Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Labyrinth

If you're expecting me to wax poetic about a
movie from my childhood featuring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly, then you are—well, actually, that does sound a lot like me, doesn't it? After all, Jim Henson is my hero. But that's not what I have in mind this morning.

What I have in mind is most famously exemplified in Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres. It isn't a maze, like you find in the Jim Henson film, because there are no dead ends. It has only one path, so you can't get lost. Which may lead you to ask me, "What is the point of the thing?" Well, I'll tell you: walking this kind of labyrinth is a spiritual practice.

How so? Well, the winding path is a metaphor for your life's journey. Much like the point I made in an earlier post, as long as you keep carefully moving forward, eventually you'll get to the center. There are going to be twists along the way, so you'll have to be paying close attention in order to stay on the path. There are going to be times that the goal is tantilizingly close, only to recede again, but don't be discouraged—keep going and you'll make it.

I have had the opportunity to walk labyrinths in the past, and I wish I had a full-sized one to utilize on a regular basis. I do, however, have a minature version that was given to me as a present from a very dear friend. Instead of walking the path, I trace it out with the included stylus. Whether I'm walking a full-sized one, or simply tracing the path out on my pewter one, I find that it helps me clear my mind and open myself to hearing whatever it is that God may be trying to say to me. If I have a problem, or a difficult decision, going through the labyrinth often helps me find the proper perspective. And if I enter the labyrinth anxious or upset it forces me to slow down—and by the time I come back out of the labyrinth I am calm once more.

And knowing all of this is all well and good, but no use to you if you don't have access to a labyrinth of your own. Well, not to worry! You don't need a fancy pewter one—although mine is very nice. You can certainly live without a full-sized one—although I wish I had one I could use. I've found that simply having the pattern printed out on a piece of paper does the trick, so here's a pdf file diagram of the Chartres labyrinth for you to use at your leisure!

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

PS Here's a video about walking the labyrinth!

No comments: