5. Voluntary Participation
in Crazy Wisdom

This is Part 5 of Chris Tong's eight part article, An Overview of Adi Da's Crazy Wisdom and "The Way That I Teach".

If you are recognizing Me in the sense of tacitly feeling and identifying My State, that is yours to acknowledge. On that basis, you become My devotee. And having become My devotee, you volunteer for this response — this recognition produces a response. You volunteer for it. You live by My Instruction.

You enter more profoundly into this turning to Me, which becomes surrender to Me, which is merely Beholding Me and being able to "Locate" My specific Transmission of My Transcendental Spiritual Nature and Presence, Which Ultimately Reveals My Very State — Which Is the State, the Divine Self-Nature, Self-Condition, and Self-State. That is the nature of the seventh stage Realization of Me.

Adi Da Samraj, October 20, 2004

The entire Way of Adidam is, without exception, completely voluntary. This doesn't mean that I casually do whatever I please from day to day: "No, I just don't feel like doing that part of the practice today." Or, if I am in Adi Da's company: "I don't feel like doing what He just asked me to do." Although that superficial approach to practice and the relationship to Adi Da does indeed happen, and no one is forced to do anything, that kind of casualness is not what I mean by "voluntary"! Rather, if it really is something that I cannot bring myself to do, even after very serious consideration and never losing touch with the profound respect for my Spiritual Master (which was the basis for my becoming a devotee) then it would be right to say "No". Indeed, more often than not, such a situation is one where I agree with what Adi Da is asking me to do — I clearly see the virtue behind what He is asking me to do — but I still don't feel I can do it . . . like the resistance that occurs when an alcoholic is asked to stop drinking or a chronically shy person is asked to participate.

Longtime devotee, Crane Kirkbride, has this to say about the matter of voluntary participation:

Crane KirkbrideCrane: I've had personal examples of when I received “strong encouragement” to participate in a particular consideration relative to some aspect of practice and said, “no.” And it was let go no forcing. Strong invitation, because Adi Da clearly saw something about me that could have been served by my being seen or revealed or exposed or released through participation. But even so, there was no forcing. In all the years I've been around Adi Da thirty-two, or however long it is now I've never seen anybody forced into a position that he or she clearly said “no” about. . . .

I remember one occasion (among many) when a devotee simply said, “I don’t need it and I’m not interested.” And so he didn’t participate. And there was no problem about it.

Sometimes Adi Da or the friends of a particular devotee will feel that that person will really benefit from being in a particular practice consideration, and will be mature enough to handle it. Then that person may say he or she doesn't want to participate. In that case, that person could receive degrees of encouragement to change his or her mind. But in the end it remains his or her free decision.

Sometimes people ask how the Way of Adidam could be voluntary if one begins it by taking an "Eternal Vow" a vow committing the devotee to being Adi Da's devotee forever and to always engage the practice He has given. But this is somewhat like asking about the vow one takes when one gets married ("till death do us part"), or when one becomes a priest or monk (which typically involves vows of lifelong chastity, poverty, and obedience). The vow and the commitment are completely voluntary. We choose to get married, and we choose whom we are going to marry. Just so, we choose our Spiritual Master, and we choose to make a profound commitment to practice, and we formalize that voluntary but profound commitment via the traditional form of vow-taking.

Adi Da will remind us of our vow-taking from time to time. But such a reminder is not some kind of coercion. It simply serves to remind us of the fact that we ourselves volunteered for this Way, based on our understanding of its great purpose and its ordeal. We can sometimes forget that great commitment as the years pass, even as married couples can sometimes lapse into infidelity, when they lose touch with the reason they got married in the first place. As Adi Da sometimes humorously put it, "Isn't this what you hired Me for?" And indeed, every year we make a ceremony of renewing our Eternal Vow (much as married couples will sometimes renew their marriage vows) — to remind ourselves that it is not a legal contract, but a voluntary, living, conscious, and happy commitment.

Even the woman who brought a lawsuit against Adi Da and Adidam in 1985, for complaints that included "coercion" and "involuntary servitude", would later retract every complaint, saying that she had been misled by a manipulative lawyer, and stating in a formal letter, "I can't think of anything the Master ever forced me to do."

(As it also turns out, a Marin County judge ruled that she had no legal basis for filing the lawsuit anyway, which this woman's later letter only confirmed.)

All great creative challenges that involve self-transcendence whether one is training to be an Olympic athlete, or is working toward a graduate degree require one to face choices between present-time "comfort" and longterm growth. So too in the Way of Adidam, as longtime devotee, Brian O'Mahony, makes clear:

Brian O'MahonyIt is important to understand that all participation with Adi Da and His Way is voluntary and it is up to each individual as to how intensely they participate or practice, and how quickly they grow in the process. . . .

Of course, Adi Da is always calling and urging us to deeper and more profound embrace of the Way. Why wouldn't He? Our Liberation is His only Purpose. So, I constantly feel the demand to deepen my practice, to grow more, to contemplate my Master and His Work more seriously and constantly. I am very grateful for this demand and for Adi Da's Call to move beyond my otherwise mortal destiny.

. . . Adi Da accounts for everyone in His Work, and invites everyone's participation. That is why He has offered different levels of involvement depending on one's impulse. And yet the Way is instant also. I felt instantly Liberated when I first read His Word, and that feeling has never left me. I have always felt that He Enlightened me in that very first moment, and my life is just the purification and release of all obstructions that remain to my perfect enjoyment of His Gift and His Divine Company.

Brian O'Mahony

You should also understand that I am not here to fight with you for any cause whatsoever. Whatever you choose, you are completely free to choose, and that is all there is to that. All I represent here is an offering. I know how difficult it is to accept it and to live it. And I know exactly what I am doing and what I have to do in the case of every person. I have known exactly what to do with people who come in the condition that you all do, without the purification or clarity that a mature individual would represent in a spiritual culture. The karmas that must be relieved in the case of individuals who come in this condition are of the grossest and most resistive kind. So they are not just plucked off like a pimple on your cheek. It is difficult for you and for me, and it has always been difficult.

Adi Da Samraj, The Paradox Of Instruction

Part 6: Crazy Wisdom and "The Way That I Teach"

Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
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