Kenneth E. Smith Memorial Labyrinth

Kenneth E. Smith Memorial Labyrinth
Hawthorn Park
6067 E. Old Maple Avenue

The Kenneth E. Smith Memorial Labyrinth is located in Hawthorn Park immediately south of Dogwood Shelter.  The labyrinth completed in 2003 is an 80 foot diameter circle constructed out of aggregate mix concrete.  It is patterned after the labyrinth laid in the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France around 1220 A.D.  The singular path is switchback, turning and twisting, forcing walkers to concentrate as they make their way forward to the middle of the labyrinth and back again.  There are 34 turns on the path going to the center.  The path is 30" wide with 6" in-between allowing wheelchairs or walkers to be used.  A meditation garden surrounds the labyrinth.   A comfortable swing, benches, a babbling water fountain, rose bushes, trees, and shrubs create a quiet space and blend into the park proper.

The labyrinth has been found in all traditions throughout history in various forms around the world.  It is an ancient therapeutic tool that has been rediscovered and is growing in popularity.  Unlike the maze, the labyrinth has only one path so there are no tricks to it and no dead ends. Labyrinths have been used for different purposes from serving as spaces for meditation, ritual, community celebrations, gatherings, and children's games to being used as places for guides and holistic problem-solving devices.  Presently, labyrinths are being built at hospitals, schools, parks, spas, nursing homes, and even in individuals' yards.

This labyrinth and garden is for all ages, those experiencing grief or emotional problems or those who simply want to free their minds of the pressures of the day.  Children simply enjoy the challenge of staying within the boundaries of the path.

Mrs. Lavern Smith donated the major part of the funding for this project in memory of her late husband, Kenneth E. Smith, who died in May 2000.


Walking Suggestions

There is no right or wrong way to walk the labyrinth.  The goal of this walking meditation is to complete it by going to the middle, pausing there to think and reflect, and then walking out by reversing your steps, so the entrance becomes your exit.  Below are a few guidelines to help you understand this ancient meditation tool:

  1. Pause at the entrance, relax, and breathe deeply.  Listen to the sounds of nature and take in the peacefulness of the surroundings.  You may choose to clear your mind of all thoughts and emotions making room for your inner thoughts.  Or you may want to concentrate on a particular problem for which you are seeking guidance.
  2. Look down and stay on the path.  This takes concentration and focused intent. Walk in silence or whisper a poem, prayer, or whatever is on your mind.  Your pace depends on your mood.
  3. If the person in front of you is slower, you may pass.  Set your own pace.  Because the labyrinth is one continuous path, meeting others is expected.   Simply step aside to allow another to pass, then step back, and continue your journey.  If you want to rest, stop and start again.  It is your experience and journey.
  4. When you reach the center, pause or stay awhile letting yourself become aware of your feelings or of any insights that may have come to you.  The center is traditionally the place of reflection, meditation, and listening, where illumination is found.  "What happens, happens."
  5. As you leave the center, follow the same path back.  This is the time to review your reflections and integrate them into your daily life.
  6. Walk often.  Each time you walk the labyrinth, your experience will be different.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this service, please contact Julia Farr.