I had two titles in my mind for this blog post. The second one was to be something like, Riding the Wave with Yogananda.

I went on a pilgrimage this past weekend to sites in the Los Angeles area made sacred by Paramhansa Yogananda. In some ways it was a very fast paced weekend trying to fit in visits to the major shrines.

In another way, it had a timeless quality to it, perhaps because I never had to look at a clock since someone else was taking care of all the details. The weekend was planned and hosted by the great souls of Ananda Southern California. On Friday, they expertly drove us to Master’s crypt (photo above), Mount Washington, and Lake Shrine. Saturday, we went to the Encinitas Hermitage and stood on the bluffs overlooking the ocean in the same spots Master stood. In the afternoon, we enjoyed meditation and chanting in the beautiful Ananda Encinitas Temple.

(Brook at the Ananda Encinitas Temple)

Each night, we dined on fabulous food prepared at the Ananda Los Angeles Ashram. The ashram house is fast becoming a spiritual haven, having seen many joyful events and deep meditations. Swami Kriyananda joined us on Sunday and gave a talk before we all returned home.

I was deeply touched by the sincerity and openness of my fellow pilgrims and I think the openness of our hearts has connected us. I could tell from the first moments of our first meditation that everyone was feeling the blessings of our guru and his life and teachings.

The blessings have followed me home and infused my daily life with new whispers of infinite possibilities. And especially important, the blessings have reminded me that I always have the blessings of the guru. Unfortunately, I can occasionally let little thoughts of fear or negativity, likes and dislikes, cloud my receptivity. I had a fear and negativity-free weekend and I liked it. Now granted, it can be hard to not have these feelings sometimes in the midst of everyday life. But, it is a good practice to take a break from our worries and spend time dedicated communing to with spirit.
(The pelicans in the photo above reminded me of the line in the Festival of Light: Give yourself into my hands cried the wind… “to your strength I will then add my own”…)

I didn’t take a lot of photos on this trip – I took a few, but it was not my focus. My favorite one was from a small, busy cafe called Swami’s Cafe in Encinitas. On the wall was a mural of Yogananda surfing. One of my fellow pilgrims raised his hand and sweetly touched the Master’s hand. That image reminds me to grab hold of the guru’s hand and hang on as we ride the wave of life, find its timeless rhythm and enJOY the vast ocean of spirit that is within us.

And speaking of joy…
Swami Kriyananda returns to the village in a little over a week. While he may not have many public appearances, it is always special to have him in the village. We are all looking forward to this years 9,000 tulips at Crystal Hermitage and there are many wonderful programs happening at The Expanding Light – both perfect places for pilgrimage.

Most importantly, is the pilgrimage we take in our hearts everyday when we commune with Spirit and honor the spirit that resides in all.
In Master’s joy, Barbara

A Place Called Ananda

A blog by disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda


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