By walking the labyrinth, we discover a long forgotten mystical tradition that is resurfacing in many places. The labyrinth is a powerful symbol of spiritual journey that was introduced into medieval prayer practice when traditional pilgrimages to the holy land became too dangerous for most travelers. Both in that time, and in our time, people have found it helpful for meditation.
The labyrinth has only one path so there are no tricks and no dead ends. The path winds throughout and becomes a mirror for where we are in our lives; it touches our sorrows and releases our joys. So, walk it with an open mind and an open heart.
Scarritt Bennett Center’s outdoor labyrinth is a seven-circuit medieval labyrinth. It is open every day during daylight hours and is located in the International Peace Garden. The entry to our outdoor labyrinth is in front of the Gibson Hall arched window.
There are three stages of the walk:
Purgation. Purgation is a releasing, a letting go of the details of your life. This is an act of shedding thoughts and emotions. It quiets and empties the mind.
Illumination. Illumination can happen anytime, but most often when you reach the center. Stay there as long as you’d like. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive.
Union. Union is with God, your higher power, and/or the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work you feel your soul is reaching for.
Guidelines for the walk:
– Clear your mind and become aware of your breath.
– Allow yourself to find the pace your body wants to go. You may pass people, or let others step around you, whichever is easiest at the turns.
– The path is two ways. Those going in will meet those going out.
– Keep your eyes soft and your heart open. Do what feels natural.