Tuesday, October 26, 2004

David Deida muses about Guru Andrew Cohen

The Glorious Mr. Wedgie
by David Deida

What is exhilarating in bad taste is the aristocratic pleasure of giving offense.—Charles Baudelaire

I was standing in an airport, when I saw a well-known spiritual teacher surrounded by his shaven-headed devotees. Immediately, I had an impulse to give him a wedgie. I couldn't help but imagine running up to the group, making my way through the students, grabbing the back of the teacher's underwear, and heaving mightily upward.

Hopefully, he would have smiled. Or, perhaps his followers would have beaten me. In any case, the image came and went, although my mind, exhilarated by its own condescending proclivities, continued to consider this teacher, the glorious "Mr. Wedgie."

If you took a dense mind, a Jewish body, and a need to find the perfect parent, held it all together with mustache and naiveté, and awakened it to the nature of reality, you'd have something like Mr. Wedgie. I believe he is one of the least penetrating spiritual teachers and most endearing awakened beings I have come across.

In this case, shallowness of mind is not a bad thing. On the contrary, like Helen Keller or Stephen Hawking, Mr. Wedgie's deficiency has led to a kind of glory. Just as one end of a balloon bulges when the other end is squeezed small, elegance and simplicity have swollen as Wedgie's splendor. What he lacks in depth or insight, he makes up for by being continually amazed by the plain truth. His enthusiastic simplicity is contagious.

Most people are idiots. And those who are not, become progressively more useless as their complexity of apprehension matures to coincide with the unknowable mystery of existence.

As love's articulation begins to encompass the actual human condition, all rules become irregularities. However, when love squeezes through an idiot, its expression is graspable. You can use it, applying your life to a set of laws. You can list and repeat the essential points.

Truth is inherently banal, but an idiot's truth is more so. To finally know the truth of existence is to trivialize its implications, and this reduction is what makes Mr. Wedgie's teachings so useful.

He offers the real truth in the fashion of primitive art. The outlines visibly hold the bold colors from the imperfections of subtlety. As in a child's paintings, good and bad are clearly separated, like blues and greens, creating a lollipop-tree vision of the flowering of spiritual life. His vision is classic and universally recognizable--never mind that no actual tree has ever been seen that looks remotely like a lollipop.

All paintings are equally just paint; an idiot's truth isn't more or less real than the most sophisticatedly accurate representation. How you like infinity disclosed is a matter of taste, really.

The mystery that is shows itself to itself through every hole of being that notices anything. Mr. Wedgie's lollipop-truth serves to awaken some, whereas others enjoy a more variegated scene by which to awaken as they are.

The juvenile-arrested simpleton finds spiritual perfection expressed as goodness and lack of damage, often modeled on the harmless parent they never had. But love plays as time in contrasting colors of destruction and creation, often mixed in hues of indeterminate shading. Up close and in the fray of love, good and evil as well as benefit and harm lose their definitive portrayal. Mommy bends you as she adores you. Daddy terrorizes and inspires.

Who is it that longs for beauty as absolute no-harm? The one for whom a lollipop tree, in all its idealistic simplicity, is a sign of truth's perfection. And so it is with Mr. Wedgie.
© 2001 by David Deida. All Rights Reserved.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How refreshing! Kind of a more sophisticated version of imagining someone you're intimidated by on the toilet. I think deida hits the nail on the head when describing Andrew's lack of depth, not so sure about his endearingness :) Andrew reminds me of Bush...that kind of moral conviction that can be very powerful, and the lack of depth and willingess to deal with ambiguity that can be very dangerous.

Wednesday, 27 October, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I realized after years of following and submitting to various "enlightened" teachers, including Andrew Cohen, that my heart was searching desperately for the Father figure that would make me feel safe, loved and who could bring me to the Ultimate Father Principle of "God".
I have memories of being an innocent child. I remember the happiness that would explode out of my heart when my Daddy came home from work and scooped me up into his arms where I coud hug his neck while absorbing his unconditional love and joy. When I was about three years old, my Daddy came through the door and as always, I ran to him for our ritual of union and bliss. That day everything changed forever. My father shoved me and yelled, "Go on, go away and play." I never ran into his arms again. I can still feel my heart breaking at that first of what would be many many rebuffs.
I spent years and years trying to mend this broken heart and searching for an authority figure who could scoop me up and bring me home. Someone who could heal my broken heart and make everything golden again.
Every teacher replayed the same scenerio for me. At first appearing to be Love personified, and then would come the familiar rebuff and excruciating pain.
Then I attended an Eckhart Tolle event. This gentle and humble soul introduced me to Presence. He exemplified perfect love and a gentleness that healed my heart. Without saying a word, just by entering the room unnoticed, he brought Awareness of Absolute Stillness. Through his video teachings I have found peace. Actually Peace emerged from theat first encounter. I am no longer searching, there is no need to "follow". This Peace allows for acceptance and surrender Now, no matter what circumstances appear. It has been seven years.
The only enlightenment that exists is being fully present in this moment...and this moment...and this. Enlightenment is Now and we are either present for it or not. There is no permanent dispensation. It is a living Presence. It is not a personal possession.
Peace, be still and know.

Wednesday, 24 November, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just discovering Deida's work. He is obviously brilliant, but brilliant does not necessarily mean enlightened. I have an open mind about Deida, but note that he, as a disciple of Adi Da, may have been a party to some of the extreme and violating sexual practices attributed to that discredited cult leader, that have led to lawsuits and press scandals (acolytes raping women with Coke bottles while the guru looks on, masturbating, etc.). In that light, even the most sophisticated and articulate criticism of teachings that approach the question of non-harm in a way that Deida considers simplistic take on another significance entirely. If harm through violation of others has been a part of one's life, one can repent or rationalize. Hitler used brilliant, audacious and sophisticated rationalizations to attack and violate Jews, Freemasons, gypsies and others. The fact that a brilliant person can advance an audacious argument in itself proves nothing. Buddy Hackett can stand on a stage and deliver fart jokes - essentially the same dynamic of shocking the listener into another level of awareness by smashing his polite, conventional frame of reference. The question is whether in the process that listener has been empowered in love, or in mere self-rationalizing self-aggrandizement, posing as love. By their fruits shall ye know them.

I note that the Buddha's first precept was non-harming. While I like Deida's work and consider it entertaining and useful for this post modern age, it remains to be seen whether it will equal the Buddha's in terms of timeless and compassionate power, influence and depth. I doubt it.

Monday, 18 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What surprised me about Deida's essay was its vagueness and, frankly, its immaturity. A spiritual teacher calling another spiritual teacher an "idiot" without providing anything to back it up? Saying his teachings lack depth without saying in what way? It was just a bunch of slander and name calling, really. Perhaps there's some truth to it, but it looks more like Deida's emotional issues than Cohen's to me. One thing I would disagree with is the charge that Cohen's teachings lack depth. I don't see how anyone with depth themselves could make that charge after reading his dialogues with Ken Wilber. I was interested in Deida, so I did a search on him and found this, but I think the poster who pointed out his long-time association with Adi Da might be on to something. Who with any integrity could remain with Da that long?

Saturday, 09 September, 2006  

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