By Darren Buford
Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Spring/Summer 2006.
Need a moment for peace, reflection, or exercise? Walk a labyrinth. At first glance, these configurations look similar to mazes — large circular structures with spiraling walkways. But further inspection reveals a unicursal, or single, path that leads to a center and out again — less a puzzle and more a right-brain task.
Originally developed in ancient Greece and Egypt, these consciousness-focusing constructions are designed to bring about a meditative state, invoke creativity, and provide intuition. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to find labyrinths built at churches, colleges, hospitals, and spas — institutions where prayer, inspiration, and answers to difficult questions are sought.
Sounds simple, right? No choices, no challenge. Well, that’s the point. Walking a labyrinth gives the participant a chance to reflect and focus without distraction. Labyrinth popularity has even spread past their physical incarnations. Proponents argue that the same positive results can be attained from both paper and computer labyrinths.
For information on the history of labyrinths and their broad appeal, including sample online versions, visit www.labyrinth society.org. Graphics courtesy of the society. Original drawings by Robert Ferre and Jeff Saward, final graphics by Vicki Keiser.