Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Recently the Crossnore School for children in need added a wonderful labyrinth to their grounds. For those of you who have no experience with this mode of meditation I will explain.
A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.
The term labyrinth is often used interchangeably with maze, but modern scholars of the subject use a stricter definition. For them, a maze is a tour puzzle in the form of a complex branching passage with choices of path and direction; while a single-path labyrinth has only a single path to the center. A labyrinth has an unambiguous through-route to the center and back and is not designed to be difficult to navigate.
A labyrinth has only one path. It is unicursal. The way in is the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again.
A labyrinth is a right brain task. It involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a maze many choices must be made and an active mind is needed to solve the problem of finding the center. With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not. A more passive, receptive mindset is needed. The choice is whether or not to walk a spiritual path.
At its most basic level the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.
Walking the Labyrinth
There is no right way to walk a labyrinth. You only have to enter and follow the path. Your walk can be one of a specific attitude - joyous, somber, thoughtful or prayerful. Try it out different ways - play music, sing, pray out loud, walk it alone or with lots of people. Most importantly, pay attention to your experience.
Some guidelines for walking a labyrinth:
1. Focus: Pause and wait at the entrance. Become quiet and centered. Give acknowledgement through a bow, nod or other gesture and then enter.
2. Experience: Walk purposefully. Observe the process. When you reach the center, stay there and focus several moments. Leave when it seems apporpiate. Be attentive on the way out.
3. Exit: Turn and face the entrance. Give acknowledgement of the ending, such as "Amen".
4.Reflect: After walking, reflect back on your experience. Use journaling or drawing to capture your experience.
5. Walk often.
Directions to the Crossnore Labyrinth: From Hwy 221. look for sign that reads Town of Crossnore _ Home of Crossnore School Inc., turn onto E. Crossnore Drive, travel 0.3 miles. turn right on D.A.R. Drive. The labyrinth is behind the Blair Fraley Sales Store and next to the Weaving Museum.