This is one of a series of posts about a trip I took to walk labyrinths in July 2022. See this post to see why I refer to these labyrinths as my “Emmaus labyrinths.” Note: the numbering refers not to how many labyrinths I walked on this trip, but to the total number I’ve blogged about so far.
Main Line Unitarian Church has a Baltic-style labyrinth, on a grass path with inlaid stone walls.
I began the day at a UU (Unitarian-Universalist) church and now I’m ending the day at another UU church, and in fact ending this trip here. The question I chose to end the trip with was this: “How can I take this feeling back with me, to share with others?”
I’m not sure that I’ve ever walked a Baltic labyrinth before. What makes it different from most labyrinths I’ve walked is that it has two paths into the center, one short and one long. This gives you the option of which path to travel in on, and which path to walk out. I chose to take the short way in and the long way out.
I did this because I think it’s important for me to remember this: teaching takes a lot longer than learning. When I learn something, it feels instantaneous, like it just hit me like a flash of lightning. (How many times did I use phrasing like that in this series of blog posts?) But in reality, I’d probably been primed for that learning already. I think you only learn something spiritual when you’re ready, and sometimes it takes an awfully long time to be ready. The insights I’ve had this weekend, the insights I’ve had throughout my life, they were probably things I learned over and over again until it sank in. So learning is a lot slower than it feels like.
And teaching is slow too. Teaching means that I don’t know if the other person is already “primed” for what I’m trying to teach, or if perhaps I’m contributing to the priming for an insight much later. I have often used the metaphor of “planting seeds” when teaching people, but I need to remember that that is true. Teaching might feel like it takes a lot longer than learning, but in reality it probably just requires patience.
I also considered that I often take the long path while learning something, yet I expect I can teach via the short one. For instance, I spend three entire days walking labyrinths, and I somehow expect to be able to give people the same experience through blog posts that will probably take them only a few minutes to read.
So maybe that’s an important thing for me to take home from this: be patient with people, and trust the process.