In my room at work there is a small board on which there is a labyrinth constructed from tiny white pebbles. Beside it there is a small sign saying “Finger Labyrinth, use your fingers to walk me”. Some do, particularly the children, but most people don’t have the time.
Labyrinths are rapidly making a welcome return to our lives and many full-size walking labyrinths are now being built. They are currently being used by many people across the world as a means to find inner balance. They allow the mind to quiet, and invite insight through meditation. Simply walking the labyrinth is a wonderful way to develop mindfulness and find inner knowing.
Labyrinths are ancient symbols that have been used for thousands of years by many different cultures across the globe. Their sacred spiral design is a very powerful self-alignment tool that brings perspective into our lives. The geometric form speaks to the right brain, unlike mazes which require the left brain. Mazes are puzzles which have dead ends and lots of twists and turns in many directions. Labyrinths have only one path that leads right into the centre with no tricky turns or blind alleys. The maze needs logical planned thinking to solve, whereas the labyrinth requires a more passive approach, with the only decision being whether to start or not. By shifting from the left to the right brain your consciousness moves into a more receptive state that allows you to receive insights.
The labyrinth walk can be broken into three stages. At the entrance you can pause, focus and set an intention for your walk. Take slow, deliberate steps and use the walk into the centre of the labyrinth as an opportunity to clear and centre your mind, to let go of worries and obligations and to surrender to the process of being fully present in your body in the moment.
Pause when you reach the centre and take time for reflection, meditation or prayer, time to allow the divine into your life, and a realization of your own sacred inner space.
The walk back out from the centre provides the space for integration of your insights and prepares you to return to your life ready to make transformational changes, ready to take action.
Every walk is unique and you can expect to receive something different every time you walk the labyrinth. Sometimes it may simply be a nice walk while on other occasions it may be the revelation of some deep insight and understanding. Other times it may provide the answer to your question, or release of a worry, concern or grief you have been holding.
Labyrinths present us with a reflection of our life pathway. We are all on a path, even if sometimes it seems pretty overgrown, and at others we have no idea where it may be leading us.
In some ways the labyrinth is simply a metaphor for our own journey into our centre, our deepest self, and then our return back out into the world. Like the characters of ancient myths and legends, who needed to go down into the darkness in order to overcome their adversary or fear, before returning triumphant with a deeper understanding of themselves, we too can use the labyrinth as a means of going deep within to broaden our understanding and acceptance of who we are.
Labyrinths are transformational spiritual tools and walking them needs to be a practice that is integrated into your life and not done just once.
As an ancient symbol of wholeness they allow you to pursue personal wholeness
If you would like to experience for yourself the power of the labyrinththere are many that you can try. Some are privately owned and require prior arrangement for their use, but there are quite a number that are open to use at any time. This list is not complete so keep your eye open for others.
All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site.
© Catherine Bullard and Happy Holistic Health, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Catherine Bullard and Happy Holistic Health with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.