How to Prepare for a Labyrinth:
Labyrinths connect people with God. The Chartres labyrinth was mathematically and theologically designed to communicate that God can be known and experienced.
Leave any expectations about what may happen outside the labyrinth. Bring into the labyrinth your intention to be open to whatever develops.
On this pathway of prayer you are moving your body. This helps to quiet your mind. You don’t have to try to do it “right”. The pattern will lead you to where you need to go and be.
There are as many ways to pray the labyrinth as there are people who use it. Give yourself permission to follow the intuitions and desires that come. Remember this is designed to be an embodied prayer experience. Let your body lead you. Don’t be trapped by the thought, “I can’t do that, other people are watching!” Other people are busy with their own labyrinth experiences. Have yours!
The singular path of the labyrinth leads to and from the center. Whereas mazes are designed to confuse and trick you, the labyrinth was designed to take you to the Center. You can not get lost on the labyrinth. You can get turned around. If this happens you will either end up in the center o at the entrance/exit. Decide where you want to go from where you find yourself.
Each time you enter the labyrinth, you will discover your own rhythm. Most likely it will change during the course of your walk. Stay flexible! Experiment. Go with your flow.
Since there is only one path, you will meet other people on the way (coming and/or going). It is acceptable to pass another person, momentarily step off the path to let someone go by, or wait while someone walks around you. Do what comes naturally.
Many have experienced the labyrinth as a mirror where you can view your life from both inside and outside at the same time. Open your heart; open your mind to what you may notice. Be compassionate with yourself; judging yourself isn’t helpful!
It may take days, weeks or even months to grasp what God is communicating to you through your labyrinth experience. Note what comes today, but don’t try to figure it out. When the time is right, you will understand more fully.
One suggested pattern of praying the labyrinth:
Take time to gather yourself before entering the labyrinth; this may include a mental prayer or a body gesture like bowing or crossing yourself. After traversing the threshold, follow the pathway toward the center. Enter the center, taking as much time as you need there. Stand, sit, kneel or lie down if you would like. When you are ready, follow the pathway out. Be conscious of crossing the threshold between the labyrinth and whatever lies beyond it. Before leaving the experience, take time to express gratitude. If possible, revisit your experience in a way that will be useful to you (journal, draw, dance, sing, etc.). This will help you to continue to mine the riches of your encounter.
The labyrinth is a safe place. Relax and enjoy!
From: Christian Prayer and Labyrinths. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2004. Written by Jill Kimberly Hartwell Geoffrion.