We all have stress, which can affect us on the psychological and physiological levels. The chronic “fight-or-flight” state that we live in can contribute to many conditions, from back pain to high blood pressure to heart disease and more. Many people have deeper issues and struggles: health challenges, grief, wounds from past traumas, doubts, and spiritual hunger.
You may have heard that spending more time in prayer and contemplation is beneficial for all of these situations. This is true, but it can be challenging for a society that is constantly “plugged in” to cell phones, TV, the Internet, and other electronics. This is where the Labyrinth comes in — an ancient tool for healing and transformation.
Central Illinois Natural Health Clinic has its own labyrinth, a pattern painted on the ground, forming a twisting path. People walk along this path as a form of “moving meditation,” to calm the mind and spirit.
A labyrinth differs from a maze in that it has a single path to follow from the edge to the center, and back out again; there are no branches or dead ends. In the center, people often choose to spend time in reflection, prayer, or contemplation before moving out. Walking the path of the labyrinth can symbolize many things: the twisting journey of life, the back-and-forth inner debate about a problem, or the constant chatter of the mind. Whatever the interpretation, the very act of navigating the labyrinth has a calming effect on the mind and spirit.
In the past, labyrinths were located in churches, cathedrals, and other sacred locations. Walking the labyrinth was an external symbol of a spiritual journey. Modern Americans have been rediscovering this ancient tool for personal and spiritual transformation in recent years. According to Dr. Lauren Artress, canon of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, the labyrinth can be used for different purposes. Some walkers have the same goal as seekers in the past—focusing on the soul. Others find
that the reduction in stress is a valuable part of dealing with grief, pain, or physical health issues. Still others use it as a key to unlock their creativity and potential.
The labyrinth at Central Illinois Natural Health Clinic is called a medieval 11-circuit design. It is based on the pattern of the 13th-century labyrinth found in the Cathedral of Chartres, France.
Explore the labyrinth with Dr. Peters or on your own — it is outdoors and open to the public at all times. Find us here.
Other labyrinth resources: