Explore Many Ways to Walk a Labyrinth
A Powerful Meditation Practice
The power of walking a labyrinth is its simplicity. A labyrinth presents an orderly path to quiet the mind.
As the body moves into a peaceful rhythm of walking, one becomes more closely in tune with God. Step-by-step, one becomes more receptive to insight and illumination.
Walking a labyrinth is not something to learn or memorize but something to experience. It is a walking meditation, a devotional act of worship, and a sacred celebration of life.
There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth, just as there is no right or wrong way to pray. Walking the path is a personal experience, an opportunity for a closer walk with God.
The Unity Labyrinth, with its path inspired by the 13th-century labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France, offers visitors to Unity Village an opportunity for prayer. Unity has a long tradition of prayer that includes a 24/7 telephone prayer ministry and more than 130 years of continuous prayer with people around the world.
A Walking Meditation
Walking a labyrinth is a sacred activity and is not to be rushed or forced. Here are some general suggestions to enrich your prayer walk:
- Stop, relax, and breathe deeply as you enter. You may want to set an intention for yourself before beginning.
- Begin walking slowly, following the winding path toward the center. Release any busy thoughts, concerns, or burdens. As your body moves into a peaceful rhythm of contemplation, an awareness of God’s active presence may be quickened.
- If you meet a fellow traveler on the path, simply step aside and pass with reverence.
- In the center, pause for a few moments and focus your attention on God.
- As you leave the center and return toward the outer edge, maintain serenity and offer silent praise and thanksgiving. This is a time of empowerment.
We bless you, dear friend, and hold you in our prayers as you continue on your spiritual path!
Other Walking Meditations for the Labyrinth
The three meditations below were adapted from and inspired by the book Labyrinths: Ancient Myths and Modern Uses by Sig Lonegren. He divides the Chartres labyrinth into four quadrants. You can mentally divide the Unity Labyrinth into four quadrants as well.
As you stand at the entrance, the lower left is Quadrant One, the upper left is Quadrant Two, the upper right is Quadrant Three, and the lower right is Quadrant Four. As you walk the Labyrinth, you will walk in and out of the various quadrants.
We suggest you read each meditation in its entirety before beginning your Labyrinth walk. This will allow you to walk in a meditative state rather than focusing on the instructions.
A Walking Meditation of Gratitude
Purpose: The purpose of this Labyrinth walk is to open your heart and embrace divine joy. In a consciousness of gratitude, you are able to rise above any troubles you may be experiencing. Indeed, gratitude may be the quickest way to enter into divine consciousness.
At the entrance to the Labyrinth, pause and say a silent prayer of gratitude and praise.
On the walk in: Focus on people, situations, or things for which you are grateful.
Begin to walk into the Labyrinth. As you enter or reenter each quadrant, name someone or something for which you are grateful. Hold that thought and feeling of gratitude until you enter another quadrant.
At the center: Pause and be still.
At the center, enter a time of Silence. Allow your inner guidance to determine the length of time you linger at the center.
On the walk out: Express gratitude to God.
As you walk out of the Labyrinth and travel in and out of the four quadrants, name something you are specifically grateful for. Hold that thought and feeling of gratitude for that specific thing until you enter another quadrant.
As you leave the Labyrinth, say a prayer of praise for all the good that is in your life.
A Walking Meditation for Problems, Issues, or Opportunities
The purpose of this meditation is for your Labyrinth walk to represent the journey inward to God—inward to where all true and loving answers lie. The intent is that at the very least, you will have more clarity and, at the very best, you will know exactly how to handle a problem, issue, or opportunity.
Before entering the Labyrinth, take some time to clearly define the problem, issue, or opportunity about which you want guidance or need to make a decision. Pause and say a prayer, calling forth the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, and open yourself to your innate wisdom.
In Quadrant One—Facts
When you are in Quadrant One, clearly define the problem, issue, or opportunity. In other words, simply state the facts as objectively as you can.
In Quadrant Two—Thoughts
When you are in Quadrant Two, bring to mind everything you honestly think about this problem, issue, or opportunity. At this time, you are invited to go beyond just the facts to include your honest thoughts, opinions, and ideas.
In Quadrant Three—Feelings
When you are in Quadrant Three, clearly state everything you feel about this problem, issue, or opportunity. Do not hold back. Allow yourself to clearly state all that you feel, no matter how ugly or uncomfortable the feelings may be. This step is to encourage you to bring up all your feelings and to let them out. If you ignore feelings, they will not go away.
In Quadrant Four—Rest
When you are in Quadrant Four, just allow yourself to walk in a relaxed way. Keep a light smile on your lips, and be mindful as you walk, deeply in touch with each step and each moment. Allow each step to be filled with a relaxed sense of joy, peace, and love.
At the Center—Release
As you enter the center circle, say a prayer releasing this problem, issue, or opportunity into the everlasting arms of God. Release and let go. Then remain in the center, observing the Silence until you feel ready to leave.
In Quadrant Four—Ponder
As you leave the center and enter Quadrant Four, ponder the question, How can I use this to bring about the highest good for everyone concerned? Or How can I use this to love others more and/or to connect more with others?
In Quadrant Three—Let Go
When you are in Quadrant Three, ask to become aware of the beliefs, attitudes, or ideas you could willingly give up in order to resolve or take advantage of this problem, issue, or opportunity.
In Quadrant Two—Gifts
When you are in Quadrant Two, ask to see the gifts you already have to help deal with this problem, issue, or opportunity.
In Quadrant One—Rest
When you return to Quadrant One, just allow yourself to walk. Simply be in the present moment. Be mindful of each step as you walk in joy, peace, and love.
As you exit the Labyrinth, say a prayer of thanksgiving and praise. Be alert and open to finding just the right answer or solution to the problem, issue, or opportunity.
A Walking Meditation to Transform Your Life
The purpose of this meditation is to use denials and affirmations as consciousness conditioners, to clean out old, erroneous beliefs and to affirm new, life-giving ones.
We do not use denials to deny a situation, feeling, or thought. We use them to deny that the situation, feeling, or thought has any power over us.
When we use an affirmation, it is not to make a wish or to hope it is so. We use affirmations to claim what is already true at the level of God-Mind.
The denials and affirmations below are direct quotes or adaptations from H. Emilie Cady’s book Lessons in Truth. Alternatively, you may decide to create your own affirmations and denials. Say them silently to yourself as you walk.
On the way in, use only denials. On the way out, use only affirmations.
At the entrance to the Labyrinth, pause and take several relaxing breaths before you enter.
In Quadrant One—Repeat this denial: There is no evil.
In Quadrant Two—Repeat this denial: There is no absence of life, substance, or intelligence anywhere.
In Quadrant Three—Repeat this denial: Pain, sickness, poverty, old age, and death cannot master me, for they are not real.
In Quadrant Four—Repeat this denial: There is nothing in all the universe for me to fear, for greater is the Christ within me than that which is in the world.
At the Center—Enter a time of silence. Begin walking out when it feels appropriate.
In Quadrant Four—Affirm: God is life, love, intelligence, substance, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence.
In Quadrant Three—Affirm: I am a child of God, and every moment, God’s life, love, wisdom, and power flow into and through me. I am one with God and am governed by God’s law.
In Quadrant Two—Affirm: I am Spirit, perfect, holy, harmonious. Nothing can hurt me or make me sick or afraid, for Spirit is God, and God cannot be sick, hurt, or afraid. I manifest my real Self through this body now.
In Quadrant One—Affirm: God works in me to will and to do whatever God wishes me to do, and God cannot fail.
As you leave the Labyrinth, say a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
A Walking Meditation to Reveal God’s Vision
The purpose of this Labyrinth walk is to provide a space in consciousness where God’s idea for your life can reveal itself. This fourth walk is adapted from the visioning process developed by Rev. Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith.
We use this process to catch God’s vision for us. We allow God’s idea to come forth rather than attempting to create something we specifically want.
To begin, you may want to find a place to sit outside the Labyrinth. Become still. Allow yourself to be in the Silence to establish the awareness of God within you.
Take as much time as you need. There is no rush.
At the entrance to the Labyrinth, pause for a few seconds to honor the sacred journey you are about to take. Then enter and begin walking the Labyrinth.
In Quadrants One and Three—Ask: What is God’s idea for me? What does it look like, feel like, and sound like? What is the highest possibility for me?
In Quadrants Two and Four—Relax and let go.
At the Center—Deepen your awareness of God within and ask: What is God’s idea for me? What is the highest possibility for me? Remain in the center until you are ready to leave. Then begin walking out of the Labyrinth.
In Quadrant Four—Ask: What is God’s idea for me? What is the highest possibility for me?
In Quadrant Three—Ask: Is there anything I need to release in order to bring this vision to fruition?
In Quadrant Two—Ask: How must I expand in consciousness to live this vision? What would I want to learn or what would I want to embody to bring this vision about?
In Quadrant One—Ask: What gifts do I bring to this vision?
As you leave the Labyrinth, pause and, if you can, commit to this vision.