One of the great teachers on my spiritual journey has been the labyrinth. It has imparted a great number of surprising insights over the years, and its winding path that leads me inexorably into its Center has been a potent symbol for me.
One important lesson the labyrinth has taught me is that life is not linear. First it takes us one way, and then it turns us around to go in the opposite direction. And yet every twist and turn and about-face is leading us to the same singular destination: the Center of our Self, the place of our own Wisdom.
I suppose this aspect of the labyrinth has been on my mind recently because I’ve been feeling myself turning toward some new directions.
Yet live in a culture that values the linear. We are expected to map out a plan for where we want to go and follow it diligently, and if at some point we have to change directions we may even judge ourselves for having made a “mistake” somewhere along the way.
Except we didn’t. Because life simply isn’t a process of traveling logically and linearly from point A to point B. Life doesn’t take us as the crow flies. It takes us as the Soul leads, and all of the twists and turns and about-faces are serving a Soul purpose.
The fact is that no matter what direction we are traveling there is something for us to learn, or more likely something for us to unlearn, in order for us to come to know ourselves more fully, and eventually we come to understand that life is an emergent process, not something we map out ahead of time on a drafting table.
The Paradox: Far Is Near
Another paradox of the labyrinth is that it takes you to the farthest outer ring just before you arrive at the Center, and this is something that can offer us reassurance at this particular moment on planet Earth.
So many of us are sensing and experiencing the great transformation that is underway, the great awakening to the truth of our inter-existence. And yet, when we look at the world it seems that separateness and the drive to dominate others has never exerted as much influence as it does now. We seem to be as far as we could possibly be from awakening to the truth of our inter-existence or living in the Reality of Love.
And the labyrinth reminds us that this is a very hopeful sign, because just when we think we’ll never reach our destination, we are almost there. All we need to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other, following the Wisdom of the Heart and trusting that Love is leading the way.
Steve M says
Thanks, for me your blog was well timed. I live in California and with Covid ticking up and wild fires burning hundreds of thousands of forest and thousands homes we are also going through a recall of our governor. A recall which, in my opinion, might elect an individual who does not believe in science, will undo all the states current Covid protections and drag California back into the past.
Add this to all the national turmoil and you end up thinking that things are moving in the wrong direction and not getting better. Your labyrinth analogy suggests that the opposite might be more probable.
Trust the spirit, the collective love of the universe to sort everything out!
This is so inspiring, Patricia. Every idea you expressed is timely and uplifting. Thank you for sharing your wisdom once more.
I wholeheartedly agree. The labyrinth gifts us with this wisdom. Thank you for the reminder.
David Barnard says
I look at your comments of how far is near and near is far and I hope. As well I can’t help but to look at the labyrinth you show: My eyes trace the path;
It looks at a distance a distance like perfect symmetry in a circle but as I trace the path with my eyes I find its not quite symmetrical but almost. Often times in nature symmetry breaking is the thing that makes everything work. A kind of balance between symmetry and not, between circular and linear. We have one heart and its a little to the left yet we have two perfectly symmetrical eyes. each eye sees the same thing not a mirror image and so our two legs walk forward following a single vision from one head following one heart.
Peggy M Kaufmann says
Thank you Patricia! I love this analogy with the labyrinth. It fits both personally and in my perspective of where we all are in the world right now.
I’ll share this.
Donna Mosher says
I love this especially:
“Another paradox of the labyrinth is that it takes you to the farthest outer ring just before you arrive at the Center, and this is something that can offer us reassurance at this particular moment on planet Earth.”
I feel like we are hanging on to that farthest outer ring by our fingernails!
Marilyn Bouchard Lugaro says
Well, that was brilliant, and so well put! Patricia, you are a precious gift of seeing.
Thank you for your post about the labyrinth, Patricia. It was very timely for me. Because of some profound inner experiences I’ve had over the years, I have been very drawn to the labyrinth. Currently, I am looking into putting one in my backyard. I feel that the labyrinth speaks a universal language that anyone can “hear”. I appreciate your thoughts about the labyrinth. MariLyn
Cliff Cutler says
Thank you Patricia. I have lived with the labyrinth at Saint Paul’s Church, Philadelphia for many years. You reflections took me back there.
Janet S. says
It doesn’t matter when I read your wonderful letters, they always speak to me right where I am! Your lesson of the Labyrinth is a welcome reminder not to sink into an ocean of despair, but to hold on to the Good, the True, the Beautiful. Here I go, dog-paddling my way toward that Center,
Andria Sullivan says
Right now it is very hard for me to find trust in the path of the Universe. What is showing up in the world and in our state of CA is pretty scary. Your words are encouraging and I trust you and very grateful for all your efforts to bring us some light.
Thank you for the inspiration about the labyrinth. I used to love going to this retreat center near my house to walk the labyrinth and I miss it. They are now no longer in business. I forgot all about the deep process that happens. You awakened me to go back to that mode of prayer, even with a picture and a pencil. I loved how you mentioned the circular aspect, and how we start from the outside and go inward. Your post was a reminder to go inward instead of lingering around outside of the spiritual path. Peace to you!