Thursday, June 16, 2011

My First Labyrinth Walk

So I finally got to walk a labyrinth yesterday. I have been fascinated with them for years, but I didn’t know we had one in Anchorage that was open to the public until recently. I first became interested in labyrinths in my goddess studies, but I walked the local one with my Buddhist Small Group. That is one of the things I love about labyrinths – they are so ecumenical. Pagans, Christians, Buddhists, people of wildly diverse religious faiths all find usefulness and beauty in this walking meditative tool. What could be more UU than that?

This won’t be the last time I use the local labyrinth at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, but on this first walk one metaphor stuck with me. As I walked, there was a moment when I had to step out, another moment when I had to balance precariously, and a final moment in which I stood firm in stability on both feet. I repeated that pattern, which we all do every day without thinking about it, over and over again. That pattern is like life and we repeat it metaphorically all our lives. There are times when we have to get inspired and venture out into something we have never done before, times when we don’t really know what we are doing and might fail, and times when we are stable and sure in what we are doing. To get anywhere though, we have to step out again. The thing that both surprised me and didn’t was how much I enjoy the unstable part of each step. That is something worth paying attention to.

Another group of women followed our group through the labyrinth and they were clearly much more organized than we were. Their beautiful chanting enhanced the whole experienced and changed it for me. The labyrinth walk became an evolution and I learned to step and sway in their rhythm. While I started the walk focusing on Buddhist-style mediation, I finished it like a pagan. I am pretty happy with that.