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Leelas in Praise of Beloved Da.
Avatar Adi Da Love-Ananda, Samraj, Eleutherious.
The Bright Ruchira Buddha
By Frank Marrero
I Didn’t Understand
Except for “Live this process with Me and it is always the same”, I absolutely loved everything Bubba said. I could not, would not, did not understand the speech of divine self-reference, except intellectually. When I read his words like that, I would translated the “Me” in my head as “God”, just to make them make sense. “Give your life to Me” made perfect sense only as “Give your life to God”. Otherwise, it was too offensive. This was my temporary truce in my internal conversation; until I felt like I could thoroughly, utterly, metaphorically or actually, inside and out, understand His Divine Self-Reference. Because the Master was so enlightened about everything else, I had to give him the benefit of the doubt, as they say. But the doubt remained.
Denise and I adapted to a community life that was quite demanding. Friday evenings were yours; every other moment was filled. We took up the disciplines of meditation, yoga, service, extensive study, nightly meetings and personal considerations, a purifying vegetarian diet, confinement of sexuality to twice a month, right livelihood, and maximizing our financial support. We gave ourselves entirely, as best we could, to living the Way.
It was difficult to purify the body and mind so directly.?I wanted to leave often and when the difficulty peaked, I would go to a shopping mall and watch the people walk by. I recalled crazy Jimbeau who saw peoples’ dreams and would remember why I was enduring the heat.
I was an honored student of the written teaching and the only remaining question I had was about the person at the center. Yet, I was heartened and sobered by the fact that my doubts were never denied me, never outshined by gleeful enthusiasm, never discounted by powerful believers. Bubba strived to make it very clear that His “Me” was not a reference to the “meat-body Free John,” but that it was the Voice of the Condition of Truth, very God, infinity speaking, not ego. But I didn’t get it and didn’t believe it either. I did not understand the ecstatic voice of a God- Man when talking about Himself. Bubba’s proclamation of God as the absolute Divine Person I could not fathom, despite all the rest of the profound insights and understandings. I justified my doubts, and persisted in maintaining a ‘watch and see’ attitude.
In Santa Rosa, Denise and I and maintained our religious life through personal disciplines, extensive study, nightly meetings, household living, and weekends in Lake County, at Talking God Seminary for Saturday class, then serving on Sunday at the retreat Sanctuary, now called The Mountain of Attention.
I was happy with the trickle I felt from sitting with Bubba, though I presumed, of course, that the little buzz and brilliant insights I was feeling and receiving were the basic deal. As smart as I thought I was, it took me over three years of reading His Teaching and even living in the ashram to come to a radically different opinion of Bubba. Although I was a dedicated student of the Teaching, I knew there was something deep within it I didn’t understand.
To make matters worse, the insightful Way of Understanding that I had been attracted to was no longer the emphasis of the Teaching. He had also initiated the Way of Divine Communion, and now the Master set about to create an entire culture of devotion. In early spring of 1978, He began with the Divine Invocation:
“Radiant God; All Pervading Current of Life; Consciousness where I appear and disappear; Hear My Breathing Heart; Awaken me to feel the Heart of Life and Love; where this life and mind and body may dissolve.”
It seemed weird to pray in a decidedly non-dual Way and I didn’t understand it, but gave myself to “trying it on”. He would sit silently with us, week by week, as we engaged these new practices and prayers.
Soon I was wearing white, with beads around my neck, learning how to worship pictures of Bubba, pictures of His Shoes, praying, bowing at buildings, waving lights, incense, and every thing I had feared and taken as spiritual bullshit! Had I encountered what I was suddenly doing months earlier, I do not think I would have sold everything I owned and moved across the country. Thank God for His Exquisite timing.
I witnessed amazing events surrounding Bubba, even though my capacity for true feeling was minimal. My doubts of his divinity were temporarily washed away by these events, but in lasting or stable terms it was rarely anything beyond the mental realm for me. I was mainly absorbed in bodily, etheric, and mental fascinations, minimal understandings and psychological unknottings. The force of Bubba’s company and the embrace of the Way also dredged up in me constant creepy crawlies and burning frustrations, and most of the time, I was confined to my own self- possession.
One miraculous event stands out: In the summer of 1978, during the famous “ten days of celebration,” three hundred and thirty students were sitting in Western Face Cathedral (now Temple Adi Da) practicing the new devotional cycle and ceremony we had learned from our Teacher. At first, it was no different from other sittings–where the internal chattering and subjective forms bubbled and boiled with ferocity in my mind, often yielding at last to a temporary clarity. The Master actually took great suffering from us by some method I did not understand, but obviously enjoyed. His transmitted clarities acted as guiding enforcers to right life.
Sitting with the Master this time however, was different — I felt like Bubba stepped into me, personally, intimately, and began to instruct me, step by step, inch by inch, nuance by nuance, on the process of meditation. Where I would begin to zoom in good feeling, He would turn me to understanding and discrimination. When I began to dazzle in the insights, He would swell with belovedness and demonstrate the mindless heart. When I felt love for Him, He made sure I felt the Divine Person, the All-Inclusive, All-Pervading One, not a cultic bond. He taught me how to conduct feeling with the breath and how to yield to love. When I began to fall into any dazzle or settle for any satisfaction, it felt like He personally would guide me beyond it, so that my yielding was for God alone. He seemed to take me by the hand and give me the most intimate detailed instruction and guidance for about an hour.
I was sublimed, graced, exalted. I sat amazed at His gift and service. Then, as I began to rest in His Perfect Fullness, He rose and departed.
After silently receiving Prasad (usually a gift of an almond cookie) from His chair by priestly attendants, we rose, row-by-row, and left Western Face Cathedral. As was the custom, we continued to observe silence to honor the power we received until we were putting on our shoes, and then only whispered. I couldn’t wait to tell my friends what extraordinary instruction and sublimity I had received. As soon as the whispering began, I turned to a friend and said, “Wow, that was the most incredible sitting I ever had. I felt like the Master was personally giving me the most exact instruction about meditation.”
My friend excitedly told me he too had received the exact same gift, a personal invasion, nuance by intimate nuance. Our ears quickly told us everyone else was relaying the same experience: a personal tour and intimate technical instruction, from the inside out, on the process of meditation. Suddenly, we all looked up in silent amazement that Bubba could personally give the same personalized gift to hundreds at once. Three hundred and thirty people sitting silently for almost two hours and all had the same unique experience of instructive possession! I was amazed and blessed.
I was living and working with fellow devotees in Santa Rosa, California, about 50 miles from The Mountain of Attention. During the summer of 1979, Master Da would often send out an invitation for all nearby devotees to come as soon as possible. Hopefully, we could drop what we were doing and rush to the Sanctuary.
One mid-September day, however, when we were almost to the Sanctuary, we had just rounded the mountain from the nearby village of Loch Lomond and saw gigantic flames, apparently coming from the Sanctuary. The antique wooden buildings did not stand a chance in the dry California summer. Was His house and our beloved retreat center being destroyed by fire?
As we got closer, we gratefully saw that the Sanctuary was not in flames, but the chaparral and nearby trees were bursting in a fiery conflagration… and indeed headed toward us!
We rushed onto the Sanctuary to help in any way. People were running to and fro, carrying sacred articles, the Spiritual Master’s manuscripts, and evacuating as much as could be carried.
Just as we ran to the center of the Sanctuary behind Huge Helper hotel, there was Bubba, walking with a ferocity I had never experienced. The intent in His eyes stopped me dead in my tracks. I had never seen such force, ever. I was dumbfounded and amazed.
From the other direction, Ben Fugitt, a caretaker of the Sanctuary, rode up on one horse with another in tow. Bubba swiftly mounted the horse and, with Ben, took off in a gallop directly at the fire!
Our fearless Master was racing towards a gigantic fire! The flames were flaring fifty to seventy feet in the air and approaching our land. Any sane person would be running the other way. We were confused and frightened as Ben and Bubba rode out of sight.
Look the Fire in the Eye
Ben Fugitt: “I hastily saddled the horses. Adrenalin was coursing through my body as never before. I was very much afraid for our Sanctuary. The area that was immediately threatened by the fire meant far more to me than simply outlying trails and manzanita bushes. It was the Holy Site of Red Sitting Man, which was an area of the Sanctuary where I had spent many hours meditating and serving. I knew this Site had great Spiritual significance, and that it was extremely important that it not burn. And then, of course, there was the obvious threat to the residences, Holy Sites, and Meditation Halls at the heart of the Sanctuary.
“Beloved Adi Da’s fierce determination and concern for the Sanctuary were obvious to me, but He was also completely calm. His simultaneous Intensity and Freedom immediately drew me out of my fearfulness.
“As we mounted the horses, I wondered exactly where we were going, not remotely expecting what was about to unfold. As soon as we began riding down the back road, a fire engine careened around the corner behind us and turned on its siren to alert us. The horses bolted, not about to be caught by this screaming machine. I could feel Beloved Adi Da’s equanimity as I held on for dear life. The truck finally outran us, and the horses relaxed their mad gallop. We rode on to find a spot from which to view the fire.
“Beloved Adi Da was dissatisfied with the distant vantage points I took Him to, finally asking to get close to the fire. I took Him out through the outer Sanctuary to the spot where I had been earlier, but still He wanted to get much closer to the fire. I told Him there was an old fire road that would take us right to the fire. But I was hesitant to go there, feeling I should not take Him into such a dangerous situation. I warned Him that the horses would probably refuse to get close to the fire because of all the smoke. But this was the route He wanted to explore, and so we made our way up the steep, overgrown fire road. I cautioned Him again about the horses, feeling my own apprehension growing.
“As we made our way over the ridge, it looked as though we were riding into a different world. The atmosphere was thick with smoke. The ground and trees were red with borate fire retardant, and planes were continuing to drop fire-retardant right over us. Once again, I cautioned Beloved Adi Da about the horses, as it was obvious to me we were approaching the “head” or “lead” of the fire. He simply replied, ‘Don’t worry about it.’
“We wove through the trees toward the roar of the blaze. The wind was coming up and fanning the flames. Spot fires burned on either side of us. The main part of the fire was roaring through the more dense forest directly ahead. I had finally found the right spot! This was where He wanted to be, right in the path of the fire. I was afraid. It seemed to me that we could easily be trapped by the fire — it was moving so quickly. The spot fires behind us could seal off our escape. The horses might bolt. My body was again charged with adrenalin, pumping with wild, terrified energy. Once more, I warned Beloved Adi Da of the possible danger. He looked at me intensely, asking if I was frightened, and I told him honestly, ‘Yes’. His response was, ‘Why do you think I wanted to come up here? I have to look the fire in the eye.’
“Beloved Adi Da’s communication was so full of Force that it was incomprehensible to me. I could feel that His complete, free, and uncompromised attention was on the blazing fire. In that instant, I was relieved of my fear. Suddenly, instead of feeling overwhelmed by terror, I was released into love, and I only wanted to contemplate my Beloved Guru.
“Beloved Adi Da then turned toward the advancing flames, moving within thirty yards or so of the advancing blaze. The heat, roar, and force of the fire was amazingly powerful. Flames exploded up the sides of two enormous trees directly in front of us, as if to confront Beloved Adi Da. I could feel this great force of Nature over against the Master of Life. I also noticed, much to my amazement, that the horses were completely calm, almost as if they were out grazing in a pasture. They were obviously feeling Beloved Adi Da’s calming influence as much as I was.
“I was sitting to the side and slightly behind Beloved Adi Da, watching Him regard the fire. The magnitude of the fire appeared to increase significantly, as the wind came up suddenly and the fire engulfed the area directly in front of us. Facing the fire’s new rush of force and fury, Beloved Adi Da sat completely still in His saddle. His only movements were the spontaneous motions of His face and hands in various mudras, very much the same as I had seen many times during formal Darshan or meditation occasions. I felt Him radiate Divine Fire in the face of that forest fire. Whatever else He might have been doing, Beloved Adi Da was Radiating the most benign and yet fierce and awesome Power I had ever known.
“After what must have been only a few moments (although time seemed to be suspended and warped), the fire died down, then receded. The winds stopped. The consuming power of this fire seemed to be bowing down to the Divine Heart-Master. I am sure that it is difficult for the reader to picture this moment — but that fire had been transformed! I can only say that it was a mysterious and awesome moment to see and feel the Divine Adept change the course and magnitude of a raging forest fire. I sat still in mindless wonder.
“Beloved Adi Da then turned back toward the Sanctuary, moving slowly through the trees, stopping to talk for a time. We looked over the scene — the fire was still moving, but much more slowly now, and not directly toward the Sanctuary boundary. When we arrived back at the main Sanctuary complex, I was surprised to find all of Beloved Adi Da’s belongings, all of the Sanctuary files and records, library books, and machines being packed into waiting vans and trucks. Apparently, no one had remembered my instructions to wait until we returned before deciding to evacuate. Beloved Adi Da just laughed as he dismounted and sat down on the steps of His residence amidst a sea of packed boxes. He kidded me about our trip up to the fire, and teasingly told everyone, ‘Ben was so afraid, he almost shit in his pants!’
“A few days later, I walked back to the spot where Beloved Adi Da had worked with the fire, reflecting on all that had occurred there. I thought about how confounding and amazing the whole event had been, feeling humbled and full of love. The area was still smeared with red borate dust and ash; the strong smell of smoke lingered. The fire, I discovered, had stopped short of the Sanctuary boundary by only a foot!”
Another significant lesson from this period was relative to diet. I had been on a super-pure diet for about four years, eating mostly raw foods: sprouts, salads, fruits and fresh juices. I was very thin, pure, and ascended.The Master instructed everyone like myself for whom raw diet was a form of indulgence to take on what He called “the horse-gut diet.” We were to eat several times a day, and none of the raw and pure diet that was our preference, but rather potatoes, peanut butter, breads, and every heavy food we could cram down our throats. We were to accentuate the breathing cycle too, especially while eating, emphasizing reception and releasing obstructions. It was one of the more difficult disciplines I ever engaged. I gained 9 pounds in seven days and forever changed my eating habits. But what was revealed to me was an illusion that I had been suffering: that God is pure and ascended. Rather, I learned bodily how the feeling of the divine not only ascends in raptures, but love also deeply incarnates.
I have always loved how Adi Da utterly includes the body and the world in His expression. His “body” books, The Enlightenment of the Whole Body, The Bodily Location of Happiness, The Bodily Sacrifice of Attention, The Bodily Worship of the Living God, etc., are among my very favorites of the eighty books of His I have read. His “Defense of the Body in God” sings this Truth:
“The Way that we have Realized and chosen in this “Crazy Wisdom Fellowship” is the Way of the Transfiguration or Transcendental Salvation of the total and single body-mind. We do not appeal to any separate, internal part, nor do we identify with inward and subtle knowledge or experience for its own sake. We acknowledge the Radiant, All-Pervading, Universal, and Transcendental Divine Being to be the Condition in which the world, every being and the total or single body-mind are presently arising and changing, Therefore, we do not turn away from the world, other beings, or any part of the body-mind. Rather, we surrender as the total and single body-mind into the Radiant Transcendental Being.
“Our Way is world-positive, Life-positive, body-positive, sex-positive, Happiness positive, and in every sense positive. We have learned this through the trial of our own experiment and foolishness. Therefore, we highly value and cherish that experiment and that foolishness. We are even more foolish now in our freedom, since we no longer suffer the doubt, self-division, and self-hatred that are the essence of conventional minds and the common suffering of mankind.
“Therefore, stand free. Do not be afraid. Do not doubt what has been heard and seen and Realized. Be strong. Love and trust and surrender to the God of the body-mind. Let the One Who Lives us all achieve Victory in this time of universal bewilderment and aggressive denial of the Living God. Let not any worldly power confirm the doubt of the bodily Truth of Man in God. Let mankind hear this Truth by our witness and our defense. All of mankind is suffering the doubt of the body, the world, and God. Let them hear our defense of the body in God. Let them feel the world- transfiguring Destiny that arises with the bodily love of God and the world. Let them know that we have transcended the error whereby human beings find it impossible to delight in one another and to love and be free as the body itself.
“The common error of mankind is to deny the Living God, the Radiant Transcendental Being. This leads to exploitation of body and mind for the sake of self in mortal fear. And the common error even of those who would acknowledge God is to presume an inner spiritual Reality that is separate from the body and that requires denial of the body as the vehicle of delight and love and freedom in God. In our struggle we have overcome the denial of God and the denial of the body in God. We worship the Living God bodily, and we are restored to the Truth, and Transfigured Destiny of the world, the body, and all beings. This is our Realization and our strength. Those who deny God and who doubt the bodily self are suffering in themselves. They must awaken from the subjective realm of suffering and enter bodily into the Confession of God- Love.
“We must devote ourselves to Awakening through the positive and free defense of our Way. Let us never collapse into self-destructive doubts. Let us join with all the friends and allies of humanity to serve all beings with the Blessings of the Great One. Let us meet every trial that comes upon us with the strength of Truth. Let us do what is right for the sake of mankind, and let God determine the trial and all results for whatever purposes the very Divine will choose to serve in this world. Let us surrender into doubt-free and positive commitment to the One we cannot deny. Let us recognize the humor of it all, and so let us be ready to freely defend the Way with intelligence and vital strength.”
While I still did not understand Bubba’s claims of the Divine Person, I thought He was enlightened, for sure, for only an entirely different order of person could have the kind of effects He was manifesting while illuminating human experience with such scintillating brilliance. Only a thoroughly enlightened person could give the kind of clarity and penetrating insights that communicated consciousness itself. I thought His claims of Divinity were descriptive, not actual, perhaps a kind of metaphor, the way that everything is divine — and thus of course, He would be too. Indeed, Bubba demonstrated constantly how He was without obstruction to Reality Itself.
Then everything changed on September 16, 1979. Bubba had taken a new name “Da” Free John. Da means “to give”, or “the giver” in Sanskrit. It is akin to “God is love” in a single sound. He was emphasizing even more that He is the Divine Person, and that we should remember and call upon the divine by the name, “Da”. He sat with about 800 people and most of them can tell you of being overwhelmed by His Loving Presence. I barely noticed. I’m sure I stuck out like a sore thumb to Him, letting a little buzz in and chewing on It like a dog with a bone.
Of course, I did not understand the moment, but the Master was decidedly shifting away from Playing with and Instructing devotees in His residence. We had been given enough; now the emphasis would be on recognizing Him and what had been Given, and taking up the responsibility to practice — without the goad or theater of the Master’s living room.
The Guru was “Da” for the first time, and He began instructing everyone in the intelligent use of a holy name. He gave us instructions to clean a grotto where a creek meets a natural hot spring. He was going to initiate His closest disciples into the new form of practice of remembering the living divine by the Name “Da” at the newly created site.
Several of us cleaned moss out of deep cracks in the creek’s banks with a screwdriver. Other devotees built gates and ceremonial structures. Some made a stone chair for Master Da in the hillside while others terraced the hillside in preparation for seating hundreds.
Someone got a fire hose and began using extreme water pressure to get the moss off the rocks. Better still, I discovered the screwdriver and fire hose together were synergistic, except one had to endure a high-pressure mud bath. I was gathering a large sheet of moss off the rocks in a muddy whirlwind when Beloved Da spontaneously came to check on our progress.
I emerged triumphantly from the mud tornado, blinked my eyes, and I was suddenly face to face with the Divine Person. I looked into His eyes and it was the first time I was quite sure He was looking at me, not me in a crowd, me. He laughed at my muddy spectacle and sent me His loving regard. I can still see His eyes clearly, laughing from the bridge. I recall that moment, those shining eyes, often.
My service was energized and I worked as if possessed from then on. While others left for dinner and later for sleep, I couldn’t stop. After midnight, I was alone, but the fullness did not subside so I kept conducting it in service. As the first eastern stars started to fade, I took off my clothes and laid down in a shallow, outdoor warm-springs pool; I made a pillow from two rocks that held my nose and mouth in the sweet air, and let the body fall into complete rest.
At dawn I emerged from the holy waters, dressed, and began again to prepare the site for the celebration. All day hundreds of us served the grotto and surrounding area. At sunset we changed into our formal clothes and gathered in the grotto.
I remember Him coming over the hill as the evening fell upon us. The twilight purple mountain framed the fading-blue sky and highlighted His white formal clothing. I sat across the grotto far away and I relaxed into the formality with which the Master always conducted Himself. I observed myself, relaxed and opened in a most natural way–as was my practice.
Suddenly, the air became as if thick, and I could see, literally see, from Master Da’s walking outline, waves of light and energy emanating from Him. As these waves washed upon me, my body was thoroughly engulfed in a raging sweetness. I watched in awe. With every wave that washed upon me, I relaxed more deeply than at any time in my life, each time deeper than before.
Soon my body and life were utterly melted into the infinite life field. My breaths were waves in the body of the nameless divinity as I continued to visually see this divine light emanating from Master Da. This was not mental insights and spiritual ascension, peaceful or clear; it was not a transcendental or sublime buzz; it was vibrant, powerful transmission of heart-bliss, rapturous baptism dissolving every limitation. I was joyfully stunned, then let loose in recognition of a full- fledged, God-transmitting Master.
I saw that my harbored doubts about the divinity of the Master were at last only reflections of my own recoil, and the previous years of doubt were seen in truth as my own avoidance of relationship. My contractions dissolved into the Current of His Force of Love.
I experienced the sensation of the mortal lower coil of my loveless life unfold in His Transmission. Wave after wave of joyous bliss washed across and through me until my body was One with the manifest universe.
The Awe of the procession surrounding the initiations took place in a timeless time. To say I was awestruck belittles the majesty with which He had engulfed me.
Then, surprisingly, I felt a similar coil from the heart upwards unwrinkle and uncoil. Soon, I began to see a light golden mist falling across everything as the mind followed the body into the same uninterrupted Vibrancy. Now, the fulfillment of the traditions, whereby the body-mind is made One with the all- pervading, living divine bathed me into delicious sublimity and pure awareness. The brightness of angelic visions and the nectarous sweetness of yogic soma completed the grand evolutionary urge.
As this full unfolding became blissfully complete, I could see that even this great fulfillment was nothing! Nothing compared to the Heart of the God-Man. The Transmission of His Heart-Bliss outshines all phenomena, low and high. Now I understood the Teaching for the first time. I had been given the fulfillment of traditional seeking and evolutionary unfolding with its visions and bliss and it was insignificant compared to the awesome divinity of His Loving Company.
Dissolved and exploded in the love-bliss of the Heart, my deepest voice shouted thankfulness eternally again and again. Finally, I fully understood it when He said the way of the Heart is greater than the path of evolution; finally I understood the way of Satsang, the way of simple relationship with Him, exceeds all else; finally I was available to the method of the Siddhas. I felt a vibrant, heart-felt relationship with the Divine Power and Person. What elegant Help! How Graceful! What a Gift! Da! Da! Da!
I watched spell-bound as He initiated the renunciate order into remembering the living god by the name, “Da”. He dipped His hand in the sacred hot waters and then upon the forehead of each one and whispered His call to remember Him by name into each ear.
After the Master left, I slowly returned to my former egoic self, but not quite — I was truly impressed. My hyper-mentality and being consoled by insights had been revealed in the Fire of the Heart and I laughed anew at the His quip, “An insight a day keeps the Guru away.”
I continued to see and feel Master Da in a new light. Though naive and immature, at last there was no doubt in my being about the divinity of the giver, Da. I threw myself into the community of practitioners in the service of children, since that was where I belonged. I served with Peter Churchill to my great delight and good fortune.
My former misconceptions I had about growing up and what children needed were dispelled by Master Da’s Teaching on conscious childrearing. My presumptions were understood as the ‘philosophy’ and idealism of my immature adaptation. Master Da’s wisdom on the stages of life and particularly the stages of childhood served me potently and gave me a more realistic eye on my own human development.
I received His transmission again and again in formal and happenstance meetings. This included meditation and also “Darshan” or “sighting” of the Divine Person — an open-eyed demonstration of divinity by the Great One, the Maha-Siddha, the Great-Power in Person.
I often felt a sublime and fiery force emanating from Him; when I would open my eyes during meditation, my perceptions of Him would often float through distant times, mystic states, former masters and realizers. I would be amazed or enlivened, or I would be given excruciating self-knowledge. When I shared the unique details and private experiences, they were surprisingly common. Hundreds of fellows described the same exact experience of seeing multiple faces (of previous historical spiritual masters) come, linger, and dissolve across the Master’s Face. Amazed beyond belief, we were floored, and thank God, there were His Feet.
I began to notice a pattern in the Sittings with Master Da. I would look forward to them as a child was to “getting something” because previous sittings had been so profoundly enjoyable. I would think, “Oh boy, here it comes again.” Then when I would sit with Him, that sentiment and logic of getting a “goodie” would burn in perfect frustration. I would not experience His unique transmission of inherent happiness, of the love-bliss of reality itself. Instead, I would intensely burn in painful frustration.
When my error was sufficiently suffered and seen, I would be carried or I would turn from any projected happiness to Reality Itself and bow at His Feet. His Presence was at first a fire, which reduced me to nothing. As He said, “I am Zero of the Heart.” In His Company, I was burned, healed, surrendered, and empowered.
Many friends I had known from Tennessee became interested in the Teaching and were coming one by one, to the Master’s Company. Michael Shaw and his intimate partner were getting married and asked me to be the priest, since I was formally religious and all. Egoically stroked, I was delighted.
The day of the wedding came and on that day I happened to be featured in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper for my sprout business. Well, I got on my best preacher clothes and set about to perform the ceremony. Unbeknownst to me, Master Da was shown the newspaper article at the time the wedding started. I didn’t know what was going on but started experiencing the unique transmission of divine power and extreme enjoyment.
It was similar to receiving His direct gaze during sitting Occasions with Him. Enjoyment and force bubbled out of me and the wedding was transformed into His divine Play and Enjoyment. Later we found out about His Regard at that time. Well, everyone had one hell of a good time, which is just how some weddings go. For me, it was miraculous, blissful. His powerful Regard to “distant” devotees is not rare!
He spoke of this phenomenon as reported in Vision Mound Vol.2 #5,
“Anyone who comes close to Me in space is My vision. People come and sit with Me, and I dream their dreams all night. They wake up in the morning and they feel good, because I have lived their dreams. Everyday I live your dreams. If I give any one of you My attention in mere thought, I absorb all of your psyche, all of your suffering, all of your diseases. This is literally true. People do not understand that such a process is possible in human time.s And yet this is My experience exactly.”
I agree. In fact, His washing of us became so automatic, I began to abuse it. I felt like I could slide on responsibilities and I wouldn’t feel bad too long about exploiting myself or others, because I knew that the next weekend, I’d come into His Company and it would all be washed. Of course, Grace only goes so far; He pointed out the abuse, and stopped the Sittings, calling for self- understanding and responsibility.
Of course there’s that other side of spiritual life: just exactly how am I an asshole? What is the fine script of self I justify my separation by? Do I have a realistic eye about myself? Can I see myself as others do? Exactly what do I do to get attention? Can I see my lovelessness, my golden-boy game, my egoity, and how I delude myself? To what degree of immediacy can I see my own contracting, my own withdrawal, my own avoidance of relationship?
Damn thing is, it’s true; the more of the dark I can stand in, the more I understand myself and my refusal to love. Confession grounds feeling and acceptance. Then, instead of reacting to my reaction and compounding the darkness, I relax in acceptance and understanding of whatever feeling is present, and feeling itself then allows inherent happiness to dawn. Master Da describes awakened teachers as the noon sun, the shadowless Presence that shines into all the dark places—one must put up with all those revealed squiggling worms when enjoying full sunlight.
One other teaching demonstration I am most grateful for from this period is a consideration of sexuality. Master Da pointed out how no one had come to Him free of emotional twists. He instructed us in how emotions and sexuality are interwoven and need to be considered together for real, not just abstractly.
During the week, the Master worked with a small circle of the more advanced practitioners, the sanctuary residents, taking them through considerations and instruction. Then we lay members would meet in similarly sized circles and duplicate, as best that we could, the Master’s consideration.
During this particular instruction, the background discipline for lay members was a sexual requirement that you and your partner would engage each other sexually for at least 90 minutes every other day for a month. The sanctuary residents’ discipline was three hours every night. At first this sounded great, but very soon I discovered that I was unable to conduct that much sexual juice. But the discipline remained to be engaged. I learned to persist beyond my limitations and did slightly enlarge my sexual capacity, though I did not understand my core sexual neurosis.
I learned a great deal. One important lesson was persistence in sexual play in spite of disinterest, of assuming responsibility for conducting great life force, in spite of disinclinations of all kinds. I learned how I was not sexually free.
On several successive weekends we learned what the “A” team had learned and followed their guidance. Couples did a host of exercises, which included extensive listing and describing everything they liked and disliked about the other, then after such full disclosure, couples retired together and sexed for at least an hour. Sexual secrets were all outed; couples listed others they had sexual feelings for, etc. The teaching about couple’s limitations, sexual limitations, and feeling contractions gained harsh reality. The experiment was brilliant, engaging, and extremely helpful, despite its difficulties.
The book Four Fundamental Questions permeated the time and Compulsory Dancing, On the Emotional Surrender to the Divine is the book of Master Da’s spiritual talks during this period. This teaching demonstration on sexual and feeling limitations would serve as the foundation to a deeper and harsher self- understanding still to come.
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