The Sacred Labyrinth Walk, Illuminating the Inner Path

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You Are Invited To Open Yourself To A New Spiritual Experience

The Sacred Labyrinth Walk, Illuminating the Inner Path, is the ancient practice of "Circling to the Center" by walking the labyrinth. The rediscovery of this self alignment tool to put our lives in perspective is one of the most important spiritual movements of our day. Labyrinths have been in use for over 4000 years. Their basic design is fundamental to nature and many cultures and religious traditions. Whatever one's religion...walking the labyrinth clears the mind and gives insight. It calms people in the throes of life's transitions.

Georgiana Lotfy, Licensed Marriage, Family Therapist, Doctor of Ministry, has facilitated labyrinth and meditation presentations for several years. She can be reached at healyourlove.com

We extend an invitation to people from all faiths, especially those who are in transition and/or are struggling to find a means of prayer or meditation.

Join us as you learn about this ancient meditation tool of prayer, as we become "spiritual beings on a human path, not simply human beings on a spiritual path."

History

Bernadette Gaire performs a sacred dance on 36 foot canvas labyrinthPeople, formal cultures, and traditions have used the spiral and labyrinth designs as a symbol of their search for meaning and guidance. The labyrinth is a "unicursal" or one path design - there are no tricks or decisions to be made - much as the surrender to walking a sacred spiritual path in life - our only decision is to choose spirit/God and surrender to divine guidance. The labyrinth is non -denominational . People of all faiths and people longing to re-connect to faith come to walk labyrinths. "I found peace and a sense of God's presence that I had not experienced since childhood," responds a labyrinth walker.

Some of the earliest forms of labyrinths are found in Greece, dating back to 2500-2000 B.C.E. This labyrinth is called the Cretan labyrinth or classical seven-circuit labyrinth. So much a part of the fabric of this early society was the labyrinth, that it was embossed on coins and pottery. Early Christian labyrinths date back to 4th century, a basilica in Algeria. The Chartres design labyrinth is a replica of the labyrinth laid into the cathedral floor at Chartres, France in the thirteenth century. The Chartres design is a classical eleven-circuit labyrinth (eleven concentric circles) with the twelfth being in the center of the labyrinth.

One walks a labyrinth by stepping into the entrance and putting one foot in front of the other. After traveling through all the paths and windings, the walker comes into the center - the six - petal rosette, after a time there, the walker returns out to cover the same path out as in. Total travel is approximately one third mile, depending on the size of the labyrinth. The Chartress Cathedral Labyrinth is 42' in diameter. My portable labyrinth is 35' wide.

Guidelines

Walking the labyrinth on New Year's Eve at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach, CaliforniaThere is no "right" or "wrong" way to walk a labyrinth. I ask and aid walkers at my workshops by stating "quiet the mind, open the heart". Because you are walking, the mind is quieted. Labyrinth walks are sometimes referred to as "body prayer" or walking meditation. I suggest that people may want to see the walk as three parts to a whole experience - but I recognize many go through the walk and these parts at different stages.

The entrance can be a place to stop, reflect, make prayer or intention for the spiritual walk you are about to take. The walk around the design to the center can be a "letting go" - a quieting of the thoughts, worries, lists of tasks to do, a letting go unto the experience of being present in the body. Arrival at the center rosette - a place of prayer/meditation - "letting in" Gods guidance, the divine into our lives. When ready, the walk out "letting out" takes us back into our lives, empowered by spirit to transform our lives and actions.

In many ways, I see the labyrinth as a call to action, a transformation spiritual tool for people. It can aid healing, help in releasing grief, (people often shed tears during the "letting go"), help guide through troubled times, aid in decision making, illuminate our purpose in life, and act as a tool of celebration and thanks. I have seen it be many things for many people. It is important to recognize it as a spiritual practice, not a magical tool. Its work is our commitment to enter into the sacred spiritual walk, not merely once, but to use it as part of an ongoing spiritual practice.

The vision of the world-wide Labyrinth Project is to establish labyrinths in cathedrals, retreat centers, hospitals, prisons, parks, airports, and community centers so they are available to walk in times of joy, in times of sorrow and when we are seeking hope.

FAQ

Participants at labyrinth workshop walk 36 foot canvas labyrinth owned by Temenos, a non-profit cancer support programQUESTION/COMMENT: Iíve come here today to walk the labyrinth, but Iím not sure why. I just know things happened in such a way that I had the time to attend. Itís not describable really, because I was supposed to be doing something else today, but here I am.

ANSWER: This is the comment I hear most often: the coincidence of being "able" to attend. There was one woman who received a postcard telling of the labyrinth event because she had replaced a woman at work who was on my mailing list. She felt that when she read the notice, it was intended for her. She came and was moved to begin a regular practice of walking the labyrinth. It has been my experience and the experience of others I have talked to that when the call of spirit occurs, it very likely is not immediately understood. The stirring begins before we know whatís going on. I realize now that I was getting prepared for several years before I actually was able to hear the spirit calling me. First, I had to learn to slow down long enough to listen to the language of the spirit. This was not an easy process for me, a person used to doing things my way. The world beyond the world of the external asks that we surrender to it, to let go of our ego and listen as we walk in this sacred life..

QUESTION/COMMENT: I started crying when I entered the labyrinth. Do other people feel this way? Why?

ANSWER: Itís not unusual that one of the first experiences of walking the labyrinth results in tears. This is the healing power of the labyrinth. When we get beyond the distractions of the day, often the wounds that need healing are revealed. We are given an opportunity to heal by expressing our feelings. We are a too-busy and feeling- phobic society. There are very few places where crying is acceptable, so when we feel hurt, sad, grief, disappointment, betrayal, pain, or fear, we never allow these real feelings to be expressed. It is important to express these feelings so that we move through this to the next place in our lives, without taking the baggage of hurt with us. The labyrinth is a sacred place that is available to permit the time and safety for the expression of these feelings.

One vital way of looking at our lives and the importance of all that life holds is through the four fold path as defined by Creation Spirituality.

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