Friday, January 5, 2018

DISCOVER THE LABYRINTH and Healing Parks BY Polly Guerin

"All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking, " Friedrich Nietzsche.  Have you ever thought of walking a Labyrinth to unwind, recharge and seek answers to your innermost questions or heart's desire? Whoever you are and wherever you are on your journey of faith there are places in the heart of New York City where you can relax, refresh, contemplate or mediate in peaceful areas to escape from the cacophony of the city.  
Grassy Green Labyrinth at Battery Park 
What is a Labyrinth? A labyrinth is a sacred symbol that can be traced back in history some 3,000 years to ancient Greece. In English, the term Labyrinth is generally synonymous with the word Maze. As a result of the long history of the uuicursal representation of the Mythological Labyrinth, a labyrinth has an unambiguous route to the center and back and presents no navigational challenge. Unicursal patterns have been used historically both in group ritual and for private mediation, and are increasingly found for therapeutic use in hospitals and hospices. 

HOW TO USE THE LABYRINTH First, relax, there is no right or wrong way to approach the path. You may use a labyrinth in many ways. Perhaps you seek some quiet. Perhaps you bring some care or concern that you wish to release. Maybe you seek direction for a perplexing question. Perhaps you bring great joy and thankfulness, gratitude to your walk. You may find it useful to sit for a moment before beginning. Take a few deep breaths, releasing any tension as you exhale. 
     SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR YOUR WALK Read a passage from scripture or from some other inspirational writing, such as the healing quotations from the readings of Edgar Cayce. Use a walkman to provide music for your journey, skip or dance your way along the path, or walk slowly. There is no right or wrong way to move though a labyrinth. Remove your shoes and walk in your socks to feel the grass or pavement beneath you more completely. Walk once or several times. Pause in the center and contemplate, rest awhile before making your way back into the world.
    The BATTERY PARK LABYRINTH  located in Battery Park, invites everyone to freely express themselves and do the walk through its grassy green labyrinth, designed by Arianne Burgess, installed in 2002 and restored in 2015.  Directions: You will find the  LABYRINTH for CONTEMPLATION just north of Castle Clinton in Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan. It was commissioned for the first anniversary of 911. For further information: Battery Park is accessible by train or bus.    
Chartres-inspired Labyrinth at Riverside Church
     Then, too,  at the other end of Manhattan Island there is RIVERSIDE CHURCH at 450 Riverside Drive, 10027. with its MEDIEVAL-  INSPIRED LABYRINTH based on the inner circuits of Chartres Cathedral, France, circa 1200s.. The labyrinth type is marble inlaid in the floor of the Church Chancel. There is a charge of $10 for adults, $5 for seniors, students and children. Contact the Welcome Center, 212.870.6700. Group tours can also be arranged.  If want
 enjoy a long bus ride the number 4 Bus on Madison Avenue takes you along Riverside Drive to the Church. Otherwise use train service.
     While you are up in this area head over to Morningside Heights and take in the "Path of Peace," painted Medieval Style, GODSONG LABYRINTH. It was installed on Mother's Day weekend, 2014. For further information email the following:
The Permanent Labyrinth at Marble Collegiate Church
(1 West. 29 St., 1000l-4596) has a permanent labyrinth in the basement of the church open to the public. It is based on the labyrinth inlaid in Medieval, Chartres Cathedral, near Paris, France. Marble's was installed in 2012. The labyrinth is open for walking the first Sunday of each month from 1 to 3 pm, and every Wednesday from 5 to 6 pm . It is best to call first before visiting 212.686.2770.
    There are other labyrinths in Manhattan such as the EAST RIVER REFLECTION LABYRINTH, located at East River Park,  (Houston Street, NYC 10010), installed in 2004. The entrance to the park is at the foot of Houston Street where you cross the FDR drive. The labyrinth is to the right or south of this entrance. It is also available by several other areas off the East River Esplanade. Contact
     DE WITT CLINTON PARK (West 52nd and 54th streets and 11th Avenue) has two painted-on- concrete labyrinths, one for adults and one in the children's playground always open on its 5.8 acre public park. 
     As you walk the walk remember that Labyrinths are an ancient and yet modern way to stroll though its pathway and in this simple act of contemplation find release from personal concerns as the stress seemingly melts away to a renewed you. Hope to see you there on the pathway to enlightenment.



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