I had been reading Adi Da's autobiography, The Knee Of Listening, a book filled with Revelation. One of its many extraordinary Revelations is described in the chapter, "The Understanding on the Beach".
In this chapter, Adi Da describes a period and process He went through early in His own life (while living near Tunitas Beach in Northern California). The sense (and action) of "separate self" is the source of the apparent distinction between "inside" and "outside": internal, subjective events (like feelings, thoughts, dreams, etc.) and external, objective events. Begin to transcend that sense of separate self, and the wall between "internal" and "external" — which we ordinarily presume is a given — starts to crumble.
The Unity between the internal and external worlds was the Revelation Adi Da received during His time on the beach through profound. And — simply through reading His account — I Gracefully was given a form of this same Revelation.
I have already mentioned elsewhere some amazing synchronicities that gave my life the feeling of a dream or, to use Adi Da's phrase, a "mythic form" (that was almost like a fairy tale, organized around Him): being in His physical company (at Columbia University) when I was an infant and He was still a teenager; being meditated by Him on September 10, 1970, the day of His Re-Awakening; going to the same universities as Him — Columbia University (for undergraduate studies) and Stanford University (for graduate studies).
But over the course of the summer of 1989, I began to have extraordinary experiences of synchronicity non-stop, in the way Adi Da had described in His autobiography. I'd have a thought, and then something in the "external world" would complete the thought, or complement the thought. It might be something on a billboard on the side of a road; a song on the radio; a newspaper headline; something someone else said to me; etc. It took many forms, but, in these synchronicity experiences (which would happen many times each day), whatever was "outside" would resonate with a thought or feeling I had just had "inside".
I began to enjoy looking around to see just how the universe was going to reflect some thought or feeling I was having. . . and often would laugh at the humorous form of the universe's "response"!
For example, on one particular day, moved by Adi Da's Teaching about "egoity as the avoidance of relationship", I was exploring the nature of relationship. I would "try" to be relational with everyone I met, but — it didn't matter how I chose to express or not express myself — the very effort of trying to be relational seemed to undermine actually being relational, and reinforce the feeling of being separate.
However, the next day, I woke up in a very happy state, and throughout the rest of the day, I was effortlessly relational with everybody, beaming at every person — I couldn't help myself! And the response was extraordinary: everyone beamed back at me. It all was completely effortless, completely spontaneous, on my part and theirs. So this was the secret: to be relational, you just need to be already happy. You can't start from the position of being separate and do something strategic to become non-separate or relational; you simply have to be already non-separate (initially through Grace, and ultimately, through Realization).
At the end of the day (of work at my university), I walked out to my car, feeling exuberant with this new understanding. I stepped into my car, sat down, turned on the radio, and my mouth dropped open as I listened to Frank Sinatra singing, "When You're Smiling, The Whole World Smiles With You". I burst into long and loud laughter. If I had been watching my life turned into a movie, no one could have picked a more perfect (and perfectly delightful) song for the soundtrack to accompany that particular "scene" in my life!
* * *
I was able to document another miraculous synchronicity that summer, through a series of photographs.
I had set up a simple altar in my room, with a photograph of Adi Da in the center, and a vase of fresh cut flowers on the side, which I replaced every couple of days.
One day, one of the flowers began to move!
It was too slow for me to see the movement with the naked eye; but after leaving the room for a few hours, I'd come back and I could swear that that flower had changed position.
So, to persuade myself that I wasn't seeing things, I began taking photographs every few hours, to capture what appeared to be a miracle in progress. . .
Here is the result.
The whole time, just that one flower moved. All the others remained stationary.
Many years later, I would discover that there were other occasions when flowers miraculously turned toward Adi Da (when He was physically in the room), or, in this case, toward His picture. For instance, Hellie Kalogeros tells of one such occasion in her story, The Turning of the Flowers. Tom Closser describes another occasion in his story, Everything Bows to the Divine Lord.
Perhaps there is a unique context or significance for each such miracle. On this occasion, synchronicity was the significance. Even as I turned toward Adi Da that summer, in preparation for becoming His devotee, so did this flower.
* * *
In the manner of all good fireworks shows, this entire Graceful, Revelatory summer culminated in an extraordinary finale: a dazzling display of synchronicity upon synchronicity.
My girlfriend and I decided to spend the weekend travelling. We had no particular plans, just the impulse to spend some time away. From New York (just north of New York City), we drove down to Washington, D.C. We took in the sights of the city, and then stopped for a late dinner in a little restaurant in Georgetown, a historic section of the city. Without any idea of what to do the next day, we took a look at the map. There were so many possibilities: spend more time wandering around D.C.; visit the Shenandoah National Park; head east to Assateague Island; on and on. We finally decided to visit Luray Caverns in Virginia, a couple of hours drive west. My family and I had visited the caverns when I was a boy, and I remembered being fascinated by them.
So we started driving. After a couple of hours, we were almost to Luray. We passed a lot of motels, and then we turned into the parking lot of one of them, for no reason other than we both were exhausted. We checked into the motel, and got the key to our room. After unpacking, I began to settle in, but my girlfriend (who had a heightened sense of smell) was bothered by the mold in the room, so we went back to the office and fortunately were able to get another room.
Next day, we spent the entire morning exploring the vast, subterranean chapels and cathedrals of stalactite and stalagmite formations in Luray Caverns, which we both thoroughly enjoyed. And then we drove home.
The following weekend, I visited an old friend in New York City. I hadn't seen her in years, and we greeted each other warmly. We started catching each other up on our lives.
At some point, the conversation came round to the previous weekend.
She and her boyfriend had decided to get away from the city and go travelling.
I smiled, thinking: "Sounds familiar."
She described how they just got in the car, and with no plan in mind, headed down to Washington, D.C.
I sat up a little straighter in my chair, and began to pay close attention to her every word.
After spending a full day in D.C., they ended up in Georgetown for dinner.
Now there were over a hundred restaurants in Georgetown, and, while nice, the restaurant we ate at was nothing special so I thought to myself, "No way they would have eaten at the same restaurant!"
Even so, I waited in anticipation.
And then she said the name of the restaurant — it was exactly the restaurant we had eaten in!
This was beginning to feel like a dream.
I asked her the time she was there, and it turned out that she and her boyfriend arrived a half hour after we did. All of us were in the restaurant at the same time, but unaware of it.
When I made my friend aware of these remarkable coincidences, she too began to get very excited!
Now we were racing to get the words out, speaking over each other in our hurry.
They too had decided where they should go next, among all the many tourist attractions in the area.
They too had fixed upon Luray Caverns.
They too had headed out on the highway toward Luray.
They too had passed many motels, and then had turned in at random to one of them — our motel.
They too were given (by the very same office clerk) the key to the very same (moldy) room. But neither of them particularly noticed the moldy smell, so they took the very same room we had moved out of. . . as it turns out, only ten minutes before!
They too had a wonderful time the next day, as they spent the morning in Luray Caverns — no doubt only a few feet away from us much of the time!
And then they too headed for home.
* * *
We both sat in silence for a good long while. What else can one do when Reality reveals one of its great Mysteries in such an extraordinary and dramatic way?
For related stories by this author, read The Devotee Feeds the Guru, and the Guru Feeds the Devotee, Club Rat, and No Pity for Him!.