‘Solvitur ambulando‘ is a Latin phrase yet suggests the simplest of meditations.On many occasions as an artist, I have solved a painting by taking a walk. In Charleston, the simple act of walking in this beauty is enough to readjust anyone’s thinking.
Now there is a movement afoot to make walking a labyrinth a fresh and healing spiritual ritual. It can be a metaphor for living one’s life, for quieting one’s “monkey mind” as Lauren Artress (Walking a Sacred Path) writes. It is for those of us who have difficulty with traditional meditation. The labyrinth is a circle and also a large spiral, patterned after those in the natural world, as basic to our everyday lives as the water encircling the drain in our bathtubs. This one is patterned after the one built around 1220 in the cathedral in Chartres, France, which is 42 feet wide. It circles and turns in four quadrants, with eleven concentric circles, to a center, which represents our the rose, the heart, the center of our being.Saturday was World Labyrinth Day, where many gathered to walk as One at One. This gathering was held at the beautiful new meditation garden at Bon Secours St Francis Hospital in Charleston. The gardens and grounds are a healing place, surrounded by ancient live oaks, paths and flowers. The new labyrinth amidst this beauty is open for walking.
Aristotle said that “the soul thinks in images.” The labyrinth invites us to move, to get out of our boxes, to let go, to go with the flow of our imaginings. It invites us, too, to take stock of ourselves, and to be willing to be shaken from our complacency and pride and to live our lives by taking creative turns, so that in the end, we do not look back on our lives in the end, with regrets.
Personally I was captivated the first time I walked one. There is simply something magical here.