Riverside Healing Arts Center

7 Path Classic Cretan Labyrinth
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What is a Labyrinth?


11 Circuit Chartres
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A Labyrinth is a unicursal creature; its single pathway leads the Journeyer into its center and out again. Unlike the left brain activity required to navigate a maze, there are no decisions to make, no anxiousness that accompanies deciding which way to go, no self criticism that one has taken a “wrong” turn. Instead, one travels the path of the Labyrinth with a sense of surety born of the knowing that one will, absolutely, be taken to the safety of the Center and be brought back out again, to the secure hearth of their “normal” life. It is a journey of Faith, where the way through a maze is one of logic. There is a security in knowing that there will be no unpleasant surprises, no getting lost, no being led astray no matter how much the pathway seems to lead you further in or further away from the center. In the loving walls of the Labyrinth, one learns to trust, one can fully relax and simply follow the Path.

There is a distinct sense of purpose in the Labyrinth. The walk to the center is not without meaning, and for each individual who makes the Journey, the meaning is unique, intimate, personal. It may twist and turn but it never deceives or leaves the Journeyer unsatisfied. There is always the sense of having somehow arrived....safely, effortlessly.

Labyrinths hold the secrets of humans and the history of the earth and sky. They are sacred places that offer sweet refuge and clear space for the stressed and cluttered modern mind. To enter the Labyrinth is to assent to an encounter with the numinous. Who or what will we meet in its folds and at its center? Who and what will we choose to leave behind as we wend our way through it? Who and what will we rush to embrace as we are released from the center, sent on our way back home to the outer world?

Consciously walking the Labyrinth is to dance a waltz in which your own heart is partnered with the Great Mystery. There is no right way to walk a labyrinth. Each person chooses the level of meaning and purpose of this Dance. Walking in toward the Center, we might release old beliefs that are limiting us in life. Waiting silently in the Center, we might pray there to receive inspiration, to be illumined and enlivened. Walking back out, we bring our renewed and rekindled spirits back to the workaday world, willing to be the paradox of being courageously vulnerable.

The waltz might be Seeking, Discovery, Communicating. It might be Naming a Sorrow, Healing, Desiring to help others. Whatever your dance is, the Labyrinth will take you to its deepest meanings, if you give it permission.

Traversing the Labyrinth is like taking a tour through the curves and folds of your own brain. Finding yourself at the center, you realize that you were everywhere on the path, as well. Wherever you go, you are there. And yet, there is a momentous poise of Being there at the Center. Have you returned to the origin of your life/all life? Are you recapitulating a Big Bang on your way out?

For centuries, Labyrinths provided the space for meditation, prayer, and self reflection. We are entering a time when the treasures of this precious tool are being rediscovered and passionately pursued. A Labyrinth readily surrenders its secrets up to the sincere seeker. I invite you to walk its Path of Grace with me.

Riverside Healing Arts Center

Deborah Yaffee, CH