Our Labyrinth (set up in our Sanctuary) here at Unity of Gaithersburg, like the Labyrinth at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, California, is a classical eleven circuit Labyrinth. The most well known example of this type of Labyrinth can be found in the Chartes Cathedral in France.
The labyrinth is available for seekers of all faiths to assist in their contemplation and meditation.
Walking The Labyrinth
One way to walk the Labyrinth is to let all thought go and open yourself to experience whatever is there for you with receptive attention. Another way is to consider a question that you have and enter the Labyrinth with an open mind and heart to receive answers and insights about yourself. You can also use the Labyrinth as a prayer path.
When walking the Labyrinth, find your own pace and allow yourself to be conscious of your breathing, allowing it to flow easily.
Pausing at the entrance allows you to be fully conscious as you step onto the path. If there is someone ahead of you, let a minute or so pass before you begin. Simply step aside when you meet someone on the path.
Every person’s experience is different and each time you walk the Labyrinth will be different for you even if you walk it many times.
Origins of The Labyrinth
The Labyrinth is an ancient tool for meditation. Unlike mazes, which have many entrances and dead ends, the Labyrinth is a single path. By following the one path to the center, the seeker can use the Labyrinth to quiet the mind and find peace and illumination at the center of one’s being. Stepping onto the path, we can experience the Labyrinth as a metaphor for our spiritual journey.
Labyrinths can be found in many of the world’s religious traditions. Checkable of Life, found in the Jewish mystical tradition is an elongated figure based on the number eleven. The gates and pathways are similar to those in the Labyrinth.
The Hopi Medicine Wheel, based on the number four, honors the Earth and the four compass directions. The Man in the Maze, and the Navaho Sand Paintings are other kinds of Native American Labyrinth traditions.
A seven ring Labyrinth has been found on Crete in the Mediterranean, which is four to five thousand years old. We also find the Labyrinth in the East in the Tibetan Sand Mandalas and other Meditation Mandalas.
The Labyrinth image or form, holds the experience of wholeness and is universally recognized as a symbol for unity.