Unity's labyrinth free and open to all
What could be better than on a day when the rain drops are few, you decide to pack up your worries, leave your work until tomorrow, and resolve to take a walk in the park to enjoy nature? What's better is that you can do that close to home, not in a park, but at Unity Spiritual Center of Westlake, by walking their grand labyrinth located on four acres in a park-like natural setting. Say hello to deer, butterflies and a variety of trees and plants before you take that first step into the mouth of the labyrinth.
Labyrinths have an interesting and ancient history. Ever walked a corn maze on a crisp fall day, and wondered how long it would take you to find your way out? Well, the first mazes were really labyrinths, not intended to confuse, but designed to guide one along a serene spiritual path. The first recorded labyrinth comes from the Greek historian Herodotus who admired an Egyptian labyrinth in the 5th century B.C. After the fall of the Roman Empire, labyrinths took on a religious nature, could be found painted on floors, and served as mini-pilgrimages.
A labyrinth can be defined as a pattern based on spirals or circles found in nature. It is a single path winding towards the center, then the traveler reverses the direction and walks from the center back to the beginning. Others define it as a tool for psychological and spiritual transformation, thought to enhance right brain activity. It is a walking meditation.
The benefits of walking are numerous. It improves mood and relieves stress. Lower stress levels yield a sharper mentality. Besides preventing weight gain, walking reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer, promoting a healthier life. It's easy on the joints, and in the right environment allows you to be up close and personal with nature's sights, sounds and smells.
If you've never walked a labyrinth before, here are some suggestions. Prepare by breathing deeply, sitting quietly and reflecting before walking. You may come with a question or a problem, but remember there really is no wrong way to do this. Be sure to walk at your own pace. If you are upset, fast walking may be more helpful than slow, almost like punching pillows. It is important to mindfully surrender to the experience of walking the labyrinth. Once you've reached the center, pause, reflect, be open. On the way back acknowledge any insights you have received with gratitude.
There is what is known as the classic seven circuit labyrinth. Unity's outdoor labyrinth has eleven circuits or paths. It gives the opportunity for plenty of walking meditative time to solve problems and reach possibilities. Unity's walking labyrinth is located at 23855 Detroit Road. It is free and open to the public. It's easy to join us, just take one step at a time.
I am Secretary on the Board of Trustees of Unity Spiritual Center. I enjoy writing about USC's event. Everyone is welcome at Sunday services, or our numerous classes, and worshops!