Saturday, March 26, 2011

Labyrinths


Labyrinth, Hollywood, FL, 2010
  

After a recent conversation with a friend about labyrinths, I had the idea to introduce them here on the blog.  It is a method of meditation and guess what else.....  It is SIMPLE!!!! 

Generally, the labyrinth is a walking meditation.  I know that some of you have done this.  I will post a link below if you would like to find a labyrinth in your area, but what I am going to introduce here is something even MORE simple, that you can do right here, right now.

First, let me give you a brief introduction to the labyrinth.  Some of this comes from the web site... http://www.labyrinthuk.org/


Labyrinths can be found in art forms all round the world from as long ago as 4000 years. The most famous remaining intact labyrinth is that found on the floor of Chartres Cathedral, France constructed around 1200. Pilgrims used to walk it as a symbolic spiritual journey.   People of all faiths walk the Labyrinth. It is a symbol of our passage through time and experience. Walking the Labyrinth is more about the journey than the destination.


Based on a circle, the universal symbol for unity and wholeness, the Labyrinth is a pattern with a purpose. The Labyrinth has only one path which winds throughout and becomes a mirror to reflect the journey of life; it may touch our sorrows, and release our joys. So walk it with an open mind and an open heart.


The labyrinth can be used as a walking meditation, a way to finding your own spiritual center.  There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. It is a powerful tool to illuminating one's path through life.  There are as many different ways to walk the Labyrinth as there are individuals. The journey is different for everyone, as is life.  We each bring our uniqueness to the labyrinth.... and often depart with a greater sense of oneness and unity.  

Here are some reasons to meditate with a labyrinth:
  • To give thanks
  • To solve a problem
  • to take time out
  • to dream
  • to seek guidance
  • to resolve a conflict
  • to grieve a loss
  • to release a fear
  • to pray and be with God
  • JUST FOR FUN!


Here are my suggestion for participating in this activity:



1 - Approach it with a relaxed and open mind.  Don't try to figure out what will happen.  Don't decide that it won't "work" for you before you try it.


2 - Remember there is only one way in and one way out.  You cannot get lost.  You do not have to think.  Remind yourself to Trust.  


3 - Clear your mind as much as possible and become aware of your breath.


4 - When you get to the center, take as long as you would like and then follow the same path out from the center.

5 - As listed above, there can be any number of intentions.  Two common ones are as a silent meditation or to seek guidance (but there are no rules!  When I took my kids, they ran in!)

6 - I, personally, use the walk in as a time to quiet my mind and possibly ask a question.  The walk out is more a time of listening.

7 - Try to pay attention to what your mind is saying.  It may give you some insights (more on this later.)

Ok - so how can you do this right here, right now?


Simple!  


First - 
You can print one out here....
Chartres Labyrinth
Another version is called the Classical Labyrinth
  
Use your finger to trace the "maze" instead of walking.  If you find yourself becoming "lost," simply..... sloooow doooown.  We all tend to race around getting things done.  This is a time to be Present.  Remind yourself that in total, it won't take more than a few minutes. 

Second
There are several web sites where the labyrinth comes up on the screen and you use either the mouse or your eyes to trace through it. 

This one, you can control the speed, music, etc.....
   
This one you must follow with your eyes at the speed set by the site.  You can stop and start it.  I like this one, but wouldn't start with it as it might be frustrating for the first time if you feel it is too slow.
Here is another one you can try too.....
Third
If you want to find an actual physical labyrinth you can walk, check this link.  I know that some of the ones I have walked are not included on this list, so you can also Google labyrinth and your location, city, state, etc.
http://labyrinthlocator.com/


Finally, consider what was going through your mind as you "walked" whether for real or virtually? 


Were you impatient? 
Were you wondering it you did it right? 
or wrong? 
Did you question why it was taking so long? 
Did you question if you crossed a line? 
Did you feel lost? 
or found? 
Did you feel like you were wasting time?
or did you feel peaceful?
Did you clear your mind?
or was it going a mile a minute?


If you keep thinking you cannot do it or are not doing it "right," SLOW DOWN.

If you think that you have lost your way - what can that tell you?
If you go slowly enough, you cannot lose your way - there is one way in and one way out. 
That could tell you that you aren't Trusting yourself or the Universe or you could hear yourself criticizing yourself for doing it "wrong."  
 
If you get to the center and want to quit without going back out - what could that tell you?  That you are in too much of a hurry or that your mind is demanding more than you are offering it at the moment.  Why might that be?  Do you want to distract your self from unpleasant thoughts?  Or do you feel that quiet, silent time is not productive?  Why do you feel you need to be so productive?  


Each of these can be clues to things that might be going on for you in your life.  Ask yourself how this applies to your larger life.  Remember there is no right or wrong way to do this.... just enjoy!   

As always, I would love to hear your questions or comments in the comments section below. 

Until next month....
Happy Labyrinthing and....
Keep it Simple!
Penelope

4 comments:

Kent said...

Lovely.
For me, walking the labyrinth helps me to quiet my mind and disconnect from my mental 'chatter' just enough that I experience a greater sense of wholeness, serenity, and connection with the movement of the universe's energy as it ebbs and flows through my life.
Thank you.

Penelope said...

Thank you for that also lovely sharing of your labyrinth experience... AND
for inspiring this post!

ziridescence said...

Thank you for the reminder of Labyrinths. In college, I didn't quite grasp the idea because I was like "where's the fun walls!?" but I think I got it now.

I helped a couple out on the west coast place stones in the creation of a labyrinth on their property. That was a very special experience. Hopefully one day I'll be able to create my own :)

Penelope said...

There are actually some with walls! :) But most of them don't have them!

A woman I knew designed and built them, but I've never done that myself! It would be an interesting experience to build one!