In the previous issue we talked about the "olden days" and personal visions. At the risk of boring you, let's take the subject a little farther.
    Around 1936 the Dick Tracy program on radio was one of my favorite adventures. I joined the Dick Tracy club [somewhere in my papers I have a certificate to prove it.] I attained some NCO rank but never reached Captain status … because I didn’t eat enough Wheaties [or whatever]. I did a lot of reading of the monthly detective story pulp magazines … Doc Savage, The Spider, The Shadow, etc. In memory I can still hear those awesome words: "What evil lurks in the mind of man? … the Shadow knows!"
    As I read the magazines I would either be lying on the floor [one of my favorite spots] reading and eating five-cent hamburgers from the White Cabin cafe or I would be lounging in a chair reading and drinking Seven-Up, which I pretended to be Champaign … whatever that was. Movies often showed "fancy" people celebrating by drinking Champaign and I thought I would pretend to be "fancy."
    Visions of being a detective activated my imagination and, in time, I formed a private club in the attic of our garage … the symbol was a policeman’s shield and I was the only member of the club. By then I had a bicycle and I dreamed of a monitoring system that would display a map on my handlebar screen to indicate where I was and the suspected location of the criminal I sought. Years later (1957) [while I drove madly from Los Angeles to Kirksville, Missouri, as my father lay dying] I "invented" in my mind a system to automatically control the speed and movement of an automobile as it traveled from one place to another. Fantasies then but now they are approaching realities! I had nothing to do with the realities but I had the vision … the dream.
    What does this have to do with spirituality? All things have to do with spirituality … if we recognize it or not. That is what is meant by experience. The tiniest event can be a jewel of great value as we add it to our memory bank. Do not let it pass without recording. A tiny child prepares for life’s heavier burdens yet to come by experiencing the loss of a toy or the death of a pet. It is a traumatic event that seems minute to the adult who has passed through more troubling times. I remember a sign posted in the YMCA in Lafayette, Indiana: "I cried because I had no shoes until I saw the man who had no feet." It was the first time I had seen that statement but I have seen it often since and reflected upon it frequently.
    Visions and dreams are real in both the physical and the spiritual conditions. They are nurtured [or hampered] in both conditions by attitude. In the physical [material] realm the visions develop and grow … eventually, after fruition or abandonment, they are replaced by subsequent visions and dreams. Physical visions deal with material things and we can see progress as well as setbacks … and we can evaluate the value of the goal. Is it worth the cost and effort? My physical visions of yesteryear may exist through the work of others and I am glad to see them manifested … I feel no loss in not following through with the actual development … it was not my task.
    Spiritual visions and dreams, also stimulated or retarded by attitude, are more elusive because they show no physical status. The product of the visions and dreams exist only inside self … within soul! No person [even self] can know or see the status of that personal vision. But self can [and must] decide and control what steps are taken to manifest their spiritual vision … or to place that goal in jeopardy. Deep within, the soul knows if it is swimming in clear water or muddy water … and it has an inherent step by step, day by day guidance. The door is opened, pass through unafraid.
    The spiritual vision is the same for all … being in the ultimate "place" of eternal bliss. Initially one may be able to "visualize" this goal in terms of the material world we now inhabit [a palace, streets paved with gold, the finest delicacies to consume] … but do not accept this as reality! We are now here in real time and space and, therefore, we each experience the end of all materiality … but we go to a place beyond time and space and, therefore, we experience eternity. This is truth and our being knows it. How can one become more aware and more active in developing their spiritual vision? Communication! Not necessarily communicating with others but communicating with self and, most important, with that from which we come … God. You’re on your own when you talk with God in the privacy of your personal closet. Communication is the key for solving most problems between individuals … it is even more rewarding to talk with God. "Talk" does not imply the spoken word … God knows our every thought and feeling; therefore, it is much easier to speak to God with thoughts and feelings [we need not flounder for words specified by others … words that are deemed to be "politically correct."] We could shout our lungs out and God would hear us no better than if we had merely whispered in the privacy of our being: "I love you."
    Communication … prayer, meditation, contemplation … and just being aware of all that God has made. Prayer is a transfer of thought and feeling between an individual and God … a conversation, if you will. In prayer we praise God, we thank God, we tell God our troubles, we seek God’s guidance and we ask God’s intercession in our lives and the lives of others. Yes, we can even pray for the souls who have departed the physical.
    Meditation is a form of evaluating where one is at a particular point in time in regard to their spiritual vision. The details of the vision may as yet be undefined. As in prayer, the mind is active in reflection … being aware of a special presence within … forming a union with that presence … perhaps entering reverie where one visualizes being in a most comforting, peaceful and beautiful place [a field of flowers, a forest of animals, a beach, on a mountain, flying with the birds.] Relax with God … get to know God better! When you return to the "present," leave your troubles in that beautiful place. In truth [bottom line], were those "troubles" actually so very important or were they really "stepping stones?" … experiences needed to move toward the vision.
    Contemplation, unlike prayer and meditation, is keeping the mind still. Let God "speak" to you and do not shut God out by injecting your own thoughts and problems. Yes, God can hear you if you are talking [thinking] but you can not hear God. Be still and know! Be comfortable and relaxed … don’t worry if you unintentionally doze off … God can speak to you while you are asleep! The important point is to keep the mind uncluttered and remain open to God’s guidance. Don’t expect clanging bells and loud voices … the message is imprinted loud and clear in your very being. You may not be aware of the message but, be assured, it is there. It will surface when it is needed.

VISIONS AND STUFF
by Nathan [September 1996]