The Froggy Hat
Spring 1996, I was living in a tiny apartment Abbey Road, London, with my intimate partner at the time, Lenie, just down the road from the famous Beatles’ zebra crossing. One day I heard some shocking news – a medical prognosis that subsequently turned out to be a bit off the mark, though ultimately we all have the same medical prognosis – death, which can come at anytime. However in the moment I heard it I contracted in self-pity and terror. It became clear to me that my spiritual practice of 11 years had been much more superficial than I had imagined. I was completely identified with the bodymind complex. My faith in Adi Da and my ability to resort to Him seemed non-existent.
I decided I had a choice to carry on as I was, completely identified with the fate of the bodymind, which ultimately would be degeneration and death or Recognize Who Adi Da Is, take Him at His Word that He Is God and that all apparent individual persons, including who ‘I’ call ‘me’ are That Same One, that in Truth I am Spirit, Light, beyond the bodymind and the world, brought into conjunction with this apparent bodymind but never identical to it.
It was clear to me I would be a fool to not take seriously Adi Da’s admonition to intensively turn the faculties of body, mind, emotion and breath to Him. I began to practice turning the faculties to Him moment to moment, (much more intensively than before anyway!) not just randomly and occasionally, and I cut less corners with the disciplines, allowing myself to be in a ‘pressure cooker’, curbing the consolations I habitually indulged to keep my anxiety levels down.
A couple of nights later I had a dream in which I was watching through a window of a house, while some unidentified person cut off the head of a devotee woman I knew, an older woman who reminded me a bit of my mother and sliced her in half like an orange. I had the sense that I was the one having my head cut off by my Guru, Adi Da
A few days afterwards I noticed, one morning, after a weekend missionary training I led at our Ashram in Norfolk, and after a night telling and listening to leelas (stories of Adi Da’s play with devotees), as I was driving my car back home to Abbey Road, London, that my arms felt like overhead power lines with a purring, vibrating electrical current running through them.
My journey lasted three hours and for the whole time I was aware of this pleasant, blissful and at the same time rather unnerving vibration in my arms. Later that day I was watching a video of Adi Da, preparing material for a public event I was leading at the weekend in my capacity as missionary.
Suddenly and spontaneously a stream of what felt like liquid Light poured through the top of my head to my feet, while the front of me, what felt like my etheric body, peeled open. It felt like one by one top to bottom my chakras were unplugged, like someone tearing the buttons off a shirt. Then WHAM! The room filled with Light in a nanosecond.
Everything was an Infinite Ocean of Light. All I could see, feel or sense was Light infinite in every direction. The forms were appearing but they were all the same Light. With no thought or strategy involved I jumped onto a chair and faced Adi Da’s Photograph and shouted Da Da Da over and over tears streaming down my face.
A few days later, the morning of the missionary seminar, I was again watching a video. Adi Da was talking about how one day He would die in the body, and the significance of His Death. My heart broke in sorrow when I heard Him speak. I wept. I felt a wound deep in my heart. I was unconsolable. A short while later my apartment bell rang. A devotee friend had arrived to take me to the seminar in Hampstead.
Then suddenly, spontaneously, in a flash, I noticed I was Happy, and I noticed the self consciousness that I had suffered my whole life appeared to be gone. I felt without any inhibitions or self concern, the absolute opposite of my usual state which was one of perpetually thinking about myself, ‘mulling everything over in that egoic mind of yours’ as Adi Da once told me to my face at a gathering in Fiji.
I had lost my mind in a delightful way, I spontaneously reached for the ‘froggy hat’ that I had by my altar. This was a colourful cap that a devotee had made for Adi Da many years before. He had worn it and subsequently auctioned it, and I bought it. It was a very amusing cap with lots of plastic frogs stuck all over it. Today felt the appropriate day to wear it, in celebration of Adi Da’s Victory, His Breakthrough from the realms of Light into this realm which had seemed until His Appearance Here to be a realm of utter darkness.
As I went down in the lift, seven floors down, I was ecstatic, I seemed to be insubstantial, invisible, transparent, a beam of light. I felt like one of the ‘beams’ in Star Trek, as though Scottie was ‘beaming me down’ to earth!
On the ground floor the lift opened. I saw Larry, the doorkeeper of the apartment block, talking to one of the tenants, a little old woman.
Larry had an unusual feature – a third nostril! Whenever I passed Larry, which was many times as I came into the building or left it, I would be friendly with him and pleasant, but I noticed my heart was closed, I was always fascinated by his third nostril. The more I kept trying to ignore it and focus on him as a whole person, the worse it would get, the more I would think of his extra nostril. The superficiality and cruelty of my mind disturbed me.
On this occasion however as I walked out of the lift, by Adi Da’s Grace Only, I felt my heart open like a flower. I fell ‘in love ‘ with Larry, I felt his mortality and the old lady’s and mine and I ‘fell in love’. I said ‘Larry I love you’ and I meant it, and I praised him for looking after the apartment block, keeping us all safe. The little old lady started praising Larry too, ‘Larry you are so wonderful, he is right, you are such a lovely man Larry’. Larry positively glowed and shined, usually he looked fed up and bored sitting all day by the door. His legs began to buckle and he half fell down to the floor, struggling to stand up again. The love coming his way was so much, so unexpected, and maybe so out of his usual experience, that he was completely overwhelmed.
Spontaneously I remembered Adi Da. telling a young boy that the cure for his righteousness was to love people and ‘make people happy’. In that moment I felt Adi Da overwhelmingly strong in my heart, His Unconditional Love for all Beings. Suddenly I felt as if Adi Da was in that very moment showing me and communicating to me the Secret of His Happiness.
I felt like I was sharing in His Secret: to Love without motives, without expectations, to Love for no reasons, Just Loving for its own sake, the delight of it, the deliciousness, the Joy. I had up until that point experienced many mystical, psychic and worldy enjoyments but for me nothing remotely compares with the Happiness of that simple moment of loving Larry and feeling him be made Happy, seeing the transformation of his face, his expression, his body into one of heart-wounded delight.
As I am writing this Leela of this Happy moment on Abbey Road I am reminded of the song lyric at the end of the Beatles Abbey Road album, a lyric that I had mulled over in my obsessive mind since I was twelve years old! ‘And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.’ Suddenly it made sense to me, the pieces of the jigsaw fell into place.
This equation is true because there is only One Person, Avatar Adi Da Samraj, the Lover and the Beloved, who is Awakening all apparently separate beings to the Realization that they are that Same One that He Is, Completely Free and Happy, Love Itself.’