Getting lost these days may seem almost impossible. In the age of geolocation, perhaps losing one’s way is even a privilege, in that getting lost is also a paradoxical opportunity to find oneself. It just may be that the space or place where we get lost isn’t so important. Getting lost is a decision (or at least an act of acceptance), and the possibilities —as enticing as they are creepy— are infinite in that the experience, above all, nurtures our freedom.

If we’re to speak of people who like to get lost —because yes, there are some who’ve dedicated their lives to it— in an urban context specifically, it was Walter Benjamin who (having also developed one of the most fascinating theories of sleep) knew how to speak of such people more accurately, and even poetically. The flaneur, a French term referring to a street tramp and extracted by Benjamin from the poetry of Baudelaire, helped him to speak of the urban experience and the modern inhabitants of cities. It’s this character who travels directionless, subjected to dumb luck and destiny. For Benjamin, the only way to really know a given realm is to get lost in it, thus this idea might well be transported into life itself.

For all these reasons, perhaps one of the oldest symbols related to getting lost, the maze, is also an unbeatable method of meditating. Because getting lost implies its own confusion and fear, but also acceptance, the journey through the labyrinth, is an act of humility. It’s also a lesson in that it involves discovery, surprise, catharsis and belonging in the present moment  —all necessary tools for navigating the reality we all inhabit.

More than ever, today being lost can be considered an art because learning to prowl with no particular direction, with no destination, is an indispensable and enticing journey. It’s a way of invoking, and (perhaps) finding one’s fate, although that too has never been defined. The important thing is, then, the journey rather the arrival. It’s a chance to be surprised, something which in our own age —when trips are planned according to schedules, programs, and even weather— remains indispensable.

Today, we love to know where we are, to be safe —our sense of illusory certainty. When reaching a destination is the last of our desires, then we’ve understood the importance of getting lost. It’s for the simple pleasure of being oneself and because losing ourselves lets us see what, in familiar territory, we cannot see. Because freedom and spontaneity are awakened, because the senses are awakened, and because there’s risk and adventure, it’s still essential to get lost from time to time.

Image: Public domain

Getting lost these days may seem almost impossible. In the age of geolocation, perhaps losing one’s way is even a privilege, in that getting lost is also a paradoxical opportunity to find oneself. It just may be that the space or place where we get lost isn’t so important. Getting lost is a decision (or at least an act of acceptance), and the possibilities —as enticing as they are creepy— are infinite in that the experience, above all, nurtures our freedom.

If we’re to speak of people who like to get lost —because yes, there are some who’ve dedicated their lives to it— in an urban context specifically, it was Walter Benjamin who (having also developed one of the most fascinating theories of sleep) knew how to speak of such people more accurately, and even poetically. The flaneur, a French term referring to a street tramp and extracted by Benjamin from the poetry of Baudelaire, helped him to speak of the urban experience and the modern inhabitants of cities. It’s this character who travels directionless, subjected to dumb luck and destiny. For Benjamin, the only way to really know a given realm is to get lost in it, thus this idea might well be transported into life itself.

For all these reasons, perhaps one of the oldest symbols related to getting lost, the maze, is also an unbeatable method of meditating. Because getting lost implies its own confusion and fear, but also acceptance, the journey through the labyrinth, is an act of humility. It’s also a lesson in that it involves discovery, surprise, catharsis and belonging in the present moment  —all necessary tools for navigating the reality we all inhabit.

More than ever, today being lost can be considered an art because learning to prowl with no particular direction, with no destination, is an indispensable and enticing journey. It’s a way of invoking, and (perhaps) finding one’s fate, although that too has never been defined. The important thing is, then, the journey rather the arrival. It’s a chance to be surprised, something which in our own age —when trips are planned according to schedules, programs, and even weather— remains indispensable.

Today, we love to know where we are, to be safe —our sense of illusory certainty. When reaching a destination is the last of our desires, then we’ve understood the importance of getting lost. It’s for the simple pleasure of being oneself and because losing ourselves lets us see what, in familiar territory, we cannot see. Because freedom and spontaneity are awakened, because the senses are awakened, and because there’s risk and adventure, it’s still essential to get lost from time to time.

Image: Public domain