We live across the street from a big church with a beautiful yard. I noticed a few weeks ago that they had mowed a funny path in the yard. Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was actually a labyrinth. Well, first I thought it was a maze until I read the handouts they had by the sign that said "Prayer Labyrinth". Here is what I learned from the handout:
The labyrinth is one of the oldest contemplative tools known to humankind and has been used for prayer, ritual, and spiritual growth. It is not like a maze; there are no blind alleys or dead ends. There is only one path to the center and back out again. The labyrinth will gently lead you to the center of both the labyrinth and yourself no matter how many twists and turns you have to negotiate.
Since the destination is certain, the labyrinth walker can meditate as he or she walks. The mind can be stilled and attention paid to the body, the heart, and the spirit. Participating in a labyrinth walk can be like going on a symbolic pilgrimage as it deepens spirituality and intimacy within the self and with God.
The handout also talked about the three stages in the labyrinth walk: shedding (releasing tension as you walk), illumination (the stillness and feeling of reaching the center), and union (walking back out feeling more at one with God and self). It also mentioned that there is no hurry to a labyrinth walk.
Well, of course we had to try this labyrinth thing.
The four of us went for a short walk one night and just so happened to pass the labyrinth. I said, "Hey, let's do this!" *wink wink* Mini Me and I started right in.
At first he was distracted by a few snake holes.
But it didn't take long for him to become more interested in the twisting, turning path. I told him it was like the maze games he plays with the mouse trying to get to the cheese - but this time he was the mouse. We walked and didn't say much except for me reminding him of a few turns he missed.
Little Lady was sitting with Daddy, but happily joined us when the labyrinth lead us by their viewing area. She loved walking with us.
It took ten or fifteen minutes walking at a good pace but we made it to the center! That labyrinth is pretty big!
I cut my way through the paths and out of the labyrinth, ready to head home (it was getting on bath time). ...but Mini Me, without saying a peep, started walking his way back out. I never said anything to him about taking the path all the way back out - he just assumed, I guess. He followed the path perfectly.
Daddy was ready to go home.
But that soothing and predictable, twisting and turning labyrinth pulled him in... and he finished the path out with Mini Me.
This labyrinth was pretty cool. We went back a second time already and Mini Me was eager to jump in. His path in and out was anything but slow and contemplative, though it did include a belting rendition of "Ho Ho Ho Hosana".
I'm glad we live right across the street, because we are going to do it again - hopefully several more times - before they mow it down. It was great exercise, a quiet place to walk, and Mini Me concentrated really hard on following the path both to the center and back out. I need another chance for it to be an illuminating, contemplative pilgrimage because I'm pretty sure the first time I was singing an annoying Lady GaGa song in my head and the second I was just trying to keep up with Mini Me's pace with Little Lady riding on my hip... So much for finding union with myself and with God!
Let Me Start By Saying...
16 hours ago