I recently led a group of older elementary school students through the experience of walking a labyrinth as a symbolic pilgrimage. Beforehand, I encouraged them to become aware of three different parts of themselves: 1) Who they really are, or their Spirit essence, 2) Who they think they are, or their beliefs, and, 3) Who they want everyone else to think they are, or their façade. We talked about the difference and about a pilgrimage as a spiritually focused journey. Finally, I sent them into the Chartres Cathedral-style labyrinth with the instructions of seeing if they could mindfully walk as their authentic “spirit-selves.”
When one boy emerged he shared this: “I got to the center and I heard my Spirit talking to me. Then, when I was walking back out, my thoughts tried to ambush me and my Spirit had to fight them off.” A girl added, “When I reached the center, I could feel all my anger wash away.” All of the students agreed that when they felt most like themselves, they felt more connected to others.