How to Walk a Labyrinth
From a Celtic prayer:
God be everywhere
God be everywhere
Suggestions for Walking
There is no right or wrong way to walk the labyrinth. Remember, there as many different ways to walk the labyrinth as there are people that walk it. The experience can be
- a pleasant walk in silence
- a time to meditate or pray
- a healing and sometimes profound experience
- a meditation in motion that can calm the anxious mind
- an experience to gain wisdom regarding a decision
- a time to feel gratitude for blessings
- joyous or solemn
2 common ways of walking: the way of silence and the way of image
The way of silence
Quiet the mind and choose to let all thoughts go once you become aware that you are thinking them. It may be helpful to focus on your breathing. Walking has a way of naturally quieting the mind. You don’t need to think: all you need do is put one foot in front of the other. Allow yourself to open to whatever God may reveal to you.
The way of image
- Ask a question. Allow the question to come from the heart or soul of your being. Go beyond looking for yes or no answers, and allow your awareness to open so that deeper and perhaps new parts of yourself can speak to you more directly, so that God can speak to you more directly. Praying, “My intention for this labyrinth walk is to be open to receiving guidance about this question” may be more helpful than expecting a specific answer.
- Use repetition. Recite a prayer or a name for God over and over to yourself: Come Holy Spirit, Father, Comforter, Holy One, Grace, Hope, Lord make me an instrument of Thy peace.
- Read scripture. Read scripture as you walk or meditate on a some scripture that you know by heart: “I look to the hills from whence cometh my help” or “Be still and know that I am God.”
- Ask for help through prayer.
How to Walk – The Common Courtesies
- Pause and wait at the entrance. Focus. Open yourself to the Holy Spirit. You might imagine yourself totally bathed in light. It is good to start each walk with some act of spiritual significance to you. Give acknowledgment through a bow, a nod, crossing yourself, or perform some other act, and then enter. This sets the tone for the walk.
- Just put one foot in front of the other.
- Try not to step on or over the lines. If you do step over a line, you will find that you have reversed directions. You will find that walking between the lines takes some concentration. Hint: look down, keep focused on the path, and stay centered in your body.
- Walk at whatever pace seems right to you. Your pace may change at different points on the walk. Remember there is only one path in and one path out. Do not slow your pace to meet the slower pace of a walker ahead of you. Be comfortable with somebody passing you. If you pass a walker, do so gently and respectfully – just step into the next path as you pass, and then return to the path you were on. In the same way, if another walker needs to pass you, simply step aside to let them continue at their pace.
- The path is two-way. Those going in will meet those coming out.
- You may greet a person passing you by looking at them. Smile or look down in order to keep your experience private.
- Allow yourself to be present to yourself and to God. Trust the path. Let go of worry about where the path leads. It will not lead you astray. You will not get lost.
- Please walk in silence.
- When you reach the center, stay there and focus. You have come half-way. Leave when it seems appropriate.
- Be attentive on the way out.
- Exit: turn and face the entrance. Give an acknowledgement of ending your walk, such as “Amen.”
- After walking the labyrinth, take time to be quiet and honor your experience. You might want to use journaling or drawing to capture it. There are art materials at the Craft Area. Your experience may be immediate or it may not be apparent for some time.
- If you get tired, you can simply leave the path.
Much of this information is from the book Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Practice by Dr. Lauren Artress.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.