I found Adi Da in the 80s through His writing — specifically through Scientific Proof of the Existence of God Will Soon Be Announced by the White House! I read that and was extremely affected by it and recognized that this was a great Teacher — and I later wrote an endorsement for it. Although I didn't have a deep response to Adi Da at that time, I did meet some of His devotees in the Bay Area who were able to give me a deeper understanding of Him and His Work.
Then, on my way to visit the Dalai Lama in September of 1999 I met with Rolf Carriere [a devotee of Adi Da who works with UNICEF] and he asked me if I knew about Adi Da and if I would like to meet Him. I said yes and that I hadn't realized it was possible to see Adi Da. That was the moment that lead to my first Darshan of Beloved in November of '99.
Now, it's very interesting — over the years I've been writing in my journal to a "dearly beloved". I would ask a question of this "beloved" and turn off my thinking, rational mind and receive guidance from this "beloved". In the recent months before I met Adi Da I had begun to realize that this "beloved" was the internalization of my intuition of the Divine Presence. And I had already shifted my internal identity from the one who was asking questions of "beloved" to the "beloved" who was internalized in me, as me. When I met the Adi Da devotees I asked them "What is your basic practice?" and they said, "Locate the Guru", by which I understood them to mean "locate the Guru in your heart". In preparation for my meeting with Adi Da I had located — not consciously located Adi Da Himself — but I had located the Presence of the Divine in my heart. I had experienced that Presence as that aspect of the Divine that is incarnating and guiding me.
One day, when I was talking about "the beloved" with several friends, one of whom was already a devotee of Adi Da, she thought I was talking specifically about Adi Da! This was very interesting to me. When they told me that His devotees call Him "Beloved" — which I hadn't known — I began to realize that in some subtle way He was what I have come to call the "senior Beloved", while I was a "junior beloved". When they asked me if I would acknowledge Him as a God-Man, as a prerequisite for my having His Darshan, I said, "Yes. I do." I recognize the God-Presence, Incarnate in Him as whole and full and complete. And the reason that I could recognize that, even before seeing Him in Darshan, is that I had already had an experience of Him within my own heart. Not at that scale — but, nonetheless, that recognition was already in me.
I prepared for my first meeting with Beloved in November. I believe it was one of the first times that Adi Da had seen non-devotees in this mode. I was told by a friend when I arrived that the Adi Da "frequency" is extremely powerful in the Blessing of each person's work. And, indeed, that what characterizes most of the contact people who come to see Him is that we are each vocationally so deeply aroused that our passion is in our work and that we are given to the expression of ourselves through that work, in service to the world.
So, I was one of those who was privileged to be there that weekend in November. And, really, I must say how deeply impressed I was by the excellence and intelligence of the devotees I met. Sometimes when you meet people who live and serve around a religious figure you get the sense that they have, so to speak, "lost" their minds. Adi Da's devotees have not lost their minds! And they were obviously experiencing something that I had never experienced, because I had never had a living Guru. I've only "internalized" God the best I could. I've had some Christ experiences in which I was able to feel the "field" of the living Christ as a presence that for me was a magnet toward the future collective potential of humanity — an intuition that we will, in fact, do the work that he did and greater works. But Adi Da's Presence was very different.
As a futurist, I already knew that the capacity of the human race when reconnected with the Divine is far greater than that of Jesus or other traditional Realizers — because when you add to their Realization all the new capacities and put that into God-centered consciousness you have a quantum jump. I'd experienced that and it had made me a visionary futurist. But I never felt that capacity in myself until very very recently. So when I was told by this friend of mine who is a devotee to "notice the Adi Da frequency", I took him very seriously. Rolf Carriere, too, had told me about how the Adi Da Energy had Empowered his work with children.
I had a really fascinating experience in my first Darshan. You see, I'd never been to a Darshan. And I have the typical Westerner's dislike and discomfort in the face of it — I didn't like anything about it! But I decided to completely suspend all my disbelief and Western resistance to the devotional style of approach to Adi Da. I said to myself, "You're here, Barbara, to completely experience something and forget anything else." After all, it's silly to not take complete advantage of the advantage! So as I came to Darshan I was in a state of openness and anticipation and respect for what the Presence was already doing among the devotees that I had been able to meet, and how deeply, deeply, deeply it was affecting their own lives. Since I had never had that experience — of someone affecting me at that level — I was extremely interested.
The Darshan was quite formal and I was a bit nervous! We were all lined up outside the room, peeking in, and I was wondering "What is this?!" I was a bit upset that He wasn't going to talk to us! "Where is He? And why won't He talk to us? Why do I have to bow? What is this??" I could go on and on about some of those thoughts and questions I had that night!
When I entered the room where Adi Da was sitting, the scene of obvious devotion was completely new to me. We went in alphabetically. [Barbara laughs.] There was an "H" ahead of me and another "H" behind me. Now, I had also been told that people often have extremely powerful experiences when in front of Him and that if He moved anything — a hand, a foot, an eyebrow — it was significant. We had been coached quite extensively about how to bow, how to offer our flower, where to put it, not to get to close and not to touch Him and so on.
So when I kneeled with genuine reverence before Him and bowed and then looked up at Him — I'm a bit nearsighted so I can't tell you exactly if this is so — but it appeared to me that His eyes were closed and that His Presence was almost completely immobile. At that point I internalized a thought and said, "Please open Your eyes." And His eyes opened. And then, again internally, I said something very bold. I said, "I want to help be a conduit for Your Voice through the Peace Room" — that's a project of the foundation I'm involved with to create a site on internet and also in personal encounters in which the people who are working innovatively to transform this world positively would be connected and communicated as a living system, an emerging culture. We already have a small website called peaceroom.org.
I silently told Beloved, "This Peace Room is to be a global context for the work now being done everywhere, but still disconnected and disempowered, like the thousands of environmental projects and health projects and so on. I will be a vehicle and conduit in any way that You choose for Your Energetic Presence to Infuse the whole system."
He smiled! Then, I smiled. Then, He raised an eyebrow. [Barbara laughs with delight.] Then His feet and hands moved, and I felt Him as the totally animated Presence of the Divine with Whom I was now in Communion. The communication was extremely deep. And then somebody came along and moved me away so that the next "H" who was hovering behind me could come and offer his gift. I was ushered out of the room and we went to another room and we meditated.
The next morning we were all talking about what had happened in Darshan. And I said that I had asked for Beloved Adi Da's Blessing of the Peace Room and that it would serve to be a conduit for the "Adi Da Frequency" into all the projects represented in the Peace Room. I was seated next to a musician, a wonderful man who had twenty minutes on Hal Uplinger's millennium TV broadcast to reach two billion people and he said, "I'll give you two minutes to reach two billion people for your Peace Room."
That happened the morning after Darshan. And one thing after another happened. Unfortunately, the finances for the millennium broadcast collapsed two days before the planned broadcast, but I nevertheless received such a blast of Energy — we did do the website, and the entire project sped up.
The next time I came to see Beloved, in January, I asked for His Blessing on the intentional community that I've founded in Santa Barbara. I already felt that the effect of the "Adi Da Frequency", as my friend called it, on my work was real and I was able to locate Him in my heart. And I could feel that instead of this disembodied Christ that I had been using as my focus for the Divine Presence, to build with or to infuse me, I had a real, live Divine Incarnation. It's my prayer that His Blessing can flow to the entire community here in Santa Barbara.
Our community formed in response to a speech I made in which I asked the question: "What would happen if this community experienced its own potential for conscious evolution?" A hundred and eighty-five people signed up and we now have about two hundred people in "core groups" by vocational affinity, who are ready to come together as a whole.
We had two devotees, Eliot Hurwitz and Wes Vaught, along with the head of The Fellowship for Intentional Community, come to join us and consult with us, and we are, I believe, an example of what Adi Da is calling for relative to the cultural reformation of the world through the establishment of human-scale sacred community. Now we are asking for and receiving Adi Da's Blessing but we are not His formal devotees. But we are a real example of how such a community can benefit from Adi Da's Wisdom and Blessing. Our goal as a community is to develop the processes, tools, and templates that any such community could use anywhere in the world.
What I gained from Adi Da's instruction about such "cultural reformation" is that 1) you have to overcome egoity and 2) you have to create human-scale cooperative community. My request to Adi Da on this second occasion was to infuse this community in Santa Barbara with His Blessing, so that we in the Santa Barbara community can serve the world as well as our own participants here in being an example and a demonstration of this new possibility, which will necessarily have to do with honoring Him as the Source of Divine Help and Blessing.
I feel very close to Adi Da, both personally and in my work, and I want to serve His Transmission by including His Message in a radio program I'm starting on Wisdom Radio called "Live From the Peace Room". It will begin in July and it reaches, via internet, all over the world. I said to various devotees I've met that as that program comes on the air I want to serve this Energy of Adi Da in a way that would be useful for His world-Blessing. I don't know yet what form He would like that to take, but I want to serve as a vehicle for His Blessing to flow to all the benignly world-transforming projects that will be linked in the Peace Room.