Welcome to the Hill Church Labyrinth!
A labyrinth is a unicursal maze – a maze in which you cannot get lost. There is one path in. You come back out the same way. Walking at a normal pace to the center of this labyrinth and out again takes about twelve minutes.
Labyrinths are used for meditation, for prayer, for healing. When you enter the path, you choose to set yourself apart from the world. It is like going into a closet to pray.
There is nothing to do there but walk the path in front of you, no decisions to make but how you will use that walk. If your intention is to leave the ordinary world and connect with the Holy Spirit, you cannot fail, because acting on that intention has already blessed your walk in the labyrinth.
You may find that you leave something behind – a worry, a fear, a concern – in the labyrinth’s center before you walk out again. You may find that you discover something new – an insight, a prayer, a sense of peace – and carry it out with you into the rest of your life.
Wherever you come from, wherever you are going, whatever you carry in your heart, you are welcome here.
“Ask and you shall receive.”
A Guide for Walking
In a style of meditation that is used by many different faiths, we repeat a word, a mantra, softly in our minds as we walk, knowing that thoughts from our life will intrude and our mind will wander, but each time we realize we have left our word, we gently come back to it, returning, as we must, to our faith connection. We know we will lose our focus. That’s okay. But we remember to return to the word. Isn’t that a lovely metaphor for our faithful life?
Now imagine that each step is your word. Feel your foot touch and then press on the ground. The other foot leaves the ground and moves forward, your body moving to keep your balance, the muscles of the grounded leg stretching as you move forward. That is what you come back to when you realize that your mind has moved to the meal you must prepare, or the conflict at work. You can do the same thing with the rhythm of your breath, in and out, as you walk. Return to your breath. That word has the same root as Spirit. Isn’t that another lovely image?
You can simply walk in and out and try to be aware of its effect on you, or you can structure it with meditation. You might try repeating a simple phrase, like, “Each step with the Spirit,” and varying it as your walk progresses. You might find yourself saying, “Every breath with Peace,” or, “This journey toward God,” or, “Today’s plan for my community.” As you walk the labyrinth, different or entirely new combinations might suggest themselves, and undiscovered relevance to your life might.
Blessings on your journey.
To learn more about labyrinths, visit our friends at the Labyrinth Guild of New England.