During the 12 months of the devastating pandemic in California, the Lake Shrine Meditation Gardens remained open to the public. We implemented a reservation system to help ensure that health protocols were being followed and to limit the number of visitors, which allowed for proper social distancing. From July 2020 through July 2021 we welcomed and received over 25,000 guests from all over California. We also offered our Meditation Gardens as respite for first responders and medical staff from local hospitals. Our operational motto has been “safe and sacred.” We are proud to have achieved this successfully!
We have also noticed that reservations in advance measurably improve guest experience. When guests make reservations, they are educated on the purpose of Lake Shrine as a sacred site for contemplative activity. Guests are also informed by suggestions on how to maximize their experience. The number of guests arriving with lofty intentions has dramatically increased and this has been inspiring to staff and other guests. In addition, the process of reserving seems to effectively filter out those few who may not respect our shrine environment. Prior to introducing reservations, we were routinely experiencing visitors full of aggression and this was negatively affecting staff, volunteers, and other guests. These incidents were increasing and on occasion required security intervention. This is an unfortunate parallel for our society in general which has become more prone to violence. Our guests expect and need a sanctuary of peace where each one can find personal spiritual renewal. Reservations have without question improved the safety and enhanced the experience of peace for all on site.
So it is a combination of a desire to maintain a safe and secure environment for guests, staff, volunteers and residents, along with a prevailing wish to preserve the sanctity of our shrine environment as intended by our founder, Paramahansa Yogananda, which influences our decision to continue using a reservation system.
Going forward beyond restrictive pandemic conditions, we are expanding our reservations to create an opportunity for a larger number of guests to visit on a daily basis. In addition, our temple is reopening and no reservations will be required for attending meditations and services. It is our hope that the many thousands of guests who continue to come will appreciate the enhanced safety and protected peace of the sacred environment which Lake Shrine offers to the general public.
We thank you for your kindness and support.
Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine ministers,