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  • Writer's picturehilde

Walking a labyrinth for clarity

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

๐˜‹๐˜ฐ ๐˜ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ถ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ค ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜บ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ต ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ง๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ๐˜ฏ?

With this pressing question I walked a labyrinth on a mountain top in the North of Italy. It was the last day of my volunteering experience as a permaculture gardener at a retreat centre. I on purpose made no plans after Italy, because of this question I carried since a while.

Iโ€™ve walked a labyrinth before (before I embarked on this nomadic journey) and it was such a powerful tool. And so it was, this time around. I barely took a step in the labyrinth, when insights arose, or as Iโ€™d like to say: unconscious or forgotten knowing became conscious.

The labyrinth I walked in Northern Italy

What is a labyrinth?

A labyrinth is an ancient geometric structure found in many of the earthโ€™s indigenous cultures. Unlike a typical maze with its confusing paths, a labyrinth follows a single, continuous path leading to the center and then back out again. Labyrinths' origins are unknown, but they have appeared on Egyptian tombs, Cretan coins, Celtic stones and Christian churches.

Labyrinths have been used for various purposes throughout history, including as spiritual, ritualistic and symbolic tools. Walking the labyrinth can be a contemplative and calming experience. People have used it for centuries to find clarity, and gain insight into their thoughts and emotions. The act of walking along the winding path towards the center and then back out can symbolise as a mirror of where you are at in your life.

Walking a labyrinth involves stages like approaching with intention, bringing your attention inwards, introspection and awareness while walking, pausing in the centre to receive, integrating insights while returning and closing the experience with gratitude.

The insights I received

As I entered with my intention to gain clarity on the next step of my journey, I took a couple of deep breaths and cleared my mind. Within seconds, I received my first insight, which was a great reminder in itself:

โ€˜If you want helpful answers, ask helpful questionsโ€™.

So simple, yet so profound! My initial question was a closed question, already holding the answer within, thus not leaving much room for refreshing perspectives. What if Iโ€™d change the question from โ€œsettle down or keep travelling?โ€ to โ€œwhat is most important to me right now?โ€. You see how the latter immediately shifts your awareness and opens up different solutions that the โ€œeitherโ€“orโ€ question cannot provide?

Shifting to a more open question also took away the weight of words as โ€œsettling downโ€. The idea of settling down doesn't appeal much to me, whereas if you ask me whatโ€™s important to me right now, and who do I need to be and what do I need to do to live that experience, I could be very willing to settle into a place.

The other insight I got was that I was too burdened with the question of โ€œwhatโ€™s next?!โ€ and not giving enough credit and gratitude to the path Iโ€™ve walked. I shed a little tear, realising how far Iโ€™ve come, and that this lifestyle I lead today has long been a dream of mine.

There was also a beautiful lesson in the walk its-self. The time to walk to the core of the labyrinth felt long, whereas walking out of it was over in a felt second. This experience symbolises for me that overcoming your life issues might seem like a long and tough road ahead, but it will be over before you know it. Donโ€™t look at the imaginary mountain you have to climb, just focus on the step right in front of you. Remember that a previous version of you, was wanting to be where you are today.

Hope this inspires you to reflect on the questions you ask yourself and if they allow for helpful answers! Have you got any experiences with walking a labyrinth, or have you encountered other novel ways to deal with pressing life questions?

Click here to find a labyrinth near you. You'll be surprised how many there are!

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