St. Michael’s has a beautifully simple, painted labyrinth at the center of our courtyard. I often see children playing on its twists and turns; sometimes I see one or more persons, young or old, walking a deliberate journey or pilgrimage. What exactly is a labyrinth walk, and how does one walk one? “The labyrinth represents a journey, a pilgrimage, a conscious taking of time to seek God.” (Labyrinths From The Outside In by Donna Schaper and Carole Ann Camp, Skylight Paths Publishing 2004, p 62)
Some may think it foolish to spend thirty or so minutes walking in circles, back and forth, in a fairly small area. But the journey of the labyrinth is more than taking one step after another: it is a spiritual discipline undertaken to seek the presence of God’s Holy Spirit. And, unlike our busy daily journeys of errands, tasks, and jobs, on the labyrinth you cannot make a mistake as there are no wrong turns. You cannot get lost. By following the path you arrive at the center and by following the same path you arrive at the exit.
So what do you do while you walk the labyrinth? A very simple practice is to simply stand at the entrance, breathe deeply, and as you take each step, allow the worries and fears and burdens and preoccupations of your life to simply fall off your shoulders. Straighten your back, lower your shoulders, breathe deeply. Arrive at the center and listen for God’s word to you. Stay as long as you wish. Then walk out, deliberately and taking your experience of the Spirit with you into your everyday life. Walking in prepares you for the center and walking out prepares you for the world. “Walking the labyrinth is not about escaping into the center and leaving the world, it is about experiencing Spirit in the center so that you can live in the world in a more blessed way”.
— The Rev. Janne Alrø Osborne, former Assistant Rector