Thursday, April 12, 2012

The journey and the labyrinth

Park der Sinne

On Easter week-end I was delighted to discover that there is a labyrinth within walking distance of our vacation home in Southern Germany. That could be Chris in the foreground of the photo. The labyrinth is just one interesting attraction in the Park of the Senses. It's a replica of the famous Chartres Cathedral labyrinth, although the camera angle makes it look bigger than it actually is. I would say it took me about ten minutes to get to the center, and when I got there, I realized it would take me another ten minutes to go back to where I started. There are no shortcuts when you walk a labyrinth. The Chartres labyrinth has complex numerological meaning. I would love to see more labyrinths being built in public, residential and therapeutic settings. If you know of any in your neck of the woods, send me the links and I'll add them to this post. If you live near Asheville, NC, check this one out.

From Walking the Labyrinth

The Labyrinth is a prayer tool, a divine imprint, found in all religious traditions in various forms around the world. By walking a replica of the Chartres Labyrinth; laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral around 1220, we are rediscovering a long-forgotten mystical tradition that is insisting to be reborn. This labyrinth has only one path so there are no tricks to it and no dead ends. The path winds throughout and becomes a mirror for where we are in our lives; it touches our sorrows and releases our joys. So walk it with an open mind and an open heart.

There are three stages of the walk:

Purgation -- a releasing, a letting go of the details of your life. This is an act of shedding thoughts and emotions. It quiets and empties the mind.

Illumination -- is when you reach the center. Stay there as long as you like. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive.

Union -- which is joining God, your Higher Power or the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work you feel your soul reaching for.

Guidelines for the Walk

We come to the Labyrinth walk at various stages in our spiritual journey and with a wide variety of needs and questions present in our life. Some people find it helpful to focus their minds and hearts on a particular question as they walk the Labyrinth. Others find it most helpful to simply clear their mind and become aware of your breath and open yourself to whatever the experience on the path has to offer. Trust your experience and the Spirit to guide you on your way. You may "pass" people or let others step around you whichever is easiest at the turns. The path is two ways. Those going in will meet those coming out. Use the pace and movements that feel natural to you. You should plan on taking at least twenty minutes to walk the Labyrinth.

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