When we think about walking the labyrinth, we think about the switchbacks, the U-turns. But there is another type of disorientation involved. This type is more evident in some labyrinth designs (especially the larger ones). Not only do we suddenly change directions in the moment, but we can also feel, in the bigger picture, we’re about to reach the promised center, only to be delivered once again into the outer ring. Not only a back and forth, but also an in and out.
In my college years and early 20s, I did a lot of dream work. It helped me listen to my inner self and gave me the courage to move into adulthood, separating my needs and desires from those of my parents and childhood community. I had a lot of nightmares. Journaling and unraveling their messages helped me to make psychological progress.
In my early 30s, I attended a dream workshop with psychologist and author Jeremy Taylor. He talked a great deal about the negative symbols in our dreams – locked doors, broken down cars, storms, disorientation. At the time, my dream life was remarkably positive – swimming with playful dolphins in a calm sea, beautiful light twinkling in and out through trees in the forest. After the presentation, I asked Dr. Taylor about these. What did the good dreams mean? He smiled knowingly. “Enjoy them while you have them.” There I was, feeling inches from enlightenment. It was the calm before the next stage of growth.
At 53, I have come to the center and fallen away, come to the center and fallen away. Come to the center…like breath. We can’t know where we are in the journey of life, but we can learn to trust the process, that in a grander scheme, even as things are falling apart, they are already coming together again.