Monday, September 14, 2009

Self-Realization Shrine

Windmill?! Are we in Switzerland? No. Solvang? No, but that's closer. How about Pacific Palisades?!

This is the serene and surreal setting of the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine. What was once a silent movie set in the '20s, then a home to a studio construction supervisor (he lived in a houseboat while he built a mill house, and later this windmill, and all three features are still there) in the '40s, became a sanctuary for all religions, as well as for non-followers.

You will probably be surprised to hear that a portion of Mahatma Gandhi's ashes are enshrined on the site. Not behind gates or walls but in a Peace Memorial area near the Golden Lotus Archway. And, there's a Court of Religions recognizing the five principal religions of the world. The windmill is now a chapel. It was open for meditation while I was there. The mill house is the gift shop and museum.

Whatever your beliefs, this is a wonderful escape from our busy lives. Walk along the peaceful path around the lake, and it is hard to believe that busy Sunset Boulevard is yards - not miles - away.

Click here to go to their Web site.

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