|In the Spring of
this year (1999) I had the opportunity to lead a group of college students on their first
labyrinth walk. The students had been chosen to serve as Orientation Assistants for next
year's incoming Freshman students.
As a part of their training they were to walk a
seven-circuit labyrinth and to reflect on the meaning of the labyrinth as a symbol for
life's journey. In small discussion groups they listed their insights and then shared them
with the larger group.
About sixty students were involved. They walked the labyrinth in groups of twenty. A
lighted candle was placed at the second turn of the labyrinth. When a walker passed the
candle, it served as a signal for those who were waiting to enter. It also spaced the
walkers at an even distance.
These young students had amazing and wonderful insights into the meaning of the
labyrinth. It is a pleasure to share them with you.
Below are the unedited impressions of Mercer University Orientation Assistants after
walking the Labyrinth at Park Memorial Methodist Church in Macon, Georgia on March 28,
- Things aren't always what they seem.
- Take a second, closer look.
- New perspectives at each corner, gain insights.
- Twists and turns in life.
- Life has rocky and smooth spots.
- Long journey to turning point, albeit fleeting.
- People who literally go out of their way to help you.
- Never know when the last step comes...around the corner, etc. until it's upon you, so
treat every step as if it were the last, make it count.
- Never ending--you end up where you started.
- There was no way to get lost, as long as you remember where you're headed.
- Life is a journey in which every day doesn't necessarily bring you closer--sometimes
you're closer to your goal than others, sometimes you're further away, but ultimately
you'll get to where you want to go if you stay focused.
- Beginning, middle (center) and end are connected with the same thing (God or whatever it
means to you).
- Sometimes it seemed like you were in the same place you had been, but you weren't. (Life
doesn't end once you reach the focus or center.)
- On the path, you pass people who have been where you are, other times you have been
where others have been, but you're never at the exact same place at the same time.
- Many twists and turns around rocky journey of life.
- Center = life-changing experience.
- On the way out, may feel lost.
- Gain knowledge the whole way through.
- Always passing other people; could be life altering.
- Start = birth; center = middle; end = death, or at any point of your life.
- Must live life consciously.
- Candle = new generation, observing other people, recognition/approval from others going
- Light at entrance and at first turn, but further in you go the darker it gets as you
face the unknown.
- Stop, look around and see where you have been, others who are there now, what you've
- When you start something, somebody else is starting or ending something at the same
- Some people's journey is longer than others.
- You will walk with some and cross paths only at certain points with others.
- Somebody has already been there.
- There is a main/higher power leading you in and out.
- You will walk with/cross paths with someone who has already been there and knows what
you are about to experience.
- Everybody is reflecting on/motivated by something different.
- It is a single path, with only a few major turning points, which you only notice upon
- You walk with people you never expected to walk with.
- You can be a stumbling block for other people even when you may not realize it.
- Some people move through the journey of life faster than others.
- People can be stepping-stones.
- People cross our paths, come and go in our lives.
- People move closer and farther away from God.
- Life is a big circle.
- Follow the path not the stones.
- People can get lost on the road of life.
- People conform.
- The candle: an invitation for other people to join your life.
- The candle was a light unto our paths.
- We have bumps along the road of life.
- Simple things can cause your life to go in different directions.
- No matter how complex life may seem, step back and it will all work out.
- Stay focused, don't let obstacles and distractions get in the way.
- Look forward, try not to look back.
- You may feel like you're going in circles but at the end you can book back and see where
you've come from and what you've done.
- You get out of life what you put into it.
- On the journey through life, your life crosses paths with many others.
- Other people go through the same things you go through.
- Life is about choices; always remember to be open to situations and experiences.
- Take time to think about things (e.g., friends, college, tests, personal/religious
- See how your path crosses that of others.
- The path is deceiving.
- You go back down the same paths you've already taken.
- You can learn as much by watching others and their experiences as you can from your own.
- Person in the middle stops and the others move around him/her. We all have our own place
in the world.
- Very peaceful.
- Turns are ups and downs of life.
- Circle effect: you end where you started.
- Instinct tries to take over but the path is already made for you.
- Passing each other represents relationships.
- Room for more than one on the path.
- If you do something as an individual, it will be different than doing the same with a
- Things sometimes take more time than you expect them to.
- There are outside forces that guide you on your path--you are not alone.
- You choose your own pace.
- Everything is connected. The beginning is the end.
- In the beginning, you are unsure but as you go on it seems more clear.
- First impression is of complexity but it's simple in reality.
- There is a plan to follow.
- Confusion is brief yet intense.
- The goal seems plausible yet with unseen obstacles.
- Is the goal the middle or the whole?
- Symbolic middle and returning path; you feel more confident because it is familiar.
- Very peaceful, alone time.
- More close to the people passing.
- Briefly pass the people, no one at the same spot.
- People care about obstacles; compromise.
- Wonder about the thoughts of others.
- Uphill and downhill on the path.
- Obstacles on the path.
- Everyone is moving at a different pace.
- Be observant.
- End of path is the cross--end of life/God.
- Walking out = remembering = memories.
- Crossing other people's paths.
- Am I still on the right path?
- Life is a journey with a path or type of structure.
- Looking at the flowers.
- Learn from those in front of you.
- Come full circle (thoughts).
- Quicker pace, shifting of directions closer to the center.
- Wondering what everyone else was thinking.
- Sharp turns dealt with rocky parts of life/situations.
- Trying to follow a path and getting lost.
- Ignore all noise, stayed in tune with yourself.
- Quick turns with long, slow portions.
- Everywhere you've been relates to where you are and where you're going; you revisit
where you've been.
- Hard to stay focused because of distractions (other people)
- You think you're going to the middle and then you realize that you are the farthest
- Everyone is at a different point in life.