When discussing labyrinths, you see terms like path, journey, and pilgrimage. The Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress in her book, “Walking a Sacred Path: Rediscovering the Labyrinth as a Spiritual Tool,” urges us to be pilgrims, not tourists in our lives. What is the difference? A tourist is an observer who comes into an area with an interested eye, takes pictures, and leaves. A pilgrim may take pictures and also participates, interacts, and comes with a searching heart.
What are we searching for as we walk the labyrinth? Perhaps, as Dr Artress suggests in her newest book, “The Sacred Path Companion: A Guide to Walking the Labyrinth to Heal and Transform,” we are seeking methods and teachings that will help Spirit permeate every moment of our lives. She continues, “If you are on a spiritual path – any path from the rich traditions of the world’s religions – to live a healed and transformed life, you want to:
- Deepen your compassion
- Lessen your judgments
- Increase your patience
- Find your purpose and share it with the world.
Rev. Artress holds these four guidelines up as ideals – we may never develop all of them fully, but they point in the direction we want to go. This season of Lent and the spring Equinox is a good time to reflect upon our lives over the last year and begin to answer the questions associated with these spiritual guidelines:
- Have I deepened my compassion for my family, my friends, and the strangers who cross my path?
- Have I lessened my judgments about my loved ones and those I meet?
- Have I increased my patience with my loved ones and those I meet on the path?
- Have I found my purpose, and nurtured it, so I can be of service to the world?
- “What stops these qualities from becoming a deeper part of your life?” is the next question posed. These questions offer us a way to reflect on our spiritual growth.
“Walking the Path” Quotes:
“If we attempt to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening our own self-understanding, our own freedom, integrity and capacity to love, we will not have anything to give to others. We will communicate nothing but the contagion of our own obsessions, our aggressiveness, our own ego-centered ambitions.” Thomas Merton
“Feminine wisdom is rooted in experience, in compassion. She thinks with her heart and is more concerned with the processes than with the products of a life lived fully. She does not value the presence of power but the power of presence.” Jill Mellick
May the compassion, love, and powerful presence of the Sacred bless your journeys!