Possibly because of its simple design, a prayer labyrinth is one of the oldest meditative tools in existence. It is composed of paths which circle around and leads to the center of the circle. Most people confuse a labyrinth with a maze, but the two are not the same. A maze is an intellectual task in which you have to use your brain to figure out how to get on the right path to exit the maze. A labyrinth, on the other hand, is an intuitive task; there are no blind alleys or dead ends. There is only one way in and one way out of a labyrinth. But the journey is interesting, nonetheless. A labyrinth symbolizes the journey of life, and walking one can give you sudden glimpses of your life’s purpose. Here is one way to use a prayer labyrinth to find the meaning of your life’s journey.
Stand at the entrance to the labyrinth. Look down at the floor or ground.Gaze at the floor until your eyes go slightly out of focus.
Slowly begin walking in the labyrinth. Keep looking at the ground, at your feet, taking each step slowly. Feel how each step feels. Just think about your walking, nothing else. If your mind wonders to some other thought, gently pull it back to noticing your steps. Just keep noticing your steps until you reach the first turn in the labyrinth.
As you make this first turn, start thinking about the early years of your life (this turn representing that part of your life’s journey). Think about your mistakes, your joys and your triumphs. What did you learn from all of these events? How did those events lead you to where you are in life now? Think about only the early years of your life (perhaps from birth to 12-years-old) as you complete the entire circle of that path.
As you start on the second path of the circle, start thinking of the middle period of your life (perhaps teen years to early adulthood). What did you experience? Why did certain events happen to you? How did you cope with them? How did they benefit you? How did they lead you to where you are in life now? Let the memories, thoughts, and emotions, flow in and out of your mind. Complete this entire circle thinking about this part of your life.
As you start on the third path of the circle, start thinking about the next part of your life (depending on your age, perhaps this will be from your mid-twenties to your mid-thirties.) Again, think of the events in your life, from this period, and analyze what benefits they brought you. How have they made you the person you are today?
As you start the final path of the circle, start thinking of your present life. What have you learned about yourself? What do you need to learn? What has brought you here, to this place in your life, at this time?
Stand in the center of the labyrinth (which is where the path ultimately leads). This signifies completion. Stay here as long as you like, in a spirit of reverence.
Walk back the way you came, this time not thinking of anything but the solemnity of this moment.
Exit the labyrinth. Turn around, face the labyrinth, and bow in a spirit of thankfulness.
You can make your own labyrinth, using rocks to map our your paths, or you may use ones sponsored by various organizations. See the Resources section for links on how to find such labyrinths.