1984 London – Never Let Me Go – My Journey To Adi Da
Painting: Remember by Nicholas Roerich (1924)
It was 1984. I was walking along Hampstead High Street. London. Many years earlier Swami Vivekananda, (of whom Adi Da Samraj has Said: ‘That Deeper-Personality Vehicle of My present-Lifetime Incarnation was (Itself) Incarnated as the Great Siddha…Swami Vivekananda’) lived in Hampstead for a time and would walk along the same High Street, conspicuous in his orange robe and turban, peeping in the shop windows, perhaps going in to buy tobacco. He had a smoking habit which he was openly confessed about! Because he was offended by this habit in his Teacher, Vivekananda’s main right hand person in England, Mr Sturdy, (he turned out to be not so sturdy in his devotion!) turned against him, becoming a dissident (and not just because he was a non-smoker himself and didn’t like the fumes!).
There is a heart-breaking letter of Swami Vivekananda to Mr Sturdy in which he implores him to look beyond his superficial life habits to the evidence of his spiritual realization, his Happiness, his serenity, His profound devotion to Guru and God, but this plea from his heart falls on deaf ears, and a heart blinded by prejudice, idealism and ignorance. A True teacher does not necessarily conform to some ideal we may have in our mind.
Still at this time I knew nothing of Swami Vivekananda, and all I knew about discipleship was what I had been taught at Sunday school. My brothers and I had all been called Biblical first and second names. Mine was ‘Simon James’. I had stopped being a Christian when I was 11 years old. I was attracted to the image, idea of Jesus, and thinking about him sometimes gave me a warm feeling in my heart but somehow Jesus seemed like a cardboard cut-out figure, or a painting in a gallery or shop window. Unreal.
So there I was trotting along Hampstead High Street on a lovely sunny day. People, shopping, sitting in bars and cafes, looking relatively content. Certainly there is a lot of money in this posh neck of the woods! People walking in their designer wear and their pet poodles all dolled up! I swear one of the poodles had gold studs! But I felt impoverished, empty, at the end of my rope, dead inside like my heart had rusted.Then in one of the shop windows I saw a photograph of a man, dressed in a silly red outfit. The man had long hair, a daft name Da Free John, and altogether looked quite ridiculous I thought, like a clown, though He had the most gorgeous, Happy Smile! The words on the poster seemed even more silly, nonsensical, simplistic, like nursery rhyme philosophy for kids.
Something like: ‘You are always already Happy. Your search for Happiness is what makes you feel unhappy. Relax your search for Happiness and be Happy’. There was an invitation to attend an introductory video evening, the following week at an address in Hornsey Lane.
This poster really pissed me off. Everything about it was aggravating and irritating. The words, the visuals. Why didn’t this stupid looking long-haired chap just fuck off back to Miami, Florida or wherever he came from. I had been involved for five years or so in a very intense search, which involved studying and participating in all kinds of complex, intellectual psychological, philosophical, new age and religious concepts, systems, groups, teachers, enlightenment intensives and cults. What kind of crap was this – I’m already Happy! Are you kidding me?
He seemed to suggest that being Happy was easy! Simple even! Too simple for me. I have often been teased as ‘Simple Simon’ over the years. At school the kids would sometimes sing the nursery rhyme at me:
‘Simple Simon met a pieman going to the fare, said Simple Simon to the Pieman ‘please show me your ware’. Said the Pieman to Simple Simon ‘first show me your penny’. Said Simple Simon to the Pieman ‘indeed sir, I have not any!’
That summed up how I felt about my life up! Desolate! A loser. Actually I was far from simple, and I had been desperately and obsessively seeking for a solution as complicated as I seemed to be. This bold statement and promise by this crazy- looking man, seemed far too simplistic, and I laughed out loud at the absurdity.
It was the first time I had laughed in a long while. I had been suffering from an intensely deep depression since a boy. The backdrop of my life felt like darkness of the purest kind. Pitch black. In fact only the week before, a psychiatrist, the top Laingian (a student of R.D Laing) therapist in the UK had told me I was the first person he had ever turned down for therapy. He said: ‘Simon you have seen some of the best therapists in the UK and none of them helped you. I have been a therapist for thirty years and even at the young age of 24 you have done more therapy than anyone I have ever met. You know more about therapy than I do. I am sorry I can’t help you.’ I had just completed a year long course of ‘intensive rhythm therapy’, which combined primal scream therapy, with bioenergetics and hypnosis, by one of the UK’s pioneer therapists Glyn Seaborn Jones, in Muswell Hill. I had been attracted to Glyn’s method by a photograph of him stroking two cats in his arms. He said in the article in this book that our natural state was to be relaxed, simple, spontaneous, like healthy pussycats! This attracted me because although I felt deeply unhappy and neurotic I had a deep intuition that beneath the mask was the ‘real me’ completely Happy and Free. My headmaster wrote on a school report. ‘His dour exterior and hangdog expression belies the brightness underneath.’
For three weeks Glyn put me in isolation, except when he came to do therapy with me. The rest of the time, from morning until early evening I was put in a room with a huge mirror and told to meditate on my reflection! A Vispassana meditation ‘technique’! At the end of each evening, for an hour or two, he hypnotized me to be ‘like a cat.’ On the weekend I could swim and walk and paint (with my left hand only, directly accessing my unconscious mind!), but I must not speak with anyone or do anything to distract myself from the ‘inner healing process’ I was going through. Well the therapy was too successful! When I came back to my parents home where I was living I felt relaxed, very relaxed indeed. Yes I did! I was very blissful, yes I was! Very! I began spending long hours sleeping curled up by the fire with our two cats. When I waited for a bus I did not stand by the bus stop like the other folks rather I perched on the wall, curled up like cat. Also I developed a spontaneous purr, a vibration of bliss trembled through my body, with an accompanying purring noise, quite loud. Once I was on a train on the London Underground, I began spontaneously purring. The little old lady sitting next to me got very alarmed and I could see by the shaking of her body that she was silently freaking out.
I got fired from my job at MFI the furniture warehouse. The other young men and women workers were rushing around getting goods and product off the shelves to the impatient customers. It was Christmas and it was frantic. Money! Money! Money! Profit! Profit! Profit! I moved very slowly. The boss asked me why I was so slow. I explained that post therapy this was my ‘natural rhythm’ now. I was relaxed and ‘much happier’. My metabolism had slowed down to meet my primal animal needs. Hmm. He wasn’t impressed! I had decided I would ‘leave no stone unturned’ before I killed myself! So I thought ‘ok this guy Da Free John, he looks like a fool and a charlatan. There are probably loads of these kind of Gurus in America, I am sure I am wasting my time, but I did promise myself I would check out everything! I better go see the video.’ When I walked into the house in Hornsey Lane for the introductory video evening I was immediately impressed by how conscious and ordered the room was. The bookshelves were packed with the most amazing looking books, many copies of each book, with beautiful covers and very unusual and exotic sounding titles. There was a lovely fragrance of incense. Just walking into that room I felt like there were new dimensions of life that I had hardly begun to explore, and that this Guru had mapped out previously uncharted territory of the human spirit. I felt a tingling of excitement and a curiosity to explore further.
There was just one other person and myself to watch the video. The other chap looked like an archetypal spiritual seeker, wearing a beanie on his head! We sat on the floor and the video started. Then I had my very first Sighting (Darshan) of Adi Da Samraj, (Da Free John). He was seated at one of the Holy sites at The Mountain of Attention Sanctuary. I did not know this. What I saw was the most beautiful man, sitting on what I thought was a pavement, a sidewalk! Looking blissfully Happy and Completely Relaxed. No fear. No tension. No self-division. No seeking. He had the quality for me of something like a cat! Natural, wild, primitive, relaxed, spontaneous, Free!
In a sudden moment the mask vanished and I recognized ‘me’ in Him. It was as though I I saw myself, became myself, for the first time, Happy! Bright! Like I always knew I was but I could never unpeel enough layers to get to Who I Am, Who I Am before the suffering appeared to have began. He looked so beautiful Adi Da Samraj, so Radiant and then I felt Him Enter me, down through my head, into my aching heart. He entered me and Filled Me overflowing to the brim with His Radiance, His Bliss, His Love, His Light. There was only Him and I deeply intuited and ‘felt’ that this was my True self, My Real Self. For a moment I lost my self-consciousness. There is Only One, Adi Da Samraj, and He reflects the Truth of myself to ‘me’, until there is Only Him. I had fallen in Love. I had come ‘Home.’
Within seconds the wretched mind came in to spoil the Divine Party! To wipe crap over the Beautiful, Pristine Divine Painting! To throw oil all over the Divine Mirror! Within minutes after the video finished I was arguing with Frans Bakker, the missionary. My mind was arguing, but somewhere deep in the Heart of me, at the core of my Being, Adi Da Samraj, All Accomplishing Guru, Whose Siddhis are so Powerful He Can Change Anything at All, with no limits, in time or space, past, present or future, had Entered my being, and, however hard I might struggle to resist my Attraction to Him, He was not going to let me go.