Walking the Labyrinth at Unity Church
With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not. The choice is whether or not to walk a spiritual path. The labyrinth is a model of that path, as well as an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.
A labyrinth is a metaphor for life’s journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to “That Which Is Within.” Think of it as a journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.
There is no right way to walk a labyrinth
You only have to enter and follow the path. However, 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. Most of all, pay attention to your experience.
Some Suggestions for Walking the Labyrinth
- 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 several moments. Leave when it seems 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 back on your experience. Use journaling or drawing to capture your experience.
- Walk often.
Three Fold Path Method
- 1. Releasing (Purgation). From the entrance to the goal is the path of shedding or “letting go.” There is a release and an emptying of worries and concerns.
- Receiving (Illumination). At the center there is illumination, insight, clarity, and focus. It is here that you are in a receptive, prayerful, meditative state.
- Integrating (Union). Empowerment and taking ownership. The path out is that of becoming grounded and integrating the insight. It is being energized and making what was received manifest in the world.
“Palms Up, Palms Down” Method
These three stages can be symbolized with a “palms down, palms up” approach to walking the labyrinth.
“Palms down” symbolizes release or letting go while “palms up” indicates receiving. Enter the labyrinth and walk to the center with palms down and center your thoughts on releasing conflicting issues and concerns in your life. When you reach the center turn your palms up to be receptive to insight. As you walk out of the labyrinth keep your palms up to receive strength and guidance to make your insight manifest. As you leave the labyrinth turn to face the center and bring you palms together for a prayerful end to your walk.