Photo of the Mary Sue Bork Young Labyrinth

Walk and meditate in the quiet of the Mary Sue Bork-Young Labyrinth.  Originally Dedicated on October 4, 2021 to Mary Sue Young and redicated on July 12, 2014 as the labyrinth site evolved and was completed.

A labyrinth is not a maze, but a walking mediatation with a single winding path from the edge to the center and then back. Walking a labyrinth can clear the mind, calm anxieties, promote wellness, and enhance creativity, and lead to personal annd spiritual growth.

A maze or a labyrinth? What’s the difference?

One is designed to trick, to confuse, confound, the other to calm, enlighten, lead to discovery.

A maze, by its very nature, has multiple entrances, any of which could lead to a solution, most of which instead lead to dead ends. They amuse sometimes, frustrate at others, produce a momentary “Ah Ha!” moment, a self-congratulatory pat on the back, and then nothing. Over! Kaput! Done that! No need to revisit. I already know the solution.  In short, they sometimes mimic life, in that people frequently face difficult tasks with multiple possible solutions and then feel good about finding one that works for them. Then life goes on. Usually the task and solution are meaningless, just a momentary part of surviving the daily grind.

A labyrinth, however, serves a different purpose. 
For thousands of years humans have searched for deeper meaning to their existence, ever since they discovered the word why. To discover the why of life involves more than the trial and error represented by a maze.  Mankind has attempted to represent symbolically its quest for the answers. Circles and paths seem to work best. Hence a labyrinth – a life-path enclosed within a circle, a human‘s physical, emotional, and spiritual life journey trapped within a circle of human existence, made up of our body and its passions, our environment, the circles of relationships that surround us.

Generally circular in shape and related to the mandala, they circumscribe life itself, mimicking the shape of the sun, the source of all life, but also encompassing our own hidden being.  One enters the circle to walk for enlightenment, for spiritual calming, healing, for self-discovery perhaps. The labyrinth has but one entrance, like life itself, and a series of stepping stones that must be traversed, one at a time, in a defined but meandering pathway – like life itself – reminding those who walk that if we but put one foot in front of the other, we can find our inner being, the very center of our nature, the spiritual, moral, emotional compass that gives us standing in life, meaning when faced with mystery, a solution to the complexity that surrounds us.

But to achieve all that, one needs to begin the walk, alone, in quiet meditation, in a serious quest for that emotional and intellectual balance that calms and soothes those confronting the vagaries of life. No shortcuts allowed! Stay on the path. Close the eyes when walking if you wish and still be confident that the path does lead somewhere. You ARE there. You CAN locate your Self - even if trapped in the many circles that life holds: our circles of family, friends, and acquaintances, of work, play, and organizations to which we belong.  Even if sometimes it feels as if we are just wandering around in circles, walking a labyrinth can serve as a gut check, an escape from the outside to the inward, from wondering about our spiritual purpose to checking up on the condition of our soul as it wanders inside the circles of life.

In walking a labyrinth, being aware of certain patterns can aid in achieving whatever it is one seeks. Take the first step.  There, you have been born.  Likewise, life itself is not static but requires energy. So get moving; follow the path intuitively, not like a maze which requires rationality.  Walk with a blind faith, relieved of choices, always certain that a center lies ahead. There are no intersections in the path, only turns, always past the center point but gradually leading inward. Seven turns in this labyrinth signify healing, spiritual progress, reconciliation with self or others. So allow yourself to slowly strip off the hurts, the fears, the anxieties arising from relationships, the outside noise of life. Slowly, gradually wander inward toward a spiritual serenity, a calmness, and experience the touch of Grace as it envelops you.

At the center, pause and pray, meditate, or whatever else you do when experiencing your Self.  Some shed tears – not an uncommon result when a healing is sensed.  Others laugh to feel a release of whatever it was that brought them to the labyrinth. Many just stand in awe for a while to feel whatever grief, disappointment, fears, betrayals, pain that have engulfed them melt away.  Then slowly they back away, relieved, and leave the baggage in the center as they make their way back out of the labyrinth to life again, outside the circle, a different person from the one who entered.

A labyrinth is meant to be experienced, not explained, to open the heart rather than the mind, to stir the emotions rather than the imagination. If you find yourself drawn to the walk but know not why, walk anyway.  A sacred place it is, and sacral events need no explanation. Just do it; take a chance.  And it if means something, return again and often.  Labyrinths are also sometimes called “outdoor cathedrals” or “cathedrals without walls.” If that religious sense works for you, so be it.  If you are more attuned to Eastern practices, perhaps you’ll see the labyrinth as a kind of mandala, a symbol of your sacred journey from an impure outer world to a place of Nirvana and peace, your protected area of self-realization and purity.

However, you experience your labyrinthian walk, know that this space is sacred, not just to the memories of those who are commemorated here but especially to you as well.  When we seek out these places and use them as they were first intended, we enter into a tradition stretching thousands of years backwards, one of a personal quest. Here, surrounded by peaceful meadows and a beautiful forest with majestic trees, by gentle mounds and rocks of yin and yang, know that you have a space where you can come as often as you like for rest, discovery, enlightenment, and renovation. Enjoy the journey.

Updated: 12/05/2022 05:09PM