A friend just asked how to use the time while walking a labyrinth. I walk every labyrinth I come across. I love them for their ancient wisdom and the answers and insights they help me find.
First, I would say there are as many answers as there are people. For myself, I walk labyrinths to achieve various goals (and as an officiant, I’ve even married people in the center of one). Sometimes, I am full of heavy thoughts, and I need to ask the universe to share my burdens. Some would call that prayer. For this purpose, I do the following:
1. Step up to the entrance of the labyrinth. Silently request the right to enter and to commune with the universe. Explain that I feel sad or angry or (whatever other emotion needs expressing). I state it out loud if no one else is around so as to not bother other walkers. I state that I need to share this feeling so it is not bottled up inside me and that I walk, I will ask it to ease. Then, as I walk, each set of steps brings a different statement. I walked a labyrinth last night, and here is how it went.
Three steps: I release fear.
Three steps: I release pain.
Three steps: I release jealousy.
Three steps: I release unease.
I say those things as I walk towards the center. At the center, I stand at the threshold and ask for permission to enter. Then, I walk around the center and begin a different repeated meditation.
Three steps: I take in joy.
Three steps: I take in health.
Three steps: I take in light.
Three steps: I take in love.
I breathe deeply as I repeat these phrases. Then, I repeat the following until I leave the center and spiral out of the labyrinth.
Three steps: I help others.
Three steps: I teach others.
Three steps: I love others.
Three steps: I stand with others.
At the end, I thank the spirits of the place (critters, beings, nature, whatever might be there) for listening. I take in a deep breath and I step out of the labyrinth.
This sort of thing works as a moving meditation as well. Choose whatever words or phrases have meaning for you and repeat them at each step.
Sometimes, I am contemplating an issue or a thorny problem when I walk the labyrinth. I use each turn in the labyrinth as a place to pause and make choices about the issue. If there are crossroads decisions to make, the turns allow me to physicalize the possibilities. So, I gain new perspectives.
I also use the movement through a labyrinth to generate creativity. If I am working on a book or a story or song, I use the movement and the turns to meditate on characters, their drives and needs, plots points, etc. Each turn brings me closer to inspiration. So, if Evie Songbottom (a character in some of my books) needs to make decisions about how she will behave, but I am not sure which way she will go, I let myself open to the turns and curves of the labyrinth to look at the situation from different angles. Almost always, I have the answer, or at least, a really great place to start by the time I reach the end.
I recommend you find a labyrinth near you the next time you have a thorny issue to deal with, or if you want to jump-start a creative endeavor, or even just to meditate on moving your body through the turns and curves of a beautiful, natural place. It will give you new perspective.
Sending you all of my love.