Most mornings I go for a walk or run. When I walk, one of my common destinations is a cemetery near my house. There are actually three cemeteries all connected, making for several miles of relatively quiet, secluded walking paths. Walking in a cemetery is very peaceful. I have to assume more people don’t take advantage of them because the graves make them uncomfortable. For me, they are a welcome reminder of the unavoidable loss of this life – our society seems to do everything it can to shelter us from this fact. It also makes me happy to think that perhaps the dead are glad to have some company. The idea of the dead people hanging around their graves is a bit absurd, of course, but it’s fun to think about any way.
The middle of the three cemeteries is made of 4-5 concentric circles with a few paths cutting through them. Normally I’ve just walked through this cemetery, which lies between the first and third on my walk, in order to cover the most ground. But recently I’ve started staying in this one – walking the circles. I find this very peaceful and meditative. Perhaps the small amount of focus needed to navigate the circles in order helps keep my mind on the walking, and the consistent scenery provides less distraction.
Labyrinths of various sorts have been used in almost every spiritual tradition for meditative practice and span over 4,000 years. I’ve read speculations that walking them creates right and left brain shifts, and that it balances the chakras. I don’t know – and this cemetary path is not really a proper labyrinth as it provides multiple choices – but it’s fun nonetheless.
I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has experiences with labyrinths or knows something about them.