I looked at the labyrinth with appreciation. The place was flanked by towering trees to the left and a sprawling grassy lawn to the right. It was a sight to behold. The words leapt up from the pamphlet I was reading.
A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.
A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life’s journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to “That Which Is Within.”
We were at the retreat house because it was Teacher’s Day. And we had planned the day’s activities with wellness in mind. Walking the Labyrinth was included in that list.
I guided the teachers and staff to enter the sacred circle one at a time. I was the last in line. When it was my turn to step into the circle, I observed with surprise that the first person had maneuvered the numerous twists and turns and had arrived at the rock that was positioned at the center. “Good for him.” I thought.
A few minutes after I had begun my walk, rain started to pour from the cloudy skies.
“The camera!” my mind warned. I didn’t want to halt my walk. It took me exactly three seconds to debate inwardly and then the feeling of responsibility won over. I broke free from the circle and leapt across the garden to grab the camera and its stand and run for cover.
Standing alone at the sidelines, I watched the others continuing their walk – unmindful of the rain.
I felt a pang of envy knowing in that very moment that everyone was able to let go of the cares of the world and was totally focused on their walk.
This realization made me very quiet. In the stillness, I heard the soft whisper from somewhere deep within.
Michelle, don’t you see? Often, you are too preoccupied. Your mind is always busy. Your days are so filled with endless duties and responsibilities that you feel you have to attend to. Or else. This is why you are having a hard time going within – to that place where I Am. And where You Are. Where You and I are One.
It was an “aha” moment. I was seeing myself clearly. How I was always putting everyone and everything first before my own needs. I also saw the fear of journeying into the depths of myself. I really didn’t know why. Perhaps it was because I was frightened of being out of control or facing things that I didn’t want to face. But I knew keeping myself busy was one way to avoid going within.
I knew what had to be done. I closed my eyes and made a solemn promise to myself, “I will come back and complete the walk in the labyrinth.” With those words, peace and a quiet joy flooded my being.
The world had taken on a different hue. The rain had stopped. The sun was shining once more. I smiled inwardly. Maybe it was because I had finally said “yes” to Me.