Who would guess that walking a path of 12 intertwining circles of bricks would touch the soul? Walking the Labyrinth at Eastern State Mental Hospital is a yearly experience for several graduate students at the School of Education.
One of the most profound classes offered at the William and Mary School of Education is Transpersonal Psychology taught by Dr. Rick Gressard. If you are interested in spirituality, meditation, or Carl Jung studies on the collective unconscious, this is the class for you. I took this class the first semester of my doctoral program, which could not have been a better time. Learning about meditation and its positive effects on anxiety reduction is a gift to any graduate student, especially for newly immersed doctoral students.
Currently I am a second year doctoral student and have volunteered to be a teaching assistant for the Transpersonal class this year. Going through the class for a second time from an instructor perspective has added more depth to my experience spiritually and professionally, in this program. Everything from dream interpretations, to meditations, to the Labyrinth walk has given me broader insights into myself as a student, future counselor educator, and person.
As an addictions counselor, learning about spiritual influences in the lives of clients, is essential, specifically for those clients enrolled in step programs, such as AA or NA. Having a greater understanding of client spirituality provides a connection with my clients, which promotes growth for the two of us. Walking the Labyrinth for the second time was a gift of peace and serenity, as the Williamsburg trees glowed with deep reds and glistening gold each student walked the Labyrinth being pulled towards the center goal and back towards the edge, as a symbol of life’s journey and our simultaneous collective and individual walks of life.