Walking the Labyrinth
Rev. Lori Pistor explains the intricacies of walking the labyrinth in this week’s Lenten Series. She describes how engaging in this discipline “allows one’s breath to follow the Spirit.” Listen to her as she describes how this practice can clear chaotic thoughts and help one to be grounded in God’s presence: https://youtu.be/0i-kDJtLv2Y.
Preparing for the Practice:
Walking the labyrinth helps us become attentive to God’s presence and guidance in our lives. Walking the labyrinth can be a form of personal meditation and devotion where we can practice being in the presence of God. The labyrinth engages body, mind, and soul. Saint Augustine is often quoted as having said, “It is solved by walking.” We all know a walk can help to clear our head and help us focus on God. The labyrinth, as a spiritual practice, can do that as well. Donna Schaper, who has written extensively about the labyrinth says, “In walking the labyrinth we link body and soul; we simultaneously have a physical and spiritual experience. We make metaphors work for us. The journey is one foot after another…” She continues, “Walking the labyrinth is not about escaping into the center and leaving the world, it is about experiencing the Spirit in the center so that you can live in the world in a more blessed way.”
Engaging the Practice:
There is no right way to walk a labyrinth. You are free to devise your own process. Your only assignment is to enter and follow the path. Your walk may encompass a variety of attitudes. Many people find it helpful to prepare for their walk by sitting or standing quietly for a few moments and:
- Let go of the cares of the day
- Breathe deeply and consider the simple miracle of breath
- Allow yourself to receive the gift of this time in the midst of your day
As you walk, let yourself be a holy wanderer. Repeat a word, phrase, or verse over and over. Ask for help through prayer. Carry something in your mind that you’d like to let go of; and when you reach the center, take time to leave it there. Then, savor your return walk in freedom from the burden. Stay as long as you would like. On the walk out, take in God as you are empowered to move back into the world.
As you walk, you may meet other people also walking the labyrinth. Simply step off the path, go around and continue your walk. Take your time and stop where you would like; no one is in a hurry.
Take a few moments in silence after the walk. If possible, journal and reflect on your journey. Prayerfully put on your shoes and ask God to walk with you as you leave and go about regular life once again.