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A Retreat Diary
Toni Vidor is the daughter of the Hollywood director, King Vidor, and a health practitioner for many years.
My dear friends,
In September I came over to the Sanctuary in Hawaii to go on a two week meditation retreat with my Beloved Guru, Adi Da Samraj and six months later I am still here.
I wanted to tell you what I am doing and how heart-broken and in love with Adi Da I am. I am not on a meditation retreat any more – that only lasted about ten days, but I am continuing to serve the retreat process here in many ways.
I've been helping the residents with errands and shopping, and also ferrying retreatants to and from the Sanctuary - simple services that are much appreciated here as life around Adi Da in the retreat setting requires a great focus and many people to serve those coming from around the world to see Him. My sacred life is also strong, though. I meditate and attend temple occasions at the beginning and end of every day.
The meditation hall we use is the entrance to Beloved Adi Da's house and very near to the temple where He often sits – so it is immensely powerful. And He is in there every morning while we are meditating in the room next door.
The whole island and the sanctuary itself are incredibly beautiful. The main building has been completely redesigned, with a long pool in front of the dome, with lighted fountains playing in the water and white egrets walking around the green lawns.
Looming large in the background is the blown-out crater of Mt. Waialeale, mostly enshrouded in clouds and mists, but always looking very dramatic and powerful.
One can feel the great manly and sacred force of this giant spirit, overlooking the sanctuary and the whole island. The whole scene is so beautiful that it blows my mind whenever I walk onto the property.
Like the cattle herders from the Krishna legend who abandoned their ordinary lives because they were so enchanted with the Guru, I left all my routines and healing practice in northern California to make myself available to Beloved Adi Da, and He has taken me over and captured my heart completely.
I am also so enchanted, attracted, and in love with Beloved Adi Da that nothing else seems important. I am content to completely drop out of my ordinary life and allow the Spiritual process to unfold in my life here however it will.
The first couple of weeks, I received both Adi Da's Blessing Grace and purification in many ways. All my buttons were pushed and I had to practice beyond my anger and reactivity when it came to the smallest things throughout my day.
One night, for instance, someone locked my car with the keys inside. Also, for a week, my accommodations were often changing as I settled into the retreat schedule, which begins at 5:00am. But no matter what happened, I was always swooning, or melting, in the hall, pinned to the chair and the body made limp by Beloved Adi Da's great Descending Force.
Every morning in meditation, I am "gone" for 1½ to 2 hours, with no mind or attention for anything, the heart broken open with love and just dissolving in His Bliss. This love has become so powerful that I am often melted in tears. This is also happening while I am driving and listening to tapes of Beloved Adi Da Adi Da speaking. I am swooning every time I get in the car and I keep feeling Him even in the local stores when I am out on my errands.
Whenever I get a chance to go to the beach, I lie down and feel Him Invade the body there also. One day, I drove someone to the place where Beloved Adi Da does much of photographic Work and sat down in the living room to join the chanting for a few minutes. Beloved Adi Da's Descending Force was so powerful that it immobilized me and I could not open my mouth. The Ascending Force was also so strong that I thought I was going to leave my body. It was good that I was sitting down!
One day, I was watching Beloved Adi Da Adi Da looking over an underwater camera to be used in His Art Process. I could hardly contain myself. My heart was breaking with such intense love of Him that tears were flooding my eyes.
Another day, I was invited to massage His Feet, which I had not done for many years. It was an archetypal setting. He was in a cabana on the beach with the two members of the Ruchira Sannyasin Order. The wind was blowing off the ocean, and the sun was hot on the sand. The place was thick with His Divine Peace.
As I started on one Foot, my mind became filled with my past healing knowledge of all the meridians, the zones, and the pressure points located on the feet, and I was diligently working on all of these.
When I got to the second Foot, I became more conscious of Whose Foot I was touching and what this meant. My touch became much more tender and gentle. My mind became more focused and still, and suddenly my Guru Revealed Himself to me.
My whole being became flooded with His Love-Bliss. I saw in that moment that the Guru is utterly surrendered to the devotee, and this completely broke my heart.
When I came here I had a chronic health problem and would easily get exhausted when I overdid it. Trying to keep my seventy-five year old body in balance has been quite a job.
Before coming on retreat, I had a lot of attention on myself, trying to keep my body in balance and keeping it going with weekly healing treatments, and I was worried that the conditions here would aggravate my health. I have been exhausted a few times, but find that I recover very quickly and now that exhaustion hardly happens any more. I am steadily getting stronger, even without any healing treatments.
Even doing physical work in Beloved Adi Da Adi Da's house in the morning gives me more energy for the whole afternoon – just the opposite of what I expected. I have long ago stopped taking all the dietary supplements I was taking and I find that the body is working well without them.
I have found that the Guru's Transmission is a great healer and the Guru provides a source of even physical well-being that magnifies life-energy, love and natural healing. When I let go of all the things that I was holding onto, like "my money" and "my health", I made room for Him to take over and I became 100% happier and stronger.
There is an old saying that when you take one step towards God, He takes nine steps towards you. In other words, when the devotee makes a real gesture of surrender or devotion to the Guru, He will flood you with more gifts than you could possibly imagine. And this has happened to me.
He has captured my heart, my mind, and my body with His constant Divine and Intimate Love-Blissful Presence. This is why I have not been able to leave this place.
All my love,
P.S. Below are two letters I sent to Adi Da while on retreat. I hope you enjoy them and can feel the immense gift of being here.
Beloved Adi Da, Lord of my heart,
You are the Gift to mankind.
In Darshan yesterday, I saw You Standing with Your Feet in my heart and Pressing downwards, as if You were Installing Yourself there for good. Today in Darshan, I only sat down and instantly Your Descending Force moved downward in the body, carrying my mind with it. I remained in that mindless Contemplation, or Beholding, of You for the rest of the hour, with no effort on my part. The body gradually became more and more limp and the head got heavier, so that it finally ended on the floor. But there I remained, awake and easily Contemplating You with no effort or search on my part.
I feel that You have Given me the Gift of searchless Beholding of You and that yesterday was the culmination of this month of retreat. I am deeply grateful for this Gift. You have overwhelmingly answered the prayer that I came here with – "May You be pleased to dwell in my heart at all times", and I will never let this precious Gift fade, but only continue to strengthen it with more retreats.
I love You.
Beloved Adi Da, Lord of my heart,
Thank You for Your Darshan this morning.
The beholding of You was very strong – first in the Temple, where I remained in a blissful, mindless, thoughtless Contemplation of You, without any effort. There were some random thoughts, but they had no power to move me from the place where I was. They just came and went, and all I did was observe them.
In Darshan, it was the same way, sinking into a deep Contemplation of You without any effort or use of any technical means of meditation practice.
There was a lot of pressure on every cell of the body and on the face. A lot of heat. I thought I was going to burn up. I just kept surrendering to You, and You did the Yoga. The breath was way down to a minimum. I felt a Bliss in the body when I went to move it. The mind had a clarity of intuition which I observed.
I have felt You strongly all morning, heart opened, in love and in tears of love for You even while going about my ordinary daily activities.
I thank You for this unspeakable Divine Gift.