The Labyrinth of Suffering or the Labyrinth is suffering? by Megan Duenas

“He was shaken by the overwhelming revelation that the headlong race between his misfortunes and his dreams was at that moment reaching the finish line. The rest was darkness. “Damn it,” he sighed. “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?”

A labyrinth is a maze or a complex system of paths or tunnels in which it is easy to get lost.

So what were Simon Bolivar’s last words of the “labyrinth” really conveying? Even Alaska teased Miles into thinking about it; “That’s the mystery, isn’t it? Is the labyrinth living or dying? Which is he trying to escape – the world or the end of it? You figure out what the labyrinth is and how to get out of it.”

My labyrinth of suffering is the oblivious fact that all humans have to endure, the fact that there are so many questions left unanswered in the pursuit of the meaning of life and the pursuit of the meaning afterlife. The facts that all we really know about why were here is really, nothing at all. All we have is the philosophical beliefs of human nature by the famous philosophers and theorist, but really no scientific evidence stating any theories or beliefs stating how any can be true. As we stride through the tunnels and passageways of this mysterious labyrinth that Bolivar mentions in his last words, all we really use for a tool of route is our own self-judgment. So the way out of the labyrinth in my belief is to explore and find the true meaning of life. And how do we do so? What makes something meaningful in life?

I found myself walking, sitting, and standing around and thinking. Is the meaning of life, really just to have a meaning for life? Is the meaning for life for family? For the gift of friends? For the brink of dawn in the morning? For the way the sun sets in the evening? For the way the stars shine in the darkness of night? For the music that is your escape from the world after school? For the poor ice cream you devour on those lonely Friday nights watching Downton Abbey? For the lingering smell of coffee beans in Starbucks while rain pours down outside on those gloomy days? For the chance to sit next to the window during a red eye flight and being able to see city lights from 300 feet above? For the chance to survive what seemed to be something that seemed dreadful and impossible to survive at the time? For the chance to be able to inhale air, because without it you wouldn’t be alive?

What really makes one more meaningful than another? I realized the real true meaning of life does not have an exact definition. True Meaning is a made up concept and so, if that is the key to escaping suffering, we will never find it. So how do we live with the fact that there really is no meaning or truth behind how were suppose to live our life and what happens after we do? Miles says in Looking for Alaska: “We are all going, I thought, and it applies to turtles and turtlenecks, Alaska the girl and Alaska the place, because nothing can last, not even the earth itself. The Buddha said that suffering was caused by desire, we’d learned, and that the cessation of desire meant the cessation of suffering. When you stopped wishing things wouldn’t fall apart, you’d stop suffering when they did.” So the only way out of suffering is to believe ahead of time that things will fall apart, and when they do we would be ready for it? So I think one thing we have to understand is that there is no set way to be a person, and no set way to escape the labyrinth. And we have to accept that answer and move on and live and just bear the fact that everything we believe is uncertain, and that includes our fate. If you’re a religious person, then I believe the right word is faith. To have faith in the beliefs you choose to have faith in and if you don’t believe in religion believe in yourself, and be content with the fact we were put on this planet for who knows what reason, and at the end of the day be okay with that.

As John Green once said, “Thomas Edison’s last words were, ‘It’s very beautiful over there.’ I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful.”