The Rebecca Revolution (consisting of my friend Rebecca and me) attended Grace Cathedral After Hours this weekend where we walked the indoor labyrinth listening to piano music. The cathedral is lit up with tons of candles and float through the harmonious symmetry of angles and music making up the church. I walked the labrinyth without questions or intentions and got all the answers I needed.
The Christian (or Chartres) labyrinth has been used since 1201 at Chartes Cathedral (hence the name) as a means of prayer walk or walking meditation. The labryinth at Grace Cathedral is the same type. Labryinths represent a divine imprint of life as there is only one way in and one way out (metaphor for death?). I have walked on before, but this one was more powerful. According to the Website there are three stages of the walk:
There are three stages of the walk:
Purgation (Releasing) ~ A releasing, a letting go of the details of your life. This is the act of shedding thoughts and distractions. A time to open the heart and quiet the mind.
Illumination (Receiving) ~ When you reach the center, stay there as long as you like. It is a place of meditation and prayer. Receive what is there for you to receive.
Union (Returning) ~ As you leave, following the same path out of the center as you came in, you enter the third stage, which is joining God, your Higher Power, or the healing forces at work in the world. Each time you walk the labyrinth you become more empowered to find and do the work you feel your soul reaching for.
This was my experience:
I gently removed my shoes to feel the hard, cold stone of the floor (from 1860) and began putting one foot in front of the other. Immediately I wanted to see what was next, where the path would lead so I would know what to expect. I made a point to touch every stone of the path and to take my time giving space to those in front of me. At each turn I lined my toes up behind the stone and took a moment to start anew. After each twist and turn we need to take the time to appreciate where we were and where we’re headed. That was the thing, I couldn’t tell who was in front or behind…All I could do was focus on my own path, and trust that following it would take me where I needed to go. The center or the 7-circle rose (it has six and the 7th is invisible, for the record), in perfect timing and divine synchronicity the bells began chiming when I entered the center circle. I stared at the ceiling and the candles, and the sacred images on the wall. Taking the time to appreciate how far I’d come and how far I still had to go. On my way back there more people in my path. I got distracted watching them and sometimes forgot what I was doing. I saw some familiar faces (like Rebecca) and sometimes she was gone, lost in the labyrinth. They were just as important as my path, because they were on it. Some of them didn’t even acknowledge me while others bowed their heads greeting me or smiling. I was aggravated by them being in my way…and then I rememebered they were the way. Showing me new things (like the man walking backwards or the woman gently weeping) to take with me on my way back.
After I completed my walk I sat down as the pianist began playing amazing grace. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the delicious darkness. The song ended and the Rebecca Revolution left with Amazing Grace (Cathedral) still ringing in our ears.
Today I'm grateful for Amazing Grace, Grace Cathedral, and Rebecca.