What exactly IS a labyrinth? Is it the same thing as a maze? I hope not…I am awful at mazes!
A labyrinth is, in fact, quite different from a maze. There is only one path in a labyrinth, with no places to decide which way to go. You simply walk one way on the path to go in and to the center of the labyrinth, and then you walk back out on the same path.
I often have a hard time meditating when sitting still, especially if I have something that I am seeking an answer to. I have a lot of kinetic energy that I find best to release, which then helps me get to that contemplative state I am searching for. Running has been a lifelong friend of mine for that very reason! As I get older, I don’t always need the run anymore to release energy and get me into a rhythm…a walk can do that too. And a labyrinth walk…even better! This style of mediating and contemplating is called a “moving meditation” and if you think this describes you too, then labyrinths may be just the right kind of meditation!
So, have you ever walked a labyrinth? Maybe you have a labyrinth available for walking, but even if you don’t, a labyrinth that you walk with your finger or a stylus is a beautiful alternative. I recently learned about finger labyrinths, and really, really appreciate the convenience of being able to do a moving meditation wherever I am. A few weeks ago, I was thinking about a big decision I was trying to make, one that will require me to give things up and to make a change (ack!) and I pulled out one of my finger labyrinths and spent some time “walking” its path. I talked to myself while doing this and listed all the reasons I could think of that might keep me attached to the way things currently are. I then reviewed all the things I would have to let go of to see how I felt about letting go. “No problem”, I thought. “I can do this! See how well I am managing this process?” About the fourth time I went back along the path to the center of the labyrinth, my head had cleared, and I asked myself “is there anything else you will have to let go of?” and then it slipped in…the thing I would have to give up that I was not ready to give up. The wave of emotion that came with it was there as well. I was relieved to have found it so easily, and the labyrinth walking was how I got there. Once I was able to see what the real issue was, I could look at it, give it room to feel uncomfortable, and then acknowledge it and let it go.
For more information about labyrinths, you can go to The Labyrinth Society. If you would like to try a finger labyrinth, you will find a link on their Resources page where you can print both a Classical and a Chartes labyrinth.
Peace and Blessings –
– Cindy Decker, Operations & Communications Manager
above photo credit: Cindy Decker
below photo credit: West Sound Magazine