A labyrinth is a single path tool for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation. Mosaics from the Roman Empire often depicted labyrinths as strongholds or fortified cities. Throughout the world there exists a symbol - a series of concentric lines, carefully connected. Some of the earliest forms of this labyrinth can be found in Greece, dating back to 2500 -2000 B.C. Other ancient labyrinths date back to early Egypt, Peru, India, and even the Native American nations of the Southwest. The thread that was used to find the way out is a metaphor for the silken thread produced by the spider. Moving to the middle point, the pilgrim was supposed to receive the full force from the luminous light emanating from the three stained glass rose windows.
Much like a labyrinth, kata practice is an opportunity to become absorbed in motion or moving meditation. The seven-circuit labyrinth can be approached as a means to improve the health of the body and mind. The AKDW labyrinth is approximately 50 feet in diameter and was constructed by members of the Association in the Spring of 2001.
The work starts by locating the center of the labyrinth, stake near the wheelbarrow, and measuring the radius.
As the day draws to a close, the area is cleared, the center of the labyrinth is laid with stone, the outer perimeter is marked with a stone ring, and the workers gather to appreciate their accomplishments.
The audio file above is a guided meditation created by The Common Collective for a labyrinth installation that is happening as part of Open Streets Hamilton on June 24th, 2012.
The idea is to listen to this track on your smart phone iPod while walking a labyrinth that is painted right on the road. The Common Collective is a collection of artists and musicians who believe that they are made in the image of their Creator, and when they are being creative that they are being a good reflection.
It is a structure containing an intricate network of winding passages hard to follow without losing one's way.

This symbol, and its family of derivatives, has been traced back over 3500 years; it occurs in different cultures, at different points in time, in places as diverse as Peru, Arizona, Iceland, Scandinavia, Crete, Egypt, India and Sumatra.
By more frequently using the left hemisphere, considered as rational, we leave out the possibility of taking advantage of the benefits brought by the right hemisphere, such as creative imaginati on, serenity, global view, capacity of synthesis and ease of memorization, among others.
In mythology, the engineering genius Daedalus is credited with having contrived the labyrinthine floor in Cnossus as a dancing floor for the king Minos' daughter Ariadne. Within the confines of the labyrinth, the minotaur (a creature part bull - part human) was held as a means of humiliating King Minos. Today the labyrinth is known to have a curative effect on certain ailments by producing a sense of well-being and balance through a type of vestibular (passage between) stimulation, accessing both left and right hemispheres of the brain.
Using the golden thread, he was able to emerge from the Labyrinth after slaying the Minotaur. Dancing around and around until reaching the center, a ritual commonly seen at each of the four annual fairs, the pilgrim became more and more sensitive to the power accumulated in the vast cathedral chamber (music, stained glass, architectural design). If the pilgrim experienced the entire sensuousness of the cathedral, it would be because the body's senses had apprehended all the musical and geometrical proportions, and all the numbers and lines expressed in the building's interior. A karateka can confront challenges, remain balanced, maintain proper breathing, and strive to coordinate mind, body, and spirit.
The Common Collective is based in Hamilton, Ontario and are an expression of The Commons, a grass roots faith community.
The true labyrinth has no false pathways or dead ends to confuse those who follow its winding course. The lines of contact between these widely spaced bursts of labyrinth are difficult to trace, and its origins remain mysterious. By means of various techniques we can stimulate the right side of the brain and search the integration of the two hemispheres, and thus, balancing the use of our potentialities. The labyrinth (pattern) built into the floor at Chartres Cathedral was also found on coins minted at Cnossus. Often called “city of turns” labyrinths were equated with Holy cities such as Troy, Jericho, and Jerusalem. Poseidon (god of the sea) sent this horrible step-son to Minos because he had failed to make a fitting sacrifice to the powerful sea god.

A labyrinth, on the other hand, has one path - to the center, and then back out again, transformed. Circles (circular motion) are rich in both yin and yang (yin underground water crossing yang energy lines). Much like the Greek hero Theseus, cautiously and confidently finding his way out of the labyrinth, or the pilgrims getting the full experience of the stained glass windows, the magnificent designs of the architecture, and captivating music that filled the cathedrals, or the earliest philosophers seeking to enhance their well-being to better understand inner balance - karate practitioners who enter kata exercises ultimately become more aware by challenging themselves, confronting that which needs to be improved, and recognizing each step of the journey is necessary in their effort to become more enlightened.
To dare grapple with something that one cannot possibly defeat brings one into the closest proximity to all that defines success - humility, a deepened awareness on one's limitations, a respect for life itself, the willingness to dare the improbable. Allow your other senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch) to be heightened throughout each stage of the exercise. The labyrinth resonates to this numinous (magical power) spiral, the Phi ratio known as the 'Golden Mean' (the most pleasing shape, it is incoporated into many aspects of art) found in all of nature.
It is considered to be a place of spiritual action that possesses the power to transform people, to transmute them into a higher spiritual state. As you walk the labyrinth, focus on sending positive ki through your body and center specifically on the crown, third eye (inner being), throat, heart, solar plexus, navel, and base (ki spot). At the conclusion of the walk of the labyrinth, you should experience a sense of being centered, having a strong ki flow, and conscious of a clear and relaxed mental state.
Theseus defeated the beast at the heart of darkness - and created a myth that is still vibrant and captivating some 3000 years later. Pilgrims arriving at the Great West Door, the threshold of the cathedral, found they stood more upright with their heads upraised, for the interior design of the cathedral seems to create a definite uplifting effect on the body. If we follow it with trust, we will emerge; re-surface from the depths of uncertainty, weakness, and the most difficult challenges.

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