A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meaningful but purposeful path.
Labyrinths have long been used as a tool for meditation and prayer. A labyrinth
is a metaphor for life’s journey. Walking the labyrinth affords us an opportunity to go inside of ourselves and commune in the solitude of our own heart, mind, and soul.
Many people use the terms labyrinth and maze interchangeably; but the two are not the same. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns, and blind
alleys. It is a left brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into and out of the maze. A labyrinth has only one path. It is unicursal (one way). The way in is the way out. You cannot get lost. A labyrinth is a right brain task, and involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a maze many choices must be made, and an active mind is needed to solve the problem of finding the center. With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made: that choice is whether to enter and walk the spiritual path. A receptive mind is all that is needed.
Representing the deepest part of ourselves, the journey toward the center offers many opportunities for contemplation. Once one reaches the center, they are in a
place to receive the answers to their questions. On the journey out, a person is sent back into the world energized and with a broader sense of who they are
and what they are to become.
Three stages of the walk:
Letting go – a releasing, letting go of the details of your life. This is an act of shedding thoughts and emotions, letting the mind become quiet and empty.
Illumination – the center of the labyrinth. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive. Stay there as long as you like.
Integration – joining your Higher Power or the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work your soul seeks.
Guidelines for the walk:
- Clear your mind and become aware of your breath.
- Allow yourself to find the pace your body wants to go.
- Pass people or let others step around you as it seems appropriate.
- The path is two ways. Those going in will meet those coming out.
Worldwide Labyrinth Locator: http://labyrinthlocator.com
*Adapted from instructions by Rev Dr. Lauren Artress, Vereditas.