Walking the Labyrinth

Suggestions for Walking the Labyrinth

  1. FOCUS

Pause and wait at the entrance. Become quiet, centered, and aware of your breath - then enter.

  1. RELEASE

Walk purposefully toward the center. As you walk, release your worries and let go of life's daily distractions. Quiet your mind and open your heart.

  1. RECIEVE

When you reach the center, pause and focus for several moments. It is a place of meditation, prayer, and quiet reflection. Take several deep breaths and be receptive to what you can learn or receive at this moment in time. Leave when it seems appropriate.

  1. RETURN

Be attentive as you follow the same path and return to the beginning. This is a time to review what you have received and to allow and apply these forces in your life.

  1. REFLECT

After walking the labyrinth reflect back on your experience

  1. WALK OFTEN

Here are a Few More Suggestions for Ways to Walk the Labyrinth

Gracious Attention: Let all thoughts go. Allow a sense of attention to flow through you.

Ask a Question: Focus on a question. Walk with a listening heart.

Use Repetition: Repeat a word, mantra, or phrase over and over.

Offer Petitions: Bring to mind persons or issues for which you wish to pray.

Honor a Benchmark: A birthday, a lifestyle change, an anniversary. A memorial can be the focus of your walk.

Body Prayer: Move spontaneously as your body wishes. Dance the path. Move your arms and legs, bend, and sway.

You may pass other people or allow others to step around you. The path leads two ways: those going in will meet those coming out.

History of the Christian Labyrinth

Labyrinths have been in existence for over 4,000 years and are found in almost every major religious tradition in the world. The oldest existing Christian labyrinth is probably the one in the 4th-century basilica in Orleansville, Algeria. And while Christians used labyrinths on pre-Christian sites and modeled their own after those used by earlier cultures, the development of the Christian seven-circuit labyrinth was a breakthrough in the design. Its path of seven circles was cruciform (shaped like the Cross) and thus incorporated the central Christian symbol. This pattern was later expanded to eleven- and twelve-circuit designs. During the time of the Crusades, when it became dangerous to make a pilgrimage to the Holy land, seven European cathedrals were designated as destinations for pilgrims. Entering the cathedrals’ labyrinths (usually laid into the marble floor) marked the end of a difficult journey and a promise of entry into the Heavenly Jerusalem. The most famous eleven-circuit labyrinth is found in the nave of the cathedral in Chartres, France, and is the one pictured in this pamphlet.