Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Is Anything More Wise than a Circle?

"Because we are bombarded with noise and images coming at us from the outside, we can lose our capacity for reflection within.  We can feel parched inside and our imaginations dry up and stop functioning.  We are drawn to the labyrinth because it replenishes our imaginations and restores our natural rhythms.  The literal path becomes the symbolic path leading us through life." - Lauren Artress

My friends, Tamara and David recently built a Labyrinth in their back yard and when Tamara offered the use of it for a Zentangle class, I jumped at the chance!  It seemed like a perfect marriage of two mindfulness practices.  So last Sunday evening we had the first Zentangle Class and Labyrinth walk  in Millwood, the proceeds of which benefitted the children at the Hutton Settlement, http://www.huttonsettlement.org/ .

In preparation for the class, I dug out two books which my eldest sister, Gwen, gave to me.  Both are by Lauren Artress; Walking a Sacred Path and The Sacred Path Companion.  http://www.laurenartress.com/  It was good to rediscover their pages again with perhaps, a more focused purpose this time.

 It was a lovely sultry evening.  Seven students arrived and we gathered in the cooling breeze on the front porch.  I felt the excitement of the participants, as many were trying something new.  We began as I usually do and I was careful to teach tangles related to the labyrinth, such as circles and Greek keys in preparation for the walk later on.  As everyone drew, sighs were heard, shoulders relaxed....the relaxed focus which is created when drawing the repetitive and rhythmic tangles had begun.

We drew a string with a loop in it to represent the circular quality of the labyrinth, and people had the option of filling in the hole or leaving it be. 
. A labyrinth is a pattern with a single winding path that leads from the entrance to the centre. All labyrinths are unicursal, that is, they have only one path. Mazes are multicursal. Their many paths present a puzzle which the walker must solve in order to reach the centre. - www.labyrinthnetwork.ca
After the class we headed outside to walk the labyrinth.  My husband and I had gathered rocks by the river for people to tangle on while they awaited their turn on the labyrinth.  It was a peaceful feeling watching the walkers on the labyrinth.  The whole experience felt very natural for me.
At one point, a large murder of crows flew above the yard and into a tree top over head.  They made quite the racket.  I like to think that they were attracted to all the calm energies being created and came to check it out, being such curious and intelligent birds. 
Zentangle inspired artwork, by Loretta A West, CZT
Like Zentangle, Labyrinth walking can be used as a meditation.  Any activity which allows the mind to slow down and become quiet can be meditative.
At the end of the evening, I felt relaxed and at peace and this light feeling carried into the next day as well.  Beautiful, is all I can say to describe the experience.
If you missed this Zentangle class and Labyrinth walk, no worries, there will be more.
"Everyone's journey to the devine is unique." - Lauren Artress