October 17, 2013

Walking the Labyrinth as a Metaphor of Life’s Journey

By Margaret Rappaport

Standing at the entrance to the labyrinth, one thing is certain. Beginning the walk calls for a self-expressive response of one kind or another. Some people approach this moment with resolve, even eagerness. Others hesitate and look around for cues. This describes those people who show up for a walk. Some never expect to walk and withdraw from trying because of misgivings. Walking the labyrinth prompts asking questions of oneself. Walking the labyrinth opens a space within that requires a response to those questions.

Response is a very interesting word. The Latin verb “respondere”, to engage oneself or to promise shows us the meaning of “responding to our own questions.” Walking the labyrinth is the epitome of promise and engagement for everyone who is earnest about their experience.

As we walk the labyrinth we make a requisite act of trust. We breathe deeply and mark a new point in the intimacy with ourselves. We ready ourselves for ideas and insights about living, here now, in the past or in the future. We take on the walk as a metaphor of our life’s journey. We release the limits of description and explanation and embrace the events and mysteries that move us. We seek the heart of ourselves. We recognize that the response we make is spontaneous. The response is freely mine and it is mine alone. We respond to ourselves because “we feel like it.”

Some of us think this is a wonderful way to live our lives. Our responses in the labyrinth are really quite simple. To be ourselves uncluttered, without calculating all the “ifs”, “ands”, “buts”, “however” and “maybes” that punctuate our lives. No need for qualifiers and clarifiers. Our value and worth is determined by our inner honesty. Our spirits are uplifted and we know ourselves better.

Margaret Rappaport