Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Labyrinth

A number of years ago, when I was enrolled at Union Institute and University working on my Ph.D. in psychology, one of my classes took a weekend away for introspection or something like that. Part of the training involved walking a labyrinth. 

A labyrinth is a maze-like walking path used to foster reflection or induce a spiritual experience. Used in religious settings in can take the place of a mini pilgrimage. I am not inclined to have faith in such practices, although I have had what are commonly called "spiritual experiences" a few times in my life. I had no expectations at all in beginning this exercise, and thought it would be a waste of time. 

There were about 40 of us students and slowly one at a time we entered the labyrinth. I was about in the middle in entering. The labyrinth begins as a wide circle spiraling inwards. You walk in circles becoming smaller and smaller until you reach the center and then reverse direction and walk out. 

I tried to clear my mind as I began, taking my steps consciously. Slowly something began to happen. I can only describe it as a feeling of warmth, love, kindness, and safety. I walked past other people and saw them as partners on my life journey. The whole walk took on the image of my life in symbol. In other words, the labyrinth became a symbol for my whole life.

I continued to walk closer and closer to the center. As I did, the feelings became stronger and stronger. I realized I was walking towards God, who was the center of my life. By the time I go there tears were streaming down my face. What caused all of this makes no sense what-so-ever from a rational scientific perspective. None of this should have been happening.

The center of the labyrinth held me for a moment and I experienced perfect joy, peace, happiness. Complete fullness and I realized I lack nothing. I turned and began the journey back out into the world. I remember stepping out of the maze and looking at the sky, seeing a small plane flying over. And experiencing complete freedom. 

For me, that day was a gift and a message. Our lives are meant to be a spiritual walk to Grace. We are given joy, love, peace, in a surprise. And then we walk back out into the world, sharing what we have been given. There is nothing to share if we don't, by grace, experience God, or the Source (call it whatever you want to call it). But, each of us can...and must do this, if we want to heal the world, love our friends, be useful in some way, we must walk inward in whichever way we can.

Thank you to my sister Joyce, who in recently walking a labyrinth, reminded my of this one. And it reminds me I can do this walk everyday of my life. Love to you all.


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