Jul 28, 2011

Labyrinth


We are all on the path... exactly where we need to be. The labyrinth is a model of that path.
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.

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.
A labyrinth 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 out again.

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.

How to walk a Labyrinth…

There is no right way … no necessary skill or preferred method. Any preparation, any kind of mindfulness that's helpful to your and nourishing to your inner life, is appropriate and welcome.
Many people find it helpful…

…to get ready for your walk by sitting or standing quietly for a few moments -

  • let go of some of the cares of the day
  • think about someone or something you may need to focus on (or pray for)
  • breathe deeply - notice it, enjoy it, and consider the simple miracle of breath
  • allow yourself to receive the gift of this small amount of time in the midst of your day

As you embark, carry something with you in your mind that you'd like to let go of. When you reach the center, take time to leave it there - and then savor your return walk in the freedom from that burden.

    …or…
  • Think about something you're looking for, hoping to find, longing for - and when you arrive at the center, see what insight may be waiting to greet you there.
  • …or…
  • Enjoy the sensation of traveling without any particular sense of destination; for once, let yourself be a "holy wanderer," enjoy the meandering path and let yourself feel aimless.
  • …or…
  • Use any other way that's helpful to you! I like to pray when I walk. 
Feel free to stay in the center for as long as you like.
As you walk, you may meet others walking in the opposite direction. Feel free to simply step around the meeting point so that you can both pass easily.

When you finish your walk…

Take a few moments to get yourself ready to return to the rest of your day. Don't rush the transition! Savor whatever quiet, calm, insight or feeling may have come to you. Think about how you'd like to have it accompany you as you leave.


If you are in Valparaiso and want to enjoy a labyrinth you can go to VU and walk the one behind the chapel or go to the Valparaiso United Methodist Church on Franklin Street. 

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