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The Labyrinth of the Mind

The mind is a strange place.

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Photo by Victor on Unsplash
Photo by Victor on Unsplash

The mind is like a labyrinth inside a forest.

The labyrinth—replete with vegetation, layered branches, twigs, patches of moss and a well-worn path of thoughts, feelings and emotions that, when you dare to go deeper and deeper into it—becomes more understandable with all it’s contradictions and maze-like contours in a strange yet familiar, hushed yet vibrant environment.

The mind, like a labyrinth, is both ordered and complex.

Imagine yourself walking along the path of such a natural labyrinth. Recollections appear as sudden blue and white pulses of light that streak past, showing you the way. After each magnetic pulse of streaking light, surrounding trees shudder slightly before returning to their state of stillness. An exotic bird may suddenly flap its wings and a burrowing animal may run for shelter.

As you walk inside the labyrinth, various aspects of its textured, natural ‘walls’ will remind you of something from your past. A memory of your father tenderly calling out your name; your grandmother spontaneously laughing uproariously about something innocent; the delicious sensation and taste of ice cream in the heat of a lazy summer afternoon; and water lapping at a pebbled beach.

You stop and stare at a twisted branch in the labyrinth’s wall. Darker memories surface. They are words or events, yours or others’, that hurt.

You walk a little farther into the labyrinth and see a Cheshire Cat push his head through the labyrinth’s natural wall. It catches you by surprise as it flashes its trademark smile by way of greeting. The cat communicates with you wordlessly and you know that at the coming juncture, you’re definitely supposed to turn left. You do so.

Suddenly, you are confronted by a precipice. You can see, very far away on the other side, that the labyrinth continues but you’re perplexed as to how you’ll get there. Before you can even begin to work on the problem, you’re in the air, flying above the precipice. No longer within a forest-like labyrinth, you’re flying above a vast expanse of what appears to be a snow-covered landscape. For a mysterious and inexplicable reason, you don’t feel cold. You only experience curiosity as to how you’ve exited the labyrinth and are in this ‘dome’ of snowy ground beneath you and crisp, cloudless blue skies above.

With a whoosh, you’re back inside the labyrinth and on the path.

‘The mind is a strange place,’ you think to yourself, as you continue walking.

What happens next shocks you even more than the Cheshire Cat. You see a form walking toward you. The form, at a distance, suddenly becomes clearer and clearer. You are speechless as the two of you stand face to face since you realize you’ve met your doppelgänger.

This is impossible,’ you think.

Unusual, unexpected things can happen inside the ‘Labyrinth of the Mind.’ You’ve finally met yourself.

You realize subconsciously that this is a dangerous meeting because you’ve heard it said that if you meet your doppelgänger, you’ll die.

Your twin begins to speak saying,

‘I am you. I’ve already been where you’re headed and know your future.’

‘What did you see?’

‘If I told you what I saw, would you believe me?’

‘I might,’ you reply with the hermeneutic of suspicion in spite of appearances.

Your doppelganger looks at you strangely and you say with a tinge of regret,

‘I’m sorry. Tell me what you saw.’

‘Where I’ve been is where you are headed. The labyrinth has many interesting things in store for you.’

‘Like what?’ you impatiently ask.

‘Like the Ocean of Contentment, the Path of Peace, and the Habitat of the Snowy Owls.’

For a moment, your twin’s answer catches you by surprise. The labyrinth is not what you expected it would be. You realize that the mind is a reservoir of surprises in an oasis of wonder. Although you’re literally speaking to yourself, you’re speaking to a version of yourself that looks like you but has been transformed within the ‘Labyrinth of the Mind.’

Your twin has a parting poem for you,

Tread gently in the Labyrinth of the Mind.

Refresh yourself in the Ocean of Contentment.

Learn much in the Habitat of the Snowy Owls.

And continue your journey in the Labyrinth of the Mind.

You continue along the mysterious labyrinthine path, awakened by periodic, pulsating flashes of blue and white light and comforted by the fact that your destination is glorious.   

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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