It’s six in the afternoon, and Athena is already set up on a comfy couch in the library. She is guiding a reading on Adi Da Samraj’s “The Complete Yoga of Emotional Sexual Life: The Way Out of Ego-Based Sexuality” and awaits the slow trickle of students, guests, volunteers, and residents of the Source Temple Sanctuary… 

When you become profoundly sensitized to the actuality of the human state, then it becomes possible for you to function on the basis of compassion, instead of functioning on the basis of desire.

True compassion is what true love is. The word “love” is often used to mean something in the realm of desire–but desire is a “self”-referring, egoic disposition, animated for various purposes that are regarded to be fulfilling.

When it becomes perfectly clear to you that no absolute fulfillment is possible, then your disposition toward others is transformed.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj

Seating themselves on sofas, recliners, chairs, and cushions in the circular room, they represent a startling array of nationalities– German, Moroccan, Brazilian, Uruguayan, Norwegian, American, Ecuadorian– and personalities– the jovial, intent, talkative, and introspective.

Athena begins the session with a prayer, then starts to read aloud, sometimes re-reading particularly powerful passages or simply pausing to let the participants digest the content. After a couple of paragraphs, she passes the reading on to the person beside her.

The forum is open; all questions are welcome and anyone can respond. Questions range from the conceptual– can you clarify the three main personality types and the root cause of the tendencies they generate– to the more personal– how do I put into practice the healing measures Adi Da Samaraj suggests? The gathering is intimate and patient.

We read only a couple of pages, but we examine the content in depth, providing ample time for participants to share personal experiences that the reading evokes. The mood oscillates between sober and focused to light-hearted and humorous. It is a safe space to share any doubts, confusion, reflections and epiphanies that arise during the session. Often, one question will generate several responses, and the gathering feels less like a formal classroom than a warm and deep conversation.

The shared feelings of reluctance to end the reading and discussion are obvious when Athena calls for a closing prayer. Many participants stay after the session is formally closed. I overhear a volunteer say “I get so much more out of reading texts like this in a group. Things I would have skimmed over because I didn’t understand were ones we looked at deeply here.” In my mind, I agree with her whole-heartedly.

Reading this material in a group brings me closer to addressing the sexual-emotional issues in my life than I would ever get alone. Before leaving, I seek out one of the residents whose responses to my questions resonated strongly in my heart. I ask if she’ll meet with me tomorrow for a walk to begin my process of exposing personal issues that the session has brought to light and that I have been actively avoiding.

I know I need help exploring my fears related to my emotional-sexual life in order to heal them. She accepts with gratitude and joy. My heart feels lighter as I leave, and the sound of quiet voices continuing to share follows me out into the night…