The labyrinth can seem mysterious and "other world" like, and because of this many have not allowed themselves a proper understanding of its spiritual benefits. I have found that a prayerful labyrinth walk can bring about peace and the unspeakable blessing of feeling the ever present presence of God.
For the Christian, the labyrinth represents ones walk towards their personal center, which is Christ. The As a labyrinth winds around the sometimes uneven ground one is walking on, some walkers might slow another walker down or pass them altogether. Such experiences are indicative of life in general.
Then, coming to the center and staying a while to simply "be" there is, for some, representative of being in the center of God's will. To leave that spot and complete the walk is to continue life's journey after having had the glorious revelation of God's ever abiding presence and love.
My first labyrinth experience was a time of apprehension as I approached it with some hesitancy. I ended my walk feeling spiritually renewed, refreshed and revived!
I have even learned some basic steps along the way for offering labyrinth events to groups. These steps should help to ensure a positive spiritual experience to anyone's labyrinth encounter.
PREPARING A LABYRINTH EXPERIENCE FOR A GROUP
~ Locate a labyrinth that can be reserved for your group. This may be a permanent outdoor labyrinth, or a portable inside labyrinth.
~ Make sure the labyrinth path is clear of all debris, particularly if it is to be an evening event.
~ If the labyrinth is normally open to the public, make a sign showing the labyrinth has reserved.
AN EVENING LABYRINTH PRAYER WALK
~ CANDLES ~ I have been privileged to participate in several evening candle-light labyrinth walks. The meditative nature of a labyrinth walk is beautiful enough, but when candles are added, or flickering torch lights, and the experience takes on an almost surreal atmosphere conducive to nurturing the soul.
~ MUSIC ~ If possible, secure a musician, or group of musicians, who are familiar with the music for quiet meditation. No words ... just music. Let the Holy Spirit speak the words to the heart of the pilgrim on the labyrinth' s journey.
If you know someone familiar with Tazai music, this would be wonderful.
~ Hand out written guides explaining a the history of the labyrinth, and encouraging the pilgrim to feel the freedom of a child to skip, kneel, or simply walk and pray as they wind their way towards the center and back out again. (Check out my book, "Contemplative by Design," chapter 11 - at Upperroom.org, Amazon.com, or ask your local book store.)
NOT FOR EVERYONE
~ While walking the labyrinth is not for everyone, if one will give it a try as I did, it just might be quite meaningful and revealing. While it is certainly not meant to take the place of other forms of praying, sometimes praying in a new and unique way captures our heart in ways that repetitious praying no longer does.
It is my hope is that this article will dispel some myths and concerns, especially for my fellow Christian brothers and sisters, even though some will never step foot on a labyrinth even after reading this article. But keep in mind that, like so many other things in life, the kind of experience one will have walking the labyrinth will depend largely upon whether one uses it for evil, or to the glory of God!
Praying the Labyrinth is a wonderful spiritual activity that can enhance ones prayer life in a brand new way.