Walk the Labyrinth
by Keith Bond
This article is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
Labyrinths have been around for many centuries. Labyrinth designs are found on ancient coins and pottery. They are found on cave drawings and in basketry, in mosaics and books. There are also large ones intended for walking through. These walkable labyrinths can be found in many places including churches, cathedrals, schools, public places, and in private gardens. Unlike mazes – which are complex, with many dead ends, and must be solved – a labyrinth has only one path.
1 Medieval Labyrinth
To walk a labyrinth can be meditative and relaxing. They have been used for centuries for such purposes. In many cultures, they even have religious or spiritual meaning. A labyrinth often represents man’s journey through life toward God. Some cultures historically used them in conjunction with rituals while other cultures couple prayer with walking the labyrinth. Contemporary use is mostly for entertainment. But its meditative and spiritual applications are seeing a resurgence.
2 Edinburgh Labyrinth, Georgia Square Gardens, UK. Photo by Di Williams
My family recently walked through one. It was interesting for me to see how each of my children responded to it. My six-year-old thought it was a game and couldn’t get enough. He told me he made it through 4 times while everyone else only did it once or twice. My oldest daughter thought it was dumb and didn’t have the patience to follow the path. She skipped over the lines and went straight to the center. My oldest son found joy in blocking the way of the younger kids who were all having fun running through it. One of my children thought it was frustrating because it never seemed to end. My wife and I quite enjoyed the experience.
So what does this have to do with art?
I think walking the labyrinth is much like an artistic journey. The center may represent artistic mastery. It might represent whatever you consider success. Or perhaps you have a labyrinth for each goal you wish to attain. It could be whatever you wish it to be. For me, it represents where I will be artistically when I die. I see art as a lifelong journey.
Somewhere along the path is where you are now. Can you visualize your goal? As you travel down the path, you will find detours along the way – bends in the road. You may feel that you are moving away from your goal, but the reality is that the detour is necessary to get you to the goal. You are in fact moving closer, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Those detours are experiences – both in life and with your art. You need them for growth to occur.
Some of you will travel the labyrinth more quickly than others. Remember it isn’t a race. As long as you place one foot in front of the other, you are progressing.
Some of you may get frustrated and try to skip all the necessary travel – the necessary growth. Even though my daughter was able to jump the track, in reality you can’t. You cannot create the artwork today that you will be capable of in five years. You must experience life and learn and grow for those five years. You must walk the labyrinth.
You will find obstacles in your way from time to time. You may find people in your way – people like my son who don’t want you to succeed – or tell you that you can’t. Ignore them. Pass them by. Move on. Continue your journey towards your goal. You know what you want. Go for it.
Others of you might give up. You may feel that you will never reach the goal. But don’t quit.
Depending on what the center represents to you, you may never reach the destination in this life. That is okay. The journey is reward enough. My wife and I and the younger kids had fun just walking through it. It didn’t matter how many turns or how long it was. It was the journey that was rewarding.
Go. Walk the labyrinth. Find joy. Progress will come.
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