A quiet day of trail hiking at the Wesley Gardens Retreat. A surprising joy to find near their Outdoor Chapel was, the prayer labyrinth – a circular, maze-like path used as a tool to aid in prayer and meditation.
Prayer Labyrinth, Wesley Gardens Retreat, Burnside Island, Georgia.
Walking the Labyrinth
There is no right way to walk a labyrinth. You only have to enter and follow the path.
Once you have started to walk, you are on a journey to the center. There is no need to rush. Some will walk faster, others more slowly. An average walk takes 45 minutes. [ * ]
Some walkers use the method of the classical threefold spiritual path: Purgation, Illumination, and Union. Purgation: As we walk in, we may experience purification. We open ourselves, cleanse our thoughts, and prepare ourselves for the encounter. Illumination: As we enter the center, we sometimes find clarity, insight, and wisdom. Unity: Exiting bearing our new peace, we may celebrate the sense of harmony, centeredness, and oneness. [ * ]
Your walk can encompass a variety of attitudes. It may be joyous or somber. It might be thoughtful or prayerful. You may use it as a walking meditation. Adults are often serious in the labyrinth. Children most often run in and out as fast as they can in a playful manner. When you walk a labyrinth, choose your attitude. From time to time, choose a different attitude. Make it serious, prayerful, or playful. Play music or sing. Pray out loud. Walk alone and with a crowd. Notice the sky. Listen to the sounds. Most of all, pay attention to your experience. [ * ]
Some general guidelines for walking a labyrinth are:
Sometimes it is good to read the posted information.
- Focus: Pause and wait at the entrance. Become quiet and centered. Give acknowledgment through a bow, nod, or other gesture and then enter.
- Experience: Walk purposefully. Observe the process. When you reach the center, stay there and focus for a while. Leave when it feels appropriate. Be attentive on the way out.
- Exit: Turn and face the entrance. Give an acknowledgement of ending, such as “Amen.”
- Reflect: After walking the labyrinth, reflect on your experience. Use journaling or drawing to capture your experience.
- Walk often. Every time is a new experience. Most do not really get a feel for the labyrinth experience until they have walked it at least three times. [ * ]
* Text in this blog post was sourced directly from the following website and was not my own. Please follow the link for the full article about labyrinths. Thank you!
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