Thursday, 2 September 2010
Labyrinths Are Not Mazes
Many people use the words "labyrinth" and "maze" interchangeably. But they are not the same thing at all.
A maze is deliberately designed to fool and confuse the walker. There are twists, turns, dead ends. You can get lost in a maze. A maze is multicursal -- it has multiple paths but only one path gets you to the destination. A maze is a puzzle to be figured out.
But you can never get lost in a labyrinth because it only has one path. The path may twist and turn, but there are no dead ends or misleading alleyways. A labyrinth is unicursal -- it has a single path that leads to the centre and back again.
That's why a labyrinth can be used for meditation -- you don't have to use your left brain to figure out the correct path. Knowing that you cannot get lost, you can turn off your left brain. Your right brain is then free to take over and conduct a truly meditative experience for you.