Posting Date: April 24, 2013
KSU presents Labyrinth Night: A Walking MeditationDocumentary and meditation night will offer relief from stress of everyday life
By Amanda Ray
As the semester comes to an end and final papers, examinations and projects are due, students and professors alike often find themselves tangled in a mental state of seemingly perpetual stress. To alleviate these stressful times, it can be helpful to relax, breathe and meditate. Accomplishing this tranquility is difficult, but participating in a Walking Meditation might be the key to discovering inner peace and putting an eager mind to rest.
John Gentile, professor in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at Kennesaw State University, says the College of the Arts offers a solution to the hectic, disturbingly chaotic and frantic world we inhabit. KSU and the local community are invited to join this year’s Walking Meditation on May 6 in the Stillwell Theater. A documentary, “Rediscovering the Labyrinth: A Walking Meditation,” will be shown at 4 p.m. with the meditation following from 4:30-9 p.m. The audience should expect to have “a deeper understanding and appreciation of the labyrinth tradition” after viewing the film, says Gentile.
A labyrinth, Gentile explains, “has one defined, winding path leading to the center, whereas a maze uses multiple paths with dead ends. Because of its single winding path, a labyrinth leads the walker inevitably to the center while permitting a stilling of the rational mind. That stilling of the mind opens the opportunity for meditation and walking, which, as we all know, assists the once mind-tangled walker in the process of reflection, contemplation, problem solving and ‘going within.’”
“The center of the labyrinth,” Gentile continues, “is a place to sit in silence and open to reflection, contemplation or prayer—to feel centered. The walk out permits you to recollect the experiences and bring that stillness and mindfulness achieved during the walk into your everyday life. Because contemporary American life is all about rushing to complete the next task, marking things of your “to-do” list, productivity and competition—and because we are a mess for it—here is an invitation to consider your inner life.”
Not only will the Walking Meditation benefit the spirit, but it is one event that is not driven by numbers. “There is no charge for admission and no expectation about the number of attendees,” Gentile says. “We offer the labyrinth nights as a service to the campus and local community without expectation. Those who are both new and curious about the labyrinth, alongside those experienced with labyrinth walking meditations, are welcome to make space in their hectic schedules and tend to their inner lives.”
This Walking Meditation has been occurring at KSU for approximately 10 years. “Since I first discovered the labyrinth for myself, about 15 years ago or so, I have been participating in walking meditations,” Gentile explains. “A dream is that the university will set aside space for a permanent outdoor labyrinth and meditation garden. Perhaps the years of the College of the Arts sponsoring labyrinth nights will eventually lead to that dream becoming reality,” concludes Gentile.