We are focusing on the spiritual practice of praying with a labyrinth this month.
"Prayer labyrinths are an ancient form of prayer that invite our bodies to participate in the process as we follow a path that mirrors the winding and circuitous journey of faith, existing mostly in gardens and churches. A finger labyrinth...invites you into a portable but equally meaningful version of the experience. As your finger moves from the outside entry point and traces along the path, notice any interior movements that indicate your response to God." - Jenn Giles Kemper, in the Sacred Ordinary Days planner
The planner has the above brief introduction along with an actual finger labyrinth you can use, but this month we want to extend a broader invitation, explore together and offer some guidance so you can go farther and deeper with this spiritual practice.
We have been talking about how to walk the labyrinth with others, the dance sort of experience that it can be, the interaction you have and don't have as you journey, the practice of witnessing the prayer walk. The beauty of community and being together in prayer.
At times you may not walk the labyrinth with others, you may be walking alone, no one else around you, no one else witnessing the journey. In many ways it is the same: the preparation, the walk inwards, abiding in the center, the journey outward, a time of reflection.
You may find more freedom in walking alone: the freedom to dance, to sing, to be playful and joyous. You may stop more often, you may change your pace, you may move your body more fully. You may walk differently, making the path shorter or longer, as you change the twists and turns.
You may find yourself feeling more self-conscious, especially if you are on a labyrinth that is in public view such as one in a park or at a hospital. You may find yourself distracted when a ball comes bouncing across your path or someone sits near the labyrinth talking on the phone. You may feel as though people are watching you and that distracts you from entering fully into prayer as you go.
Maybe you find that freedom to be a gift; maybe you find that freedom to be a burned. Maybe the distractions are a gift; maybe the distractions are the burden. As you imagine now walking the labyrinth, how do you envision that journey? Who else is there? What is the environment like? How do you prepare to walk the labyrinth when it is just how you like it? How do you prepare when it is anything but how you like it?
One of the labyrinths I have been to several times is one that is mowed into a field. I have walked it when the grass is short, I have walked it when the grass is long and brushing my hands. I have walked it alone, I have walked with other others, Have walked it with frogs hopping across my path ad crickets leaping around me. I have walked it when the wind was ready to blow me off my feet. I have walked it when the air has been absolutely still. Each experience is different, though the labyrinth is the same.
I have my favorite scenario to walk that labyrinth and I know how to prepare for that walk. It is harder for me to prepare for a prayerful walk of the labyrinth when the conditions are not what I want them to be; but some of those walks have been the ones where I have learned the most, the ones where God has been the most direct, the ones where I have had to be the most open and the journey has been the most fruitful. Those are the walks when I recognize the discipline of walking a prayer labyrinth.
Now it is your turn: What do you do with your freedom? What do you do with your distractions? What are you being invited to as you walk the labyrinth alone? What is the gift in walking the labyrinth alone? How do you practice the discipline of walking the prayer labyrinth?
We are focusing on the spiritual practice of praying with a labyrinth this month. You can find the latest on our blog and on our prayer labyrinth resource page. The planner has a brief introduction, but this month we want to extend a broader invitation, explore together, and offer some guidance so you can go farther and deeper with this spiritual practice.
But, the short and sweet is that our goal for this series is to help you...
- LEARN about the spiritual practice of the praying with a labyrinth. You will learn about why we included in in the Sacred Ordinary Days planner and about how you can use the one in your planner or anywhere else.
- EXPLORE a practice of prayer that includes physical movement. Whether it is your finger, your hands, or your whole body, praying with the labyrinth involves movement. Discovering new ways to pray has been a gift to me and I want to invite you in!
- SHARE your experience with people who speak the same language. You'll get our guidance along the way, plus you'll get to know the other members of our community, by following along on Instagram or Facebook or inside Common House, our ecumenical online community.