Sunday, January 27, 2013

Walking the Labyrinth

Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing: God alone suffices.
-St. Teresa of Avila

I am not big on travel. I hate packing. One place I want to see is Chartres, France. There is  labyrinth in a cathedral there that I would love to walk. I may have to settle for its twin in San Francisco. A friend was there recently and took pictures. A walk through the Gates of Paradise, Ghiberti Doors and then into the silence and a stroll with Christ would be such a pleasure.

I am saving my change and my air miles. But why wait for it? Might I  have the appetizer now? Might you? I am thinking so.

In the middle of my living room is a soft oriental rug. When I am home alone (yes, I know friends with kids that is a rare occurrence for you...sorry) I put on soft music that slips into the background and does not make me want to dance,or I use a nature tape of water or birds very faintly,  or no music at all and I step into my imaginary labyrinth.

Now there are different kinds. The sectioned off, back and forth as you go from center outward kind in churches and the simple spiral ring you find often in open air. For my purposes it is easier to imagine the spiral. I also favor it because God seems to like it owing to His frequent use of it in shells and galaxies.

I wear my most comfortable clothing that is also appealing. I always consider that I am spending time with someone I want to look nice for.

I begin outside and move inward to the center in a circular fashion if I am seeking a deeper place in God. I begin in the center and work my way around and out if here is something I need to lay down and walk away from. I start in and move out when I am ill or praying in this way for someone who is ill.

Today is a deep day so I begin at the outside and move inward in a spiral using the points of the compass as my stations. I make two revolutions which accommodates the size of the rug. (Small space? Just use a circle and go around x2 with 4 stations.) I start from the west station (just a comfortable place in the room) and begin by taking three cleansing breaths as I try to empty my mind of whatever is in there. I ask for forgiveness of all sin.

I bring with me a scripture I wish to hold in my mind. There are two I favor and I pick one.

Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Psalm 143:8

You will keep my mind in perfect peace, for I trust You. Isaiah 26:3

I do not hurry. Something in us makes us want to hurry but I ignore it. I take several minutes at each station repeating from memory my verse and then I wait. Listening. Being empty. Each station I repeat, maybe adding my love in simple terms always listening as I work my way to the center.

Many times I complete the spiral and arrive at the center refreshed and having given thanks, I depart.

There are other times when half way around I become aware of God's tangible and weighty presence. He will have seeped in and rested at some yet imperceptible point and gently fallen into step with me. I ask for nothing. I listen, I soak as in a spring rain and I wait motionless once I am aware of Him until He indicates by a lifting of Presence that I may moves on.

St. Teresa's prayer captures it, "Patience obtains all things. He who possesses God lacks nothing: God alone suffices."

It will not be a "Let God arise. Let His enemies be scattered moment." I crave those and will paint my soul with His colors and step into the battle with that as a war cry. Just not at his moment. This is an "I give myself to you for you keep me in perfect peace," deep moment of spiritual satisfaction. This lingers and draws you back again.

Open the Gates of Paradise. Open your heart. Lay all else aside. Step inside. Meet Him in new ways He is longing to share with you.

 If you have a rug, an imagination and a desire you can begin.

Instructions for Walking

Grace Cathedral

Labyrinth Locator

Cancer Center Labyrinth


  1. "I do not hurry. Something in us makes us want to hurry but I ignore it." I love that. Yep, just say no.