Beezone Interview with Julie Anderson
(Formerly Kanya Samarpana Remembrance)
Julie Anderson, 2016
Becoming a Devotee
Beezone: Having been in Adi Da’s personal and intimate company for many, many years you’ve been blessed to receive and also be required to practice at levels of intensity very few people have been asked to do. This probably has given you the ability to see aspects of yourself and the depth of what the practice is calling you and everyone to.
Julie: Yes thats one aspect of the blessing. I feel very grateful for that and I dont know what kind of a person I would have all together been if I had not come into Adi Das company. But by virtue of the way that he worked with me, which was pretty intensely, I have a very real sense that there are a lot of dark aspects in the mix of my own egoic patterning. So, I have a healthy appreciation for the dark side and there is a lot that I have had to deal with in all of that.
Beezone: You definitely have the means to see it from a very unique vantage point in Consciousness. What was it like to be out of Adi Da’s physical company after all the years of being so close?
Julie: Theres been a progressive process in terms of my adapting to a new life situation and then filtering through what happened and then integrating it into now. As it turns out, I am no longer part of the institutional gathering and culture of Adidam as it presently exists. But I am still a devotee of the divine person and yes of Adi Da, but not in any way shape or form as it was in the past. What I mean by this is that now I do not engage the process exactly as I used to.
From 1992 until 2006 I was in and out of his intimate company and service even after having formally relinquished being part of the Free Renunciate Order and Gurukula. At 7th Gate in 2006 was the last time I was in his physical company. During all those 14 years I was going through many changes, in and out of many circumstances in relationship to him and the gathering of devotees. The final choice to let go of being a formal devotee had to happen and was a very intentional choice, a purifying relinquishment. This choice was made sometime after his mahasamadhi. In simplest terms this in part occurred because it became very clear that I, and also with others, had not been truly engaging the yoga beyond the errors that Adi Da had been relentlessly pointing out. Clearly I am not formally participating in the process as He has described in the context of a culture and do know this is necessary for the most profound process, for it to be tested and for his work. Yet I do not see this as a possibility being fully offered yet, for real.
I humbly have to admit I had become exhausted by the seemingly fruitless struggle amongst devotees and in relationship to him. I get very unwell by involving myself in this manner. This is my ordeal. I am sad about it and deeply respect and love and feel compassion for those who have tirelessly stayed to serve. I also had to deal with and become clear about those aspects of my life with Adi Da that were confusing to me. In outward terms for me it is significantly different than it was in the past, yet the essence has remained and been even more firmly established.
I actually feel like Im more deeply in my skin, responsible, aware and awake such that I can be clear, honest and certain in speaking about what is true and truth and about my process, but not exactly in the way that I use to. Im not thinking about how I should say it according to the dharma, or what the cultural leadership or my devotional group or the lawyers would want me to say. In previous years, all those were some of the influences and concerns in how I spoke and presented myself. It is not that what I experienced or communicated was inauthentic, just not fully matured in self-understanding.
It is clear now that lot of the time I felt I had to say it like it was meant to be said, for various reasons, rather than actually feeling my voice was coming solely from me, from the reality of my direct experience and all the gifts Ive been given in my own process of trials and errors and insights and understanding. In addition to this, I have simply grown more and understood more as time has passed and the process, by grace, has continued, enabling me to be clearer. It feels now like I am honestly grounded and just ordinary. It is a great relief, without the sense that I to have prove something to someone or appear a certain way. What I speak and what I say is who I am and what Ive been through so that when I relate to people I dont feel like Im wearing a costume. Im just here with them, wherever we are. To me, now, they and the space where we are is just as significant as going into a sacred hall.
Beezone: Seems to me you’re more ordinary in the full sense of the word.
Julie: Yes. At heart I feel all of this is sacred and all beings likewise, so in relating to someone or anyone, I dont really have a debilitating problem with talking about my past life as a whole anymore. It has significantly been integrated into the present. I am not feeling a difference as though there is a them and a me who feels different or special because I am a devotee with a secret. This is why I feel ordinary, the same as all others. Obviously there are certain things I discriminate relative to in regards to what I say and to whom. I can tell pretty quickly where people exist, a sixth sense you could say (laughing). With some people I can have a conversation with them about my life and they understand entirely what I am talking about. Others do not. Whichever way it is it is OK. We are all simply trying to make sense of this very difficult life, to grow, love and survive beyond the inevitable pain in it all.
Beezone: Youre very clear to me. To me theres a word that I use and its authentic. Youre completely integrated into your feeling, your being, in mind and body….in your sense of self if you will, in who you are in the larger picture. To me your view of the ‘world’ is so expanded and integrated that its heartening, refreshing. You feel to me to be a very really strong woman. I dont want to put a lot of icing on it but youve got a lot of wisdom, clarity and, most refreshing, youre not playing to an other, to an audience.
Julie: I appreciate that.
Beezone: Youre not playing to the audience and that is one of the things that really make the strength and your integrity so obviously bright. Because youre standing in your naked truth and stating it as you feel it and based on your history and what youve been through I sit up and listen. I say okay this person is a strong devotee and there is no need, none of the game playing of whether you are in this camp or wearing this color or playing out a level of practice based on some schema, you not doing that. Its so far beyond that.
Julie: I appreciate that. I really appreciate you saying that. Thank you. Its a good reflection particularly when you have been through it. Im sure you know this. Youve been through the dark night of the soul. When going through the true spiritual process its not to feed the ego. Its so not that. It is just completely undoing. Theres no status or owning of any of it. Thats why its actually quite simple to integrate it with people now because what is obvious to me is also true of them. I feel a vulnerability of love, compassion and gratitude.
Beezone: How did you become a devotee?
Listen to Julie:
I was also very neurotic, self-conscious and seeking attention. Being able to trust and receive and give love was not something I was mature in. The criticism of the ego was something that was pretty hard to swallow but I understood somewhat what he was saying. I came to know him and the argument and his process described in The Knee of Listening. I listened to the Gorilla Sermon on a record, wherein I was given unusual Shaktipat phenomenon that I knew nothing of at the time, it was all spontaneous and freely responsively activated. The Method of the Siddhas was actually the first book that I read. The picture on the cover I could not get my head around! I also read Garbage and the Goddess. This one was fascinating to me, how he could affect people this way, his interactions. I wanted that. The attraction was so fierce I left all my ordinary life pursuits and relations to be with him Understanding his criticism became really important to me and it moved me. I immediately felt more than drawn to his argument. This was a response to his bodily incarnation, his form, not just his human form, his freedom, his laughter, his unusual beauty, just to the attractiveness altogether and as a man. I didnt know that I would be his intimate when I first responded to him. I didnt have a clue. I would spend a lot of time just gazing at his photos, often feeling I was looking at an artistic form like that of Michelangelos work which I loved.
I came across him and the books in Berkeley. It was my boyfriend at the time who initially found the books because he was going to Berkeley to the University there and he came across Adi Das books at Moes Bookstore. He was really excited about Bubba and wanted to tell me all about it. I had a flat near UCLA where I was going to school. During summer break he came down from Berkeley to live there with me. We began to study together and adapt to some of the fundamentals and also met a couple of the devotees in LA who were doing mission work I assume. Not sure if they came down specifically to meet us. It was from there that we left LA to go up north to The Mountain of Attention in 1976.
I had done some study about Krishnamurti and went to see and hear Krishnamurti talk one time. I came away with an awful headache and feeling sick! There was some familiarity with looking outside the square and a bit of seeking but not really significant seeking. I didnt grow up in a context anything remotely like what would be conducive to being a true spiritual practitioner or a devotee.
I was raised a lapsed Mormon. Enjoyed going with my sisters and girlfriends to a Catholic Church nearby as the ritual was more interesting to me than what I experienced in the Mormon Church. I was actually a complex young girl, two sides, exuberant yet hidden, precocious and cheeky. One face appearing to appease the expectations of others and being a helper and the other was driven by primal instincts and desires, an addictive character seeking love, attention and pleasure. However, as a teenager, I did fall in love with Jesus and had an attraction in that regard to the Holy Spirit. I was born again in a Baptist revival! This was a first kind of feeling of devotion or ecstasy beyond mere pleasure that was given. The relationship to Jesus, his spirit, the dove, the bible did consume me for a while. Feeling all of that kind of fullness and the blessing was actually very happy for a time. But I did not fit in as I could not maintain the Christian good girl face.
When I fell in love with Adi Da and when I came around him it was so overwhelming, the magnitude of his force and his blessing and just what was happening around him. There was nothing like it anywhere that I had known and it was only through time that I realized that that form of relationship was steeped in tradition and history in all different ways of seeing and relating to religious and spiritual practice, dharma, god and the guru in different traditions throughout time.
I only learned about that over time but as I was with him I would say that my relationship to him was coupled with a feeling insight and recognition and a depth of reception of his shaktipat, his transmission. At the same time I would now describe myself as a kind of gopi groupie then and for most all the years I was with him! I can see the way that I became caught up in being too attached to his human form and the position of being in relationship to him as his intimate. I did whatever it took to stay there with him and never wanted to be anywhere else. I was passionately and seriously embracing all the different modes of relating to him and others yet to varying degrees as an immature ego. I made a lot of false assumptions about what he was supposedly going to be able to do for me. I was caught up in all of the politics of the ashram and the competitiveness of the relationship between the women, the emotional/sexual, social, institutional and religious politics between the men and women around him, the intensity of what was required to try to create a right circumstance for him.
I understand now that I was consistently underestimating the persistent criticism he was giving us about our false ways of relating to him, as the divine self. I understood something of his criticisms and displeasure and despair. Yet I sincerely tried to give my all, to the core. I felt as though I was being wrongly accused! He once said to me The problem with you is that you take my criticism personally! Interesting eh? The fundamental error is right there.
I was embarrassingly jealous of his attention to others at times, reactive, yelled and felt angry a lot about his demands, his claims and promises seemingly not being fulfilled in my own case. Also, he was tough with me, I felt, ha! Oh the rejected one! As though he could never do enough for me nor I for him. But how could all these paradoxes be true simultaneously? As seemingly great insights, blessings and great bliss and initiations also were occurring! This kind of frustrating dynamic never seemed to end!
We were all in a learning process in relationship to him. It was also very obvious to me that it was spontaneous and an unknown ordeal for him too in terms of how the whole relationship and context manifested. Every day was new and you never knew what was going to happen. But there was always the consistency of the relationship and the relationship was twofold. One aspect was whatever was generated by virtue of the consideration in the life that came about as we lived with him and one another humanly, that awakened self-understanding. But then there was also the profound spiritual process in consciousness itself and what was occurring through his transmission and his blessing. So those things were constantly going on simultaneously. I feel that the degree to which I was able to truly practice I grew in both respects. I practiced both insight and devotion as they were revealed. I saw the different subtle nuances of what it would mean to have a practice that was more responsively involved in the argument and then likewise the devotional relationship to him. Really both become one.
It was a spiritually given insight, a radical understanding about the nature of what is being remembered. It has nothing to do with the ego self and the experience, just the remembrance of the divine reality and person. In that remembrance profound gratitude is provoked because of the nature of the relationship with him. In human terms we were always brought back to being grounded in reality, to the fact that this wasnt some airy fairy process of sitting around receiving shaktipat and being blissful all the time. It was a difficult yoga of going beyond all limits and errors in point of view. It was a very technical yoga really while also utterly effortlessly obvious and simply one pointed.
It was always being reflected to us the limits on our ability to surrender and to be open and to be granted profundities and insights that would liberate us from the bondage of our own egoic activity and the patterning that we are incarnate with, in all different levels of the being as the gross, subtle and the causal modes of egoity, as he describes in terms of the three egos. And there were vast experiences that were given based upon that process but then more fundamental there was this attachment, the profound attachment to him and his work, all aspects and his physical form.
All of the relationship has occurred very spontaneously and without a plan. But what was always occurring with him was a reality consideration; a reality consideration about the nature of the divine person, the I AM, as Conscious Light and therefore our own true identity but also the nature and the activity of the ego and its patterns being understood and gone beyond. Always both were going on simultaneously, so he really revealed to me the nature of that process of reality consideration and how vulnerable and mindless it is to surrender into that, trust and certainty that the truth would be revealed as by grace youre being completely given over. But in the midst of that being given over and through that devotion this ego act fights to maintain its apparent identity, too persistence in its independence. The reaction to authority, not wanting to be seen, all the different nuances of the ego that wants to maintain its position and its activity of identification as independent of the divine self, not recognizing its own Nature and Form. So it was really intense and continues to be having these dialogues with you, as I remember it all again, in more detail.
There is so very much to remember!
A Note from Julie
Blessings! I am making this communication via Beezone as a means to explore, remember, understand more deeply and make available the story of my life with Bhagavan Adi Da.Its a deep samyama for me and I am grateful to Ed Reither for this auspicious opportunity and how this gift has come into being.
Coincidentally, my communication may be useful to you the reader in providing a means to reflect on your own life experiences with Adi Da or in relationship to your own spiritual practice and life adventure.
Given I am not currently a formal practitioner of Adidam, my communication is a personal one and it is not intended specifically to be a guide to anyone’s spiritual and life practice. Adi Da has made it abundantly clear that if anyone is serious about His Teaching,they should embrace the full details of practice which He has clearly communicated. Any response made or opinion formed in regards to his offering is a personal matter of responsible free choice.
Whilst I am very serious about my transcendentally spiritual relationship with Adi Da, for some time and for now, I have not chosen to embrace the full details of His Instruction in regards to participation within the formal Institution and Culture of Adidam. This is a personal matter and not a reflection about anything otherwise. There are no “sides” of any camp that I sit within. My heart is filled with great respect, gratitude and profound loving compassion for all devotees that I share a history with.
Om Sri Da Love Ananda