- Religion and Philosophy
The Way of The Labyrinth
Today being Sunday, a traditional day of reflection for many, I thought a post on the art of labyrinth walking would be appropriate. So what is a labyrinth?
According to Wikipedia, In colloquial English, labyrinth is generally synonymous with maze, but many contemporary scholars observe a distinction between the two: maze refers to a complex branching (multicursal) puzzle with choices of path and direction; while a single-path (unicursal) labyrinth has only a single, non-branching path, which leads to the center. A labyrinth in this sense has an unambiguous route to the center and back and is not designed to be difficult to navigate.
This is a very important distinction because a maze is a form of a puzzle, and you need to riddle yourself out of it. Whereas, a labyrinth is a path to another awareness or consciousness.
Why I Walk the Labyrinth
It really is a walk inward. The labyrinth at its very essence is a metaphor for our lives. It represents the life struggles we face through all its twists and turns, and reminds us of the certainty of uncertainty. When you walk the labyrinth you can get a better perspective of your problems or greater insight into situations.
I walk the labyrinth when I want to concentrate on a specific issue, or when I just want to focus attention on myself. Before I enter the labyrinth, I try to meditate on the journey ahead of me and concentrate on leaving the outside stresses behind me. Then as I enter the labyrinth I open myself up for the journey to the center.
I have included here a video of the labyrinth at The Edgar Cayce A.R.E. Center that is an exact replica of the one in the Chartres Cathedral in France. It explains why one may want to walk the walk.
The Labyrinth Walk Explained
The labyrinth is a type controlled walking where your task is to stay focused and reflect on whatever your mind says it needs to reflect on. It is a way for us to become closer to ourselves. We live such hurried lives trying to perform all the duties we are called to do. However, often times in the daily carrying out of our duties we lose sight of ourselves, and we often get sidetracked on where we actually want to be in life. For surely, we all should have a place we want to be in life and if we are not there, then the dedicated practice of walking a labyrinth can help us arrive there. The labyrinth is all about the journey. Will you take it?
At the top of this article I've a picture of the labyrinth I frequent here in New York. It is a nondenominational labyrinth called The Peace Labyrinth, built in a park after the horrors of 9/11 unfolded. It is a place to reflect on the good, and not the bad. It is a place to seek change and inspiration. It is a space of calm reflected grace. This has been my experience. It also is a very visible reminder that out of chaos can come some order.
Below is a link to The World Wide Labyrinth finder. There are so many, and many are not listed here I am sure of that. A Google search of your local area should give you plenty of good starting points.
- World-Wide Labyrinth Locator - Labyrinth Links
The World-Wide Labyrinth Locator has been designed to be an easy-to-use database of labyrinths around the world. Information about labyrinths you can visit, including their locations, pictures, and contact details, are accessible here, along with inf
After hopefully visiting a labyrinth and taking the contemplative path for yourself, you too will experience some of the moments of truth that I've discovered for myself while quietly contemplating along the winding lanes of the labyrinth. To me the labyrinth reminds me of our brains with all the twisting turning grey matter that you see on X-rays. This likening is not surprising to me either, because the labyrinth is the tool I utilize to get in tune with my unconscious mind. No one is sure as to what these twist and turns really represent as the true history of this very ancient art is lost to us. The labyrinth can mean different things to different people and that is quite as it should be.
Building a Labyrinth
Maybe you are feeling inclined to have one of your own? Many people do. Some people have enough space where they can build a very elaborate labyrinth that becomes a piece of their permanent landscape. Others buy cloth labyrinths from companies you can readily find on the internet, although I'll warn you before hand they do not come cheap.
There are many instructional videos on how to do it yourself. This is probably the best way. Think of all the positive energy you would build up while creating your own special place for contemplation. A labyrinth could be considered sacred ground or even a temple. You can use canvas to paint your own and then have it readily available whenever you'd like, or you can build one in your yard utilizing rocks or brick paving stones. Some people have even painted them on decking or patios, and just move the furniture when they are ready to take a journey within.
I've included two How To videos for all to enjoy.
How to Build a Home Labyrinth
Patterns for Building a Labyrinth
I hope you found this piece informative. If you would like to ask me any questions I will do my best to answer them. Any feed back you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Also if you go to my profile page you will find a link to my Facebook page which I will be updating regularly, but with different content. It is my goal to create a positive metaphysical resource here in this Hub where we all can learn from each other.
© Margaret Bennett