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Walking the Labyrinth 


Visiting a Sacred Site

Sacred sites are located around the world, from medicine wheels in remote wilderness areas, to churches, temples and cathedrals in our crowded cites, to labyrinths and shrines in quiet but easily accessible places. To put it simply, a sacred site is any place considered spiritual and sacred. It is important to remember that when you enter such a site, you are entering a place where spiritual energy is focused and concentrated, and you have chosen to become a part of that energy.


The feelings you bring with you also become a part of the energy of the site. This is easier said than done, but leave any negative thoughts behind you before coming to the Labyrinth.


It is also important that if you visit a sacred site and there is a ceremony or ritual being conducted, be sure to wait in a quiet and respectful way until the ceremony is finished.


Walking the Labyrinth 


The Labyrinth has one well-defined path that leads to the center and back again. The center represents illumination, a place where people find insights to their problems and concerns. At the center of the long winding path we gain confidence to realize our dreams.


The Labyrinth naturally beckons the visitor to participate. You really only have to enter and follow the path. However, your walk can encompass a variety of approaches. You may use it as a walking meditation. It might be thoughtful or prayerful. It may be noisy and joyous. Whatever you do, just be careful not to offend the spirits.


Different images and metaphors can be used as an aid to the experience. Some that have been intentionally omitted here are those that are just too complicated and cerebral, and do not have their roots in antiquity. But keep in mind that this is the Americas, the New World, a spiritual crossroads, and not ancient Crete.


However, there are some brief and simple rituals that can truly enliven your experience at the Labyrinth. A ritual is a structured experience that has evolved over time and is now a special part of our daily celebration of life. A simple ritual creates an atmosphere in which we can learn more about ourselves and our relationships with others. A ritual deepens our connection to our spiritual well-being.


The Walk:   There are many different ways to walk the Labyrinth and no one right way to walk the Labyrinth. The beauty of the Labyrinth is that people can approach the experience on their own terms. However, here is an example of just one such way to walk the Labyrinth, where the walk is broken down into several stages. But do only what you feel comfortable with:


1) Environment:   Begin by setting a favorable atmosphere for the experience. Much of this part has already been accomplished by the Labyrinth itself. Being in a remote location, away from civilization, just getting there requires considerable effort, which clears the mind and opens it to new experiences. Bring your cell phone with you, in case of a wilderness emergency, but make certain that it's turned off. And be prepared to take in some amazing scenery and wildlife along the way.


On the path to the site, greetings of the day and small talk are often exchanged with others returning from the Labyrinth. Enjoy the sounds of nature. Some change into sandals, or even opt for a barefoot walk through the Labyrinth.


2)  Focus:   Pause and wait at the entrance. Keeping your elbows comfortably at your side, extend your forearms out in front of you, but comfortably off to the sides, turning your palms up. Become quiet and centered. Give acknowledgment through a bow, nod, or other gesture and then enter.


3) Experience:   During this stage you walk the path, toward the center. Walk purposefully, and try to acquire a relaxed, peaceful state to temporarily release concerns and quiet the mind. If you desire, keep holding your palms up to receive strength and guidance as you walk the Labyrinth.


4) Illumination:   The time at the cairn, in the center. This is a time of openness and peacefulness. You experience, learn or receive what this unique moment offers. Take your time.


Sift through the talismans, charms and hand written notes left there by others. It's also a time to sit and meditate, with your palms up, to be receptive to any insight. At the Labyrinth, never forget that you are consulting, at best, an Oracle. You are not having your fortune told. You alone must determine your next move, the path to your future.


Holding the palms down at the cairn symbolizes release, or letting go, of something or concerns in your life. Honor the site by leaving a token gift such as rice kernels, a simple charm, a flower, or any object that you feel in your heart is right. An exchange with another object in the cairn is a tradition at the Labyrinth.

Leave when it seems appropriate.


5) Union:   The journey outward. Following the same path, walk reverently out of the Labyrinth. Holding your palms up will allow any insights received at the central cairn to manifest. Be attentive on the way out. This is a time to review and consider what occurred in the center and how it may be applied in your life.


6) Exit:   As you leave the Labyrinth turn and face the center and bring you palms together for a prayerful end to your walk. Give an acknowledgment of ending, such as "Amen."


7) Reflect:   After walking the Labyrinth reflect back on your experience as you walk back to your car, or home.


8) Implementation:   This stage represents your life outside the Labyrinth, the world where your experience or illumination is carried into and affects your everyday life.




Park Closures:



It’s not uncommon for Sibley Regional Preserve (as well as other regional parks) to be temporarily closed due to dry weather conditions that could cause an extreme fire hazard, putting hikers at risk (it’s impossible to outrun a western wildfire).

Before your visit, it’s a good idea to phone the East Bay Regional Park Office and Trail Closure Hotline for a recorded message as to specific park closures.

Their toll-free number is:  1-888-327-2757  Select option 4 on the voice message menu, and then select option 2 on the submenu, for the latest info on any trail closures.

Also:  East Bay Regional Park Trail Closure Hotlink:  http://www.ebparks.org/closure


Spiritual Thoughts: 


Before visiting the Labyrinth, it may help to get into the proper frame of mind by taking a few minutes to glance over the following list of spiritual thoughts. Some of the explanations and definitions may not be what you have always thought to be clear and certain. They have been carefully selected because few pause to think about the concepts, much less use them in everyday conversation. Yet they are excellent spiritual warm-up exercises, helpful in opening yourself to the ways of the Labyrinth and its spiritual offerings. 

"The heart has reasons that reason cannot comprehend."
  -- Blaise Pascal
"Religions are basically inventions of the human mind...
  Compassion is fundamental to our nature.
  To achieve it we do not need to become religious, nor do we need any ideology.
  All that is necessary is for us to bring forth our basic human qualities."
  -- The Dalai Lama
"Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, 
  can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures
  and does not limit itself to mankind."
  -- Albert Schweitzer
"Therefore be at peace with your god, whatever you conceive him to be,
  and whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life.
  Keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
  Be careful. Strive to be happy."
  -- Max Ehr
"Someday I hope to travel the Silk Road, don't you?
  From Rome to China --  what adventures we would have!"
  -- Gita Smith
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
  -- Albert Einstein

"There's harmony and inner peace to be found in following a moral compass
  that points in the same direction regardless of fashion or trend."
  -- Ted Koppel
"Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation,
  for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer
  since to remain constantly at work will cause you to lose power of judgment.
  Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller, and more of it can be taken in at a glance,
  and a lack of harmony or portion is more readily seen."
  -- Leonardo da Vinci  
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy,
  while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."
  -- John Muir
"Political correctness is America's current form of intolerance."
  -- George Carlin

"You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it.
  That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies,
  that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer,
  and understand, for all that is life."
  -- Krishnamurti

"Hope is the companion of power and the mother of success.
  For those of us who hope strongest have within us the gift of miracles."
  -- Sydney Bremer
"To build communities of kindred spirits
  Where we are encouraged to look hard and deep
  To know and own our deepest truths and gifts.
  Where we take courage from one another
  To line out our 'one wild and precious life'
  With integrity, joy and passion!"
  -- Dwight Hawthorne
"We will speed the day when all of God's children,
  black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics,
  will be able to join hands and sing
  ...Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last."
  -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"Life is pain, princess. . . anyone who says differently is selling something."
  -- Wesley The Princess Bride
"The Great Humanitarian Hoax is a deliberate and deceitful tactic of presenting a destructive policy as altruistic.
  The humanitarian huckster presents himself as a compassionate advocate when in fact he is the disguised
 -- Linda Goudsmit
"All stories teach us something, and promise us something, whether they're true or invented, legend or fact."
  -- Stewart O'Nan
"Nothing is as real as a dream.
  The world can change around you, but your dream will not.
  Responsibilities need not erase it. Duties need not obscure it.
  Because the dream is within you, no one can take it away."
  -- Unknown
"Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism
  -how passionately I hate them!"
  -- Albert Einstein
"We rejoiced to find so many pagans upon whom the light of our holy faith was about to dawn."
  -- Father Francisco Palou, California, 1782
"The road must be trod, but it will be very hard.
  And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it.
  This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong.
  Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world:
  small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere."
  -- J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring)
"Go where you are least wanted, for there you are most needed."
  -- Abigail Kelley Foster
"If you have a talent, use it in every which way possible. Don't hoard it. Don't dole it out like a miser.
  Spend it lavishly, like a millionaire intent on going broke."
  -- Brenda Francis
"If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to.
  This is the last stand on Earth."
  -- Ronald Reagan 


"You must always work not just within but below your means.
   If you can handle three elements, handle only two.
   If you can handle ten, then handle only five.
   In that way the ones you do handle, you handle with more ease, more mastery,
   and you create a feeling of strength in reserve."
  -- Pablo Picasso
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
  -- Eleanor Roosevelt
"A man shall not rise from his bed
  until he has satisfied his woman more than himself."
  -- ancient Arab proverb
"Either you think - or else others have to think for you and take power from you,
  pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you."
  -- F. Scott Fitzgerald
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
  Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence,
  and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....
  The chain reaction of evil -- hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars -- must be broken,
  or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."
  -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"The world we live in today is a different place.
  There is so much uncertainty and fear.
  and the future can sometimes seem obscure and dark.
  But a wise person once said, "All the darkness in the universe
  can not extinguish the light of a single candle."
  May your love for each other
  be like a candle in the darkness.
  May it illuminate the long night,
  and guide you in all that you do.
  And may your family and friends
  always be gathered around you
  to protect it's flame
  from the winds of change and adversity.
  May the warmth of it's glow
  Be reflected in the faces of your children,
  so that they may one day carry it
  into the future
  and light the way
  for us all."
  -- A Candle In The Darkness, by Rob Cochran, August, 2002 
"All explorers are seeking something they have lost.
   It is seldom that they find it,
   and more seldom still that the attainment brings them 
   greater happiness than the quest."
  -- Arthur C. Clarke
"Many of us chase fame and fortune, yet our mundane lives wait quietly next to us, waiting to be recognized."
  -- Sherri Mandell
"We are not powerless specks of dust drifting around in the wind, blown by random destiny.
  We are, each of us, like beautiful snowflakes - unique, and born for a specific reason and purpose."
  -- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
"I believe in the sun even though it is slow in rising.
  I believe in you without realizing.
  I believe in rain though there are no clouds in the sky.
  I believe in truth even though people lie.
  I believe in peace though sometimes I am violent.
  I believe in God even though he is silent."
  -- Unknown
"There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year's course.
  Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness,
  and the word 'happy' would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness."
  -- Carl Jung
"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion
  but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence.
  Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do."
  -- Samuel P. Huntington
"Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and as sweet as love."
  -- Turkish proverb
"Only fools dial 9-1-1 and report criminal activity in their neighborhood.
  You see, drug dealers and pimps carry an Uzi, a cell phone, a pager, and, more importantly, a $50.00
  2-channel police scanner clipped to their belts.
  And the 9-1-1 dispatchers, for unknown reasons, broadcast the full name and exact address of the caller,
  completely in the clear.
  Active and concerned citizens have been murdered within hours after reporting crimes.
  Our police department has, repeatedly, been informed of this blatant issue yet has no intention of changing
  their way of handling these things.
  And, even if they do, it will take decades to heal from the havoc wrought by this disgraceful and widespread
  betrayal of the public's trust."
  -- Oakland Community Organizations volunteer, 1990
    (Several years later, 9-1-1 dispatchers began encoded radio communications in all police related activities.
     At the same time, decoders became available on the black market.
     And the full name and exact address of every 9-1-1 caller continued to be broadcasted.)
"Your hopes, dreams and aspirations are legitimate.
  They are trying to take you airborne, above the clouds, above the storms, if you only let them."
  -- William James
"I wanted a perfect ending... Now, I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme,
  and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment, and making the best of it,
  without knowing what's going to happen next.
  Delicious ambiguity."
  -- Gilda Radner



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