very first Vision Quest but I had never understood the meaning despite drawing, coloring, and contemplating it for several months after that quest. I thought of it occasionally over the 18 years afterwards but it yielded no meaning. Now, I stared at my final, day ten, marker stick. The specially-carved stick had gone to the marker box the first morning. And in an instant, a realization of what that symbol meant. After my first quest, I mistakenly believed, I was given a Vision (which took me over one year to even begin to understand) and, separately, hints regarding a bunch of other parts of my life: family, vocation, and more. Well, that was my interpretation and, in hindsight, it was breathtakingly short-sided. *All* of that first quest was and is my Vision. As Malcolm has said, the *entirety* of your Vision is given in that first quest. Most of us don’t yet see it clearly as we need to heal our darkness (ie, limiting beliefs and judgements) and hone our awareness and focus to finer subtlety.
And in the very next instant another realization: I have been guided every step of the way ever since. Through all the doubt, pain, distraction, suffering, whatever . . . the Spirit World and Creator/Eternity/Consciousness/Awareness have been guiding me. You might guess that this brought a flood of tears to my eyes and you would be correct. This realization does not merely apply to me. Each of us is contained within the One Consciousness. We are all being guided home. Even when it doesn’t feel like it.