A labyrinth is an ancient, meditative technique where participants follow a meandering path from the outside of the labyrinth to the centre and then back out on the same path. Unlike a maze, the way is always visible so there is no need to figure out how to get to a destination point. This allows users to be free of distractions and to focus internally.
“We live in a society that glorifies busy-ness and taking 10 to 15 minutes for one’s self is considered counter-culture,” says Sula Anne Kosacky, Osler’s Spiritual Health Therapy Coordinator. “We spend so much time outside of ourselves focusing on the next task that our own thoughts are drowned out.”
A finger labyrinth is a portable version and the meditation is generally from a seated position, tracing the labyrinth from the non-dominant hand.
This forces the mind to focus on simply following the pattern and quiets other thought processes creating what Harvard researcher and physician Dr. Herbert Benson named the “Relaxation Response.” It can help improve conditions such as anxiety, high blood pressure and insomnia.
A portable labyrinth can be made from wood or stone, can be a tactile labyrinth that sits on a table or desktop, can be painted or drawn and you can also download one here.
“Everyone experiences a labyrinth differently but what many people report is a sense of peacefulness afterward and some experience less anxiety,” she says. “Your senses focuses on what you are doing and everything else is blocked out.”
Having the time, free of the external distractions is an effective way to focus on your thoughts.
“It can help solve a work problem or a specific contemplation,” Kosacky added. “Whatever needs to arise will; if you need to ‘blink out’ and rest, you will.”