The Inner Labyrinth
Bordering on Beautiful. Day 14.
A labyrinth is actually quite distinct from a maze. You do not need to find your way to the center, you merely follow the path. Today, I walked through a labyrinth in Green Point Park near the Cape Town coast. After about half an hour of following lines created by green shrubs, I arrived at the center. Then I walked back out.
As usual, I applied the labyrinth to my own life, to the age old existentialist questions that shape my choices as a 21 year old post-grad: why are we here? and what am I supposed to do with this thing called “life?”
I saw my mind as a microcosm of the labyrinth I walked through today.
There are external forces that shape the two labyrinths— there’s the wind that blows through the mountains, swaying the green shrubs of labyrinth near the coast. Then there are the voices that run in my ear, telling me to go left- no-go right-no- go back, back, back! The wind is to the voices as the gardeners are to my friends. These external forces shape the labyrinth of my mind in ways that I do not control and I cannot predict. And I wouldn’t give them up for the world. Who among us would trade their parents, their friends, their teachers in for a model that takes them to where they think they want to go?
My mind is a labyrinth: I don’t need to know where I’m going. But I need to know where I’ve been. The people who have shaped me are the gardeners of my mind. They teach me how to clear the weeds; they open the window to let a little sunshine in.
My mind is a labyrinth, as is my life. I do not determine my path of my own volition; my whims and worries take a back seat to the intersection of my subconscious and the opinions of those that surround me. My life is not a maze to rush through. The answers will come with time. Ultimately Que sera, sera (whatever will be, will be). C’est le vie. That my, friends, is life. Confusing, frustrating, but oh so, so worth it.
From early on, humans are taught to grip — to hold on tight to life and all it offers. We are told that our opposable thumbs distinguish us from other species. We are told that our mind can think — oh, the things we can think…
But sometimes we spend so much time thinking that we forget to be living. It’s the paradox of choice: we want to have options, but research suggests we are actually happier without them. I think we would be happier if we relinquished our grip on life for a little while.
From here on out, I refuse to view my mind as maze that my conscious is in charge of designing. The center of the maze is the same as that of the labyrinth, but the journey through the labyrinth is far more pleasurable.
The inside of your head is not a maze. It is a labyrinth. You’re wandering through it, but there is really only one way to go: forward. You’ll get to where you need to go.