Labyrinths are often confused with mazes. But while a maze has dead ends and blind alleys, the labyrinth has only one path leading both in and out of the center. The labyrinth is flat. One can always see the center. The destination is assured, so that the mind can be still and attentive.
Walking the labyrinth clears the mind and gives us insight into our spiritual journeys. The labyrinth does nothing on its own. It is simply a tool helpful for many people in deepening their prayer lives.
Each walk into and out of the labyrinth is a unique opportunity to meet our creative, loving God through contemplative prayer.
The labyrinth dates back 5,000 years or more. Beginning in the Middle Ages, however, Christianity adopted the labyrinth as a symbol, changing the design to imbue it with specifically Christian meaning. For almost a thousand years there has been an identifiable Christian labyrinth tradition. This movement reached its peak at Chartres Cathedral, in France. The pattern (left-above) was built into the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France more than 800 years ago.
Our labyrinth is located on the front patio of St. Richard’s, in order to be available to anyone at any time. We invite anyone in the community to make use of this resource for reflection and quieting of the mind.
Suggestions for Walking the Labyrinth
The Labyrinth can offer a time to hold up a particular intention to God, such as when you are trying to discern God’s will, or pray for another person. But most often, a labyrinth walk is a time of opening yourself to God without an agenda.
Before you step onto the labyrinth, spend a few moments quieting your mind in preparation for the experience. Notice your breathing and become in tune to its rhythm as you quiet yourself in preparation. Then you may want to say a prayer before beginning the walk.
As you walk toward the center, you may want to consider things you need to let go as you journey with God. Or you may want to hold on to one intention for which you are walking.
Walk at your own pace–which may be slow and measured or relatively quick. The pace that feels right to you is the right one. You may also pause as you wish, at turns or at other points along the path.
As you walk, notice how the path winds sometimes close to the center, sometimes near the edge. This is a metaphor for our own spiritual journeys. The path that leads us to God may bring us nearer to God’s presence at times, and sometimes further, all the while on the path.
When you reach the center, you may continue standing or sit. Spend as much or as little time within the center of the labyrinth as you wish.