The Transylvania Times -

By Barbara Martin
For The Transylvania Times 

St. Philip's To Host Labyrinth Experience


St. Philip’s church invites the community to an afternoon of teaching and experiencing the ancient spiritual tool of walking a labyrinth. Walking a labyrinth offers an opportunity to take time out of our hectic lives to experience spiritual depth without distraction.

A labyrinth is a pattern with a purpose. It’s a personal “time out” from intellectual pursuits, from media overload, and from the cares of this world to find a deeper place within. Many come away feeling more relaxed, more connected, creatively stimulated and brought back into a state of balance, well being and released from stress.

Walking a labyrinth requires no thought process, but it does require focus. Spiritually, labyrinths speak many languages and mirror many cultures, but have no dogma to teach. Labyrinths provide sacred spaces where the thinking mind can quiet and the inner heart of wisdom can be heard. As people walk toward its center they release, shed, and purge the cares of the world. As they meditatively approach the center of the labyrinth they symbolically approach God. Resting in the center, they may receive illumination or inspiration. Returning to the outer world they bring new awareness, truth, wholeness, clarity, healing and integration. The physical experience becomes a spiritual experience. The walk is more about the journey than the destination about “being” rather than “doing.”

Symbolically, the labyrinth represents our passage through life. The turns and twists reflect life experiences, changes in direction, uncertainties, discoveries and achievements. It is a single path that leads to the center, different than a maze which has false passages and dead ends. As we stay the course every step takes us closer to our goal, our center; no time or effort is wasted.

Many Gothic cathedrals of the middle ages had labyrinths inlaid in their stone floors. The Chartres Cathedral in France still bears the sacred proportion and geometry of the labyrinth built there is 1201. This pattern in recent decades is undergoing a popular revival led by Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

Labyrinths today can be found in churches, playgrounds, parks, prisons, and parking lots. Some people even create them in their own private gardens. Most are permanently placed, but some are portable. The one to be used at St. Philip’s is portable.

The physical engagement makes it a form of body prayer, keeping it from being just mental or theoretical ascent. St. Augustine is quoted saying, “It is solved by walking.” It is an “outer journey with an inner purpose.” Taking time to reconnect with one’s spiritual self and God, to find and engage one’s center and return to everyday life restored, refreshed and rebalanced is a gift to ourselves, the community, and ultimately the world.

Come to St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Brevard Saturday, Sept. 28, from 1-4 p.m. to learn and experience this ancient tradition of walking with purpose. Those who keep a spiritual journal are encouraged to bring it to the event.


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