Labyrinths as Meditation for those Experiencing Grief

Jun 03, 2022

For those experiencing grief – whether it be mourning the loss of your own abilities or the loss of a family member – meditation can be a daunting practice. Lingering on painful emotions can feel unappealing, even if you are aware of the many spiritual, psychological, and physical benefits of meditation. What meditation can teach us, however, is especially relevant to those experiencing grief. By forging a space of acceptance and gentle release, it can help you begin the healing journey. 


I recommend labyrinth meditations for all patients and their loved ones experiencing grief. A labyrinth is a wonderful place to start meditating, as it has only one path. From the outer edge to the center and back out again, the labyrinth encourages a gentle movement so that working with your emotions does not feel stuck or weighty. Unlike a maze, a modern-day labyrinth always reveals itself in entirety. It has no dead-ends, and is not meant to puzzle those who walk it. A labyrinth offers it's travelers a parallel inner journey, making it a potent spiritual tool and practice for personal and psychological healing. 


Benefits of Labyrinth Meditation


Even if you are not in a state of grief, there are many benefits to working with a labyrinth. Labyrinths not only provide a place to clear the mind, reduce stress, and find peace and wellbeing, a labyrinth meditation can also induce a trance-like state, allowing for access to the deep subconscious mind. New awareness and epiphanies may come up for examination, healing, integration, and release. Labyrinth meditations can also improve intuition and assist with inner self-reflection and transformation. Labyrinths for those experiencing grief can become a safe place to work through emotions without using words, specific thoughts, or mantras. Labyrinths naturally summon themes of balance, subconscious life, and cycles that can gently guide a person through some of their feelings associated with grief. 


Ways to Work with Labyrinths and How to Find Them


You may enter a labyrinth on foot in person, or from home by imagining it in your mind's eye. Before you enter, choose an intention or mood you want to explore.


Maybe you want to reach clarity in imagining your life without the lost person, object, or ability. Perhaps you want to work with un-knotting the anxiety you’ve been experiencing in your body. Or you might want to gain more comfort with the unknown. The labyrinth is a safe place for shadow work, where you can take things to the center for healing, and then proceed back the outside world.  


Stand at the entrance. Get grounded. Pause. Open all your senses. Feel the sky above and the earth below. Observe the sounds. Deepen your breathing. Quiet the mind. Pray. Sing. Be present. Walk with purpose. Observe yourself. When reaching the center, pause again. Stay in the moment as you retrace your way back to the entrance. After you’re done, reflect on your experience with creativity by journaling or doodling to get the most out of the experience. 


While it’s wonderful if you are able to go outside and walk a labyrinth, there are other beneficial ways to work with them.


  • Meditate on the patterns found within labyrinths by gazing at a labyrinth drawing or picture you like.


  • Close your eyes. Use your imagination to see and feel yourself walking a labyrinth.


  • Find a labyrinth image that resonates with you, print it out and hang it in your home. 


  • Draw a labyrinth.


  • Buy an adult labyrinth coloring book, and get creative. 


  • Build your own labyrinth in your yard. A small labyrinth is just as beneficial as a large one.


If you would like to visit or walk a labyrinth, more often than not, you can find one local to you. I have found this website especially helpful in navigating where to find the closest labyrinth, how to access it, and its opening times and schedules.


You may wish to walk a labyrinth alone, or with others. There is power in group labyrinth experiences, but ultimately it is a journey one must make on their own. Labyrinths give us a way to travel to the heart of the sacred, allowing for deep healing, growth and self-transformation.