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This week’s Secret of SoCal is Lake Shrine Self Realization Fellowship.

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These ten acres of lush, green oasis are located off of Pacific Coast Highway and Sunset Boulevard, and simultaneously provide a Narnia-like escape; stepping onto the Lake Shrine property transports you to somewhere much different than your typical Los Angeles getaway. First opened to the public in 1950, Lake Shrine was founded and dedicated to Paramahansa Yogananda, a yogi and guru who introduced the art of yoga and meditation to western civilization.

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There are a few rules and guidelines in place in order to respect the shrine while visiting. They include: silence your phone, keep your voice low, respect others, and don’t disturb anyone during meditation.

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I followed the pathway around the lake in a counterclockwise manner and admired the unique flora and biodiversity at every turn. Because I went on an overcast, misty morning, the plants had a thin layer of dew, contributing to the otherworldly beauty. One of my favorite aspects of Lake Shrine was just past the entrance of the main temple- the Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial that holds some of Gandhi’s ashes. It is representative of India’s nonviolent freedom movement.

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Numerous benches for meditation sat along the pathway and perimeter of the fresh water lake. The lake, full of swans, turtles and fish, was bordered by lush greenery and blooming flowers that gave off an aroma of upcoming spring. Small placards along the path had spiritual sayings artfully carved into them. About halfway around the path, a Dutch windmill was converted into a chapel. I noticed numerous people meditating inside this unique place of worship.

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Located toward the end of the circular path, the Court of Religions honored the five principle religions of the world by displaying a plaque with their symbol: a cross for Christianity, a Star of David for Judaism, a Wheel of Law for Buddhism, a Crescent Moon for Islam, and lastly a Aum symbol for Hinduism.

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Adjacent to the Court of Religions was a pathway that led to my favorite meditation spot on the ten-acre plot of land, the sunken garden. The sunken garden is a small area that resembled a gazebo overcome by vines and greenery. The roof of this garden reminded me of a kaleidoscope displaying vibrant leaves and natural light patterns. A stone bench sat in the center of the sunken garden and immediately became my favorite spot.

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Sitting in this garden, I realized that while at Lake Shrine, I hadn’t thought of any kind of commitment, responsibility, or stressor. I was transported to a place of inner reflection and positivity. I highly recommend a visit to Lake Shrine Self Realization Fellowship to everyone, but especially to those in search of a place to reflect, recharge, and reevaluate.

Check back next week for another Secret of SoCal! Also, be sure to follow me on instagram- @ericaadean !

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