Tuesday, May 01, 2007

One Blog Closes, Another Laughs It Up

File under: Gurubusting

A few days back a reader informed us that the What Enlightenment??! blog has ceased publication. Founded to expose and investigate the abusive narcissist known as Andrew Cohen, the publishers of this excellent chronicle of the troubles which have constellated around Cohen feel that the work is complete, despite the fact that Cohen is gonna keep being Cohen, and that means plenty of troubled people are going to still be coming out of that head-screwing mindfuck, some with a lot less cash than they had going in:
In the more than two years since I personally "broke the code of silence," all of these disturbing events, and many more, were documented and corroborated on this blog, over and over again. Three former editors of What Is Enlightenment? magazine, including myself, spoke out strongly here about the abuses in Andrew Cohen's community. Other close students have also put their names on the line to attest to what went wrong with the community's beautiful dream of creating heaven on earth. The woman who financed Cohen's Foxhollow EnlightenNext world center wrote about how he unfairly took advantage of her vulnerability and largesse. Numerous other students have also contributed here, both named and anonymous, shedding light on the authoritarian abuses around Cohen, their causes and their harmful effects. In contrast, not one specific or credible factual denial has emerged from Andrew or anyone associated with him about what has been reported here in great detail and depth. Instead, we have only heard the refrain that we have failed to include the "context," as if any overarching purpose could justify the abuses described here and the pain they caused. No cry of "context" could obscure the devastating truth that the participants in this blog have had the courage to reveal...

But I think that this particular forum has run its natural course. The essence of what needed to be expressed has been said. Most of the former students I know have moved on, or are in the process of doing so—they have regrouped or are regrouping, they value what they learned, both good and bad, and they have ventured into productive new lives. Those lives now may be less filled with drama, buzz and high romanticism, perhaps, than their lives with Andrew Cohen. But they seem, to me, to be lives that are far more genuine, lives that are making, or have the potential to make, greater contributions to this world.
We're sorry to see the end of this parade of horrors, as it is a mightily-instructive journey into the heart of the pathologically-generated self-image of a guru. We suppose Cohen is never going to get it, as such is the fate of the habitually self-regarding souls who are convinced by their interpretation of their spiritual experience that they are special, rather than coming to know and promulgate the much less glamorous yet more accurate rendering of the truth, that self-realization and enlightenment do not make you special; they only reveal your utter ordinariness as a being – to yourself, others and the universe at large.

Just as the door shuts on What Enlightenment??!, another has opened for us. Today a reader revealed the existence of YogaDawg, which is described as a snarky cross between The Onion and Yoga Journal. Seeing as we are decidedly outside the yoga "scene", a lot of it flies clear over our heads. But other folks seem to like it, and as we get more of a sense of its style, we find our admiration increasing. We're adding a permanent link, and if we miss anything that applies to what we're doing here, please give us a nudge in that direction.

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8 Comments:

At 5/02/2007 12:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why there ever was a blog in the first place on Cohen. He is a pretty neat guy. He definitely has something. Of course, any spiritual student knows that he is human and can abuse. If you put yourself close to him in his community be prepared for that. I just don't get these people who get involved with him and don't see the negatives that go with being a part of a authoratative spiritual community like this. But Cohen himself is no different than most teachers out there. All of them have their dark sides. Students beware.

 
At 5/02/2007 2:55 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

anonymouse said:
> But Cohen himself is no
> different than most teachers out
> there.

Among all those teachers out there... are many who present themselves as ordinary people who have practiced dealing with the mind, and have some skill at communicating their experiences in a way that may help others.

Cohen, on the other hand, presents himself as a spiritual success, on a higher level than the spiritual failures who disagree with him.

There is a difference.

Jody wrote...
> We suppose Cohen is never going
> to get it, as such is the fate
> of the habitually self-regarding
> souls who are convinced by their
> interpretation of their
> spiritual experience that they
> are special

My first reaction is that Jody was being too rash. I mean, how do we know that Cohen is never going to get it? Don't human beings show an amazing ability to learn and grow?

But then I began to wonder... where are the examples of humans who have presented themselves as spiritually superior to the masses... who then realized that their superiority was a fantasy of their own making, and came down to earth?

The classic example is Krishnamurti. He certainly is inspiring... though I'm not sure he was ever as much of an autocrat as Cohen (or Adi Da, Gurumayi, the Pope, etc). Also, even after he got off the high horse, I'm not so sure that Krishnamurti ever truly gave up the idea that he had a special pipeline to Truth.

As I said above, I myself have met some great teachers who *aren't* full of themselves. I just don't know of many (any?) examples of people who drank the stupifying wine (or KoolAid?) of spiritual superiority, and then let it all go.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm

 
At 5/02/2007 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Anon. said, which I think is right on, every teacher has their dark sides. Do seekers really think it is any different when you get heavily involved in the orgs of Ammas, Meeras, Sai Babas, Sri Sri's, Gangajis, Ramesh's, etc. Watch out for either being molested, sucked out of money, used for seva/service, become an automon, etc. Cohen is a jerk, that is true, but who isn't? You hang around any of the above long enough, and you will have plenty of stories to share too. Grow up blogsters, and know every teacher has their dark side and is very human.

 
At 5/02/2007 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Grow up blogsters, and know every teacher has their dark side and is very human. "

Grow up, anonymous and read the Kula-Arnarva tantra, the Shiva Samhita and other texts of both Hinduism and Buddhism that outline, very specifically, the guru/disciple or the teacher/disciple relationship. The tradition of presenting teachers as "more than human" has a very very long history..just as the tradition of teachers (including Andrew Cohen) who present themselves as supra-human has a long history.Part of the "bargain" in this guru/disciple relationship is "surrender" to the "will" of the INFALLIBLE guru/teacher. The type of teacher/student system that Cohen set up did not allow for students to "know" that he was "human" and could abuse". Anyone who has not been part of this kind of abuse of spiritual authority has no idea just how insidious it can be. The Cohen blog was a real step forward in outlining how things can mushroom and get completely out of control.
anonymous as well

 
At 5/03/2007 11:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>> Stuart said:
I mean, how do we know that Cohen is never going to get it?

I think Cohen has NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) as do many spiritual teachers. Unfortunately, pathological narcissism does seem extremely difficult to 'cure', if it is even at all possible. Maybe some time some way will be found to cut through it. But the statistics are not good.

>>> where are the examples of humans who have presented themselves as spiritually superior to the masses... who then realized that their superiority was a fantasy of their own making, and came down to earth?

This may be just the same thing -- those who have tended to present themselves as spiritually superior to the masses tend to be pathological narcissists -- and this does not 'cure'.

The Blade

 
At 5/04/2007 11:45 AM, Blogger Stuart said...

> every teacher has their dark side

That's kind of like saying "everything is edible." It's technically true... but there's still a big difference. Some things you can eat every day, and some things are edible only once.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm

 
At 5/06/2007 7:54 AM, Blogger Robino in said...

Seekers seek to cover up their short-comings. It is a ball game of wanting to get something for themselves (seekers). If they get such a sense of relief, let the Cohens too get what they really were looking for!!! A little return-favour ( :) does not hurt.

 
At 5/06/2007 8:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robino in said...
... let the Cohens too get what they really were looking for!!! A little return-favour ( :) does not hurt.


Hitler would have loved you on his staff.

 

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