Find Serenity at the Lake Shrine

Let’s face it; living in Southern California is hectic. Between constant traffic, the cost of living, and trying to stay afloat, stress takes a toll on your nerves. Sometimes you just need a few minutes for yourself to re-charge your inner peace battery. I have just the thing and it won’t cost you a penny. Spend an hour at the Lake Shrine at the Self Realization Fellowship in Pacific Palisades. You will ommmmmmm a sigh of serenity. 


Lake Shrine Self Realization Fellowship is everything the name says, a place to seek self-awareness, fellowship with God and nature surrounded by ten acres of beauty. The spring-fed lake with koi, turtles, ducks and swans, immediately relaxes your senses and your soul. There are walking paths meandering along the perimeter of the lake complete with private gardens and seating areas to encourage self-reflection.   

Before scoping out a perfect meditation spot, I turned off my cellphone. I found the Mississippi River style boathouse on the water’s edge. From the rear lookout, I took in the beauty of the sparkling water, the lush landscaping of colorful California and exotic flowers, foliage of every shade of green imaginable, trees, and terraced gardens. Below in the water, the koi playfully swam along the shoreline with a pond turtle peeking out. Over yonder, you can see the majesty of swan flying overhead with the gold roofed temple shrine and Santa Monica Mountains in the background. I breathe in fresh scents of nature, and relax. I hear the hum of hummingbirds and chirps of birds, and the waterfalls gentle cascade across the rocks. Finally my mind is at rest. Ommmmmm. 

Another unique spot is the recently remodeled Windmill Chapel, a 16th century Dutch reproduction. When the property was bought in 1948, the windmill was the family home, since then it has been transformed into the chapel that it is today. It is open to the public. To learn more about the windmill, there is video on the SRF website to watch: 

(Before it was the Windmill Chapel, it was a personal residence. Circa 1948) 

Paramahansa Yogananda, the founder of the Self Realization Fellowship in the U.S., dedicated the property in 1950. He designed the Lake Shrine to honor the five major world religions of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism and Hindu. SRF emphasizes the commonality among them of self-awareness, reflection, compassion & respect of others, and the Divine. 

As I get back in my car, I turn on my cellphone; take a deep breath, renewed to go back to the real world once again. 

Admission, parking, classes and services are free, open to the public, and donations are deeply appreciated. The Lake Shrine is situated below the Self Realization Temple on Sunset Boulevard in Pacific Palisades.



Lake Shrine Self Realization Fellowship

17190 Sunset Blvd.

Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

(310) 454-4114


Check website for events or specific details 


Garden and Lake Hours

Tuesday – Saturday: 9 am - 4:30 pm

Sunday: 12 noon - 4:30 pm


Visitors Center

Tuesday – Saturday:  9 am - 4:30 pm

Sunday: 12 noon - 4:30 pm


Gift Shop and Museum

Tuesday & Wednesday: 12:00 noon to 4:30 pm

Thursday – Saturday: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm

Sunday: 10:00 to 10:45 am  – 12:00 noon to 4:30 pm


Lake Shrine Temple

Saturday closed

Sunday: After Service until 4:00 pm


(Sue Helmy has plenty of tricks up her sleeve. She is currently providing superb administrative services at a financial management firm in Century City. She is active in countless church and civic organizations and spends every minute she can spare dancing to the Zumba beat.