Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Labyrinth of the Heart

Dr D invited me to spend the morning with him in Glendalough, one of my favourite places, - a "thin" place for me. He wanted to help me to have a morning with God. The morning was to be divided in three parts the first of which was the labyrinth.

The idea was to start at the outside-symbolising where I felt in relation to myself i.e. resident in the outer courts of myself. From there I would journey to my centre via the various paths the labyrinth would present. I live in my head a lot -going inwards- heartwards- I don't always do instinctively. So, starting at the outside, facing inwards I begin to speak to God and myself, saying aloud (!)I feel this... I feel that...making a stab at how I feel. It might be...I feel frustrated... I feel bunged up inside...I feel annoyed that I don't know how I feel. As I get closer to the (my) centre, I get closer to how I am really feeling." I am feeling frustrated" might develop into I am so angry at Tom for not getting back to me with his decision. "I feel numb about that argument" might morph into "I am so hurt by what she said, I feel so pathetic, will I ever feel like a grown up".
The labyrinth at Glendalough

Each effort peals some of the numbness away, leads to a more real picture of how I am doing.  Often we can, out of habit, (maybe a need to protect ourselves), ignore the feelings we have - especially the uncomfortable ones. Unfortunately, this desire to keep us sane pushes us out from our centre to the outskirts. Ignoring uncomfortable feelings numbs us to all feelings, even the life giving ones.

Being pushed out of our centre impacts our relationship with God too. We meet him in our deepest place- the bible calls it the heart. If we've left home, it's so much harder to sense Him, to feel his presence, live out of His energy. So the journey from the outskirts of the labyrinth to the centre is the journey to our own hearts where God lives. And that's why Dr D taught me to begin my morning with God with the journey inwards. Answering the question, "How do I feel?" as I took each step.  To meet God both of us have to be present. Funny how I often think it’s Him who hasn’t turned up!
St Kevin's Chapel Glendalough

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