“The labyrinth is a path of prayer, a walking meditation that can become a mirror of the soul. It has one single path that meanders in a circuitous way from the entry to the center and back out again. The path becomes a metaphor for our own spiritual journey. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is designed for you to lose your way; a labyrinth is designed for you to find your way.” –Jill Kimberly Hartwell Geoffrion, Praying the Labyrinth: A Journal for Spiritual Exploration
A Labyrinth is an ancient spiritual practice, a winding path that can be used as an aid to meditation and prayer. Walking a labyrinth, from entrance to center and back out again, is a simple, contemplative exercise that allows you to free yourself from busy thoughts and slow down to receive the message that God has for you.
Our permanent indoor labyrinth is inlaid in the tile floor of Fellowship Hall. It's modeled after an 800-year-old labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Labyrinth:
What is a labyrinth?
Labyrinths are sacred symbols that predate Christianity by nearly a millennium, with the first known examples found in ancient Greece. They were adopted by Christian churches during medieval times, often inlaid in tile on cathedral floors, to symbolize the walk to Jerusalem, or the road leading to God, undertaken by pilgrims. Asbury First’s labyrinth, which is also inlaid in tile, is modeled after the one at Chartres Cathedral in Paris.
A labyrinth is characterized by having one non-branching pathway that leads to the center. It is designed to be easy to walk. The walker begins at a clearly defined entrance and follows a pathway that circles and turns to provide a meandering way for the modern-day “pilgrim” to follow.
Why do we walk the labyrinth?
Labyrinths are used in contemporary churches as a form of meditation. They can symbolize our life’s journey or any experience that challenges and transforms us. Walking the labyrinth quiets the mind, focuses our thoughts on the divine, and leads us to a better understanding of our inner self.
How do I walk a labyrinth?
There is no right or wrong way. Many people walk slowly, to better allow them to focus and think. Others move more briskly, or even dance or skip it. Your pace is completely up to you. The labyrinth can also be set up to accommodate persons who are physically challenged.
What should I be thinking about when I am walking the labyrinth?
Again, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Most people pause at the beginning to empty their mind, if they are able, of the chaos of everyday life.
Here are some other suggestions:
- Some people repeat a phrase over and over again, like “I come with joy to meet my Lord,” to calm their mind as they walk.
- Spend your labyrinth journey practicing stress reduction. Imagine that with every exhaled breath, more of your stress washes away.
- Use the journey to contemplate a question or concern in your life. Start by centering yourself, quieting your mind, and then let your attention rest gently on whatever is troubling you. Don’t let it worry you, just observe it nonjudgmentally and allow God to lead you to new insights.
- Many people use a practice called the threefold mystical path. To do this, consider the following stages:
- The journey to the center of the labyrinth is a time of purgation, or cleansing, a time to let go of all that troubles or distracts you.
- When you reach the center, pause for as long as you wish for a time of illumination. Here you merely open your heart to God, content to receive God’s peace and wisdom as it unfolds for you.
- The third stage, for your journey out, is called union. It allows you time and space to integrate and understand the process that you’ve been engaged in, to take what was gained back into the world.
I’ve never walked a labyrinth before – what do I need to do to get started?
There is nothing you need to do to prepare for walking the labyrinth. When you arrive at Fellowship Hall, you will find a quiet, reflective atmosphere with soft music playing in the background. The labyrinth steward will greet you, give you a short orientation, and answer any questions you might have. Then just walk! If you are able, we suggest that you remove your shoes first, to help keep the labyrinth clean and to reflect the notion of the labyrinth as sacred space. Pause for a minute or so as you enter, if you wish, and then just follow the path. It is perfectly acceptable to pass others if you are moving faster than they are or if you meet them on the path. If someone wishes to pass you, you can step off the path briefly to make room.
Your labyrinth walk is your own personal experience, and one that can unfold as you wish. By opening your mind to the possibility of the divine in your life as you walk, you enter into a new and enriched dialogue with God, one that will stay with you long after you are finished your walk.
Where are you located?
The labyrinth is on the lower floor of the Asbury First sanctuary building, at 1040 East Avenue. You may reach it from the rear parking lot; just follow the signs to the labyrinth.
When may I walk the labyrinth?
The labyrinth is available on the second Wednesday of each month, from 5:00-7:00 pm; and more frequently during Advent and Lent. Check the events calendar for the exact dates and times the labyrinth is open.
How do I find out more information?
To find out more about the labyrinth or become a labyrinth steward, contact Linda Freed (223-9092) or Charlotte Craig (473-9674).