The hardest thing to do when walking the Labyrinth last night was to empty my mind. As I tried to move in slow, measured paces, I had to try to block out the playful race that some chorister children wanted to put on going on the same route. “Shhh!” I tatted, as they tried to maneuver their ways along. They tried to skip along and it took all the tolerance I could muster to block them out. No one need be concerned about who they meet along the path, heading in the same or opposite direction, but the children were a challenge.
The people you encounter along the path are supposed to be like light breezes–sensed, but not too much noticed. As we each tried to make our way into the centre so that we could then have that longer moment of deep reflection, we were supposed to empty our heads of all that was going on and had gone on. Impossible! Like going on a holiday, it takes time to leave behind that from which you are trying to escape. The Labyrinth is only open once each week during Lent, but it would be nice if it were available all the time.
When I reached the centre, I took my space and closed my eyes. On my way to the middle, I had tried to shut out as much of the current day by casting my eyes down on the path lines, hoping that they would pull out the strands of the day’s good and less good points. Maybe, the path needs to be set in a room with much light. The music in the background, soothing though it was, did not have enough expulsive power.
Then, my head suddenly emptied, for at least a few moments, and I thought about nothing. That’s a hard state to be in. I kept my eyes closed and felt the flow of calmness. I was ready to reverse my route and exit the Labyrinth. The children never made it to the middle, deciding instead to step out to the side. I had no thoughts about that–least, none that I will share for the next 39 days 🙂
We need a way to walk the Labyrinth mentally at least once a day.
A friend and I had a two-hour conversation on Skype this morning. I think he benefited from my walk as I was able to discuss a problem he faced in a context that meant that it was real but not insurmountable. I told him that the burden need not be carried alone and while that may not make it easier, I hoped it would offer a comfort. I understood well the origin of the problem and what it could mean for him in coming weeks.
I try to think during Lent about giving, not lending; and that is not meant to be a trite linguistic difference. But, perhaps lending an understanding can count as giving, and it something to be ready to do not during Lent.