Ride the Wave of your Vision

I am reading about the mega church movement in the US right now. One idea I’ve run across in my reading  is the  use of  the metaphor of a wave and of surfing to point out that churches that struggle with growth (read: success) are focusing on the “how to build a wave” approach, rather than on the “how to ride a wave” one. The idea being that our job (in growing/realizing our vision/calling) is not to create the vision/calling, but to ride it.

Often, from the desire to make our work meaningful, our project real, or our business financially viable, we find ourselves inventing innovations that are powerful and interesting. However, and especially under the weight of administrative responsibilities, financial distress, and general overwhelm, we begin to shift from alignment with the heart of our vision to a need to be completely in control. We forget to surrender to that which we have in the moment. We forget to listen and see and observe how our vision, at it’s root, relates to the world in which we move. Vision, at it’s deepest root, it always something that grows out of connection– our connection to the world in which we move. When we stay present in that, our vision grows into reality over time, because we are tuned into the real needs and opportunities that sustain the vision. When we stop listening and evolving the vision, we begin to miss the way in which the world we live in and the opportunities around us can support us.

Realizing our vision involves seeing what can support it right now. This does not exclude the capacity for big vision to be part of the present. It insures that the big vision will be supported. The big vision is fed and nourished by that which you have on hand: to reach your big vision,  you must learn to see the elements and opportunities surrounding you right now that can take you there.

Bernie Glassman, a pioneer in the American Zen movement, utilizes the metaphor of cooking. To prepare a meal, you have to access your ingredients, then you make a meal out of it. You may want a fabulous tantalizing delicious meal, but the only way you will get it is to find out what is at hand and then decide what you need to do to prepare that meal: go shopping, borrow an ingredient from the neighbor, etc.

To realize your Vision, you have to bear witness to what you have right now and you have to couple those opportunities, resources, and connections with your vision. This is riding the wave. If you only focus on the Vision, without seeing how it is supported right now, it’s like watching the wave while sitting on the beach: you can enjoy the beauty of it, but you won’t experience the power of being carried forward on it.

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