Creating a labyrinth and offering a labyrinth program were academic requirements for the master-level course on Labyrinth Prayer taught at the Myanmar Institute of Theology during the 2013-2014 academic year. Four students proposed building two temporary labyrinths at a community center in Yangon in order to invite youth to walk for love and peace.
Photos were taken by the students and are used with permission.
The program was held at a Christian Community Center on a Sunday afternoon. Over 50 students participated. Youth said they had prayed for their families, to feel joy, understanding about their actions and lives, as well as personal and community challenges. The youth also identified many feelings they had experienced while usuing the labyrinths including stillness, dizziness, peace, focus, happiness, joy, worry, sleepiness, sorrow, warmth (heat), and excitement. In addition to walking the two labyrinths, each group also prayed with a variety of paper finger labyrinths. They reported having prayed for love, family, friends, and current issues facing the nation.. Many youth asked to use the labyrinths again in the future.
The theology students were asked to reflect on what they learned from this project. They talked about experiencing the strength that came from working as a team and depending on each other. They discussed a variety of difficulties they had faced (construction taking longer than planned, my inability to be with them because of an unexpected hospitalization, opposition from some adults who saw the labyrinths and felt afraid) and how they had come to trust in their ability to overcome obstacles to offer a meaningful ecumenical prayer event. They spoke of spiritual growth in terms of greater trust in God to help each step of the way. They wanted to note the many answered prayers for wisdom, endurance, and success in reaching the youth.
A fuller account of this labyrinth event will appear in Labyrinth Pathways, A Journal of the Labyrinth Society, in 2014.
Photos of our class labyrinth walks are posted at www.throughjillseyes.wordpress.com. Look for and click on photos of a green indoor labyrinth (Fall 2013-Winter 2014).