Walking a labyrinth path can be a metaphor for the spiritual path we take in life.
A Short History
Evidence of labyrinths has been discovered in such places as Peru, Arizona, Iceland, Scandinavia, Crete, Egypt, and Sumatra dating back at least 4000 years.
During the crusades in the Middle ages when Christians could not make their pilgrimage to Jerusalem, a new design of labyrinth sprang up in Europe in the floors of great cathedrals, most notably in Chartres at the end of the 12th Century.
There has been a modern resurgence of labyrinth walking, led by Rev Dr Lauren Artress who introduced the labyrinth to Grace Cathedral, in San Francisco, in 1991. Since then they have been used in many settings for meditative walks. The picture show the 7 circuit design at a retreat centre called the Quiet View, near Canterbury. I know of some hospices that have them in their gardens. I have laid one out on my own lawn, by mowing the path and leaving the grass between to grow naturally. The design can look complex, but the construction technique is straightforward.
Following the Path
Before I begin I still myself and set the intention of being healed. As I walk the path, I mindfully place each step. I follow the twists and turns, and notice each thought and feeling as they arise. When I reach the centre I pause and open to the Source to receive healing; forgiveness, peace and guidance. As I follow the path back into the world I bring that sense of peace and resolution with me.
Dr Craig Brown