My talking to a group of fifteen people this evening about my talking to stones in the UU labyrinth this morning was accepted better than last week’s revelations. Somehow that previous conversation about “How may I help you?” got distorted away from my attempt of trying to learn how to help people. My goal has been to practice asking penetrating questions, one after another, to a labyrinth of about a thousand football-sized stones. After the question is asked I look carefully at the stone. I have a natural tendency that after I ask a question I look to the other for their response. This response comes as clearly to me if I ask a stone as if I ask a person. In the couple of seconds I looked at one of these labyrinth stones, their qualities of uniqueness, beauty and challenges of their history were very strong.
As I walked the labyrinth the stones began telling me different things. Obviously this wasn’t stones talking to me, it was my own mind doing the talking as it was stimulated by those stones. As my cogitations proceeded the conversation moved from them displaying their physical qualities, which as I implied above were spectacular, to a display of their unique history. Some of them were filled with bubbles frozen from their volcanic origins as basalt, others were sedimentary with various layers of different stuffings, others were various forms of crystalized minerals, and some of them were solidified mixtures of all sorts of smaller stones that had each gone through some personal process to become what they were. All of these stones were covered with a frosting of ice and many had mosses. The mosses were in a visible struggle for their life’s resources, each grabbing nutrients and sunshine from their place in reality.
In this display of their long histories they began challenging me as to my relatively very short existence as a unique being. Eighty-two years compared to thousands, or millions, or perhaps even some identifiable solid pieces that were billions of years old. When they said that I felt that my life was small compared to their existence. Furthermore, my body won’t hold together as an identifiable entity for long compared to theirs. To them I am like a cloud blowing by in the sky, very temporary and in their frame of reference very insignificant.
“What do you need?” From me? Absolutely nothing! Nothing to continue my existence. Perhaps I could do them my best deed by covering them up somewhere no human would ever find or disturb them. But in my self-centered human way it seemed to me that they were asking to be recognized, to be accepted for what they were, to be loved, and respected.
Later I was looking into the faces of humans asking, “What do you need?”