The Labyrinth

Just imagine that you’re bored, you haven’t been getting any initiatives for quite a while, and you feel as though your life lacks excitement. Afterwards you discuss it with a friend and you get an earth shattering idea:

You’ll build a labyrinth with all the possible fine tuning so as not to make it dull. There’s a little something for everyone: action, darkness, horror, chaos, temptation, provocation, challenge, seduction, distortion… Word about your labyrinth spreads around. On the opening day people are already queuing up in front of the cash desk. Everybody wants to try it out, everybody is just crazy about getting lost, not knowing where he is, getting really scared and pretending as though they are frightened. Your labyrinth has flourished into a huge amusement park. And it’s the same every day, the same queues lining up in front of the entrance. New levels of difficulty are constantly being built in so that those who have already experienced it-once again have got something new and unexpected to go through. But, all of sudden, it starts to get unbearable for some. They might have overestimated their capabilities. They’ve chosen a level of difficulty too high for themselves or wanted to get the biggest kick right away. They’ve been lost for several days. They’re stuck and no one is on the way to help them. And why should they? It’s just a game, what could possibly go wrong? On the insides and outsides of the labyrinth you can see different scenarios taking place. While families and friends are forming search parties or are getting ready to storm the labyrinth, others are still waiting in line to experience it. The people in charge are trying to lure the lost ones out of hiding, but they’re not reacting because they’re scared and don’t trust anyone anymore. What to do? Rebuild the haunted house into a pleasant room where only soothing sounds can be heard and where every nook and cranny has got plenty of light? What about those on the outside, who bought tickets in advance or maybe even, got them on the black market?

Sometimes I compare our lives to a labyrinth. But the most significant difference between a labyrinth in an amusement park is that we don’t know how we got into it. We don’t remember going through an entrance or paying admission fees. We often think that we don’t have a clear goal in our life. Contrary to a maze we actually don’t know where we are going – there doesn’t seem to be any real exit or an end to it. We sometimes don’t realize anymore that we find ourselves in this complexity of countless ways and dead ends. And while we are in them, every now and then we run straight against a wall or get distracted by numerous “attractions” which we encounter along the way. A hall of mirrors that reveals us in the most obnoxious of deformations, grins and poses which every once in a while scare us, making us tremble. We are prone to identifying ourselves with what we see at the moment, instead of taking a few steps back with a smiling face and detaching ourselves from the intentionally distorted images and returning to our own true nature.

When we are already caught in this labyrinth we can see it as a challenge, a training course, an adventure or a game. Be it a very nice and well constructed maze we can still lose our courage for a short time, we can still give up, we can still doubt and not know which way is up and down or left and right. We regret the moment we set foot into this labyrinth, we curse the moment when we got the idea to engage in this complicated and entangled adventure. Were we not ashamed and scared of being laughed at by our family and friends we would long ago have yelled: “Please, get me out of here!” or “I can’t find the exit, can you please show me the way?” or “it’s too dark, I’m scared, can someone please turn on the light” or “I’m so alone and lost, I’m scared and don’t know anything anymore – please help me, don’t leave me alone…” or “I’ve had enough of this so called fun, I don’t want to do this anymore, I’ve had enough, please show me how to get out of here…” and … if we aren’t currently located in a super modern, state of the art and computerised compound, where just a single press of a button on a specially designed wristband will suffice to connect us with the command centre in order to open the door, if we think that we have no one to rely on but ourselves during the whole course of the maze – not to forget that this is naturally a part of the game – we have no way of knowing whether our cries of despair will be heard, if they’ll find their way to some opened ears.

The question that presents itself is, how desperate do we have to get, how much of our strength and nerves do we have to lose, how many times do we have to take the same way or run around in circles before we are ready to cry for help or to just stand still to look around and think if the exit is truly that which we are searching for or if our concepts of its appearance and shape aren’t exactly that which is preventing us from seeing it even though it’s right in front of our nose. Maybe it will suffice if we just take off a special type of glasses from our eyes in order to see that it’s all just unreal, a virtual world, a game in which we’ve gotten so entangled, a type of hologram that can vanish by the press of a button. Maybe….

But, whatever….

We can look at life as a labyrinth. It seems to have a certain type of infrastructure and follow given laws. By that we mean the countless interwoven ways, which sometimes bring us far away from the goal, sometimes very close to it and all of that just to end up in the middle of nowhere yet again. There are crossroads, where people believe they have to choose a way to follow, to choose one specific direction. There are rest stops, where people can regain their strength, relax, take a rest, but forget as well. There is an enormous variety of diversions that have been adapted to perfectly fit the needs of each person. There are obstacles and hurdles that seemingly need to be conquered, jumped over or crossed. There are areas that are completely covered in fog and on the other hand areas with a bright blinding light. There are swamps and puddles, there’s rain, lightning and thunder just as well as sunshine. And there are messages, obvious or hidden messages, more or less encoded signposts to which you have to pay attention at first and the language of which you can learn to understand. Very clever this labyrinth, isn’t it? It seems that there’s one single, individual labyrinth for everyone, but it also seems that there is just one, big one for us all, whether: black or white, rich or poor, genius or just your everyday average Joe. Each and every one of us is trapped in his own corner. Everybody has his own way, his own level of difficulty – probably in accordance with what everybody has personally chosen, either consciously or unconsciously, as needed for their salvation, healing, development, finding his way back “home”, learning to know himself.

When a person in the middle of his own (maybe even self-designed) labyrinth is lost and crying for help and support, how can we help the poor guy? Simply come with the best possible option, a helicopter, and let down a rescue ladder to get the guy out of there and then fly him away? But how and where do you take him afterwards? How do you do this when the design of his labyrinth doesn’t have a platform where the helicopter could land? How do you do this if there is no access from above because it’s all closed up? And where to take him when he’s convinced that he has to reach his goal/exit in order to find the right way? How can you help someone who in his state of confusion, despair and exhaustion with his senses clouded has still got a precise idea of how redemptory help and an appropriate rescue should look like? How can you help someone who, even though he is calling for help but sees every action of help as a new threat, a new temptation, a new seduction and on that account hides himself? What to do if the helicopter that’s about to rescue the guy has limited capacity and can only carry one person and the one crying for help doesn’t want to let go of his luggage, packed with souvenirs which he has acquired during his long journey through the labyrinth? There’s so much in that luggage of his: too many memories of big and small victories, of defeats, of friends and of disappointments. One could say that our entire lives, even we personally, are packed within the luggage. When we take the backpack off of our shoulders we’re scared that we could lose all of our memories, all of our knowledge, all of our experiences and that we could even lose ourselves. We’re afraid that we won’t know who we are anymore. We’ve worked so hard to create a conception, an image of ourselves and we’ve paid a pretty big price to do so. All by ourselves we have explored many shadowy corners and alleys, as well as flower covered meadows and sunny sea shores, the depths of the seas and the highs of the mountains without any form of help or support. Each dive, each climb, every time we were knocked down and had to get back on our feet, each time we were desperate but still carried on, all of this we packed into our backpack. What now? Should we leave it behind just like that? Can you be saved and taken away without it? What to do now? Wait for another helicopter with more space? Carry on alone through the labyrinth hoping for your own happy end? Maybe it isn’t so far away anymore… Maybe all you need is a couple more steps… Maybe it’s right around the corner, the only problem is that you just can’t see it. If you let yourself be rescued and flown away, you’ll never know how close to your goal you actually were. For as long as you live, you’ll feel as though you were a loser, a failure, someone who’s constantly dependent on others to help him. For the rest of your life, you’ll feel a sort of restlessness within you. This insecurity: “If I had continued on trying, would I have been successful?” You’ll curse yourself, you’ll be driven between the memories of those hard times and the incredible desire to try it once again, to prove it to yourself, to make it no matter what, to reach the goal all by yourself, to face yourself and everyone else with your head held high.

So, how do you help and save a person who can’t make up his mind whether he wants to be saved or not?

from Kristina Hazler (Translation from German: Michal Komzik)
3rd chapter from the book “Healing and recovery – God’s puzzle

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