Walking the Labyrinth

At the beginning of nearly every month, I trek over to Burke Presbyterian Church in Burke, Virginia, to walk the labyrinth. Today, I had it all to myself. There is a glass window on one side of the church sanctuary that runs from the floor to the ceiling, and it is beautiful to walk the labyrinth and to observe the broad expanse of trees that magnificently manifest the various changes of the seasons.

I have begun each year for at least a decade by walking the labyrinth as a sacred ritual to dedicate the year to the Divine.

This description explaining the origins and use of the labyrinth is adapted from a flyer available at the church:

The labyrinth is a spiritual tool for meditation and prayer. This labyrinth is a replica of the Chartres labyrinth laid in the floor of the Chartres Cathedral, France, around 1220. In recent years Christians have re-discovered a long-forgotten tradition of the Christian faith...

The labyrinth is a metaphor for our spiritual journey. When the Crusades swept across Europe, making pilgrimages to holy lands expensive and dangerous, people walked labyrinths to simulate the long journey. Walking the labyrinth can help make us open and available to God, and thus to transformation and healing...

There are three stages to the walk:

Entering the labyrinth
- You begin by Shedding whatever you may need to shed - entering symbolizes a releasing, and a letting go...

Reaching the center
- It is characterized by Illumination - the center is a place for deep meditation and prayer

Walking back out
- You take with you the experience of Union - and you engage in preparation to be God's beloved servant back out in the world...

Every person's experience of walking the labyrinth is unique. Some people come with questions they are seeking answers to. Some gain profound insights as a result of their walking.

I love to sit and meditate in the center and get lost there. It is always a very powerful experience for me. Today as I walked in and out, I thought of the impending changes in my life - how I am leaving one path behind and stepping out of my comfort zone, and setting out on a course unknown.

Two years ago I was graced with the opportunity to stand in the center of the labyrinth at Chartres the day after my 50th birthday. I was overwhelmed by the felt energy and the power of centuries of prayers that had gone before me and which supported me and all those present - seen and unseen.

I hope you can experience walking the labyrinth if you never have. It is truly a meditation in motion.


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