City wraps mind around meditative labyrinth idea | AspenTimes.com

City wraps mind around meditative labyrinth idea

Naomi Havlen

Two women walk on a temporary labyrinth set up at the Aspen Chapel last weekend. Mark Fox/Aspen Times photo.

The Aspen City Council backed the idea of putting a meditative labyrinth in the city at its Tuesday work session, welcoming a search for the perfect location for the circular path.Woody Creek resident Ed Bastian, who came up with the idea for the labyrinth, was directed to join up with the Aspen Parks Department in gathering information about locations and building materials for the pathway. Labyrinths are large, circular patterns that people can use for a sort of walking meditation, offering a route to the center of a circle or square and back to the starting point.

Bastian told the council that the path would complete the spiritual aspect of the Aspen Idea, with its focus on rejuvenation of the mind, body and spirit. The spiritual part of the Aspen Idea is often hard to pin down because people don’t want it to have religious connotations, Bastian said, and a labyrinth would fit the bill of providing non-religious spirituality.”It creates a gentle, quiet magnet for people,” Bastian said.

Parks officials have voiced their support for the project – Brian Flynn, city parks and open space coordinator, told council members he recently saw a labyrinth on a trip to Oregon, made on a hillside with pathways of lavender.Council member Jack Johnson said he thinks the labyrinth is a great idea and suggested areas like near the John Denver Sanctuary or Pioneer Park to be considered as locations. Although council member Rachel Richards noted that the library plaza has a large, circular area that would lend itself to the circular pattern of a labyrinth, Johnson said placing the meditative walking space there may stop the city from looking into better uses for that space in the future.

Johnson would also love to see the entire project paid for by local residents, he said.”I think you could set up an example of a labyrinth with stakes and string in Wagner Park and get donations,” he said. “I like a diversified funding source – it would give people ownership over this. It should have a grassroots effort.”Flynn said he will work on creating a matrix of options for the proposed labyrinth with Bastian, including locations, materials it can be created with, and the cost of construction. He said they may come back to the City Council by fall or early winter with their ideas.