The Labyrinth “You are the Cycle that continues to flow, taking us deeper with every step we go. Not knowing where we'll end up.. maybe with a poison chalice or a bottomless cup. Twisting, turning and winding back on ourselves, confused we are the faith leaper and still we go deeper. We should not fear your embrace and realise there is only liberation which is not a race. With no goal to win time is the master to find the questions to unlock our answers. So beware the Labyrinth if you go in, because the one who comes out will never be the same again.”
Labyrinths have been around for a long time, at least over 4000 years, although their origins are unknown and uses vary. I have used them on a number of occasions to get answers to questions, solutions to personal problems and to seek clarity.
The Wisdom in the System. I had a profound experience and realisation recently about how they work (for me at least) while running the "Inner Guru" retreat in Thailand, where the resort has 2 Labyrinths. While the group were sharing in one of our sessions sitting in a Labyrinth it occurred to me that we weren’t trying to find the answers or solve problems for each other but rather unlocking Wisdom by exploring how we structure our thoughts, values, and beliefs. In this exploration on most occasions, what was unraveled and revealed was that the “issues” people had been experiencing was to the most part, self made in the conditions of the mind. Or how the mind has been conditioned.
The ability to explore these conditions through enquiry either through others being curious and asking questions or by self, through mindfulness practices (like using the Labyrinth) can have profound and amazing effects. In this moment I began to realise; 1. That mindfulness is a state in which we can observe (not necessarily change) the nature of the mind in that present moment. 2. That many of our 'issues' and ‘problems' are due to the perception that we are giving a situation or experience.
A simple example: Recently my son was trying to do some homework and the website he was using was trying to open another window for him to access information so he could complete it. However the security measures we placed on the computer was blocking these windows to stop inappropriate 'pop-up's' to safeguard my children. For my son this was a 'problem' because he needed access to the information which was blocked, not because there was anything wrong with the computer, but actually by design. This required a small adjustment to the controls so he could access this specific site and still keep the security measures in place, so "problem" solved.
"The same thinking that caused the problem cannot create the solution." Albert Einstein
For the 'problems' of the mind and the required 'adjustments' are not so obvious to address.
Another example; earlier this year I was made redundant from a role that I had held for many years. When hearing this news most people responded with sympathy and concern, to their surprise I did not share the same concern. For me I perceived this as a great opportunity to create new possibilities for investing time and energy in the things that are really important to me. My family, my work, personal development, my projects and collaborating with other like minded (and hearted people.) Admittedly had this happened a few years earlier I would have shared the concern and been receptive of the sympathetic view and seeing myself as a victim of the corporate machine. Rather than feeling liberated to make my life more purposeful and fulfilling.
So what changed for me in that time? My mind-set, the condition of my mind. I didn’t allow my mind to run away with all the negative possibilities and fear driven thoughts, although I was aware they were there. How it changed was by using techniques and practices to observe the mind through self-enquiry, mindfulness, NLP and deepening my connection with the Wisdom of Nature. This is by no means an easy process but simple and highly effective.