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The Labyrinth

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The Labyrinth

Consider the labyrinth. Simply let your eyes and your imagination explore it. Notice its grace, beauty and balance. Imagine tracing that path with your finger and notice the concentration it takes. Thatís why it has been a sacred tool for more than 1000 years. It stills the conscious mind so that deeper consciousness and wisdom can come forward with insights, perspectives and understandings that are important to you now. These are things you already know, but cannot get in touch with because of the busy-mindedness of everyday life.

One walks the labyrinth in silence or using soft toning or humming. There are no dead-ends. The path goes back and forth until, when one reaches the 6-petaled rose in the center, it is always a surprise. Allow yourself time to make the walk or to copy this drawing and trace it with your finger. If you are walking an attended labyrinth, feel free to take some additional time afterwards to talk confidentially with one of the attendants or to sit near the candlelit altar that is often present. Bring a flower or token for the altar if you wish. 

The labyrinth is an example of what is called Sacred Geometry  the foundation for the building of all of the Great Cathedrals of Europe and England. They were built over a period of more than a century -- in the case of Chartres, 150 years. And there were no written plans and specifications as such, though the Chief Builders  of which there were necessarily several over time -- would make designs and drawings on clay tablets from time to time. The reason this could be done was because the crafts understood the rules of proportion and relationship well enough to be able to do their work without moment by moment supervision. That learning is called Sacred Geometry and so precious was it, that it was kept secret and shared only with other members of the secret societies such as the Knights Templar and eventually, the Masons.  So harmonious was their design, that at Chartres, for example, if the Rose window on the West wall were laid down on the floor of the Cathedral, it would cover more or less exactly, the rose at the center of the labyrinth embedded in the cathedralís floor.

The inner stillness and peace this pattern represents and invokes is a state of being most appropriate for engagement in all of life activities, including conflict resolution. In ancient cathedrals, the labyrinth was either embedded in the floor, as it is at Chartres, or placed on a wall at the entrance where worshippers could trace its pattern with their fingers before entering, thus symbolically and actually leaving the cares and concerns of the world behind in order to be receptive to divine wisdom, peace, clarity, acceptance, love.

What we bring to the world is only our selves. When our self is in inner turmoil, wracked by fear, fear is what we bring. When the inner self is still, the real, true being that we are, come forward and stillness is what we bring. Walking the labyrinth is to experience that inner stillness, as the labyrinthís intricate steps gently take the conscious mind out of the way.

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Last updated: 07/11/09

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