The holiday season is often the most stressful time of the year. What should be a time to relax and enjoy family can turn into a frenzied race to cook, entertain guests, shop non-stop, and for students, taking final exams as they wrap up the semester. John Gentile, Professor and Chair of the Department of Theater and Performance Studies at Kennesaw State, says the College of the Arts has offered some relief from the hustle and bustle for nearly a decade: the canvassed walking meditation labyrinth. “We offer walking meditations twice a year—usually during the week of final exams, when the stress of the academic year is at its most intense. In other words, when people need the labyrinth most,” he says.
KSU and the local community are invited to attend this year’s walking meditation on December 10th in Stillwell Theatre. A documentary, “Rediscovering the Labyrinth: A Walking Meditation,” will be shown at 4 p.m. followed by walking meditation from 4:30 to 9 p.m. “I hope the canvas labyrinth gives participants a sense of healing, centering, and well being. It can also give the meditator greater clarity or perspective in dealing with life challenges,” says Gentile.
A labyrinth may look like a maze, but it isn’t. It’s an ancient, archetypal pattern found in many spiritual traditions across the globe. It has a single circuitous path that winds its way into the center. The person walking it uses the same path to return from the center; the entrance then becomes the exit. Gentile believes interest in walking the labyrinth is growing. “Increased interest in America and the West in general with Eastern and alternative spiritualities has led to a growing interest and practice in yoga and meditation.” Gentile hopes to one day see a permanent outdoor labyrinth on the KSU campus.
Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 90 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of 24,100 students from more than 130 countries.