Have you ever walked a labyrinth?

4.10.19  Have you ever walked a labyrinth? Have you ever slowly prayed your way through all its twists and turns seeking an answer from God? Walking a labyrinth can be a walking meditation or prayer. It can bring long-sought answers to the basic questions of your lives, if one walks it prayerfully and with intention.


Standing at the entrance to the path, say a prayer—whatever is on your heart. Walk slowly, keeping the prayer going, notice how akin to our lives walking the labyrinth is. Notice the abrupt changes in direction, the longer parts and the short, short ones. Notice the surrounding areas. And keep attuned to God.


When you get to the center of the labyrinth, take a few moments of stillness there. Open your heart up to receive whatever God is telling you. And then turn and begin walking out to the beginning.


Keep the pace slow and meditative. Keep your heart and mind open to hearing what God is saying to you, to any grace or blessing He offers. Listen in the depth of your being for His “still, small voice.”[1] Sometimes it has taken me two or three turns on the labyrinth to hear an answer.


Of course, you may not hear an answer to your prayer today, but there is power in doing this kind of meditation. It is the focus of our intention on God that amplifies the prayer. And then we wait in our lives for His answer.


If there is no labyrinth handy to your work or home, you can always do a walking meditation on the sidewalks or paths where you live. The idea is the same: Pray at the beginning and throughout the walk. Walk deliberately, slowly; feel each step as your foot hits the pavement heel first, then arch/middle, then toes. Be aware of all that your body is experiencing even as you keep your heart and mind on God.


Both walking meditation and walking the labyrinth are an exercise in presence, in being present to ourselves and to whatever God is saying to us as we walk. To come into the present means to let go of all the preoccupations of the day, to rest in the depths of ourselves. For that is where we meet God, where we notice all that He is doing in our lives or all that He is saying to us.


These walking prayers take us out of the memorized prayers, as beautiful as they can be, into the reality of what we are seeking, yearning for. They take us out of voiced prayers and into what God is praying for us to realize. They ask us to listen for an answer and to quit trying to control our lives. They take us out of our fears about the future and our preoccupations with the past hurts and slights into the expansive and generous present where there is no demand on us other than that we slow down and listen to our own deeper selves, to the Indwelling Spirit of God.


It is in the silence and the focus of our attention that we can truly meet God. It is there in the present moment that we let go of our attachments, our preferences, our assumptions about life and just be. We let go of controlling the situation, we let go of the past and future and just dwell with the Lord in the ever-beckoning present. And there we find our deeper selves and there we find God.

[1] 1 Kings 19:12

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