The labyrinth is an ancient symbol for healing and a path to renewing the body-mind-spirit connection, which dates back more than 3000 years. Labyrinths of pre-Christian Knossos and Egypt were followed by labyrinths in European cathedrals. The best-known labyrinth is an eleven-circuit design dating back to the 13th century, and is laid on the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France. Burlington's Central Park Labyrinth is modeled after this one.
The Central Park labyrinth is also the first permanent wheelchair accessible labyrinth in Canada.
Research and Wellness Benefits
Research conducted by Harvard Medical School's Mind/Body Institute
(see below) has found that focused walking meditation is highly
effective at reducing anxiety, and done on a regular basis, can
result in long-term health benefits. This includes reduction of
insomnia, reduction of chronic pain, lowering blood pressure and
greater powers of concentration.
A labyrinth is an ancient, geometric pattern that has a single path that leads into the centre and out again. Not to be confused with a maze, a labyrinth was originally based on a circle, the ancient symbol for healing, unity and wholeness. A maze offers a choice of paths, dead ends and false starts; it is our cognitive mind (left brain) that loves to problem solve. Walking the labyrinth involves the creative and intuitive mind (right brain) and can be calming and balancing. The choice is whether to walk the labyrinth – a spiritual journey.
Ancient and modern labyrinths can be found in many areas of the world, including France, England, Sweden, India, Peru and the American southwest. In the last decade, North Americans have rediscovered the labyrinth as a tool for well-being and they have since been installed in: Hospitals, schools, churches and even individual residences.