For the Love of Labyrinths
Contributor
Written by
Karen A Szklany
February 2018
Writing
Contributor
Written by
Karen A Szklany
February 2018
Writing

Introduction

I love labyrinths.  Labyrinths are a form of sacred geometry that is meant to engage us across three dimensions.  We are meant to walk a labyrinth path with our bodies, minds and spirits fully present.  In that way, it is a form of mindful walking meditation.

Evidence of labyrinths being used for the purpose of protection, purification, and the expression of gratitude for a bountiful harvest has been unearthed by archaeologists. They date back at least 5,000 years.  They have been used to strengthen the bonds between community members and as a form of social initiation.  The circuitous nature of the path inspires the development and use of rituals that mark rites of passage.

Walking a labyrinth path is relaxing and integrative.  It is the perfect form of meditation for writers and artists because it synthesizes information between the left and right sides of the brain.  There is only one path, so the left side of the brain can relax some control and let the right side some influence over the psyche.  As a result, the walker may enjoy a moment of fresh insight.

 

How to Walk A Labyrinth

You can walk a labyrinth path playfully or reverently, or anywhere in between. If there are other people walking the path at the same time, it's a good idea to pass each other at the turns that are built into the path.  Acknowledge other walkers with a nod or smile. 

There are typically three stages for walking a labyrinth.  They are:

1.  Release ~ Release all of your cares, worries, anger, trauma, etc.  Let it go as you walk in toward the center.

2. Receive ~ Stand in the center and receive any insight that comes to you.  Spend as long as you like.  Take time to honor the four directions with a bow and a "thank you." 

3. Return ~ return to the outside world by the same path, which you walk from the center back out to the entrance/exit.

If you are walking with a group and there is a facilitator present, s/he may lead a ritual around those three stages.  Be sure to bring a journal or notebook to any labyrinth you walk so that you can write down any insights that come to you.  If you would like to do some research about whether there is a labyrinth close to where you live, consult the Worldwide Labyrinth Locator.

Labyrinth of Light
Labyrinth of light built at our UU church

 

The Benefits of Walking a Labyrinth

Walking a labyrinth path can be transformational.  You may receive insight about something that has been on your mind and heart and that may influence you to make a major life decision.  Most of the time, insights will come that lead you to a place of greater clarity and creativity.

The increase in creativity may be because the turns on the path mimic the turns in the corpus collosum, that information superhighway between the left and right sides of the human brain.  The experience of walking the path and taking those turns reinforces the sharing of information between the brain hemispheres, which can integrate your experience into an "aha" moment, and shares that information with the rest of the body.

So here is what you have the potential to enjoy as a result of walking a labyrinth:

Relaxation

Deeper breathing

Time with nature if the labyrinth is located outside

Integration of body, mind and spirit

"Safe Space" within community if walking with a group

Increased creativity and productivity

Greater clarity and insight about a project you are working on

Peace and Joy

Healing

 

I wish you peace on the path.  Namaste!

 

* Karen A. Szklany is a Veriditas trained and certified Labyrinth Walk Facilitator.  She has been building labyrinths and leading walks for several years for her UU church.  The image above is of the classic Greek 7-circuit labyrinth at the Edwards UCC Church in Framingham, MA.

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