Sedona Labyrinth Review

A Labyrinth For The Masses

June 11, 2009
John Stuart Leslie

I recently visited a local Labyrinth with the intent to document my process of its use. I had never been to this particular Labyrinth before, so I was curious what I might see and feel.    

What feelings would I have in anticipation? Would I feel anxious, excited or fascinated about what I may ‘discover’? Would I feel that I was about to consult some sort of oracle, tapping into Universal Knowledge that would give me some cosmic message that I could not get on my own?

If indeed this Labyrinth served as an ancient device, a tool that somehow affects my mind, its thoughts or ability to receive certain thoughts, what is it about the Labyrinth that does that? Is there something to the circularity, the spiraling in towards the center, the changing directions -- that on the surface seem trivial, but actually open up a portal of illumination?

Here is the Labyrinth in a series of pictures somewhat documenting the setting where my experience took place.

First I should point out that this Labyrinth was neither a classic 7-circuit (below) nor a 12-circuit (above) which are the two most commonly designed Labyrinths known.  7 circuit Labyrinth

The Labyrinth was located within the grounds of a resort, Los Abrigados Resort & Spa in Sedona, Arizona. Other designs are possible and this one shown here in the picture below is an example..

The Labyrinth appeared to be about 36 feet diameter, constructed using concrete pavers forming paths 18 inches wide with grass in between. I noticed a Peace Pole in the center, with inscriptions of ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’ in different languages. Also a stepping stone at the entrance is carved with ‘Walk in Peace’.

   Labyrinth Los Abrigados pic by John Stuart Leslie

The first entry sign indicates that here lays a Labyrinth called “Go With The Flow”. It says ‘For centuries, Labyrinths have been used by cultures around the world for relaxation and contemplation. We invite you to enjoy this unique setting in the spirit of wishing peace for all”.

                      Labyrinth signage 1

The second sign provides ‘guidelines’ on how to walk the Labyrinth. It then explains that the Labyrinth is divided into two halves, each metaphorically associated with each side of the brain.

                      Labyrinth sign 2

The left side where upon you enter the Labyrinth, is the side that you deal with your
problems and challenges, “but each steps takes you towards a center of peacefulness” (at the Peace Pole). Leaving the center via the right side, “creatively reflect on how to apply that inner peace received from the center in your life to relieve stress, both for handling your stresses with greater serenity and for trusting more fully in your faith”.
    

Upon exiting the Labyrinth, you are offered to sit on one of the nearby benches, reflect, and to release any remaining distress into the waters of the fountain or the stream.

The guidelines also provide for three optional ways to walk the Labyrinth:

1)       Walk to increase your peacefulness; “With each step, breathe in harmonious thoughts, or a calm feeling, or imagine a peaceful place, cherish each language’s prayer for peace, with each step outward, let radiate from you a peaceful thought, feeling or mental image. Finally, sit and feel one with the water.” 

2)       Walk to relieve stress. “With each step in cast off a worry or a problem. Draw calmness from the peace pole’s words. Walk out breathing in the air and seeing the sky. Finally, release any remaining worries to the creek. 

3)       Walk to solve a problem. “As you walk in, review the problem, but with greater calmness with each step. At the Peace Pole, use your faith to ask for help. On the way out, feel solutions flowing into you. Let the waters bring ideas, calmness, and strength.” 

Before I arrived at the resort, I decided on what I would ‘contemplate’ during my walk in the Labyrinth. My question was “What does the Universe see me doing here in Sedona as a sacred space designer?” Having recently moved, I was still getting myself situated and getting used to the area. I anticipated getting in touch with ‘spirit’ as I am used to meditating and going inside to contemplate and get answers from higher source, Universe, etc. I prefer the term ‘Universe’ instead of God. But of course they are the same.

Before I began my walk in the Labyrinth, I read the signs and could not help but get a sense that the designer or creator of the Labyrinth wanted to instill a theme of peace in the user’s experience with the Labyrinth.

My experience of the Labyrinth was a good one. I did get a strong sense of energy while walking toward the center. I became hyper sensitive to where I was. I felt like I was a pinpoint located by a Global Positioning System satellite. As I paused every so often, I looked around and realized how beautiful the setting was around me with the stream so close and the huge Sycamore trees providing an enveloping canopy.

Upon leaving the center of the Labyrinth, I purposely turned on my right brain to activate its creativity and allow whatever it was that I was to receive. In answer to my question, “What does the Universe see me doing?” Its answer was a very clear, “You are already doing it”. I took that in and thought for a bit. On the surface it sounded flippant, or something a Zen master would say. In other words, its right in front of you, can’t you see?  

I felt positive about this ‘message’ from the Universe. Just the kind of answer I would expect. The same kind of feedback you get when you go to a good psychic reader.

They are careful not to tell you exactly what you should or shouldn’t do, or tell you what is going to happen to you in the future, but speak only in truths and potentials and with good intention, picking up on your vibe and reflecting it back for you in a helpful, guiding sort of way.

A Labyrinth can serve as a variable platform for one’s use to explore questions about themselves or life in general. What a Labyrinth means and symbolizes varies from person to person. Each of us can have our own unique experiences.

How we interpret those experiences depends on our belief of what is possible. We do not see the Labyrinth as an oracle, but as a device to help us listen to our own selves -- our higher consciousness and our own ability to listen in on what the Universe wants us to know.

Related Articles:

The Labyrinth: A Tool For Spiritual Transformation   
How to Use a Labyrinth 
 
 
John Stuart Leslie, Spiritual Garden Designer, Creator of My Sacred Garden websiteJohn Stuart Leslie is creator and founder of My Sacred Garden. A website that blends the mind,
body & spiritual lifestyle of the conscious consumer with the pursuit of gardens, gardening, design and art. He holds a Master's degree in Landscape Architecture and has been a landscape designer and contractor since 1982.
 
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