* All information (in italics) is taken from the print out given to me during my retreat at the Cenacle Sisters Retreat House in September 2014. No reference site/s in the print out.*
Experiencing the Labyrinth
People have different experiences walking the labyrinth. As with all practices of prayer or meditation, your experience will grow and deepen the more you do it. There is no “right” or “wrong” experience. Some people feel a sense of peace. Others find old memories rising up as they walk. Others find themselves thinking about an immediate situation or person. Others walk at varying speeds as different thoughts and emotions come and go. Some people experience physical sensations, perhaps become light-headed or, or have a feeling of floating above, a feeling of weight, or of great warmth. Some people have profound insights. others have very small experiences or none at all. the experience of walking the labyrinth is different for each person, each time. whatever you experience, it is your experience. Relax and see what happens.
Suggestions for Walking
- The labyrinth is a path for prayer and meditation.
- Collect yourself before you start. Think of different people, events, situations, places or things in your life to develop a specific intention if you wish to use one in your meditation.
- Get centered.
- There are two common ways of walking: the way of silence and the way of image.
(1) In choosing the way of silence it might be helpful to focus on your breathing.
(2) The way of image might be done by reciting a prayer or name for God over and over to yourself.
- Ask yourself: How am I loved? How do I love? In either case or in some other manner best suited to you, be open to your heart and mind. Pay attention to your thoughts as they rise and then let them go.
- The labyrinth is a place of presence; allow yourself to be present to yourself and to God.
- The labyrinth is a teacher; let it teach you through the mysterious power of God.
- As you walk the path, thoughts and ideas may rise up for you and in you — often in refreshing and startling ways.
- One way to feel more connected to the experience is to walk barefoot and slowly. There is no need to rush. Some people feel a sense of confusion as they first star, remember there is only one path in and one path out. you will not get lost. For some people running as quickly as possible to the center, resting there, and then running quickly out is a powerful experience.
(3) Use the basic walking meditation. The whole experience consists of three parts — a letting go, a letting in and a letting out.
- Prepare yourself for the walk by pausing at the entrance to clear your mind and become aware of your breath. You may offer a prayer/intention for the walk you are about to make.
- Letting go (surrendering) — The walk around the design to the center is a time to quiet thoughts, worries, lists of tasks to do and a letting go — emptying your mind, being present to your body, and surrendering yourself to God.
- Letting in (receiving) — As you reach the center, you may find your heart opening. Stay as long as you need. This is a place of meditation, prayer and illumination. Receive what is there for you.
- Letting out (returning) — When ready, take the walk out — back to your life, now refreshed and empowered by the Spirit to live and renewed faith and hope.
I’ll share my personal experience of the labyrinth in another post.