The labyrinth is an ancient symbol that has been rediscovered and adapted for use today. It can be found in ancient cultures, traditions and countries including China, Ireland, India, England, Scandinavia, France, Crete and others. It's an image that represents wholeness, healing, and inclusion.
Labyrinths have long been used as a meditation and prayer tool. It's also often used for walking meditations which assist us in finding peace and clarity, managing stress, making decisions, and embarking on self-exploration and reflection. The labyrinth can also provide the opportunity to examine goals, assess talents and abilities, make decisions, and evaluate progress, both in life and in work. Many view walking a labyrinth as a metaphor for the journey of life - a journey to your deepest self, where you come back into the world with a clearer understanding of yourself. It is seen and used for different reasons by different individuals.
Is a labyrinth like a maze?
A labyrinth is not a maze. There are no tricks or challenges to the walk, you simply enter and exit at the same spot. It's a right brain task that involves only intuition and creativity - and perhaps a little balance depending on how wide the paths are.
How does one walk a labyrinth?
There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. It is a symbol that can create a sacred space and place and allows you to create time to go within. Though it is meant to be done slowly, each participant determines their own pace, time and goals for their walk.
One way to walk a labyrinth:
At the entrance to the labyrinth you can stop, take a deep breath, reflect, make a prayer or intention for the walk you are about to take. The walk around the labyrinth towards the center is to assist you in "letting go,"- of quieting the body and the mind, to let go of things that hinder your path/journey and to become present to the experience. Arrival at the center - a place of meditation/prayer- to let in light, open the heart, receive wisdom, guidance, the "divine" – "letting in". When you are ready, you walk out of the labyrinth. You walk back into your life with new insight, strength, peace, centeredness, knowledge and/or relaxation – "letting out". When you arrive at the exit you take a moment to take a deep breath.
During the entire walk you spend time with Spirit in silence, listening for answers to the questions we brought into the labyrinth to begin with. Because of this, many view walking a labyrinth as a metaphor for life's journey - a journey to your deepest self, where you come back into the world with a clearer understanding of your self. For more information on building a labyrinth or using another more simplified form of finger following, click on the links below:
Download Finger or Mouse Labyrinths: https://labyrinthsociety.org/download-a-labyrinth
How to Build a Labyrinth: http://labyrinthsociety.org/make-a-labyrinth