As I came into my office today, I saw a depiction of The Torment of St. Anthony by Michelangelo. It’s a striking image of the elderly saint surrounded by demons hanging on him and clawing at him and pulling on him from all directions. It made me think of you.
The first and most essential thing for any man to do on the path of deep happiness and true power is to know what his deep vision for life is.
Without vision, people perish. Proverbs 29:18
This is true for everyone, but it is especially true for us men. If we don’t have a clear and potent vision for life, we are prone to be tormented, distracted, and depleted as we move through our journey of life. Here’s a simple example: two men walking down a busy city street, one is headed for an important meeting at a certain address, another is just wandering, he just happens to be walking down that street. The wanderer is likely to be pulled here and there, he might decide to get a coffee or wander into a store that grabs his attention. If there’s something interesting or alluring, the wanderer will go toward the alluring thing. What if the road gets blocked? The wanderer might go a totally different direction and give up on the road all together. The man with a destination is going to find his way there no matter what he has to do. If he get’s stopped by something, or wants to stop for something, he’s okay. He’s still got his destination, he still has his clear direction. Even if he get’s stuck he’s okay, because he knows where he has to go. As soon as he get’s unstuck, he’s on his way.
If we wander into something and get stuck, we might not even know we’re stuck. We might think that we’ve arrived. If we’re wandering and get allured by something, we don’t have any way to tell that we’re just allured, that we’re distracted.
In the beginning I said a “clear and potent” vision. The clarity is important, we need to know clearly where we’re going, but the potency of our vision is even more important. We need to be passionate about our vision so we have the fuel we need to keep going. There are so many things waiting to distract us and drain our energy. Like St. Anthony’s demons, we have money pressures, love dramas, body energy issues, and the general noise of modern life to contend with as we move through life. If we don’t have vision, or our vision is weak, those demons are going to win. Our life is going to pass us by.
Here’s another ridiculous example: remember the last time you really had to take a leak? Did you find a place to piss? You sure did! It may seem silly, but that kind of urgency is what I’m talking about.
When you take the time to zero in on a vision that turns you on so much that YOU HAVE TO LIVE IT, then you’re on to something! But this takes some introspection. You need to know yourself and do the digging to get beyond the haze and distractions of your mind and emotions. You need to get beyond what everyone else wants from you, what your dad wanted from you, what you think women want from you, and find out what YOU WANT FROM YOU, what you want to get from life and what you want to give to your life. Find what it is that you HAVE to give to life, what you have to get from life with an urgency and deep longing.
The thing about a deep and potent vision, unlike simply needing to piss, is that it lasts. It has staying power and can serve us and lead us for whole periods of our life. It’s urgency can’t be easily “pissed away”. It stays in us and gives us direction and focus. We sleep and wake with it. That way we can withstand all kinds of distraction and tormenting. The importance of this aspect of our path cannot be overstated. There will be a whole chapter about this in the Wildman Book coming out later in 2014.
For now, take a minute and look at your vision. Is it clear, is it strong? What place does it hold in your life today? Please leave comments.