How to walk the Labyrinth
Experiencing the Labyrinth ...
There is no right way … no necessary skill or preferred method.
There is no "right" experience ... there is every experience.
As with all practices of prayer or meditation, your experience will grow and deepen the more you do it.
Some people feel a sense of peace. Others find old memories rising up as they walk.
Others find themselves thinking about an immediate situation or person.
Others walk at varying speeds as different thoughts and emotions come and go.
Some people experience physical sensations, perhaps become light-headed, or have a feeling of floating above,
a feeling of weight, or of great warmth. Some people have profound insights. Others have very small experiences or none at all.
The experience of walking the labyrinth is different for each person, each time.
Whatever you experience, it is your experience. Relax and see what happens.
In Preparation ...
In preparation for walking the Labyrinth, any kind of mindfulness that's helpful to you
and nourishing to your inner life, is appropriate and welcome.
Acknowledge that the time you walk is time set apart - consecrated time.
Many people find it helpful to prepare for their walk by sitting or standing quietly for a few moments
When visiting indoor labyrinths, remove your shoes to protect the floor.
Some feel more connected to the experience by walking barefoot and slowly, with no need to rush.
Some people find that running as quickly as possible to the center, resting there, and
then running quickly out is a powerful experience.
Some people feel a sense of confusion as they first start; remember there is only one path in and one path out.
You will not get lost.
Let go of some of the cares of the day.
Breathe deeply - notice it, enjoy it, and consider the simple miracle of breath.
Allow yourself to receive the gift of this small island of time in the midst of your day.
Keep a reflective silence in the walking area for the sake of the journeys of others.
Use some particular way of thinking about your walk, if it's helpful;
for instance 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!
Two common ways of walking are the way of silence and the way of image.
In the way of silence it might be helpful to focus on your breathing.
The way of image might be done by focusing God or others, a mantra or prayer, or perhaps a situation in life.
You might ask yourself, "How am I loved? How do I love?"
Be open to your heart and mind.
Pay attention to your thoughts as they rise and then let them go.
The labyrinth is a place of presence; allow yourself to be present.
The labyrinth is a teacher; let it teach.
Feel free to linger in the center for as long as you like.
As you walk, you will meet others walking in the opposite direction.
Feel free to simply step around the meeting point so that you can both pass with comfort.
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.