It was a typically warm, sunny Los Angeles day when I pulled into the gravel parking lot next to the Source. The place was packed. The patio outside had round tables with director’s chairs and cheery yellow-and-white-striped umbrellas. The wait staff were all wearing white — Mexican cotton pants and shirts and Mexican peasant dresses.
I felt a distinct energy shift as soon as I walked through the door. The workers were beautiful young men and women who radiated health. Every table was filled with interesting-looking people. I noticed Warren Beatty and Julie Christie in a corner, and one of the guys from Earth, Wind & Fire with a longhaired looker.
Across the room, I spotted Jim Baker, who had changed dramatically since I last saw him. Before, he had been a hip, handsome, middle-aged man with short hair. He now had a white beard, his hair had grown out to his shoulders, and he was wearing white drawstring pants and Birkenstocks. He seemed to be glowing with vitality and was talking animatedly to some customer friends. I suddenly fell absolutely in love with him, not just in a sexual way, but in a profoundly deep way.
I approached him, and he looked me over admiringly and gave me a big smile and a long, wonderful hug. “I’m really, really happy to see you,” he said. I was so affected by the warm, healing energy of his embrace that it was hard to speak. The cells in my body felt activated.
The feeling was like being drunk or high. It didn’t feel to me like he was controlling the energy; he just seemed friendly and open and full of love, as if he were blissful in his new, elevated state of consciousness and aware of the significance of the moment between us.
I now understand, after years of meditation and reflection, that my higher self had recognized his higher self, and the unexplainable feeling I had was a joy-filled encounter between two reconnecting souls. And my cells, in soul recognition, had started vibrating to match his energy vibration, which was heightened. I was awakening to my destiny, and, for the first time in my life, I felt truly whole.
It was as if I had gone through a stargate and there was no turning back. That was the buzz I was feeling, and that feeling of deep connectedness and heightened awareness is what ultimately compelled me to leave everything behind. Everything.
Joining the Source Brotherhood, as we called it then, was not easy — it required sacrifice and dedication. If someone was interested and seemed like a possible good fit for the Family, he or she was invited to morning meditation. After three meditations, the individual had to decide whether to join the Family or stop coming to meditation. People who wanted to join were typically assessed by Father in front of the group and asked questions about themselves and why they wanted to be there. Once Father welcomed them in, they were told to dispense with their material goods and relinquish all their property of value to the Family. For most of the young ones in our group, this was usually a car or maybe a musical instrument and not much else. Although all property in the Family was communal (Father would say, “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine”), Father usually allowed musicians to be the caretakers of their own instruments.
Some have said that Father took from those who came in, but in truth, Father gave the Family tenfold what we gave him, not just spiritually, but financially. While everything is a matter of perspective, it was Father’s restaurant, the Source, which supported all 160 of us, even though only 33 of us were working there full time. The money from the restaurant and its sale would sustain us long after we left L.A., almost until Father left his body. Everyone gave all he or she had to the whole; Father contributed far more than he took from others, and this made him unique among gurus at the time.
It seemed everyone had their part to play in the Family, and all entered right on cue. In the early fall of ’72, a charismatic, exceptionally graceful, brown-haired 19-year-old beauty named Susan wandered into the Source. Although it may not have been immediately apparent, this was to be a turning point in the history of our little Family, the beginning of our next incarnation as a group.
Susan told us that she had had a vision while in her hometown in Pennsylvania and had drawn a picture of a powerful, longhaired, bearded older man sitting behind her. She put the picture up in her room, and a few months later, got into her little VW bug and drove across the country. When she came to Los Angeles, a friend sent her to the Source for a good vegetarian meal. When she met Father in the Cedar Temple, she saw him as “that man” in her drawing, and she knew she was home.