April 3, 2014

Healing Meditation in the Labyrinth

By Margaret Rappaport

Meditation is widely recognized as an adjunct to therapies and other healing strategies in health settings. There are examples of meditation that enhances relaxation in prolonged treatments. Praise abounds for the clarity of mind that meditation induces for understanding and bearing chronic illnesses. Meditative visualization allows healing to proceed more quickly and consistently because it encourages people to imagine a premeditated scenario of health. Meditation connects people to their intuition and mobilizes their spirituality to help meet health challenges.

Illnesses and their treatment often result in people feeling lost. They are cut- off from the spiritual purposes of their lives and the meaningfulness of their life’s journey. Opportunities to connect to God and to spiritual experiences become fewer and farther away from the events brought by illness and treatments. People may recognize the need for changing their mindset and their circumstances but in some ways usual behaviors are no longer useful to accomplish those goals. It takes every bit of energy simply to cope with the problems. Another approach such as walking or using the labyrinth must be introduced.

Walking the labyrinth or using a finger labyrinth for meditation is remarkably effective in promoting healing. It frees people to focus in a unique and different way. It inspires new outlooks. Positive feelings and hopes spring from quiet reflection in the labyrinth. Expressing renewed commitment to personal wants and needs is easier during a contemplative time in the labyrinth. Trusting as a result of being in the labyrinth ignites self-worth and creates an enhanced perception of one’s value in the world. The shortages of energy, money or companionship inherent in dealing with ill health and the healing process suddenly seem less consequential with the help of meditative walks in the labyrinth.

More and more labyrinths are being built on hospital grounds and in mental health facilities. Healing gardens are appearing in communities all over the world. People are bringing life to the labyrinth. The labyrinth is a space that renews life, even rekindles the life of the spirit, with heartfelt use.

Margaret Rappaport