Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Walking the Labyrinth

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For those of you who live in the Tulsa area, you might like to know that a labyrinth is painted on an area of pavement at Hunter Park between Yale and Sheridan on the south side of 91st Street. Krena White told Cynthia about it and Cynthia and I went to see it on our lunch hour yesterday. You might like to read up on the labyrinth as a form of walking meditation on the web page simply called, "The Labyrinth". Here's an excerpt:
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.

A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life's journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to "That Which Is Within."

Labyrinths and mazes have often been confused. When most people hear of a labyrinth they think of a maze. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns, and blind alleys. It is a left brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into the maze and out.

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 can be very powerful. I know because I've done it several times and have been deeply moved by the experience; I enthusiastically recommend it. I also want to remind you that we have a wooden finger labyrinth at the Center. You can come early for class or for an appointment and pick up the labyrinth from the front of the meditation hall. Hold it in your lap or lay it on the floor in front of you. Then slowly, mindfully trace the indented path with your finger. Tracing the path is then your support for meditation.


  1. Anonymous10:51 AM

    For those readers who live in the Oklahoma City area, there is a labyrinth outside Mercy Hospital just to the left of the main hospital entrance. Anyone is welcome to walk it.
    Carolyn L.

  2. Anonymous6:05 PM

    If anyone lives in the Lansing MI area, there is a lovely outdoor Chartres style labyrinth at Sparrow Hospital, in the courtyard of the the professional building across Michigan Avenue from the main complex.



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