Walking Meditation ❘ The Labyrinth Walk

Walking Meditation The Labyrinth Walk

An illustration of Joy’s 24’ diameter canvas labyrinth, hand-painted by one of the world’s premiere labyrinth makers

As a trained labyrinth facilitator, and custodian of a beautiful 24-foot diameter portable canvas labyrinth, I provide in-house programs for organizations looking for team-building, problem-solving, walking meditation, stress reduction and more.

Hereʼs some information about labyrinths, their history, and their use today.

About Labyrinths: A Brief History

Labyrinths have been used for thousands of years as tools for meditation, relaxation, healing, insight and more. Not associated with any one tradition or culture, their origin remains a mystery. Ancient labyrinths have been found throughout the world.

How do labyrinths work?

The labyrinth, consisting of a single winding path that leads to the center and back out, is level with the ground; there are no walls. Labyrinths can be made from rock, pavers, tile, painted canvas, or many other materials. Their diameter can range from as little as twelve feet to fifty feet or more.

To walk the labyrinth, one starts at the beginning of the path, follows the twists and turns to the center, pauses, and walks out using the same pathway. A walk typically takes from 20 minutes to 45 minutes. Unlike a maze, there are no choices to make about which way to turn, so one is easily able to let go of thoughts and relax the mind. A sense of time and space may be suspended, allowing one to access clarity and insight. A significant physiological effect is created by the many left-to- right and right-to-left turns on the path, which can balance the left and right sides of the brain and provide a centering experience.

How are labyrinths being used today?

A labyrinth walk can be a great tool for relaxation, team-building and clarity of mind – and itʼs a very accessible tool for walking meditation. According to Veriditas, an organization dedicated to introducing people to the labyrinth, “Labyrinths are open to all people as non-denominational, cross-cultural blue-prints for well- being. The practice of labyrinth walking integrates the body with the mind and the mind with the spirit. They can be found in medical centers, parks, schools, prisons, memorial parks, cathedrals and retreat centers as well as in peopleʼs backyards.”

Hereʼs an excerpt from an article in the July/August 2008 Arrive Magazine. “Turns out labyrinths are everywhere—universities, open fields, botanical gardens, inns and even private estates. Most people see the spiral motifs as attractive floor decorations, not knowing that their history dates back some 4,000 years. Labyrinth designs have been found on Greek coins, Celtic stones and Native American baskets. Now, the ancient practice of labyrinth walking is being revived as more and more people discover its meditative powers.”

Here some info about labyrinths in health care settings:

If youʼd like to find out more information about scheduling a labyrinth walk for your organization, please contact Joy.

Mindfulness Training for the Workplace, Healthcare, and the Community