Thursday, January 24, 2013

Self Realization Fellowship Meditation Garden

Pathway with Cyclamens, Photo by Kaliani Devinne, Copyright 2013
Pathway with Cylamens
One of the most beautiful and calming places in all of San Diego county is the Self Realization Fellowship (SRF) Garden in Encinitas, CA, just off the 101 at K Street.

Unremarkable from the gate at the street, you might pass by unaware of the lush greenery, flowering plants, koi ponds, and charming meditation benches carefully placed under wise old trees inside.

Bench Near Retreat Center, Photo by Kaliani Devinne, Copyright 2013
Bench Near Retreat Center

It's one of my favorite spots to go to meditate, be in nature, hear the ocean waves and catch some negative ions.  And, in the winter, if you're really lucky, off in the distance looking out over the cliffs to the huge expanse of the Pacific, you may see a whale spout or two, or dolphins jumping.

Koi Pond, Photo by Kaliani Devinne, Copyright 2013
Koi Pond

People seem to have "their spot," that they always gravitate towards, either a particular bench, or the circular area around a tree that displays a St. Francis of Assisi painting, or the ocean overlook.  What fascinates me about the place is how the energy shifts and it's as though there are separate "rooms" for the energy-sensitive.


View South Towards Del Mar, Photo by Kaliani Devinne, Copyright 2013
View South Towards Del Mar
First, there's the stairway through the trees that seems to be a portal from the ordinary world, then an area around the thriving koi pond with waterfall, another near the St. Francis circle, and at least two distinct areas near the ocean overlook.  The energy is so tangible there, Reiki masters take their students to visit to learn to feel the life force energy.

For the most part, people speak in hushed tones, as most people are aware that it is a mediation garden attached to a retreat center, part of  Paramahansa Yogananda's temple grounds.  Nearby are two worship houses and a bookstore that carries much more than books.  Although the garden is affiliated, there isn't any admission fee and no one tries to convert you.  Quietly the booklets and donation boxes sit along the stairway, should you wish to learn more or support the garden upkeep.

Surfers and Paddleboarders, Photo by Kaliani Devinne, Copyright 2013
Surfers and Paddleboarders

The garden is part of a bluff overlooking what the locals call "Swami's Beach," a favorite surfing spot.  So, no matter what time of year, the waves below are filled with wet-suited surfer dudes.  You really can't miss it off the 101, behind the white turrets with gleaming gold domes.

St. Francis, Photo by Kaliani Devinne, Copyright 2013
St. Francis

I have three favorite sitting areas, one under the trees along side the stairway (with a serene cool energy, wonderful for meditation, where I read the Bhagavad Gita for the first time), one under the tree at St. Francis (be sure to touch the tree behind the plaque, and ask to connect with St. Francis and see what happens), and one that overlooks the ocean where I can see for miles and listen to the ocean waves breaking (so trance-inducing for meditation).
Serene Bench Overlooking Ocean, Photo by Kaliani Devinne, Copyright 2013
Serene Bench Overlooking Ocean
It is a power place.  A restorative place.  If you are hurting, mind, body or spirit, the garden embraces you and fills you up with earth energy.  A modern-day Garden of Eden.

Sunset from the Garden, Photo by Kaliani Devinne, Copyright 2013
Sunset from the Garden

All photos by Kaliani Devinne, copyright 2013, all rights reserved.





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