February 6, 2014

Try Something New: Walk the Labyrinth

By Margaret Rappaport

Personally, I don’t entirely endorse the never-ending quest to try something new or exciting or even creative. Living a rewarding life in a busy world is difficult enough without an over- load of choices and activities that demand time and energy, in my view. So, it’s exceptional that I would ask others to consider walking the labyrinth on a regular basis. Let me, however, assure you of the benefits.

There is a spirit of active, imaginative adventure that derives from a walk in the labyrinth. The adventure may be internal but it is deeply exciting. It is a kind of ingenuity that motivates new outlooks and new goals. It is ingenious play that spontaneously explores novelty in the corners of living. It is an alternative form of exercise that engages mind and body in fresh ways. It is magically habit forming!

Without a doubt walking the labyrinth opens doors to more robust wellness. It alters attitude. It uplifts mood. It clarifies perspective. It calms feelings. It stretches the muscles and soothes the nervous system. There is some recent research that suggests that this type of walking meditation results in positive changes in gene expression. All of this may help explain the sudden popularity of labyrinths and the practice of walking in them.

Trying something new is not always successful, as we all know. Trying out the labyrinth, however, doesn’t require an investment in equipment. Walking the labyrinth usually occurs in relative privacy. Silence often prevails so critical comments of others are at a minimum. Manuals and lesson books are nonexistent. Abundance, enthusiasm and self-love are plentiful and available on-demand in the labyrinth. Wisdom, both secular and sacred, is accessed as we encounter the challenges and risks of our personal experiences in walking the labyrinth. Well in this case, new may be better.

Margaret Rappaport
Veriditas Certified Labyrinth Facilitator