Quiet your mind and calm your soul.
Why walk the labyrinth?
Many walk the labyrinth to listen to the spirit of God to guide their lives and to focus on the physical act of walking a set path that requires our attention. In the walking, distractions fall away and the mind is put to rest so that the Holy Spirit can lead the prayer for the labyrinth walker. The labyrinth is a path of prayer, meditation, introspection, and healing. It is a tool for centering prayer and for centering on Christ.
How to walk the labyrinth
There is no wrong way to walk, pause, or pray in the labyrinth. There is one path into the center and the return is through that same path. This walk is a symbol and metaphor for our daily walk in life — for situations that challenge us — for our daily walk with Christ. The circular path inward cleanses and quiets us as it leads us in. The unwinding path integrates and empowers us on our walk back to the world. Walking out of the winding path, we are literally ushered back out into the world in a strengthened condition, with Christ as our fellow sojourner.
Clear your mind. You may find it helpful to become aware of the rhythm of your breathing. Make an intention for your walk such as prayer, meditation, or growing closer to Christ. As you walk, allow yourself to find the pace your body wants to go. Most people walk slowly. You may “pass” people or let others step around you. Be open to the gentle guiding of the Spirit. You are in prayer. Take the space you need to hear God speak to you. Take time in the center. You may choose to sit, stand, or kneel. On your way out, keep your own pace, there is no need to hurry. When you have finished, take a few minutes to reflect on your walk. You may want to write down some of your reflections or share your experience with others.
The stages of the walk flow into three parts. The walk into the labyrinth is a time to let go of the details of life and clear the mind. When you reach the center; this is a time to listen, accept, and receive guidance and peace. The walk out is a time to integrate what you have received and to be nourished to return back out into the world. Pause as you exit and thank God for his presence with you on the Labyrinth. The experience of walking the labyrinth is truly your own, an experience between you and Jesus.
History of the Labyrinth
The labyrinth is a tool of meditation that has been used for centuries. In the Christian tradition, the first labyrinths were found in the Gothic cathedrals of Europe, and were symbolic paths where the sacred pilgrimage to the Holy Land could be made closer to home. There are hundreds of public labyrinths in the United States. They can be found in churches, hospitals, parks, prisons, schools, and in many private settings.
This information provided by Trinity Episcopal Church Labyrinth Ministries
(A Christian Ministry of Trinity Episcopal Church)
Butler County Times Gazette article on Oct. 23, 2020:
About 10 years ago Trinity Episcopal Church in El Dorado created a garden and a labyrinth on the church grounds — a place open to anyone wanting to use it.
A labyrinth painted on concrete, it is something that gets used. This month the church re-dedicated the area after refurbishing it.
“Over the period of time, 24/7, it needed to be refurbished. That is what we have done, and it is really nice. It now looks more or less brand new,” said Gail Ellert, who helped with the project.
The labyrinth can be used for grieving loss, contemplating personal struggles, coping with change, a place for quiet reflection or other uses. According to Jeff Saward with http://www.labyrinthbuilders.co.uk/ , labyrinths can be traced back over 4000 years and are found worldwide in a number of different forms.
“During the medieval period the labyrinth symbol developed into a more intricate form, reflecting the complexities of faith, life and philosophy in the medieval mind,” Seward wrote. “Occurring first in manuscripts, it was subsequently laid in colored marble and tiles on the floors of cathedrals and churches, most famously at Chartres Cathedral, where the labyrinth constructed in the early 13th century survives to this day, and indeed, has become an object of pilgrimage for modern visitors.”
The church has a one-page description of the labyrinth — with a small map if one needs it — to assist those who wish to use it.
“This was developed to understand what a labyrinth is for,” Ellet said.
According to the flyer created by the church, there is no wrong way to “wal, crawl, run, sit, pause, pray or play in the labyrinth.” The labyrinth has only one path to the center, and the return to the outer circle or entrance is along the same path.
“The walk is a symbol and a metaphor for our daly walk in life for the situations that challenge us,” the church flyer reads. “The circular path inward cleanses and quiets us and it leads us in. The unwinding path integrates and empowers us on our walk back out.“
Each walk of the labyrinth path happens in three stages — a walk in to clear the mind, reaching the center to listen for guidance, and a walk out to consider what has been learned.