I had heard about the Meditation Gardens at the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas but knew little about it except that it was, simply put, pretty. SRF is a spiritual organization that espouses yoga, meditation, and the teachings of its founder Paramahansa Yogananda, an Indian guru, to gain a stronger spiritual connection to god. I’m not religious at all — I’m not even sure what “god” is and I’m more of the mindset “be a good person” — but I knew this garden sounded like it would be worth a visit. (Spoiler alert: It was.)
Open to the public, the Meditation Gardens are a sanctuary with vibrant flowers, blooming succulents, a charming koi pond, ocean views, and of course meditations benches, many of which are tucked in the greens for the ultimate one-with-nature feeling. I sat with my eyes closed for about 15 minutes, and let me tell you, there’s a different breed of quiet here. It’s more about stillness, and it gave me deja vu to the days we had on the road backpacking, when we didn’t have smartphones and life was a whole lot simpler.
Don’t let the spiritual overtones intimidate you; there are a mix of people who visit the Gardens, from devout meditators to tourists to people like me who fall somewhere in between. No matter your religious leanings, it’s a fantastic place for anyone to check out and check in with yourself. Take a look: