The Labyrinth as a Contemplative Practice

I have had the privilege of doing some spiritual direction training with Brent Unrah on a number of week long intensives. I found Brent to have a wonderfully WELL developed sense of fun and is a great ‘outside of the box’ thinker. He is an art appreciater and creator and brought lots of unique wisdom to our training. I really appreciate and like who he is. I hope you get to know him somewhat from his postings for us on this Blog. Brent Unrah lives on Kingfisher Farm (a community living farm) in South Surrey with his wife (Denise) of 28 years, they have two grown children.  He divides his time between his counselling practice with Coastal Counselling Services (Whalley/Surrey area, new website under development), his Pastiche Art company, and his involvement with Oasis  Retreats as Birkman consultant and workshop facilitator.  He will complete the Soulstream Art of Spiritual Direction course this Spring and has been deeply impacted by his contemplative journey and looks forward to how this will be integrated into his life. He has a passion to weave together the text of Gods word, his life story and the culture around him (books, poetry, plays and movies)  and  can often be found at Small Ritual Coffee Society drinking up a lively conversation.

The Labyrinth as a Contemplative Practice

by: Brent Unrah

You can find Labyrinths in your area by visiting
St. Hilda’s By The Sea or through the graciousness of Brent (see below).


For those who want to come to our Kingfisher Farm (512-172nd Street, Surrey) to walk the Labyrinth they simply need to Email me at:

or phone  604-531-0260  to arrange a time to visit.  The concern for us at the farm is having random people on the property without any sense of connection to anyone.  So as long as those who want to come contact me first to arrange an appointment, that would be great. I will just welcome you and give you a sense of where the labyrinth is and then leave you to enjoy the experience on your own.

My basic simple thought was to offer this as a hands on (feet on) way to worshipfully  remember Gods gracious presence with us through the journey of this past year with all its surprises, turns and twists and to anticipate His presence with us as we begin the adventure of a new years journey.  Enjoy the experience. I have included some labyrinth reading material below for your general understanding. I hope that you find it useful.

The labyrinth path has three stages – the ‘inward’ journey, the centre and the ‘outward’ journey. The theme of the ‘inward’ journey is letting go of things which hinder our wholeness and inner approach to God. The centre of the Labyrinth is a space of meditative prayer and peace. The theme of the ‘outward’ journey is relationship – with ourselves, with others and with the planet – seen in the light of our relationship with God.

Labyrinths and mazes have often been confused. When most people hear of a labyrinth they think of a maze. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns, and blind alleys. It is a left brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into the maze and out.

A labyrinth has only one path. It is unicursal. The way in is the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again.

A labyrinth is a right brain task. It involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a maze many choices must be made and an active mind is needed to solve the problem of finding the center. With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not. A more passive, receptive mindset is needed. The choice is whether or not to walk a spiritual path.

At its most basic level the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.

Things to keep in mind before walking a labyrinth:

  1. Preparation: Becoming clear about the focus on the labyrinth prayer
  2. Invocation: Asking God’s help as one begins
  3. Going in: Moving on the path from the threshold (entrance) to the center
  4. Staying in the center: Resting for as long as one likes
  5. Returning to the world: Moving on the path from the center to the threshold (entrance)
  6. Thanksgiving: Giving thanks for what has been experienced
  7. Reflection: Taking time to understand the deeper meanings of the labyrinth prayer


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Copyright Lynda Chalmers