24 Sep God’s Labyrinth by Ney Yepez
By Ney Yépez Cortés/Translation by Tom Larsen
“Matter is the wrapping.
God is inside…
Matter is the outside, the skin,
The inside is God. ”
He had almost reached the temple gates. Stone stairways blanketed by snow were the last stumbling blocks in that delirious crossing of gorges, waterfalls and frozen forests. There, on top of the world, his broken and aching body seemed to have reached the limit of his resistance. The staircase seemed to be gigantic, tremendous, impregnable.The pain and the cold pierced him and the tears rolled down his bearded face, which was covered with frost and mud.His sobs turned into compulsive laughter, from the depths of his heart.
The seeker was euphoric, full of glory.After all these months he had reached that secret nest of knowledge.This was the end of the journey that began years ago, when the most profound and exalted thoughts impelled him in a mystical search for God. Who are we? Where are we going? Where do we come from?Spirituality, contemplation, enlightenment, harmony, they were all hollow words, meaningless.From the beginning this path had revealed to him the divine presence within him, but for this particular type of man, that was not enough.
His ego, his lack of humility, his confusion enslaved him instead of liberating him in such an exalted crusade.He was not looking for him inside but outside. And he became obsessed.He wanted to be in the physical presence of God, to see Him up close, to understand Him, to speak to Him face to face, body and soul.Thousands of books read, studies with a dozen teachers and wise men, innumerable hours of meditation and prayer, exercises to get rid of the bonds of the flesh … nothing could meet the expectations of the seeker.
To his fellow men he was almost a saint, a being beyond matter, but in his inner self he was not complete.He wanted to unify himself with the Creator, to return to his essence of light, but to remain in his present physical state. Of course, his intensity had sharpened that exalted, yet subtle desire.At times, he was aware that his search was marked by false ego and vanity, but his motivation was beyond his control and understanding. From the beginning, he had tended it carefully.
However, his mind more than his soul told him that he had not yet reached his goal, his earthly mission. The direct bridge to the cosmos must have been hidden somewhere. That is, a physical bridge for a physical being. That’s why he traveled the world seeking, questioning.Here and there men of knowledge taught him what he already knew: “God is within you, you are nothing more than a divine spark that is cultivated with human experiences.”
But that was not what he wanted to hear, what he wanted to see. He was looking for a face, a solid presence, a physical energy.”There must be someone who knows, who can tell me where he is,” he said over and over again in his thoughts.Finally, his worldwide journey put him in touch with a Buddhist scholar, one of the last hermits on the planet, who smiled from his weathered face when he heard the reason for his search.
“My son,” said the old man in his cascading voice, “what you are seeking, I found some time ago. I saw God, face to face.“Where, master? Tell me where!” exclaimed the seeker, excited.“It was in a sacred temple that is at the top of Mount Kuen Lung Ho, in the cloudy mountains. If you do not die on the way, there you will see the Supreme Creator in his physical form.”Having said that, the hermit closed his eyes and remained silent forever. The seeker, immensely grateful, buried the old man at the entrance of his cave and departed to the place that the hermit had indicated.
Winter snow and rain, hunger and fatigue raged at him, but this did not stop him from trying.”Go on, it’s nearby” he thought feverishly, clinging to life, on the verge of death, but sheltered from the cold nights by hope.That was how he found himself now outside the temple. Without the energy to rise he pushed himself along with his arms. One … two … three steps and collapsed. He sank his face into the frozen surface of the stone and let himself slip into unconsciousness. It began to rain and his rags looked like a dirty shroud, adding to his helpless image.
Minutes later, solicitous hands lifted him up and transported him to the temple, which was warm and perfumed with incense.Dry clothes, a comfortable bed and a warm sip of tea, and he woke in a fever three days later, in a clean monastic cell. In the midst of his delirium he could only perceive some shadowy figures around him, who spoke to him sweetly, and he heard the soft whisper of their robes and felt boots.After an indefinite period of time the seeker’s health was restored.
The medicinal infusions that the monks gave him delivered him from the very gates of death. Three times a day, a group of silent and smiling priests laid hands on him, transmitting healing energy. Then they fed him and left him alone. Weeks after his arrival, the seeker was able to stand and went to visit the abbot of the monastery to thank him for his attentions. He secretly longed to tell him, at the first opportunity, the reason for his presence there. It was not necessary. In some mysterious way the superior monk knew his intentions.
“So you want to see God,” he said suddenly, before the seeker had finished thanking him for the care he had received.
“How do you know?” he replied in surprise. “Because all the men who have come here are looking for the same thing.”“Well, yes … that has been the reason for my search for years.” “Dear brother, I am sorry to inform you that despite the praiseworthiness of your intention, you did not have to travel here for that.” “Am I in the wrong place?” he replied, his voice trembling with disappointment. “No, nothing like that. Here you can actually see the physical manifestation of God.
I only clarify that you could live the experience of regarding the Creator without having to travel so much and endanger your life.”“What are you talking about?” “You’ll know when you see it.”“And when will be that?” “Immediately, if you wish. However I warn you that the chapel where you will see God is in a chamber at the end of a long and complex labyrinth. If you get lost along the way, no one will help you.””And how will I know which way is right?”
“Your heart will be your guide. It will tell you how to get there. You just have to flow, trust your instincts, your intuition. That’s very easy for you … I suppose.”The seeker thought he perceived a faint hint of sarcasm in the last words, but ignored the remark. The abbot led him gently out of his cell. They went down stairs and down corridors lighted with oil lamps that emitted a pungent odor of burnt yack fat. When they entered the interior of the temple, they had arrived at the heart of the mountain. After walking for what seemed an eternity they stopped in front of a large stone portal that opened on to an irregular tunnel, illuminated by torches that hung from both walls, facing each other.
The ceiling of the passage was vaulted and seemed to swallow the light. The floor was immaculate and the air smelled purified with the scent of incense that had been impregnated in the walls for centuries.“This is as far as I can accompany you. The rest of the way you have to travel alone. I remind you that once inside the labyrinth your belief must be pure. Consider all possibilities and then choose to believe according to your deepest conviction. Just act; you must banish all indecision.”
“But the steps are safe when the road is known. In this circumstance it is impossible not to doubt …”“That is why you must believe, that is, express your deepest predilection. Belief is a rational and sentimental act; belief emanates from the will. You must let the intention emanate from yourself and have a revelation that will make you act without any hesitation, in all certainty.” “Well, it sounds very complicated,” the seeker said, “you assure me that no one can help me in there … if I’m wrong, I can go astray and die …”
“You proved, when arriving at this temple, that acts have power, particularly when the one who acts knows that it can be his last battle here on earth. There is a passionate and strange happiness in the act of knowing that this act may well be the last of life. Listen to your heart.”
The abbot remained silent and the seeker was absorbed in his reflections. After a few moments of silence he spoke.
“What will I find there? He asked as he struggled to peer into the unknown depths of the tunnel.”
“God,” the monk said confidently, before he turned and retraced his steps.
The seeker remained very still in his solitude. Armed with his courage and his emotions, he found himself penetrating the depths of the maze. Fifty steps he advanced, controlling his breathing to calm down. Suddenly the tunnel widened and opened into a large circular chamber, with the roof forming a perfect dome.In the center of this chamber was a kind of altar. A bonfire of a meter in diameter burned on it.
The fire threw off a somber glow, and created moving shadows that glided around the perimeter, merging with the dark entrances of six sub-tunnels that came from different points along the perimeter of the chamber, like the spokes of a wheel. The seeker, before all possibilities presented to him, knowing that only one of these tunnels was the correct one, gave himself wholeheartedly to the exercise of intuition suggested by the abbot.
He walked in a wide circle, pausing for a moment in front of each door, not thinking which would lead him to his goal, trying simply to flow, feeling the energy emanating from each one, immersed in subtly differentiated sensations.He turned slowly and soon he didn’t know through which tunnel he had entered the chamber. He now had seven options, seven likely paths. He sharpened his perceptions to the utmost, and after a dozen circuits he stopped in front of one of the porticos. Remembering the words of the abbot, he entered the tunnel without hesitation and advanced resolutely to face his destiny.
As he advanced, the tunnel was filled with twists, turns, and unexpected turns. A few meters from his entrance he could no longer see the light from the bonfire of the central chamber. However, the entire tunnel was illuminated with a strange and cold iridescence, similar to twilight, which showed a very visible path. He walked countless meters, up, down, turning in ambiguous circles, avoiding other entrances into new tunnels, and finally reached a small chamber about five meters in circumference.
Here was what he had longed for. The seeker understood everything in a second.He fell on his knees weeping before God materialized, his heart flooded with deep peace. In front of him, at the other end of the chamber, a large circular mirror reflected his own image, which began to throw off a subtle celestial light.