Notes on Dreaming, inspired by the Sunday Open Space at gassho…
In the Ojibway teachings I have received, all the animals at creation were given a gift. For humans, our gift was to dream.
According to Elder Basil Johnston, although we can all dream, dreaming – more properly, visioning – is said to be most important for men. Women are said to have been given the gift of self-fulfillment through creating life but for men, we need to find self-fulfillment through a vision quest.
And so, as has been the case from time immemorial, young men under the tutelage of an Elder, go to live in the forest for four nights, deprived of food and amenities, to invite their vision. On Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, one of the most significant spiritual places for Ojibway people, there is a large rock outcropping called “Dreamer’s Rock” which is a place for young men to go a receive their vision. On the top of the rock is a little impression in which many bums have sat while the vision is revealed. The view from the top looks off over a maple and birch forest and it is so high up that one can feel the coolness of the air at altitude and imagine oneself to be aloft.
I’m increasingly thinking that when we start looking for visions, whether in organizations, communities or in our personal lives, we need to begin by digging deep for cultural imperatives that compel us to dream for a bigger reason, not simply to increase profits or make the community successful.