When I was in New York it was like a maze, a rat maze, going from one little box to another little box and passing through passageways to get from one safe haven to another. – Bruce Conner
You know the feeling: you start in one place in your life, run through a tangle of frustrations, disappointments, twists, and dead ends, hoping to eventually find your reward in another place. And, to make matters worse, once you make your way to the reward, you then have to start all over again with those nagging questions that always lurk at the back of your mind: How many times do I have to do this before I make it through without mistakes? Is there ever an end to this? Will I ever get faster and better at this? How rapidly are the others getting through the same thing?
Fortunately, you are not a rat in some maze. No one has to feel that their success is dependent on someone else’s puzzle. In fact, I’ll let you in on a massively liberating little secret: the longer you continue to view yourself in a maze, the longer you remain captivated by fear, pain, and anxiety.
Mazes come in a variety of very personal shapes, sizes, and experiences. Some are deceptively simple. Others are annoyingly complex. All of them, however, have the same characteristics: there are confusing pathways, irritating dead ends, many easily available but wrong choices, and there is always more than one ambiguous path to choose from. Most importantly, with a maze, you always – always – end up in a different place than where you started (even if you didn’t want to).
As long as you continue to view your life as nothing more than the need to get from some recognized start to some perceived and different end, you have limited your options and your experiences. You are holding yourself back from some greater choices!
A Maze-Mentality Curbs Your Ability to Enjoy the Moment
To find out if you have a Maze-Mentality, ask yourself if you often have these thoughts:
1. Starting out will be easy, finishing will be hard.
2. I just need to get started. I’ll figure out where this all goes later on.
3. It’s all about the end product (the result). How I get there is less important.
The most common situation you find yourself in with a Maze-Mentality is that you are more concerned with dealing with an obstacle as it arises rather than allowing yourself to enjoy the journey along the way. To put it another way, you are using your Maze-Mentality if you are constantly bumping into the walls of life and only then realizing that you need to turn around and go a different way.
A Maze-Mentality Can Stop You In Your Tracks
The compulsive thing about a Maze-Mentality is that it deludes you into believing you are constantly moving forward. The reality is that while you are, in fact, moving, it is not the type of action that is likely to have a high return on your energy and emotional investment. As you attempt to muddle your way from one dead end to the next in your maze, your vitality is tested and drained and constantly shifting until there are times when you just blindly walk around with nothing left but the hope that you will find a way out.
Worse yet, when you find yourself in a passage from which it appears there is no exit, you may simply stop dead in your tracks. It is when you are overwhelmed by this excessive stress that your progress and development come to a screeching halt. And, when this happens, your survival responses kick in and you become aggressive, angry, and argumentative; reactions that counteract your happiness, pleasure, and fulfillment.
Visualize Yourself in a Labyrinth
A labyrinth differs from a maze in one main respect; a labyrinth only has one path. There is only one way in and only one way out. While both may be confusing and complex at times, a labyrinth does not have any dead ends, branches, nor can you ever openly get lost. While it is true that a labyrinth may be very long, with various twists and turns, it is not difficult to navigate so long as you continue to put one foot in front of the other.
By consciously changing your perception and easily visualizing your life path as being a labyrinth rather than a maze, your subconscious replaces the feeling that life is complex and, perhaps, unknowable, with new programming that your life is a single, perfect path. You begin to understand that there are no dead ends or real complications. And, you start to realize that life is one big pattern designed to take you on an incredible journey of understanding and awakening. When viewed as a labyrinth, rather than a maze, life takes on a new luster as you come to know that you are exactly where you need to be at every step of your journey.
One of the easiest ways to start this new visualization process is to simple act as if. Practice the following affirmations and watch your life begin to change powerfully for the better:
1. Starting out is easy, finishing is just a matter of moving forward.
2. The beginning and middle of my journey are just as important as the end.
3. I am right where I need to be at this point in my life.
4. It is the journey that is important.
Remember, your mind is an incredible computer. You have the ability to carefully program it so that you feel better, act with honor, and achieve incredible success. The concepts I am outlining for you are designed to move you quickly and confidently to achieve your wildest dreams. But . . . you have to feel your triumph, not just obtain another reward. Pledge yourself to start feeling congruently with your actions.
One of the biggest breakthroughs you can give yourself is the realization that you can actually change the way you feel at any time along your journey through life. All that need happen is for you to shift your perception of the journey, itself.
Confront Your Reality and Reimagine Your Journey
If you have a Maze-Mentality, changing that judgment of your life path is the decisive factor if you are going to realize delight and victory. A powerful way to start confronting how you currently believe and replacing that old way of thinking with one that serves you well is to practice seeing where you are – right now – as exactly where you need to be. Start seeing your life as one wondrous journey from the material to the spiritual, and stop believing your life is filled with setbacks, failures, and what could have been.
Resolve it in your mind, body, and spirit to put yourself on a new path.
Maze-Mentality is cunning. It keeps you thinking that your life is one confrontation after another. If that type of thinking is serving you well, then keep with it. If you want to breath easier, however, here are some things you can do right now to change the path you’re on:
1. Keep moving forward. Even when it feels like you’ve taken three steps back, the reality is that you are moving forward. It is only when you stop that you become stuck. Know that all that you say, do, and feel is taking you ever closer to the center of your being and fulfilling your purpose (even if you don’t consciously know what that center or purpose might be at the moment).
2. Deal with inaction immediately. We all have times when we need to rest, decompress, and have a moment of silence to reassess ourselves. This type of breathing space is a necessary element of your life. But inaction – a neglect of your life – is toxic and anathema to your soul. When you discover that you have stopped occupying your own life, that is the time to take some type of positive action immediately (see #1, above).
3. Stay the course. In life you always have a choice – relentlessly pursue your goal or withdraw from your dreams. As soon as it registers that your travel through life is really a constant, unaltering, and enduring course, it becomes so much easier to guide yourself along.
Once you change your appreciation of the path you are on, your confidence increases, your regard for life expands, and your ability to accomplish more surges. When you eventually realize that life can be long and complex, but the life path you are on is not a tangle of confusion after all, you can accomplish anything.
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