|Pathway with Cylamens|
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|
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.
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|
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|
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.
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|
|Sunset from the Garden|
All photos by Kaliani Devinne, copyright 2013, all rights reserved.