This time of year, with its dark days and long nights, invites silent acts of contemplation. Meditative activities can be especially illuminating during the long, dark days of winter. Some people are drawn to sitting meditation; while others resonate more with walking meditation. Walking the labyrinth is one way to induce a contemplative state. Walking the labyrinth is symbolic of walking the spiritual path; our personal journey of illumination. There is no right way to walk the labyrinth; just as in life, you only have to enter and follow the path set before you. There are three stages to walking the labyrinth:

1) Releasing- as you enter the labyrinth and make your way along the path, release all of your concerns and worries, focusing on what is true in the present moment, always coming back to yourself;

2) Receiving- as you reach the center, there is illumination, clarity, and insight;

3) Integrating- as you make your way out of the labyrinth, you go through a process of integration, bringing in energy to manifest your insights into a new reality.

As you walk the labyrinth, you can use hand positions, or mudras, to make the symbolism even more meaningful. As you enter the labyrinth and walk toward the center, hold your hands in a "palms down" position, making the intention to release all that no longer serves you. When you reach the center, pause and hold your hands "palms up" in a gesture of receptivity to the insights you are receiving. As you walk out of the labyrinth, keep your palms up in order to receive strength and guidance on your journey, and for help in making your insights manifest in the world. As you leave the labyrinth, turn to fact the center and bring your" palms together", giving gratitude for the gift of spirit in your life.

After walking the labyrinth, journaling is a good way to reflect back on your experiences and capture the insights you received on your spiritual journey.

Author's Bio: 

Mary Riposo received her PhD in Child and Family Studies from Syracuse University. She is a NY State Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified School Psychologist. Mary has also completed training in a variety of healing modalities; she is an Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, Polarity Therapist, Soul Realignment Practitioner, and Divinely Guided Life Coach. She owns and runs the Center for Integrated Energy Healing, which offers energy healing sessions, transpersonal counseling, intuitive readings, intuitive development training, and Reiki certification classes. She has written a book, "Using Reiki with Children: A Guide for Parents and Professionals," which is available through her website. For more information, go to