Finding Adi Da > Bill Somers

I Realized That I Was "Playing for God"

Bill Somers

Bill Somers In the early 1980s, Bill Somers had already realized what he had held to be his life's ambition: to be principal clarinetist in a symphony orchestra. But this accomplishment was not enough for Bill, after all; his heart was not satisfied. And that was a good place to be! It led him to his Spiritual Master.

Bill SomersMy story begins in the early '80s, when I had already realized my life's ambition to be the principal clarinetist in a symphony orchestra. While I was regularly taking more auditions to move up to bigger and better orchestras, I had also become an earnest spiritual seeker and was attending meditation retreats offered by a Buddhist organization. Soon I began to read Avatar Adi Da's books, which had been recommended by a friend from the meditation retreats. Without really understanding the profundities about which Adi Da was speaking, I "knew" that what He was saying was "right". I don't consider myself a particularly intuitive type, but in this case I had an inexplicably deep feeling of the spiritual authority of Adi Da's words. And I began to have experiences of what I could only call "The Divine".

At this point, I was playing in the Spoleto Music Festival in Italy, and had plenty of time to explore the churches and art museums throughout the country. As I delved into Renaissance art something I had a bit of background in as a result of taking some classes and the fact that my mother was an artist I began having the tangible feeling that the artists of that time had been somehow portraying the Divine in their works of art. It was not a matter of the Christian subject matter, but a feeling-sense of what I could only describe as "the Divine", communicated by the work itself a boundless, infinite, bright quality.

Paintings of ordinary people evoked this feeling of "the Divine" as strongly as depictions of religious subjects. It was not the subject, but a sense that the artist was somehow in communion with the Divine and was communicating that through the work of art. I went from church to church, museum to museum, in a kind of ecstasy, as one work after another would evoke this tangible sense of the Divine in me.

Shortly, I returned to the States to live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I was the principal clarinetist in the symphony. One afternoon in the fall, I went to a wooded area outside town, to continue reading one of Adi Da's books, Compulsory Dancing. Shortly after I sat down to read, I began having an experience of a strong force subtle but tangible descending into me, I noticed that the force was drawing everything to itself, trying to make everything conform to it and "it" was the Divine. It was an experience of God. It felt like all the tall trees and the rolling hills there, everything, was being shaped and pulled by this Power to itself. The feeling deepened, and I saw that everything was existing as a unity. I could not sense the usual separation between things. I began running around the woods, ecstatic in this feeling of non-separation. There were, in fact, no "objects" from which to be separated.

I began to experience what I called at the time a reversal in my polarity. What I had thought of as "inside and outside", or "top and bottom" were reversed. That evening, when I began playing my clarinet, I realized I no longer had to try to force air through the instrument and "sound good", but I simply allowed the endless sea of air in which I exist to pour through the instrument. All the years of searching for the perfect musical expression were ended in an instant. I had studied with the best teachers at the best music schools and had been working endlessly like most of my fellow musicians to get ever closer to producing the ideal sound. This was an enormous and stressful effort! Now I found that all the striving was gone. I simply allowed the air to rush into the body and the music to pour out. I realized that I was "playing for God", playing to magnify love to everyone, not playing for the accolades of the audience. I simply wanted everyone to feel the love I was feeling as I was playing.

I had become ecstatic in my playing. People in the orchestra turned around to stare at me with "what-happened-to-him?" looks on their faces. During that week of symphony concerts, an internationally known pianist who has performed with many of the world's major orchestras, was performing with my orchestra, playing a Rachmaninoff concerto with a long clarinet solo in it. At the break during the rehearsal, she had the personnel manager bring me over to her, and without any introduction, asked me to marry her! Then she said, "Who are you and where did you come from?" I laughed off her questions, but deep in my heart I knew that Adi Da was the "who" and the "where" she was responding to, and that I would have to go to Him.

When I did eventually become a formal devotee of Avatar Adi Da's and sat with Him, I came to know even more directly His characteristic Presence that had been the substance of all these unusual experiences and revelations and the powerful Descending Force by which He had first contacted me in the woods. I could feel how He would enter into me from infinitely above the body by first pressing down through the top of the head. Then I would feel Him "melt" me, so that the sense of "I" would be lost in the overriding perception of Him as Love and Bliss. I realized that Adi Da not only freely Transmits the tangible Truth of non-separation from the Divine, but that He Himself Is the Manifestation of the Reality of Divine Love-Bliss.

Postscript: Bill continues to play clarinet. He has often played personally for Avatar Adi Da. Over the years Bill has regularly served on Avatar Adi Da's Hermitages and Sanctuaries as retreats manager and in other functions that serve devotees' practice.

This article appears in two sections:
the Finding Adi Da section and the Adidam and Music section

Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
Copyrighted materials used with the permission of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as trustee for The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam. All rights reserved. None of these materials may be disseminated or otherwise used for any non-personal purpose without the prior agreement of the copyright owner. ADIDAM is a trademark of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as Trustee for the Avataric Samrajya of Adidam.

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