If you’re like many kindred spirits I know, your life’s path is probably not a direct bee line from point A to point B much of the time. Surprises abound, and unforeseen opportunities arise for your growth, learning, and personal development sculpting. Life’s path may be full of twists and turns, curves, and curve balls, and it may be quite winding, confusing, and tedious at times. Thankfully, life is also peppered with joy, laser focused moments of clarity, gracious gifts, sprinkled with understanding, ease, flow and harmony!
Cross cultural symbols throughout the ages reflect and mirror such a colorfully pebbled path in fascinating ways across diverse mediums and formats. Labyrinths have been found throughout the world across cultures and regions. Using labyrinths to connect the intention process, and the magically unfolding path life presents, creates a beautiful and metaphorically abundant theme for the intention groups. This theme leads to profound conversations of self discovery.
“The labyrinth doesn’t ask: Are you going the right way or the wrong way? The labyrinth asks, “Are you going?”
What is a Labyrinth?
“A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering, but purposeful path. It represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.”
“A labyrinth is an ancient, sacred, archetypal pattern that has been found throughout the world in many forms and sizes. Labyrinths have a single path to and from the centre. Labyrinths are one of the few archetypal patterns that we can physically interact with. Labyrinths are enjoying a resurgence in popularity as tools for meditation and healing. The process of walking the labyrinth helps many people become more centered and balanced.
Labyrinths are different from mazes. Labyrinths are unicursal, which means that they have one well-defined path that leads us into the center and back out again. There are no dead ends or paths that divide. A maze on the other hand is a puzzle to be solved: a left brain task that requires an active mind, logic, analytical skills, and problem solving abilities. A labyrinth is a right brain task involving intuition imagery and creativity. With a labyrinth there is only one choice: the choice to enter or not.”
From the book: The Way of the Labyrinth: A Powerful Meditation for Everyday Life by Helen Curry
“Unlike mazes, which force choices and can create fear and confusion, labyrinths are designed to “embrace” and guide individuals through a calming, meditative walk on a single circular path.”
In my intention groups, I discuss the different purposes of labyrinths, and the assorted types that are accessible and available, from finger labyrinths, indoor and outdoor labyrinths, as well as digital and virtual ones. We shared how there are labyrinths represented in nature from tree rings to finger prints, even unexplained crop circles. Here’s a link for a printable finger labyrinth, and other resources on where to find local labyrinths: https://labyrinthsociety.org/download-a-labyrinth
What’s the connection between intention and labyrinths? Everything. It’s both a metaphor for our lives, and a literal representation for how we choose to walk into, and walk through our intentions, and life. Before one embarks on a path of intention, or the process of setting intentions, you pause to reflect on your focus of desire both in general, and specifically for each intention or vision. So before stepping into, and onto a labyrinth path, it is common to set an intention for your experience for traveling the labyrinth. It is also recommended to bring in your specific intention/s and create awareness, focus, and attention on them.
There are multiple layers here to explore for intentions:
- You can set an intention for your labyrinth walk before your way in. It can even be a feeling you would like to embody.
- Set an intention for insight to be revealed during your labyrinth walk related to your intentions and dreams, or in general.
- Focus on an intention in progress, and hold what you are manifesting.
- Allow for insight, so you can provide an opening for inspiration. As inspiration reveals itself, consider where you can take an inspired action step towards your intentions or goals? Surrender and allow for new perspectives, and insights to emerge.
- Allow for the space for what’s coming up around your intention/s, and in general? Check in with yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Walking a labyrinth is a helpful spiritual practice for embracing sacred space, and connecting with your higher self, Soul, and heart.
Consider the walls of the labyrinth, your life, and your intentions. Where do you find yourself putting up walls, creating blockades, and adding chaos, where there are walkways, hallways, and a clear, direct path to travel? Have you halted yourself, and procrastinated movement, and taking steps towards your intentions and dreams?
“Power of the first step, of a project – usually sets in motion a surprising dynamic where doors open, kindred spirits align and the universe has been waiting for this step.” First step is magic of the beginning.
I loved how one writer from the Labyrinth Ireland website mentioned why people walk the labyrinth: “For balance; to centre themselves; to increase their awareness; to connect to their higher selves; to balance their chakras, for grounding, and to bring peace. It is usually helpful to have an intention before you walk the labyrinth. Your intention can be looking for an answer to a question, or just seeking a way to find balance or improvement in some area of your life. The experience of walking the labyrinth is different for everyone, and different each time you walk one.
There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth. Do whatever feels right for you. Many people divide the walk into three parts, or the three ‘R’s: Releasing, Receiving, and Returning. On the walk in focus on releasing whatever is on your mind: your tensions and worries or whatever is occupying your thoughts. When you reach the centre rest and allow whatever thoughts or answers come to you. On the walk out focus on returning to your everyday life with the wisdom that you have received.”
There are three main phases of a labyrinth walk: Entering in, the walk, exiting out
When you first walk in, is there any resistance present? While you are walking through, do you wish it was another way? Are you distracted or disconnected? Do you experience any self-doubt or limits? Are you rushing the outcome, and anxious for the center or the end? Do you wish it was different? If so, how? Where can you make a connection, or comparison in how you show up as you approach your intentions, your life, and common situations, etc.?
“Labyrinth is a symbol of the turnaround, a change of heart. Twists and turns of a path, and a complete turnaround in the center. On the path to find your center, twists, and turns, like our lives take.”
Look for the active metaphors, and insights that come through as you meander through the labyrinth. Observe how you walk through the labyrinth: quickly, slowly, with concentration on your body, your feet, your heart, and your breath, no concentration at all, or a mixture. Tap into, and engage your senses. What do you notice? What do you hear, smell, feel, touch, taste, and sense?
Discover the labyrinth center. Discover your center. What gifts of insight does the center have to offer? So you reach the center. You achieve your intention; you materialize what you are looking for, and what you originally set out for. Are you content? Are you satisfied? Are you looking for more, better, – different? Are you let down? Are you disappointed? Were you hoping it would be something else? Do you feel grounded? Centered? Are you at peace? How do you feel? After reaching the center, pause a moment in the center, and receive.
“Those who travel along too quickly often hurry past the center without noticing it.”
“The path to the center is never straight, but always clear.”
“You ask: What, then is the center? Everything.”
With an uncanny parallel to our process with intentions, embrace the symbolism, and any metaphors that drift through your journey. As you embark on this path, as you enter through, you change, shift and grow. Consciousness expands, perspectives changes, and awareness is heightened.
“The end of one path is simply the start of a new one.”
“After awhile I know neither how far I have to go, nor how far I’ve gone. I begin to concentrate on the path, not the destination.”
Begin heading back out, and begin the releasing process. What’s coming up for you? It’s time to go and release, release expectations, and embark on a new journey.
When we get “there” or attract whatever it is we desire into our lives, it’s, “Oh, I manifested what I want, and in the same breath, perhaps you ask, “Is this really what I want? What do I want from this new point,” like in the intention arch. As you leave, and as you exit the labyrinth, you bring new insight, new info, and a refreshed viewpoint; a new perspective. Possibly you recognize some fears or other issues that were not present when you started initially. These are a few suggestions, exploratory questions, and intention approaches to ask yourself when walking a labyrinth. I’m hopeful you will discover your own labyrinth meanings, and find deep connections to your intentions, dreams and life as you apply your emerging wisdom. Labyrinths have infinite potential for application, and integration into our individual life’s path. However you traverse your intentions, consider the perspectives and insights that labyrinths offer on your intentional path. May you be open to the wisdom of the labyrinth on your path of transformation. May the gifts and gems of knowing enhance the manifestation of your dreams!
“The labyrinth invites us to discover the beauty of the whole in all the confusion, imperfection and painfulness of life. It invites us to set out on the path with serenity and resolve. It invites us to strike out for the center and to find our way home.”
Gorgeous image by www.judytempleton.com titled, “Labyrinth – Inner Journey” that beautifully captures the essence of labyrinths and the mystical inner path.