Of Gladiators and Labyrinths

It is crunch time again for students at the University of Victoria. Like gladiators going into the ring, students will stream into lecture halls and gymnasia to confront final exams. In a few hours of focused effort, they will either succeed or fail. Much time, money and effort hangs on these few hours, and a great deal of stress and anxiety. Of course, a little stress can be good and help motivate students toward excellence. But for many students, stress is debilitating and some feel paralyzed by their anxiety.

Multifaith Services at UVic offers an ancient spiritual tool to help students effectively ease their stress reaction. Simply by walking the labyrinth at the chapel and by applying meditation principles of letting go and cultivating inner calm, students build the capacity to write their exams in a more centred and grounded way. By helping to shift awareness first on mindful walking and then on the spacious awareness of being, the labyrinth drains the mind of excess anxiety and builds the ability to respond to life stressors with inner calmness.

Unlike the gladiator arena of the exam hall, the chapel offers a peaceful environment that, in its very nature, promotes inner calm.

Originally appeared in the Times Colonist on December 1, 2012.

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