Walking the Labyrinth
When we are faced with life’s twists and turns, we sometimes wonder what to do. At times we want to care for others; at times we want to care for ourselves; at times we simply do not know what to do.
The labyrinth is an ancient tool. Its winding path provides a simple metaphor for the path of life. It leads you on a winding journey to the center and then it leads you back out again. Following the path keeps you from getting lost.
Following the path also provides a calming effect on the mind. As we walk and as the mind setttles, we can bring our attention to matters of the heart and soul.
What is a Labyrinth?
A labyrinth is a constructed path that, through winding turns, leads the walker from the outer entrance to the center. Labyrinths come in many patterns and sizes and are made from a wide variety of materials. There are no dead ends or false turns as there are in mazes.
And, there are no walls limiting the walker’s view. You walk in, pause as long as you like in the center and walk back out. The oldest surviving labyrinth dates from 2500- 2000 B.C.E.
The Guemes Labyrinth
The Guemes Labyrinth is a 7-circuit Baltic design which allows the walker to proceed immediately along the entry path to the center meditation circle or to enter the labyrinth itself and walk the spiral pathway winding through the peaceful wooded setting. The spiral leads you to the center meditation circle where you may sit a while and then choose to walk out the spiral path by which you entered or to leave via the direct pathway from the center to the labyrinth entrance.
How to Walk a Labyrinth
Walk with an open mind – there is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. Some people dance or run; some may skip; others walk sedately. It can be walked alone, with friends, in a group or with strangers. There are no hard or fast rules.
Some Guidelines for Walking:
– Take a deep breath. Allow your body to find its own space and pace. You may want to ask a question of the labyrinth. If so, ask it at the start; then let it go as you move on. Be open to the ways the labyrinth might change your question or offer new insights.
– If someone has entered ahead of you allow a minute before you follow them in.
– If you meet another person on the path, you may pass them or step aside for them to pass you. Do what feels natural.
– Remember you cannot get lost in the labyrinth the path in is the same path out.
The Three Stages of the Walk
Walk In – Release, experience, explore. Let go of the details of your daily life. Experience the way your body feels in the labyrinth as your mind quiets. You may begin with an intention to explore something in your mind or soul during the walk.
Stay in the center as long as you like. As you stand or sit thinking, meditating, praying or just listening to the sounds of birds or the breeze in the trees, receive what comes to you.
Take the illumination, insight or quietness you received in the center back out with you to the world.