On Wednesday, October 9, we’ll be walking the labyrinth by the Waterfront. According to the Labyrinth Society, a labyrinth is a single path or unicursal pattern/tool for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. Found in many spiritual and cultural traditions, a labyrinth has long been used as a meditative and prayerful tool. The journey into a labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and to y closer connection with the divine.
At first glance, a labyrinth can look like a maze. But there is only one way in to the center and one way out back in to our everyday lives. There is no way to get lost and there are no dead ends.
The labyrinth can be seen as a metaphor for our own lives. At times in our lives, we can feel like we are in a maze – lost, confused, not on the right path, and disconnected from our center. Sometimes we can feel far away our center; sometimes we can feel closer to our center, content, and at ease. If we just take “the next right step” in front of us in a slow, prayerful or purposeful pace, we can trust that our journey will lead us through a life well lived.
As we walk the labyrinth, we slow down our pace. we let go of outside distractions and come into our present moment experience of walking. On our way to the center of the labyrinth, we encounter our habitual patterns of thinking, feeling, acting, and relating. With mindfulness and compassion, we can acknowledge these patterns without judgment or trying to figure them out or fix them, and bring our attention back to our walking. Sometimes we can get distracted by these habitual patterns or what his happening outside the labyrinth. In those times, we can just keep gently returning our awareness to our feet on the earth and the feel of our breath coming into our body and leaving our body. As we slowly walk, just focusing on this step, our feet and our breath, allowing everything to be as it is, we arrive at the center. We feel centered.
But we don’t remain in the center. We are called to return back again out into the world, carrying with us the peace that we encountered on our journey. In life, we need daily moments of recentering so that when we are “out in the world” we can remain centered in peace and what is most important. Feeling more connected and aligned with who we truly are, no matter what comes our way, we take steps that are mindful, compassionate, and loving – to ourselves and this world.
I hope you will join us on Wednesday, October 9. We will leave promptly from Healy Circle at 1 pm, take a nice brisk walk to the labyrinth, spend some meditative time walking the labyrinth, and then return together.
Last year, we walked the labyrinth in silence. And though none of us knew each other before meeting, as we walked back to campus, we commented that there was a felt sense of connection between us that was palpable and heart-opening.
Register HERE to join us.
This article was written by Lisa A. McCrohan, MA, LICSW, RYT and Wellness Workshop Facilitator.