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Pathmaps: Labyrinths as Tools for Reflection
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For: Middle, Upper School
Pathmaps Points: Transformative Experiences; Self Knowledge, Self Worth, Intentional Action

Summary:
Labyrinths have been used for centuries throughout the world. There are several ideas about how and why they were used in different cultures, but there is a long history of the use of labyrinths for spiritual growth. The focus of this lesson is on their use as a medium for meditation and prayer and a way into silence and reflection.
Activity One

Take three slow breaths. Begin to trace the labyrinth with your finger (do not use a pencil or pen). Your goal is to reach the center of the labyrinth and then come back out by retracing your steps. Take your time.

Once you have completed the labyrinth do it again, and this time try to concentrate on (choose one of the options below to put here) as you move towards the center:
1. Letting go of stresses and worries
2. Someone that you would like to pray for
3. Finding your next step in life

When you reach the center, just keep your finger there for a minute and (choose one):
1. Concentrate on an open-ended question
2. Concentrate on noticing your breathing or the sounds around you, just letting them "wash over you"
3. Ponder ideas that occurred to you as you were working your way to the center of the labyrinth

After a little while, begin to make your way back out of the labyrinth and (choose one):
1. Think about things you are grateful for
2. Think about the answers that might have arisen, if you asked a question
3. Note any difference in the way your body and mind feel after the experience

After a short break, repeat a third time and give these instructions:
1. As you start to trace the labyrinth, think about a problem that is bothering you. As you move toward the center concentrate on the effect of the problem on you: physically, mentally, then the effect on others.
2. When you reach the center ask for a "solution," meaning, just accept whatever idea comes into your mind for the moment.
3. As you return out of the labyrinth consider the effect of the idea/solution that came to you.
Activity Two

Take three slow breaths before starting this exercise.
Trace the labyrinth with your finger all the way into the middle and out again.
Now consider this to be an image of your life's journey. On the way into the middle draw pictures or words that signify important events, experiences, ideas or aspects of your identity that bring you here today. In the middle draw or write ideas of what you find most important to you right now (for example, family or friends or hobbies-anything you can think of). Now, coming back and mixing in with the drawings/writings you have already placed, add drawings and words of things you hope will happen or the kind of person you would like to be on the way out. Spend a little time writing an explanation of your art or words at the bottom of the page when you are done.
Materials

Sand labyrinth. The sand labyrinth, molded plastic about 12 inches square, rests in a shallow wooden box. Fine sand is sprinkled over it, filling the finger-sized grooves of its pattern. Children enjoy tracing the pattern. These may be ordered from the Center for Children and Theology (http://www.cctheo.org). Other lap or table sized labyrinths may be embroidered on fabric, carved into wood, or cast in glass or metal.

Finger labyrinth patterns and background information. For a template to copy see: http://www.labyrinthcompany.com
Books

Helen Curry, The Way of the Labyrinth: A Powerful Meditation for Everyday Life, Compass Books, Oct. 2000
Websites

Labyrinth Enterprises
http://www.labyrinth-enterprises.com/instructions.html

Labyrinths of Grace Cathedral
http://www.gracecathedral.org/labyrinth/

The Sacred Labyrinth: an ancient meditation tool:
http://www.angelfire.com/tn/SacredLabyrinth/

Labyrinth and inner peace
http://www.labyrinthonline.com/

Draw a Labyrinth
http://www.lessons4living.com/drawing.htm

More labyrinth drawing instructions
http://www.mountainvalleycenter.com/labchart.htm#Let%20your%20fingers%20do%20the%20walking!

Hands on Labyrinth Activities:
http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/smc/labyrinth/activities.html

Veriditas: the voice of the Labyrinth movemement:
http://www.veriditas.net/

Paxworks: Labyrinth history and uses
http://www.paxworks.com/

The Labyrinth Company
http://www.labyrinthcompany.com/view_category.php?category_id=2

Tracing the Cretan Labyrinth
http://www.labyreims.com/e-cr.tr.html

Labyrinths and mazes
http://www.crystalinks.com/labyrinths.html

Myths and history of Labyrinths
http://www.labyrinthina.com/path.htm

The Labyrinth Society:
http://www.labyrinthsociety.org/

The Art Line Project:
http://www.theartline.org/main.html

 

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