in: Character, Habits, Sunday Firesides

Sunday Firesides: Make Your Routine a Labyrinth

While “labyrinth” is sometimes used to describe a deliberately confusing maze with branching passages and dead ends, a classical labyrinth has a single clear path to the center and back out again.

This “unicursal” pattern has existed since ancient times and shows up in cultures around the world. It’s been etched onto pottery, carved into the walls of caves, and inked on the skin.

It’s also been used to create large, walkable labyrinths which are inlaid on the floors of cathedrals or cut into the greenery of gardens.

Pacing the predictable path of such labyrinths has long served as a form of moving meditation, and even a symbolic pilgrimage. As someone winds his way around the curves of a labyrinth’s set course, he prays, recites devotions, or simply lets his mind wander and reflect.

While not everyone has access to this kind of physical labyrinth, everyone can turn their daily routine into something that functions as such.

Each day we typically follow a well-worn course that takes us from bed, through a familiar set of tasks, and back to bed again. While the repetitive nature of our daily routine may sometimes seem like a drag, it’s also an opportunity.

As you move through activities that have become habitual, you’re granted a rich space for contemplation; your mind is free to ponder a philosophical puzzle, discern more about your purpose, and receive needed insights.

Turning your repetitious rounds into redemptive rituals takes but three simple things: 1) starting the day with that intention; 2) carving out pockets of silence; 3) having substantial grist to chew on gathered from media and conversations engaged in at other times.

While novelty is a well-known spur to creative inspiration, routine — at least when entered as a labyrinth — can also allow you to penetrate deeper and deeper into life’s mysteries.

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