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August 1997


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Into the labrinth
A story by David May

I can see the labyrinth before me. I can see the door which leads to another world. Am I lucky ? Perhaps. Not all are able to view so clearly as I can now. Some do not even know when it is in front of their very eyes, their future, or even when they have passed through the entrance into this other way of life, It is a different experience for every single one of us. It is open to the sky above, this maze, not separate from the world, it is part and parcel of life its boundaries being firmly and solidly placed. Once through the border I enter into another world of differing rules, emotions and kinds of action. It is a dangerous time for me. For you. For all of us.

What surprises me is the fact that so few of us see it coming. We plod along in our daily lives and then, out of the blue, it hits us between the eyes and we reel back, dazed. Do not misunderstand me, we have not knocked into solid wood or stone, no, the door was passed through at an earlier date when it was barely, if at all, visible. Later on in time we realise when it was that we entered. It is frightening to think how unaware we really are of the forces that infiltrate our lives. Perhaps we pretend that we do not really care whether they affect us or not. But I think we should.

It all happens when we least expect it. If, with purpose, we actually go out of our way to cross the border, it is then that even a small opening into the labyrinth seems at its most elusive. The walls are solid and impenetrable, and even magic potions and spells will not cause the barrier to part and admit us. We turn away and feel rejected and alone. It seems as if everyone else is on the other side. It only seems that way. It is an illusion.

Then, sometimes, it happens that all of a sudden we are caught, in the way that all things surprising happen to us. It is wholly appropriate that this is the case, and all the more pleasing for that. in an instant we are walking along a path and tracing our hands along the soft walls which glow with light. That is how it always seems to me. The walls have always glowed yellow and white and are warm to the touch. It is as if I am returning home, after a long wayward journey, returning to where I really belong, to the place that I was the instant before I was born. My senses become more acute, finely tuned, each connection between myself and another implies layers of significance and warmth.

Within the passages are secret ways, there are many pleasures to be had. Some are unique and cannot be experienced in any other way. Some are sensations of the ordinary world but concentrated and powered with a force which can penetrate more deeply than any other thing. When awake I am happy, more contented, and sleep is filled with music which keeps me slightly above the surface of the death like. Yes, I find it hard to sleep in the labyrinth. I find it hard to live a normal everyday life. It is difficult to think constructively and with purpose. It is all very confusing. Anything not appropriate to the moment will jar me and take away the illusion that all is fine with the world.

For it is an illusion. It must be. Others have reported to me that what I experience in the labyrinth is nothing more than self delusion and deceit, an elaborately constructed dream to take me out of the world in which I live, the one I find so lacking. A self deception which in the end, will only hurt me and nobody else. Indeed, sometimes I do doubt my own perceptions bearing, as they do, so little relation to the comparative reports of others. I have been told that on the walls, which to them are frightening and carnivorous, there is written 'fear'. They close in as the maze walker passes through. There are foot steps behind, made by strangers who can never be seen, and the light which thrills me is but semi-darkness with the permanent moon above casting ghostly shadows onto the ground, the walls, and onto their own features so that when each looks at his or her feet and legs, hands and finally, face in one of the mirrors hanging on the walls, they are strangely distorted. These people do not recognise themselves but look at these easily remembered features with fright and apprehension; these hands no longer touch quite the same, this walk has a peculiar gait and the face, with blushed warm flesh and soft features is not welcomed but treated as suspect. Fright takes hold. Life is no longer under their control, it is under the auspices of some other force which cannot be trusted. Is this a clue to their distress.

Right in front of their eyes the unknown, and effects resulting from the movement of this force, continues on its way with no need for any intervention by the participant. They are petrified. The terror which waits around the passage corners is such that they forearm themselves in preparation for any occurrence which, even in their wildest dreams, seems probable and likely. They are prepared to commit the most heinous crimes and contemplate appalling solutions to preserve their world as it was, to preserve their stability; for entering the labyrinth brings about a certain loosening of control over oneself and ones life. Of course we still have to eat and sleep and function, but activities which may once have seemed important and could well have been the purposeful centre to our lives move out of our scope of concern, existing on the periphery. To some this is an unbearable experience. They can be moved to maim and murder at the prospect of the loss of this control. Even after loosening control ever so slightly, and finding out how enjoyable an experience it is, the fear ebbs back and they desire a return to their predictable lives once more.

How can these people quite impassively watch, cold and still, another who walks an inch above the ground? It is something I shall never understand. Have they been traumatised in the past, in a faint remembered memory, that it affects their whole life? Why do they allow the past to exert such an influence on the present? The past is available to the present in the form of memory only and, in reality, memory is but a chemical connection in the brain. To be sure, the effort required to forge the positive is far more than needed to sink in the negative, but it only asks the will to be different. A true desire can outweigh a handicap until it disappears and dies for lack of breath.

It is worth it, this effort, for we do not have to pay for these good times. There is no penance, no forfeit. Why do we think that payment is due for happiness and contentment? It is not. What we freely give at this time is payment enough. If we only take then there may well be a shock in store, waiting behind to spring upon us or standing directly in our path to confront. Taking such as this is not the right way to act. It should be easy and effortless to give of oneself at such times; when it is then we know for definite that we are in the central core of the labyrinth.

Is there a solution which would enable each one of us to successfully negotiate the puzzle. I have already entered and left a few times, and can therefore prepare and perhaps plan and foresee the decisions I may have to make. I can see the pleasure and the pain. But, of course, it is not as easy as that. There may well be turnings and surprises which I have not encountered before. It could indeed be frightening at this time. Sometimes, finding myself in such a situation, a door appears, a choice, which I am free to open and walk back again into this dull old world. But, it is deceptive this offer. Am I walking back into an ordinary life or is it simply another, wider, passage in the same puzzle? I could still be negotiating the passages for many years afterwards. This has happened to me already, after falling through a hole in the ground, which a minute before seemed not to exist, and being bumped around by a rough tunnel I still did not know for definite if i was out of the labyrinth or just in a different part. It was only in retrospect that that I knew the moment of my release, a surprisingly pleasant revelation; I was now free to enter another. Yet, although this all seems tedious and unnecessary, the knowledge I gain, which can only be acquired by experience and not book learning or study, is invaluable. It is the wisdom of life itself. It is a knowledge of ourselves. We learn of the ways of others, but the understanding our own minds is the most valuable reward. Is this the way we are forced, for some against their will, to enter the labyrinth?

I do not fear it all. I believe that once in the maze we should enjoy ourselves. Enjoy the unrecreatable feelings, emotions, experiences, it invokes for they can be felt no where else but here. We should feel privileged to have been let in for no matter how short a time. Fall in and enjoy the sensation of air speeding past your ears, enjoy the heightened sensations of life. Learn of the secrets life holds. They are written on the walls as you walk by.

All these thoughts pass through my mind as I stand here knowing full well that I am about to be cast upon a sea like a ship at the mercy of forces greater than itself. I shall allow myself to be acted upon. At all times I can keep a sense of myself alive inside but at the same time give myself up to be moved or stilled as the case may be.

I approach the door. This time I see it clearly. This time I look at the word on the front, written in gold. I feel the outline of the letters with my fingers and speak out aloud L.O.V.E. Love, Yes, this is the word on the door of the labyrinth. I turn the handle and let myself in.

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