Threading the Labyrinth
by Brother Snow Christian aka Kris Schnee
It's time for us to rebuild the labyrinth. Mazes have been with us since ancient times, in the tunnels of the Pyramids, the mysteries of the Nazca Lines, and the dangers of Minos' Labyrinth. Today we have them in the form of games and puzzles, but these have lost their connection to their original purpose. Real mazes were built for spiritual reasons, and we use them now without understanding their true power for deepening our connection to God.
Minos' Labyrinth, from Greek myth, was designed to trap the half-human, half-bull Minotaur so that it could not terrify Crete's human population. The Minotaur was the Queen's own son, a creature everyone feared for his bestial habits, and King Minos used Dædalus' ingenuity to lock the creature away. The plan worked because the Minotaur was only a beast, unable to think or make plans to escape. It took two captive humans, Dædalus and his son Icarus, to find the way out -- by looking beyond the walls to the open sky. Father and son made birds of themselves and flew away, while the Minotaur continued to bash pointlessly at the unsolvable maze.
How many of us live like the Minotaur? How often do we look up and see how high the walls really are, or if those walls are even real? The maze is the sinful world we live in. We are cut off from God because we choose not to lift our eyes to the heavens. Instead, we should ask God to show us the way to transformation, the way out of the maze, by making wings for ourselves out of the wax and feathers scattered across our lives. The sad fate of Icarus, who flew too high, shows us that ingenuity alone cannot bring us closer to God. Instead we must trust in His favorable winds, and let ourselves rise in His own good time.
Medieval labyrinths seem un-American, even un-Christian: There is no way to win. These traditional designs are basically spirals etched on the ground or marked with stones. One follows the spiral in and out, as a physical act of meditation. One use of the labyrinth is to remind us of the essential pointlessness of the worldly path. As long as we are tied to our physical humanity and lost in our own thoughts, we can never achieve the victory God wants us to have. Though walking the labyrinth seems boring in this time of fast, base entertainment, there is a way we can adapt it to our daily lives to create an active, exciting expression of the spirit.
The solution is, of course, Dance Dance Revolution. The moving arrows of this video-game point the way to a meditation technique that energizes body, soul, and groove. As you stomp the dance pad, forget about the distractions all around and let the physical activity and music entrance you. Become like a whirling dervish, offering your motion to God and experiencing a oneness with the Spirit, the universe's true Master of the Beat. May the rising arrows lift your soul.
It's important to remember that this modern spiritual practice is an inner revolution, a dance dance revelation, and not merely a profane contest. Islam is of course a lesser faith, but not entirely without value; of particular significance to the topic at hand, it teaches that there is both a 'lesser jihad', to slay the wicked, and a 'greater jihad', a struggle against the evil that dwells within oneself. It is the greater jihad that we seek. The fact that some of us have never earned better than a B in Light Mode does not make us inferior, for though the arrows elude us, we are strong in the Holy Spirit for trying. Encourage others to play, and applaud them regardless of their score. It would be wrong to grade others based on such mundane notions as their 'level' or what they've 'cleared', or on how many quarters they've devoted to the cause; indeed, it would likewise be wrong to withhold mysteries like the random-song trick out of a feeling of superiority.
The standard 'orthogonal' dance pads are the only proper ones for Christian prayer. The four arrows (right, left, forward, and back) recall the Stations of the Cross or, for lesser faiths, the four winds, elements, or directions. Using a five-way pad promotes a kind of selfishness as you stomp the central tile repeatedly, as if saying, "Me, me, me," and the other arrows' diagonal placement forces you to move aggressively, unnaturally.
The feeling of the dance is the same ecstasy which spiritual pilgrims of olden times could only gain outdoors and through harsh physical deprivation. Our new practice recalls the American Indians' vision quests, in which young braves sought contact with a totem animal who would lead them to God. The dance serves us as the journey into the wilderness did them, and it replaces the medieval walking of the lines. When we are alone with the beat, all our worldly cares are stripped away. We do not think of the game or our feet or the audience; only of playing our part, to the best of our abilities, in a Song larger than ourselves.
Go now, and with this insight seek the Light Mode!