Many of us will be walking with the disciples on the road to Emmaus this week, smiling indulgently with their confusion and secretly winking at each other ‘cos we know who the stranger is who joins them on their walk. If only hindsight were available at the time, eh?
Sadly, nothing on The Reflectionary can provide you with a time machine to go back and re-do all those, let us say, ‘sub-optimal’ parts of our lives, nor grant you perfect revelation. Instead I can offer a compact version of the road to Emmaus for you to take a slow journey and chat with someone you might meet along the way.
What’s a labyrinth?
If you’ve never used a labyrinth before, let me introduce you. For starters, this is not a maze. It’s not a puzzle. There are no traps and no dead-ends. It’s just one long winding road that sometimes takes you in unexpected directions – a bit like life, really.
As you enter you have a choice to turn left or right. Which will you choose? Then you move through three spirals, winding in and then out of each before passing into the next. The ground under your feet changes as you move through – stones, straw, cobbles, leaves, pavers, stones again – and eventually you return to the start. What will change on your journey?
How do I use it?
Labyrinths have a long history in Christian prayer and meditation, and you can find labyrinths in many cathedrals. You can print out this image and trace it with your finger, or walk around a full-sized labyrinth if you have one near you.
There is no right or wrong way to ‘walk’ a labyrinth. You might like to:
- Take a few deep breaths before you enter, and tell God about the things filling your mind.
- Place your concerns at the entrance of the labyrinth, leaving them aside while you walk.
- Colour the path as you walk around the spirals.
- Take someone with you as you walk, to bring them to God.
- Use a small trinket to represent your progress along the path.
- Pause whenever you like, for as long as you like.
- Walk alone in silence, or with friends, or with music.
- Stop at the centre of each spiral and think about the phases of your life.
- Look at the texture of each path – does that fit for you?
- Move slowly along some parts, or quickly along others.
- Pause, and walk some more tomorrow.
- Write names along the path.
- Rest in silence, and listen.
- While you are in the labyrinth, look outwards to the world beyond – does it look different from here?
- Enjoy the journey and do not worry about the destination
Click on the image below to download and print the labyrinth for you own personal use. Do not place on any website or distribute without permission.
Image copyright (c) Fay Rowland 2019