WE INVITE YOU TO WALK OUR LABYRINTH
Photos by Guy Abbott
A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.
A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life’s journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place… and takes us out of our ego to “That Which Is Within.”
Labyrinths and mazes have often been confused. When most people hear of a labyrinth, they think of a maze. A labyrinth is not a maze. 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 the maze and out of it.
A labyrinth, on the other hand, has only one path. It is unicursal. The way in IS the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and back out again. It is a right brain task. It 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. The choice is to enter or not. A more passive, receptive mindset is needed. The choice is whether or not to walk a spiritual path.
At its most basic level, the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.
There is no right way to walk a labyrinth.
You only have to enter and follow the path. Your walk, however, can encompass a variety of attitudes. It may be joyous or somber. It might be thoughtful or prayerful. You may use it as a walking meditation.
Adults are often serious in the labyrinth. Children most often run in and out as fast as they can in a playful manner.
When you walk a labyrinth choose your attitude. From time-to-time, choose a different attitude. Make it serious, prayerful or playful. Play music or sing. Pray out loud. Walk alone or with a crowd. Notice the sky. Listen to the sounds; and most of all, pay attention to your experience.
Some general guidelines for walking a labyrinth are:
- Focus: Pause and wait at the entrance. Become quiet and centered. Give acknowledgement through a bow, nod or other gesture, and then enter.
- Experience: Walk purposefully. Observe the process. When you reach the center, stay there. Focus for several moments. Leave when it seems appropriate. Be attentive on the way out.
- Exit: When reaching the end, turn and face the entrance. Give an acknowledgement of ending, such as “Amen.”
- Reflect: After walking the labyrinth, reflect on your experience. Use journaling or drawing to capture your experience.
- Walk often!
... BLESSINGS ON YOUR SACRED JOURNEY ...