The Mountain in the Clouds, Part Two
I stood there, mouth gaping, pondering my decision.
The woman before me was very patient. All of the winged people were patient with me.
Me, hanging frozen in time, incapable of making a decision or forming words.
Shake it off. Maybe this is good for me. Maybe it’s just what I’ve been hoping for. What I’ve been seeking all of my life. Maybe this is meant to happen.
But what will it mean? What will I have to do? What will I become? What will happen to the life I knew?
I had no idea. I could not convince my own mind that all of the reasons I had for doing it were the right ones, and I could not clear the doubts and fears that told me to run for my life.
So I remembered something my friend used to tell me. He had described a way in which he found resolution to challenges or questions he faced. He would leave his mind behind, try to not think it through. Thinking wouldn’t get him anywhere but all wound up in circles of logic, of reasons for and reasons against. And he’d still end up feeling like he was finally making a decision without really being clear on whether it was best for him or not.
Instead, my friend would tune into his heart. He would feel his way. He would feel between a choice that felt good and one that felt bad. It was not a matter of ascribing opinions or perceptions of good or bad in the way we do… Not so much doing the right thing versus doing the wrong thing. It was more of just feeling. Just feeling what it feels like to choose. Does this choice feel good, or does it not? Does this choice feel bad? If so, why choose it?
My friend said that always when he followed the good choice or the better feeling choice, things would work out better for him. In fact things tended to work out great for him. He explained that he’d been doing it for so long that he no longer remembered the last time he followed a bad feeling choice. And his life, according to him, had always gotten better.
So I tried it out. I tried his technique as I stood there, dumbfounded before these winged people in this unbelievable place in the middle of a city that shouldn’t exist on the top of the tallest mountain I’ve ever seen… I tuned into my heart.
And the answer I got, quite quickly, was “All in. Go for it. This is the thing to do. This is the next step for me. This is right. This will feel good. Do not be afraid.”
It felt so clear, it almost seemed like another voice speaking directly into my heart, into my mind. Even though it sounded much like my own inner voice. The one I’ve always heard in my thoughts.
“Ok, I’m in,” said I to the ones before me.
“We know.” They answered.
The woman with the headdress stepped forward with this powerful gait and great poise in every movement. Her hands swooped in front of her and more energy and runes flitted through the air. There seemed to be a swelling of magic around her and in the diminishing space between her and me. My arms began to tingle, then my toes and feet and ankles. By the time she came to a stop but a foot in front of me, my entire body was filled with warmth and energy. It felt to me that my body could lift off the ground just then and hang in midair.
“You are ready for the first trial,” she said.
Then the vision I saw before me vanished into a swirling mass of light and color. It no longer felt as though I could fly. Rather I felt sure that I was falling. But I did not feel fear in this fall. I did, however, become overwhelmed with wonder. I could not imagine what was happening in that moment.
When the feeling of falling ended and my vision stopped swirling, I found myself in a new place.
The woman who had guided me to this place was there beside me, facing three other individuals. There were two men and a woman, none of whom I knew. We seemed to be on the outskirts of some town, which I was also not familiar with. But it seemed very terrestrial. Not like that magical city in the mountains, high above the clouds.
The thing that drew most of my attention was behind the three individuals. It was a massive wall made of a giant row of hedges. It grew taller than any I had ever seen, maybe a hundred meters high. Here and there a tall column seemed to help hold the structure in place. There were two columns in particular straight ahead of me where an opening cut a tall hole in the wall. Little could be seen through the gateway, except that it led into a corridor of more tall hedges.
The woman began to explain what I saw before me.
“You are in a trial of discernment. Before you there are three individuals, and behind them is a labyrinth. You must find your way to the center of the labyrinth and return with what you find there. In order to do so, you may consult with these three individuals who claim to know the way, or who may offer some help or guidance to overcome the obstacles within.”
She looked slowly towards the three ahead of us, then glanced back at me.
“What you should know is that only one of these individuals will tell you the truth. The other two will lie about the way through the labyrinth. It is up to you to use your powers of discernment in order to understand the path you must take. Each will first give you their advice. Then you may ask each a single question.”
I paused, wondering if there may be more to it. The winged woman with the headdress remained quiet. She did offer a faint smile and a nod as if to say it is ok to proceed. So I did.
I approached the three people before me. They seemed dry and lifeless. Like they were not really living, breathing souls, but rather some fabrication of this test. I told myself this feeling was accurate, but that I had to play the game as it was given to me.
As I walked forward they said nothing and gave no response to me. Then, when I reached an invisible threshold and stopped, they began:
First the man on the right. “Yea, welcome to Labyr. You’re not the first to come here and try his hand at the maze. I don’t know if you’re brave or stupid. Me, I’ve never tried to get through it. Not worth my time. Whatever treasure in there isn’t worth dying over, or worse going mad. But I will say this. I know something about how to succeed. See my father went in many years ago, dumb as it was, but made it out alive. Don’t ask me how he did it. Nobody comes out alive. Granted, he was maimed for life, never walked the same again. But in his attempt he did learn something. He saw the center of the maze! Yea, the very heart of it! Damn, so close and yet he couldn’t complete the journey. The trap he sprung almost killed him, and he had to retreat the way he’d come, never to try again. But he told me this: there is a secret path that he glimpsed. Just past a small, square-shaped pool. If someone could just make it to that pool and and locate the opening hidden there… well, there is a tunnel that leads safely the rest of the way to the heart of the maze. That’s the key to your success. Find the pool and find the secret tunnel.”
Then the second one began, the woman in the center. “Hi. So, I hear a lot of people’s ideas on how to survive this hedge maze. But they are all wrong. Don’t believe a word of it. I know the way through. Though I’ve never wanted to do it. It’s not my quest. I’ve got no interest in what the treasure holds. It’s not for me. But I do know the secret, so let me share it. The secret is, there is no maze. Yea, I know, nobody ever believes me. I mean, come on, why would they? Everyone sees the maze standing there, people go in all the time trying and failing and dying. So how can I say it’s not there? Well, you be the judge. Just remember my words. There is no maze.”
And finally the third, the man on the left. “Fools. Always fools. You’re not a fool, are you? I don’t take you for a fool. Don’t buy the line that there is some secret here or that the maze is not real. It is real. I have been through it. I found the center and got back unscathed. Everyone has an agenda. But not me. I will tell you the truth. This whole thing is a scam. Sure that place is dangerous. But if you keep your wits about you, you will be fine. But I’ll tell you this. Don’t even bother. There’s nothing there. It’s a waste of time. Someone must have succeeded just like me, long ago. They must have taken the treasure. All the preparation I did and all the tips and advice I sought were for nothing. I went all the way in there and found an empty box. You can go in, if you’d like. But you’ll risk your life for nothing. There’s nothing left to get in there. Hear my words and turn back now. Don’t waste your time, or your life.”
I knew what I had to do. Well, not really. But of course I knew I must pause and reflect. The three individuals had all given me a lot to think about. Was there a secret passage? Was it all an illusion? Was it a waste of effort? I had to reflect. And I had to formulate a question for each. The right question could guide me to the truth. Or a wrong question could lead me into more confusion.
So I reflected. And I sat. I sat in the grass there and reflected on what each had said. And I tried to feel the truth or falseness in their words. I did not know any one of them and did not know their character. How could I discern if what they said were true or not? How could I ask what I needed in order to be sure? How do I proceed?
The first man seemed angry over his father’s attempt. That I could tell. He also had a believable story. There could potentially be a pool and a secret passage. How was I to know? I haven’t even seen within the maze. But even if he had a clue to find the center of the maze, it still sounded as though I would have to face the challenges on the way to finding the pool. So what if I find the center or find the pool? I still had to find something I didn’t know how to find.
The woman in the middle…I felt like she meant well. But to tell me the maze was not there when I could see it? I mean, what was I brought here for if not to complete the challenge and pass through this maze? And in any case, if what she told me were true, what would it matter? I can shout all day at the maze that it isn’t there and that doesn’t make it go away. Belief and action are different things. How would her advice help me to succeed? I don’t think I can just walk through the hedges as if they are thin air.
The last man’s version also struck me as possible. Again, I know nothing of these three people and nothing of this maze or its supposed treasure. Say this man had seen the center and found it empty? Perhaps treasure hunters of old had already succeeded in raiding it. That’s not such a far cry. Treasure makes people jump to action and it seems plausible that someone already solved the puzzle and took the reward. So why would I risk my life for something that no longer exists?
What could I tell by looking at these people? What features struck me? Did they fidget? Did they seem nervous? Did they hold my eye contact? Were they trying to push some agenda of their own on me?
Ah, this might take some time. Now I must decide what questions I will ask of them.
May the gods help me.
…to find out what the protagonist discovers about his challenge and what he learns of the three individuals he met.
Thank you for reading and please comment and share.
Blessings to you all,
Day 25 of 30 Day Challenges
The blog series in which I am completing my challenge from 30dayblogchallenge.com!
As well as a self-made challenge inspired by Abraham Hicks in which I self-soothe myself through negative emotion.
At the end of this 30 day journey I intend to be more fully on my life’s path, “all systems go.”
The update for 30 Day Blog Challenge is more of yesterday. Lead magnets again. Now it’s suggested to create an image and a number of blog posts to lead to my lead magnet. But I have to make a lead magnet first. I’m not there yet but when the inspiration comes I’ll be ready for it.
It was my self-soothe day 25 and I had a blessed day free from fear and shame and guilt and any of that. In fact all I felt was ease and love and calm and peace. It’s great feeling great.
The story above was inspired to me and writing it has empowered me. In some ways it was a breakthrough moment for me. I had doubts that I could even write the piece I’d had in mind, but my inner guidance just let it happen as it was needed.
I also remembered that my past was full of beginnings that lacked middles and ends. It felt good to take on the challenge of getting my hands dirty with part of the story that had intimidated me. I took the challenge head on, moved the story forward and like the results of my efforts.
Now I’ve got this sense that I can move past that block in my creativity, and begin to see the energy transform in a big way around my writing from here on out. There is no going back now.
Thank you kindly for reading. Blessings.