Our timing for the labyrinth walk at St. Scholastica Monday was perfect: We walked between cloudbursts. If you've never walked a labyrinth, it's like walking a maze but there's only one way in, which is also the way out.
As a spiritual experience, there's no wrong way to do it: You can walk mindfully, seek guidance, set an intention, or pray for self and others. My favorite approach is to look for how the labyrinth experience mirrors my life experience.
Is my pace fast or slow? Am I anticipating what's next or aware of each step? Am I distracted or focused? Are my thoughts projecting ahead, dwelling on what's past, or present in the now? Am I aware of sights and sounds around me, or my inner experience? Am I at peace, content to follow the path; or perhaps, restless, looking for shortcuts and forging my own path?
Introvert that I am, I usually prefer walking when no one's around. Monday, though, five of us shared the experience with two football teams and a gaggle of parents cheering a scrimmage on an adjacent field. At first, I determined to block out coaches' yelling, referee whistles and fan noise. But then I noticed the hubub applied to my walking: As I approached a turn in the path, coach would holler instructions; when I made the turn, parents cheered. I began to sense a deeper connection with everything in the scene....five of us traversing a single path...birdsong melodically mixing with game noise, light and shadow dancing as the sun's rays flickered through clouds. It was profoundly beautiful ... and perfectly ordinary.
While my sense of connection at that depth was fleeting, I believe the connection itself is ever-present. Whatever your current approach to life's path, my prayer today affirms we're all connected in the one great heart that beats for all.