A labyrinth is an ancient symbol which represents our journey through life. The most famous labyrinth is the thirteenth-century labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral in France, which originated in the Middle Ages and served as a substitute for going on pilgrimage to Jerusalem when the Crusades prevented people from traveling there. Labyrinths have been widely used as tools for meditation and prayer. You can also use walking the labyrinth as a ritual to welcome someone into a group, say good-bye to someone who is moving, celebrate a special occasion, or remember someone who has died.
The labyrinth is not a maze since there is only one path. You cannot get lost. It leads you on a circuitous route to the center and back out again. You can walk the labyrinth alone, or with others. You can walk in a slow, solemn manner, or joyously. Children often run through the labyrinth.
I’ve personally walked labyrinths a number of times and have found it to be a calming, meditative experience. It slows me down. It gives me the time and space to reflect on my life and the way God has led me through a variety of experiences. When you walk with a friend, you will find that sometimes you are moving along together, and other times you move away from one another — just like life! Even when you feel you are alone, you aren’t! Others are on the same journey, just in another place. Once I walked with a boisterous family I didn’t know. At first, I was irritated and found their noisy comments distracting; then I realized how like real daily life that is, too — we have to learn to stay focused amidst the many things that pull us away from listening for God. Every time you walk, you will have a different experience.
If you would like to find a labyrinth near you and give it a try, follow this link:
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