Following the advice Gailand Macqueen gives in his book, The Spirituality of Mazes and Labyrinth, which I told you about in my previous post, I took Georgia to a spiritual journey on the trail of the labyrinth of the Unity Church of Sussex, NJ.
To arrive at the church, I had to go through a maze of charming little roads and a bucolic neighborhood, just to get me in the right spirit!
The church shied away from the road, and overlooked a landscape of soft and green hills. The labyrinth was at the end of the parking lot. A blue sign and a wooden doorway pointed out its entrance. Nobody was there; the church was closed on this Wednesday morning. It was very quiet and only birds seemed to enjoy the place.
The labyrinth was smaller than I had expected. It was made of stone and followed the pattern of the seven-ringed labyrinth, the Cretan labyrinth.
Nothing scary here, no walls or old hedges, only the stones on the ground showed the way. There were flowers and plants around it and the grass started to take over the place. A bench on the side invited visitors to sit and just relax. The Peace pole on the side looked like the guardian of the place.
I breathed deeply and started my way into the labyrinth. I could already felt its calming effect.
Even if the labyrinth looked small from the entrance, the turns of the path made it longer. I could see the center, but I could not reach it directly. Sometimes, when I was about to attain it, the path went the other way. I knew I was getting there, but I had to follow the path all the way. One thing that labyrinths can teach us is the way of patience!
The gravel under my feet made a regular and familiar sound, and I was walking serenely. At that moment, I heard a noise in the wood behind me, and the only thing I could think of was I hope it is not a bear! I needed a completely new ring to take the bear of my mind!
I concentrated on my steps and on my breathing.
Labyrinth is the symbol of our way through life, and we can see the center as the end, death or heaven depending on what you prefer. When I was going back to the start, I realized the path had a different perspective, and it was not the same path.
In our life, we always set goals to achieve, like the center of the labyrinth. We are concentrated on the goal, but we barely think about what we are going to do afterwards. What are the lessons we are going to keep? How are we going to use what we have learned during our first walk on our way to the center?
Maybe this is why so many of us are procrastinators, always waiting until after tomorrow to start working on our dreams. Maybe, we are not afraid of reaching our goal, but of how we are going to live after we get it.
Then, I remembered how Macqueen explained that some people listen to music while they walked the labyrinth and dance on it. I could definitively understand that now, and I even had happy feet. I hesitated though; maybe the bear was watching me. It looks like it’s not that easy to get out of my comfort zone after all.
At the end of each description of labyrinth and maze, Macqueen asks the same question: “How did I feel while I followed the labyrinth?”
Well, all the way to the center, I really enjoyed my experience and, as I reached the center, I felt good. Walking a Labyrinth is a very simple way to help meditate, or at least, a way to clear our mind. In addition, it’s fun.
Like in life, there is no right and wrong of being who we are on a labyrinth. We can create our own dance and not be afraid to dance it. If the people in our life dance the same way, it would be a great walk, but if not, they would have to accept our dance, or dance on another labyrinth.
If there is a labyrinth by your place, go there and walk its paths. Check locations of labyrinth on this web site:
Here is the link for the Unity Church of Sussex, NJ