Thursday, July 20, 2006

Letting Go of The Maze (aka Following Your Own Path)

Last weekend, I took a short break in Kent, south east England, commonly known as "the Garden of England". I went to Leeds Castle, which is set amongst very beautiful and extensive parkland. I really enjoyed it; I'd forgotten how beautiful the English countryside could be on a breezy summer's day.

Within the grounds is a small maze and without really thinking about whether I should go in (it normally takes me a while to get out of these places!), I walked in. It took me about a few steps to completely lose my bearing. I had the information sheet in my hand and it said that the average time to solve the maze was 20mins; I began to feel as though I'd be in there for much longer. My imagination took flight and I had visions of it being midnight and I would still be walking around alone in this maze, unable to get out.

Help was at hand though.

A man who had already reached the summit of the maze and was directing his young son ("Charles, turn left, then go right........"), so I decided to follow his son (who seemed about 7 years old) with the hope of getting to the top. I tried following him for a while, but got no closer. In the end I lost him and began to feel humiliated at the thought of being "beaten" by a 6 year old (even if he was being given fatherly directions).

I was getting extremely annoyed at myself and the situation (my ego anticipated a rather large bruising!), that in the end I completely resigned myself to being hopelessly lost and meandered aimlessly.

Before I knew it, I was on my way to the top of the maze.

What a relief.

As I looked down on the maze's exquisite patterning from the summit I realised two things:

(i) Letting go got me there

The minute I relaxed and ceased putting pressure on myself to get to the top of the maze I was practically there. I do have the pernicious habit of efforting, instead of being present and in the flow. The maze was a potent example of the power and ease of letting go and (literally) getting out of my own way.

(ii) Following my own path got me there too

In order to reach my destination, I was attempting to follow someone else's directions - the man at the summit who was directing his son, instead of my own relaxed intuitive wanderings.

And where did that get me?

Nowhere. Even more lost than ever.

The minute I'd lost the "shoulds" of someone else's directions, I was free to find my own way to the destination with ease and graciousness.

Every time I find myself struggling to achieve something or hearing the energetic heavy weight of the words "should" "ought to", I remind myself that there is another way.

I reached the summit in 15 mins.

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