Circumambulating Through the Mists of Indifference:

Seeing With New Eyes

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.” 1

 

Indifference is like a slowly forming fog that goes unnoticed until, heavy and enshrouded, the thick embankment of its pervasive presence is obscuring our vision and dulling our perceptions.

Miriam Webster defines indifference several ways: “marked by a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern for something : APATHETIC :marked by impartiality : UNBIASED :characterized by lack of active quality : NEUTRAL and not differentiated, capable of development in more than one direction”.

If this experience has to do with a ‘lack of active quality’ and is related to undifferentiated potential, I wonder what is possible by entering into rather than resisting this all-encompassing dullness. I take my inquiry to the forest to walk the labyrinth.

As I cross the parking lot to the path that leads to the labyrinth, a palpable shift is felt in my body. Here in the forest I am at once grounded and expanded. Some invisible, tightly woven membrane begins to soften. There is a sense of relief trickling through my being like life giving waters beginning to seep through the crevices of dry earth.

I approach the large stone ridged labyrinth, pause to gather my intention, ground in my body, and set out. Nearly half of the labyrinth is bathed in sunlight, and a little over half is in shadow. A perfect metaphor for what I am walking with today as I wonder what the light and shadow within my own being have to show me.

I find myself very close to the center almost immediately, yet the path turns abruptly leading me to the far reaches of the periphery instead. I will need to weave throughout every level of every quadrant of the labyrinth before I reach the center. Resistance floods through my body as heaviness. I acknowledge the resistance without trying to change it as I continue to move.

As I weave in and out of light and shadow, the swish of pant legs and rhythmic footsteps create a musical fugue with the song birds and rustling trees. I feel the heaviness shift and resistance melt in the warmth of the late summer air meeting the boundary of my flesh. I gather four pine cones from the path as I approach center.

Once there, without thinking, I find myself orienting westward- the direction of endings-of letting go. I notice that the sun is shifting so that the labyrinth is now exactly halflight and half shadow. I place a pinecone at the center of the labyrinth to the west, and then one in every direction upon the community altar shared by all who pilgrimage here with their own questions, prayers, and offerings. Here at the center, I sit in the east of new beginnings as I face westward toward endings. I lay on the grass supported by the solidity of earth as my mind empties to blue sky in full surrender.

As I rise to stand, the sun has shifted again so that there is now more light than shadow. I marvel at the way nature clearly mirrors and supports our aliveness, and how our bodies instinctively send us signals when something is or isn’t quite right, and at the undeniable synchronicity of events that are ever present- informing and offering support and wisdom when we have eyes to see and ears to hear. In this way, we are entered by the divine- mystery- allowing us to embody our deepest humanity.

As I weave my way out of the center, I emerge anew. There is no earth shattering revelation. Instead, a palpable softening and opening catalyzes a shift of my inner landscape like the caress of a soft breeze rustling through the trees, or like a gentle stream that will slowly carve a new shape into even the hardest of stone. Over time, this small change will evolve. Into what I cannot yet know.

The deadening drone of indifference has now shifted. What was lacking in active quality has now been enlivened through movement, intention, and surrender. Indifference is neither good nor bad, but simply a state of being that is merely one step in the dance. By fully entering indifference- what was undifferentiated- I discover and give form to what is needed.

It is in these simple, regular, quiet rituals that the larger aspects of life are contained, shaped, and allowed to form, in-form, and re-form our lives. Where spirit and matter meet and intermingle giving creative impulse to the flowering of our souls. Bit, by bit, by bit…

 

“Some say that my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,

this loftiness has roots that go deep.

I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,

you reconcile all beings in the world.” 2

 

1 T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets (Harcourt, Inc. 1943, Copyright renewed 1971), 59

2 Lao-Tzu; Translated by Stephen Mitchell, The Tao Te Ching (Harpercollins 1991)

 

 

 

 

About the Author: Monique Gaboury is a licensed acupuncturist, in Freeland, WA, specializing in Alchemical Acupuncture. She loves sharing her passion for natural healing at her clinic and through writing her blog ’Nourishing Change Through Connection’.

Juniper Medicine Alchemical Acupuncture serving the greater Seattle area on Whidbey Island. To schedule an appointment call 360-672-1506 or email contact@junipermedicinewhidbey.com.

 

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