Our church installed a labyrinth this year and dedicated it to our founding pastor and his family. It's purpose is to provide a meditative/contemplative exercise to the user. I've never used a labyrinth and I've never learned much about them except for hearing one person's experience with it.
This morning I visited the labyrinth. I am glad that I haven't read much about them because each idea I had for how to do it was new and my own (rather, from God.) Here's how it went...
I prayed before stepping onto the paver stones that I would be able to clearly hear God if He had anything to say to me. That's it. I had no lofty expectations or goals for my time in the labyrinth. I stepped onto the bricks and prayed again, clearing my mind and asking only to have my thoughts be God's thoughts.
I walked in sets of 10 steps. After each 10 steps, I paused. I did my best not to find words to offer up thanks to God for the birds that were singing their praises in the fields around me or for the tickling breeze on my bare skin or for the happy, fluffy clouds in the sky as I looked up to feel God's face gazing on mine. I felt thankful but did not clutter my mind by putting words to my feelings.
Each time my stomach leapt because I thought I'd walked on the wrong path (hard to do when there's only one, but the path is separated from its own curves by just a row of different colored pavers) I immediately told myself it didn't matter even if I was on the wrong path and to let it go.
As I neared the center, I felt the urge to take off my shoes and socks to stand barefoot directly on the stones. I thought that was a little weird, especially since I knew people in the parking lot could see me as they arrived for the bible study group I was about to attend. Then I realized God was telling me not to be embarrassed and to just do it, so I did. I stood barefoot in the center for a minute or two, then picked my shoes up and walked slowly but continuously out the path, feeling the cold stone and the occasional piece of gravel digging into the soles of my feet.
I had no earth-shattering experience while in the labyrinth, but I did feel extremely at peace and completely open to hearing Him, which was my only hope for the exercise.
I plan to try it again sometime soon.