Maze or Labyrinth?
Posted in Opening Doors to Discipleship
Is your life more like a maze or a labyrinth? A maze has many paths, requiring you to make choices about which ones to follow. Some paths take you to dead ends or detours, resulting in lost time, lost money, or missed opportunities. To live life as a labyrinth means reevaluating your identity and applying a new context to your life. In a labyrinth lifestyle, all paths are part of God’s design and will lead you to fulfillment of God’s purpose.
A labyrinth is an ancient design that has been used for hundreds of years within the Christian tradition. Many cathedrals in Europe designed labyrinths and had them grooved into walls as finger paths. Some created labyrinths using colored floor tiles. In the Middle Ages, wealthy people went on crusades and pilgrimages to the Holy Land, which added spiritual energy to the Church. Farmers, women, and people who were poor also wanted to make such a pilgrimage, but could not afford to do so. Thus the church began to create places, like a labyrinth, to represent a spiritual journey. The labyrinth is a walking tool for prayer. It is a way of seeking the presence of God, opening up to what God will bring to you during the journey into and out of the path.
As you approach the labyrinth walk, consciously slow your breathing and clear your mind. You are beginning an inner walk of the heart. Perhaps you are hoping for a definite experience of God amid the hustle and bustle of life. Perhaps you bring a burden or a joy, or seek clarity about an issue. The journey may be tearful or joyful. Bring to the center either a gift to God or a surrendering to God. Stay in the center as long as you wish. Feel God’s peace, love, and blessings in your journey. Draw close to God, touch God. God will touch you, trusting in the unspoken. Take time at the end to remain in reflection and stillness at the fringes of the labyrinth. Are you different after the walk? Consider how you can be different in the world with God walking beside you.
I have had the privilege of walking many labyrinths in my spiritual journey. Each time I am amazed at what God says to me through the experience. It has become a spiritual discipline that I will not forget and has touched my life so many times. This discipline can be done with all ages or intergenerationally, with groups or as an individual, as a retreat program. The possibilities are endless. Look around your community or neighborhood for a labyrinth. Take a few moments to walk and reflect on your experience. Remember to give thanks for where your walk has brought you.
Resources to use with labyrinth:
Living The Labyrinth: 101 Paths to a Deeper Connection With The Sacred. Jill Kimberly Hartwell Geoffrion. Pilgrim Press. 2000
Praying The Labyrinth: A Journal for Spiritual Exploration. Jill Kimberly Hartwell Geoffrion. Pilgrim Press. 1999
Walking A Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Practice. Lauren Artress. Riverhead Books. 2006
The Sacred Path Companion: A Guide To Walking The Labyrinth to Heal and Transform. Lauren Artress. Riverhead Books. 2006
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