Activity time: 5 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Handout 1, Finger Labyrinth, for all participants
- Quiet music and music player
Preparation for Activity
- Find quiet, instrumental music to play during a three-minute meditation.
- Copy Handout 1 for all participants. Make some extra; children may wish to use them in Activity 5, Window/Mirror Panel - Reflections of Prayer.
- Dim the lights.
Description of Activity
Ask children to sit comfortably, not touching anyone else, in a position they can maintain for about five minutes. Distribute the handout. Say, "Meditation is a kind of prayer. We are going to do a silent meditation using a finger labyrinth."
Speaking slowly and clearly, say:
People from many religious traditions walk labyrinths to meditate. Some labyrinths are large and complex and take hours to walk. Some are made of stone walls. Some are made of flowers or hedges. Some are sketched on the ground or made of tile.
Here we have our own, personal labyrinth we can "walk" with a finger. You may want to trace the path in a slow, deliberate, relaxing way. You might journey back and forth to the center of the labyrinth several times. You could try it with the hand you do not usually use to write or throw, for more of a challenge in concentrating.
Tell the group you will sound the chime (or begin playing the music) to start the meditation time and sound the chime again (or fade out the music) to end it.
If you wish, focus your meditation on thanks, regret or hope. Or, allow your mind to find its own focus for your meditation.
Ring the chime (or, begin playing the music).
Allow three minutes for children to walk their labyrinths in silence. Then, sound the chime or fade out the music. Invite responses to these questions:
What was it like to use the finger labyrinth?
What feelings did you notice while you were using the labyrinth?
What did you see? Hear? Feel?
How easy or hard was it to be silent?
How was the labyrinth like a maze? Unlike a maze?
Did you think about your gratitude for something, a regret you have, or a hope?
Did you think about who you are inside? Things outside yourself?
Were you thinking in words, in pictures or in another kind of thought? Did other ideas pop into your head while you were using the labyrinth?
Tell children they may keep their finger labyrinths to incorporate into their Window/Mirror Panel (Activity 5).
If you have time, you may wish to share this paragraph, from an essay by Daniel H. Johnston on the Lessons 4 Living website:
A labyrinth looks like a maze but is not. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists and turns and dead ends. You have to think and think and be alert for any clues you may find. A maze can be frustrating because you can get lost in a maze. But, a labyrinth has no dead ends. There is only one path, and while it does have twists and turns, you can't get lost. The same path takes you into the labyrinth and out again. With a labyrinth you don't have to think, or analyze, or solve a problem. With a labyrinth you just trust that the path will lead you to where you need to be.
INCLUDING ALL PARTICIPANTS
A non-sighted participant can use a textured surface such as corduroy fabric or a sheet of corrugated cardboard to create a meditative focus. Or, make a three-dimensional, lap-size labyrinth using quick-hardening glue on cardboard; find instructions for drawing a labyrinth in this session's Faith in Action activity.
Allow children who have difficulty sitting for a meditation to use the finger labyrinth as a map and try to walk the pattern. Children who have difficulty being silent for longer periods may hum quietly along with the music as they follow the pattern.