Chung Chi College is dedicated to cultivating students with the attributes of “Excellence in Academics and Sports, Virtue and Talent, Spirituality Enhancement”. In the tranquil and hassle-free campus, the College has been installing more facilities, enabling students to slow down their pace and enhance their holistic well-being. On 10 October 2023, the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and Chung Chi College held the Opening Ceremony of the Labyrinth. During the ceremony, Professor Nick Rawlins (Pro-Vice-Chancellor) of CUHK and Professor Kwan Mei Po, Head of College, delivered a speech. They then joined other officiating guests, including Professor Ko Wing Hung, University Dean of Students; Professor Ng Shek Nam Marques, Chung Chi Dean of Students; and Dr. Han Man from the School of Architecture, Designer of the Labyrinth, to host the monumental opening of the Labyrinth, witnessing the unveiling of the first labyrinth in Hong Kong higher education. It offers students and teachers a space for relaxation and spirituality enhancement.
Embracing Life’s Twists and Turns
The Labyrinth looks like a maze with many twists and turns but it is actually composed of just a single winding path running from the outer circle to the centre, or vice versa. There are no crossroads throughout the path, and the starting point and finishing point are interchangeable. When we walk along the outer circular path in the Labyrinth and meditate attentively, we can naturally reach the centre, and return to the previous starting point by taking the same route in the opposite direction. During the walking process, we can walk at our own pace, take a rest intermittently, and let ourselves regain composure. We will end up knowing how we feel and having a mindful reflection on our innermost status. We can capture fresh views at different points on the circular path, grasping the essence of life as a never-ending cycle through mindful walking journeys.
Recuperation of Bodies, Minds, and Souls
The Labyrinth is located on the rooftop of the Pommerenke Student Centre and connects to the lowest level of the Kunkle Student Centre. While students are discussing schoolwork and planning events at the Student Development Complex, they can enjoy some me-time at the Labyrinth and relieve their pressure and worries amidst their busy study life. The Labyrinth is a space for relaxing and practising mindful walking. Students can enter it anytime and learn to slow down, meditate, and cultivate their minds. Walking on the Labyrinth enables them to focus on breathing, relax bodies and minds by following their footsteps, and precipitate thoughts. Meanwhile, students can observe the changes in their surroundings and the beauty of nature meticulously. Reaching the centre of the Labyrinth signifies the return to inner selves, leading to the recovery of body and mind, and spirituality enhancement. When strolling towards the outer circle from the centre of the Labyrinth, students are reminded to hold firm to their experiences, be aware of the present moment, and understand the meaning of life.
Officiating guests (from left) Dr. Han Man from the School of Architecture, Designer of the Labyrinth; Professor Ng Shek Nam Marques, Chung Chi Dean of Students; Professor Kwan Mei Po, Head of College; Professor Nick Rawlins (Pro-Vice-Chancellor) of CUHK; and Professor Ko Wing Hung, University Dean of Students; hosted the monumental opening of the Labyrinth.
Cultivating Awareness and Presence
While delivering a speech at the opening ceremony, Professor Nick Rawlins expressed that this innovative addition to our campus would complement the existing mental wellness programmes advocated both by OSA and Chung Chi College. On the other hand, Professor Rawlins said the mindful walk at the Labyrinth can help us find peace amidst our busy lives, and refocus our life priorities, “Mindfulness has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve sleep quality, enhance overall quality of life, and reduce mental health symptoms. By practising mindfulness, we can distance ourselves from negative thoughts and redirect our attention to the present moment, having a positive impact on health and well-being.”
Slowing Down and Taking Rest
Professor Kwan Mei Po, Head of College, delivered a speech at the Opening Ceremony and said, “The Labyrinth has fulfilled the College mission of promoting holistic education. As we commence a new semester filled with various academic and personal commitments, it offers a serene space, inviting students to pause and slow down, and find solace amidst their busy learning lives. We believe that students will not only develop an interest in meditation but also gain profound insights by observing the beauty of nature and experiencing inner stillness, leading to enhanced holistic well-being and inner peace.” At the opening ceremony, Professor Kwan expressed her sincere gratitude to OSA, especially Professor Nick Rawlins and Professor Ko Wing Hung for their invaluable support. Furthermore, she acknowledged Dr. Han Man, a Chung Chi teacher, for his meticulous design of the Labyrinth. She also extended her heartful appreciation to the Estate Management Office for their tireless efforts and outstanding work in bringing this project to fruition.
Chung Chi General Education incorporates mindful walking along Lake Ad Excellentiam into the upper-year course, “GECC 3130 Exploration and Discovery Spirituality Enhancement: A Life Quest Journey”.
Mindful Walking for Experiential Learning
Chung Chi College attaches great importance to students’ holistic well-being. There are numerous ways for maintaining physical and mental well-being. Research findings prove that mindfulness is one of the effective ways for enhancing holistic well-being. Through practising mindfulness, we can relieve stress and anxiety, improve interpersonal relationships, boost immune systems, and enhance creativity and productivity, among others. Nurturing the youth to incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives helps them cultivate healthy habits. To address students’ needs for enhancing holistic well-being, Chung Chi General Education not only incorporates mindful walking along Lake Ad Excellentiam into the upper-year course, “GECC 3130 Exploration and Discovery Spirituality Enhancement: A Life Quest Journey”, but also includes a mindfulness event, namely “Life Resilience: Chung Chi Mindful Walk” at the Lingnan Stadium in the first-year course, “GECC1130 Idea of a University”, enabling over 500 Chung Chi Year One students to engage themselves in experiential learning
Chung Chi General Education includes a mindfulness event, namely “Life Resilience: Chung Chi Mindful Walk” at the Lingnan Stadium in the first-year course, “GECC1130 Idea of a University”.
Staying Focused and Making Good Choices
Before practising mindful walking, teachers would lead students to stay focused on the present consciously and non-critically through breathing exercises so as to enhance their awareness. When students practise mindful walking, they can focus on every step and enjoy the moments of returning to their inner selves. It is hoped that students can learn to stay focused, live in the moment, relieve anxiety triggered by past and future beliefs, and create a space for thinking placidly through the College’s non-formal education and campus facilities, and, in turn, make good choices in life.