Beezone Interview with Julie Anderson
(Formerly Kanya Samarpna Remembrance)
Julie Anderson, 2016
Oh my, Oh my!
San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner, April 1985
Beezone note: In May of 1985, two lawsuits filed against Franklin Jones and the Adi Da community that created a media storm which exists to this day. One was by an ex-boyfriend of Julie’s and the other by the wife of the then CEO of Adidam (Johannine Daist Communion) Brian O’Mahony. The lawsuits, along with national media coverage attention created a distorted perception of Adi Da and his community that still exists in the minds of many. The following section of Beezone’s interview with Julie discusses this period known to some as the “dissident” period. In discussing this period I was not interested in trying to explain it or make anyone right or wrong. If that is your interest, I recommend you read my discussion with David Lane on Beezone’s Blog.
Julie with Adi Da Samraj, mid 1990’s
Beezone: Could you talk about the period before 1985 and how Adi Da worked with people?
Julie: In the most fundamental spiritual terms Adi Da’s work was always the same, as the blessing transmission was always that of the heart, the conscious light of being. But how he worked with us individually and collectively was always changing depending on what was being addressed or revealed either about the act of egoity or the nature of the divine self.
As a spiritually awake human personality, this required him to go to the depths of each and every aspect of life at all levels of being. By engaging us in his work, we were granted insight into significant erroneous presumptions in our point of view. He served us while also fulfilling his own seventh stage process, thus transcending all prior stages of life. This is why it was all so colorful and wonderfully adventurous and also at times extremely difficult.
How could it be otherwise if his work is about awakening the radical truth of our condition and state? He was not merely working with the individuals that came to him, but with the intention to further awaken the one consciousness that is true of all beings to divine self-recognition in conscious love-light. A turn of a huge tide, so to speak. For humanity to come to understand the truth of the divine self rather than the ego-self presumption is a total turnabout. This radical awareness could be somewhat likened to the new understanding that humanity came to in the discovery that the world was not flat! This was a profoundly life-altering new awareness and adventure that was difficult for many to embrace as true. Likewise, difficulty can be experienced as Adi Da so fiercely criticizes the act of the ego and its false views and search. This pill can be hard to swallow, as it does not merely deal with symptoms but the cause of our false views.
Beezone: Yes, a lot of people had problems with this style of work, and many did not appreciate it! His early style of work to this day still flavors peoples view of Adi Da.
Julie: Well yes, it seems so. But these reactions can also be understood. In attempting to turn about the core or root error in consciousness, there is inevitable resistance because true insight, surrender, and trust are required. I reacted myself many times, as have all the devotees! (laughing). But I am so grateful I stuck with the process in all the ways I have. Also, this was and is a new kind of work in that this criticism and revelation in regards to the fundamental error or act of self-contraction that addresses all of life and all spiritual seeking and experience, gross, subtle and causal has never been specifically addressed or fully awakened before. Aspects of this have been intuited by some, yes, of course. But I assume you are also pointing to the events that created difficulty for many people, both devotees, and nondevotees in 1985.
Beezone: Yes, the time the lawsuits were filed, and the media attention brought Adi Da on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle and international newspapers.
Julie: It is quite an emotional and complex issue around the way that Adi Da worked before and after the period in 1985 when there was a lot of media scandal and legal law suits filed that was brought to our attention from disgruntled devotees. I would surmise that the reactions of those who were upset that led to such aggressive action being taken perhaps came from a place where there was a sense of doubt, confusion, hurt or concern.
Beezone: Yes, the lawsuits are very explicit about some grave and harmful accusations.
Julie: Yes, I am aware of the seriousness of the issues brought forth. My heart prayer for each and every one of those accusations is that they are truly understood in the light of truth and thus healed and let go for each involved. May a free, insightful and mature conclusion be reached such that felt injuries are healed by light and that love is restored. I do not want to whitewash what to some may feel to be real about what they experienced that had negative outcomes for them. I am also not in a position to address each and every accusation in detail, as I was not necessarily present for all events such that I can know the truth of what occurred.
I can say that I am certain it would not have been Adi Da’s intention to cause lasting pain or trauma. His work was always founded in a loving impulse. However, I can say from my ordeal that because I was touched so so deeply and the intimacy with Adi Da and devotees was so passionate that, at times I felt betrayed for various reasons, inevitable feelings of hurt could seem almost insurmountable. But those reactions did not stay that way as I continued to mature and grow beyond limits in my being and consciousness. I have always come to understand something profound by trusting that insight, truth and love would prevail. This would also at times require me to forgive mistakes made by others, even those made by Adi Da. I am also grateful to Adi Da and others who would forgive me for my mistakes that came out of either a lack of understanding, insensitivity, competitiveness, or naivety or just plain immature reactivity. This compassionate reciprocation is inevitably necessary if any relationship is to grow deeper and more trusting in love.
From the little I know in detail about how the entire events of 1985 unfolded legally and altogether for each involved, I did also feel that some of these people may have been out to extract money, a kind of blackmail. At that time I genuinely could not understand how anyone would do such a thing. It came as a real shock. I could not get my head around the whole fact that we were being threatened and why. I assume those hurling criticisms and accusations at us did not take into account how their actions would negatively impact so many innocent people, especially my families and friends and those of so many others.
Beezone: Hopefully some clarification, maturity and honesty would be a sign of healing after all these years. As these allegations still, exist as truth in today’s psyche.
Julie: Yes, and it is also still being argued in the religious, spiritual and cultural psyche of humanity, almost a couple thousand years later, as to whether Mary Magdalene was a prostitute and Jesus’ wife! (laughing) These kinds of preoccupation’s, after the fact, may entirely miss the point of the sacred revelations being given! Yes, I can appreciate the interest in the nuances of how such historically significant stories unfold.
I do not mean to minimize the seriousness of what people may have felt happened to them, but my intuition is that most all the negative issues of debate about Adi Da and the way he worked have been either blown way out of proportion or are untrue. In almost every case they have been taken out of context. During certain periods of our history, there were wild crazy times. But these times always occurred in a cultural, religious and spiritually growing context. This context may not be easy to understand, but it had and has its pure logic. For me, at a certain point, it becomes more fruitful to look at the total of what the work was, and what was being given, the essence of the intention and revelation. This perspective was significant in helping me come to a definite conclusion about our history. Also when I considered how many thousands of people have either been directly or peripherally touched by Adi Da and his vast oeuvre of work, it has undoubtedly resulted in a profoundly auspicious revelation that has positively served the lives of so many. This cannot be refuted. This is the conclusion I feel in my heart after all the years of my internal debate. For me, it is clear that to understand this kind of work it cannot be debated with only the intellect or with emotion. It had to be considered via a real process of yogic and spiritual awakening. The real purity and essence became clearly and fully evident only in this context.
Beezone: You were mentioned many times in one of the main lawsuits by your ex-boyfriend at the time.
Julie: Yes. The media used me, my families and my history in a very exploitative fashion which I did not appreciate at all.
Julie with blood family – mid-1990’s
At that time I did have a conversation with my ex-boyfriend, as it felt necessary to respond to him because of my history with him and how he was so grossly intruding in my life. I was surprised to find he felt upset and concerned. I have always felt gratitude to him for our choice of moving up to the Mountain of Attention in 1976. He also had understood my decision to let go of our intimacy and my wanting to be as close as I could to Adi Da. The day Adi Da asked me if I would come and “live with him forever” he asked that I “handle my business” by first having a dialog with my ex-boyfriend to let him know of my choice. I did this and also contacted my family. I admit I was swept away, but very passionately and happily so. I did leave behind and let go of the many traditional pursuits that I had been involved in. I was not fully taking into account how this may have hurt some people. I understand that this was also a surprise to many individuals who knew me. But this path was important to me. I was young and adventurous, exploring my freedom and options. I assume that this may have hurt my ex-boyfriend more than he showed at the time, given his later choice to be revengeful. Maybe the sense of betrayal was a contributing factor, perhaps not. But he did very early on move on and marry another devotee and had a child with her. In the dialog when I phoned him from the Island in Fiji in 1985, I told him very clearly that I was very happy and well and that there was no reason for concern. Clearly, he did not respect my heart words nor listen.
Beezone: That is one area of clarification that is important because in his lawsuit he makes many claims about your being kidnapped and abused.
Julie: Neither of those accusations is true. As a culture of devotees with Adi Da himself present, we certainly had some wild gatherings and times of intimacy! And yes some involved smaller groups of tantric practices, also using intoxicants at times. To some people, these kinds of practices are outside the acceptable square of experimentation. But for many it is not. We were neither puritanical nor provincial. We were not doing anything different than what so many people regularly do every day. The main difference, however, is that we were doing it in a cultural context of consideration about our seeking, impulses, desires, etc. and why we chose these things and the significance of them such that we could discriminate wisely as to whether or not it was a useful choice or practice to continue. These activities served a significant purpose, and those of us who did enter into such occasions were not forced to, nor abused. It most often made sense to me at the time and in that context, so I chose to enter into such a process of evaluation, testing, and insight. There were many contributing factors involved in such decision making and it was not casual or frivolous. Was it easy, all self-indulgent fun and games? No. It required a profound process of bravery, perseverance, growth and passion. But it seems that my making it clear that I was free, willing and happy was not going to change the unfolding exploitation of me and my life with Adi Da and his devotees (including my blood family). This is the nature of the media and the legal system at times. That is unlawful and inhumane as far as I am concerned! Thus I don’t yet fully feel in the blessing and forgiving mode in regards to each involved because I’ve never had a real direct dialogue with any of them about why they chose to take such hurtful actions. Especially given I tried to make it clear I was fine and that nothing sinister was going on at all. It was quite the opposite. The fundamental discriminative ground and mirror of the entire process was and is the spiritual heart of love.
Yes, Adi Da as a human being was a very charismatic, loving, sensitive, passionate, intuitive, intelligent, creative, strong, stubborn, demonstrative and a spiritually awake genius. Such characteristics may rub many the wrong ways. Anyone throughout time who has brought new radical creative propositions to the consciousness of humanity has bore the brunt of abuse in various forms. This too has occurred for him and his life and work, unfortunately, and we as devotees have been endlessly questioned and hassled also. However, there is one upside to this particular ordeal, and that is that it gives us a chance to, again and again, be challenged and tested in our convictions. This is an ongoing process for many. This kind of growing ordeal is required not only for Adidam devotees but followers of all traditions, old and new.
For some who were supposedly out to hold Adi Da accountable for what they may have felt to be unlawful or inappropriate actions on his part with them or in relationship to others did not carry through with their seemingly altruistic intention. It appears that they were happy just to extract money. At the time we did not want to have anyone of us and most especially Adi Da himself have to be further abused or exploited by the media or legal system when there was not just reason for it. To bring the ugly drama to an end, I understand there was a settlement made outside of court. I have never had any extensive direct dialog in detail with our lawyers or cultural leaders around the how and why the event was altogether handled from our end in the way that it was. However, at the time I was privy to the many dialogs that took place directly with Adi Da when the lawyers and leadership spoke to him about what was going to occur in response to these impositions and allegations. So at the time I was not entirely in the dark as I was always in the room when these conversations took place.
However, I need to make one thing very clear. I learned over time that differing ways of relating to Adi Da yielded different degrees of detail, clarity, and honesty with him and with one another and all others. This formed our structure and manner of communication. As a collective, it became very apparent that we were often the ones creating the issues. As years went by this began to disturb me more and more.
Beezone: I think the reasons why more people left the community during these and other years were their problems with other devotees rather than with Adi Da, that’s for sure.
Julie: I can understand that. I am very sorry for many things I have done that have been insensitive, dishonest or hurtful in my manner of relating or communicating in previous years. The reasons for why we (as so-called devotees) developed these characteristics in our communications process, is a whole other story in and of itself.
In addition to this, there were and are the qualities of all the different devotee characters in the play of relationship to him and one another. These differences had a great deal to do with how events unfolded around him and continued to unfold, and thus how we appear as a whole and how we relate to his work and all others.
Beezone: Yes, the politics within Adidam has always been seen by many as very cultic and at times very righteous and abusive.
Julie: Yes it has been at times and still can tend to be. Again, unfortunately, these attitudes are not uncommon to almost all religious, spiritual cultures or institutions. I would hope though that in time Adidam will grow beyond these egoically protective and cultic ways of relating to the continuing process and work. Going beyond such fears are essential. There is no territory to defend in fundamental truth, as it cannot be destroyed. My experience is that the essence of the sacred process can and must truly be discriminatively, yogically and spiritually experienced and communicated and thus secured in perpetuity. Right protection of and responsibility for all the physically tangible gifts is essential, yes! But as signed by the natural disasters of recent times, we are not in control ultimately of the fate of any incarnate form. I learned that holding on too tight is not fruitful. Being too protective is not an open hand.
So I understand why some people viewing devotees and Adidam may feel as you described. Many devotees themselves are aware of this, as Adi Da himself endlessly reflected this to us. Changing such a stance as a collective is not easy. But this fact says more about the ego act itself than Adi Da’s spiritual work. I say this so you can understand that the way he worked was not merely about him or his doing. It was always a reflection of a process in relationship, active and alive. As it is the case with everyone in any relationship, everywhere, in any event in life. This does not justify actions that may have resulted in hurting others. This does not mean he was always right or innocent. I have no desire nor need to defend what he did or how he worked. He made mistakes too. God forbid! (laughing). We all did and do. We are all imperfect humans consequentially bouncing off one another no matter what role we play (profound or mundane) in the various types of hierarchy within this life in these limited manifest forms.
I asked him one time in 1986 why he did not apologize for the mistakes he has made. His response is one I am still pondering. “That is not my function.” At least this seems to be an admission of errors made! (laughing)
Beezone: Fritz Perl used to have a saying “Garbage in, garbage out”. Meaning if you were given misleading information then your decisions would and could be misleading. As you so often said, People often took him as the ‘answer man.’ The one who knew everything.
“The Guru is not some superman. He must always become nothing so that the Divine Siddhi becomes active. God’s Siddhi is perfect, absolute, so it is not by becoming a perfect superman with all kinds of overwhelming, fascinating qualities that a person awakens to the Divine activity. It is only when all that is undermined and no longer active in him that the Divine Siddhi appears spontaneously. The Guru, then, is a unique presence and a unique process.”
Adi Da Samraj
Julie: Yes. This disturbed him. He always tried to get this monkey off his back. I related to him this way in a naive presumption that because he was the guru that everything he said or did was perfect and right and true. Often I related to him as though he should know and have the answer to everything! Being goo-gaa over everything he said and did! (laughing). So I often would wrongly agree with (at least outwardly) or believe everything he said or did. This was also easier to do than disagree, as at times I was not keen to confront his strong authority and demeanor. That was my immature response to authority and misunderstanding of the function of the real guru. At times I did voice my contrary views or feelings, and this created valuable consideration. Over the many years of his work with us he made it clear that we were relating to him wrongly in so many ways, on so many levels. This was so even to the day of his mahasamadhi. Most especially with those of us close to him! He would often say, tongue in cheek keep your friends close, but your enemies closer! (laughing) I think this is a line from a movie. Another one he used to like to say was; if I had been posted to the dark side of the moon, I could not be more isolated! This line is from Lawrence of Arabia. This was one of his more humorous ways of expressing his frustration and plight about our silly immature responses to his profound work. I feel another wrong way of relating to him, was not taking his personal characteristic human limitations into account more, and acknowledging that this is OK, that these existed. Even as intimate as I was with him, I did this too. There seems to be a ridiculous equation that proposes; if you are religiously or spiritually awake, blessing and teaching others, this must be shown via perfect behavior. Whatever that is! (laughing) This equation is impossible for any manifest being to complete.
So I understand the nature of the ego when it feels afraid, or it feels hurt, or it feels like it is being victimized in some way such that it wants to lash out and protect itself or others and perhaps seek revenge or compensation. That’s fundamental to our human nature, sometimes necessary, but most often the results are not fully satisfactory in serving a deep healing process resulting in peace and love. The larger culture of mankind doesn’t provide much of a greater insight or wisdom about how to deal with these issues in a way that won’t continue to cause pain and thus hurt so many people. This kind of pattern in all humans inevitably creates cycles that go on and on and on and never seems to end. This is very very sad.
This is so much of what we see and feel about our world culture today and throughout history. The ramifications of this time of upheaval in our gathering in 1985 (in addition to other contributing factors) have had somewhat of a crippling effect on our gathering. I feel it still does in various ways, with fear and self-protection and an ensuing lack of insight and self-responsibility as a mature cohesive collective at its root. Again this reflects the fierce persistence of the ego act and does not negate spiritual reality as conscious love-light.
Beezone: From what I see, Adidam has never come out of their hole since 1985 and have always been on either the defensive or up leveling any given situation by making it ‘Divine.’
Julie: Perhaps so. Ouch. I have had the need and thus opportunity to enter into the emotional mindset of evaluating the entirety of my life and experiences with Adi Da and all the devotees I have lived with throughout the time of my direct personal involvement and beyond. This has been a full scale, broad spectrum ride through both positive and negative views, to the quick. Therefore I am very familiar with the physical, emotional and mental roots of what could potentially catapult one into a spin of vindictive explosive fire.
Beezone: It’s clear you’ve somehow worked through these reactions and difficulties.
Julie in Contemplation
Julie: I am now grateful for what I’ve had to go through. When I speak now, having gone through a vortex of growth, I know the process of understanding will always continue within the necessary cycles.
Beezone: I think it’s like any deep emotional event, whether it being a marriage or the loss of someone dear, the learning, lessons and need for healing continues.
Julie: Yes. And it is always ongoing and present time. During all these years of this process, I needed to continually reassert that I had to at least act, to the best of my ability at any given time, with the integrity of a heart still fastened to love and truth, and allow all to be tested in relationship to such core values.
In my process, as different memories and experiences unraveled over the years and at times experienced difficult reactions, I would, again and again, be settled in the certainty that I never wanted to hurt anyone intentionally or to lose my heart right of freedom. Thus my healing process required me to let go of feeling that anything that occurred was a result of my being a victim. I was not. This freedom had to be fought for and came about through bearing some wounds, by locating the true heart thread of what ACTUALLY happened and where I stand in the midst.
This became not only an evaluation of my time with Adi Da but inevitably and more fundamentally an insight into my whole life. The healing process was about the truth of this me, the patterned persona. I had to gain even further depth of insight, as does everyone, to be able to understand why and what I did and how I responded and continued to respond. This is a continually ongoing process, today, tomorrow as I am now and now and now.
Beezone: This is what all healing requires insight, responsibility, and forgiveness.
Julie: There was no choice in the matter because if I did not take great action and accountability for all that had presented itself to me, my life felt wasted. I could not live with this.
Beezone: Your relationship to Adi Da was one of an intimate. You knew him, as they say, up-close and personal’.
Adi Da and Julie – late 1990’s – Love-Ananda Mahal, Kauai, Hawaii
Julie: Yes, my relationship to Adi Da was much deeper than visceral or even cellular. This necessitated me to have clarity about it. If I didn’t, I would live in a kind of unresolved torment.
Beezone: How old were you when you came to Adi Da?
Julie: I came to Adi Da at the tender age of 19, I was a young adult making choices. All along the way, I did this, some wise and some not so wise. But hey, if such a range of choice and opportunity is not entered into, even the mistakes, how does one grow and become truly an adult, free and with the depth of character? So yes I skinned my knees, bumped my head, and bruised myself (and others) numerous times! I have regrets and happy memories, forming insight, character, and depth of persona.
Making sense of Adi Da and his work required firstly finding out the truth about myself. Pointing fingers in any other direction proved entirely fruitless to me in my process, even when I felt justified to do a lot more than just point! (laughing) What a relief to let go and stand maturely free, no one else to blame and no other authority to react to!
Beezone: You came into the Adi Da community or the Free Communion Church as it was called then right out of college.
Julie: Yes, I arrived in the spring of 1976. Before my arrival, many things had already gone on with Adi Da and devotees, like what is called The Garbage and Goddess period, as it is described in the published book of the same name. I don’t know anything about that time or any other period before my arrival at The Mountain of Attention and thus cannot comment on how he worked then. From what I have heard however I could conclude that Adi Da functioned a bit more liberally and openly and widely then than he did when I was there after 1976.
It seems it would be good for me just to tell my story of what I remember happened and the reverberations of this time. A lot is unleashed in doing so.
End of session 5.
Kanyas Tripura, Navaneeta, Suprithi, and Remembrance – Fiji late 1980’s to early 1990’s
Stay tuned for the next session, “How did Adi Da teach after 1985?”
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
Who and what can you believe?
When all is said and done about the great affair of religious cultism and spiritual community, it still remains true that human beings need to grow beyond the subhuman round of mob societies. Human beings need to adapt to their own higher functions and to the Living Transcendental Reality. And the Way in which this is done is in intimate spiritual community. The process of higher human, moral, mystical, and evolutionary spiritual adaptation is a cultural process. That process is necessarily self-transcending, not merely self-fulfilling. And it requires both technical instruction and practical guidance by one who is an Adept in the total process. Therefore, it is not a merely self-manipulative process of private experience, but a self-sacrificial process – in community with other practitioners, and in a mutually sacrificial relationship with a true Spiritual Master (to whom one may not be related merely as a submissive child or a rebellious adolescent is to a parent, but only as a responsible aspirant, awakened to Wisdom and Truth, is related to an Enlightened Teacher and Initiator and Guide).
The creation and development of an authentic community or culture of evolutionary spiritual practice is an immensely difficult affair – because people are, in general, so profoundly afraid, self-possessed, adapted to archaic and self-defeating patterns of thought and behavior, and constantly disturbed by childish and adolescent motives toward chaotic self-fulfillment. Therefore, even the communities of experimental spiritual culture bear all the evidence of the growing pains, the tackiness, the immaturity, and all the other bewildering deficiencies that otherwise mark the secular and subhuman order of the world.
Some imagine that this is scandalous, and so they criticize even authentic cultural experiments with a kind of negative “gotcha” mentality that implies nothing but a viciously destructive intent. This is a tendency that can easily be observed in the popular media of TV, newspapers, and magazines.
Therefore, resist all attempts to be “officially” and dogmatically informed – whether for or against – about religion and the significance of religious institutions and teachers of religion. Consider and experience that entire affair yourself. And be humored by the realization that the popular communications media are fundamentally motivated by the necessity to propagandize and entertain, through fascinating and alarming messages. That is how they make their money and achieve their power. And we ourselves have taught them to do so, by childishly submitting to be entertained, and even demanding to be entertained and told what is black-and-white true. (Unfortunately, the price we all are paying for entertainment and glib analysis, as a substitute for Truth and direct experience, is our universal reduction to a controllable and exploitable mob that has no reason for existence other than to be pleasurably distracted and consoled.)
Be Informed by Direct Experience
Adi Da Samraj, Chapter 3: Scientific Proof of the Existence of God Will Not Be Announced by the White House