I first learned of Adi Da in 1972, when The Lomi School was in full bloom and we had a growth center in the Santa Cruz Mountains and someone brought me a copy of The Knee of Listening. I remember reading it and feeling profoundly inspired by it because it was the first time I had read a Westerner's writings that were speaking to what I felt intuitively about spiritual life. I was very excited by the book and from then on I was a follower of all of His writings — everything of Adi Da's that was published, I read. I gained so much inspiration from all of His books. His Teachings about the Heart, about love, and particularly His description of the "self-contraction" and the ego-centric position was immensely helpful to me, because He was putting into clear sentences what I was struggling to understand and express. And so my coming across His Teachings was a Grace for which I have always been very grateful.
Adi Da's Teaching has also been a source of major support for me in the continuation of my personal Vipassana meditation practice. He has always represented for me an example of the truly Realized individual — especially since there are so few of those. In fact, I can't think of more than one or two that I've come across in my life who I could honestly say I feel have Realized to any degree. And so His example has been important to me. Particularly in my practice as a psychotherapist, His Teachings have been a foundation for me when I sit with clients and recognize the need for open-hearted compassion and taking a non-egoic point of view of the situation — and so my therapy work has greatly benefited from His Teaching.
The first time I saw Adi Da was at a Darshan in 1986. That first Darshan was very powerful for me because I experienced a transcendent "exit" from the body and a meeting with Him outside of the body. It was exhilarating and ecstatic. It happened spontaneously and, for me, it removed any doubt and concern I might have had about His authenticity as a Great Spiritual Realizer. From that time on I became even more interested in His Work.
My second Darshan, which was very recent, was truly wonderful. I had an experience of being totally "there" with Him, relieved of all contraction at the heart, and I was lifted into a simple, happy everything-just-as-it-is state and I carry that state of mind and body with me still. Seeing Him in person has changed my relationship to Him only in the sense that it has deepened my respect for Him and my feeling of devotion to Him.
Though I am not a formal member of Adidam, I feel the greatest devotion to Him. His Work enters my life, His Teaching enters my heart, and I gratefully use what I assimilate from His Presence in my service to others.
I also actively talk about Adi Da to others — to people who have a spiritual bent, to other Spirit Rock dharma teachers, and I talk a lot about Him with my personal friends. In fact, I have described my recent Darshan of Him so many, many times now that I'm needing to stop talking about it!
I feel that Adi Da's Teachings have tremendous significance for humanity in general. He presents a foundation and a structure for sanity. The equation "Cooperation + Tolerance = Peace" that He has Taught is deceptively simple but extremely profound as a guide for sane living that applies to all human beings, both individually and collectively. He is one among the very few genuinely sane public figures that I have ever encountered. And so I think that His Teachings, particularly in the West — in this culture where there are so few people who can be admired and are serving as role models — are of the greatest significance.