It’s a roughly 30-minute exercise that could change your life, or at least alter your perspective.
At 2 p.m. Friday, the new labyrinth west of the Y Chapel of Song will be dedicated at Heartland Plaza on the University of Central Oklahoma campus. UCO President Don Betz will lead the ribbon cutting, followed by a traditional ceremonial exchange with guests. The UCO School of Music will provide music and refreshments will be served.
In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be in the Y Chapel of Song east of the labyrinth.
“We’re pleased to offer this oasis of serenity amid an otherwise bustling campus to our students, faculty, staff and the community,” Betz said. “The process of reflection is essential to lifelong learning. It is through reflection that we find new opportunities and fresh perspective.”
Betz said the labyrinth enhances the university’s mission to create a culture of learning, leading and serving.
Diane Rudebock, a professor of kinesiology and health studies who coordinates the project at UCO, said labyrinths have been found in many cultures throughout history dating back as far as 4,000 years ago. The designs were found on coins and jewelry and in caves, she said. In Greek mythology, the labyrinth was an intricate structure of interconnecting passages built by the legendary architect Daedalus to hold the half-man, half-bull Minotaur.
UCO’s labyrinth is based on the design of the path on the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France. Sometimes, the path served as a substitute for an actual pilgrimage to Jerusalem and as a result was known as the “Chemin de Jerusalem” (Road to Jerusalem). For people of faith, the experience can be a time filled with the hope of growing closer to God.
Today, outdoor labyrinths are found in settings such as universities, hospitals, parks, schools and churches.
Experiencing a labyrinth is a time to stop, pause and reflect, Rudebock said. Preparation involves taking some slow, deep breaths to quiet your mind. It is also an inward journey, toward the heart.
“We are all on a journey, and the path inward is a time to release and let go of the details of your life,” Rudebock said. “This is a time to open your heart and mind. Pay attention to your thoughts as they come and go.”
The center is a place where participants can remain as long as the like and receive, Rudebock said. It is a time for meditation and stillness.
When participants leave the center, begin the outward journey, they take the same path back out, Rudebock said. It is a time for participants to reflect on how this experience will affect them as they return to their daily lives, she said.
Additionally, participants are encouraged to write about the experience after completing the path, Rudebock said. Writing helps put thoughts into focus, and thoughts often mirror where we are in our lives, she said.
World-renowned labyrinth artists Debi and Marty Kermeen, founders of Labyrinths in Stone, hand-laid the medieval labyrinth design. The path equals about a third of a mile when walked to the center and back.
The project was a collaboration of UCO’s Office of the President, Academic Affairs, the College of Education and Professional Studies, the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies and Facilities Management.
For more information or to secure a parking pass for the event, contact the UCO Labyrinth Coordinator Diane Rudebock at 974-5230. Parking passes are limited. To learn more about the labyrinth and UCO’s College of Education and Professional Studies, visit www.uco.edu/ceps.
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