This Simple Tool Could Change Your Life (It did mine!)
There are countless reasons to enjoy heart-centered reflection and meditation. Goodness knows we are all in need of tools to help us:
Reduce anxiety, stress and depression
Improve focus and memory
Boost the immune system
Increase appreciation and happiness
Improve brain function
Not everyone can plop down on a floor cushion with ease and shift gears from an active state of mind to one of peaceful awareness. In fact, I was pretty well convinced that I was a “failed meditator” when a very dear friend of mine introduced me to the labyrinth and walking meditation.
The labyrinth is a remarkable tool to help bridge the divide between the head and the heart. For young children this is a seamless, playful process requiring virtually no instruction. “Simply follow the path to the center and back out again”... reminding them that there are no tricks or challenges! Children delight in being assured that they are meant to simply relax and enjoy a place and space where “you can’t mess-up”!!!
For adults, the labyrinth is a beautiful, finite space within which to intentionally enjoy the “Three R’s” of labyrinth walking: Release, Receive and Return.
Release: At the labyrinth’s threshold, I begin by placing my hands on my heart, I notice how I am feeling; physically, mentally and emotionally. I then ask that the weight of whatever may be preying upon my mind (be it an unresolved question or problem, an ailment or physical concern, or a complex global issue), be “released”, as I enjoy a moment of self-care. Most of us have not been taught or encouraged to “take time-out for time-in” and it is a vital part of caring for your mental, emotional and ultimately physical well-being. I take a couple of deep breaths, feel a deep sense of gratitude for my beingness, and then begin walking at a relaxed, easy pace.
Receive: Upon reaching the center of the labyrinth I STOP. I breathe in gratitude, and breathe out love. Then I breathe in love, and breathe out gratitude. I take a moment to rest and enjoy a sense of PEACE, as I take-in both my internal and external landscape. With a bit of luck - sometimes - I’ll “receive” a message of sorts… a new outlook, idea or perspective. (For me, the message is often concealed in the lyrics to a song that will seemingly spontaneously pop into my head!) NOTE: You may “receive” in the center of the labyrinth, anywhere along the path, OR anytime within hours or even days of your labyrinth experience. Stay tuned to synchronicities and the subtle messages of your heart!
Return: The “return” is a time of integration. As I walk out of the labyrinth and back into my daily routine I reflect upon my labyrinth experience and envision how to incorporate something of what I’ve gleaned or appreciated: a sense of peace, a slightly slower pace, deep breathing, self-compassion, a sense of wonder, joy, unconditional love and maybe even a new path or direction!
To find a labyrinth near you consult the World-Wide Labyrinth Locator at: www.labyrinthlocator.com.
Alternatively, you can create a labyrinth of your very own by checking out this link to my instructional video and following the instructions below.