22 October 2008


I finally did it. I walked a labyrinth - and it wasn't the one I thought I'd end up in either. It was all a bit of a surprise. I was down in Nelson Lakes to do some H&S training (Gorgeous part of the country: I've never been there before and now I understand why people rave about Lake Rotoiti. It's magical: serene blue water reflecting snowy mountains (in October!) and fringed with dark forests.) The second session of the day was cancelled and I was able to shift my flight home, but it meant I had some time to kill. I didn't rush the drive back to Nelson from St Arnaud, and then went to explore Nelson a bit as I've only been there twice, and never with a car!

I found Nelson Cathedral and went to explore, and discovered that they have laid a labyrinth down in the south transept. And walking it was every bit as profound as I thought it would be. There was something about the circling around the centre point, sometimes closer, sometimes further away, and then stopping in the middle: they had cleverly set up the centre so one ends up meditating on the great south rose window and the crucifixion windows. Going out again emphasised the outward journey.

Life centres around certain facts, certain truths: sometimes we feel closer to the truth than others, but at all times we are journeying in a path that has been laid for us. We can't see where we're going or how it's going to end up - walking the labyrinth you're never quite sure where you're at and how much further there is to go, but all of a sudden I found myself at the centre without quite knowing how I got there, and the same at the end. It was a really profound symbol of life and I can see why the labyrinth became a kind of pilgrimage for those who couldn't go to Jerusalem in the Middle Ages.


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