Can you believe our summer is already nearing an end in a few weeks? Seems like time has flown by. It is our hope here at Right Focused that you and yours have been able to enjoy some of the summer months, and as we enjoy the last few weeks of summer, we want to encourage you to take time for self-care. Last month we mentioned the new Community Labyrinth installed at the Shore Cultural Center and the benefits for well-being provided by using it for prayer and meditation. This month we would like to provide you with a follow-up on that article by adding a bit of background on what a labyrinth is and some benefits it offers to well-being.
A labyrinth is a geometrically designed walking path that leads to and from a central point. Labyrinths have been used for centuries to facilitate prayer and are recognized as a form of active meditation. Meditatively walking a labyrinth can be surprisingly calming and clarifying for your thoughts as you let your body move through the pre-determined pathway. There are no time limits, and you may walk as slowly and deliberately as you like. Even if you don’t have a spiritual side, slow, intentional walking in a quiet place on a set path allows for a level of focus that can be difficult to find in our daily lives.
Additionally, there are many potential benefits of walking a labyrinth including:
1. Improved mental clarity
2. Improved introspection
3. Reduced feelings of anxiety
4. Stress reduction
5. Increased sense of spirituality
6. Reduced feelings of agitation
7. Increased sense of creativity
8. Lowered blood pressure
At this point you might begin asking how you might get started? Below are options to help get you started walking the labyrinth in prayer, meditation, or on your own:
Option 1) Ask God a question as you enter the path, then, as you walk slowly through the twists and turns, let your steps and your silence invite the presence and guidance of God.
Option 2) Recite a BREATH PRAYER (a prayer that can be said in one breath) and repeat this prayer as you navigate the labyrinth (examples of BREATH PRAYERS include “You are my refuge and strength”; “When I am afraid, I will trust You”; “A still small voice”; “Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing”).
Option 3) Journey to the center with confession, and when you reach the center, journey out with affirmation, exiting with thanksgiving.
Option 4) Use the 3-Stage method: stage 1= Releasing (as you start your journey toward the center, begin to release your thoughts and concerns), stage 2= Receiving (when you reach the center, stay there as long as you wish, receiving awareness of feelings & emotions), and stage 3= Returning (once you return from the center and leave the labyrinth, prepare to integrate your awareness into your daily life).
Option 5) Simply walk for enjoyment!
It is our hope that you will take some time to visit the Labyrinth at Shore Cultural Center and remember that whether you walk for stress reduction, problem-solving, or spiritual reasons, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy the path. If you would like more information on wellness and or well-being, please feel free to visit us at www.rightfocused.com.