Purpose and Power of the Practices SC and the labyrinth
The first purpose for these practices and the one that informs the others is one I have already referred to which is KNOW THYSELF.
Who hasn’t asked the questions:
- Who am I?
- Why am I here?
SoulCollage® and the labyrinth help us answer these questions.
Jean Houston who has been using the labyrinth in her wisdom school workshops for years says “… the labyrinth can welcome you back to who and what you really are.”
Lauren Artress has guided many people through the labyrinth and in doing so has noticed that the medieval eleven-circuit labyrinth seems to have the ability to “… ignite seekers latent potential and find an avenue for its expression in the world.”
Combine the power of the archetypal pattern of labyrinth with walking meditation and the SoulCollage® process with its potent use of imagery, imagination and intuition – and together you have a powerful template for transformation.
How is this achieved?
I believe that one of the ways is by giving us a way to access whole brain thinking.
When we walk a labyrinth the left brain, which is the linear part of the brain that likes organizing and knowing, is occupied with the task of following the twists and turns of the path. Because the left brain has a task, our thinking mind becomes quieter, which allows our intuitive right brain to have an opportunity to open and connect to our personal unconscious - and even what Carl Jung referred to as the collective unconscious, that part of the unconscious that comprises our ancestral and evolutionary past.
The same applies in making our SoulCollage® cards. By engaging our whole brain - with the left brain focused on cutting and gluing rather than on analyzing and questioning - we are brought more fully into the present moment, and therefore more aligned with our wisdom.
In addition, intentionally taking time out of our day to explore our inner world is essential. Our minds are always trying to make sense out of chaos, out of all the information bombarding our senses in any given movement, always needing to make decisions, make plans, get things done. So unless we intentionally make time for self-observation and reflection, we will continue to feel confused and anxious, and feel that we are merely existing to get things done, rather than living a meaningful and intentional life.
There is something about the labyrinth pattern that quiets our mind so that we can step into our own natural rhythm and flow without any conscious effort. It is as if we step into a space where time becomes fluid and expanded.
Making time to walk the labyrinth, using the pattern and rhythm of the walk to ground our body and center our mind, allowing our unconscious time to process the experience through the making of SoulCollage® cards – and then asking meaningful questions from this place of inner stillness - can bring us clarity about the next steps we need to take on our journey. In addition, by trusting the path and the process, we are releasing the need to control, and this helps calm our mind.
By getting to know the deeper or hidden parts of ourselves, we can develop more compassion and patience – both towards ourselves and others. I know that creating a SoulCollage® card for my Inner Critic made me much less judgmental of my artist self as I could see that my “you are not good enough” voice was just one part of me – one that had a very loud voice and overbearing attitude, yes - but it was not who I was. It was only a part of me.
When we give ourselves the opportunity to tap into the intuitive and symbolic parts of ourselves, we are connecting to something larger than ourselves and our place and work in the world become clearer. Everyday minor concerns become less irritating and we feel a sense of purpose in our lives.
Jean Houston says that the labyrinth “allows us a map that is not a map, a journey that transcends journey, and gives a kind of clarity to our lives that we cannot find through ordinary means.”
Both the labyrinth and the SoulCollage® process can uncover buried emotions and help us process them in a gentle supportive way. But they do not reveal things to us that we are not ready to hear. The soul part of us knows when we are ready and both the labyrinth and the SoulCollage® process connect us to the soul part of ourselves. Both these processes also take us on an inner and an outer journey at the same time. And both these processes are multi-layered experiences which incorporate the physical, the emotional, the sensual and the intellectual to create a whole-body experience.
But I suggest that you don’t take my word for these things. After all these are experiential processes and your experience will be unique to you. So try them for yourself and “experience your experience”. You have nothing to lose.