Today I did a walking meditation on the seven circuit labyrinth at the Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville. It’s been too long since I’ve walked a labyrinth and I’ve known that for awhile but, to be candid, neither the weather nor my personal circumstances have been ideal this winter for walking a labyrinth. Upon approaching the entrance ‘neath the warm Tennessee sun, I felt as if I were entering the doorway of an old friend with whom I had lost touch.
I use labyrinths for different purposes. For the uninitiated, a labyrinth is a circular pathway, with no predictable route, that leads to its center. It differs from a maze in that there are no decisions for the traveler to make and no dead ends. It is the absence of duality, of right and wrong. Once you understand this, you are able to lose yourself in the walk to the extent you are able to trust the pathway. When I say “lose yourself” I’m speaking to the conscious, logical, left-brained you. One foot in front of the other, again, and again, you find your pace, your rhythm which can very easily be different every time you walk a labyrinth. You feel your breath, you feel connected to the ground and disconnected from all that pulls you from your life. Or at least that’s how it works for me.
Anyway, I use the labyrinth for a creative tool to help me with inspirations for my writings. I use labyrinths to help me think through issues whether spiritual, emotional or physical. Or all three. The walking aspect of the labyrinth makes it easier for me to meditate than sitting does. If the weather is decent, I will remove my shoes and socks so I can feel the grass and dirt or the stones, depending upon the surface of the labyrinth.
So today I walked. And I pondered.
I pondered life and death. Relationships. I walked and ruminated about my novel and what I am to learn, not only by writing it but through the process of writing it. I meditated on the retreat Dave and I are leading in June and asked for inspirations and ideas that would excite others about living a creative life.
And while I was walking I suddenly had an epiphany. It became clear the walking of the labyrinth was very much like the living of my life when I am in the midst of doing that which I am supposed to be doing. When I am following my bliss. During those times, it is as if I am living a life path where all along, just waiting for me to enter and trust. Decisions and stress are minimized. I am able to let go and move along until I reach the center which, in this case, is my center.
As I reached the center of the Scarritt-Bennett labyrinth, I clearly saw the path I had just traveled and how, in spite of its meandering appearance, it led me, perfectly, to where I was, where I was supposed to be. It made me think of the essay by Arthur Schopenhauer, “On an Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual,” in which he talks about reaching a point when you look back over your life and find a consistent order and plan that transcends randomness, a life that appears to have been composed by a novelist.
I’m not saying that it’s easy as you live it. I’m not even saying that it makes sense at times. I am saying that, for me, trusting there things bigger than me, that are wiser than me, things grander and more magical than my imagination, has brought me to this point. And it is this realization that fuels my passion for my creativity and my art. For it is through my art that I ask the big questions, dream the big dreams, believe the unimaginable. And I do it one step at a time. One breath at a time. I keep following my path. The one that has been there before I was a whisper in a womb, waiting just for me.