A meditation labyrinth is a spiral walking path. Typically created outdoors, it can be made out of grasses, stone, or herbs among other natural things. The Ely Winter Festival Snow Labyrinth created by Tranquility Wellness Center owner, Jaime Brennan, and volunteers, as you might guess, this time of year is made out of snow. It is similar to a maze but with no wrong turns, one enters the single-line path and walks to the center then back out again. The Tranquility Snow Labyrinth is available to walk while the park is open.
The labyrinth has been used in meditation practices across the planet for over 4,000 years. Following the labyrinth’s path is a walking meditation – for some it is a welcome alternative to the “sit and be quiet” style of meditation. Benefits of walking the labyrinth can include:
- quieting the mind
- reducing stress
- gaining clarity and insight
- helping to put our lives in perspective
- finding calm in times of life transition
- use as a creative or spiritual problem solving tool
- helping resolve inner discomfort caused by disturbing emotions or unfortunate events
- finding your back to center
To help locate labyrinths that may be near you the Labyrinth Society and Veriditas have collaborated on a website called the World-Wide Labyrinth Locator .
How to use the labyrinth
You can simply enjoy the opportunity to experience the labyrinth or enter with an intention.
- Leave plenty of space between you and the person ahead of you. If entering with an intention clearly state your intention internally “I want a solution to my problem with…”
- Center yourself by taking several deep breaths.
- You may say a prayer and acknowledge the meditative or spiritual journey you are about to take.
- Begin your walk. The first step sets the pace for your walk. It can be fast or slow. Choose your intention for the walk. Are you being spiritual, reflective, mindful, playful, creative or something else? If you’re problem solving, your walk becomes a meditation when you surrender all your problems and just walk. Other parts of you now have a chance to process your request of a solution.If you are very upset: fast walking in lets the emotions dissipate easier. Most people try slowing down their mind by slower walking, relying on the mind and body reflection.
- Continue to walk. Keep your mind quiet, and still pestering thoughts each time they arise. Concentrate on the placement of one foot before the other and rhythmic, gentle and regular breathing.If you’re problem solving, walk as you didn’t have any problems at all, let it all go. Surrender to the activity of attentive walking. Let the burden (your problem) fall off your shoulders. Various parts of your being are now processing your wish for solution. All you have to do is to let it incubate and not interfere, let it be and let go of any expectations. Continue to walk as you didn’t have any problems at all, let it all go.
- If you’re going on a spiritual journey or seeking creative inspiration, again let it all go and just surrender to the experience of walking the labyrinth.
- Pause on reaching the center. You may stop here for a while, sit or lay down if you feel like it and meditate or reflect. The main thing is to let yourself surrender totally to your inner process. It feels so good to have all the time you need.If you don’t have a problem, question or quest for inspiration, just sit quietly and let things be.
- Walk out. When you are ready, be mindful of those that maybe on their way in and wait if you have a chance, or you may begin walking out. Accept the insights and gifts you may have received. Adopting a sense of gratitude will always facilitate resolutions. Offer your thanks for what you have learned.
Please let us know what you thought of your experience by stopping by Tranquility Wellness Center during regular hours; Tuesday and Thursday 1pm – 6pm, Wednesday and Friday 1pm – 5pm. We have hopes of creating a permanent warmer season labyrinth in Ely.