September 7, 2005

The Labyrinth

A spiritual seeker went to a teacher to ask questions. She said to him,

"How is it that I can enter the Way?"

He said "Sit and look into your mind and let me know what's there."

She took him up on it and went ahead and looked right into her own mind.

It took a while but after months of looking what she seemed to see was, you could say, a little of everything. She experienced agony, ecstasy and everything in between. Small things, big, the universe, dust on the floor, happiness, situations, families, together, separate, confusion, anger, joy. Looking, she noticed bits of pretty much anything and everything, cycling in and going out.

She went back to the teacher and reported this to him. She told him that she knew that it was her karma and that it appeared in and as her mental-emotional configurations or habits. She said that she knew that everything was in her mind.

He said "Ok. Look into your mind," as if he had never said it before. The student's mind flipped a little.

She took him up on it and looked with accuracy into her mind. She worked dilligently. One day, while she did her practice of looking into her mind, she suddenly felt a shift, like she was a camera zooming in on something, and there appearing, as the vision crystalized, was what seemed to her to be a great labyrinth.

This strange and complex display felt to be pushing electrically toward her as it became visually intense and precise in structure. A twist of mazes came into view, and it's obviousness, it's strangeness, triggered, in her, a whole line of ideas as to it's purpose, it's reason for being, it's entryway, it's pathways and it's mystical central goal. Disciplined, she continued her looking as she was supposed to, though.

Soon the insight came that the many of the turns and tunnels were really ideas and impulses of the many teachings about what she felt she was supposed to be. She could see that some of these path-ideas came from books or friends, and that others were collected from esteemed teachers, more from other searching people she had known, some others yet from parents and family members, still others from lamas, clergy, new age experts, self help books, and not surprisingly, even Oprah Winfrey. She suddenly remembered she had met people purported to be saints and realized that some of the pathways in the maze seemed very pure and were directly related to those teacher's suggestions.

The structure of the labyrinth was complex. Having heard a lot about "unity" she noticed that all these teachings and philosophies seemed to agree on some points. "All religions and paths ultimately agree," she thought. "I really might be on to something. That one thing they all put their attention to was exactly how to enter and how to navigate a spiritual or life path. This could be it, or at least something essential in terms of what I am seeing." And she felt sparks of hope.

Then another thought. She began to consider taking a more discriminating approach to the puzzle. She was smart and knew right away that some of those teachings would work better that others. Looking again at the jumbled maze, she felt herself confused and thought, "It would be hard to separate out the best teachings and figure out which came from whom."

A memory came in a flash. Once someone known as a holy woman had blessed her and gave her an amulet. She thought that if she held it, that might help her make her way through the the web of confusing turns.

Our spiritual seeker also remembered, (though she had never mentioned it to her friends,) that years ago, she had learned a method of getting in touch with psychic powers. She considered that this might be a good time to use those skills in order to see or feel the right directions through the maze. Or maybe to control the maze and any negative forces. "The goal must be attained," she reaffirmed, thinking to herself, "I'll do whatever it takes."

It also occurred to her that maybe if she could just trust in God: that He would show the way. This and many other ideas of how to make her way through the complex tangle made her feel both elated and, to be truthful, uncomfortable.

Being a trooper and a seeker of truth, she boldly entered the maze's gate and began trudging through a few of the channels that were beyond the outer clay walls. She decided to apply her skills, training and spiritual power. How could she lose? The years of paths had brought her a broad spectrum of holistic knowledge, and she, if anyone, would be able to traverse the labyrinth and attain its mystery. "Now, which system to use" she thought? "I may even need to use multiple ones."

Suddenly she once again remembered that simple line from the man, directing her to look into her mind. Setting aside the simple looking, she brought her focus to the question of how to best navigate the maze. But as she automatically strove forward with her quite educated and skillful approach, a feeling of futility arose in her.

She returned to the teacher and he said to her that "All people have a latent knowing that there is something more in this life than meets the eye. If they are positive thinking people, they try to find it a little, and then they try to share what little they know about how to get to that goal. That is what all optimists of this world do."

"Well then, what should I do?" was her reply. "I saw the gateway of the labyrinth. I do want to know the true path and thereby enter into that mystic center. Please tell me the moves through the labyrinth. Can you help me? Can you help me to get through it?"

She took a breath, concentrated with great concern and sincerity, and continued, "I have practiced many paths so if you simply tell me the best one, or the best combination, I promise to focus my efforts and accomplish the task."

He responded by saying,

"You don't need to get to the center. Listen for the last time.

The gate, the paths and the center of the labyrinth are all your own creation, just as you said before yet don't yet comprehend. All of your so-called spiritual paths and ideas are the channels of the maze itself. From the awareness of the essence of your own mind, the center never separated from the maze or the gates. So lighten up.

The pathways of the labyrinth are an appearance of frozen teaching ideas. All those other teachings were only meant to get things going, to begin to kick loose some searching and seeking. That's it, no more. Now is different. You need to look into your mind and recognize the culmination of the gate, the pathways and the center."

Hearing that suggestion, trooper that she was, she looked again and saw that the labyrinth was her own creation, a display of her own ideas, hopes, dreams and pathos.

And then she knew for certain that, in the state of misinterpreting it as some important truth, she was able to be honest and see that the process of navigating the labyrinth was nothing but her own creative imagination's unfullfilling activity; a mazed circling driven by a seemingly endless sense of needing.

In that exact moment, the entire labyrinth appeared more ethereal, like a shimmering dream of a beautiful place. She was taken aback. There was a kind of dissolving, like when sunlight dissolves mist or when a sandcastle is struck by a sea wave.

From that point on, she understood the instantness of special knowledge, and she dedicated her life to stabilizing the kind of honestness that she so fortunately touched on that day. She was convinced that that was enough.


Anonymous said...

thank you, sol, comment forthcoming, may all beings.........

Anonymous said...

re; lovestream in relation to healing .......what it can do it enhanced by level of student, what can enhance the growth of that level while practicing lovestream on can one become more open to the blessings of the profound teachers.....thank you....may all beings.............

erika said...

arf! i really like this story and waking up!! great dog zen koans and even greater to find you on the web and to discover this blog of yours! greetings from down in texas! may all beings be happy!