walk the labyrinth

Labyrinths are concentric walking paths used for the purposes of prayer, meditation, or quiet contemplation. Many people find the slow rhythm of walking a helpful embodied practice that aids their mental well-being or spiritual expression.

These walking paths come in many different shapes and sizes, and have been used in ancient greek, medieval european, and various indigenous communities. The difference between a labyrinth and a maze is, there is no way to get lost or make a wrong decision in a labyrinth - only one consistent path leading you to a central destination. What a great metaphor for life!

There is no wrong way to walk a labyrinth; apply whatever meaning or symbolism you choose, so long as you are respectful of the space and your fellow walkers.

One practice that sometimes is used involves 3 movements...

1) RELEASE - as you walk in towards the centre, try to acknowledge, release and unburden yourself from the thoughts you are carrying.

2) RECEIVE - upon arriving in the centre, enjoy a time of quiet stillness, where you are open to receiving new insight or a word of inspiration.

3) RETURN - as you walk the path back out of the labyrinth, consider how you might reengage the world, applying the new insight from this practice.

It's okay if walking the labyrinth doesn't "work" for you every time. Like most contemplative exercises, it can take some practice and is often fruitful over time.

ECM has a few different indoor, canvas labyrinths which we make available on campus or loan out. We have also helped set up a temporary outdoor labyrinth in the Arboretum - near the entrance closest to campus - which is open to all. There are also a few other labyrinths in Guelph - at the Ignatius Centre, Three Willows United Church, and Homewood, for instance. 

Happy walking! And please maintain a physically distant separation of 2 metres minimum from others as you walk the labyrinth. Thanks.

© 2020 U. of Guelph - Ecumenical Campus Ministry 

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