Discussion Questions, Storytelling, Sharing

  • What contemporary artists, spiritual teachers, or social activists have provided you with an inspiring soul-stirring vision of the future that you can align yourself with? In other words, who are your vision mentors?
  • Have you ever had a "vision?" Share the story. (A vision can be a mystical experience or revelation, or it can be a dream for personal or group fulfillment.)
  • One of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s most famous speeches was "I Have a Dream" given during the March on Washington for civil rights. On the national holiday celebrating his birthday, have a party during which you all share your dreams for our society.

Imagery Exercise

To create new visions in imagination, we can use mirrors to reflect changes in the inner life. Gerald Epstein provides several examples of this in his book Healing into Immortality. He incorporates movement into these exercises, noting that movement from right to left pushes things into the past and movement from left to right is into the future. This exercise, "Changing the World," uses this technique.

Close your eyes. Breathe out three times, counting backward from three to one. At one, breathe out once more and see the one becoming a zero. See the zero growing in size a bit and becoming a circular mirror. Looking into the mirror see a disturbing, damaging, or destructive situation happening in your community, the nation, or the world. Breathe out once, and wipe the image away, out of the mirror, from right to left, with your left hand.

Now, turn the mirror over and see a positive change, movement, or construction happening in your community, the nation, or the world. Wipe that image away, out of the mirror, from the left to right, with your right hand. After you finish, breathe out and open your eyes.

Journal Exercises

  • Having a vision of who you are and where you want to go is like having a blueprint for building a house. What are the cornerstones and building blocks of your vision? Make a sketch in your journal of your vision house.
  • Use your journal to send an encouraging message to your "activist self." Make a list of changes in the world around you — developments which are in line with your vision of a better world — that have occurred in the last 1 - 5 years.
  • Write forward-dated entries in your journal, perhaps annually on an anniversary or birthday. Put a date one-five years from today at the top of the page. Then write about what you want to have occurring in your life at this time. Christina Baldwin, who suggests this technique in her book Life's Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest, explains: "Such writing is often the first glimpse we have of the solidity of our choices . . . Writing the possible future helps us understand what desire and what action need to occur in order to support the vision."