My story begins in the early 80s, when I had already realized my life's ambition — to be the principal clarinetist in a symphony orchestra. While I was regularly taking more auditions to move up to bigger and better orchestras, I had also become an earnest spiritual seeker and was attending meditation retreats offered by a Buddhist organization. Soon I began to read Avatar Adi Da's books, which had been recommended by a friend from the meditation retreats. Without really understanding the profundities about which Adi Da was speaking, I "knew" that what He was saying was "right". I don't consider myself a particularly intuitive type, but in this case I had an inexplicably deep feeling of the spiritual authority of Adi Da's words. And I began to have experiences of what I could only call "The Divine".
At this point, I was playing in the Spoleto Music Festival in Italy, and had plenty of time to explore the churches and art museums throughout the country. As I delved into Renaissance art — something I had a bit of background in as a result of taking some classes and the fact that my mother was an artist — I began having the tangible feeling that the artists of that time had been somehow portraying the Divine in their works of art. It was not a matter of the Christian subject matter, but a feeling-sense of what I could only describe as "the Divine", communicated by the work itself — a boundless, infinite, bright quality.
Paintings of middle-class citizens evoked this feeling of "the Divine" as strongly as depictions of religious subjects. It was not the subject, but a sense that the artist was somehow in communion with the Divine and was communicating that through the work of art. I went from church to church, museum to museum, in a kind of ecstasy, as one work after another would evoke this tangible sense of the Divine in me.
Shortly, I returned to the States to live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I was the principal clarinetist in the symphony. One afternoon in the fall, I went to a wooded area outside town, to continue reading one of Adi Da's books, Compulsory Dancing. Shortly after I sat down to read, I began having an experience of a strong force — subtle but tangible — descending into me, I noticed that the force was drawing everything to itself, trying to make everything conform to it — and "it" was the Divine. It was an experience of God It felt like all the tall trees and the rolling hills there, everything, was being shaped and pulled by this Power to itself. The feeling deepened, and I saw that everything was existing as a unity. I could not sense the usual separation between things. I began running around the woods, ecstatic in this feeling of non-separation. There were, in fact, no "objects" from which to be separated.
I began to experience what I called at the time a reversal in my polarity. What I had thought of as "inside and outside", or "top and bottom" were reversed. That evening, when I began playing my clarinet, I realized I no longer had to try to force air through the instrument and "sound good", but simply allow the endless sea of air in which I exist to pour through the instrument All the years of searching for the perfect musical expression were ended in an instant. I had studied with the best teachers at the best music schools and had been working endlessly — like most of my fellow musicians — to get ever closer to producing the ideal sound. This was an enormous and stressful effort! Now I found that all the striving was gone. I simply allowed the air to rush into the body and the music to pour out. I realized that I was "playing for God", playing to magnify love to everyone, not playing for the accolades of the audience. I simply wanted everyone to feel the love I was feeling as I was playing.
I had become ecstatic in my playing. People in the orchestra turned around to stare at me with "what-happened-to-him?" looks on their faces. During that week of symphony concerts, an internationally known pianist who has performed with many of the world's major orchestras, was performing with my orchestra, playing a Rachmaninoff concerto with a long clarinet solo in it. At the break during the rehearsal, she had the personnel manager bring me over to her, and without any introduction, asked me to marry her! Then she said, "Who are you and where did you come from?" I laughed off her questions, but deep in my heart I knew that Adi Da was the "who" and the "where" she was responding to, and that I would have to go to Him.
When I did eventually become a formal devotee of Avatar Adi Da's and sat with Him, I came to know even more directly His characteristic Presence that had been the substance of all these unusual experiences and revelations and the powerful Descending Force by which He had first contacted me in the woods. I could feel how He would enter into me from infinitely above the body by first pressing down through the top of the head. Then I would feel Him "melt" me, so that the sense of "I" would be lost in the overriding perception of Him as Love and Bliss. I realized that Adi Da not only freely Transmits the tangible Truth of non-separation from the Divine, but that He Himself Is the Manifestation of the Reality of Divine Love-Bliss.