Lake Sonoma
Lake Sonoma

Soulful Tourism: Lake Sonoma

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Traveling without intention is just a trip. Think about what you really want out of your travel plans and how you want to feel when you return home. If you want to feel enlightened, accomplished and centered, a soulful trip to Sonoma County may be just what you need.

 Here, we help you take that trip and experience the magic of Lake Sonoma.

Lake Sonoma

Light on the Water

In the ancient world, there were said to be two paths leading to enlightenment. The left-hand path was said to be wet, while the right-hand path was said to be dry. So, it’s fitting that our journey begins along the path known as Dry Creek Road, which winds past rolling vineyards to our destination of Lake Sonoma Recreation Area, where we venture in search of greater knowledge of ourselves, and how to employ the secret workings of the universe to get what we want out of life.

The dry way in the ancient mysteries is the path based on tough discipline, but fortunately, all we need to do — at least for now — is discipline our concentration as we wind along the path of our archetypal adventure. Dry Creek Road ends at a large dam, a symbol of mankind’s will to dominate the forces of nature and use them for a greater good, and then begins ascending through the hills, because illumination requires climbing to new heights. Nearly every great civilization has a sacred mountain as part of its mythology, a place that is closer to the heavens than the profane plains, where rare insight can be snatched down from the sun and clouds, moon and stars. When we reach the summit, the blue waters of Lake Sonoma appear, along with another prominent symbol: A bridge. Modern bridges are engineering marvels, but in the archetypal realm they signify passages from one level of understanding to a new and greater one. Which is what we seek to do when we delve deep into ourselves to understand the workings of the human soul.

Situated 13 miles northwest of Healdsburg, Lake Sonoma Park comprises 17,000 acres, including 40 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. There’s a campground, ample picnicking spots, and of course, the lake, which provides some of the best bass fishing in California. Lake Sonoma also has an active marina and is a great place to experience boating for the first time, as the waters are calm and the shore is never out of sight. The lake attracts all kinds of watercraft, from motor and sailboats to the kind you peddle with your legs.

With its elevated location far from city lights, Lake Sonoma is also a popular spot for stargazing and is used by universities and hobby clubs alike. But for our adventure, we will direct our gaze not to the night sky but that of day, when the great golden orb shines upon the undulating blue waters, creating scintillating flickers of white light, as if diamonds were floating on the waters. And from this phenomenon we can learn one of the greatest secrets the ancients have bequeathed.

Lake Sonoma Leaves

Myths from around the world depict the birth of the world as resulting from the spirit of creation “breathing” upon the waters of matter, imposing upon it the forms of all the elements — earth, air, wind and fire — laws and principles — such as the law of attraction and repulsion — and all the creatures of the world. And, as the ancients believed, everything in the cosmos followed the same rules and patterns through what we call correspondence, creation myths explain through analogy how human creativity works, and therefore, how to find the answer to your most pressing questions and bring about change in your life.

If you pick a quiet spot at Lake Sonoma and ask yourself, what is the innermost thing you know to be true, you will arrive at the following answer: “This much I know: I am." But probe a bit more and you will immediately discover a curious thing. The part of you that knows it exists has an element of duality built into it, for there is an “I” that knows, which is typically felt in the head, and a “me” that is known, which is felt in the heart. You have just discovered the dual-gendered nature of the human mind.

Inside of every one of us, there is an active, masculine, light-bearing part, and a receptive, feminine, watery or Mother Earth part. One is generative, while the other is productive; one fecundates, while the other gestates. And it is from this duality that all human creativity is born. The secret to everything you can ever do — start a business, move to a new town and begin a new life, study music, try skydiving or do anything with the power to change your life forever — comes from the mating of an active principle with a receptive one. Direct your conscious mind to make your unconscious “pregnant,” and ideas will surely be born.

Nature contains within it every lesson you will ever need, according to the law of correspondences, so behold the sun shining brightly on Lake Sonoma. Now follow suit and use your will to shine the light of consciousness deep into your heart, and ask it for the answer you seek. In one to three days, you can be sure that a solution to your current predicament will suddenly pop into your head.

Lake Sonoma

Light shining on water shows by analogy the powerful principles of will and imagination. They are the two most precious gifts bequeathed to the human being, prior and superior to quirks of personality. When crisis comes — as it invariably will — never forget you possess two superpowers that are fundamental: You can will, and you can imagine. Mate them together, and anything is possible.

Spend a day beside the shimmering waters that lie across the bridge atop the hills at the summit of the dry road, and you’ll likely feel a bit parched. Which leads you to wonder: If there’s a dry path leading to enlightenment that’s based on ascetic discipline, what’s the wet one like? Simply put, it’s the path of Dionysus, Greek god of wine. And we’d be remiss not to point out that after your pleasant afternoon at Lake Sonoma, you might wish to visit one of the many wineries found along Dry Creek Road.

For in the end, wet and dry are but two states of the same condition, and the happy few choose a secret path known as the middle way.

Other Soulful Adventures

This trip around Lake Sonoma is just one of a series on soulful tourism. For other experiences, read Soulful Tourism: Sonoma Botanical Garden

Remember the Leave No Trace Principles

Experiencing our destination through the Sonoma County Leave No Trace Seven Principles gives travelers an opportunity to make a difference. Together, we can protect and preserve this special corner of the world for generations to come. Find more info about sustainable travel in Sonoma County here.

For a list of local businesses helping to promote the important message of Leave No Trace, click here.


Written by Christian Chensvold