Earlier today, Brock University held an opening ceremony for its new labyrinth — a grass-and-brick installation that is located across from the Campus Store on Weather Station Field. The Brock University Labyrinth is open to all community members in Niagara to walk it’s path in the spirit of contemplation, reflection and renewal.
For those who may not know what a labyrinth is, professor Adam C. Rappold from the classics department, gave a brief overview during the ceremony: “The concept of a labyrinth is so old and ancient, it is part of the shared culture of all humanities. Labyrinths, unlike mazes, are not puzzles. They don’t have an entrance and exit — and they’re not something to be solved. Instead, they are a single path, where beginning and end are the same, that leads us to an essential opening. In truth, labyrinths, I think, have an almost sacred element to them,” said Rappold.
Jill Grose, director, Centre for Pedagogical Innovation (CPI), spoke to the meaning the labyrinth brings to the Brock community. What started out as an initiative that was rooted in contemplative practices developed into a space where people can come together in the spirit of reflection and contemplation. “In this way,” Grose describes, “the labyrinth is a metaphor for life’s journey.”
Grose thinks it’s important to contemplate what we’re doing and, to some extent, to spend more time thinking about the big picture rather than the minutiae of assessments and credentialism — for us to shift our focus to experiential learning and away from just getting through our classes in order to get a degree and then a job. “The labyrinth is a way to help remind us about the impact of the experience of being here,” Grose said.
The labyrinth at Brock will be open to those in the Brock and Niagara community on a daily basis — but also for future seminars or groups that visit Brock.
“I think when I first thought about a labyrinth, the concept I had in mind was “here is a place to for you to go and be by yourself,” Grose said. “And then I thought about it as a community activity. I’ll be excited to try it out with a group of students in a seminar — and to do a community walk and then a debrief, challenging visitors to reflect on how how their experience in the labyrinth helped them connect more deeply to what they are learning?” Grose believes the labyrinth can help bring the people of our communities together.
Additionally, during the ceremony, Brock University acknowledged that the land on which the labyrinth was installed is on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabe peoples.