05 Dec Walking the Labyrinth: A Portal to the Sacred
As we approach the holiday season it’s a time for us to reflect and examine our own beliefs and worldviews.
In this post we explore a powerful transformative tool: the labyrinth. The following is an excerpt from my book Living Deeply: The Art and Science of Transformation in Everyday Life.
For Episcopal priest Lauren Artress, the ancient symbol of the labyrinth is a portal to the sacred. She quoted William Blake to us, “To the imagination, the sacred is self-evident” and then continued:
The self-evidence of sacredness to the imagination is something we want to nurture. The labyrinth is a great place to do this because it’s a huge symbol. It illuminates the mystery…Another way of describing the experience is that the veil is very thin in the labyrinth– people can see between the worlds where the two worlds meet.
You don’t have to be Christian to walk the labyrinth. And actually, in the broad sense, it’s an interreligious or interfaith tool, open for everybody. It is used in the Christian tradition as a path–the pilgrimage path to the New Jerusalem–which the center is called. It became a substitute for the pilgrimage to Jerusalem when the crusades made it dangerous to travel.
Within the labyrinth, because it does have sacred measurement…and…cosmic rhythms, the consciousness is truly transformed. People often get a flash of seeing that opens divine imagination and gives clear, embodied insight. We are starved for sacred beauty, rhythm, and pattern. And the fact that we are starved for beauty sets us up for transformation. When we find beauty and rhythm and pattern and color, we’re just so hungry that our consciousness is transformed.
At the end of the day, many teachers asserted that transformation boils down to embodying virtues, living a good life, and knowing what you care about then caring for it.