Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11 Labyrinth Prayer Walk at the Sacred Garden of Maliko

Makawao, Maui - Sitting in front of the Big Buddha in the back of the Sacred Garden nursery, we were serenaded by harp and flute music.  The full moon was clearly visible among the clouds and tree branches, and some people were excited to see moonbows.  There was a side table with refreshments, like hot tea and cocoa, as well as cookies, local tangerines, and banana bread. The many plants of the nursery were shrouded in shadows and the light from the torches flickered over people's faces.  People clustered together in silence, listening to the music and the occasional tinkle of wind chimes.

The air was cool, and it didn't rain!  Even the mosquitoes seem to be sleeping. Every now and then, just for comic relief, the resident large brown dog would make an occasional moan or grunt, as if to emphasize a point that someone had just made. 

Eve Hogan, the proprietor of the Sacred Garden, began her talk by suggesting that we think about 9/11 as an opportunity for "emergence" not just emergency.  She said the root of emergency is emergence, and an emergency is the opportunity for the emergence of compassion, awakening, spirit, connection to each other, family, God, love... Suzanne Frew, a disaster relief specialist, said that she was part of the emergency response team to 9/11 and has a lot of strong memories and emotions connected to the event.  She ended by saying, "Our gift to the dead is the way that we live."

Eve further talked about a study after 9/11 showing that people's values had shifted.  Instead of the "external" values of money, career, and success dominating our lives, the more "internal" values of connection to others, family, God/Spirit, became more important. Eve also added, we don't always have the tools for compassion, connection, and love. Eve asked, if peace starts within us and we are not at peace, how can we have world peace? 

The labyrinth is one of many tools for peace. It can be a tool for self-awareness and meditation. As we walk the labyrinth, we can ask ourselves whether we are judging others as we walk - is the person in front of us walking too slowly? If so, perhaps this is an opportunity to slow down, or to go ahead and pass this person, or we can have another response. Just as in life, there are infinite choices we can make. We can watch ourselves make choices and have judgments, see if we want to keep those judgments, and keep them or let them go.

After the initial talk and discussion, we had the opportunity to walk both labyrinths, with the understanding that "there is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth."  Afterwards, we came back to reconnect, reflect, and offer insights to each other.

This is a short clip from the opening segment of Eve's talk, with more to follow in other posts.


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