The Coast News Group
The sign for the Chapel of Awareness, the oldest church in Encinitas, is shrouded by ferns. The church was built in 1908. Photo by Susan Sullivan
Soul on Fire

Soul on Fire: Chapel of Awareness — the oldest church in Encinitas

I never really know where I’m going next even though I write it at the end of each column. When I put down that I would be visiting the Chapel of Awareness next, I really didn’t know how or when I would get over there. I just “knew” it would all work out, like it always does.

My visit did not disappoint.

A coincidence or synchronicity is defined as “the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.” As the deadline to submit the article drew near, I allowed my “knowingness” to take over — giving it over to God if you will. Sure enough, a new friend and I connected on Facebook, and her profile said she was attending The Chapel of Awareness. I ran into her at Seaside Center in the morning and told her I had made that distinction, and that I would like to get in somehow for an interview. She was headed there right at that moment. She passed my card to the gentleman that runs the place, and he called me to come over and we spent 55 minutes that went by in what felt like five.

It didn’t end there, as I host a Buddhist meditation meeting at my house on Sunday evenings where I was sharing with a friend my experiences at The Chapel of Awareness. When announcements were asked for from the attendees, the first one was about some Buddhist happenings being held at The Chapel of Awareness. Are you following me? Is that enlightenment — or at least a glimpse of it?

Enlightenment is defined as “the action of enlightening or the state of being enlightened, or the action or state of attaining or having attained spiritual knowledge or insight, in particular (in Buddhism) that awareness which frees a person from the cycle of rebirth.” It is also a European intellectual movement of the late 17th and 18th centuries emphasizing reason and individualism rather than tradition heavily influenced by 17th-century philosophers. 

Everyone throughout time has this capability and if you’ve been following this column, all spiritual enlightenment comes with practice, training, awareness and controlling the mind by practicing stillness. If you are walking a spiritual path you may be going through the day with awareness and discipline or mindfulness. Practicing meditation and how to communicate with Spirit with Spiritualist overtones and Buddhist undertones is next level.

Enter the Chapel of Awareness. Built in 1908, this is the oldest church in Encinitas. Formerly a Methodist church until the mid-’60s the structure stood vacant until 1972 until founder, Dr. Eugene C. Larr, who was a student of esoteric Buddhism, an external clairaudient worker, clairvoyant and trance medium who came on the scene with his diverse academic background including a Ph.D. in both the field of religious science and micro-paleontology. He started the spiritualist church to help people better understand the subject of enlightenment and to develop their own psychic and spiritual awareness. Answering pressing life questions when one is on the path to enlightenment, such as, “Do I really know what I want?  Do I really know where I am going?  Do I really know who I am?” and giving back the answer that you must “Know that you Know.” And you “know” by becoming aware.

Becoming aware of your environment as a careful observer and to use the awareness you have within yourself and all the situations we find ourselves in, be they good, bad or indifferent, are brought about not only by the extent of our awareness, but by the extent to which we are willing to use that awareness. To awaken our spiritual natures, we must begin to live with the infinite — the God Is. Our consciousness needs to be spiritualized by living and thinking in the lofty state of divine beingness, and that is achieved in an accelerated way with the teachings at the chapel.

Currently being run and cared for by Rev. Don Miller for the last 30 years, and ordained by the Chapel of Awareness after extensive study of spirit communication, mediation techniques, healing all types of ailments, imagery with white light and energy that generates a specific vibration, and calling in spirit teachers is an everyday thing. This nondescript little chapel with original oak pews and arched beams only a block to the Pacific on Third and E Street usually has 40 to 50 seekers in attendance each Sunday and several enrolled in beginning and advanced classes on these very topics throughout the week.

Primarily following the precepts of Buddhism with awareness, discipline, controlling the mind through meditation training techniques and the spiritual law of non-interference and non-judgement, it is The Golden Thread that is the main tenet — that all truth runs through all religions and the basic teachings of all the great masters who have appeared throughout man’s history and the connecting link between them. That “God Is,”  and that there is an Infinite Intelligence in action through all time and living with the Golden Rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” keeps you on the path. The belief that we all have spirit teachers whether you believe it or not, and we can all tap into that awareness and communicate with them in dreams, meditation and imagery techniques — and they can help us in our lives, business and relationships giving us healing powers to pass onto ourselves and others.

Visitors can expect the practice of Buddhist Zazen meditation and silence followed by a talk transmitted from a Spirit Teacher coming through the Minister, energetic distance or absence healing to loved ones or a pet and longer healing sessions offered the first Sunday of the month beyond the regular Sunday healings. Congregants and visitors alike are encouraged to tune into the infinite intelligence of a love frequency in and around themselves — the energy that permeates all things to make the world a better place. Put a toe in or dive headfirst. The Chapel of Awareness has been here in Encinitas for many lifetimes.

We are checking out the California Institute for Human Science in our next column.