Located in the northwest corner of the Unity of Bellevue property, with access from the parking lot and surrounded by Douglas fir, alder and Madrona trees, the Peace Labyrinth area is a wonderful setting for meditation and prayer.
The Peace Labyrinth is a gift to the community from the Lay Ministry, a spiritual leadership and volunteer organization within Unity of Bellevue. What began with little more than enthusiasm and energy in late July 1996 was built in a few short months with volunteer labor and donated funds. The Peace Labyrinth was dedicated on December 1, 1996.
History of the Labyrinth
The labyrinth is a model of spiritual wholeness and order. The concept can be difficult for the modern western mentality to understand since we tend to perceive a split between mind, body and spirit, rather than embracing them as one.
It differs from a maze in a very fundamental way. Mazes stimulate and engage the thinking, problem solving mind. Labyrinths engage the heart, with no decisions about directions needing to be made. By simply yielding to and following the path, the mind slows and quiets. The voice of the heart can then be heard.
Labyrinths are found in many different cultures throughout history. The earliest are found in Greece, Ireland, England and Northern Algeria. Many are found in France and Northern Italy. Similar designs have appeared as Native American medicine wheels and Tibetan mandalas. The circle motif appears in some form in nearly every spiritual tradition across cultures and history.
The Peace Labyrinth is modeled upon the labyrinth found in the floor at Chartes Cathedral in France. Built at the beginning of the 13th century, it was created to simulate a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. In the Middle Ages, a journey to the holy city of Jerusalem was a major life goal among Christians, a pilgrimage of faith and adventure. However, the Crusades were raging in the Middle East, religious wars of Christian against Moslem and travel to the holy land was far too dangerous and expensive for the common person. Rome thus decreed that pilgrimage destination sites were to be created at cathedrals in Europe, to become “Jerusalem” for pilgrims, using labyrinths to signify the entering of the Holy City. Not surprisingly, the metaphysical definition for “Jerusalem” is “the dwelling place of peace.”
Please feel free to come and walk the Labyrinth at any time.
There are classes on the Labyrinth from time to time; watch for them under “Events – Classes.”