Posted on October 15th, 2013
The combination of vision and action is a key element in our lives. Everything from making a cake to Columbus’ discovery of America depend on vision and action.
Vision is not merely seeing. Every animal, bird, fish, and insect can see. Vision is the ability to see into. We have the capability of seeing freshly into ourselves and others; we can see into the nature of all aspects of our world; we can see into the meanings of experience; and sometimes we can see into the future. This is one of our greatest gifts.
On a world level, vision has been crucial to every step of the long development of civilization. Scientific and technological revolutions, new religions and political systems, cities and civilizations have all been the result of vision. Columbus, and Einstein and Buddha were all exemplary visionaries. But vision also operates importantly in our everyday world. Everything about how we live is guided by vision, from planning a meal to building a house to starting a business to deciding who to marry.
Life follows vision, and vision empowers. Yet vision is stillborn without being tied to action. Vision is not wishing. Wishing is based in dreaming and hoping. Vision is seeing into possibility. But the possibility which is envisioned remains only a possibility until it is put into action. Sometimes the action required is only speaking about our vision; most of the time though, the action of embodying vision in physical form is necessary.
Having vision is itself not something we do. Vision comes to us, a universal presence speaking to us in forms relevant to who we are and what we are attentive to. We are the keepers of vision, the carriers of it. It lives through us. This makes us all visionaries. The visionary nature of our existence connects us with a presence beyond ourselves, grounding our lives in deeper connectedness with each other. This is as true when we are alone building a birdhouse as when we are working with thousands of others building a city.
We exist as part of a universal web, and each instance of vision interacts with all the other parts of the web, whether or not we are aware of this. To live most productively with vision requires that we nurture our capacity for vision, and that we actively engage in taking action to move our visions out into the world. The smallest incident of our vision belongs to everyone; by acting on our vision, we join the whole.