Labyrinth walking is an ancient practice that is featured in many religions or spiritualities for the purpose of prayer, contemplation, and finding one’s inner peace through meditation. Walking a labyrinth can be great for meditation, as you are able to incorporate some gentle movement, which can be beneficial for those who have trouble standing or sitting still! What exactly is a labyrinth? A labyrinth is a geometric pattern that serves as a guide for you to walk in a pattern, allowing you to walk longer without going far. Upon first glance, it looks similar to a maze, but the design objective is different. Unlike a maze which serves to confuse users, a labyrinth contains one path that leads to the centre. This path is also the same path used to find your way back out. This single path folds in on itself many times, creating a long winding journey with many gentle twists and turns. One need not worry about hitting a dead end or getting lost, as labyrinths are quite simple to follow and are created to instill a sense of calmness in their users.
Walking labyrinths come in many different sizes and can be created with a wide variety of materials. You may come across labyrinths that are made out of stones, bricks, grass, gravel, or even in the form of a carpet for easy transportation. If you do not know of any existing labyrinths in your city or town, you can create your own labyrinth with the materials mentioned above, or any that are available to you. The benefits of labyrinths come from the function, not the appearance, so don’t worry if your homemade version looks well...homemade!
Labyrinths are great places to meditate. They have the ability to calm your mind, relieve stress, focus your attention, and instil a sense of peace. These benefits are a result of setting aside some time to participate in a quiet and slow-paced activity which, due to the prevalence of fast-paced lifestyles, may differ from how you spend the majority of your time. During your time spent in a labyrinth you might find it beneficial to clear your mind of distracting thoughts by reciting a prayer or chant or practicing mindfulness by focusing on the present moment. You may also contemplate a specific question or thought while labyrinth walking. As your journey leads you closer to the centre of the labyrinth, you may find that your reflection becomes deeper and you are able to sense some clarity or release. Once you have reached the centre, you may take a moment to pause and continue your reflection until you feel the urge to make your way back.
Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to labyrinth walk. There is no correct amount of time it should take and there are no rules regarding what you can and cannot think about. Simply use your time spent labyrinth walking to relax and do what feels best for you and leaves you with a sense of calmness and contentment upon completion.
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