The labyrinth has long been considered as both perplexing and meditative, a journey into despair and a path to the heart of God. Yet through this serpentine journey lies the essence of the human experience with which comes the opportunity to create art for our lives to imitate and create lives for our art to celebrate.
The Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path is constructed by utilizing the natural alignments of various cultural paradigms such as Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, Stephen Covey’s Eight Habits of Highly Effective People, the Four Gospels, and the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, to name just a few. Establishing the outline for the Labyrinth, various artists in the community are selected to express particular stages of the journey. The end result is a community-based, interactive piece of installation art that is not only beautiful and creative, but is also consciousness-raising.
The following labyrinth consists of 40 steps, and in addition to the four paradigms listed above, the outline of this labyrinth also consists of Stephen Covey’s Four Roles of Leadership, the Four Elements of Nature, and the Four Aspects of Humanity.
- Joseph Campbell, whose teachings are celebrated in the upcoming documentary Finding Joe, says that the Hero’s Journey begins in The Ordinary World. This is the life that we know, where things happen as they happen, and we partake in our given routines.
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.” – Eckhart Tolle
- In this Ordinary World, especially the tabloid infused mentality we have today, the Buddha is correct when he says that All Life is Suffering. Yet there is more truth to it than that… and we are beginning our journey toward a life without suffering.
“The world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.” -Helen Keller
- And so this is our Call to Adventure, to use the lives we have been given to achieve the lives we imagine.
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
- In order to begin any journey, we look to the first of the Eight Habits and realize that we must Be Proactive. We must engage the life before us instead of merely waiting for it to engage us.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor E. Frankl
- We respond to this challenge by Directing our energies toward where they need to go, thereby enacting the Role of Leadership.
“Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.” – Zhuangzi
- To learn how to best direct the flow of life through us, we look to what flows around us, Water, of which we are largely comprised.
“In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it.” Lao Tzu
- The director of the flow of liquid through our bodies is our Heart. The symbol of our emotional body, it is what our journey is truly about, to live in the flow of love.
“Look at every path closely and deliberately, then ask ourselves this crucial question: Does this path have a heart? If it does, then the path is good. If it doesn’t, it is of no use.” Carlos Castaneda
- In the Bible, John, symbolized by the eagle, was considered the disciple that Jesus loved, and in the book ascribed to him, he writes that greater love has no man than a man lay down his life for his friends.
“We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.” ~William Ewart Gladstone
- Yet it is often the sacrifices we must make in order to take this journey of the heart that bring us to the Refusal of the Call. We often shirk from becoming what we could be due to the complacency of where we are.
“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty ‘yes’ to your adventure.” – Joseph Campbell
- When we see the lives we want but can’t achieve because we can’t get out of our own way, we see the second of the Buddha’s truths, that Suffering is Caused by Desire. We nearly destroy ourselves by wishing we had done things differently and wanting all that we do not have. Our suffering derives from not realizing what we actually have.
“Our fears are more numerous than our dangers, and we suffer more in our imagination than in reality.” – Seneca
- It’s been said that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. When we are ready to engage the life around us and answer our call to adventure, mentors will arise all around us to help us on our way. In this Age of Information, any path we wish to take is laden with teachers so we are always primed for The Meeting of a Mentor.
“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.” – Socrates
- As we become students, we will also find opportunities to be mentors as well. The knowledge and skills we amass are meant to be shared, and so we engage the role of Coaching to become the leaders our people need.
“The aim of education should be to teach us how to think, rather than what to think.” – James Beattie
- Which brings us to the realm of the Mind, our way of perceiving the world and the way our world is ultimately created.
“A man is what he thinks about all day long.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Just as water is absorbed into the air to form clouds, our emotions compel our minds to create thoughts. As we think, so comes our life, an eternal perceptual manifestation as pure and constant as the Air we breathe. The world is created, quite literally, out of thin air.
“In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.” – Carl Sagan
- When we understand our part in creating the world around us, we realize our power in supplying the right ingredients. When we Begin with the End in Mind, we begin to actively steer the course of our journey toward an actual goal.
“All that I desire to point out is the general principle that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” – Oscar Wilde
- This is when we come to the Crossing of the First Threshold, when we take hold of our destiny and realize our place bringing it to fruition.
“We’re our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.” – Tom Robbins
- The writer of the Gospel of Luke was apparently a doctor, and it is at this stage of the journey when our healing begins. Symbolized by the bull, Luke offers ideas of both self reliance and sacrifice.
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha
- Finding this balance is how we Put First Things First, taking care of our highest priorities in order to then be able to address the lower priorities.
“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.” Bob Dylan
- When we find the true value of what we have to offer, we begin to realize that our desire is only an illusion, not meant to inspire suffering, but vision. By moving forward in our journey, we realize that Suffering Can Be Alleviated by the Loss of Desire.
“We need to be aware of the suffering, but retain our clarity, calmness and strength so we can help transform the situation.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
- By opening up to what our journey offers us through the various Tests, Enemies and Allies, we open up to the lessons we must learn to become what we have envisioned. These are mean to sharpen us, refine us, and sculpt us, but it is not always an easy process.
“As you go through life, you’ve got to see the valleys as well as the peaks.” – Neil Young
- It is through the process of challenge that we are able to realize our connectedness to the world around us. The more we are able to Think Win/Win as we enter new situations, the more our we thrive in our journey.
“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” Booker T. Washington
- As much as we are the central figures in our own individual journeys, we are also leaders for others on their journey by Supporting them in their endeavors as they support us. In this interconnected web of life, we are all heroes and we are all supporting characters.
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.'” Erma Bombeck
- Realizing that we are here to support the world around us, we gain a new appreciation for the Body that supports us throughout our journey.
“Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out. That is what it is for. Spend all you have before you die; do not outlive yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw
- Appreciating all that our bodies allow us to do, we more greatly appreciate the Earth that supports it and the symbiosis of our existence.
“The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.” Galileo Galilei
- The Gospel of Mark, represented by the lion, signifies courage and loyalty. This is where Jesus proclaims that he will make his disciples, fishermen like Mark, into fishers of men. As it is said, it is better to teach a man to fish instead of giving him a fish for with one he will eat for a day, the other he will eat for a lifetime.
“We need to teach the next generation of children from day one that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind’s greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
- From this vantage point of supporting the world around us as we rise to meet our potential, we cultivate the next habit of Seeking First to Understand, then to Be Understood. Realizing that everyone in our human community is at a different point on this path, we can understand that our disagreements are based solely by the differences in our perspective. By understanding where they are, we can find ways to more effectively communicate with them.
“An enemy is a person whose story we have not heard.” – Gene Knudsen Hoffman
- However, it is not our task to change anyone else’s perspective or move them along their path. Our task is to realize the power we have over our response to the journeys of others. To gain this insight, we Approach the Inmost Cave of our own being and journey within.
“The only journey is the journey within.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
- It is the inner journey that we each must take that gives us the clarity into who we really are and the gifts that we offer to the world. The Supreme Ordeal of our hero’s journey is realizing ourselves as the heroes we have been waiting for.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles,”
- Finding the source of our power at the center of our being, we reach the fourth of the Noble Truths, realizing that Desire Can Be Overcome by Following the Eightfold Path to Righteousness. This righteousness is a personal account, for each of us, like the uniqueness of our fingerprints and DNA code has a different definition of Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.
“Every person, all the events of your life are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.” Richard Bach
- When we find our own Path of Righteousness, we are more able to Synergize with those who are at the same place in their own personal paths.
“The achievement of the hero is one that he is ready for and it’s really a manifestation of his character. It’s amusing the way in which the landscape and conditions of the environment match the readiness of the hero. The adventure that he is ready for is the one that he gets.” – Joseph Campbell
- The Gospel of Matthew, symbolized by a winged man, is believed to be written by a former tax collector. To fully realize this journey of humanity, we must appreciate true value, understanding the human constructs which help us cultivate our spiritual growth.
“The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.”
– Albert Einstein
- Much of our value, that which we often discount as we focus on our emotional, mental, and physical attributes, lies in our spiritual connection. Although deeply personal, the realm of Spirit is wall things connect.
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” ~Chief Seattle
- Just as Water signifies our Hearts, Air our Minds, and Earth our Bodies, Fire signifies our Spirit, that burning passion within us which always drives us on to experience all that life has to offer and teach us.
“There is an electric fire in human nature tending to purify – so that among these human creatures there is continually some birth of new heroism. The pity is that we must wonder at it, as we should at finding a pearl in rubbish.” – John Keats
- Claiming all that we are as individual expressions of this collective consciousness, and rising to the level we know we are able we retrieve The Reward for Seizing the Sword. The reward is that we get to wield that for which we have quested and become our try selves.
“The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.” – George Bernard Shaw
- The Resurrection we experience is becoming a new and better version of ourselves every day. As we burn ourselves up in the fire of spirit, we rise from the ashes like a phoenix into our roles as the hero of our own journey and the representative of our people.
“If that vital spark that we find in a grain of wheat can pass unchanged through countless deaths and resurrections, will the spirit of man be unable to pass from this body to another?” – William Jennings Bryan
- Continuing to refine the sword we have won, we Sharpen the Saw by continuing on the path of excellence. Using all that we have gained to further strive toward what we envision for our community and our world.
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- The Road Back to the Ordinary World is taken by a different person that began the journey, and the person who arrives at what was once home, will be a different person yet. For this journey is cyclical, a revolution within a revolution. We take this journey in everything that we do.
“It is not enough to take steps which may someday lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- As we find our own place on the path, and are able to ground ourselves in the journey, the gift we bring to others is to Find Your Voice and Inspire Others to Find Theirs. By sharing the accounts of our journeys, we are more able to understand one another and help one another progress in our individual treks.
“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” – Joseph Campbell
- When we understand where we are in our paths and understand we others are in theirs, we attend to the fourth role of leadership, Delegating, allowing each person to reach their own potential by aligning them with steps toward their completion.
“A human being is part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole [of] nature in its beauty.” ~Albert Einstein
- Completing our journey, we Return with the Elixir, that delicious mix of all that we are combined to bring us all that we are capable of being.
“If you’re alive, there’s a purpose for your life.” Rick Warren