Sunday, February 20, 2005

An Invitation To Truth And Reconciliation

By Hal

May all beings be happy!

As a contributor to this blog, I want to say that I am extremely happy with how this blog is unfolding. I feel that it is a place that may be unique, or at the very least, extremely rare on the Internet. I think that, together, all of us —from each contributor to every person who has given it the gift of their attention—have created a sacred place where a miracle of truth, healing and purification is occurring. Every one who enters here enters this sacred cyberspace, whose circumference is nowhere and whose center is everywhere. You are all welcome and all appreciated.

I want to especially extend my appreciation to the courageous people like Stas and Susan and some anonymous contributors who were willing to expose their own vulnerability, their insight and their pain. I want to equally thank those brave souls like Craig, Carter, Dave, Jeremy, Anne and others who have been willing to enter this forum and express their doubts and criticisms about what is occurring here, and their support for Andrew Cohen. And all those from outside the community of former and present students of Andrew Cohen, who have lent their own unique insights and perspectives here, must be greatly appreciated and thanked as well.

This work is not easy for any of us. It is very hard to engage in this kind of dialogue without regressing to a mode of “attack or defend.” I—the writer formerly known as Raging Bull—personally find this very challenging. That’s why I start out saying “May all beings be happy!” I’m no bodhisattva, believe you me; it’s just that I need to remind myself of my intention every single time. I pray for help from all the bodhisattvas and divine beings in this work.

It is also hard to hear the difficult truths of people’s experiences and let them stir and touch our hearts. They re-evoke our own memories and experiences. It would be easier to turn our eyes away. It would be simpler, it seems at times, to retrench and plow on. But opening to the rain of mercy that is always here means exposing one’s raw nerves and heart. I am certain that it is only through telling and hearing truth that a greater respect, understanding and empathy—for ourselves, for Andrew, for all concerned—will be possible.

I hope it isn’t too presumptuous for me to share my vision of what is occurring here with you. I see a pure lotus beginning to bloom from the muck and mire of this dark age. I hope you can find it in you to give it water and nourishment with your attention, your good intentions, and your courageous participation.

At this time I wish to issue a special invitation to Andrew Cohen to directly join this forum. We have heard his voice through his representatives Craig and Carter. But we have not yet heard Andrew directly. I believe that if Andrew were willing to speak the truth here about the events described by former students, it could be of enormous benefit. And to hear Andrew speak frankly about what has occurred—mistakes and all—would be much better for all concerned, including him, than to hear it come only from those who were affected by his acts.

I would like to suggest something about the kind of participation that is being invited, however. The point of this blog is not to bash Andrew, and the participation invited is not self-defense or aggression. Craig has received much criticism for the defensiveness and hostility in his posts. I think it is understandable to become angry when you perceive your teacher being criticized, so I empathize with his response. But I don’t think that kind of response is helpful for the truth-telling and finding that should occur here. If that is the best he can do, so be it. It may very well be better than nothing, and, as I said earlier, Craig’s participation here is appreciated. But I think that it is better to engage with a greater degree of respect and fidelity to the truth.

For example, Craig misleadingly minimized some of the events that were mentioned here, such as physical abuse. I mentioned in my post “Breaking The Code Of Silence” learning of incidents of a student being ordered to deliver messages consisting of delivering slaps “as hard as she can” to other students. Craig wrote, “I was the one mentioned in Hal’s letter who got slapped in the face and also had fake blood smeared on his wall—which, incidentally, we already wrote about in the magazine three years ago—so much for the ‘code of silence.’” Craig implies he was the only person to receive a slap, or receive messages written in fake blood, and that this had already been publicly disclosed. That is not true. It is true that the Fall/Winter 2001 edition of What Is Enlightenment? (the 10th anniversary issue) mentioned on page 24 that words were “scrawled in red graffiti” across his office walls, and that the editors had been going through a very difficult time. But, contrary to Craig’s misleading statement, he was far from the only person to receive slaps or messages written in fake blood. In the very incident mentioned in WIE (according to a participant), Craig, Carter and Amy Edelstein all were given messages from Andrew consisting of physical assaults in this period—and definitely more than once. The fake blood writing also occurred more than one time and with more than one person. And, as described by Stas (Ernest) in his letter here, and to me by many others, slapping, other physical abuse and the liberal use of fake blood—styled for purposes of guilt inducement as “the guru’s blood”—occurred numerous time in Andrew’s community.

One other example of a misleading “admission” by Craig. In his response to Susan Bridle’s posting, he admits but mischaracterizes an incident involving prostitutes that I had mentioned in an earlier posting. There is more to be said about this, but, given its sensitive nature and the feelings of those involved, I don't feel it is my place to go into all the details, at this time.

These are only examples meant to show how real frankness is needed, not obfuscation. There are many events that should be revealed and discussed, in truth and openness. They should not be hidden, minimized or misstated. Saying and hearing the truth isn’t easy. I know some would like to forget what happened. But I think that the only way to even begin to understand what has occurred around Andrew Cohen is to lay the facts out bare. That is why I am now issuing this heartfelt invitation to Andrew to participate in this process. I am sending a copy of this post by e-mail to Craig, Carter and Andrew at his Foxhollow World Center.

Please come into this forum, Andrew. Please be willing to truthfully admit your mistakes, and begin to help the process of truth and reconciliation. It will be much better for everyone—you, your community, your former students, and your friends—if you participate with humility and honesty in this ceremony of healing and purification. Whether you participate or not, however, the truth will come out. It must.

With love and respect,


Blogger puggles said...

Haahahah...Andrew himself come to this blog and admit his mistakes...hahahha..hahahaa! The Guru? The Chosen One? The Perfect One O'Lord of Lords? Hahahahah... thats funny Hal, verrrry funny!

Monday, 21 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all former students:

Hal, Susan, Stas and the rest of the former students of Andrew Cohen, I commend you for your love, courage and strength in leaving your teacher and sharing your experiences with all of us.

There was a time when I also was enslaved by a cruel Master who was a spiritual robber and thief. I can relate with love and compassion to all of your experiences. I have been there myself!.

Today I am free and through God have birthed the Light. My life in and through God is a life of absolute joy and peace. I have also unconditionally forgiven the man who held me as his power, and have taken full responsibility for my ignorance in allowing my past enslavement.

I can relate to your desire for an open feedback from Andrew and pray that your love for him will touch his heart. May Andrew come forward in love and humility taking full responsibility for the pain and sorrow his deeds and actions have caused all of you. Come and open your heart Andrew!.

Move ahead students with your need to share your experiences that have afflicted you. Release them all!. The truth shall set you free.

Love, Peace and Blessings within the Light of "The One" God, the Source of all Goodness, Love and all Power.


Monday, 21 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think Andrew would be saying about the comments on this blog? Would this all be explained as ego and therefore not worthy of a response? In the public talks I attended Andrew seemed to have no fear of accepting any challenge that was put forth and was a Master at keeping the upper hand in the ensuing dialogue. Surely he is up for the challenge posed by Hal Blacker to come onto this blog and participate with all who are involved in this enquiry into the validity of his teaching methods. That's one great benefit of the freedom of the Internet. One can no longer stand immune from the repurcussions of their actions. May all who hold control over others take heed. Do not do anything you would not do in the light of day with the whole world watching....because we are indeed watching very closely.
Gratitude and blessings to all who speak the truth.

Monday, 21 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes indeed.

Eyes around the world are watching...mine from the southern hemisphere...waiting for some kind of response from Mr Cohen.

Tuesday, 22 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Belfast here. We're paying attention.

Tuesday, 22 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Canada is awake and present also.

Tuesday, 22 February, 2005  
Anonymous Dave Ginnane, UK said...

A couple of months back, some friends and I, all former students of Andrew Cohen, spoke at length about the ongoing fallout that is occurring around him, his teaching and his community. It was a very in-depth discussion and based on our own mixed experiences was fuelled by a very sincere and genuine interest in us wanting to understand ourselves and the situation more. To simply know what was true. Very little blame was being cast in any direction.

What was the most interesting though, and certainly the most exciting and inspirational for us, was when we started talking about the possiblity of Andrew accepting responsibility for his own actions and acknowledging the reality of what has happened and continues to occur around him. How much more feedback does he need?

By displaying his own vulnerability and by putting his heart on the line in an open, honest and sincere way, it would in an instant dissolve much of the pain and suffering of the current dialogue and potentially catapult us into a dimension far more liberating for all of us, including Andrew. It could be evolutionary?

Now wouldn't that be fantastic! It could be the most powerful teaching he could ever give us.

Many thanks Hal for inviting Andrew to join us in such an open and generous way.

With much love,

Tuesday, 22 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excuse me Canada, you're sitting in Australia's seat :)

Wednesday, 23 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get the impression that Hal Blacker still wants a relationship with Andrew Cohen, but on his terms!

Wednesday, 23 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Andrew should definitely respond - however, it is unrealistic that he should respond in THIS forum. He should probably respond in some neutral space, or in his own forum.

Wednesday, 23 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like the spiritus mundi that you are calling for on this forum, and for specifically inviting Andrew to participate!

We must garner respect for the fundamental inner being of each person whenever possible, and as much as possible, -even for those we fear and/or hate, simply for the heart notion of fundamental respect for all life.

...and in honor and holiness of the buddha nature, Atman, Christ in each person.

Yes, we CAN go on here demanding and manifesting the liberated truth in continuing to push the spiritual envelope amongst these very issues on this blog.

"God bless us all, everyone."

-Tiny Tim, A Christmas Carol -By Charles Dickens

When I ponder what my own behavior could or would be in being in Andrew's position, I cannot say absolutely that I would be any better, more perfect, etc.

Again, I am not excusing wrong-doing here, I am simply carefully watching the dialogue and wanting more healing, forgiveness, and honest revelation with further integrity; preferably with Andrew's participation.

May this only be the beginning of the spiritual promise we have touched upon and strive evermore to live right here, right now.


Wednesday, 23 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Posted by Santosh Basu:

The folowing script from
really spoke to my heart today in reference to this blog...

February 23, 2005
The Obstacle to Humility
PROVERBS 6:16-19

Humility is a healthy, godly sense of our merits, talents, and achievements. In the life of the believer, one thing stands as an obstacle to humility--pride. To think of oneself above others is the exact opposite of the lowliness of mind that God calls us to demonstrate. Pride is deceitful in that we might not recognize it in our own heart. Even more dangerous is the person who can be proud on the inside and yet appear humble to others. But we cannot fool God.

Our Father hates pride because He knows its destructive power. When we are proud, what we’re really saying is that we know better than God. He places pride-- "haughty eyes"--at the top of the list of seven abominations. That doesn’t mean that He hates the person who is prideful. God loves all of us; consequently, He despises anything that will harm us.

Pride blocks communication with God. When Jesus stood before King Herod, who had a reputation for being prideful, the Lord refused to answer the king’s questions. (Luke 23:9) Likewise, we cannot come to God in pride and expect our prayers to answered. Our worthiness is not God’s basis for considering our prayer requests; the fact of the matter is that we are not worthy. God instead responds to our need.

When we attempt to live in our own strength, we can expect God to ruin our successes (2 Chronicles 26), ridicule our schemes (Psalms 2:1-5), and remove our status (Daniel 5). He wants us to renounce our pride before it destroys us.

Wednesday, 23 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me or is the new issue of WIE just not as interesting as it used to be?

Maybe it’s because, as I’m reading along, a thought keeps flashing in my mind: 'He slaps his students around! He manipulates large sums of money out of them!'

I was reading Andrew’s editorial about Authentic Leadership in which he wrote about a group in Australia who seemed fearful and disinterested during one of his talks. Instead of thinking: they just can’t comprehend his enlightened mind. Now I’m thinking: 'How is it that authentic leadership involves slapping adults hard in the face? And manipulating people into giving 10,000 dollar “donations”?'

This issue’s Andrew and Ken dialogue seems to be a rehashed version of ‘my enlightenment is better than anybody else’s because it’s cutting edge and evolutionary.’ Or maybe it’s because I’m thinking: 'Guru, are you dysfunctional, and Pandit, are you looking the other way?'

And Don Beck, how does a face-slapping and money-grabbing leadership style fit in with your Politeness, Openness, Autocracy (P-O-A) principle as described in Spiral Dynamics?

Wednesday, 23 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a general comment that could go anywhere in this blog.

I'm not an attorney and am only thinking out loud here.

If enough former students of a cult say they were pressured to donate large sums of money to the cult, might it be possible for a good attorney to file a class action suit against the cult on their behalf?

Maybe not, but keep in mind that juries are sick of people with power getting away with stuff, the Martha Stewart verdict being one example.

If I was a former student of Andrew Cohnen's cult and I felt I'd been pressured to "donate" subtantial assets to his organization, and I knew others who felt the same way, I'd talk to an attorney. Maybe nothing can come of it, maybe there's no laws that apply here, but at least look into it.

Is Cohen's organization tax exempt? Any reason for it to fear IRS scrutiny?

Wednesday, 23 February, 2005  
Blogger freewilly said...

Well Hal, you got what you wanted! I don't know if you meant this all to become so laughably - i don't even know what the word is - transparent maybe? In any case, just so this craziness does not go unremarked on:

One of your posters said: "Is it just me or is the new issue of WIE just not as interesting as it used to be?

Maybe it’s because, as I’m reading along, a thought keeps flashing in my mind: 'He slaps his students around! He manipulates large sums of money out of them!"

Dear poster, have you considered flipping your worldview upside down and thinking about the evolutionary ideas presented in WIE and then seeing the slaps and the alleged "extortion" from that point of view? Meaning, hmmm I wonder if there is ANY more to the story at all?

I've noticed that WIE is so challenging and groundbreaking that its very easy to write it off quickly as having become "heady" or "juiceless." However, if you switch into the mindset - just for fun see if you can - that those who write the magazine and those who are featured in it are actually doing and are serious about the kind of Global Human Change that is constantly pointed at, its very possible to "get it" in a very different way.

Good luck trying that experiment without getting at least a mild brain expansion!

Thursday, 24 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Bullshit Never Ends.

One poster writes:

"Is it just me or is the new issue of WIE just not as interesting as it used to be?
Maybe it’s because, as I’m reading along, a thought keeps flashing in my mind: 'He slaps his students around! He manipulates large sums of money out of them!"

Another poster (freewilly) responds:

"Dear poster, have you considered flipping your worldview upside down and thinking about the evolutionary ideas presented in WIE and then seeing the slaps and the alleged 'extortion' from that point of view? Meaning, hmmm I wonder if there is ANY more to the story at all?"

Does anyone see the word "extortion" in the first poster's comments? How did "manipulates" become the much stronger and legally connotative "extortion"?

Does anyone notice a pattern here? Andre, Susan, Hal, Anastasi, et al write balanced reports about experiences which not one of them has described as "terrible" or as a "life-destroying police state," and none of them have described Andrew Cohen as a "menace to society," and yet Cohen's defenders have blanketly characterized "this blog" in toto as presenting an extreme, one-sided picture of Cohen and his community.

This is a tactic familiar to anyone who has ever watched shows like the O'Reilly Factor on the Fox TV news network. Regardless of how one may feel about O'Reilly, it's undeniable that he consistently exaggerates his opponents' actual positions in order to make their positions easier to attack.

Such argumentation tactics are a sign of weakness (as well as weak-mindedness.)

What I have consistently seen in posts by Cohen's defenders are a refusal to acknowledge a middle position between advocacy for Cohen and abject condemnation of him.

There is a name for that approach to argumentation; it's called sophistry, after the Sophists, who in Plato's Euthydemus are shown trying to convince a young man to agree that he was either "wise" or "ignorant," offering no middle ground when there should be.

Of course it's possible that those who do not see that Andre, et al, occupy a middle ground position that does not fall into an extreme do not see this because they have yet to "evolve" to the point that they can see beyond black/white, either/or, us/them, for/against modes of thinking. That may be why they need a "Rude Boy" teacher who uses sophisticated, mature teaching methods like having students slapped and writing messages on walls with fake blood. (I'm sorry folks, it's sounds like a really boring version of Lord of the Flies. When are the adults gonna show up?)

Thursday, 24 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The third tenet by Andrew Cohen:
"Face everything and avoid nothing".

Ending paragraph reads as follows:

Facing everything and avoiding nothing is ultimately challenging for most. We're so narcissistic that we can't bear to see the truth about ourselves. But if you want to be free, that's where you find strength of conviction to be able to pull it off. Facing everything and avoiding nothing is the ultimate form of spiritual practice if you want to be free more than anything else.

Andrew, this is your teaching. Come forward to face your students. Thank you.

Love you all.

Thursday, 24 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing is that Andrew does come forward to face his students. He speaks, publicly, and my understanding is that he meets regularly with his students, meaning that he met regularly with those who have left, while they were with him. My sense is that he is very accessible, and that he is the one who is most courageous and vulnerable, as opposed to those who take 'cheap shots' via a computer. In his teaching, he discerns between the 'Authentic Self' and 'the Ego', which is the sense of separate self. His models, available on his website, show that the Authentic Self is equated with goodness, with 'Heaven', while the Ego is equated with evil, with 'Hell'. The questions are: a) Is Andrew living from the Authentic Self or the Ego, and b) are those who are so critical, responding from the Authentic Self, or the Ego. Before we rip apart a person's reputation, we need to be clear where we are at, through which eyes we are looking. This is delicate stuff, and it's important too - if Andrew is right, the implications are vast, and if he's wrong, the implications are equally vast. Rather than saying, May All Beings be Happy, I would say May All Beings Know What is True and Be able to Discern between what is True and What is False. No small thing.

Friday, 25 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never lived in the Andrew Cohen group, but I've listen to him on number of occasions. His model of Haven and Hell are absolutely brilliant. His emphasis on ego is very insightful looking at us and our times. But since the first time I had a feeling that there is something missing. And recently it came to me - he lacks warmth, he doesn't emanate acceptance of what is now. This creates tension and often fear, if one comes too close. We are in times where there is so little true expressions of genuine love. Our parents or grandparents were educated by 'specialists' who advocated tough love - separate bed, separate room, cry as long as you wont, need to get tough from the very beginning. The toughens is not the method for us because we got plenty of it, in a stupid version of course. Toughens induces ego to build barricades.
As Andrew Cohen is, for me, an expression of Big Mind, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is an expression of Big Heart ( look at exercise at ). Is there any one who combines both - I think Eckhart Tolle is.
Instead of demonizing anyone, however enlightened and dysfunctional they are, we have to realize that they are on their evolutionary and learning curve as we are.
Once I heard Andrew Cohen say that once a person goes through transformation, s/he can choose the way the are. I would just hope that he will decide to choose to be more warm and compassionate. His success rate of getting through to people would be much greater, and bloggs like this one would not be needed. Idea and method - they need to go hand in hand.

Friday, 25 February, 2005  
Anonymous Ed McDougal said...

Letter from Ed McDougal

I lived in Andrew's community for almost ten years, first in Cambridge and Marin county, then, more recently at Foxhollow. This blog has helped me compare the ups and downs of my experiences with those of others who were also there.
After an absence of five years, I wrote Andrew that I had overcome certain reservations I had previously expressed to him about his teachings. The upshot was that he eventually decided I could move to Foxhollow. I was very glad. Like many others, I had glimpsed the impersonal enlightened perspective as a result of contact with Andrew. It now seemed particularly in reach because of an enlightenment experience that had taken place a year or so after I left Marin that impressed me deeply. I wanted to live permanently in and from that perspective.
I was not successful. No doubt this is owing in part to reasons having to do with my personal makeup. But I also believe no small part was played by the way I handled a particular situation that arose with Andrew after my arrival at Foxhollow. I wanted to speak to him about the spontaneous experience that occurred some years earlier, when suddenly for several hours I didn’t know who or where I was, yet managed to accomplish several physically and mentally demanding tasks, even while being completely distracted by the unfamiliarity of familiar surroundings.
When I tried to discuss this with Andrew, I was given to understand that it would be inappropriate and unnecessary to do so. I did not insist, reasoning that the enlightened perspective, as Andrew teaches, is a matter of freedom in relation to all experience, even enlightened experience, and that dwelling on the past is counter-productive.
I now think that I was mistaken. I ought to have insisted on speaking about this, and in failing to do so, I failed myself. If I had received confirmation that I was on the right track, and had been given more than just a taste of the real thing, it might have gone far toward establishing the base of self-confidence so necessary in the kind of solitary struggle with the ego in which we were all engaged. I was aware that Andrew's own remarkable increase in self-confidence after he met his teacher coincided with just such a communication. As Andrew wrote to his mother and brother,
When I told him [H.W.L.Poonja] in detail about the spontaneous awakening I had
when I was sixteen he told me that at that moment I had experienced all there was to experience, and he said that if I had had a teacher or someone whom I could have
talked to about it, a man of knowledge—then my work would have been over then.
Much of what I understood then has [since] returned. (My Master Is Myself, p.39)

Since then, of course, Andrew's interests have taken a different direction. Which brings me to a third factor in the mix, crucial during the time I was at Foxhollow—what I think of as Andrew’s “one size fits all” approach to enlightenment. This may well be the result of the increasing emphasis in his teachings on the biggest possible picture of reality, involving an expanding universe, a noosphere, memes, and the inter-subjectivity of consciousness. Impersonal enlightenment has clearly become less important to Andrew than what he now regards as an evolutionary step beyond that, toward the collective discovery and generation of a kind of emerging group intelligence that can be applied to the cultural, social and political problems of our times.
Obviously some of these problems are extremely urgent. But I have seen little evidence that collective intelligence generated by groups at Foxhollow or elsewhere is having an actual effect on the problems it is meant to address, or even, secondarily, that the lives of individuals who are making group efforts have changed so as to make the impersonal perspective more permanent among them.
Andrew once told me and a group of fellow retreatants at Foxhollow that I was "completely oblivious to what’s going on here." Perhaps he is right. And perhaps more time is needed to tell if what is admittedly an experiment is bearing fruit. It would be worse than disappointing to conclude that what we have here is a case of emperor's new clothes.

Friday, 25 February, 2005  
Blogger Bruce Scharf said...


Friday, 25 February, 2005  
Anonymous Roy said...

In reply to the commentor who made the statement:

"The thing is that Andrew does come forward to face his students. He speaks, publicly, and my understanding is that he meets regularly with his students, meaning that he met regularly with those who have left, while they were with him. My sense is that he is very accessible, and that he is the one who is most courageous and vulnerable, as opposed to those who take 'cheap shots' via a computer."

It seems that this blog evidences how Cohen does NOT REALLY meet with students. One after another of the former students (though admitedly not all) have given accounts of Cohen's failure to be open and vulnerable and really listen to their needs. Ed McDougal's comment above is an excellent example. If this is how Cohen listens to students, please we can do without it.

Read Susan's or Ernest Mavrides'posts - they point out with painful detail how unavailable Cohen was to them when it mattered most.

The issue is not that some are now making cheap shots via computer. Many have tried to reach Cohen, and have not succeeded to the degree needed.

Ask yourself "is Andrew Cohen open to receiving real critical feedback from students?" and then consider the dismissive, angry, undermining tone of Cohen's replies so far to the blog (as delivered by his editor and representative Craig Hamilton.)In fact this blog is none other than critical feedback to the teacher, and low and behold, he gets angry and wants to have nothing to do with it.

Also I think a very important point that gets lost in our discussion, is that it is not enough that some do have a positive experience of a teacher - if some are also getting abused. The good experience does not cancel out abuse if that is indeed occuring. For example, the commentator Freewilly seems to say "but the magazine is evolutionary and you miss what is most important in your complaining" if I can paraphrase him. But the ground of all rules is Do No Harm. If people are truly being abused - and the jury is still out on that - then the greatest magazines and most cosmic symposiums do not cancell the wrong and the wrong needs to be brought out into the light and addressed.

One wants to believe that there is a heart of compassion and humility in Andrew Cohen, but the evidence so far is scarce.

Saturday, 26 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other. C. G. Jung

May love be all in all.


Saturday, 26 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Subsequent to finding the teachings of Andrew Cohen, coming from Poonja’s teachings and not realising their relationship, I found simplicity, Truth, and an understanding that didn’t leave any space to doubt about the changing power of his realization. I bought every book he has written, have numerous tapes and videos, been a member, attended a retreat and became (not radically), transformed by his Presence. That was until I stumbled across Andre’s book ‘Enlightenment Blues”, and this forum and saw the behind the scenes workings of such a man and organization (although there is much more than meets the eye).
Has Andrew not been an advocate of Trust? A trust between the positive intention to melt a student into the Divinity of their own Heart and does this not hold a place within his teachings and position in meeting a true teacher of enlightenment where Trust in the teacher is crucial?
Andrew speaks in Enlightenment Is a Secret about if Enlightenment is not given from one teacher, to move on and not become satisfied by no-lightenment. I question if this is really ‘given’. Then I wonder why so many people kept their Shepard near when it was apparently obvious that the Shepard cared not about his flock but what he could get out of them. We can never know how many, if any, were close to that edge of the Known and failed to jump with his help. But the experiences recounted in the book and in this blog have made it fairly clear that a degree of trust, which becomes a platform for liberation for those who need something outside themselves to trust, was, and possibly, never be attained within Andrew’s world. How does one develop trust when they fear the same person they have to trust to conquer their worst fears in life? I’m afraid the only method of that is living life, not living in Satsang with others. It seems a spiritual ransom has become born, in and around Andrews’s capacity to elicit the higher states, but first you have to do my work, then we’ll see if you’ve done my work good enough to grow.
I also see the fine line between an ego needing a kick up the ass, and one needing a gentle push, but since reading about the lives of 10 years plus students recollections about life under his tutelage, I see that line has been crossed, sometimes severely. Sometimes I think, ‘Well, maybe that was needed’, but then I read on, and that was defiantly NOT needed, the line was crossed there. There would be no way that he could get out of being charged with either extortion, or charged with assault if these claims were to continue. And there are people who could nail him with an offence, but who would when he holds your soul in his unwavering fists and stare? And I also wonder what he was doing having kids in their twenties run his business for him? Of course, it was going to end in tears at some stage. He hasn’t chosen his colleagues very well but that’s just my 2 cents worth.
Finding this blog left Buddha’s words ringing in my ears; ‘Be a light unto yourself’. Again, another teacher bites the dust, or is half way there. Does it to you Andrew mean more to Enlightened one person, or/and have everyone undergo this revolutionary transformation (which I am waiting to see like the arrival of the UFOs from whatyacallit cult?), than have the majority who get close to you flee under the cover of night away from you and your manipulative ways? I wonder. You seem to attack people Andrew. Not their behaviour, or tendencies. There is a difference.
So I am left to ponder if there really is or will there ever be a soul like Ramana again, or one of the Greats of yesterday to come still. A Light that is unwavering in Truth, and not one who publicly humiliates his workers in Satsang, or takes money which isn’t his, or demand the destruction of a expensive car, or numerous other instances of control amounting to very little or down right pain in his students lives. Andrew may read this blog, but he won’t write. He may just be incapable of seeing mere mortals lives properly, since he never really had a real life himself, (escapism in a room playing drums, no job, and no plans other than worldly visions of a mystical recluse), I wonder if he hasn’t just created more karma to begin with; people can be enlightened and have an ego too Andy, right?
I will take my own path. I may buy his books, see what’s new, seek out teachers, but in the end I will do it myself like all the others. I do not believe for one-second teachers who realize come back and say ‘Stop, you don’t need to work at it!’ Been there, done that. I see the clouds of illusion part when I work at it, so I will continue to do that. I’ll just use Andrew for what he seems to be worth, a big bloody spoiled enlightened toddler.

Sunday, 27 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You ask if there will ever be another Ramana? There are not many like that, but there remain teachers of profound integrity, honesty, reliability and deep love and compassion. Authentic and powerful teachers, not the "vanilla" variety. They are not many but they exist. One of the greatest tragedies of the painful process of disillusionment with a guru is that instead of getting disillusioned with one's own teacher, the person gets disillusioned with all teachers and gives up on the guru principle altogether. Disciples of great potential, who could benefit from real help and who could benefit all of Life from their growth, get burned so sharply and so badly hurt (often connecting them, consciously or unconsciously with the deep, unhealed wounds of childhood), that they give up their spiritual aspirations in some significant way. This is a loss for the student and for humanity. The deep call is to grieve and then heal, in time, from the disillusionment with our teacher, then go deeply into our own psychological make-up to see what unhealed aspects in ourselves attracted us to that teacher, and then proceed with our spiritual life and practice with renewed integrity and love of Truth. I say this not from a platform, but from a lot of personal experience. We cannot give up. A spiritual warrior cannot afford the luxury of defeat. Love ever regenerates itself and we have no choice but to move forward with dignity!

Sunday, 27 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am grateful to be "dis-illusioned". After all, to really see what's true is the end of living in illusion. We project our hopes and fantasies upon the teacher until we experience One in whom Presence is so realized that all projections and illusions are silenced. If the teacher takes advantage of our desire to be directed and controlled rather than bringing us face to face with the Reality of Presence, we will stay until we have had enough.
It is very frightening to face the fact that our teacher is false, especially when we have given up everything and spent many years devoted to the teaching. We have to come face to face with our own gullibility and take responsibility for not listening to that Inner Voice that knows things are not as they should be. Much love and respect goes to those former students who have had the courage to face the truth and the compassion to take steps to reveal this truth to those who are ready to come out and be free.
Enlightenment is not a possession. It will not be achieved through sacrifice or obedience to any man or woman. It is Here Now and that is the Whole Point.

Sunday, 27 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let us suppose that Mr. Cohen has not changed from his first appearance on stage as the guru, but all of you have changed in the way that you see him now. Could it be that Mr. Cohen has lost the holding powers of the waters?. Could it be that God put an end to his power holding?. Without a cover to hide behind we are seen clearly for what we are. In other words, we have been disrobed by the Light. Miracles do happen!. Count your blessings. The Light has pierced through the darkness. Let us all put our trust in God and not in man. God still sits on His throne. Prayers for all of you and Mr. Cohen.

Monday, 28 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I posted a comment here and it was erased. Seems you edit your posts. Not good.

Monday, 28 February, 2005  
Blogger the Editors said...

We're sorry, but from time to time we will remove comments that we feel are off the subject matter, or only tangentially related to the subject matter, of this blog. We will not censor or attempt to control statements of opinions or facts. But we may remove posts that we feel are overly inflammatory or antagonistic to genuine and open discussion of the subject matter here--which is Andrew Cohen and the experience of his students and former students. For those who wish to debate, expound or discuss more general spiritual or psychological matters, there are many other places on the Internet to do so. We would like to keep this discussion focused. Thank you all for your contributions and your cooperation with this endeavor.

Monday, 28 February, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I WAS a student of Andrew. And I want Andrew AND those students that supported him in his abuse of me and others, to take responsibility for THEIR actions. Please don't delete this post a second time.

Monday, 28 February, 2005  
Blogger Daeneon said...

I was wondering if the senior students, were going to comment on the abuse, that was said that you and Andrew had put on other students, and what you have learned from taking orders from someone, that you might have felt was wrong? What have you learned from not listening to that small voice that always tells you what the correct thing to do? I remember Andrew always said,"Always in all given situations, do the correct thing".

Monday, 28 February, 2005  

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