Labyrinth Walking When Grieving

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Walking The Labyrinth

Labyrinth Walking When Grieving

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I had never heard about labyrinth walking until a few years ago when I saw a “Walking The Labyrinth” course listed at a local retreat center. Being mostly curious I signed up. What I learned about was something I never knew existed. Walking a labyrinth as another form of meditation.

WHAT IS A LABYRINTH?

A labyrinth is better known as a maze. They go back as far as Greek mythology. Over time they became very popular. During medieval times, they were made of intricate stone designs on the floors of Gothic Cathedrals. Some of the most famous labyrinths are found Chartres, Reims and Amiens in northern France. It is said pilgrims would follow the path of the labyrinth to simulate a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. During their walk they would meditate and pray. This walk replaced an actual visit to the Holy Land which they usually could not afford. Walking the labyrinth as a spiritual practice eventually faded away.

By the time of Renaissance, labyrinths had evolved into elaborate garden mazes; more for pleasure than for spiritual growth. Labyrinth walking as a form of meditation disappeared for over 250 years. In the 1990s, Lauren Artress reintroduced the practice to the United States after walking the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral.[1] Now there are over 5000 labyrinths in eighty different countries. In fact many of them can be found here in the United States.[2] You may be surprised to find one not very far from you. If you do, take the time to plan a visit.

HOW DOES LABYRINTH WALKING HELP WITH GRIEF?

So you may be wondering why I’ve even brought this up. It’s important for a griever to find activities that are peaceful and calming. Walking a labyrinth does exactly that. It gives you time to meditate, pray, or zone out completely. There is no right or wrong way to do it.

You can ask a question before entering the labyrinth (anticipating an answer before you leave it) or you can just walk to decompress and relax. Labyrinths can be found inside or outside. Those that are outside are usually in gardens. What better setting to relax than outside in a beautiful garden? In doing my first labyrinth walk I was surprised how refreshed and peaceful I felt.

As St. Augustine once said, “It is solved by the walking.” He wasn’t kidding.

[1] veriditas.org/aboutlabyrinth

[2] labyrinthlocator.com

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Excerpt from Grief Reiki – An Integrated Approach to the Emotional, Physical and Spiritual Components of Grief and Loss, Chapter 14, Spiritual Tools.

Now Available on AmazonKindle and Barnes and Noble.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!

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