Labyrinths are symbols used by many ancient cultures and traditions from different countries all over the world, such as England, India, Ireland, China, Scandinavia, Crete, and France, to name a few. The symbol is said to represent healing, inclusion, and wholeness.
Labyrinths as tools for spiritual healing
Labyrinths are also used as a tool for prayer and meditation. During walking meditations, the symbols are used for self-exploration and reflection, and serve as a guide for those seeking peace and clarity. It can help with managing stress, reevaluating goals, making better decisions, assessing skills and talents, and more on both personal or and professional levels. For others, the labyrinth is a metaphor for life’s journey, which helps you discover your deepest self and navigate through this world with a fresher mindset and clearer perspective.
How it is used
As a meditation tool, labyrinths are used as a single, walkable path and as a source of peace and serenity against distractions created by the mind. When experiencing difficult emotions or going through painful events in your life, walking on a labyrinth can aid in quieting your mind to give you clarity, resolving inner discomfort, and allowing you to focus on what you need to do.
While walking a labyrinth, one of the best practices is to direct your full attention to every step you take, concentrating on putting one foot ahead of the other as you maintain a gentle, rhythmic breathing pattern. Don’t worry if your thoughts wander off – simply bring it back by focusing on the sensation of your feet as they connect with the ground.
It is that simple – not allowing negative thoughts or emotions interfere, and continuing on a path, which hopefully takes you further away from whatever is bothering you and closer to where you want to be.
Are labyrinths “solved?”
Meditation labyrinths aren’t the same as mazes – they’re not made for you to get lost in, and are not puzzles you need to solve. It’s not designed to confuse anyone; a simple, circuitous path that starts from the center and flows outward, then back again.
Meditation labyrinths are designed to help you find your way out, tapping into your brain’s right hemisphere, which involves creativity and intuition, instead of the left hemisphere, which is used to analyze and solve.
Where can I find a labyrinth?
There are labyrinths located within churches, parks, spa resorts, educational institutions, and some medical facilities with hospital gardens.
You can use this website to look for the nearest labyrinth in your area.
Brief history of the labyrinth
Labyrinth patterns are a universal symbol, existing throughout the ancient world, in Amerindian basket-weaving patterns, archaic petroglyphs, and drawings and paintings from different countries. The term “labyrinth” originates from a structure included in the myth of Ariadne, Theseus, and the Minotaur, and the earliest reported labyrinth is a two-story structure located in Egypt, which was described by Herodotus, a Greek historian.
Labyrinths are also found throughout Europe, were they were used to serve as a site of pilgrimage in cathedrals. They were typically constructed using colored paving stones on the floors of cathedral naves. According to research, there were more than 20 labyrinths found in 80 Gothic cathedrals built during the Christian Middle Ages.