Thursday, 17 January 2013

Walking the Labyrinth

Better late than never to say Happy New Year everyone. Welcome 2013, may it be happiness and health filled. I wanted to share with you one of my favourite new year and meditation rituals. Walking the Labyrinth.

A labyrinth is a single pathway leading to a centre, and then the same path out. This is very different to a 'maze' where there are alternate paths and you can get lost, although the words have been used interchangeably in the past. The labyrinth has only one path and there is no way to get lost. The ancient labyrinths appeared in many different cultures including Greek, Egyptian, Italian, Indian and Native American. There seemed to be a common use for private reflection or group ritual. Today labyrinths appear all over the world in private back yards, church gardens, public arenas and unusual spaces like the medical school in my home town. People use them for all sort of purposes but I love..

: : The quiet contemplation that walking a single path brings. 
: : The peacefulness in my mind and body. 
: : The focus on a problem that seems to 'uncurl' as I walk into the centre and is clarified as I walk out. 
: : The action of walking as a meditation. 
: : The metaphor of always being on the right path. 
: : The way my shadow follows me around like a sundial
: : That meditation can be active.

I like to focus on giving thanks for a particular aspect of my life, ask for clarity about a challenge I am having, offer thoughts to others who I'm close to or simply walk to put my thoughts back in a straight line. It's a wonderful ritual for a pregnancy - especially in the preparation for birth. In the days leading up to Elijah's birth I walked the labyrinth each day - and I think gained confidence and a sense of peace and trust. The book Labyrinth of Birth by Pam England explains exactly this. After he was born we would go together and he would almost always fall asleep as I carried him in a wrap on my chest. I think he sensed my peace :)

If you're interested you can find your nearest labyrinth with this worldwide labyrinth locator. Hopefully there's one near you! 

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