While there is no shortage of breathtakingly gorgeous places and views along the Southern California coast, the Meditation Gardens of the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas is a place that deserves a special mention. It is only about a 30-minute drive north of San Diego so if you are in the area, I highly recommend a visit- it is a treat for all of the senses and soul. (If you prefer mountains to ocean views, participate in a Day of Mindfulness at Deer Park Monastery. See my post about it here.)
The Meditation Gardens, Temple and Self-Realization Fellowship were established by Paramahansa Yogananda, the Indian yogi, swami and guru who introduced yoga to the West. It was at his hermitage in Encinitas that he wrote his famous Autobiography of a Yogi, which has since been translated into 45 languages and is widely regarded as one of the most important spiritual books of the 20th century. The 2014 documentary Awake: The Life of Yogananda also offers an excellent portrayal of his life and legacy.
The peaceful atmosphere in the gardens is beautifully soothing. It is a perfect place to quiet down in meditation, thought or just to be. There are meditation nooks, surrounded by a variety of colorful plants and koi ponds, all with a stunning ocean vista backdrop.
I could have spent an eternity in these gardens. To me this is some of the best that Southern California has to offer: spectacular natural beauty entwined with the mystique of an ascended master who once walked the very same paths and stared into the distance at the same ocean. Southern California, despite all its seeming superficiality, is also deeply spiritual, if you know where to look.
PS. While there, don’t forget to visit the Self-Realization Fellowship Books & Gifts Shop just down the street from the gardens! The exquisite Indian artworks and crafts, colorful saris and shawls are a sight to see as well.
“There is great value in visiting places where saints have lived. Such places are forever permeated with the vibrations left there by the divine souls who walked those grounds. Their vibrations will remain until this earth is dissolved.”
All images © 2014-2017 Pauliina Parris. // All rights reserved.