I walked the Prayer Labyrinth this evening and even had an opportunity to stop and meditate. It was so quite, calming and a sense of urgency about me to share this information. It is nestled deep in seclusion in the heart of Atlanta and will be a dear friend to me ’til the end of time.
The Prayer Labyrinth
The Prayer Path at Simpsonwood is located in a beautiful wooded setting between the Brooks Complex and the Gibson Lodge. This path leads the way to a Prayer Labyrinth built to enhance the spiritual life of our guests and friends. The labyrinth is available for use by guests and friends of Simpsonwood. You are welcome to enjoy the labyrinth and visit it often as you walk life’s journey.
What is a Labyrinth?
A labyrinth is different from a maze, though the two are often confused. The labyrinth is one of the oldest contemplative and transformational tools known to mankind, used for centuries of prayer, ritual, initiation, and personal and spiritual growth. This ancient and powerful tool is unicursal, offering only one route to the center and back out again; no blind alleys, dead ends or tricks, as in a maze. No matter where you are in the labyrinth’s coherent circuits, you can always see the center. Once you set your foot upon its path, the labyrinth gently and faultlessly leads you to the center of both the labyrinth and yourself, no matter how many twists and turns you negotiate in the process.
Where do Labyrinths come from?
The labyrinth is a symbolic pilgrimage or journey to the divine. It is an archetypal image found throughout history from Ancient Egypt to Crete to Celtic, Scandinavian, and Native American cultures. Based on the circle, the universal symbol for unity and wholeness, the labyrinth is considered to be among other things : a sacred space, a symbol for unconscious, a place of pilgrimage, and a mystical tool for transformation and healing. By walking the labyrinth, you rediscover a long – forgotten tradition that is being reborn in our day.
A different space.
The place you are entering is not ordinary space : it is sacred space. It is sacred space. Leave your watches behind. Time here is not clock time, chronos; it is kairos, the fullness of time beyond time, the eternal NOW. Release your daily life and self when you enter the labyrinth. You are entering sacred ground.
Why do we have them?
The labyrinth is a powerful spiritual symbol that speaks to our souls in a way that transcends all creeds and beliefs. All spiritual traditions speak of life as a path,a spiritual journey, with its own twists and unexpected turns, to the heart of Spirit. Walking the labyrinth can help people step foot once again on their own paths, helping them to remember their own lives as spiritual journeys.
What do you do?
There is no right way to walk the labyrinth : In walking, we are thrown back on ourselves and our own experiences, instead of having to measure our walk against some set of external rules or standards. In this simplicity, everything that takes place while walking becomes a mirror that allows us to look into our individual fears and anxieties. We all come to the labyrinth as ourselves that the great gift of that simplicity. Don’t let anyone else influence you about how walking the labyrinth is “supposed” to be. You have follow your own path. The labyrinth shows you that path.
Whoever you are, walking the labyrinth has something to offer you. If a creative or work project is challenging to you, walking can get your creative juices flowing. When you are struggling with grief or anger or a physical challenge or illness, walking the labyrinth can point the way to healing and wholeness. If you want a way to meditate or pray that engages your body as well as your soul, the labyrinth can be such a way. When you just want to have reflective time away from a busy life, a labyrinth can offer you time out. The labyrinth holds up a mirror, reflecting back to us not only the light of our finest selves, but also whatever restrains us from shining forth.
Maintain silence throughout your walk, for you own reflection and that of others.
Move at your own pace. Feel free to pause anyplace where a delay feels right. You may pass others who are moving slower. The path is a two way going in will meet though coming out do what feels natural. Be away everything teaches. When you reach the center, you may want to sit, kneel, stand, meditate, face several directions, or read something you have brought along with you. Stay as long as you like.
Walking out of the labyrinth is a time for integration and gratitude for the gifts received.
Source : The Lodge at Simpsonwood A Conference and Retreat Center