Monday, November 7, 2011

Walking the Labyrinth Helps Quiet the Busy Mind

I hope labyrinth Mondays have begun to tweak your interest in the experience of the labyrinth. We live such stressful lives full of demands, deadlines, and responsibilities. As a result, even the word spirituality becomes something we do or fit into our schedules, rather than something we are. Being a spiritual person is the essence of which we are and how we carve that out for ourselves is up to us and our proclivities toward different spiritual paths. Diversity is the spice of life and I do not believe there is a one spirituality that fits all. We are all different. We have different likes and dislikes, different taste in food, music, culture, and enjoy different places to visit more so than other tourist destination. We also find that we enjoy some spiritual practices more so than other spiritual practices. For instance, if you are and adult that struggles with attention deficit disorder, contemplative prayer is not going to work very well for you. Matter of fact, if you have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity or Attention Deficit Disorder, ADD) and try contemplative prayer or meditation it is possible that you will feel like a failure because it is next to impossible for you to focus or you will end up hating it and throw out all prayer as a result. The labyrinth is a perfect prayer tool for people with ADD or ADHD because the labyrinth gives you something to do while praying. It allows you to walk, to follow a simple path into the center and the same simple path out again. Because the path crosses back and forth and you have to focus on where you are walking it becomes easy for those with ADD, ADHD, high anxiety and stress to relax and let go of their brain’s demands and chatter. If the walker does not let go it is possible to misstep and lose one’s orientation and not be sure if you are coming or going which is a great metaphor for life. The nice part about using the labyrinth as a walking meditation is that the labyrinth is very forgiving. If the walker feels too disorientated, he or she can just exit and start all over again.

The ability to exit and start over again is a very graceful gift that we do not give ourselves permission to do very often in our daily life. Often we are taught once we start something we must finish it, not matter what. As a result, as we age we start less and less because we don’t want to waste our time doing something in case we don’t like it. I find it strange how we box ourselves in like that. It would be more gracious, if we gave our self permission to quit something that we don’t like or that makes us feel lost or overwhelmed. The labyrinth is always gracious, always forgiving, and always permission giving. It invites you to bring YOU just as you are to the center and experience the path as YOU experience it without expectations, demands, or formulas.

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