It’s 5.35am. The road is dark. A hedgehog appears in my car headlights a few feet ahead. I slam on the breaks and stop the car. Did I hit it?
Single moments can symbolically capture a whole world: the macro (systemic) and the micro (individual) interwoven in one instant.
Hedgehogs, once common in the UK, are on the red list of mammals, at risk of extinction. I know this intellectually, just as I know intellectually that the climate is spiralling out of control, ...
William Blake famously invited us “to see a world in a grain of sand”.
You can also see a world in a labyrinth.
I love labyrinths. Labyrinths are spiral-shaped. You find spirals everywhere in nature; our galaxy is a spiral.
I’ve offered labyrinth walks as an awareness and meditation practice for 25+ years in different places from Naxos to Shoreham Beach, which is where I was last Saturday.
Here’s 10 life lessons drawn from building a beach labyrinth.
1. Make the call clearly from your heart ...
Joy is a strange, unfamiliar, important word.
I wonder is joy a distant cousin to its much better-known relative, happiness? Whilst happiness has often been commodified by the marketplace, packaged and sold, joy seems wilder, stranger, harder to contain.
I just returned from a joyful hour’s walk with a friend. What made it joyful? It was natural, emergent not manufactured. The talking ebbed and flowed. We paused along the way, periodically dropping into silence. Pain mingled with amazement, wondering with listening. Oh, and ...
When things in the world become chaotic & confused, when the clamour & noise of insistent voices becomes too much, and when thing fall part, it's then that our connection to the still point matters most.
What is the Still Point?
This is the place of inner stillness and wisdom, calm amidst the storm, inner knowing, access to the Source that gives birth to all things and all beings. We name this place differently but we know it exists, an abundant stream of grace, ever present ...
Solvitur ambulando – it is solved by walking - the wise counsel from St Augustine in the 5th Century. I heard those words 30 years ago when the ancient practice of labyrinth walking was being reintroduced in San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. But what makes labyrinth walks sacred - portals to the divine? After all, at one level a labyrinth is just a canvas with a few hand-painted lines or a spiral created by a few stones arranged on a beach.
The answer ...
Labyrinth walks have been at the heart of my spiritual practice for 25 years but in all that time I’ve never created a beach labyrinth.
For the past 18 months I’ve lived on Shoreham Beach and often as I’ve walked along the beach at low tide, I’ve wondered about building one.
I decided to experiment at the time of the Full Moon. It was a surprisingly powerful experience.
A few of us came together and built a seven-circuit classical labyrinth using pebbles on the ...
When I first started meditation, I thought the practice was just about developing greater awareness. To be honest, at a certain point I recognised that I was developing a cool (maybe even sometimes a cold) clinical awareness to my life. I had fallen into what I later discovered was a familiar trap - treating meditation as a technique for self-improvement and relating to the practice primarily cognitively rather than wholeheartedly. Slowly, it dawned on me that how we sense ourselves and ...