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The Path to Peace

The road to enlightenment lies just off Route 42.

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If you run into the Reverend Elizabeth Howell at the Winds of Change Center, she may suggest that you take a hike. Don't be offended. It's just an invitation to go on a meditative walk along the stone-lined paths of the facility's labyrinth.

Walking the labyrinth may be popular among today's crystal-pyramid and patchouli-incense crowd, but the practice actually dates to prehistoric times. It was an integral part of cultural and religious life for the Celts, Mayans, Greeks, Cretans, and many Native American tribes, among others.

The Winds of Change labyrinth in Medina was built two years ago. "A lot of people use it for meditation and as a part of their recovery programs," says Howell. It is composed of a circular series of paths built with white stone and offset with dark mulch. "The white stone is for visual effect," she explains, "and the contrast between the stone and the dark mulch is especially distinct after it rains."

Howell says the site has "good energy," an important consideration when building a large-scale meditation tool such as a labyrinth. "I think it's because we're a little further out in the country here," she says.

And despite the fact that this particular meditation tool faces busy Pearl Road, with a steady stream of SUVs and 18-wheelers roaring past, it's back far enough from the road to give walkers at least a little sense of solitude. "The maze or labyrinth is, so to speak, the counter-image of the primal yearning for the cave," writes Jean Gebser in Parabola magazine. "It is the image of that other primal yearning for greater awareness."

Uh, okay. If you want to get out of the cave, or maybe just spend a little time with yourself on the path to awareness, the labyrinth experience might be worth a try. At the very least, it looks to be infinitely more interesting than those boring sidewalks.

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