Labyrinth Insight Walk

3936424358cd1c8321e73eccfbe97c50The light from each candle defined the dark perimeter of the nearly thirty foot labyrinth painted on the floors of Arcadia studios.  On this rainy and very soggy night of Winter Solstice weekend, it seemed a fitting ritual to partake in such a contemplative walk and reflect inward on the turning of this season toward the light.

I’ve walked many a labyrinth in my life, Chartes Cathedral in France, Findhorn in Scotland, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and numerous retreat centers across the country.  But this experience, like every sojourn, was unique in it’s perspective.

When I first arrived, there were only a few participants, mainly staff, taking their turn through the maze.  The music playing in the background was hypnotic, so I closed my eyes and meditated on being present in this special evening.  When I opened my eyes several minutes later, there were seven people walking through the labyrinth.  Watching each person twist and turn, some walking faster than the other was a fascinating observation in itself.  A metaphor of how some of us rush through life, some take their time, some don’t seem to look like they know where they are going, and so forth.

When the next person exited the path, I made my way toward the entrance and soon I was a part of this dance we all were doing, walking, twisting, turning, walking some more, twisting again, and so forth.

Because there were so many of us, I never felt ‘alone’ because we would be walking next to each other at every turn.  When the people who had reached the center began walking back, they often entered the same path I was on, so we both made space, like two cars trying to pass each other on a narrow road.

At some points, it all felt very confusing, like, who was going where, and who was right, who was wrong, and then I just had to laugh internally at noticing my judgements.  We ALL were on the path, and really, it doesn’t lead anywhere in particular.  As the saying goes, ‘it’s the journey, not the destination’.

When I finally walked the whole maze, and came out the other end, I took a few minutes and just sat with those thoughts.

I closed my eyes again and meditated for awhile.  When I opened them, all those people had left and there was no one now in the labyrinth.  It was just quietly being outlined by all those candles defining it.

I went up to the entrance for the second time and began walking it slowly, having it all to myself.  But that entitled sense was soon overwhelmed by the feeling of loneliness on walking the path without anyone around.

Such a stark contrast to the walk just minutes before.  I realized that the people who were walking with me actually helped define the experience.  When they were to my right,  I had to be to the left.  When they were in front of me, I was in back.  When I was walking fast, they were walking slow, and so forth.

Just like the lines on the floor defined the shape of the maze, without them, there would only be an open, bare floor.  These polarities, the contrast of the other people and myself, or their opposite behaviors are necessary to actually make sense of the experience.

Walking the labyrinth alone allowed this insight to surface, but it was walking it with others that yielded the idea of needing polarity to define experience.

I look forward to the other contemplative classes and events I have planned for this solstice weekend and will continue to share the discoveries.

Copyright 2019 Eileen Dey Wurst

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