Engaging in Awakening: More Beauty for the Urban Seeker

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Truth is One:

I have often said that if Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, and other true
emissaries of God came together, they would not quarrel, but would
drink from the same one cup of God-communion.

Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 – 1952)


Hello Lovely Readers,

A couple of weeks ago I began the first in a series of reviews of urban sanctuaries. This week I had planned a post on Lake Shrine, in Pacific Palisades- the amazing ten-acre site, with gardens and a natural spring-fed lake, that is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including swans, ducks, koi, and trees and flowers from around the world- when I discovered that the L.A. theatrical debut screening of AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda, produced by CounterPoint Films, which began on Friday, October 17 will join in a special celebration of the another groundbreaking film ‘What the Bleep’ tomorrow evening at the Sundance Sunset Cinema in West Hollywood. I know this will be a fascinating event and I so wish I was well enough to attend!!

Consider no one a stranger. Learn to feel that everybody is akin to you. Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 - 1952)

Consider no one a stranger.
Learn to feel that everybody
is akin to you.
Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 – 1952)

The film has received many excellent reviews and a few prizes, including I am proud to say, Maui Film Festival’s,

Spirit in Cinema Award, and includes dozens of interviews with yogis, spiritual leaders, scientists, and entertainment legends – a diverse group of seekers who all have found life-changing inspiration from Paramahansaji’s teachings.” According to the New York Times, Awake “is compelling..and enough to make the modern soul look inwards.”

So if you happen to be in or near Weho (West Hollywood) tomorrow evening, Oct 21 you can join in an event that promises to be both uplifting, through provoking, and just plain fun.

Author Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love and more recently an aspiring member of Congress)  called Yogananda “truly one of the great spiritual masters. He shone a light that continues to bless millions of us living on the earth today and THE MOVIE NETWORK called Awake an absolute treasure and should not only be watched, but experienced, and THE MOVIE NETWORK called Awake “an absolute treasure and should not only be watched, but experienced.

The same could be said about Lake Shrine itself. The grounds include a Court of Religions honoring the five principal religions of the world, and the Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial where a portion of Gandhi’s ashes is enshrined.

walking the path at Lake Shrine

The sun shines equally on diamond and charcoal, but the former has developed qualities that enable it to reflect the sunlight brilliantly, while the latter is unable to reflect the sunlight.  Emulate the diamond in your dealings with people.  Brightly reflect the light of God’s love. Paramahansa Yogananda (1893 – 1952)

“The colorful history of the Lake Shrine began over half a century ago. In the early 1920s, the then-famous Inceville motion-picture studio filmed silent movies on this site in Santa Ynez Canyon. The land was later purchased by Los Angeles real-estate magnate Alphonzo Bell, Sr.; and in 1927, the surrounding hillsides were hydrauli­cally graded to fill the canyon and make it level for future development. However, these earthmoving activities were halted prematurely, leaving a large basin in the part of the can­yon that had not been leveled. This basin quickly filled with water from the many springs in the area, creating Lake Santa Ynez – the only natural spring-fed lake within the city limits of Los Angeles.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 12.53.24 PM Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 12.53.00 PM

How the McElroys’ ten-acre park became the Self-Realization Fellow­ship Lake Shrine is a remarkable story. In the late 1940s Mr. and Mrs. McElroy sold the property to an oil-com­pany president, who moved into the windmill and planned to build a multi-million dollar resort hotel com­plex around the lake. Before he could proceed, however, the new owner of the property had a strange experience.

One night the oil company execu­tive awoke around three a.m. after a vivid dream in which he saw his new property as a “Church of All Reli­gions.” He had dreamed that a large group of people was assembled by the lake, and ministers gave inspiring ser­mons from a podium. He fell asleep again, but again the curious vision awakened him. After this had hap­pened three times, he got out of bed and looked up “Church of All Reli­gions” in the telephone book. The only such listing was for the Self-Realiza­tion Fellowship Church of All Reli­gions in Hollywoodd. Deeply moved by his unusual expe­rience, he immediately began to write a letter describing his vision and offer­ing to sell the property to Self-Reali­zation Fellowship. His wife woke up, and learning what he was doing, ex­claimed, “You’re going to sell our home at three o’clock in the morn­ing?” Unperturbed, he finished the let­ter and mailed it to Paramahansa Yoga­nanda, founder of Self-Realization Fel­lowship.

The Phone Call

Rather than waiting until the letter arrived, the man telephoned Self-Realization Fellowship headquarters later that morning.Coming to the phone, Paramahansa Yogananda said–before the man could introduce himself or explain his purpose—“You have some property for sale, don’t you? When can I see it?”

“But you haven’t received my letter,” the man replied.

The letter will come tomorrow morning,” the Guru told him.  “Can we meet tomorrow afternoon?”

Paramahansaji visited the lake and its grounds the next day, and immediately began making plans for the open-air shrine of all religions he wished to establish in L.A.  Shortly thereafter, he was able to acquire the property, and the Lake Shrine was born. From “temporary headquarters” on the Mississippi houseboat, Yogananda personally directed monks of the Self-Realization Order during the many months of contruction and extensive landscaping needed to create the spiritual oasis he envisioned.During this period he spent many hours in deep prayer and divine communion at the lake, invoking God’s blessings on all who would visit there.”

Whether you are a believer or not,a visit to Lake Shrine offers our senses respite from the business, noise, technology, and pace of the modern world. It just isn’t possible to overstate the effects of natural beauty on our health. We need this beauty like we need water and a safe place to lay our heads at night. Much of the time we are too busy to notice yet it is there for the finding. It is up to us to appreciate its healing nourishing touch and to rest our weary minds in its spacious embrace. I know I’ll be spending more time there as my leg grows stronger. I hope to see you on the path….

Engagingly Yours,

Sabrina xoxoxo









About engagingly yours

Passionate Poet, Writer, Yoga Teacher, Realistic Idealist, Devotee, servant and Champion of Beauty, Lover of Life: visit me at Engagingthesenses.com
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