Los Angeles can get busy a lot of times. Especially during rush hour and on weekends when the weather is perfect and everyone wants to come out. Life can get busy and overwhelming, too. But the good news for both those living in the Southland and people who may be visiting LA is that there’s a neat place in Malibu to temporarily escape the busy world.
Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine is a spiritual sanctuary that’s free to visit. It offers a quiet environment with gardens and a lake, and it’s perfect for emptying out your mind while taking a scenic stroll. (For more information about this place, click here.)
My boyfriend told me about this place several months ago and I finally got around to checking it out late last year. (It opened at 9 a.m., at which point the sun was high up enough that photos turned out a bit contrasty.) I walked on the dirt loop wrapped around the lake and sat on a couple of the benches scattered throughout the path to observe ducks and simply be with myself. I also enjoyed the sounds of a man-made waterfall somewhere around the loop.
Further along the path leads to a small, white boat where you can meditate. Although I don’t really meditate (I’ve always had a hard time doing it and almost always end up feeling sleepy in the end), I decided to go into the boat anyway and try, because why not?
Shoes, cameras and bags are required to be left outside the meditation room, so I wasn’t able to take photos while inside. But I did finally manage to meditate successfully! There were over a dozen seats inside and the boat did sway a little bit because of the water underneath, but it was a pleasant experience.
Also really interesting at the shrine is the Mahatma Ghandi world Peace Memorial where some of Ghandi’s ashes are enshrined, as well as a Court of Religions where the five principal religions (Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism) of the world are honored. This part is particularly admirable, as it is demonstrates respect for all religions.
The shrine was dedicated in 1950 to Paramahansa Yoganada, who introduced millions of people in the west to Kriya Yoga and meditation in his book, “Autobiography of a Yogi.”
Although Yoganada was Hindu, the shrine is a friendly and enjoyable place for everyone, regardless of religious beliefs or lack of. If you’re looking for a place to travel to in the Los Angeles area that offers a relaxing environment along with an interesting history, this shrine deserves a spot on your list. 🙂