Emerson Field Labyrinth

In our church’s ongoing endeavor for deeper spiritual meaning for each of us, a labyrinth has being installed on the Emerson Field. This is not an elaborate facility, but rather a simple introduction for our use. 

[Link to thoughts on meditative walking]

Could something as simple as walking a labyrinth help boost your mood and improve your health? Absolutely, according to Dr. Darshan Mehta, medical director at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Mehta believes that this ancient practice can be a balm for modern-day miseries.

Labyrinths have existed in all the world’s cultures — in Europe, Southeast Asia, with the indigenous cultures of North America, virtually everywhere, Mehta said in a recent Zoom seminar hosted by Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway (in honor of the labyrinth at Armenian Heritage Park). Labyrinths have been found on Spanish petroglyphs and on the floors of medieval cathedrals. “It’s an experience that can be shared across cultures and age groups, and it offers an opportunity for people who disagree politically to enjoy a common space,” Mehta said.  Read complete article here.

 

We are all on the path… exactly where we need to be. The labyrinth is a model of that path. A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. The labyrinth has long been used as meditation and prayer tools.

We Explore Prayer as We Walk the Labyrinth

As we begin our adult relationships with God through prayer, walking the labyrinth can introduce us to another type of prayer - prayer in motion, instead of prayer in absolute stillness.

We walk the labyrinth in silence, respecting one another's private time in prayer.  Each person reacts to the labyrinth differently, but the experience is valuable for everyone in that it does broaden our experience of prayer, giving us all a new perspective on what prayer might be.

 

There are three movements to the labyrinth, and you are free to make of them whatever you like:

  • Moving Inward

  • Centering

  • Moving Outward

Please use these suggestions if you find them appropriate. You might want to select one from each movement and try it, or create your own rhythm to each of the movements. Using all the suggestions at once is overwhelming.

 

Moving Inward

(A time to cast off, discard, divest, unwrap, forget)

  1. Discard our many roles (mother, father, wife, husband, sister, brother, student, accountant, teacher, pastor) and simply say "I am."

  2. Leave the noise, demands, voices around us, and enter a soothing silence.

  3. Unload our guilt, resentment, self-hatred, failures, depression, shame, and forgive ourselves.

  4. Set aside all the things we think we want and need, hoping to find what God wants.

  5. Leave the familiar world of day-to-day living for a different experience.

  6. Choose to ignore all our ideas about God and theology, and return to the beginning  of our faith.

  7. Reject the anxious desire to get the most out of the labyrinth, simply becoming open and expectant.

 

Centering

(A time to be open, expectant, empty, naked, and receptive, as though we were receiving a gift)

  1. Take the risk of recognizing an emptiness within ourselves that only love can fill.

  2. Enjoy the silence, stillness, waiting, and the simplicity of nothing happening.

  3. Take time to listen to an inner voice or to nothing or to mystery.

  4. Contemplate the blessing of the hidden nature of God who cannot be fully known, cannot be manipulated, cannot be made into an idol, cannot be pinned down, contained or tamed.

  5. Consider the possibility of the new, the miraculous, the transfiguring entering our lives.

  6. Remember that the Holy Spirit, like the wind, blows where she will.

 

Moving Outward

(A time to gain direction, satisfaction, comfort, and new energy)

  1. Decide to continue a journey deeper into the love of Christ.

  2. Refuse to take up again the guilt and hatred of the past.

  3. Seek a simpler and more focused life.

  4. Rest in the knowledge of God's unconditional love.

  5. Move away from anxiety toward peace and faith.

  6. Seek the direction of the Holy Spirit.

 

For more information see http://www.lessons4living.com/walking.htm

or http://www.labyrinthsociety.org/

(Thanks to Duane Melling)

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