A joyous and peaceful new year to all–. To my loyal reader [s]: My lack of posting was not due to a sudden metaphysical implosion or abandonment by my muses. It was a strictly technical glitch associated with a computer meltdown and arbitrary unilateral change in my password by the typepad.com people.
It is all part of the process. No one I know believes that life is supposed to be easy. In fact, I submit, those who expect the unexpected are less overwhelmed when it inevitably occurs. It is all about the nature of existence, metaphysics once again. The path is littered with debris, wrong turns, blind alleys–or is it?
My wife and I recently saw Pan’s Labyrinth by Spanish director Guillermo Del Toro. Fascinating and intriguing, Del Toro, in an interview, differentiated between a labyrinth and a maze. A maze, he pointed out, leads one in circles or into cul-de-sacs, blind alleys, dead-ends. A labyrinth, although confusing and convoluted, seemingly chaotic and mistaken, lead us to the place we were meant to go.
The difficulty is this–when one is on this path, it will often appear to be a maze. It is difficult to trust that there is a purpose to each detour, each road block, each road-under-repair sign. In hindsight, it is much clearer–one can then understand how delays and diversions were a necessary part of the ultimate journey.
What inevitably happens when we find ourselves lost and confused? Fear materializes from the abyss. Del Toro writes about his obsession with fairy tales, archetypal frightening images, mythologic creatures. The character of Pan, the gigantic faun, plays a prominent role in this film. It is at first tremendously frightening. The viewer is uncertain whether it can be trusted. Eventually it proves itself to be a benevolent entity but we are left questioning its intention, its ultimate source and motivation, throughout much of the film.
Fear is the most powerful human emotion and when it is unleashed, it can raise itself before us with all the fury of a mythologic monster. Fear itself then becomes the beast to be tamed, before we can continue our along our path. The young girl in the film had to ultimately choose to trust Pan in order to complete her journey.
Perhaps one of life’s greatest challenges is to accept the proposition that one’s life is a labyrinth, not a maze. It will empower us to continue down our path with courage and conviction that we will transcend the obstacles and confusion that will present themselves to us. It will offer us a modest antidote to the inevitable fear that lies ahead.
Whom do we trust? And when? —-No one said it would be easy. But unless we are willing to trust someone, something, we will be unable to take one more step. Perhaps we need only trust one thing–that our journey is a labyrinth, not a maze. It will liberate us from paralyzing fear, it will enable us to live ours lives to the fullest, no matter what happnes, and even enjoy the journey.