Corn mazes aren’t the only labyrinths that you should participate in this fall. Nestled behind Bapst Library is a Memorial Labyrinth, dedicated to the 22 Boston College alumni who lost their lives in 9/11. The labyrinth is not only a memorial to those who were lost, but also a spot of reflection and meditation for anyone feeling lost.
The labyrinth behind Bapst is a copy of the 13th century labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral. The circle that outlines the labyrinth represents a perfect form, seen to symbolize eternity, and the path through the labyrinth is the longest possible way to arrive at its center. This labyrinth has a single, winding path to the center that can be seen as the path of truth through the maze of choices the world presents.
While the path to the center is the longest possible way to get to the center, it is important to embrace its length and structure, something that is uncommon to our day-to-day lives. The goal is to submit to the structure and discipline of the path in a meditative way.
The main focus of the labyrinth is to be present. Whether you stay silent and empty your mind of all of the craziness surrounding you, or focus on the memory of a loved one who passed away, the point is to forget what your current stresses may be, and to focus on a singular thought in your mind.
“I like that it forces you to take one step at a time, not thinking about the destination. It’s a physical journey which really helps you to connect it with your spiritual or life journey,” said Bridget Fitzgerald, CSON ’17.
Whether you choose to focus on one singular thought, or no thoughts at all, pay attention to every movement and motion that your body makes while walking. Slow down your steps so that you consciously have to think how to walk. This will force you to slow down any ambitions to race through the path, and really focus on being present.
“No matter how many times I’ve done it I always lose myself in the winding of the labyrinth on the way to the center, not knowing how far I am or where I’ve come from, just knowing I’ll get to the center,” said Kristin Marren, MCAS ’17.
Most importantly, while there is a structure and meaning to the labyrinth, it is important to remember that the structure is meant for the individual to expand upon. Karina Hollaran, LSOE ’17, explained that it is, most essentially, a time to center yourself: “Let the stress of school leave your mind and focus on what is really important to you. Think about what you are grateful for and the blessing you have received.”