The labyrinth is an ancient design found in several cultures worldwide. This pattern can be found on pottery, tiles, and artwork that date back more than four thousand years. Many patterns are based on spirals within a circle, which is based on basic patterns found in nature. However, there are more modern ones that have a square shape with a spiral maze contained inside. They have become more complicated through time and the result has brought the modern maze. Where there are dead ends if you choose the wrong path.
But in their simplicity, throughout time they have been used as a spiritual tool for inner enlightenment, a way to quiet the mind, find insight, self reflection, and to reduce stress. They are a non-denominational, cross-cultural blueprint to balance the body with the mind and the mind with Spirit.
The Medicine Wheel found in the Native American Culture mirrors this design, as a pathway of our life’s journey. The Celts believed the labyrinth as a never ending circle. It is also known as the Kabala in mystical Judaism. However, one commonality many of these cultures have is this: The way in is the way out. Its geometry combines the circle and spiral into a purposeful meandering path. There are no dead ends- only finding ones center and returning to the path with a clear mind and open heart.
As I ponder this simple pattern, quiet my mind, and meditate on it, I realized this is a representation of my journey, of our journey throughout life. Joseph Campbell talked about the Hero’s Journey and how this concept is found in mythology in almost every culture. We are truly the only one that can walk the path of our lives. And as we do, we wake to the understanding that we are the hero of our own life.
As we meander, and illusion comes as feeling lost, and then we continue to move through all the twist and turns of circumstance, we come to a place of inner knowing, the center. The answers to our questions are already inside of us. We know more than we know. But it is not with the mind alone. It is a balancing of mind and heart (intuition, creativity, and the feminine doorway to all that is).
There are some that travel far and wide to reach enlightenment. They search in books, teachers, ministers, Ashrams… everything outside of themselves for the truth. And as they do, the path meanders and they find themselves back to their center, their inner knowing… their truth.
One common premise of most religions and spiritualities throughout the world is that God is within and is closer than your heartbeat. But, we must sit in our silence and quiet our mind. As we do this simple yet very challenging exercise, an epiphany comes.
It is the space between the words...
or the silence between the musical notes where all genius resides. This is where the most beautiful pieces of poetry, musical composition, artwork, and technological inventions have ever come from.
Labyrinths are common places now. They can be found throughout the land in medical centers, parks, churches, schools, prisons, cathedrals and retreat centers as well as in people's backyards. Find one close to you and enjoy the experience of heightened awareness and self exploration.
And if you are really creative, build one where you live. This can be done as a community project and a place that can be enjoyed as a sacred space for all who come your way!
Remember… The way in is the way out.
Many Blessings are your journey!
BLOG & MUSINGS BY MURIEL SHICKMAN