Thursday, February 8, 2007

Labyrinth Walking

Yesterday, I walked a labyrinth, set into the floor of a local Memphis church, with a small group of other students. I'm not very good at concentrated meditation per se, so I found my mind frequently wandaring to various asundry matters. Random things. You know, like the stitching that was starting to pull out a fabric scuplture in the sanctuary, or the oddness of the Russian grammatical forms in the version of the Jesus prayer I had memorized.

I also found myself thinking about the spiritual meaning of walking the labyrinth. There is of course, the obvious symbolic meaning of the numerous twists and turns, but I continued to notice other symbolism in the process of walking.

For one thing, while walking, I rarely felt that I was walking with anyone or following anyone through the labyrinth. I was roughly in the center of the group, and occasionally I could look ahead and see the contuinity between where I was and where the people ahead of me were on the path. However, it was far more common to be walking in the opposite direction of the people I passed. They were on a different section of the path, but the momentary sensation was that I was walking against the current, and perhaps going in the wrong direction -- even though we were on the same path.

The second feature I noticed was the amount of time one had to spend on the margin of the labryrinth to reach the center. Reaching the goal required one to fully explore the edges. Significantly, I think, one of the last turns of this labyrinth took one out to the margins. The final step before reaching the center was a visit to the margins. Interestingly enough, First Congo had placed a table with information on social justice efforts they support just beside that particular segment.

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