Labyrinths are a tool for the Holy Spirit to do her work on your inner being. The reasons labyrinths facilitate spiritual transformation are connected to discipline, integration, and simply creating space.
When people today say they want spirituality, they mean they want to practice the presence of God in their lives, they want rituals and culture, they want to find an identity other than the one consumerism tries to hand them. Walking a labyrinth is an ancient discipline that does exactly that. It creates intentional time and space for prayer and reflection that brings along their entire being in the experience. The ordinary events of the day, their imagination, the physical reaction of their bodies, all are used by the Holy Spirit in the labyrinth.
At first glance it seems silly to spend 30-4- min walking up and down a design in the floor, but that is not the point. The point is that a choice has been made, a spiritual discipline has been chosen, the presence of God is being sought. Labyrinths are tools. Just like any tool, it may work well for some and not for others, although it is not unusual for a person to emerge from the labyrinth inspired, encouraged, grateful and clearer about next steps. Furthermore, Labyrinth walking is a way to have a spiritual practice, without having to carry centuries of traditional religious authority, which for many can be burdensome.
*This pattern is copy right bypaxworks.com
The relationship between reasoning and the imagination, thought and image, is divided in western culture. The labyrinth helps repair the split; allowing space for the Holy Spirit to use both/all of it in our lives. There is also this pervasive idea that is rooted in Greek culture (of which our culture is a direct descendant) that our body and spirit are separate. WE are discovering though that we are more connected than we could ever understand. Somehow this mystery of our emotions, our thoughts, our physicality, and our souls is all interconnected. What we do to one of those things affects all the others. When we cry it cleanses our soul. When we get angry our bodies respond by pumping adrenaline into our systems. It is interconnected! We are rediscovering that moving ones body in faith can support ones desire for spiritual connection.
When we pray with our whole body we give ourselves permission to follow the intuitions and desires that come. If you need to weep, then weep, if you need to dance with joy, then dance, if you need to kneel, run to the center, sit at the entrance, then do so! Because it is all connected to how God may be transforming, healing and loving you. I guess I should throw in that there is a strong history presented in scripture that supports the physicality of prayer as well; especially in the Old Testament with all the kneeling and prostrating and so on. Our spiritual journey and our physical journey are united and the labyrinth supports that.
One of the goals of Christian spirituality is to bring to light our brokenness and warped selves in order for the God to restore and redeem us. Labyrinths help allow space and time for the Holy Spirit to bring those things to light at the same time as journeying through it and walking out the other side.
The immanent God is the God of the Mystics – the still small voice. This God is found within scriptures and is “written on our hearts” but not given much attention. Using a Labyrinth is a way to give attention to the voice of God.
Note: People often have revelatory and reflective experiences in a labyrinth, but some people are uncomfortable with this. It is alright to trust ones experience in a labyrinth, or perhaps more specifically, trust the Holy Spirit.