The labyrinth at Lynn Valley United Church is the North Shore's only indoor labyrinth. It is open during office hours (typically Monday to Thursday) for individual or small group use . Arrangements for facilitated group sessions can be scheduled at a mutually convenient time. The Sacred Space is a quiet room intentionally set up for individual or small group prayer, meditation and reflection and is also open during church office hours and is available when the sanctuary(where the labyrinth is located) is booked for an event, group or program and not available for a walking meditation.
The labyrinth is also open on Spiritual Practice Mondays 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm (except when closed for holidays), with Soul Spa taking place on the 3rd Monday each month offering a variety of interactive "stations" for individual exploration.
"Sacred Music on the Labyrinth" is a live music session offered from 2-3pm on the second Wednesday of each month (September to June), featuring traditional and contemporary hymns and praise songs. All are welcome to walk, or to sit and listen, basking in familiar tunes that invoke a collective memory of written prayers set to music.
So What is a Labyrinth?
Unlike a maze, which has paths that lead to dead-ends and are designed to trick and trap or have participants lose their way, a labyrinth has a single, meandering path leading to a center point, which is then followed back to return to the start.
Every ancient culture around the globe designed some sort of labyrinth, which over the several thousands of years since, have been and continue to be used as a tool for meditation, ritual, ceremony, entertainment or connection to the natural world.
Growing research shows that labyrinths contribute to personal, psychological, and spiritual insight and transformation due to how it engages the whole brain, sparking synapses in both the hemispheres of the brain with each change in direction and promoting "cross-brain activation and integration" and adding the physical foreward movement stimulates introspection and self reflection. Labyrinths also evoke connection to ancient cultural practice, personal and spiritual pilgrimage, mindfulness while expressing metaphor, sacred geometry, spirituality, artistry, innate and divine wisdom and community building.
How to Use a Labyrinth
There is no "right or wrong way” to use a labyrinth. Mostly it is a metaphor for life's journey - giving a physical structure to support one's symbolic journey towards self discovery or connection to innate wisdom or divine energy. Some describe the journey as a birth or rebirth experience. Some simply walk it with no thought, concern or expectation. The labyrinth is simply a framework for intentional communication between concious and subconsious thinking.
Whether walking or using a finger labyrinth, it usually begins by setting an intention (an inquiry or request for connection, wisdom, release, clarity, compassion, joy, etc…). Take a deep, cleansing breath and begin following the path, traveling at whatever pace feels comfortable and if desired, restate the intention throughout the walk- as often as every turn for some. In the center, spend as much time as feels appropriate and then return to the start by retracing the same path from the centre. At the exit, stop to acknowledge the completion of the experience, perhaps with another deep, cleasing breath.
If you are using the labyrinth with others, be respectful that your needs and their needs are being tended. It is okay to pass someone who is moving slower than you would like to go -or you can take a queue from the universe to accept the challenge to slow your pace. Pass one another as you would walking around others on the street with a rule of thumb that those returning from the center yeild the path to those headed to the center- and know it is somewhat less disruptive to pass on the turns.
There are times when one may feel like singing or dancing... and if there is room and it feels right and isn't disruptive to others, then sing and dance! Some feel lost or disoriented... and some actually do get lost. It's okay to just keep going from wherever you are, or to go back to the beginning to start again. Some come with deep sorrow and heavy burdens and may openly experience intense emotions...be compassionate.
Journalling or connecting with others following a labyrinth walk can be helpful in processing your experience and capturing insight, wisdom or inspiration, but is not essential. Do what sparks joy, supports personal growth and connects you to spirit.
Online Resources for Home Labyrinth Exploration
If you have any questions or want to schedule a walk for you group, please contact the Church office at email@example.com