My first labyrinth and spiritual road trip all in one! This spiritual trip to Los Angeles included a visit to the Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens to attend a workshop and walking mediation. I didn’t know what a labyrinth was, but I’m on a mission to check out all spiritual places. The words ‘walking meditation’ were enough to draw me in. They were offering a two hour workshop called ‘Experience the Labyrinth’ for a $10 donation. “Come and learn how to make this work for you.” Bingo, that’s one of my goals, what do you know! They offer a lot of these workshops, click here for their list of events.
What is a labyrinth? Is it a religious thing?
The Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens is a non-denominational church founded by John-Rogers with an aim at spiritual awakening and inner peace. In this workshop we learned all about the design and reasoning behind a labyrinth. Sometimes confused as a maze, labyrinths have been used for hundreds of years in different cultures for receiving and connecting with the divine. You can use the word god, source, higher self, divine. The labyrinth design is high energy and it is important to set an intention before walking. Mine was simple… I wanted to surrender, I wanted to feel my higher self, universe, source, god. I learned that the word god makes me uncomfortable because of the stigma I attached to it. The design also resembles the human brain and is said to help us unwind some anxious thoughts and get to the bottom of some issues we intend to.
Preparation for walking meditation
They gave a nice history lesson of about the temple and labyrinths. They had warned us multiple times to pay attention to the path so we didn’t miss a turn and step over one of the boundary lines. At least I was able to be in the moment for that. I felt worried my mind would wander and I would not get the experience I wanted. That was looking at what I don’t want instead of looking at what I do want – that’s resistance. There are no right or wrong answers or experiences here. Other then being silent, there were no rules; we were allowed to walk around someone if we wanted to, or go at any speed.
I gave myself some compassion and had faith that whatever was going to happen in my mind was my answer. This helped me accept myself. Any thought that came to mind was welcome and the thoughts mainly consisted of worry. Exactly what I expected. Still, I paid close attention and had love for myself.
Walking through the labyrinth
Worried about getting too close to the man in front, I slowed down. I didn’t want to make him feel rushed. He should enjoy his time. Worried about going too slow and letting the woman behind catch up, I sped up. I didn’t want her to wait. She should enjoy her time.
I stayed on the path the whole time and I noticed a few people stepped out and made wrong turns. Then I realized a wrong turn isn’t a bad, it’s suppose to be a lesson. I was happy I was the second person because I had a little time to go visit the meditation garden. With nice water features and plant life to enjoy, I tried to decompress. I was frustrated thinking I didn’t get the experience I wanted, so I knew I needed to chill there for a while to organize my thoughts into a message I could understand.
How I felt afterwards
When we got back inside people started to speak out loud about their experiences. I didn’t really want to share, I’m not normally that type. I had a feeling that I was going to be sharing anyways. Many of the people raised their hands to share what they felt and thought, and it was so beautiful. A woman whose husband had died last year shared her story of hope and connecting with him, which made me emotional.
Sure enough, after most people had shared, the man leading the workshop called me out. I had told them I was on a spiritual journey to find my higher self and truth. My voice was shaky as I tried to speak . I told them how I was so worried about the people in from and behind me. It made me feel like I didn’t care enough about myself to enjoy my own experience. I realized I had no self worth. I started to cry so my description didn’t last long.
Messages from the labyrinth
I realized I didn’t love myself enough to enjoy my time and that I am so concerned with what other people think about me. What about my time and my experience? Didn’t that matter too? Yes it does, hello! No one was rushing, no one was waiting. This was all in my head. It showed me again that I need to be in the moment. I had such a hard time speaking out loud. Growing up, I have always had a difficult time speaking about emotions.
Again, for the third time this week, this brought me to my throat chakra. Because I am so full of embarrassment and shame that I can’t be myself most of the time. I felt lost like I haven’t known who I am in so long, but here I was, walking a labyrinth, trying to find my truth. It became clear what my blockage is, and this seemed to be a theme for the whole weekend. Ohh, universe, I hear you loud and clear, thank you.
The labyrinth was one of two temples I visited on my first trip, so here’s the link to the Lake Shrine temple if you want to see my experience there. Here is a meditation to help open the throat chakra if you find this is also a problem for you.