October 31, 2013

Respite in Walking the Labyrinth

By Margaret Rappaport

So much of modern life is exciting and stimulating. Part of the time that suits most of us. We are motivated to keep up with the demands of knowing as much as we can, performing at our best and staying on top. If we’re smart about it and we get the right amount of sleep, make the best nutritional choices and put some time into exercise we are golden.

There is something lacking in this pretty picture. Don’t read on unless you dare to consider there is probably very little respite in your routine and you need some. Respite is an important pause, a rest, time away to breathe and think and feel something besides the rush of living.

Living well requires that we sort through our daily choices. Like accomplishing our spiritual goals, such as making time for prayer, we have to arrange and plan for respite. It can’t just happen and you know yourself it usually doesn’t in the day to day hubbub. Our lives are spent in the blare and glare of the technology age. We are distracted by the sounds and lights urging us to keep going rather than looking forward to our health and happiness.

Walking the labyrinth is a practice, really a tool that helps us dial back and shut out the blare and glare. In place of the demands and the distractions the labyrinth focuses our attention on our inner lives. We come to experience our private thoughts and feelings. We exalt in our personal worth, detached for fifteen or twenty minutes or an hour, from the external conditions of worth. Dare I suggest we find ourselves?

And the most interesting aspect of walking the labyrinth is that we can do it together, if we wish. Community doesn’t invade our respite at all.

Margaret Rappaport