The Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine was dedicated by Paramahansa Yogananda (an Indian yogi and guru who introduced millions of westerners to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his book, Autobiography of a Yogi), was built in 1920 and opened to the public in 1950. Thousands of people visit this beautiful and peaceful sanctuary each year, and it’s really no surprise to me why they do!
I’d like to start off by sharing that this is most definitely the quietest place I’ve visited in LA. In a city that is no stranger to sirens blaring, people chatting, cell phones beeping, horns honking, music blasting…you get the point - it almost felt like I was no longer in LA anymore. As I made my way around the entire lake (about a 20 minute walk if you stop a few times), I didn’t hear one peep or sound from anyone. I observed many people meditating and sitting quietly around lake on grassy patches and benches, which made the overall experience a calming one.
Ok, let’s take a few minutes to have a quick heart-to-heart before moving forward. This place really touched me and I may have teared up for a second or two sitting on a bench overlooking the lake. I remember a time in my life where silence absolutely TERRIFIED me. Silence is basically this space where you’re forced to sit alone with yourself and with all your thoughts and feelings (and we all know some of those aren’t so enjoyable, huh?). As someone who's previously experienced her fair share of crippling anxiety and tension headaches, it felt good to be OK with the silence. While remembering dark times in my past and thinking about how far I’ve come, the feeling of gratitude overcame me for a moment. Moments like these help remind me that we face battles to not only go through them, but to GROW through them. This quiet space reminded me that I absolutely need to make more time for simply BEING, and less “doing.”
Okay – thanks for listening, dear friend – let’s get back to the Lake Shrine. A truly peaceful place away from the chaos of Los Angeles, visiting the Lake Shrine almost feels as if you were transported to another country. The grounds of Lake Shrine cover ten acres of land and includes a natural spring-fed lake, a large variety of flowers, trees and plants from around the world, and is also home to some cute ducks, swan, and koi fish. As you walk around the lake, you’ll notice the Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial (where some of Gandhi’s ashes live), a museum with exhibits on Paramahansa Yogananda's work, a floating boat for silent meditation, and a gift shop with trinkets from India. The temple itself is on a hilltop overlooking Lake Shrine. You’re free to visit this hidden gem on your own or you can also sign up for a short guided tour. The temple tours last approximately 45 minutes and are held on Friday and Sunday afternoons at 3:00pm. Click here for more info on scheduling your tour if you’re interested.
This special hidden gem is located 17190 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. The Lake Shrine hours vary. Please plan ahead before visiting, and review the visitor information by clicking HERE. With free entrance and a free parking lot right next to the entrance, this is a sacred spot I'd recommend visiting.
If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, please know that there are millions of others in the world that are right there with you. I promise you that you are not alone and that things can get better. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help.
EXPLORE YOUR HEART OUT
L.A. is an amazing and diverse city full of culture, history, art, nature, museums, and attractions - which results in countless things to do & see - no matter your budget. Time after time I find that when you seek new adventure, you will find it!
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