Rilke, in his great poem, "The Man Watching", suggests that we become great by being defeated by beings immeasurably greater than ourselves, in that particular case, by the angel that wrestled with Jacob in the Old Testament. This appears to be a paradox - to become great through defeat! Yet there is a truth deep beneath the simplicity of the surface of this poem, as well as this idea.

To dare grapple with something that one cannot possibly defeat brings one into the closest proximity to all that defines success - humility, a deepened awareness on one's limitations, a respect for life itself, the willingness to dare the improbable.

Do not think you are drowning in the details of your life. You are on a journey through a labyrinth. Be aware that a labyrinth is different that a maze. A maze is made up of dead-ends, false pathways, traps. A labyrinth, on the other hand, has one path - to the center, and then back out again, transformed.

Remember Theseus? Using the golden thread, he was able to emerge from the Labyrinth after slaying the Minotaur. The thread led him back to the one he loved.

All journeys are ultimately through a labyrinth, though mostly this is metaphoric. The golden thread is the truth of our spirits. If we follow it with trust, we will emerge, re-surface from the depths of our dark nights.

Swimming toward the light brings one eventually back to the surface. This is an essential part of the journey.

Add up all the things you feel are wrong with your life. What is the sum? Is it as much as borne by a child starving during a decade-long drought in Ethiopia? Does it equal that of the survivors of Hiroshima, Auschwitz, the AIDS epidemic? We don't like to compare our pain with others because we feel it minimizes our own experiences. But there are differences, and we need to know just how bad off we really are. Proportionality is critical - otherwise, we eventually don't even take ourselves seriously.

Buddha said that all is suffering. So don't get too lost in it - it makes you look bad.

Sometimes it's good to get lost. Being found can be a wonderful experience!

Follow this path further
Return to the boarding area

This is an ever-evolving journey. Spiral back here often.
Contribute experiences.
All written content
Copyright 1999 - 2011, PathWay Publications
All Rights Reserved