prepared for an October 2013 mini-conference on the usage of a Labyrinth for the WV Annual Conference United Methodist Church.
WV Conference UMC Spiritual Formation
October 25-26, 2013
(c) October 25, 2013 Monty Brown
THIS IS A MAZE
In a Maze, you have to figure out the right way to go
or you will be lost or at a dead end.
That is not a labyrinth.
THIS IS A LABYRINTH
In a labyrinth, there is only one way to go.
You do not risk getting lost or at a dead end.
A labyrinth is not a maze.
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR WALKING LABYRINTH
- Focus: Pause and wait at the entrance. Become quiet and centered. Give acknowledgment through a bow, nod, or other gesture and then enter.
- Experience: Walk purposefully. Observe the process. When you reach the center, stay there and focus several moments. Leave when it seems appropriate. Be attentive on the way out.
- Exit: Turn and face the entrance. Give an acknowledgement of ending, such as “Amen.”
- Reflect: After walking the labyrinth reflect back on your experience. Use journaling or drawing to capture your experience.
- Walk often.
On the following pages are several short Meditation Guides. These have arisen from workings of the Spirit for folks who have prayer-walked the Labyrinth at Saint Marks United Methodist Church, in Charleston, WV. These are only suggestive, and, indeed, it is anticipated that many people will have a better Labyrinth Prayer Experience, without usage of any of these Meditation Starters.
If you would like to share a response of yours to a Labyrinth Prayer Experience, I invite you to send it to SheepdogfortheShepherd@gmail.com
This little booklet was prepared for the participants of the October 25-26, 2013 WC AC Spiritual Formation Labyrinth Retreat. All of the contents herein are copyright 2007, 2008, 2013, Monty Brown.
Suggested Checklist for your walk of the labyrinth:
- I felt _________________________________________________ when I began.
- I felt _________________________________________________ when I finished.
- I walked the labyrinth alone [__] or in the company of others [__]. What difference did that make? _____________________________________________________
- Something different about the surface of the labyrinth I noticed this time was _________________________________________________________________.
- Something different I noticed about the environment about the labyrinth this time was _____________________________________________________________.
- “Thoughts” that occurred to me while walking the labyrinth this time: _________________________________________________________________
- “Feelings” that I noticed while on the labyrinth this time: _________________________________________________________________
- An idea that interrupted me while on the labyrinth that I did not follow up, but would like to explore later: _________________________________________________________________
- Something that I would like to share with someone else (in particular or in general) from the labyrinth experience this time is: _________________________________________________________________
- If “nothing” happened to you while making this labyrinth journey, what did that “nothing” mean? _________________________________________________________________
- Which of the above questions were never considered by me on this particular labyrinth journey? Why is that? What difference does it make to me to realize that now? ____________________________________________________________
39 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect. Hebrews 11:39-40
Not counting the hands, minds, and hearts that prepared the plans and cut the stones and assembled these Labyrinth pieces before they were shipped to this location, more than 40 pairs of hands worked in putting together this Labyrinth in this place.
They stand in succession to the host of folks who have put together, walked, prayed, and meditated on this form of Labyrinth through the centuries.
Each of these stones was lovingly put into its place by someone who wanted it to be here for you in this moment … even though they did not know who you would be or when you would make this walk.
As you feel through your feet the unique placement of each stone beside the one next to it, think upon your unique and special place in God’s heart.
As you have your unique experience on this walk, consider how you stand in a long line of succession with longing spirits that stretch back over centuries.
You are a unique beloved child of God, precious and beautiful to behold, and you are not alone, but part of a great cloud of witnesses who are cheering you on so that the work begun in them may become complete in you … in this moment and throughout your life.
What does this mean? Begin your walk thinking on these things, and let your spirit go from there as it will.
26Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. The Spirit does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. 27The Spirit knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. Romans 8:26-27
It’s hardest to pray when we don’t know where to begin.
Sometimes, that’s because the pain or uncertainty in our life just leaves us empty.
Sometimes, the emptiness of what fills our life is too painful.
Sometimes, the whirlwind of voices clamoring around inside us make such a ruckus we don’t know how to get a word in edgewise.
Sometimes, nothing that runs through us seems worthy of prayer.
Sometimes, we’re just too tired.
In your Labyrinth walk, don’t try to put words to your prayer. Just walk.
Don’t try to force what to think. Just walk.
Just walk. And pay attention. Pay attention to all of your five senses. And just wait. Allow the quiet to become pregnant, and allow nothing more than the sighs of the Spirit to fill up the emptiness.
Don’t try. Just allow. And if you think nothing at all is happening, then just dwell on that nothingness. And, remember: You are a beloved child of God, precious and beautiful to behold.
- Which way do I go? What’s my plan?
- How can I deal with all the different options?
- Where can I escape from all of these problems? How can I deal with all the contingencies?
- Race, run, sprint, O mind, full of questions and plans.
- Still, still, my soul, and know that you are not in charge, regardless of all of your plans.
- Be still, and know that I am God, says the psalmist (Psalm 46:10)
- Walk silently. Walk and feel the currents of the air around you. You cannot see it. Feel it on your face, in your hair, and in your lungs as you breathe in, breathe out.
- Walk. Pay attention. As the path turns and twists, know that there is certainty, even if you don’t know it. Allow it to happen.
- And know this for certain: you are a beloved child of God, precious and beautiful to behold.
O Lord, I am not proud; I have no haughty looks.
I do not occupy myself with great matters, or with things that are too hard for me.
But I still my soul and make it quiet, like a child upon its mother’s breast,
My soul is quieted within me.
O Israel, wait upon the Lord, from this time forth forevermore. Psalm 131
The Labyrinth is a simple thing.
Just one foot in front of the other; stay on the path.
I cannot get lost. I can see my destination at any given time.
And yet, in the simplicity, I am surprised.
It’s a powerful thing to simply travel – to not steer, nor map the course, nor plan what might happen.
Just letting it be. Just letting it happen.
It won’t be the same thing that happened last time, nor the next time.
Can I really allow God to work within me, by paying attention?
Can I simply wait, wait upon the Lord?
Oh, yes — I can just walk away from the path, leave behind this waste of time. That voice indeed tempts me; but do I dare ignore it and stay the course?
Can I really recover the still calm of a child upon my mother’s breast?
What might happen if I just let go of the great matters, and wait, wait upon the Lord?
1 O LORD, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. 3 You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. … 16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. 17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Psalm 139
- Think of the Center of the Labyrinth as being your present place in the time line of your life.
- Allow different seasons, events, and cycles of your life lived thus far to find expression in the various lines, arcs, segments of the Labyrinth.
- Allow the twists, turns, spatial relationships of the Labyrinth to speak to your heart about past events.
- Notice how the events of long past are now so very close, in the Labyrinth, to the recent events
- Arrive at the Center and realize the importance of “Now.” Realize the relationship “Now” shares with the Past you just walked and the Future on which you are about to embark.
- As you leave the Center to walk into the Future Unknown, feel its relationship to the Past. How are your feelings on the winding way out the same or different from your feelings in this same place on the way in?
- Don’t be reluctant to stop at any point and turn around to look, if you feel like it.
- As you near the end, or when you reach the end, allow the Center of the Labyrinth to represent the “Something” about which your life has revolved or evolved.
- In all places, pay careful attention to your feelings.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
12I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:4-7, 12-13
- . Imagine Jesus Christ is near, welcoming you.
- He is filling you with a feeling of warmth, of empowerment, of well-being.
- He beckons you to let go of your worries.
- He listens to you tell about the people and situations that have hurt you, and then takes those hurts from you.
- He invites you to share with Him a story of how someone shared love with you and made you feel important.
- Imagine and rest within this peaceful release and enveloping love.
1 O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. Psalms 63:1-8
Ezekiel 47:6-9, 11-12 6He said to me, “Mortal, have you seen this?” Then he led me back along the bank of the river. 7As I came back, I saw on the bank of the river a great many trees on the one side and on the other. 8He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the sea, the sea of stagnant waters, the water will become fresh. 9Wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish, once these waters reach there. It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes. 11But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. 12On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”
Psalm 46:1-4 1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; 3though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
Psalm 1:1-4 1 Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; 2 but their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law they meditate day and night. 3 They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
Revelation 22:1-2 1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT
Meditate on the path you follow in the Labyrinth, as a river. Feel the water that cures all brackishness, that provides healing, that makes glad the City of God. Flow with it, wherever it takes you.
1After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
17And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.”
23From there [Isaac] went up to Beer-sheba. 24And that very night the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you and make your offspring numerous for my servant Abraham’s sake.”
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
30The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. … 38Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
DO NOT BE AFRAID
It’s the same, same story, from the beginning, throughout the Bible, until the end. God does not want us to be afraid. What are your fears? As you walk the Labyrinth, consider how God has dealt with your previous fears … in surprising ways you did not anticipate. Of what are you afraid now? What holds you back from accepting God’s promise: Do not be afraid.
WHATEVER HAPPENS IN THE LABYRINTH ….
If you find that “NOTHING” is happening, ask yourself what that “NOTHING” is.
Once, it seemed that nothing was happening for me as I walked the Labyrinth. I was tense and tight, and just walking: one foot in front of the other. But nothing was happening.
As I drew near to the center, I asked myself, “So what is the ‘nothing’?“
It took me a bit until I realized that that “nothing” really was something, and that something was anger … anger with someone whom I thought had let me down.
I had unconsciously been nursing that emotion during my whole time walking, and had not left room for anything else to happen. “Nothing happening“ really was something indeed.
The words of Psalm 30 came to me.
2 O Lord, my God, I cried to You for help and You have healed me. 3 O Lord, You brought up my soul from the Pit of Sheol
(“Sheol” was, in the Jewish mind at the time of the Psalter, a watery grave sort of Pit, to which the dead, and the “as good as dead” went. There was no return. It was a dead end.)
All the way in to the center of the Labyrinth, there seemed to be no end to my smoldering anger.
All the way out, from the center of the Labyrinth,
I allowed God to hear my cry,
and to heal me.
By the time I walked out of the Labyrinth,
I had been lifted up from the Pit.
The “NOTHING,” was something …
something I needed to face, and needed to surrender to God.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
Friend, I have lost the way.
The way leads on.
Is there another way?
The way is one.
I must retrace the track.
It’s lost and gone.
Back, I must travel back!
None goes there, none.
Then I’ll make here my place,
(The road leads on),
Stand still and set my face,
(The road leaps on),
Stay here, for ever stay.
None stays here, none.
I cannot find the way.
The way leads on.
Oh places I have passed!
That journey’s done.
And what will come at last?
The road leads on.
Edwin Muir ~
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, …. Hebrews 12:1-2a
I first met Cliff a few years ago. He is a United Methodist pastor, whose father is Native American, of the Cherokee nation. Cliff spent a lot of his childhood with his Cherokee grandparents. He told me a story about a most important event of that childhood.
One night, his Cherokee grandfather took him out into the Okefenofee swamp in the middle of a dark night, (where there are alligators, poisonous snakes and many other unfriendly parts of creation.) It was a cloudy night – neither the moon nor a single star’s light pierced the shroud of blackness all around. Cliff’s grandfather sat him down next to a tree, and shoved a large Bowie knife in the ground between his legs – “for his protection.” Then his grandfather turned and left – left him alone.
Cliff told me that he was afraid to move, too afraid even to stand up to go to the bathroom. He stayed awake, terrified all night long. He wasn’t ashamed to admit the time he spent that night crying. The next morning, at sunrise, he saw his grandfather sitting just 25 yards away. His grandfather then told him:
Remember, wherever you go, and whatever you confront in your life, God and the Tribe are never more than 25 yards away from you.
As you walk the Labyrinth, make your turns and turn your walking so that you always keep an eye on the center octagonal stone. As you walk, remember: Wherever you go, and whatever you confront in your life, God and the Tribe [“so great a cloud of witnesses”] are never more than 25 yards away from you. Keep your eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Know what is in front of your face, and that which is hidden from you will be revealed unto you. Gospel of Thomas (Sayings) 5:1
W. Paul Jones writes in his book, Trumpet at Full Moon: An Introduction to Christian Spirituality As Diverse Practice, about a time he was given a Trappist drinking mug. He explained that the mug has two handles, and is meant for holding with two hands while drinking with one’s eyes closed, so that one is not tempted to do something else while drinking. While drinking, you are supposed to just drink. Drink and pay attention.
Multi-tasking is one of the great friends of efficiency in our post-modern world.
Multi-tasking is one of the great enemies of the paying attention required for spirituality of almost every kind and shape.
I saw an ant while I was walking the Labyrinth. I stopped and paid attention to her. She went back and forth, round and round, all on one stone. It was like she was walking her own Labyrinth – all on one stone.
I don’t know if she paid attention to me, but I did to her.
I wondered if she was able to have any notion of the movement of the molecular particles inside her, in near Labyrinthine fashion (as quantum physics teaches and, in so doing, bursts the bubble of my seventh grade science class teaching.)
And I wondered if some telescope on an extra-terrestial body trained down on this spot would see me, and wonder if I had the capacity to understand what I was doing walking back and forth, round and round, all on one circle.
I stopped and closed my eyes, and drank in this moment. There was much more here than I had realized.
I breathed in. I breathed out. I breathed in. I breathed out. And then I walked. I continued to breathe in and breathe out, as I walked. I hadn’t noticed that before, either.
You can do this Meditation walking the Labyrinth shod-foot, but it works even better barefoot.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence does my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber. 4 He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
8 The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore. Psalm 121
God is present with every single foot movement. (As Psalm 139 says, God hems us in, before and behind; no footstep goes without notice or accompaniment. Or think of that poem Footprints.)
God will keep our going out and our coming in – right now, yesterday, tomorrow, always.
As you prepare to walk the Labyrinth, realize that you place one foot in front of the other, again, again, and again – like in life, each day, after day.
As you prepare to walk the Labyrinth, realize that you are going out (toward the center) and coming in (back from “the center” into your daily life.)
You are moving to the center of your being (where God is); there to touch, to be touched, and to return to your daily life. As your return be assured that you are carrying the touch of God, so to remind you that no place can you go without this Life Partner, even unto eternity.
- What does that mean?
- How does that feel?
- What difference does it make?
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus Philippians 2:5
Lo, I am with you always … Matthew 28:20
One day when both the weather and the time of day were just right, the Labyrinth was split down the middle between sunlit and shadowed. The path did not stay in the sunlit area for the first half of the walk in, and then go to the shadowed side for the second half. Instead, I was on one side for a little bit, and then over to the other, and then back. Back and forth, like the rocking of gentle waves.
It seemed like I was in the sunlight until the heat was almost oppressive, and then I was given the relief of the shadow. But, being the season that it was, it soon became uncomfortably cool. And then I would be back on the other side, basking in the warmth of the sun.
The concept of “Yin and Yang” (pictured above) is often associated with eastern religions. It is often divorced from Christianity, since orthodox Christianity believes that neither Creation nor Life is a constant struggle between forces of evil and forces of good. However, the drawing of Yin and Yang does remind us that Life gets lived out in ebbs and flows, in seasons and rhythms.
We post-modern people have tried our hardest to equalize as many variables as we can in life, so there are no longer “seasons” but a “comfortable sameness” all the time (e.g. heat, air condition, etc.)
Two words prove my point: Strawberries. Watermelons. No longer do we have to wait until their seasons roll around. Our affluence makes them available 365 days per year. Our attempts to tame, equalize, and eliminate waiting, have not been healthy for our spiritual development.
We have come to expect instant satisfaction. And when Life doesn’t play that game, we complain that God is unfair. We complain instead of look for seasons of growth.
I learned from the Labyrinth that life is designed for balance between the seasons and rhythms. God does not like insipid sameness. It is in the “other seasons” when we often learn the most.
We are called to have the same mind as was in Christ. But with that challenge, comes the promise of the other side of the coin, as well: the companionship of Jesus’ Presence. Also, with the Promise of Jesus’ Friendship comes the obligation: we can’t insist on remaining the same.
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord, oh my soul! I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Put not your trust in rulers nor in any child of earth, for there is no help in them. When they breathe their last, they return to earth, and in that day their thoughts perish. Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help! Whose hope is in the Lord their God. Psalm 146
One of my better devotional disciplines occurs in the shower. As I wash each part of my body, I pause to consider how that body part was designed to work, and how it does work. I have been blessed with good health, and I give thanks as I wash each part of my body – thanks for its creation and thanks for its present working condition.
It keeps me mindful of the ordinary splendor of creation, and my obligation of thanksgiving.
But, I also need to remember: right now, I am merely temporarily abled. This is a passing phenomenon. Soon, and certainly, I will lay this body down. And, on that day, as Psalm 146 reminds me, even the workings of my organic brain will cease. My body will no longer be abled.
I have a good friend who is mostly confined to a wheel chair. She tells me how her relationship with God has been blessed by this. I am slowly coming to understand. In my better moments, I realize that all the works of my physical body are fleeting. Unless I have nurtured that which will survive the grave, then my eternity will be diminished.
I walk the labyrinth, putting one foot in front of the other, paying attention. I make the turns and switchbacks. I give thanks for the gifts of this moment, but am reminded of their fleeting nature. May I use these gifts to enhance that which will survive. Or, as missionary martyr Jim Elliott said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, in order to gain what he cannot lose.”
The Affirmation of Faith 1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
The Ministry Action Plan 4 One thing I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.
The Labyrinth Practice 11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path
The Proof is in the Pudding 13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! Psalm 27
The Affirmation of Faith This is what I was taught to believe. But sometimes, as the storms of life are raging, I confess: Lord I believe; help my unbelief.
The Ministry Action Plan This is the way that we make the affirmation of faith the realization of faith – we work with the Lord. It is when we live out that tension between Grace and Works. It is when we seek after that which God alone can give.
It’s not a hard task. It just takes diligence.
Brother Lawrence called it, Practicing the Presence of God.
In the Labyrinth, we can practice this single-minded intention to behold the beauty of the Lord in every circumstance. We practice this by simply keeping our gaze upon the CENTER STONE. As each step is made, as each turn is negotiated, keep your gaze upon the center stone. But, how can we keep our eye on the path before us? Practice. Innocent as a dove, wise as a serpent.
The Labyrinth Practice I practice in the Labyrinth on the level path in order to keep my gaze upon the Beauty of the Lord in every up and down of daily life.
The Proof is in the Pudding Indeed, practice. Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! And, indeed, as we set our minds and practice on that which only God can give, we will surely in this life experience the Kingdom of God. And, as co-heir to that Kingdom I remember: I am a beloved child of God, precious and beautiful to behold.
29 God gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. 30 Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; 31 but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40
I noticed something about the stones set in most of the turns in the Labyrinth. The darker, dividing stones remind me of an hourglass.
The hourglass is an icon that many folks are used to seeing on our computers today– we see it turning, turning, turning, while we have to wait for the computer program to work. While the spinning hourglass is on the computer screen, something is happening in the background that we cannot see.
In life, there are turns and switchbacks and obstacles, which can be painful, frustrating, and wearisome. We don’t like waiting; we don’t like not being in control. We don’t like setbacks. We dislike things not proceeding according to our plan, and not at our anticipated speed.
Ann Lamott suggests that when these distress times happen in our lives, it is because God is doing something really significant in the background. And in the meanwhile, God gives us stressful thing to keep us occupied, so we will not jump in to and mess up what God is doing, because it doesn’t fit into our perception of what we want to happen … right now.
That may or may not be accurate, or may or not be accurate some of the time. But it does seem clear that when I allow God to be at work beyond my vision, and in ways that I won’t know about until somewhere down the road, then that faith in God allows me to wait in those times, and to gain strength – as opposed to dissipating it through worry. I need to remember that all things really do work for good, so long as I am called according to God’s purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Walking the Labyrinth has been a spiritual discipline, since days of antiquity and throughout the world. Not to be confused with a “MAZE,” one can never get lost in a Labyrinth. Just staying on the path will wind around and around, and back and forth, and always end up at the center, and then the path is repeated from the center back out.
It moves inward and outward, like the relationship between meditation/contemplation and service. It is a timeline for your whole life; it is metaphor for the sacred and secular. One can travel inward toward their own center, or inward toward God.
There is no “right way” nor “wrong way” to walk a labyrinth.
Just enter, as marked in the drawing above, follow the path to the center, and then retrace your steps along the path to the exit. It takes (on average) approximately 15-25 minutes to walk it (if alone.)
Your walk can encompass a variety of attitudes. It may be joyous or somber. It might be thoughtful or prayerful. You may use it as a walking meditation. Adults are often serious in the labyrinth. Children most often run in and out as fast as they can in a playful manner.
When you walk a labyrinth choose your attitude. From time to time choose a different attitude. Make it serious, prayerful, or playful. Or don’t “make it” anything, but just happen. Play music or sing. Pray out loud. Walk alone and with a crowd. (When more than one person is walking, please shape your conduct to respect their “walk” experience.) Notice the sky. Listen to the sounds. Most of all, pay attention to your experience.