Have you ever walked a labyrinth? Do you know what a labyrinth is? People often expect it to be a maze, but it is not. There is a clear route to the center and back out again. But the road inward is not a straight shot. There are many twists and turns. Labyrinths have been used for centuries by all kinds of religions. Christians have been known to use them as a form of prayer and introspection.
When I walk a labyrinth, I follow the path to the center, bringing my worries and concerns to the Lord. Sometimes I might focus on just one word on the way in and sometimes I am quiet and open. Once I reach the center, I see it as a figurative way to meet God and I spend a few moments there. As I take the path out, I feel refreshed with the assurance of him by my side.
I have discovered it to be a profound experience.
The most popular design for labyrinths where I live is the Chartres Labyrinth. It’s based on the labyrinth that was inlaid into the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France in 1201 A.D. Scores of people have visited the Notre Dame cathedral to walk it.
I have found labyrinths in a variety of places…in church basements, on church grounds, randomly in the woods and at big outlet malls.
I enjoy them so much I bought a finger labyrinth. Like the name implies you ‘walk it’ with your finger instead of your feet. It too is a peaceful form of meditative prayer.
The first time I walked a labyrinth I was overwhelmed by the effect it had on me. The twists and turn on the way in reminded me that even though I sometimes feel far from God, he is still right there in the center of it all. I only have to look to see him, but sometimes my eyes focus on the path right in front of me so intensely that I forget there is more. The labyrinth is an opportunity to slow down and see things in a new way. A chance to see God in a new way. An opportunity to see myself or situations in a new way.
It can be hard to slow down. To take a deep breath. But a labyrinth affords you the chance to do so. When you are on the path, despite it’s twists and turns, you can trust that even if you think you’ve lost your way, the road will lead you to God. And in walking the path you are reminded that even while God is at the center of everything, he is also walking right along side of you.