January 28, 2011
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I am writing this book for those spiritual seekers earnestly desiring an encounter with the living God. On my journey, I meandered through several religions, movements, metaphysical studies and spiritual practices; indeed, the metaphor that best describes the first half of my life’s journey is that of walking a labyrinth.1 When I walked an actual labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France in 1983, I was given a short booklet of instructions about how to navigate the circular pathway. However, because (as a lapsed Catholic) the directions2 were too Catholic for me at the time, I did not read them fully. How I wish I had truly read and followed those instructions! How I approached that walk, unfortunately, was how I approached all of my spiritual questions up to that point, which is to say that my self and ego loomed too large for me to discover the presence of God on the path.
I did arrive at the center and felt pleased and relieved; not everyone is able to accomplish this task in the first attempt. As I walked my way back out that day in Chartres, my ego relished the satisfaction of having solved the puzzle, yet at the same time I knew I had missed “something.” What was the something I had missed? If I had read the directions fully, I would have realized that my journey in this labyrinth was not so much intended for self-revelation, but was meant to bring me out of myself, closer to God. I had missed the whole point of the process—hence, my lingering, nagging disappointment.
This would prove to be the spiritual pattern of my life, until one day I realized that no matter how many times I reached what I thought was my spiritual center, I was not truly where I wanted to be because I still wasn’t standing in the presence of the Living God. Never could I have planned or imagined that my journey as a seeker would lead me to where I am now, or to who I am now. That is why, after years of searching, having arrived at the end of my own solutions and attempts at encountering God, I was willing to say yes to the dramatic choice that confronted me.