From St. Luke's Unied Methodist chruch in Houston, Texas: The labyrinth is an ancient symbol for the spiritual journey and is found in many cultures around the world. Utilized as a spiritual tool in the Christian faith since the fourth century, it has played a prominent role in the design of numerous cathedrals since the 12th century. Today, the labyrinth has been discovered by a whole new generation of Christ-followers who hunger after God and seek to deepen their spiritual life as they walk its winding paths.
What is the Labyrinth?
It is a single meandering path which ends in an inner circle. The same path must be followed to leave the labyrinth. Thus, it is not a maze with blind alleys, dead ends, and puzzles.
For what is the Labyrinth used?
The Labyrinth is designed for prayer and meditation. As a metaphor for the spiritual journey, the labyrinth suggests insights and analogies for each person’s place on the spiritual path. The labyrinth is an effective tool for “centering prayer”- prayer which is essentially focused on listening to God. It can touch our sorrows and release our joys.
How does the labyrinth work?
Walking a labyrinth is a way to pray and meditate just as kneeling, folding one’s hands, or bowing one’s head are ways to pray. The labyrinth helps us center on God through the physical act of walking a set path that requires our attention. In the walking, distractions fall away and the mind is put at rest so that the spirit (rather than the mind) is able to lead the prayer for the labyrinth-walker.
What are some of the benefits of walking the labyrinth?
Mental and physical benefits can include relaxing and healing, as well as relief from stress and anxiety. Spiritual benefits can include deepening our relationship with God, gaining greater self-knowledge, and transforming our souls through communion with God.
Source: St. Luke's website.