Maze or labyrinth?


On Saturday I wandered into Greenpoint Park and walked the labyrinth. While I was slowly making my way out, a family came along. The two little girls, aged about 5 and 7, joined me. They rushed around jumping through gaps, the elder instructing the younger on what not to do. Both were slightly wary of the woman slowly walking around and around.

After successfully getting to the center (several times, using multiple ‘routes’) they left. As they departed the older one commented decisively ‘This maze isĀ useless!’

She was right. As a maze it was utterly pointless.

Her declaration was useful to me though – it got me wondering…

When we get caught up in being successful and achieving and reaching goals that only have status meaning in the microcosmic world which we inhabit, life can feel a bit like a maze. But what if it is actually a labyrinth…

How many of us are desperately trying to solve the riddle rather than simply being present?

When we begin the labyrinth we don’t the exact path we are going to take, but we know we’ll get to the center eventually, and then we will walk back out. If we take each step slowly and deliberately, and if we try to remain present (even with interruption of little people) something will happen.

If we take each step through life slowly and deliberately, putting in the effort we should, some successes may well come. There will be a few curve balls, and perhaps some unexpected crushing disappointments. But I am sure my success is more likely with this approach than trying to ‘solve the maze’ anyway.

So I am left asking myself where am I still trying to conquer the maze when I am really called to walk the labyrinth?


3 thoughts on “Maze or labyrinth?

  1. I have just started a retreat in daily life. Thank you for the insight to walk patiently this week in trusting God. Thank you

  2. hmmmm.. good stuf! I too am a 5, a student in the first Living School class and someone who was suspended in a kind of liminal time/space thing while walking across a road over the Santa Ana Freeway in LA, 2009, and I was given these words,
    “Walking, I am the size I am,” I am in a second career of sorts, teaching middle school children in the subject of Wellness. For the last 2 years we have designed, layed out and walked a labyrinth in our basement space. To introduce this walking meditation to students I did an elective with 16 students the first year. Despite my best attempts in making it clear this was not a class on building mazes there were a few very unhappy students over the next 4 Fridays! It is hard to just .. walk, to be our true size, present to what is, to fall into what can feel like falling behind and yet in this pace of enough is the hope and the taste of a deeper fuller life. yes? Thank you Mags.

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