Many cultures have created and used labyrinths over the long course of human history.
- Farther back in history, they were used to help people connect and re-connect with the earth. They were located outdoors.
- Later on in history, some faith communities have used them to help the person get close to their Higher Power, or to re-establish that connection. They were located in sacred spaces indoors and outdoors.
- More recently, we see them in many places: hospitals, schools, spas, prisons, parks, and retreat centers. Because now we know the benefits of meditation, and a labyrinth can be a meditative tool.
Defensive? Stubborn? One-sided? Doing it on our own? Figuring it out by ourselves?
When you walk the labyrinth you have to break those things down. It’s a very simple process of overcoming our own resistance, and our own defensiveness. It’s stepping out of our comfort zone and trusting the process. We can believe in it enough to try it, or not. We can try it out and see the results, or not.
Sometimes one of the most simple of the results is that it’s grounding. We can be intentional and feel our feet on the earth below us.
But what else about a labyrinth? It’s one of those rare things in life that is both a metaphor and a practical skill.
The labyrinth is an object, a process, and a puzzle. We can’t do our thinking, our recovery, or our life all on our own. And it’s good to get out of our own way. Sometimes we need a little help to get out of our own way. And sometimes, we need a little help that’s not from another person. The lessons we learn in the labyrinth can help during times like that. And at other times too.
- Sometimes our own mind can seem like a labyrinth – so the labyrinth can help as a tool of practical problem solving and self-calming.
- The recovery experience can be a like a labyrinth – and we can benefit from a guided process, rather than over-reliance on intellectual problem-solving.
- And the experience of life can be like that – a path we walk but for which it’s best if we make sure to not have all the answers.
It’s like a labyrinth is both the container and the contained. Can we just be willing to enter the process?