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Walking the labyrinth as a spiritual practice

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For those unfamiliar with labyrinths, they are ancient tools for prayer and meditation, with an outer entrance, a winding path, and a central space. A labyrinth is not the same as a maze and you cannot get lost in a labyrinth as there are no dead ends. Full-size labyrinths are located both outside and inside buildings and can be constructed of a variety of materials. The Chartres Cathedral labyrinth is set into the stone floor and fills the width of the nave. Simpler labyrinths can be constructed with stones or even duct tape.

There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth and it’s hard to describe the experience to someone who has never done it. You may find that it’s best to spend time in reflection before you begin, taking some deep breaths and perhaps inviting the Holy Spirit to be with you. Then you walk the labyrinth at whatever pace is comfortable for you, and you may pause along the path. Once in the center, stop and be aware of God’s presence and listen for God’s message to you. When you are ready, begin your journey outward.

If you’d like to learn more, there are many great websites about labyrinths, including that of The Labyrinth Society. If you’re looking for a labyrinth in your area, you can visit the World-Wide Labyrinth Locater. You can purchase a labyrinth online or find directions to make your own. Relax4Life has a page with paper finger labyrinths that you can download. Labyrinths are not just for adults; children and youth enjoy this spiritual practice as well.

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