October 10, 2013

Mindfulness in the Labyrinth

By Margaret Rappaport

When we are mindful, we feel rested and content, although we remain awake and alert. The sensations and perceptions we usually experience as a result of internal and external stimulation are slowed down. They are still bombarding us but we are less attentive to them. Their urgency is diminished. We take our time, all the time we need, to accommodate them.

Being mindful is a more serene encounter with ourselves and the world around us. We have permission to drift a bit as we think and feel and act. This deliberate or mindful meditation isn’t evasive. It is a choice we make to change channels. Instead of being pressed into motion, we ask ourselves to be quiet.

When we walk the labyrinth we enter this special space of quiet. The walk quiets are steps. We slow our pace. The walk suggests that we hear only the whispers of our hearts because we don’t speak unless it’s time for communal prayer or conversation. We observe unique and polite manners in order to leave quiet space for others. We actively breathe correctly in order to nourish our bodies and spirits.

Walking the labyrinth, alone or with others, awakens us into a state of mind that is much harder to experience (unless we practice, practice) in everyday living. It’s a special time and place because we suspend the usual and dare to suspect there is so much more to our experience. We allow for being our best selves. We strip away the worries, the demands, the motivations, and all the trappings of our lives in order to be mindful of what really is and might be. We quietly search while we walk, aware that there are answers of all sorts, all around. Perhaps inkling will brush by; maybe an insight will shine forth. Looking forward, we are mindful.