“…symbolical rites are the external expressions of man’s inward desire to unite with Divinity.” – Roberta H. Lamerson, F.R.C.
One of the most sacred spiritual rites throughout history is the walking of the labyrinth.
Kimberly Lowelle, the President of The Labyrinth Society – a network of labyrinth scholars and enthusiasts – writes, “The labyrinth is an archetype of transformation. Its transcendant nature knows no boundaries, crossing time and cultures with ease. The labyrinth serves as a bridge from the mundane to the divine…” I suggest to the reader that the Labyrinth is an image AND an experience worth looking deeper into as a model for yielding what one wants from the social fabric of the internet, which is really the fabric of our communal heart.
At their labyrinth website, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco writes about about the deeper meanings of the labyrinth, “The Labyrinth is an archetype, a divine imprint, found in all religious traditions in various forms around the world. By walking a replica of the Chartres labyrinth, laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France around 1220, we are rediscovering a long-forgotten mystical tradition that is insisting to be reborn.”
The labyrinth is a shared esoteric tradition, “In Native American culture it is called the Medicine Wheel and Man in the Maze. The Celts described it as the Never Ending Circle. It is also called the Kabbala in mystical Judaism. One feature they all share is that they have one path which winds in a circuitous way to the center.”
Having spent nearly a year walking solely in the labyrinth of social networks AND around the world meeting real people from those networks, I must say that the spiritual opportunity for humanity in social networks is profound.
What do I mean by this? If the ultimate goal of any relationship is the union of two hearts, then I would submit to the reader that social networks reveal paths for multiple re-unions. I have lived such re-unions over and over during the last 12 months in particular, from the re-kindling of high school romance to finding new friends within tribes of a shared heart-sense. Such re-unions are a symbolic experience within human experience of a deeper truth, a deeper goal that all peoples, all tribes, all nations share: to reach the spiritual goals defined by their forefathers and wise-women in whatever spiritual/aesthetic/communal traditions they were raised in. AGAIN, whatever spiritual tradition or method of reaching the sacred you choose, I suggest to you that social networks offer a path of BRINGING YOUR HEART TO YOUR PEOPLE. They want it and need it!
ON A DEEPER LEVEL, SOCIAL NETWORKS ARE EVEN NOW BEING WOVEN TOGETHER FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF SAVING WHAT NEEDS TO BE SAVED IN THE ECO-SYSTEM, THE HUMAN COMMUNITY AND IN OUR INDIVIDUAL HEARTS — ON A GLOBAL LEVEL.
The labyrinth is a living, breathing metaphor for those who walk the social networks and the paths of this planet FOR THE EXPRESS GOAL OF WEAVING HUMANITY TOGETHER.
Grace Cathedral literature shows how the exercise of the labyrinth may be seen in three parts. I have quoted their EXCELLENT material here AND added thoughts on personal and corporate findings one may take from the exercise of the labyrinth.
1. PURGATION (RELEASING) ~ “A releasing, a letting go of the details of your life. This is the act of shedding thoughts and distractions. A time to open the heart and quiet the mind.” (source)
Releasing on a Personal Level: To really enter social networks takes a lot of faith and courage. What I thought was important transforms as I transcend those early details from my Info section and discover truly amazing versions of my own personal gifts and ideals. Moving deeper into TRANSPARENT social graphs is a kind of shedding, the flower opens up, and the center of vitality is revealed. YOUR VITALITY can come from the goals you assign yourself AND THAT your graph assigns you on a daily basis.
Releasing for Businesses: What this means is a releasing of the “expert-ness” in the mind of the Marketing Manager, the Brand Manager and the SVP of Product IN PREPARATION for the LISTENING to the voice of the consumer. Your genius NEEDS to be in taking what your customer wants and elevating that to a level of product or service that exceeds his/her need/desire.
2. ILLUMINATION (RECEIVING) ~ “When you reach the center, stay there as long as you like. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive.” (source)
Receiving on a Personal Level: It seems that everyday, a quote or an image or a movie clip, reveals an answer and truth that I needed. Listening to the social fabric of the internet and to oneself PRIOR to interaction with friends gives you the chance to make good decisions about where you want your heart to go that moment, that day, and for your lifetime!
Receiving for Businesses: The important concept here for business is LISTENING. When we listen AT THE CENTER(s) of our customer base (key demographic), answers arrive for future product offerings and brand direction. AND customer service issues are solved very quickly.
3. UNION (RETURNING) ~ “As you leave, following the same path out of the center as you came in, you enter the third stage, which is joining God, your Higher Power, or the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work you feel your soul reaching for.” (source)
Union on a Personal Level: Chatting with a friend or video-Skype expands the vision found when listening. Meeting physically takes this EVEN FURTHER. That transparent shedding we do as an action of entering the social fabric of the internet and revealing ourselves REQUIRES friendliness and generosity. Secure allies within your social graph to support you in this (HINT: the best way to do this is by being that same person to him/her/them).
Union for Businesses: Again, as said above, the genius that comes from the center of the social graph is knowing what your customer wants and elevating that to a level of product or service that exceeds his/her need/desire. That’s what the Lovemarks from Saatchi + Saatchi are all about! This also is the golden road to building lasting Customer Lifetime Value and Customer Equity.
I suggest to the reader that building and entering your social graph IS akin to the building AND walking of a labyrinth. This passage is a sacred act AND also has regular CENTERS (POINTS OF ILLUMINATION) that you reach. If our genes carry an imprint, it seems logical to state that the social graph you have started building is a VISUALIZATION OF YOUR GENETIC HERITIAGE AND YOUR SPIRITUAL TRIBE.
Entering your personalized social graph, if viewed as a sacred experience, could very well result in your finding the answers and solutions needed by YOU.