I had no idea what I would discover, how I would discover it, or what meaning would be mined from my yearlong self-imposed contemplations. The only comparison would be a vision quest or a nature sit. I had done many nature sits–the most dramatic was a four-day, no-food sit–in the Marble Mountains, surrounded by wilderness, bears, and mountain lions.
A traditional vision quest is an indigenous cultural rite. Young men and women are sent into wilderness by their tribes without food and sometimes with no water. They are told to stay awake, to pray for a vision for their lives, and to stay until they have such a vision. The purpose of the vision quest is to remove all unnecessary distractions in order to receive that vision. Slowing down to Earth’s rhythm opens up the senses, slows the heartbeat, and stills the mind. A four-day nature sit for a westerner without cell phone, Internet, business calls, food, and a daily routine can be spiritual medicine for realigning one’s life.