Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Queens Labyrinth

Matthew Matthew sent me this lovely photo of a labyrinth he walked recently in Queens.

Friends and visitors to the studio and loyal blawg readers will know I am something of a labyrinth kook. My dad tried to get me into them, but they didn't spark for me until after he had died, really.

It was 2005, and we were shooting a documentary on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and it was a little stressful, and I'd walk a labyrinth in downtown Ashland to unclutter my head.

You might try walking a labyrinth and see what happens for you. Here's how:

Find a labyrinth near you. If you are in a city with more than 3 coffee shops, that shouldn't be a problem.

Stand at the entrance of the labyrinth. Take a deep breath. Try to clear your thoughts, then enter it. Follow the path. That's it.

The labyrinth is sometimes called a walking meditation, and if you've ever tried seated meditation, you know how tricky it can be to "clear your thoughts." How do you think nothing?

As you're walking the labyrinth, rather than trying to think nothing, which seems sort of impossible, simply notice what's happening as you follow the turns and twists in the path. What do you notice? Simply observe what bubbles up.

And yes, if you can experiment with surrendering all thought, and simply be in your body as it walks, simply be a quiet, mindful walker - that's nice too.

Half way through, you will come to the center. Some people like to stand in the middle for a little while, perhaps with eyes closed, simply breathing, reflecting on the experience of the first half of the walk.

When you're ready, start walking out. Walk at a pace that feels right to you - each step deliberate and mindful, and again, trying to concentrate on being a walker through a labyrinth.

I really hope you have a chance to do this sometime. You might find it pleasant or rewarding. Perhaps the patterns of the labyrinth will illuminate some patterns of your own life. It might be nothing more than 10 minutes of peaceful being, which could be reward enough.


William Reagan said...

Wow, I had no idea there were so many labyrinths in the Portland area. Thanks for sharing.

Mark barden said...

Great one outside grace cathedral in San Fran - people take it very seriously there.

I'm principal of a said...

I believe it was Grace that kickstarted the labyrinth revival in America.


"Walking a Sacred Path" is a great read...