Existential questions that each of us individually face are related to:
♥ the need to feel safe
♥ to be part of a group or to have an intimate relationship with
♥ the sense of being, to have meaning in life
♥ the need for freedom balanced with basic certainties
Walking a labyrinth may be helpful to reflect on existantial questions.
In former times only the very rich could afford to go on an pilgrimage. A cheaper and easier way to reflect and search the inner self was to walk a labyrinth in a cathedral or basilica. Today, walking a labyrinth may still be very helpful in the context of individual or team coaching.
A labyrinth, unlike a maze, has no dead ends. There is only one path, and while it does have twists and turns, you can’t get lost. The same path takes you into the labyrinth and out again. With a labyrinth you don’t have to think, or analyze, or solve a problem. With a labyrinth you just trust that the path will lead you to where you need to be.
A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. 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. It is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life’s journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place. It takes us out of our ego to our real inner world.
For this purpose we use a mosaic labyrinth on the floor of Sint Servaasbasiliek made by architect Cuypers in 1887. In the cases that it was not available for use we were allowed to construct a temporarily one on the attic .
Guidelines for walking a labyrinth
1. Focus: Pause and wait at the entrance. Become quiet and centered. Give acknowledgment through a bow, nod, or other gesture and then enter.
2. Experience: Walk purposefully, chose your attitude.
From time to time choose a different attitude. Make it serious, prayerful, or playful. Walk alone and with a crowd. Listen to the sounds. Most of all pay attention to your experience.
When you reach the center, stay there and focus several moments. Leave when it seems appropriate.
3. Exit: Turn and face the entrance. Give an acknowledgement of ending, such as “Amen.”
4. Reflect: After walking the labyrinth reflect back on your experience. Use journaling or drawing to capture your experience. Find the meaning of your experience with help of relatives, friends or a professional.
5. Walk as often as you like.