We all know that life is nasty, brutish and short, which is why we should occasionally spend some time at a lake, preferably one with swans. The Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine provides a quiet setting for strolling, feeding fowl and, for the more existentially inclined, contemplating the meaning of life, the universe and everything. Dedicated in 1950, the gardens and temple on the grounds are under the purview of the Self-Realization Fellowship, a self-identified “worldwide religious organization” founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda, the so-called “father of yoga in the West.” The 10-acre site includes a spring-fed lake, swans, ducks, koi, a Gandhi memorial and even a “Court of Religions” honoring Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism. Visitors of all faiths are welcome to stroll the grounds at their leisure; otherwise, there are classes in meditation for those who wish to become SRF members. 17190 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades. (310) 454-4114, lakeshrine.org.

—Kristina Benson

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