The Labyrinth of Life

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In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth at Knossos was built by the craftsman and artisan Daedalus for King Minos of Crete.  It held the Minotaur, which Theseus killed as he navigated the Labyrinth.  Theseus only escaped because of the skein of thread given to him by Ariadne, whose name in Greek means most holy. The skein of thread, literally the “clew”, or “clue, allowed Theseus to slay the Minotaur and escape the Labyrinth.

The story shows that the way out or through the labyrinth is available to one who is open to receiving it. The divine thread is at all times leading the individual to the all.

All it takes is the willingness to walk through the labrintyne corridors in the heart of the darkness, not knowing whether the Minotaur is around the next corner. It takes the bravery to first be slain and then to slay.

This Ariadnean Thread can be seen symbolically(for all things are symbols). This holy clue, if persistently followed, can lead the individual to an understanding their own self and the self’s relation to the all.

theseus-minotaur-statue

In Plato’s dialogue Euthydemus, Socrates describes the labyrinthine line of a logical argument:

Then it seemed like falling into a labyrinth: we thought we were at the finish, but our way bent round and we found ourselves as it were back at the beginning, and just as far from that which we were seeking at first…Thus the present-day notion of a labyrinth as a place where one can lose the way must be set aside. It is a confusing path, hard to follow without a thread, but, provided [the traverser] is not devoured at the midpoint, it leads surely, despite twists and turns, back to the beginning.

Conímbriga_minotauro

A labyrinth is commonly thought to be identical with a maze.  However, a maze is a complex branching puzzle with many choices of paths and directions; while a labyrinth has only one single, non-branching path leading to the center.

The maze offers choices and contains dead ends, while a labyrinth has only one ultimate destination.

Like a maze, our lives are relatively full of choices, dead ends, and little victories; but in the absolute we always end in the same state.

This starting and end point is the ground, the source, being, God, Brahman, Tao.


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