Overnight Shift Thoughts

What really is this labyrinth? This inescapable suffering that we can’t explain or put into any surmountable understanding. This innate, lingering sense of darkness that hides away underneath, only rising towards the surface at times when we feel more lost than usual. The labyrinth forces you to look into the meaning of it all. What is my purpose here? Will I ever truly know? Or is this all just a random occurrence of unrelated events strung together to create a “life”. A life with a beginning and an end and the subconscious, plastic conjecture of “what comes next?”

In “Looking for Alaska”, Alaska says this:

“You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”

And maybe you do use that labyrinth-less future as a means to escape the present, like a skylight on the ceiling showing us a glimpse of what “could be”. But I think that there is so much more to it. Instead of the escape being the goal, we should be using our method of escape to create a world without any “labyrinth of suffering”.

Sometimes I find myself in awe of the interconnected mystery of life. And other times I lay in bed at night wondering what the point of being here is if there is so much suffering. Asking, “how can the world be so beautiful yet so cruel at the same time?” and feeling as if the answer may only be obtainable through death. But maybe the irony is the point of it all. The grandeur of finding out the meaning of it all only after you die is too predictable to really be true. Maybe it is all in how you escape the maze of the labyrinth, while living. This means what you do to find a way out while you are a living, breathing, human being. Now. This means that you have the power to choose, over and over and over again, the ways in which you escape suffering when it comes. Maybe it is all one, together, combined not to serve a purpose but to account for the complexity of life in all of its raw being. 

Thoughts like these are hard for me to explain and I think the concept of the labyrinth itself is difficult to grasp. When it comes to the depth of the labyrinth, I am talking about those indescribable feelings of darkness that one cannot possibly put into words. For example, most nights when I look up at the stars I feel a deep, incurable longing. An unearthly longing…one that cannot be fulfilled during my time here. I know this because looking at the night sky makes me feel completely full and completely understood. Nothing else has made me feel this way. Not even God. And sometimes I think to myself that I will be there one day. With the stars, or with the fulfilled, inexplainable longing. Hopefully both.

And yes, like Alaska said, maybe the thought of getting there one day creates an escape from the present by replacing it with a nostalgia for the future. She is right. But maybe life is all about doing whatever we can to get as close to this fulfillment as we can while we are living. By doing as much as we possibly can to search within ourselves to find what these longings are and how we can satisfy them, even if they are only earthly hungers.

So what I am trying to say is that we all have this feeling of a labyrinth inside of us. Some have it more than others. This inescapable suffering that is only released through (what it seems to be) death. But it does not have to be. It does not have to be empty “why’s” cried out in between sobs. It does not have to be the tired, wrinkled face of someone who is waiting for the end solely because it is all that there is left. It does not have to be the searching and the finding and the blindly grabbing onto whatever you think might get you through. That may be life, but that is not the universe. The universe is more complex than merely going through the motions. The universe expects more from us. Death may be one way out, but it is not the only way. The mystery is all in finding the alternatives.


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