The labyrinth is a single, spiral path for people to walk in a meditative state as a spiritual journey, whereas a maze is a garden of high walls and dead ends that create confusion and chaos. People often confuse the two entities as being the same, but their meanings are significantly different. Gernot Candolini offers the perfect explanation - if life is a maze, every mistake is an unnecessary detour and waste of time - if life is a labyrinth, then every mistake is a part of the path and an indispensable master teacher.
We see corn mazes in many places in the fall of the year, as well as large opulent gardens of hedges designed as a maze. Both are difficult to navigate and are meant to enchant and entrap you. On the other hand, the labyrinth has a single path leading into the centre and out again. It allows one to shed past issues on the way in, then provides a centre to pause and reflect, before walking out with clarity for new beginnings. It represents the journey of our life as it quiets the mind and opens the soul - a mystical ritual and metaphor for transformation and a shift in consciousness.
For me it relates to the journey I started, destination unknown, almost 25 years ago. Metaphorically, I walked slowly and carefully in a totally new direction with an interior silence and definite determination to change. I kept shedding the past with each step forward without even realizing what was happening. I was actually walking my own internal labyrinth. I kept encountering new people, new energies, new insights and much more as I moved forward. The labyrinth is based on the circle of unity and wholeness and builds a sense of relationship, one person to another. This unity was powerful for me.
I had been in a maze for many years, bumping into roadblocks, dead ends, changing direction, adding more education but it was all mind stuff. Achieving new goals was rewarding but not fulfilling and didn’t touch my heart. When I learned about the labyrinth, walking the sacred path served as a guide to help develop a higher level of awareness. It became a spiritual enlightenment of renewal and change, tapping into sources of wisdom from within. It is, in fact, a pilgrimage accessible to everyone either physically or internally, if you choose to walk the path.
I believe we all need to question if we live in a maze, often lost and bumping into dead ends full of frustration and chaos. If we are, is it because we are not clear on the picture of who we truly are? Are we trying to walk a path that follows in other’s footsteps - where the agenda is different and the shoes don’t fit? If so, stop, clean out your closets full of burdens, and start walking a path that is your own, one that brings you joy, pleasure and happiness.