On the labyrinth of life
There are no dead ends

Plan of the labyrinth at Reims Cathedral

Just keep going
Into the centre
Then out to the edge
Into the centre
For silence, stillness, grace
Then out to the edge
With the voice you’ve heard
And the courage you’ve been given

On the labyrinth of life
You can’t change tracks
You can only be on
The one you’re on
Heading in the direction
You’re heading in
Into the centre or
Out to the edge
Into the centre, then
Out to the edge

On the labyrinth of life
There are twists and turns
Each path beckons anew
Each step a new one
So take your time
Slow down
Feel the path
Beneath your feet
Feel your feet
Bear your weight
Feel your shape
Moving through space
Through time and space
Into eternity
Into your sacred centre, then
Out to your sacred edge

The labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral

On the labyrinth of life
Life goes on
You may think
It is you
Who is doing the walking
But really
Each day comes
Whether you are ready or not
Each step calls
Ready or not
Your only choice
Is when and how
To answer
Or not.

On the labyrinth of life
There is One who waits
At your centre
Waits to hold you
Longs to hold you
If you will allow
‘Lie down
Take your rest
In me
Don’t you know?
Haven’t you heard?
I make all things new
Again and again
Including you.’

Noel Giblett, West Australia Regional Meeting

For those unfamiliar with labyrinths, it is vital to note that they are not the same thing as mazes. Mazes are arguably a cruel trick designed to baffle and defeat you—full of dead ends and blind alleys.

Labyrinths are the opposite. They are an invitation to let go and experience contemplative-mind by means of a walking meditation—you cannot get lost (although you may feel temporarily so). You enter in silence and reverence and all you have to do is stay on the path, into the centre and then back out to the edge (your beginning point), hopefully knowing the place as if for the first time (TS Eliot). With practise you learn to walk slowly and purposefully, perhaps holding a question or an issue, pausing in the centre and listening for Spirit, before heading back out to the edge (your edge, your outer world).

Many of the old European cathedrals had a labyrinth in the crypt and the priest/s would walk the labyrinth before conducting the service. A contemplative mindset was seen as vital preparation for authentic worship, if not for all of life.

So, walking a labyrinth can be a means of entering into a state of surrender and deep receptivity. Like all practices, the more you surrender to the practice itself the deeper the experience. But, rest assured, it is entirely possible to walk a labyrinth without being in the slightest bit touched or affected! Labyrinths vary in design but ultimately it’s not the design that matters as much as the spirit in which the pilgrim enters and walks the path.

As David Whyte says, translating Antonio Machado:

 ‘Path-maker, there is no path.
You make the path by walking.
By walking you make the path.’


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