This post is part of my adventure series…click here to make sure you catch the whole series.
Before I went away on my retreat weekend I asked for ideas about things I could take away with me to help with my spiritual boot camp. My good friend Ron suggested that I check out labyrinths and gave me a link to check out. I had heard of them before, but had never had any experience with them.
The particular labyrinth described on the website was set up in the year 2000 as part of the new-millennium celebrations in England. The organisers incorporated interactive and multimedia elements to lead the pilgrims through various stages of confession and focus. They used a recorded soundtrack with ambient music and narrative to lead them people through the stations in the labyrinth.
The website says this about them:
Labyrinths were a feature of many medieval cathedrals – one of the best remaining examples is found in Chartres Cathedral in northern France. Unlike a maze they have only one path – there are no dead ends. People walk the labyrinth slowly, as an aid to contemplative prayer and reflection, as a spiritual exercise, or as a form of pilgrimage.
The path has three stages – the ‘inward’ journey, the centre and the ‘outward’ journey. The theme of the ‘inward’ journey is letting go of things which hinder our wholeness and inner approach to God. The centre of the Labyrinth is a space of meditative prayer and peace. The theme of the ‘outward’ journey is relationship – with ourselves, with others and with the planet – seen in the light of our relationship with God.
I quickly discovered that I was able to download the soundtrack, and got it loaded onto my iPhone ready to go for the weekend. I intended to walk the paths around the resort and meditate. But then the rain set in, so rather than walk, I lay back on the bed and closed my eyes and relaxed for the hour-long meditation.
What followed was one of the most intensely powerful times of focus on God that I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. It has been a very long time since I was able to concentrate so completely on examining my relationship with God. Normally I struggle to last five minutes without my mind whizzing off on a dozen different tangents. The challenge to make changes in my life was clear and unmistakable…and hard work. The understanding that God loves me and has plans for my life was clear and unmistakable…and soothing for my soul.
I listened through the meditation again the next morning as I walked around the foreshore of Lake Jindabyne and savoured the snowflakes that I caught on my tongue. This time my experience with the Father was invigorating and energising. A gentle push to get me moving and ready to face the world again.
Have you ever walked a labyrinth? Do you meditate on Christ? How do you do it?