Lightning struck John P. Milton—literally. At a crucial point on his own path to transformation, a lightning bolt flew through an open window and blasted his consciousness so far that he “shot headfirst into the heavens.” Over the past forty years, this former professor of environmental studies with “a bit of Native American” in him has taught those who would walk with him into the wilderness how to understand the living wisdom expressed by lightning, wind, and the creatures of the earth. Milton, who Peter Senge calls “one of the really significant teachers coming out of the American cultural context,” has pioneered a path to prepare the uninitiated for the sacred native rite of passage, the vision quest. And leaders, particularly those in business, are finding that Milton's capacity to guide them into an encounter with nature both allows them to find a deeper purpose and unleashes the creativity needed to live that purpose.
“Institutional leaders talk a lot about thinking 'outside the box,'” he observes, “but to actually be there is not so easy. The vision quest literally dissolves the box. So suddenly, there is an immense openness and spaciousness and freedom that's pure creativity.” But for Milton, the purpose of the vision quest is not simply to make leaders more creative. It is also to go beyond our “anthropocentric view of the world, which prevents us from having a vaster experience both of our connection to the earth and the universe but also to the Source itself.” Because it's our self-centered separation from life that has led us to the verge of ecological collapse. “We're facing a time when we're going to have to invent an entirely new technology,” Milton says. “This process does two things that are absolutely crucial: it puts you in connection with the earth, Gaia, to have the insight to understand what needs to be created; and then, of course, it gives you the creative connection to pure Source. Clearly, part of the big job facing us is to create a truly sustainable technology, and this would provide a tremendous economic rebirth. All we need is the vision.”