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Activity 3: Walking The Labyrinth
Activity time: 25 minutes
Materials for Activity
Preparation for Activity
- Have the labyrinth spread out on the floor.
- While you guide individual children to walk the labyrinth, you may wish to engage the other participants in Activity 4: Our Name Stones or Activity 6: Decorating the Threshold. A concurrent activity will allow children walking the labyrinth to go at their own pace without the pressure of others awaiting their turns. Prepare the alternate activities in another area of the meeting space, and arrange for another adult to supervise.
Description of Activity
Tell participants, in your own words:
For many hundreds of years - since long before anyone in the room was born - people around the world have used a labyrinth for meditation. When you meditate, you keep your body still, and relaxed. You keep your mind still and relaxed. You keep your feelings relaxed, too. Many people believe mediation helps them open up their minds to new ideas and their hearts to new feelings.
Now you will have an opportunity to try it yourselves.
Explain the activity, using these words, or your own:
One at a time, you will cross the threshold to enter the labyrinth. Then, you will walk along the path slowly until you reach the center. At the center, you stay still for a moment and open your heart and open your mind. Then you turn around and walk the labyrinth path back from the center. Follow the whole path, and exit by crossing the threshold.
We want to be mindful when we cross the threshold. This means we are paying attention to what we are doing. When you come into the labyrinth, you might think about what it feels like when you go someplace new. You leave home, and start a journey.
When you cross the threshold again to come out of the labyrinth, that means your journey is over. Coming out of the labyrinth is like coming home again.
You may choose to repeat some of this instruction for each child, as he/she prepares to walk the labyrinth.
Before inviting the first child to walk the labyrinth, remove the stones and the chalice placed there during the Opening. Model mindfulness as you remove these symbols with careful attention. Children will notice your actions.
Demonstrate how the children should slowly follow the path and open their minds to all that happens. Then ask children to take turns walking the path. The waiting is difficult for younger children and you want each child to have time to walk as he/she chooses, without pressure. Try having one child at a time walk as the other children start Activity 4: Our Name Stones or Activity Six: Decorating the Threshold with another adult.
As closure for this activity, after all of the children have walked the labyrinth gather the entire group in a circle around the labyrinth. Draw out individuals' responses with these questions:
- How is walking in a labyrinth different than it might be to walk in a maze?
- How did it feel to be guided by the path?
- How did it feel to find the center?
- Was it easy or hard to keep your attention on walking the labyrinth? What else did you think about while you were walking?
- What did it feel like to cross the threshold going in?
- What did it feel like to cross the threshold going out?
- Do you think it will be exactly the same or different if you walk the labyrinth again? Why?