The Labyrinth as a Wisdom Tool
Walking a labyrinth is a symbolic and very personal journey. There is no right way to walk a labyrinth. It is not necessarily a wisdom, or meditation tool, for everyone. For many people, walking a labyrinth is a group experience. They are walking a canvas labyrinth with many people, having to step aside at times to let another walker pass. Even that experience holds profound symbolism for a life journey. How do we keep heading toward our own enlightenment while allowing others to do the same? Are we all on different paths or is there really only One path and we just need to allow ourselves and each other to progress toward the center or goal. Even then, it is not complete. We begin our journey again, out from the center and back into the world.
The labyrinth is an ancient symbol, one of mythology, one of religious meditation, and one of personal journey. My first experience walking the path was at a centering prayer retreat in Pennsylvania. It was a large outdoor labyrinth and I was walking it alone in the evening. At that point I didn’t know anything about a labyrinth but I began my personal connection with its magical qualities instantly.
Since that time I have walked a number of labyrinths both with groups and alone. I have to admit, I like walking alone the best. One brisk fall morning, just as the sun was rising I had the pleasure of walking the labyrinth at the Franciscan Retreat Center during a meditation retreat in Colorado. The ground was lightly dusted with snow and no one had entered the sacred path. My footsteps were the first to enter and the first to exit, all the while I was watching the changing colors of the sky and hillside as the sun rose above the eastern foothills.
My approach to the labyrinth is to enter the path after prayer and to use the journey to the center to release that which no longer serves me. Once in the center I spend time in silence. As I work my way back out I open my heart and mind to all that I can think to claim for my highest good and purpose.
I love the way the path first moves close to the center and then away. It is so much like life. We believe that we are nearing our destination, only to see that the path holds many more turns, many more opportunities for growth and personal evolution. How beautiful.
I am currently working on fiber art projects that involve the creation of labyrinths. I use hand dyed silk fibers and create colorful silk fusion which is then cut into the shape of a labyrinth much like the one at the Cathedral in Chartres. What a fun and joyous expression of color, texture and meditation!
Gratitude and blessings abound.