When I have attended United Methodist events, the prayer rooms all seem to have a common feature- a labyrinth. It seems that some with a spiritual bent all seem to think that we should be walking the labyrinth to connect with God.
“The term labyrinth is often used interchangeably with maze, but modern scholars of the subject use a stricter definition. For them, a maze is a tour puzzle in the form of a complex branching passage with choices of path and direction; while a single-path (unicursal) labyrinth has only a single path to the center. A labyrinth has an unambiguous through-route to the center and back and is not designed to be difficult to navigate.” (Wikipedia)
While a maze stiumlates and engages one’s problem-solving faculties, a labyrinth requires nothing intellectually of the one who walks, as it begins and ends in the same place. It engages the body in movement while leaving the mind free to listen for the voice of God within.
At a recent national conference of Methodist educators the prayer room attendant would educate the labyrinth novices each morning, giving them information about the history and purpose of it, then inviting them to morning prayer within it.
Many labyrinths contain some spiraling elements. As I thought about the goal of heightened listening to God in the labyrinth, it occurred to me that God has placed a labyrinth within the physical hearing mechanism – the cochlea. How appropriate that both the physical mechanism of hearing and this spiritual mechanism of hearing would both contain the spiral structure, given its association with spirituality.