Students find peace by walking the Labyrinth

Students find peace by walking the Labyrinth

by Molly MishlerStaff Writer

If you’re looking for some relaxation, the Walking the Labyrinth forum will be on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. in Great Hall.

The forum event occurs twice a semester and will begin with a short history. Students are then encouraged to walk the labyrinth and are then welcome to share their experience.

A labyrinth comes in two patterns, charts and cretin. The patterns form a winding pathway. The pattern leads to a center and then one can follow the pattern back out.

Labyrinths can be found on canvas, earth and cement. They can look like a maze but are not meant to confuse; the pattern is easily marked and there is only one way in and one way out.

Cindy Chicoine is a representative from Spirations, an institute of spiritual healing, and has helped Simpson develop the Labyrinth. According to Chicoine, there are four stages to walking the labyrinth.

First, the preparation is when you quietly pause before entering the path to allow questions or focus of reflection. Second, the journey from the entrance to the center symbolizes the letting go. Third, the center symbolizes going to the center of our self. Fourth, the journey from the center and back is called the return. This is where we bring our wisdom and gifts back into the world.

Labyrinth’s date back over 3500 years ago. One was built in France in 1200’s A.D. and still exists today on the floor of a cathedral.

Labyrinths are becoming more popular and have been seen in parks, hospitals, prisons, hospice programs and retreat centers. The labyrinth forum event has been at Simpson since 2006, the first taking place in Hopper gym.

Many use the labyrinth for spiritual help. Reverend Angela Gafford-Asmus, chaplain and director of religious life community, thinks the labyrinth is helpful in transitions.

“Sometimes we have to let go of things and that occurs internally,” Gafford-Asmus said. “The labyrinth is a great way to have the transition be a physical thing as well. It’s also a great way to allow us to focus to better understand our lives.”

Another benefit of the labyrinth is all religions can experience it.

“There’s no particular set of beliefs that one needs to have to experience the labyrinth,” Gafford-Asmus said. “It’s an individual experience than anyone of any age can do.”

Senior Tracy Robson, chapel intern of communications and technology, attended her first labyrinth in Des Moines her freshman year.

“I really enjoyed it, but you need to be in the right mindset- a calm, quiet mind to fully experience and understand it,” Robson said. “It’s good for centering, relaxation, and meditation.”

Senior Jessica Paulsen, chapel intern of discipleship has been in charge of putting the forum event together. She’s also helped with putting a proposal together to have a labyrinth bought for campus.

“We would like a labyrinth outdoors either on campus or in Buxton Park,” Paulsen said. “People appreciate the ones outdoors because there’s the aspect of nature. It’s something permanent to walk on whenever one wants.”

Size and location has yet to be determined.

“I encourage people to try it once,” Paulsen said. “It’s a unique experience and it’s a great tool to reflect on life.”