Labyrinths, a walking meditation
Last week, I had a profoundly spiritual experience that you might want to try for yourself. I walked the labyrinth at the Brecksville United Methodist Church.
Labyrinths are a series of winding paths that you walk. They lead to a center where you pause to contemplate or pray or rest, and then you walk back out to the beginning. A labyrinth is meant to be a walking meditation.
I went with no expectations; I just wanted to see what it was all about. But when I began to walk the labyrinth, I couldn’t help but think about the journey of my life: where have I been, where am I now, where am I going? Why am I in such a hurry?
According to the website lessonsforliving.com, the labyrinth “is a metaphor for life’s journey … the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.”
Labyrinths can be very simple structures or very elaborate. Some are made of stones or snow or chalk, and some are laid in marble or grown out of hedges. The one that I walked last week is printed on a gigantic piece of canvas and is brought out for special occasions.
Labyrinths have been used in many cultures around the world for thousands of years and have been called various names, according to GraceCathedral.org.
Whether you’d like to quiet the mind, meditate, celebrate or contemplate, a labyrinth walk might be just the thing. During my labyrinth walk last week, I was so caught up in my thoughts that I was almost in a trance. Without realizing it, I completed the labyrinth and walked right out. This abrupt ending also made me think about the journey of life, and I had the desire to run back in.
If you would like the experience of walking a labyrinth, there are a surprising number of free resources available. I’ve included some links below, but call ahead to verify hours.
- The labyrinth at the Brecksville United Methodist Church will be open to the public on April 21 and 22. Call or check their website for more information.
- Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, Ohio has two labyrinths for walking and wooden finger labyrinths. It is free and open to the public on Tuesdays from 6 p.m until 8:45 p.m.
- St. John’s Lutheran Church in Highland Heights has a labyrinth for walking.
- St. Malachi Church in Cleveland has one in their parking lot.
- There is a Summer Solstice Labyrinth walk at Crowne Point Ecology Center in Bath Township.