The Labyrinth at Abbey Road
The labyrinth is a geometrically designed meditation adjunct that facilitates peaceful thought and inner calm. These are much-needed qualities for all of us. Abbey Road Christian Church of Cape Girardeau has provided one of these unique structures to assist you in your journey through life. The labyrinth is open to the public and accessible from the upper south side of the parking lot. Call us for more information.
To learn about labyrinths in general, go to: http://www.labyrinthsociety.org/
For an article about The Labyrinth at Abbey Road and labyrinths in general, please visit http://www.semissourian.com/story/2075856.html
From the Labyrinth Book of Reflections:
"I'm very thankful to have found this Labyrinth. I live within walking distance, but didn't know it existed until I was cleaning the floor of my laundry room and came across a brochure. It gives me the same peace walking forest trails does, except I learn more about myself without all of the fascinating distractions. Thank you for maintaining this dynamic space.
"What a beautiful and magical experience”I was surprised by the effect”and loved it! Very well done”blessings!"
Some of us girls gathered at the church labyrinth a couple Sundays ago; it was a perfect day and the perfect way to bring it to a close. Thank you for all your ongoing efforts to preserve and enhance that sacred ground!
"What a wonderful calming place! It is a beautiful place to pray and meditate for wellness. I am so thankful when tools such as this are given to us for peace and love. I hope more people discover this beautiful place. Thank you for sharing this with our community.
Spirituality of the Labyrinth
In her book, Walking a Sacred Path, Dr. Lauren Artress explains the symbolism of walking the labyrinth: "The Labyrinth reintroduces the experience of walking a clearly defined path. This reminds us that there is a path, a process that brings us to unity in the center of our beings. In the simple act of walking, the soul finds signs of life."
The Chartres labyrinth is in the form of a circle with one purposeful path, from the edge to the center and back out again. It is a very complex pattern with 11 concentric circles and 34 turns along a path that meanders through the labyrinth.
The labyrinth is a metaphor for our journey through life. It is a spiritual tool meant to awaken us to the deep rhythm that unites us to the light that calls from within. In surrendering to the winding path, the soul finds healing and wholeness. We all have a profound need to connect to the spirit that enlivens us. We need that core feeling connecting us to the Divine to give our lives meaning, to find the vision for the future.
The labyrinth has been compared to a walking meditation. There is nothing magical about the labyrinth itself”it is simply an orderly path to help a person focus and quiet their mind.
There are layers upon layers of meaning in the ancient tool of the labyrinth, but the best way to learn about it is to walk it, with an open heart and an open mind. Then allow your experience to guide you.
The labyrinth is a tool to guide healing, deepen self knowledge, and empower creativity. Walking the labyrinth clears the mind and gives insight into the spiritual journey. It urges action. It calms people in the throes of life transitions. It helps them see their lives in the context of a path, a pilgrimage.
How to Walk the Labyrinth
Typically, a person meditatively walks the path in, pauses in the center, and walks the same path back out, praying, singing, or just listening for God's presence. The way in is regarded as an emptying of self; the center, a union with God; and the path outward, a fulfillment or embracing of God's purpose for the seeker”often an experience described as healing.
To begin: Stop, relax, and breathe deeply. You may choose to simply quiet your mind and let go of all thoughts. Or you may want to set an intention or ask a particular question for which you require guidance. You may choose to walk in silence or to quietly whisper a favorite prayer, phrase, song, or mantra throughout your walk. Slowly step into the path and let your body walk to a peaceful rhythm. This first stage of the walk is a "shedding - a releasing or letting go of the details of your life. It quiets the mind.
When you reach the center, pause for a few moments and let yourself become aware of how you feel or of any insight that may have come to you. You may stay in the center as long as you wish. This stage of the path is "illumination - receive what guidance there is for you to receive.
As you leave the center and follow the same path outward, you may want to think about what you received and how it fits into your everyday life. Let it take hold of you as you walk so that you carry it with you into your day and into your relationship with others. This last stage of the walk with God is "union.
For most people, walking the labyrinth at a moderate pace will take about 15 minutes each way, but please set your own pace. Remember that this labyrinth is not a maze; the path will always be clear before you. Because there is just one pathway, you may come upon someone who is walking in the opposite direction. You may simply step aside while the other person passes.
Each time you walk the labyrinth, you may expect a new and different experience.
Labyrinth Dedicated at Bethany College
At a Disciples Men's Gathering in 2012 at Bethany College in West Virginia, the men began planning to build a prayer labyrinth. This labyrinth was dedicated on September 21, 2013, and is between the old Campbell Mansion and Alexander's study. At the close of the dedication, the Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins commissioned the labyrinth with these words:
Watching that plaque go in reminds me of one of my favorite ways of thinking about a labyrinth. It is a prayer walk. You come and you go and you twist and you turn and different people are on it at different points. I think of it as a dance with God, a prayer dance with God.
The other thing about labyrinths that I think is so perfect for Disciples is that when you are on the Labyrinth, you do twist and turn and go one way and then the other way but you never really get lost. You're always moving into the center of God's heart. And as we watch different people on the labyrinth at the same time, it looks like we're going in different directions, like we're going against each other or against the traffic, or one's going one way and one's going another way, and what's more Disciple than that? And yet, we are all on the path into the heart of God. Each in our own moment, each in our own point along the way, and in some kind of strange, not logical but real way, we are all together. We are all one. We're all one in God's heart and in the hearts of each other.
So, this labyrinth, founded on prayer, dancing with God in Prayer, and being at one with each other, what is more perfect than to be at Alexander Campbell's place in Bethany where Jesus' friends dwell.