Is it possible to be meditative while walking on crushed glass? No, I did not attempt this feat in India or test my endurance for a lucrative contest. I found beautiful pebbles of recycled glass bottles lining a labyrinth at The New Hope Conference Center in Chapel Hill, NC…the place where I held the Yoma Yoga’s Women’s Retreat (Nurturing Yourself into the New Year) in January 2014.
The Center’s Labyrinth is patterned after the eleven circuit (36 foot wide) medieval labyrinth embedded on the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France designed in the Middle Ages (1220). When crushed glass is a pathway on an outdoor labyrinth with sunshine glistening small green, white and blue glass, it can definitely be meditative. There is the addition of a beautiful auditory aspect that helps with the centering in the here and now. So, the answer is yes!
Everyone at the retreat thought the same. Many had experienced other labyrinths and found this one to be exceptionally beautiful and moving. And, the fact that the outline for the paths are quartz stones elevated the energy level even more.
After Carol’s nourishing lunch, we left our cozy cabin on a cold winter day for a silent walking mediation. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, we “kissed the earth” with our feet through the woods and over a small wooden bridge and up the hill to the sight of the labyrinth. The labyrinth is surrounded by tall pines and overlooking a peaceful pond. A clearing allowed for plenty of sunshine to do a dance on the glass. When I turned around to face everyone as we approached the entrance to the labyrinth, I saw several puzzled and worried faces on those who had never seen one before. I quickly broke the silence to share that this was not a maze…there was only one way in and one way out. I could hear a collective sign of relief!
Walking a Labyrinth: The Journey In: notice the breath, quiet the mind, release and let go of the details of your life, focus on the pathway, let your body find the walking pace…like yoga. Give attention to your innermost thoughts, explore dreams & hopes, carry a question you have been living with. Stop if you want, pass others if you want. Rest in the Center, sit if you wish…receive what is there. The Journey Out: Depart on the same winding path that you followed in and reflect. Time at the End: spend time alone in journaling, meditating, drawing.
Note: The New Hope Center is not a public facility. But, you can call to arrange a time to visit during daylight hours if there are no scheduled groups using the labyrinth. Once you have arranged a time, you have to sign-in at the office.