What is a Labyrinth?
Labyrinths are symbolic of the process of going inward to emerge anew. Like the cycles of the seasons from the hibernation and inward reflection of the winter to the budding activity and emergence of spring, labyrinths may be seen as a kinesthetic representation of this process within ourselves and in nature.
Labyrinths date back thousands of years. The symbol of the labyrinth has been found in Egyptian tombs, Celtic stones, Cretan coins, and in many Native American culture as well as Christian cathedrals.
Labyrinths come in all different shapes and sizes. Unlike a maze that is meant to confuse the mind, labyrinths help bring clarity and peace of mind as there is only one way in and one way out. Your mind can relax as you are guided on the winding path to the center and out again. It can be seen as a journey going inward with thyself, then returning to the outer world refreshed and renewed.
Using a labyrinth can be helpful for new beginnings, stilling the thoughts, gaining clarity or a new perspective, shedding worries, shifting moods, opening to forgiveness, and the flow of creativity.
To experience the labyrinth, you can walk one, dance within one, trace the path of one with your finger, or color in one (see below). Think of the process as a moving meditation. If you walk/dance in one, feel your connection with the Earth as you move in harmony with nature.
To see if a labyrinth is near you, you can check out this site: LabyrinthLocator.
How to Experience a Labyrinth:
There is no right or wrong way to experience a labyrinth. Below are some suggestions. If you have a different experience or practice, please share in the comments below!
Steps Within the Process of Your Journey:
Before you enter a labyrinth consider setting an intention, perhaps it may be to gain clarity on a situation or it may be something you would like to let go of or to bring in.
As you enter the labyrinth, use this time to become aware of your thoughts -- without changing them or getting caught up in the "story". Allow for what is coming up to be released. Move at the natural pace your body wants to go. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Use this time as a moving meditation. Walk with an open mind and an open heart.
As you come to the center, stay there as long as you like. This is a place for reflection, meditation, or prayer. Allow yourself to receive guidance.
When you are ready, follow the same path back out giving yourself time to integrate your experience. Notice your breath, your thoughts, and any changes from when you began. Leave the labyrinth with an intention to carry on the process of integration, giving yourself the permission of time in your process.