Labyrinth

Labyrinth

The labyrinth is offered as a resource for meditative walking and prayer,
available to the St. Michael’s Family of Faith and the community at large.

Each person’s approach to labyrinth walking is highly personal.

Overview

Lab2

By using the labyrinth as a form of pilgrimage we go deep inside and find meaning. This experience comes from within us, not from the labyrinth. In addition to walking the labyrinth ourselves, watching others walk the labyrinth can be calming as well.

You walk St. Michael’s labyrinth by entering from the east, where the stepping-stone path begins. You follow the path to the center, where you may wish to pause for a few moments. Then you reverse your direction and retrace your path back out to the starting point. In walking any labyrinth, you should always complete the pattern by following the path inward and outward, rather than cutting across the pattern at any point. The inward movement needs to be complemented by a corresponding outward return.

If several persons walk a labyrinth together, they may pass one another, going in either the same direction or opposite to each other. They may pass in meditative silence or quietly salute each other by a nod of the head or a raising of the hands. The effect of meeting fellow pilgrims on the path is part of the labyrinthine experience. The labyrinth is a joyfully sacred space. You do not need to be somber around it, but if someone is walking the labyrinth, it is courteous to respect the need they may have for quiet concentration.

As you enter the labyrinth, you may focus your thoughts on a question or concern. You may walk the labyrinth with a quiet mind, sensing without particularizing the wonder of the pattern. Or you may walk it with some of its many symbolic meanings held in your mind as seed thoughts. In the labyrinth, as in life, there is no single right way to follow the path.

Guide

Walk the labyrinth by using these few steps:

  1. Stand in front of the entrance to the labyrinth. State your intention as clearly as possible. For example: I want a solution to my problem with ... It could be anything that is troubling you.
  2. Center yourself by taking a couple of deep breaths. This is important because by doing this you instruct your subconscious and all other parts of yourself to pay attention to your sincere wish of solving your problem.
  3. Acknowledge your coming meditative or spiritual journey within the labyrinth. You could say a short prayer, closing your eyes and reflecting, or taking a simple bow are other nice ways to begin the process.
    • Decide whether you will walk barefoot or with shoes on. With bare feet, you can feel the texture of the earth beneath your feet and connect to its grounding forces.
  4. Begin your walk. The first step sets the pace for your walk. It can be fast or slow. Choose your intention for the walk. Are you being spiritual, reflective, mindful, playful, or creative? If you are problem solving, your walk becomes a meditation when you surrender all your problems and just walk. Other parts of you now have a chance to process your request of a solution.
    • If you are very upset: fast walking lets the emotions dissipate easier. Most people try slowing down their mind by slower walking, relying on the mind and body reflection.
  5. Continue to walk. Keep your mind quiet, and still pestering thoughts each time they arise. Concentrate on the placement of one foot before the other and rhythmic, gentle and regular breathing.
    • If you're problem solving, walk as if you didn’t have any problems at all, let it all go. Surrender to the activity of attentive walking. Let the burden (your problem) fall off your shoulders. Various parts of your being are now processing your wish for a solution. All you have to do is to let it incubate and not interfere, let it be and let go of any expectations. Continue to walk as you didn’t have any problems at all, let it all go.

    • If you're going on a spiritual journey or seeking creative inspiration, again let it all go
      and just surrender to the experience of walking the labyrinth.
  6. Pause on reaching the center. You may stop here for a while, sit if you like and meditate or reflect. The main thing is to let yourself surrender totally to your inner process. It feels so good to have all the time you need.
    • If you don't have a problem, question or quest for inspiration, just sit quietly and
      let things be.
  7. Walking out. As you walk out, accept the insights and gifts you may have received, as meditative or in the spiritual journey you have completed.

Prayer Team

The Prayer Team is a ministry that has been active at St. Michael's for many years. Members dedicate themselves to daily intercessory prayer for those in need of this spiritual support. Prayer requests may be made by members of the congregation on behalf of themselves, other church members, family, friends, or people outside St. Michael's congregation. In addition to prayers for physical, mental or spiritual needs, the Team offers up prayers of thanksgiving for blessings and healings received. We believe this ministry strengthens the spiritual life of the parish and provides a resource of caring support for people in times of need, as well as joy and thanksgiving.

Confidentiality of prayers is maintained within the prayer group. Prayers may be requested through the rector Fr. Tom, members of the Team, or by contacting the Coordinator, Amy Gardner.

Spiritual Direction

"To see Thee more clearly, to love Thee more dearly, to follow Thee more nearly, day by day."
(Richard of Chichester)

St. Michael's is pleased to be able to offer Spiritual Direction from within the parish.

Spiritual direction is a ministry that is open to all who seek to know God, follow Jesus, grow spiritually, develop a full and meaningful prayer life, discern God's will, ask hard questions, and/or become increasingly aware of God's presence and active involvement in all of life. St. Michael's has available trained, qualified and competent Spiritual Directors. A Spiritual Director may be thought of as a guide, a companion, a soul friend or a fellow pilgrim.

For more information concerning this vital ministry of the church, contact Julianne Parker or the church office. Please call for individual appointments. Retreats and various individual and group prayer experiences will be offered throughout the church year.