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A NATURAL RESPONSE

Susan Gauer, Devotee of Adi Da SamrajAs I began to read this first book, I had a sense of relief and excitement flow through me. I felt that this was someone who "knew" " the answers to questions that had been a part of me forever it seemed. I felt my heart-need to understand something beyond what I had been told being addressed and set at ease. I was having questions answered that I didn't even know I had! Or was it that the questions themselves dissolved? I was hearing what I could feel to be a fundamental truth from someone who obviously knew the truth.



Introduction

My name is Susan Gauer. I am a Canadian. I have lived in Toronto, Ontario for 20 years. I am originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba and have lived in Regina, Saskatchewan, Calgary, Alberta and Northern California, close to our main Sanctuary named The Mountain of Attention. I have also lived in Ottawa, Hull, Quebec, and the Gatineau Hills of Western Quebec at Katimavik, our Adidam Retreat Centre.

A certified teacher, I have worked with adults who speak English as a Second Language all of my adult life, and after having worked as an Employment Specialist with the Toronto District School Board for 12 years I am now working with a Newcomer Services for Youth, funded project that provides settlement services for immigrant youth. I have worked with adults who speak English as a Second Language all of my adult life, and currently work as an Employment Specialist with the Toronto District School Board. I have worked with people coming from troubled areas all over the world. Through this, I have become very aware of the suffering of humanity, and also the strength of the human spirit.

I have been privileged to be a devotee of Avatar Adi Da Samraj as a member of Adidam, His worldwide spiritual community. Currently the Mission Manager for the Eastern Canada Region of Adidam, I have been serving His public Mission work for a very long time.

I don't know who you are or why you have been drawn to read my story but I assume that what I am about to relate will strike a chord with you and spark your curiosity to find out more about Adi Da and The Way of Adidam. Each one of us has our own story which you'll see as you read further into this website. Here is mine.

Origins

I grew up in a fairly traditional Lutheran Protestant Christian family in Winnipeg, Manitoba – a place pretty remote from gurus and avatars! My family was church going and my father taught Sunday school. I was confirmed, and married in my church, absorbed the beliefs of the church and felt a strong love for Jesus.

My church provided me with some sense of community, although, as I was growing up, I also felt separated from this community. A member of a family of German and Austrian descent, living in an upper-middle class neighborhood with many Anglo-Saxons and Jewish families, I attended a Lutheran Protestant church that was primarily Scandinavian.

Also, I had only a mild sense of my religious life being tied to my daily life. There were no daily life obligations except for living a good Christian life according to my church's rules and praying before sleep and having a perception of a "God" who was looking after me and in control.

The Human Condition

The first real blow to this perception came when I was seventeen. My father dropped dead very suddenly of a heart attack. I struggled to come to terms with such an abrupt and heart-breaking change. I felt no solace from anything anyone had to say about death, and the church offered no real answers, just sympathy for our pain and loss.

Eventually my family's lives fell back into "normal" life, while the pain along with a sense of heaviness invaded my life. I had no way to release the pain I felt except through crying myself to sleep at night. I actually became so out of touch with my feelings that I had periods, during my University days, when I felt totally detached from what was occurring around me. I was able to continue functioning but with strong sense of schism in my being.

My father had been an intellectual and loved exploring all kinds of literature and ideas. He looked at the World's Great Religions, and that's where I may have acquired my deeply felt need to know about other religions. Overall, I felt a gnawing need to somehow come to terms with life altogether, and especially with the meaning of life and the finality of death. I was seeking for answers.

I graduated from University, traveled in Europe, married and moved on with my generation through the liberation movement of '70's. When I had my first son, I became involved in the women's movement and began to open more to the prevailing thoughts of the day.

I began to feel the suffering of the human condition more deeply and wanted to solve the world's problem's, still not having come to terms with my own deep pain. After the birth of my second son, I was confronted with the shock of having a special needs child, as my older child, now 3, was diagnosed with a primary immune deficiency.

This was discovered when he came down with a very unusual and severe bacterial skin infection called pseudomonas. He was deafened, most likely, by the extreme doses of antibiotics, administered to save his life. So much for all my idealism about doing everything "right" and having everything turn out OK. I had been dealt another heavy blow!

My marriage ended, but with strong family support, I was able to support my circumstance with my two children. However, a need was growing in me as I struggled to cope with my life and to find something truly meaningful to be involved in, not only for myself now but also for my children. My faith was still strong in a presence called God? But, what was that? Was I being looked after? I wasn't going to church. I didn't even think about having my children baptized!

A TIme of Change

The 80's were upon us, along with the personal growth movements, and more opening up to feeling. I had had some exposure to the latest ways to let go of the past such as through Transactional Analysis and had come into closer relationship with the present, or how "to be happy in the moment". A movement towards getting in touch with our feelings was occurring in my generation.

I began to read more broadly and I got a sense that there was much more than I had been lead to believe through my upbringing and liberal education. Believe it or not, reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, was one of those breakthrough moments for me when I felt a sense of freedom that was wonderfully new! I read "Born for Love" by Leo Buscaglia and loved his approach to life. I was beginning to feel the need to express my conflicts beyond my own coping strategies, and I began to seek out help in expressing myself.

I began Gestalt therapy. I had been directed to a particular counselor due to my involvement in the women's movement and my networking with women who were "in the know". The "tip" on this very good counselor turned out to be help that was going to change the direction of my life.

In one-on-one counseling, I was relieved to start dropping my expectations of life and the lack of freedom I felt in changing it. I was more in control and "OK" with doing things that were considered "unconventional" by my upbringing. My counselor slowly encouraged me to consider joining his group therapy sessions. I was intimidated by this suggestion and reluctant to get into a "group", and leery about what may be revealed about me. But I agreed to join one and ended up going to my first of many weekend retreats in beautiful Bragg Creek, Alberta, in a wonderful mountain house with wonderful people. I gradually relaxed, I confessed, I laughed and cried, and basically, over the course of 2 years, began to release a lot of pent up emotions.

Finally, on the last weekend, of this 2 year series of 6 weekend retreats, we had come to the end of what this counselor had to offer in terms of his seminar, and we were unwinding on a very bright, sunny Sunday morning. A lot of emotional clearing had been done over the course of this seminar, and I was feeling open, vulnerable and very much in touch with the pain of loss of my father. As the sun shone brilliantly through the floor to ceiling windows in our group meeting room, I was in a very receptive mood.

It was on this morning that the counselor, whom I had come to trust greatly, chose to reveal something to the group that turned out to be the answer to all my suffering! He said that he had been studying a Spiritual Teaching for the past seven years. He had picked up a book called "Garbage and the Goddess" in California 7 years earlier, and had been reading it and other books with his family ever since. The teacher's name was Da Free John (Adi Da Samraj).

That moment of first hearing this name is burned into my memory. A feeling of intense interest was aroused in me. Who was this? What did he know that I hadn't already heard? Could he provide answers to questions that were still unanswered, even after this wonderful series of retreats?

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