Guest post by Larry Carlson
On January 5th 2005 my sister Kathleen died. The medical reason was leukemia, but, like so many things, I think it was all rooted in stress. I’m sixty-five years old now and over these years I’ve witnessed the toll stress has taken on so many friends and family members. Conversely, I’ve seen the benefits that meditation practices have produced. I am a practitioner of Transcendental Meditation. I have had the good fortune to study with many extremely talented teachers. The benefits of these first hand experiences has led me to look for more means to achieve the awareness and happiness silence brings.
This journey has taken me to Taoist mountains in China, monasteries in Tibet and retreat centers here in the states. I have had the good fortune to meet many extremely talented and enlightened human beings along the way. They have enriched my life. Anything that enhances calmness of mind has resulted in an increase in my happiness.
It was for these reasons, after my sister died, that I decided to build a labyrinth. It would be a way of introducing yet another calming influence in my life. It would also be an opportunity to introduce the many visitors we have each year to our gardens in Bridgehampton, New York to the joys of the labyrinth.
Labyrinths have been around for many centuries. They can be found in virtually all the continents and the very first ones sprung up mysteriously without much explanation across the globe at a wide variety of sites. They are most often confused with a maze. A maze is something built to confuse and confound the walker who enters it. Mazes are most often built with high walls and the purpose is more a folly or amusement.
There is nothing confusing about a labyrinth. There is one way in and the same one way out. It is a spiritual walk intended to give the walker a quiet, meditative experience where there are no decisions to be made about which way to go. Thus the person who enters the path finds himself arriving at the center feeling more centered himself.
There are many designs and sizes of labyrinths. One of the most popular can be found as a tile mosaic on the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France. My grass labyrinth is a copy of this eleven circuit design. Another location of this design can be found carved on a pillar of the portico of the Lucca Cathedral in Tuscany, Italy where this picture was taken of me doing some research on labyrinths.
I could give a highly descriptive talk on this subject, but, like so many other things, the reader only has to Google “labyrinth” to gain a wealth of information and understanding about these fascinating constructions. There is another thing worth looking into and that is the World Wide Labyrinth Locator. On this site you can type in the word Bridgehampton and you will be taken directly to the information on my labyrinth which includes all the contact information about arranging a visit to my gardens. After walking the labyrinth path you will come to the center where a stone engraving resides.