April 02, 2011

Photo Essay: Realizing Myself at Lake Shrine (Updated for 2019)

[Last Updated 8/26/19 8:46 PM PT—photos and text added]

Tucked away in the Pacific Palisades is a little hideaway, an accidental lake.

circa 2019

Silent movies were filmed there in the 1920s.

circa 2019

A developer made it his private residence in the years that followed...

circa 2019

...with a windmill...

circa 2019

...a houseboat (left over from a movie set), and a mill house.

Once known as Lake Santa Ynez, the "lake" was actually formed when earth was moved for grading and natural springs (and some rainwater) filled in the hole with water.

In fact, Lake Shrine is known as the only natural spring-fed lake within LA city limits.

circa 2019

After a vivid dream, the developer sold it to the Self-Realization Fellowship Church of All Religions in the 1940s.

circa 2019

Now, it's a quiet, cell phone-free meditation zone with a cat sprawled on the sidewalk in the sun...

...turtles in the water...

circa 2019

...inspirational passages from many different sacred texts along the path...

...and flowers everywhere.

Elvis reportedly loved Lake Shrine—and his visits there opened him up to Eastern philosophy.

Other celebrity devotees have included George Harrison and Tom Petty.

People now go to admire the ornamental plantings and water features, meditate inside the windmill (now a chapel), and visit where some of Gandhi's ashes are interred (by the Golden Lotus Archway).

circa 2019

The Self-Realization Fellowship has its own teachings, but it welcomes followers of all religions.

circa 2019

After all, Christ and Krishna might not have been so different. (Has anyone ever seen them in the same room?)

Related post:
Photo Essay: Lake Hollywood Reservoir
Photo Essay: Climbing Mount Washington to Self-Realization

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