With school out for summer, parents look for field trip options for their kids whether it’s to the local library or an attraction further from home like touring national parks to get their Jr. Ranger badge. Nature options also include hikes in the Sequoias, walks on the beach, and boating on the lake. Educational options include trips to a mission, visits to college campuses or excursion to an exploratorium. A new local option is walking the Lindsay Labyrinth.
Whether carved into petroglyphs or painted on playgrounds, a labyrinth is a walking path leading to the center. Unlike a maze, labyrinths have one clearly marked path with no dead ends so it doesn’t let you get lost. You enter a maze to lose yourself and a labyrinth to find yourself.
Labyrinths have been found on coins from Crete, on petroglyphs from India, on cathedral floors in England and now on turf in Lindsay. The Lindsay Labyrinth is a gift to the community from the Sequoia Center for Holistic Studies in honor of its founder Bob Goings who passed away.
It is located on the lawn east of City Hall. The turf path is a modified seven circuit version of the stone design on the floor of Chartres Cathedral in Paris. Construction is almost complete thanks to Rob Hodges. Community members are invited to walk the labyrinth and help spread the word about its purpose.
The history of labyrinths traces back 4000 years to Greek and Roman cultures. They were carved into stone petroglyphs on cliffs, laid as flooring in cathedrals, and made into Roman mosaic tile art. Native American baskets of the Southwest desert region display their woven patterns.
In the last 20 years roughly 10,000 labyrinths have been built in locations all over the globe. In the United States alone there are over 2,000 permanent labyrinths. While their forms are ageless and complex, the swirling pathways leading to the center invite playful interaction and soulful contemplation.
Some believe a labyrinth is a universal tool to reconnect to one’s inner self or Divine aspect. It is believed that these ancient patterns found in many different cultures are a symbol of reflection and renewal. Labyrinths offer an opportunity to go within and seek healing calm.
Labyrinths can serve many purposes. The geometry invites calm contemplation. Walking offers opportunity to quiet the mind and open the heart. Those who walk them may come with questions and leave with answers. A labyrinth can be a place to release grief and experience connection with the Divine.
When walking a labyrinth various strategies are used. Some set an intention before entering such as pondering a troublesome aspect of life. As they walk in they contemplate aspects of the problem perhaps even offering up a prayer. Once they reach the center, they release it. As they exit, they listen to any solutions or guidance regarding its resolution.
Labyrinth locations include churches, prisons, hospitals, schools and parks. In prisons they are being used as a safe therapeutic resource for rehabilitation. Hospitals offer them in gardens and rooftops as a holistic complement to healing that offers stress relief and relaxation. Schools and universities use them to foster creativity and problem solving such as the famous one at University of Kent in England.
Labyrinths that are installed in public parks and gardens like the one in Lindsay add a visually appealing landscape feature. They can become a community focal point and a place for gathering with family for fun. Teachers who take classes there often notice students like to skip along the path.
The labyrinth’s spiraling path allows participants to walk wind their way to the center and back out again. Labyrinth history has a mysterious quality that has lured people to its restorative powers from many countries for thousands of years.
Most people experience them as having a calming effect on their emotions and body. Walking them has been shown to offer more balanced brain activity. As the circuits and pathways turn back on themselves, the right and left hemispheres of our brain return to a sense of equilibrium.
Labyrinths have fascinated visitors from medieval times to the modern day. Some are printed on a large portable canvas, but most are made from decomposed granite, dirt, pavers, or turf. If the lure of the labyrinth has charmed you into visiting, you’re invited to walk the turf path in Lindsay.
The labyrinth’s ancient introspective healing wisdom is intended to soothe your soul. Walk the labyrinth with its historical connections and spiritual possibilities. You just may find your way to your own Divine guidance.