By Susan Waite
I have never really been successful at any attempts to meditate. If I sit still and fully manage to “clear my head,” well, then, I have likely fallen asleep. Even though one doesn’t remain still for the labyrinth, still, the idea of meditation kept me away. However, during our recent season of Advent I decided to give it a try.
I arrived to the Parlor, where it was laid out, and all was darkened and serene. I read through some of the helpful hints located on the stand outside the door which suggested various ways to practice your walk. I chose to focus on just the beginning of the hymn Spirit of the Living God. These words are all I used:
Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me. Melt me. Mold me. Fill me. Use me.
I started on the path, merely regulating my breathing as I called on the “Spirit of the Living God to fall fresh on me.” Breathing in and out, focusing on each breath in and out again as I repeated those words and visualized the action taking place – the action of God enveloping me. Then I moved on to first request: Melt me. I asked God to take away my stubborn ways, my complaints, my grievances, my negativity. I released each one of these with a different exhale. Second request: Mold me. I asked God to mold me. I pictured Him as a potter, gently shaping me into a unique vessel, ready to hold something. Third was: Fill me. I breathed in strongly the idea of God filling this new vessel, me, with goodness, faithfulness, patience and loving kindness. I pictured this vessel filled and ready to be used. Lastly: I Use me. I asked God that I might recognize His Will for this newly filled vessel, me.
What I came to realize through this, is that these four requests seem passive – God being the agent to melt me, mold me, fill me and use me. Expecting God to do all the work. But they’re not passive. None of this will be effective unless I actively allow God to act on and in me. He can’t melt me if I won’t actively let things go. He can’t mold me if I won’t do what it takes to sit on the potters’ wheel. He can’t fill me if I won’t receive in joy, and He certainly can’t use me if I won’t pay attention to his calling and allow him to put me where He wants me. It’s all a process, but one I have to actively participate in.
I felt greatly renewed after walking the labyrinth. I’m pretty sure I’ll seek it out when it’s laid out for us again and not “just to give it a try” but to see how I can build on those meditation techniques on future walks.
Give the Labyrinth a try. It will be available to walk on Ash Wednesday, March 6 from 4:00pm-8:00pm in the parlor at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church.