As 2014 begins I want to let go of my personal objection to defining the labyrinth. Throughout the previous blog posts you may have noticed my preference to describe and to explore the labyrinth but not to offer a definition of what exactly it is. Definitions are often confining and exist outside the imaginative, the metaphorical and the creative. I would rather my readers have an infinitely creative concept of the labyrinth. I’d rather encourage them to discover the labyrinth for themselves as they have their own experiences with it. I favor highlighting the mystery of the labyrinth, as art, as cultural history, as spiritual inspiration.
Enough readers, however, have asked for a definition. They have good reasons for needing one. Wanting to share their interest in walking the labyrinth in conversation they require ways to put their experiences into words. Often they have to start by stating an answer to the question, “what is a labyrinth?”
The most encompassing definition I can offer is, “the labyrinth is a walking meditation tool for personal and professional transformation and community building. It is used in sacred settings for spiritual growth, worship and prayer.” Labyrinth activities include presentations, unguided and facilitated contemplative walks, workshops and breakout meetings during retreats and conferences. Labyrinths are used in supportive healing ceremonies for people challenged by physical and mental illnesses. Labyrinths help to focus and encourage people seeking health and wellness discipline. Labyrinth programs are sometimes tailored to people seeking to unleash their creative potential. Labyrinths can also serve as a core feature of a community, becoming a meeting place and a place of respite in a busy environment.
There are as many reasons for and uses of the labyrinth as people can envision. We are ready to relate to walking the labyrinth in many different ways. In that respect it is a providential resource for all of us to use and cherish.
Veriditas Certified Labyrinth Facilitator