Did you know that in Edinburgh there is a hidden gem? In the heart of George Square lies a simple labyrinth. A path of prayer and meditation, a peaceful solace amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, why not take some time out to walk the labyrinth?
Labyrinths originate from Greek mythology, yet are still a form of prayer walk used by many Christians today. Although after a cursory glance, a labyrinth could easily be mistaken as a maze, after closer inspection a labyrinth unlike a maze has no multiple paths or dead ends. Instead it consists of one, surprisingly long path, which slowly meanders to its climax in the centre of the design and then back again to the start.
Walking a labyrinth is a way of taking a pilgrimage in daily life, without actually having to travel too far. They can even be ‘walked’ in the home by tracing your finger around a labyrinth design as a form of meditative prayer. Similar to taking a pilgrimage, walking a labyrinth is a means of praying not just in our minds but also with our feet and bodies, the outer physical progress symbolising the faith journey within; the return journey symbolising our return to our reality.
Whilst walking the Labyrinth at George Square with other young adults from Seekers, I felt a deep intensity of prayer and meditation. Surprisingly, the entire length of the labyrinth took a while, especially with 15 of us following the path to and from the centre. I felt the walk was a metaphor for life, though we were all effectively walking the same path we all had different experiences, with our pace, timing and intention.
As is true for Christianity we share our lives with our brothers and sisters in Christ. This metaphor was made clearer by the hold ups and crossing along the route. Some walked slower than others, leaving a train of people behind them. Some were already on their return journey before others had started which meant their paths crossed. Some were even sent off course and had to return to the narrow path after dealing with the fact someone had accidentally locked us in the garden!
However, I found all these similarities prophetic of the way we as Christians live our lives together, in relative harmony. There wasn’t impatience; there wasn’t a race to be to first to finish.