Musings

Walking Within a Circle, but Moving Forward

Have you ever walked a Labyrinth? Do you know what one is?

I didn’t for the longest time but then my Mom told me about them, as she had walked one. No, it’s not a tightrope. It’s not an organized march. It’s a path. A labyrinth is a winding path within a circle…you enter…meander at your own pace…eventually reach the middle…and without even realizing that you have traveled all over within this space, you then are brought to the “exit”.  Labyrinths are different from mazes in that they aren’t meant to confuse “the walker” (apparently, I’ve seen enough episodes of The Walking Dead recently, because when I say that-The Walkers-all I can think of are zombies. Nope, this is a different ball of wax). It’s a pretty crazy puzzle of sorts and the most bizarre part is that you walk it virtually on auto-pilot. With a labyrinth, your puzzle is the one you are working out in your head and your feet are merely walking on this designated path. So, you are in control (of your thoughts) but not in control of your path (your feet). Interesting, eh? They’ve also been around forever…they have been mentioned in Greek Mythology and the Romans built some, but just for decorative purposes. Seems that the Romans were getting their HGTV on with these things. The Labyrinths, as a meditative tool, really hit the big time in the Medieval Ages (12-14th c) when they were built within the pavements of grand cathedrals. One of the most famous (as famous as a Labyrinth can get) is in Chartres Cathedral, in France.

I’m intrigued by labyrinths in the sense that they are used as a walking meditation. As someone who has wondered about meditation, hoped to try it, read countless articles about and know that the mental and physical benefits are great…YET has not really tried it beyond one 5-minute stint because hey, I’m a mom and when do I sit still that long and when I finally do, I usually fall asleep….you see where I’m going with this? BUT, the idea of walking…not having to think about my path but only concentrate on my thoughts….I like that. And so I have. Several times, in fact. The most recent being the discovery of a labyrinth on the grounds of a nearby church.  I say “discovery” with a laugh because I’ve lived in the same town now for about 12 years and have driven by this site probably no fewer than several thousand times in that period…but, hey, it’s new to me now. So, it’s a discovery. And bonus! The labyrinth is even outdoors. I’m not really a church-person at this point in my life, so this works for me. I’m liking it even more. So when my mom first told me about the labyrinths, she said you could approach it one of two ways. Go to it and start walking with something in particular to think about OR just start walking and something will inevitably pop into your head that you should focus on. And by that, I do not mean the grocery list or what you have to have dry cleaned. Think bigger for the labyrinths. I’ve done it both ways, although I really like just going and seeing what appears in my head. Somehow that makes me feel like the universe is sending me something that it feels I should mull over. I really wish I had one of these babies in my back yard…who knows, maybe someday. I’ve seen pictures of some pretty amazing, less formal and very organically made labyrinths…cut into the grass, made of hedges, out of rocks. Great, creative formations to get the brain thinking yet relaxing at the same time. What could be better than that?

If you do have one near you (do a google search, bet you will be surprised), you should try it out. Yes, it might seem a little new-agey, hippy-dippy, but I’ve found that if you suspend your judgement of it and just see where your thoughts take you, you will be pleasantly surprised. Better than attempting to meditate and just having an epic fail of falling asleep on the couch. Although, sometimes, that is perfect, too.

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8 thoughts on “Walking Within a Circle, but Moving Forward

  1. I just happened to findcome across your site and your write up Walking Within a Circle, but Moving Forward dailyfrosting. The essay you have written down really makes me think. Thanks for the write up.

  2. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

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