The Hermitage, where Yogananda lived for more than a decade in the late 1930s and 1940s, is where he wrote much of his spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi. The Hermitage is open for tours every Sunday afternoon from two o’clock to four o’clock. Visitors can view the Hermitage’s dining room and large drawing room as well as Yogananda’s study and bedroom. Walking through the Hermitage is a sacred Sunday tradition for many devotees.
Upon exiting the Hermitage, you find yourself on the lawn with a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. For years, I would close my eyes in Minnesota and think, “I am standing on the Hermitage lawn, the sun warm upon my face, the breeze blowing gently against my skin, the roar of the ocean in my ears.” Then I’d open my eyes and . . . nope. I’d still be in Minnesota. The few times I visited Encinitas and toured the Hermitage in the past decade, I’d stand in this very spot, close my eyes and do the same visualization. But when I opened my eyes, I would indeed be standing on the lawn in front of the ocean—and I’d appreciate the moment just a little bit more. Now that I’m living in Encinitas, I do the same visualization every Sunday, and when I open my eyes I am just as appreciative as I’ve ever been.
Standing on that lawn is special to me not only because of the ocean view and what it represents, but because Yogananda lived here, worked here and walked these grounds. Standing there, looking at the Hermitage, I can see in my mind’s eye all the photographs of Yogananda on this very lawn, in front of this very building. I feel that if I could close my eyes and transcend time for just a moment, I could simply walk right into 1938 and be back home.
May you be able to enjoy your favorite spot on earth as I do mine!
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