Artist’s Story

cosmandalaMaha Bindu

(Sanskrit term) Described and explained in the book “Easy Death” by Adi Da Samraj as the “Cosmic Mandala”.

BINDU: In esoteric Hindu spirituality a bindu is a point through which the Unmanifest moves into manifest form.

 

Love Confessions of a Jeweler

Love is the wine that inebriates my soul, and has fueled my passionate affair with jewelry for more than 4 decades now. But it really began when I was quite young. I used to collect rocks, shells and interesting oddities and spend long hours arranging my hoard imagining what beautiful things I would make one day. Even then I knew this would become my livelihood someday. 

When, at age 19, I met and fell in love with Loren Stolley, that day had finally come. After many wonderful adventures travelling like enchanted vagabonds, we settled in the hills above Santa Barbara. Travelling had finally sated me and it no longer provided pleasurable distraction from my sensitivity to life. With Loren’s support, I began an intensive search for my art media, the media I hoped would become a tool for me to delve deeper into Existence while also freeing me financially to do just that. 

The Bare Beginning of Bindu

After much experimenting with various art media, I decided to try my hand at earrings. It was the Hippie Era and the beginning of a Renaissance that created a demand for hand made arts and crafts. Loren gave me a clunky carpentry hammer and a funky anvil and some copper wire. I strung some beads from my hoard on the wire and began to bend and hammer away. At my first sale at the local artist colony, I laid out all my art media experiments including my very crude new earrings at $1.00 a pair. I made $30, the next show $90, mostly on the earrings… a very humble beginning. But I was ecstatic to have found a way to begin the life I had long dreamed of.

Around this time I made a little gift in wire & enamels that said, “Loren, My Love Life Long Growing.” This has proved to be true. Loren Stolley, a very broadly talented man himself, has helped me in every conceivable way to be and grow as an artist. I cannot say in words the depth of my love and gratitude for him.

With hands, at last, busy creating beauty, I naturally began to explore deeper awareness of Existence even as I worked. Within one year a spontaneous and life shaping event occurred. It was a brief but profound spiritual awakening. 

Profound Inspirational Force Awakens

I was in love and had laid down one evening to contemplate this feeling. The love feeling began to magnify intensely. I saw circles of color in the dark and then a most awesome clear white Conscious Light. Instantly I recognized It to be my True Self and the Self of all beings and was soon lost in Love Oneness with It. This was the first of many experiences of the Conscious Light.  When I regained a level of self-awareness, the “Love-Light-Being” had receded down a long tunnel (commonly described in near death experiences). As I tried to follow, It transformed into a vision of great ceremonial gates, held open by attendants. Inside the gates was a beautiful garden of astral blues and greens. My heart knew this to as “HOME”. 

About 14 years later I was helping to finish Seventh Gate, the entrance to the garden and temple home of Adi Da  Samraj on the Mountain of Attention Sanctuary. The vision of the great gates had been the first of many premonitions of my life as a practitioner of Adidam. But this was still many years yet to come. Meanwhile my jewelry work became the means for me to follow my heart and the Light. 

I longed to communicate the overwhelming Love Passion for that Living Light that had awakened in me from that first encounter, and this motivation meshed inseparably with my creative urge, fueling  my life’s artistic odyssey.

Premonitions Continue

The Conscious Light continued to come in the dream state, rekindling a most intense Love and then painful longing as It came so rarely. Visions would follow after the Light. I saw Holy Places and a community of very ordinary looking people with whom I experienced non separation and the same self forgetting swoon of Love. I longed to know that Love always, and would often put my head down on my work bench and cry in longing. Then in a most unforgettable dream I met an American man who was short, round and in His mid 30’s. It was Adi Da Samraj, still unknown to me. His Embrace drew me into a  profound state of spiritual unity and then showed me that nothing in any dimension of existence could compare. At the end of that dream the Spiritual Presence and Power, I would later become more familiar with in the Company of Adi Da, descended over and through me, concentrating in my hands. 

Early Years of Bindu

It was the late 60’s as I began my art jewelry in earnest. In my first 3 years, I explored all the possibilities of bending and hammering wire. Then Loren showed me how to solder with a huge, heavy torch. But welding bronze came more naturally, so I experimented with and developed this technique exhaustively, selling the work primarily at art shows. Here I found an eager market for all my work, that supported us sufficiently that my creative muse was finally free to dance, play, and sing my heart into jewelry. 

A very extensive range of inspiration has always come to me, from rough to extremely refined, from dark, fierce and masculine to light, feminine and regal. Many inspirations have ancient overtones or are colored by past eras. There are the whimsical and also some romantic images that express the ecstasy of spiritual love. Sometimes a poem comes to me that goes with a Bindu piece such as with the broach “Let us Fly as One”. It is really my heart prayer: “Ah, Love let it be that You and I may fly as One, beyond the sun and through the Sea of Infinity.”

Bindu’s Mentor

When at last I found and came into the Company of Adi Da in 1979, my heart was spiritually blasted open at its deepest core. I saw clearly that all is God and Perfect already. And as Adi Da walked slowly away, the Presence and Power of God walked before my eyes. It was the greatest moment of my life.

Soon I was using my jewelry skills to serve Adi Da. I was thrilled to have finally found such a potent way to feel the Love-Bliss-Happiness with which I am in Love, that had first come to me as the “Conscious Light”, but now came as Adi Da’s Blessing with each service offering of my work . The exchange has grown my work greatly as Adi Da constantly guided me to keep growing and out-grow limits in my work. Eventually ( knowing my heart perfectly), Adi Da offered the name “Bindu” for my jewelry work.

Transformative Period

In 1991 when on retreat at Adi Da Samrajashram in Fiji, we were invited to live and serve there for a year. By the end of that time I was blown apart and greatly humbled. My heart was washed of much hardness and I fell more deeply in love with Loren than I thought humanly possible. My creative process also suddenly deepened. A spontaneous refinement of my artistic sensitivity came toward every element of my work. Many self-imposed limits fell away. And it became clear to me that it was time to move on to precious metals. This and so much more was all clearly a Gift from Adi Da. 

Excerpt from the 1991 letter to Bindu Collectors from Fiji: 

In the midst of this, [a Spiritual Celebration with Adi Da] many elements and a widening physic depth, seem to be rushing together about to restore full memory of an ancient time, an ancient place where once before I was so Graced to worship a Divine Incarnation and to serve with an art form. 

But the clarity of memory is elusive and I am left with only an intensely poignant feeling of having loved spiritually, loved far more deeply than my capacity now, and then having lost or forgotten that somehow, perhaps many, many deaths ago. I cannot help but cry from the depths of my being for reasons I cannot fathom. Only the Love saturated Company of my Guru stirs this in me and rarely. There are only flashes of long ago times and dream visions, that seem to represent part of how this ancient spiritual passion for the Light found its way literally into my hands and into Bindu Jewelry.

Bindu Greatly Changed

At my first precious metals show in 1995, after a fearful dream of total failure and MUCH prayer to change that, a gentleman bought my entire inventory! This was a miraculous and tremendous boon. It allowed me to devote all my energy to masterpiece level creations for 6 months. To set off the jewelry in style, I designed a collection of very unusual jewelry displays that are works of art in themselves. Loren and I worked closely with other artists to create these. Thanks to that purchase, Bindu was dramatically transformed. Our next show, the well known Sausalito Art Festival, was also phenomenal.

Fame and fortune, I intuited quite early on, were a future possibility for Bindu Jewelry. But from the beginning it was also clear to me these are void of real happiness and not to be sought in themselves. I have always wished only for what would support my simple life of spiritual love, my creative process, and my personal projects of service to Mankind. (See Dandelion Sustainability Farm in links below) Thus I have never played the game for fame and fortune. But I have prayed for stable patronage to allow my hands to pour out the masterpieces that long to incarnate, to adorn this era and whisper my heart’s passion to all, even long after I am gone.

Creative Process

My work has always been about love. For me, love IS the feeling of beauty. While working to put my inspirations into Bindu Jewelry, I constantly meditate on heart feeling. I feel intently the subtle innuendoes elicited by every possible choice in the long creative process. I compare and feel the different possibilities over and over, choosing colors, lines, textures etc. that magnify love at every step. 

But my limits are always before me. The challenge is great. “How can I do justice to my ephemeral visions of exquisite jewelry? How can I convey this overwhelming love? To do great art must surely require many lifetimes. And I feel my work has only begun. It is my constant intention that Bindu Jewelry and Dandelion Farm be the means for me to give my utmost to the world. May my work benefit many. May that which has inspired Bindu jewelry be felt and enjoyed by all. May it be so!

 

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