Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Truth Will Set You Free

Introduction

In June of last year, the editors of this blog were contacted by Yonatan Levy, a contributor to the Israeli online journal
NRG-Ma’ariv, for an article he intended to produce on Andrew Cohen and Cohen’s organization, EnlightenNext. Levy had sought an interview with Cohen himself, specifically in order to seek a balanced perspective on the allegations against Cohen previously published on this blog. While the interview he’d requested was never granted, Levy did receive from EnlightenNext’s “Communications Director,” Amy Edelstein, a series of official written responses to questions he had submitted in advance of the proposed interview. He also received an intimidating letter from Cohen’s lawyer, dated the same day, advising him of NRG-Ma’ariv’s potential legal liability in the event of the article’s publication. These documents are available here:

Under the circumstances, NRG-Ma’ariv’s legal department encouraged Levy to seek firsthand confirmation of any allegations against Cohen or EnlightenNext that he intended to outline in his article. It was for this reason that Levy contacted us with the answers he’d received from Edelstein—in which she declared that most of the information published by former students of Cohen on this site is simply false.

Almost a year later, Levy’s article has still not seen the light of day, and it now appears that it may never be published. However, EnlightenNext’s responses to Levy’s questions represent an historic event of sorts, as they constitute its first official denial of the events described on this blog. Although previously Cohen and his defenders had publicly taken refuge in the notion that the incidents reported here have been taken “out of context” by “a few disgruntled former students,” they have never—until now—gone on the record with official declarations that the reported incidents never actually took place.

Although it seems clear from the correspondence reproduced above that EnlightenNext’s representatives believed coordinated legal intimidation would be sufficient to keep their denials below the public radar,
What Enlightenment??! has decided—in the interests of a free, transparent and open exchange—to publish them here. Doing so will accomplish two objectives. First, it will give EnlightenNext a platform from which to “go public” with its reportedly common response to the queries it receives from current and potential students about the contents of this blog, i.e., that they are mere fabrications. Secondly, it will give former students who have direct experience of the reported incidents an opportunity to respond specifically to EnlightenNext’s denials.

It is worth reiterating that the publication of these documents represents an historic moment in the public dialog that this blog was created to facilitate but could never fully accomplish without the full participation of both sides. This is why we have decided, at least for a limited period, to re-open it. It is our sincere hope that potential responses, from current and former students alike, can now begin to focus specifically on the
truth and accuracy of our recollections, as it is only by these means that we can arrive at any meaningful reconciliation—or, in Andrew Cohen’s well-chosen words, “come together in the truth.”


Searching for the truth about Andrew Cohen:
A journalist's odyssey

My name is Yonatan Levy. For the last few years I’ve been a writer and editor for the spirituality section of NRG-Ma’ariv, a major Israeli media site. Nine years ago I attended a weekend intensive led by Andrew Cohen in Israel. It was my first encounter with a living spiritual teacher and my impression was positive. I was impressed by Cohen’s simple and clear meditation instructions and by his powerful personality. Soon afterward, I attended a meeting of a group of his followers, but found the atmosphere awkward and unnatural. Yet I still found the rhetoric of Cohen’s writings moving and inspiring. I was thus surprised and bewildered to discover dozens of accounts in the What Enlightenment??! blog depicting Cohen as a capricious, dishonest tyrant—especially in light of his emphasis on ethics and integrity as a crucial aspect of true spiritual evolution.

Before Cohen’s next visit to Israel, I asked to interview him, with the intention of asking about the allegations. In response, I was told that the interview would be granted on the condition that I would not ask about anything in the WE??! blog, because Cohen had not yet responded publicly to the issue as a whole, and was planning to do so on his own blog; after this, I was assured, I could ask about anything I wanted to. I was willing to wait, but all of my interview requests following Cohen’s post (“A Declaration of Integrity”) were declined. Finally, I decided to write the article without an interview. Yet I did send Cohen a list of questions concerning the issues and accounts that had been presented by the What Enlightenment??! blog, adding that if the allegations proved untrue I would call the article off.

The answers to my questions, formulated by Amy Edelstein, perhaps with the aid of Attorney Barry Fischer, are the first detailed public response by Andrew Cohen’s organization, EnlightenNext, to the accounts of Cohen’s ex-followers. Some of the answers use juridical language, taking advantage of inaccuracies in the phrasing of the questions to evade the matter. Others seem to be blatantly counterfactual, or are so easily refuted that there is little doubt they were primarily given in order to convince me not to write the article—which ultimately did not appear on NRG-Ma’ariv for fear of a long and costly lawsuit.

As part of my research, I sought reactions and statements of verification from former contributors to the WE??! blog, whose accounts of abuse on Cohen’s part had raised the issue in the first place. Some of these appear below. In several cases, I was able to speak with individuals directly involved in incidents described on the blog, who also confirmed the accuracy of accounts that have been denied or disputed by EnlightenNext.

Here then (above), for the benefit and judgment of those who are interested in Andrew Cohen’s standards of integrity, openness, honesty and “soul strength,” are the questions I asked and the answers I received from his organization, EnlightenNext.

Yonatan Levy ~ Tel Aviv, Israel

*******************************************************************

Selected responses to EnlightenNext's statements

from former students of Andrew Cohen:

Student #1 Student #2 Student #3 Student #4


To view readers' comments or to post one, click on the "comments" link below:


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63 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

so far i have been a quiet reader of this blog. i was involved with andrew in the early 90s, but only for a couple of years and never in the inner circle. but since i read this latest post a few days ago, i simply have to react here. because i have been in shock and i am still trying to digest what has been revealed here. the denial of all accusations seems to mark a new development, and i can only hope this is not the new general strategy of dealing with accusations by ex-students. there used to be a saying in the community, "the truth will always reveal itself". everyone reading this blog can be deemed objective enough to always try and see both sides of the story. of course context will always be missing, to some extent. but now denying all these accusations flat out, and among them things that can be proven like the "gag-order", this becomes terrifying and wanders off into the legalese territory best left to ... well... lawyers, not seekers for truth. - jan

Tuesday, 28 April, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous poster – I am shocked by what has been revealed here, and the implications of what it must mean is happening within EnlightenNext. The denials, the “technical truths” that deflect responsibility, can only point to a blatant intention to deceive. Something I thought I would NEVER see from Andrew, given his whole platform is one of profound integrity and profound willingness to take responsibility. One can’t help but wonder where that has gone? Now, not just for him, but for everyone around him as well. Amy, executive assistant and member of the Board, has no problem with lying for / with her teacher? Andrew, staunch proponent of integrity, has no problem with his students letting their teacher lie? Has importance of image trumped importance of truth? I can’t see how can ANYONE associated with Andrew – past or present – can reconcile what is revealed in this interview with the very foundation of what the Teachings are supposed to be about.

Wednesday, 29 April, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this whole story has just been published in a major site in israel:
http://www.nrg.co.il/online/55/ART1/886/469.html
about how cohen is now suspect of lying bluntly.

Tuesday, 05 May, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a very rough "Google" English translation of this Ma'ariv article posted today and mentioned above can be found here

Tuesday, 05 May, 2009  
Anonymous Asaf said...

to the last anonymous - I wouldn't even call it "rough", I'd call it "gibberish". Using Google to translate anything is kind of waist of time.
I read the document of "student # 1", I am not intimately familiar with the Andrew Cohen circle and story (just have heard in the past in a very general way about that "teacher"'s great deeds and adventures and unique educational techniques), and well - I must say that I am surprised by that ex-student's still refering to Cohen's peculiar mental state as "enlightenment" (by the way, personally I dislike this term, in which I perceive a sense of ridiculously childish absolutism). It almost makes me sad to see how Cohen - whom I perceive, after reading all these terrible accounts, as a highly intelligent, charismatic, sadistic psychopath - has managed, through this intellect and magnetic charisma and powerful use of words, to instill in his students such powerful conditioning to the extent that a lot of it remains even long after they leave in dismay (to the extent that they still refer to him as "enlightened"). It is time to quit the use of this ridiculous term. Certainly in this case: clearly not a case of one liberated from his "ego", but rather, clear as sun, a megalomaniac totally blinded by his ego to the sufferings of others around him, absolutely devoid of that sensitivity that so typifies true enlightened teachings - that of the Buddha for example - called "empathy", or "compassion"; that human ability to feel the pain of other creatures beside yourself and hence to avoid hurting and attacking them in such abhorrent ways - oh sure, I believe it was done out of compassion, so as "to liberate". from ignorance, sure. Well, the way Cohen thought of women, and treated them - in order to liberate them, of course - kind of brought Nazism to my mind. As I was reading the account of how Cohen perceived women - as damned creatures who stand in the way of enlightenment (their only chance is to receive a brutal re-indoctrination to erase their womanhood) - intutively I perceived a connection between how Hitler saw Jews and how Cohen sees women. The mere connection is, "hate". Their both perceptions are deeply mired by hate. It is very clear. I read about the book of Cohen's mother relating to how her son treated her, maybe my memory misleads me but I now recall that - I think - the term "hitler" was even used by her in relation to her son. Like many other psychopaths (and by the way, a larger-than-life charisma is common to many of them - check the Manson case and many others) - the problem begins with profound, basic hatred to mummy. And from there they continue to hate women (many of them, to mass-murder women). It is only amusing that at least one sample of these guys, is calling himself "enlightened". And it is only sad that so many people believe this foolishness, to the extent that they agreed to degrade themselves and their integrity so much, and in the process, to help this great guru to do so well over the years and get so rich (mainly by having them give him all their possessions). "Enlightenment" - come on!

Wednesday, 06 May, 2009  
Blogger Stuart said...

Asaf said...
I am surprised by that ex-student's still refering to Cohen's peculiar mental state as "enlightenment" ... powerful conditioning ... remains ... (to the extent that they still refer to him as "enlightened").I quickly read what "Student #1" wrote, I and didn't see her referring to Andrew as "enlightened."

Student #1 DID say that Andrew had "enlightenment experiences." This is a key distinction. Many many people have big, powerful, profound, temporary experiences. They can have a lasting effect, for good or for ill, depending upon how we interpret and use the experience after the fact, as we continue in ordinary life.

True, we might communicate better if we found a different word for these experiences than "enlightenment," perhaps just calling them "Big Special Experiences" or whatever.

But more important than what name we use... is the recognition that big experiences come and go, and don't make someone a Higher Perfect Being who ought to befollowed blindly. I've got no reason to doubt that Student #1 already understands this.

Stuarthttp://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 06 May, 2009  
Blogger Yve said...

These answers are lies. I can’t attest to every one of them being lies, but enough of them to make the others questionable too. I was with Andrew 15 years, and like many other people, could give many personal examples that would only add weight to the examples the 4 students have given. Rather than go on ad finitum with more proof of these answers being lies, I’d rather simply add my weight to what has already been said by Susan, Mimi, Stas and Simeon, and instead, reflect on a couple of others things that this new low in Andrew and his community seems to reveal.

Andrew has consistently berated those of us who were his students who have left, as losers, as rabid destroyers of truth trying to tear him down, as betrayers… Most if not all over time have written to Andrew, asking clarification of things that don’t make sense, illustrating inconsistencies and hypocrisies and in some cases, accusing him of harm. There have been COUNTLESS opportunities for Andrew to question some of his actions, to consider harm these actions may have caused, to ask why so many of his students who were with him from the beginning and had given EVERYTHING have up and left. How many long timers are still with him? The depth of knowledge, commitment, sincerity and integrity that has left Foxhollow (and other centers) has still not been enough for Andrew to question. Students still with him are willing to say mistakes have been made, but why isn’t he? As Susan so clearly says, this would mean questioning everything and he’s unwilling to do that.

Andrew’s unwillingness to address anything that has been bought to his attention by students in the community and outside of the community has forced a stalemate. If when this blog started, Andrew had simply been willing to say some version of: “I made mistakes. I caused harm. I’m sorry,” this may very well have all been over a long time ago. His unwillingness to do that has taken him into an increasing downward spiral to the point where there are now blatant lies being made by him and his students that are so ridiculous that it’s almost beyond comprehension.

This post is also a plea. It’s a plea to my friends still there. Please read what your friends have said closely. We’re not pathetic losers, we’ve moved on with our lives, successful, loving, caring human beings who are VERY happy not to be involved with Andrew anymore. This is Susan, this is Mimi, this is Stas, this is Simeon, and this is Yve. You know all of our tics and shortcomings but you also know our strengths and the depth of our love for the truth. I am asking you to let some of this in and start to question in a way that you’re not allowed to question in the community. Amy…I know you inside and out. How can you sign your name to this garbage? I know how much you love the dharma, and this does not reconcile. You, like me, like Susan, and Mimi, have lived through so much of this that you’re denying or lying about.

It’s really hard to write this. I have never denied that being with Andrew made me a better person. I have had to see since leaving though that there were big gaps in that learning. It takes a lot not to deny what you have learnt with Andrew, and also be willing to see how much more you need to learn away from him.

Thank you to Yonatan Levy for pursuing this, to Susan, Mimi, Stas and Simeon for your willingness to speak up and to the blog editors for opening up the blog again, giving many of us the chance to speak out. It is very important that new folks to Andrew and those still in the community see all of this and make their own minds up. Thank you.

Yve

Friday, 08 May, 2009  
Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

Andrew Cohen said: “Face everything and avoid nothing.”

So why can’t he acknowledge the truth? It’s because his ideals seem so noble that he believes others can be slapped around in order to implement his ideals. Questioning himself feels like questioning his ideals, which he equates with God. He believes his actions are implementing the creative evolutionary side of God’s will. After all, how can you question God’s will?

Why can’t his disciples acknowledge the truth? They projected their ideals onto AC and so they fell in love with him, which is the same as falling in love with themselves. That’s where Andrew gets his power. He reflects people’s ideals back to them, tells them that their ideals are divine, and implies that he embodies those ideals, so they fall in love with him. Any attempt to leave Cohen is interpreted as sacrificing your own ideals, sacrificing everything great that you believe in, and denying God, Reality, and the meaning of life.

What would it take for Andrew to face everything and avoid nothing? Trust in life at large, not just trusting ideals.

What would it take for his disciples to face everything and avoid nothing? Trust in life at large, not just trusting ideals.

Cohen’s disciples do not need him or ideals to hold them up. Andrew Cohen does not need ideals, lies, and disciples to hold himself up. God doesn’t need Andrew Cohen or his organisation to hold She/Him/It up.

Regarding enlightenment, I think experiences and states are perfectly valid and real. The problem comes when we interpret those experiences and states. In Cohen’s case, he interpreted his experiences and states immediately as divinity and he also concluded that is old idealism was part of that divinity.

Real enlightenment would mean the confronting end of previous ideas and reference points.

Saturday, 09 May, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is also a call to throw down the gauntlet and issue a challenge to Ken Wilber, who has continued to associate himself with Andrew Cohen, most noteably in the Guru and Pandit interviews that have been published in most of the recent issues of Andrews What Is Enlightenment? magazine.

Today, the magazine has turned into a house organ for Mr Wilber's ever changing ideology.

And Wilber published his infamous Rude Boy Guru essay, which is a sick paen to abuse--something Wilber never submitted to from any of the troubled gurus whom he has successively endorsed over the years.

If Andrew Cohen treated one single dog the way he has reportedly treated many of his disciples over the years, he would have been run out of Lenox in disgrace and been jailed for cruelty to animals.

But apparently, in the name of spiritual kink, any kind of cruelty can be perpetrated upon human beings, if it can be rationalized as good for the soul.

Ugh.

Saturday, 09 May, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you to Hal and the owners of this blog for this post. One quick comment:

- Is there any way that Yonatan Levy can post an English translation of his article? I would like to read it, and I'm sure other readers of this blog would like that as well.

In a word, I find this most recent post shocking. I was a member of the community for a few years but never a member of the inner circle. Nonetheless, I was profoundly affected by my time with Andrew and the community, and since I left, I have struggled to make sense of all of it. On one hand, it is impossible for me to deny the intense camaraderie I shared with others and periods of deep insight that I felt while with the community. On the other hand, I have never able to fully resolve the undercurrent of fear and hostility that I felt was present. I have read this blog with great interest since it's inception, and while I think at times it's been a bit over the top, it's helped me immensely to sort out my own feelings.

Up until now, I have still struggled with the question of whether or not I was trying to find a reason to criticize the community and Andrew because of my own failure to "live up to the teachings." I really and truly did not know. This blog has helped coax out my own feelings of anger and outrage I feel, not only at how others were treated in the community, but at Andrew's response to the accusations.

These latest developments leave little doubt in my mind. I find it mind boggling that a teacher of the truth and his students would willfully lie about what occurred, and denounce those telling the truth as "losers" or "failures." I expect these actions from the worst members of the Bush administration, not from spiritual seekers. It is even more mind boggling because I know members of Andrew's community are truly people of integrity with great passion to always do the right thing. The only way I can make sense of it is perhaps they feel like there is too much to lose by facing the truth of these accusations.

I take no pleasure in seeing the downfall of Andrew and his community, but at the same time, I find myself really angry at the way he and others in his community have treated people. This is not enlightened action in any sense of the word, and too many have been hurt and damaged in very real ways.

Sunday, 10 May, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn’t saying something didn’t happen when it did a lie? Isn’t that very different from saying context is lacking from a description of specific events? Is EnlightenNext really an organization built on a foundation of integrity and, as it teaches, “being personally responsible for all their actions” or is it more interested in image and getting donations. This is very disappointing!!

Sunday, 10 May, 2009  
Blogger the Editors said...

Editor's note:
To the previous commenter, Yonatan Levy did not write the article mentioned or linked to here in the comments section. This article was created by Tomer Persico for his blog, and appeared subsequent to Mr. Levy's article on WhatEnlightenment?!! It was then also published by NRG Ma'ariv .

Mr. Persico can be reached at:
tomerpersico@yahoo.com

Sunday, 10 May, 2009  
Anonymous Anne said...

Dear Andrew

It is with a great sense of dismay and disbelief that I read Amy’s (your) responses (and the accompanying legal letter) to YL. To be honest, I’m completely devastated. Most of what is written there is patently untrue. It’s intentionally misleading and gives a very false picture of the reality of life as a student in your organization. It seems such a betrayal of the facts of so many students’ experience, your own integrity as a teacher and of the Truth itself.

Anne

Tuesday, 12 May, 2009  
Anonymous Dragan said...

Greetings to all and thank you for re-opening. My, my, what a total narcissistic nutter Andrew is! And to think I loved him... Stas, my friend, god bless you for talking so openly about your involvement with the maniac - sanity wins! Like so many of you here, I wondered a lot, how can people live under this psychopath's shadow? Live for years! But then psychopaths have always ruled this world, we lived under them for millenia.

There is a saying, wherever God builds his church, the Devil puts his chapel next to it. In my humble opinion, Andrew and his entorage of so-called evolutionaries, whatever they say, whatever they imagine, are all in the Devil's chapel! Big hug to all friends,

Dragan
sol@solray.info

Sunday, 17 May, 2009  
Blogger the Editors said...

We have been sent an English translation of Tomer's published blog article referred to here earlier by commenters.
The link to view it is below:

Tomer's article/english

Friday, 22 May, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew lied. It is that simple. He has become the very type of hypocritical teacher he used to go after with such zealousness.

How sad. He has stripped himself, his students and his teachings of all credibility, and has cast a pall even on all of us who left him long ago.

Monday, 25 May, 2009  
Blogger Maverick Peter said...

This letter was sent to Andrew at his London Centre during his recent visit:

Dear Andrew

Why this denial of the Truth? I could have respected, although I would have disagreed with, you if you'd stated that everything that was done was for the sake of the evolution of your students. But you are denying facts (and worse, asking one of your students to lie on your behalf) that both you and I know to be true.

I feel deep outrage and sorrow at your betrayal of your own integrity. I am surprised at the pain I feel - I thought I'd moved on. But you have damaged the foundation of all that you should be standing for, and I discovered that this is still a foundation of my life, and you have undermined that irrevocably.
That is unforgivable.

Peter M

Saturday, 30 May, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would Ken Wilbur in any way disassociate himself with Andrew when he fundamentally agrees with him? Do those of you who remember the men’s sauna with all the posted letters and humiliating caricature s of us forget about the enlarged (almost Floor to ceiling) Ken Wilbur letter where Ken himself called us (Andrew’s Formal Men) “whiney Babies”. I believe this letter was in response to a missive Andrew sent to Ken complaining about how hard his life was trying to get us to move in the right direction.

I remember thinking, how the hell does Ken Wilbur know anything about any of this, the sauna, the humiliating “spiritual practices”, how I was asked to make a “man” out of someone by taking them to the large meditation room and “rough them up” & the rest of it. I remember asking myself who is he to call me a “whiney baby”?

It must be nice to have your ivory tower conversations published but I wonder what Ken would think with his head coming out of Laurel Lake for the 999th time chanting “I only got one side of the story”.

Wednesday, 03 June, 2009  
Anonymous Joel in Atlanta said...

I just want to thank you for making this stuff known. I'm grateful for having received this clear-eyed view of the situation BEFORE possibly getting too into Cohen and his teachings. I am still pretty into Integral and Ken Wilber. At least in the case of KW the integrity of the ideas is the most important thing, whether Wilber has such a raging shadow and why he associates with Cohen and whether he knows about this stuff that's been going on in Cohen's community is beside the point, I suppose.

Anyway, it's probaby scary and risky, doing what you're doing, but it is a real service to people, and it is much appreciated. Ah, human beings.
Joel

Friday, 05 June, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember, following the first Montserrat retreat the Student members met with
Andrew (after waiting around for a couple of hours outside the
building – he was ‘busy’ with the Formal men – the Formal men left
looking decidedly browbeaten). It was my first exposure to private
Andrew – not contained or edited for public consumption. We crouched
or sat on the floor while he sat above us on the sofa. Someone asked
him what the difference between a student member and formal student
was. He said that we (the students) had made a commitment, but we
still had our lives, whereas the formal students had given him their
lives – they belonged to him. I remember being quite shocked at his
bluntness, but thinking “wow, how amazing to make such a commitment to
Andrew – to give him your life!”

A couple of years later Andrew (again in private) talked about being
the second face of God before whom we had to submit if we were ever to
overcome our egos. The ego will only submit to God and for our purposes
he was God. (He’s never been known for his modesty).

From Amy’s response:
“Q: Did Andrew ever emphasize the need to absolutely surrender to him?
A: No.”

If Amy is willing to lie about something that is so absolutely central
to Andrew’s relationship with his students – can we believe anything
else she says? And of course, nothing in Andrew’s world happens
without Andrew’s say-so, we know he approved Amy’s message before it
was sent. Integrity?

I've felt ambivalent much of the time about some of Andrew's "techniques". Sometimes you gotta be tough. Within the community people are occasionally honest about what happened in the past. I remember a conversation with a couple of people who had been in California with Andrew. They were quite clear that there were abuses, but of course Andrew wasn't to blame - if his students hadn't been so immature and difficult... Andrew's silence down through the years was one thing, but now blatant lies. Integrity?

Friday, 05 June, 2009  
Anonymous Rose Shapiro said...

I too am horrified by what I have read here and can't understand why Ken continues to associate with Andrew.
However to me, anyone who doesn't have the courage to sign his name to a post deserves to be called a "whiney baby." Rose

Saturday, 06 June, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given the reports of cruelty and how one departing disciple was tracked via rental car records to her out of state location by Andrews lackeys and persuaded to return, and how Stas reported getting creepy e-mails from Andrew after Stas departure and how Andrew had tried to upset Stas own adolescent daughter, many persons deserve to PROTECT themselves from further abuse by utilizing anonymity.

Using anonymity in relation to Andrew and his vicious crowd of enablers is wisdom, not weakness.

If anyone wants to see a whiney baby in action, read Ken Wilber's verbal spew--the infamous Wyatt Earpy tirade of 2006

And...one wonders if Kenny knows a copy of his letter adorned the wall of the Foxhollow Gitmo sauna and...whether Ken LIKES IT that he is part of this fiesta of BDSM.

At least Michel Foucault, unlike Ken, went himself to the public baths and put his own body on the line. Ken, unlike Andrews much abused students, keeps a safe distance.
(quote) Do those of you who remember the men’s sauna with all the posted letters and humiliating caricature s of us forget about the enlarged (almost Floor to ceiling) Ken Wilbur letter where Ken himself called us (Andrew’s Formal Men) “whiney Babies”.(unquote)

If Ken had intregity hed go get himself whipped bloody by the gurus whose cruelty he celebrates. Then Ken would speak from embodied experience for a change.

Monday, 08 June, 2009  
Anonymous Carlos B said...

Well, it's a problem with anyone who thinks they have the truth. The guru lead community, be it political or supposedly spiritual, will always be abusive, particularly when the community is the source of the guru's income. We need to become our own students, learn how to learn from life.

I'm distressed by how many former followers of Cohen still talk about the spiritual benefits of their time with him. Of course it was a learning experience but how enlightened could you have been if you didn't recognise and react to basic abuse? I don't want to attack those people - the pressures of a cult are indeed very great - but continuing to give Cohen credit isn't helping them to break free.

There's a video on Youtube I'm sure most people know where Cohen interviews three gurus and they all whine about the pressures their devotees put on them. The comments are uniformly self-pitying and derogatory about their followers. It's absolutely pathetic and more confirmation that there's nobody out there that can do it for you.

Cohen talks about 'exceptional individuals' emerging from various traditions to lead the 'evolutionary process.' Well, who are they? Ken Wilbur? Continue your own spiritual practise with those who support and love you. I think that's all any of us can do.

Tuesday, 09 June, 2009  
Anonymous “Whiney Baby” anonymous poster. said...

Dearest Rose Shapiro (If that’s your real name),

What I appreciate most about this blog is that it is attempting to force due diligence on an immeasurably delicate and volatile circumstance. Namely, what does it mean to be a close student of Andrew Cohen one of the most extraordinary men you will ever encounter. The same holds true for Ken Wilbur – an extraordinary man and strong proponent of Andrew’s teaching.

I am willing to concede that not all the described methods used by Andrew were entirely unwarranted. We are talking about emancipation from the karmic wheel of suffering which remains one of the most daunting challenges any human being can undertake. The ego/my ego is one tough, nasty, deeply entrenched, dark son of a bitch potentially requiring shocking means to be brought to into the light of day necessary for its demise.

However, in my opinion a great deal of what is described in this blog, what I participated in, and what I witnessed should of never have happened.

If I had access to this information prior to joining the community I would have made a very different decision than the one I made. I entered the situation with Andrew because when I met him my heart was blown wide open and I tasted the extraordinary grace of liberation.

The party line in the community, fueled by the teacher, is that that overwhelming experience of emancipation, and in fact emancipation itself, is the result of meeting Andrew. You are encouraged to believe that this is the debt that can never be repaid and your bottomless outstanding balance is owed to Andrew. If you do not completely commit your life to this ideal liberation will never be yours.

At the base level what I/we are saying in this blog is that these things happened and this is how the situation was, and potentially still is. - Buyers beware.

I don’t know why there is such a delta between the answers provided by Amy Edelstein and the actuality of my experience and by all accounts those of others and not just a few trying to “bring Andrew down” (whatever that means). Even though I have my strong, and what I consider to be well informed opinions ultimately in such matters I have to ask: Who I am I? I am no great Spiritual Teacher. I don’t have the first idea how to liberate another human being. However, I do believe it’s most important that people know what they are getting themselves into in such a significant matter.

I realize that my first missive was a bit terse and confrontational. But I was genuinely, and I believe justifiably angry when I read Amy Edelstein’s responses to those questions. I am a human being like any other trying to make sense of my life and the decisions I made. Amy Edelstein’s answers were quite disrespectful to me in that regard.

As to my decision to remain “Anonymous”:

I realize that an anonymous posting on a blog is intrinsically suspect and devoid of accountability. I am relying on its content to validate its authenticity. Anyone that was in Andrew’s community can corroborate what is written here. As it has been a fair few years since I have endeavored to participate in such matters I don’t wish to become embroiled in the finger pointing, name calling or “boxing in” of all involved. I especially remain somewhat weary of being accused of things, accused of being a “whiney baby“inclusive. Thus I wish to remain anonymous.

Rose, you could have simply asked why I chose to remain anonymous but you chose to label me with no consideration or interest in why I made my choice. The very reason I choose to remain anonymous in the first place. It looks like you and Andrew have some things in common.

Wednesday, 10 June, 2009  
Anonymous Sol Ray (sol@solray.info) said...

Previous comment says "Then Ken would speak from embodied experience for a change." Right on! Ken Wilber does not strike me as an 'experiencer', he seems more of an 'understanding orientated man'. He and AC seem to be two sides of a same coin though, complementing each other nicely, back to back, never having to really face each other. However, anyone, especially any so-called spiritual authoritiy, who knows about AC's psychotic cruel megalomania and still supports him is not worth a dime! Dragan

Wednesday, 10 June, 2009  
Anonymous Carlos B said...

I'm interested to know what the anonymous poster who describes Cohen as an 'one of the most extraordinary men you will encounter' means. Is Cohen a good man? He's accused of extorting money, mysogyny and committing gross emotional and physical abuse.

I have never met Cohen but from watching his videos he strikes me as being clever and manipulative but hardly extraordinary.

Wednesday, 10 June, 2009  
Blogger Stuart said...

Anonymous said...
> Why would Ken Wilbur in any way
> disassociate himself with Andrew
> when he fundamentally agrees
> with him?

Here's my understanding of Wilber's teachings, as they relate to Cohen. I'm happy to hear from anyone who disagrees with my assessment.

Many traditions say that we're all metaphorically like a box of animal crackers. We each have different forms (elephant, tiger, etc), but our substance (the dough) is the same. From this viewpoint, we can recognize that individuals may differ in many respects (strength, attractiveness, intelligence, etc)... yet there's always a fundamental perspective of equality.

Wilber's teaching, on the other hand, always holds the concept of "altitude." That means that on a basic, fundamental level, some of us are more "developed" (or "evolved") than others. In the most important sense, this teaching does not see equality.

Wilber's teaching thus has appeal to anyone who sees himself as superior to the masses. Or similarly, to anyone who desires to eventually gain the "altitude" to be superior to others. If this belief in (or hope for) superiority is to be maintained, it's vital to cultivate ideas of higher/lower development, and equally vital to avoid the perspective of equality.

From this understanding, it becomes clear why Wilber has always sought support from authoritarian types like Adi Da and Cohen. Wilber and Cohen can reinforce in each other this vital belief in their superiority.

Remember when Cohen, in his blog, claimed that there were successes and failures in "spirituality," and that he and his believers were the most successful... like "the navy seals" of the realm? Isn't it easy to see that if one desperately wants to believe in such one-upmanship, the rest of the belief-system must be upheld, no matter how much it contradicts logic and experience?

Stuart

Wednesday, 10 June, 2009  
Blogger George said...

People keep asking why do people stay with Andrew? There’s the cultic aspect – the pressure of the guru, of the community, of the need to justify to yourself that the depth of your commitment isn’t just because you’re a fool.
But there is the undeniable fact that most people who become Andrew’s students do so because around him they have overwhelmingly powerful experiences that they interpret: 1. as spiritual experiences that might lead to enlightenment; and 2. most importantly, as being catalyzed by Andrew. No matter how much lip service everyone gives to being committed to the “teaching”, to the cause of Evolutionary Enlightenment, the truth is they’ve had powerful experiences and always want more. Whether or not Andrew is the catalyst and whether those experiences are genuinely spiritual in nature, I’m not going to touch on here. But the fact is just about everyone around him has those experiences.

One of the curious things about Andrew is that he simultaneously exerts constant pressure on those around him, pressure that seems to precipitate those experiences, and then constantly imposes discipline and control to prevent those experiences (individual and collective) from empowering his students and overpowering him.

In the year or so leading up to “Declaration Day” (Nov 20, 2005) – the student body around the world had a series of powerful collective experiences (again, I’m not going to speculate about the true nature of those experiences) that seemed to those involved (including me) to be overwhelming, ecstatic, truly collective and transformative. They seemed to be precipitated – not by Andrew – but by the collective intention and practice of the student body, particularly through the practice of Enlightened Communication (developed not by Andrew but by Chris Parrish). People craved more and more. Andrew stopped the practice of public enlightened communication and initiated a period of organizational change that kept people so busy and off-balance that the power of the collective experience could be controlled by Andrew and his senior students. Andrew’s drive to “stabilize” those experiences seems more to be a drive to retain control.

The experiences of the student body simultaneously fulfilled Andrew’s stated goals and threatened to undermine his control. If his teaching actually did produce enlightened autonomous human beings, the guru’s days were numbered, he’d be just one enlightened dude amongst many (and a not very pleasant one at that). It’s one of the curiosities that as the possibility of actual enlightenment seemed to open up to his students Andrew shifted the emphasis decisively away from an enlightenment teaching to saving the world through evolutionary enlightenment. His students are ALWAYS busy, what they’re busy with is ALWAYS changing. They’re ALWAYS undermined, ALWAYS off-balance, ALWAYS susceptible to control. But periodically you have these awesome, profound, ecstatic experiences - and they just keep you coming back for more.

Friday, 12 June, 2009  
Anonymous Carlos B said...

George - a great post, really thoughtful and thought provoking. I'm really interested to know though what you mean by an enlightened autonomous individual. You describe how Cohen changed the practise of the group when it seemed it might be about to produce numerous enlightened individuals and deprive him of his guru status. I'm not sure whether you're saying a number of people were actually about to achieve enlightenment or whether this was just how Cohen saw it.

By my own definition Cohen is a zillion miles from enlightenment whatever ecstatic experiences he's had. Surely the bedrock of enlightenment is the capacity to work for the well being of the community even when it conflicts with your own immediate desires.

I think the discussion about whether or not the experiences you were having with Cohen were enlightening or not is the core issue here. What do you think?

Saturday, 13 June, 2009  
Anonymous Simon said...

I am shocked and disgusted by the contrast between Amy/Andrew's responses to Yonatan Levy's questions and the obviously painfully candid, and to my mind, non vindictive statements of Simeon, Mav, Mimi and Susan. I knew all these guys. Their dedication and heart is tremendous. Just to have stayed in that fire as long as they did....

Andrew attracted many amazing and talented people to him. He is certainly able to give people powerful 'spiritual experiences' and the battering of our self importance is at, at least to begin with, a valuable experience.

Andrew is not the only controversial figure who inspired devotion and communicated spiritual power, but left a load of casualties. Da Free John and his later incarnations would seem an example. Osho, perhaps?

I was aware to only some extent of what went on around Andrew behind closed doors, but I sensed there was something wrong from the strange cultish behaviour that went on.

The problem for Andrew's students is that they draw the conclusion: 'I had these amazing experiences with Andrew, therefore he must be a perfect Master and if I leave, I am a failure and traitor to him and myself'

I was lucky enough to spend time with Ajja and Vimalaji which disavowed me of this illusion. Their spiritual greatness gave me some sort of yardstick, as far as I am able to understand from an 'unenlightended' point of view. Vimalaji questioned the value of my devotion to Andrew, and I believe, tacitly encouraged me to leave him. I am told by dear friends of Ajja, that he did not accept Andrew as a trully enlightened being.

Andrew has the power to make life Heaven or Hell for those around him, and as people have said, it wasn't all bad. But from my own experience and the testimony of Mav, Simeon, Susan and Mimi there appears to be appears to be, God forbid, an EGO TRIP going on.

I feel very concerned for Andrew's students.

Simon

sim_moore@hotmail.com

Sunday, 14 June, 2009  
Anonymous Carlos B said...

I'm interested to get reactions here to this article:

Mata Amritanandamayi

It seems to me to be the perfect justification for Cohen's behaviour - particularly later in the article where she talks about the need to discipline her followers and the requirement of absolute obedience to the guru. The woman is regarded as a saint but if you can't communicate your ideas without punishment and you require obedience just how saintly are you?

Monday, 15 June, 2009  
Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

TO CARLOS:

“Gurus” can be part of life too. But I think anyone who calls themselves a guru is probably dodgy because of the known baggage people have around it. Traditionally, gurus were supposed to be stand-ins for God! So why would someone call themselves a guru?

Yes, of course, someone foolish enough to join a cult must have a lot to learn, and it’s no surprise that they do learn something, or think they have.

Do you have a link to the video of gurus being self-pitying and derogatory about their followers? That. Is. Hilarious!

Well, Andrew thinks he and Ken are “exceptional individuals”. He never really examined that assumption. From the beginning he thought he was great.

TO “WHINEY BABY” ANONYMOUS POSTER:

Yes, Cohen is extraordinary. Anyone who has absolute faith in themselves or blind terror of reality will be extraordinary in some sense because their motivations are so compelling and unquestioned. Smart people question themselves and don’t do much, while dumb people just confidently act on their own unquestioned assumptions. But it helps to have hundreds of people serving you in every way! I could do amazing things if I had the kind of help Andrew Cohen gets. But there is no way I would accept someone giving their life to me like that. It really takes shocking arrogance or blindness to let others give their life to you. He even says there is no valid reason to leave him even if you get enlightened! And look at his blog: he lets others fawn and gush over him repeatedly, yet deletes comments that critique him. That’s indicative of a very fragile ego and distrust in Life.

IMO, your comments about ego and the dramatic goal of emancipation from the karmic wheel are illusions from Cohen’s playbook. They are also form Society’s playbook and Religion’s playbook. It’s designed to tie us up. It sets us up for shadow boxing and is absolutely a illusion. In the beginning there was only God, so whatever came after that must be good. The ego is good because it protects life. And there is nothing evil in God's universe. We only need to develop knowledge about how life optimally works so that we stop hurting each other.

Yes, it takes time to learn about the games Cohen is involved in. We are blinded by some so-called “spiritual” experience or ideal.

Yes, he seems to think everyone owes him, when in reality he owes everyone!

IMO, it’s best if everyone stops being “anonymous” and starts identifying themselves because it makes the posts more believable. But everyone is in a different place within the process, I guess.

TO STUART:

I agree with the fundamental premise of equality, but I also believe in evolution. However, an evolved person is not superior to anyone else. They are where they are due to the luck of having good genes, a good situation, etc. Also, a truly evolved person should have an evolved understanding and skill in helping others evolve quickly and painlessly.

I think Cohen is skilled at having spiritual experiences but he is intellectually and emotionally deficient. Wilber is good intellectually, but is spiritually and emotionally deficient. So Cohen supplies spirituality and Wilber supplies intellectuality, so they support each other in that regard. But both are emotionally deficient.

The mistake they both make is to think that superiority in one area means superiority over all others and that progress is due to heroism rather than luck. Even heroic tendencies are inborn from what I can tell.

Monday, 15 June, 2009  
Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

(Continued from previous comment)

TO GEORGE:

Yes, there are experiences, and then there is the interpretation of experiences. The experiences are always valid, and the interpretations are always invalid.

Here is the reason Cohen puts pressure on people:

His whole ego is built around ideals (his enneagram type is 1). And at every stage of his life he has looked for ideal father figures and for relief from his own self-critical ego. He wanted Papaji to be a perfect father and he told Papaji that he, Cohen, was Papaji’s perfect son! When Papaji rejected him, he freaked out and wrote a book complaining about Papaji and then tried to redefine enlightenment to make it fit his own ideals. So if he took the pressure off, he would have to go back through his life and see that he has always been on the run from imperfection and chasing good daddies and criticising bad daddies. If he took the pressure off, his whole control over himself others and life would unravel and he is terrified of that, terrified of the messy reality of Life At Large. The cult and the magazine and the property and the connections with likeminded gurus props his whole illusion up. He wouldn’t let go of any of that unless he was put under the same pressure he puts others under, and that isn’t going to happen. He is busy propping up his illusions rather than questioning them. Indeed, he tells people that his ideas are truth from God! And it’s funny that he received the typical easy blissy “liberation” from Papaji, and was a trust-fund baby, yet he says the way to reach his dizzying heights of liberation is to slave for him.

Ah, yes! Gurus would be out of business if people actually became liberated and it actually spread! They are invested in moving the goalposts to keep control. In the beginning, many people were having experiences with him but he didn’t like the fact that they, like Life, didn’t conform to his ideals. He should have kept going in the original way and played a numbers game. The more people that have so-called “spiritual” experiences the better. Slaving for ideals is just perpetuating illusion.

TO SIMON:

I think the trap is idealism. Cohen is just about the only guru out there that talks about both advaita and evolution towards an ideal world. He has the power to make life heaven or hell only because people are trapped by their own idealism, and they project their ideals onto him. So to leave him means leaving your own ideals.

The way the equation between your ideals and him arises is very pernicious. He and his disciples leave little clues and hints that Andrew Cohen = the embodiment of your most precious ideals, so you must obey him or else become an immoral loser who fails to live up to your own ideals. And you also slowly imbibe the idea that your ideals are the only good thing about you and that everything else about you is naughty ego and that you either align yourself with your good ideals (= Cohen’s orders) or you align with evil ego. It’s black or white, good guys vs bad guys, strong guys vs weak guys, etc. And once the equation is made between your ideals and Andrew Cohen, it is very confusing and confronting to leave. You feel you are giving up everything that matters, when in reality you are giving up Cohen and regaining Life At Large.

Yes, there is an ego trip going on with him. Have a look at the enneagram and it will become obvious. He is enneagram type 1 i.e. perfectionist/idealist. They fear imperfection and the messiness of Reality and so they try to control themselves, others, and the world.

Monday, 15 June, 2009  
Anonymous Carlos B said...

Martin - here's the link:

The 4 Gurus

It's great entertainment but also quite nauseating.

Tuesday, 16 June, 2009  
Anonymous Carlos B said...

Martin - also, I meant to say, in regard to my original comment about 'learning from life' - yes gurus are a part of life but I think the idea that there's someone out there who can teach us about our spirituality is profoundly mistaken. We have to teach ourselves in the same way a child teaches itself to walk. Of course the child needs help from those who love him/her but essentially the child learns for him/herself.

Tuesday, 16 June, 2009  
Anonymous Simon said...

Martin

Idealism does have alot to do with the fear of leaving Andrew or whoever. In addition, many people made big comittment to Andrew, in terms of leaving their family,friends and career. Of course this has been a traditional part of spiritual life. But it is more than this. The confusion lies with the mixture of profoundly positive experiences and the profoundly negative. This is, frankly bewildering.

Carlos, make no mistake, meeting a trully enlightened being is major catalyst for spiritual exploration. I suspect, only those who have had undergone this sacred and nourishing event can really understand this. It is experiential. There are many examples such as Vimala Thakar and Jiddu Krishnamurthi or Yogi Ram Surat Kumar and Papa Ramdas. Of course there are those that had spontaneous awakenings like Ramana and Ekharte Tolle.

I certainly would not have become interested in this inner journey without meeting some real Teachers. But yes mooning about following some half baked guru is best avoided :-)

Simon

Wednesday, 17 June, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew’s infamous “Declaration of Integrity” blog reads like a pathetic joke in light of his answers to Mr. Levy. He also states, in his new blog, that he is “living in a new world”. A world that obviously includes lying and deception. I feel this blog is a call to Andrew, more than to Ken or to those still with Andrew, to rise to the occasion and be a REAL teacher – show us how someone “living the teachings” would respond to making a mistake. You owe it to the Teachings Andrew. As you have told all of us over and over again, it is not what you do when things are going smoothly that counts, it is how you respond when you blow it that really matters. Are you willing to walk your talk? Somehow I don’t think avoidance and denial and white-washing is the way.

Thursday, 18 June, 2009  
Anonymous Carlos B said...

Simon, I don't discount the idea of experiences being a catalyst for spiritual exploration. What I do reject is the idea that someone, anyone, can teach you how to be spiritual. I haven't met any of the people you list so I can't comment on them in particular - I know some of them only by reputation.

Cohen's dichotomy - Ego/Authentic Self - is too cut and dried for my taste but even accepting it I think the idea we have to 'go beyond ego' is wrong. I think we have to bring our human aspects (Ego??) into harmony with our spiritual aspects (Authentic self?). To live with true integrity takes a real strength of character and building this is more important, imo, than ecstatic experiences.

I've been far more impressed by care workers who look after old people or nurses who work with the terminally ill for their capacity for compassion, refusal to judge and so on, than by the reincarnated Rinpoche Buddhist monk types who want their followers to prostrate themselves before images.

You can't teach someone how to be kind. It's just not possible. I don't believe we are here to transcend. That's like going to a place in order to leave. The idea of 'advanced beings,' the spiritual pecking order and so on fuels the kind of gross egotism we've read about here. I think we're here to experience and try to understand a form of consciousness and bring a bit of (human) warmth to what can be a very cold place.

Thursday, 18 June, 2009  
Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

TO CARLOS B:

Thanks for the link. OMG! I can’t believe these people are supposedly guiding others out of illusion. They are drowning in illusion themselves! But the most amazing thing is that they think they are martyrs for the sake of their disciples, yet their disciples support them in every way.

Nevertheless, I think others can and do help us in the quest for liberation. However, they will only make a difference if we have open ears, which would imply that we are already on the path in some way. In a way, that is Life helping us, so I don’t think that others should take credit for helping. That’s also why these gurus playing the martyr is really deluded. They just don’t understand how Life unfolds and is unfolding. They think it’s all about them and their discomfort.

Also, if they were actually competent as gurus, they would be enlightening others and those others could take over and ease the load. So they should blame themselves if they are suffering.

TO SIMON:

Yes, disciples make a huge commitment. Yes, the mix of positive and negative experiences is bewildering. The gurus should be clarifying all that and making it easy and fast. Yes, meeting “spiritual” people can help and that is normally needed, but, as I wrote to Carlos, I think that is part of life, not some heroic sacrifice on the part of the guru. If the guru is a real guru, then there’s no martyrdom.

Friday, 19 June, 2009  
Anonymous Carlos B said...

Martin:

Yes, The 4 Gurus, it's a great piece of theatre and could easily be the inspiration for a comic play. Hmm, now there's an idea.

I don't disagree at all with what you say about learning from people. Our encounters with others and the impact they have on us is a central part of all our lives. And sometimes those who cause us the most hurt help us to learn very important and formative lessons.

What I'm attacking is the idea behind the guru principle - that becoming spiritual is a didactic process dependent upon a rigid teacher-pupil relationship. I don't know a lot about the origins of the guru practice but I'd say it almost certainly originates from and belongs in early Indian culture and is in fact simply an outdated cultural practice and nothing more. I think I'll spend a bit of time investigating the history behind it. If this blog is still around in few months time I'll let you know what I find.

Sunday, 21 June, 2009  
Anonymous Lea M. said...

After reading the accounts of Mimi, Susan, Stas and Simeon I literally felt sick to my stomach. I do want to thank them all though for making the effort to reveal what really occurred. It is outrageous to read the lies that Amy (Amy, where is your conscience?!) wrote in her responses to the questions, no doubt directed by the lawyer and twisted to fit the warped image that Andrew seems to be adamant in putting forth. But what I find even more awful is the threats that were made toYonatan Levy through the lawyer’s letter when he was endeavoring to find out the truth. Whatever happened to “facing everything and avoiding nothing” Andrew and Amy?

There is something called “the spirit of the law” versus “the letter of the law”. It is defined as follows: The letter of the law versus the spirit of the law is an idiomatic antithesis. When one obeys the letter of the law but not the spirit, he is obeying the literal interpretation of the words (the "letter") of the law, but not the intent of those who wrote the law. Conversely, when one obeys the spirit of the law but not the letter, he is doing what the authors of the law intended, though not adhering to the literal wording. –Wikipedia

By interpreting Andrew’s actions literally (the “letter of the law”) it seems to be the way the truth could be circumvented to a certain extent in these ridiculous answers to this journalist. I say to a certain extent because lies were also clearly stated through omitting facts, re-interpreting and re-writing facts and even justifying the facts by making Andrew a diety and beyond retribution. If these answers were taken into court and cross-examined, the threats in this lawyer’s letter would, in all probability, not hold up. Trying to prove that their answers are the truth, beyond a reasonable doubt, would be very difficult. But, who wants a long, drawn-out and expensive lawsuit? This is what the lawyer, Andrew and Amy were probably expecting. At least Andrew and Amy know the intent of these questions and what really happened. Too bad no one would call their bluff.

Personally as a former student of yours, I find these misleading answers and the accounts from the four writers so beyond the definition of “guru” and “spiritual teacher”. Your actions, Andrew, (as I’m sure you or one of your devotees will read this), are dangerous and despicable. I am saddened by the fact that there are many who still hold onto the image of you, as spiritual teacher and guru. Care of a person’s soul is a very solemn and awesome responsibility. What you have done has fostered cynicism, mistrust and humiliation.

The passionate, open-hearted and exulted states of awareness that your present and past students have experienced has been overshadowed by great disappointment and bewilderment about your methods of fear, humiliation, and lying. How those who are your present students, and some I know very well, can justify your actions and remain true to their conscience is tragic. (I remember the contortions I had to go through myself to justify some things that directly involved me.) I have trouble understanding how your actions provide a clear-conscience springboard for anyone’s evolution. You have refused to demonstrate humility by admitting and apologizing for your mistakes even though many opportunities have been presented. Your stature has fallen to a new low with all that has been revealed.
--Lea

Sunday, 21 June, 2009  
Anonymous Sol Ray (sol@solray.info) said...

Great posts everyone, thank you! As a former student, I feel Andrew Cohen is a man who works with his close students through deception and fear -- He brings light in one hand, while in the other he holds weapons of soul destruction. Who else is like this but Lucifer, that archtypal figure that AC so often projects onto others, the original Light Bearer. He uses Light to enslave, not to liberate. Nothing but his own ego is holy for him. Love is cheap, and student's souls are there to be owned, used, abused and ultimately spit out. The only ONE he serves is himself.
Dragan

Monday, 22 June, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some points worth pondering:

We have only accounts that it was in India during those mysterious two to three weeks, that Andrew was mysteriously transformed via 'enlightenment' from a troubled and searching young man, into a charimatic silver tongued speaker, in the words of Luna Tarlo.

And in the tales of two teachers on this blog, in the account by Karl B, Karl refers to Andrew's formidable abilities in debate, which manifested right after contact with Poonja.

But..we need to ask whether Andrew already learned these techniques of bullying and aggressive argumentation prior to his time with Poonja.

Luna has suggested that prior to going to India, her son explored many spiritual options. In an interview in an early version of WIE Andrew stated he had studied martial arts, some sort of yoga and Buddhist insight meditation and learned some dialogue methods from christopher Titmuss.

However I once attended a Titmuss retreat and never witnessed any aggressive or demeaning argumention designed to desconstruct and destroy self confidence.

We need to ask whether Andrew honed his abilities to archestrate overwhelming experiences and learned skills of bullying argumentation in America before he went to Inda and learned these methods in sources he has not named.

By concealing a mastery of technique, learned perhaps from EST or Lifespring or a similar clone program, Andrew could have taken this skill set with him to India, then unleashed it after hanging around with Poonja, making it seem his sudden boost in charisma was the product of enlightement, rather than techniques learned in mass group events--then honed in private.

For the one thing Luna Tarlo did note as a constant in her sons life was power and ambition.

len oakes tells us in his book that charismatic people work like made to master techniques of soical manipulation and many start as entertainers or as teachers or in sales.

So dont get lost on enlightenment. It may just be technique that has been learned then kept in hiding until one goes to India and gets a sheen of exoticism and a guru to adorn ones sales pitch.

One, given the report that Andrew complained bitterly to Ken Wilber about the trials and tribulations of teaching the formal students, and that a blown up copy of Ken's reply letter scolding the formal students was posted inside the Punishment Sauna, this suggests that it is not just Andrew Cohen whom the formal students are involved with.

Ken Wilber has been told, at least once, by Andrew about the formal students.

And...no one has said that any formal students were ever allowed to go directly to Ken Wilber and tell Ken THEIR side of the story.

So...the intimate details of Andrew's behavior toward formal students and their so called failures to benefit from Andrew's Amazing Wisdom means that these intimate details have, at least once, been routed to Ken Wilber.

Do formal students understand that it isnt just Andrew they are involved with, but that in some way, Ken Wilber is involved, as well?

What role does Ken play in all this?

Tuesday, 23 June, 2009  
Anonymous Carlos B said...

A couple of points for what they're worth in response to the previous anonymous post.

Charisma is in the eye of the beholder. In order for someone to manipulate you there has to be some kind of emotional connection between the two of you.

As an outsider - I've watched a number of Cohen videos and listened to some of the stuff on his website - he comes across to me as very clever, facile and really rather shallow. He is of course absolutely certain and this, as a previous poster noted, is a great advantage in an argument. An intelligent, honest person always has a level of doubt and this can be exploited by an illusionist like Cohen.

There's a video on You Tube of a Cohen/Wilbur seminar. A young woman gives a very honest account of her difficulties in trying to live a spiritual life. Cohen says, 'you can always commit suicide.' A little later he's restrained by Wilbur from continuing his attack and he (Cohen) says, with his trademark snicker, 'Ken's more compassionate than I am.'

Cohen is right of course. He's not a compassionate man (he comes across as quite a cynic). So, enlightenment without compassion, what's that exactly?

And as a footnote Cohen and Wilbur are absolutely obsessed by their depressingly unexceptional ideas - shouldn't love and compassion always be at the very center of a spiritual practise rather than speculative, self agrandising attempts to explain life, the universe and everything?

Wednesday, 24 June, 2009  
Blogger George said...

Good point Carlos. I remember one public retreat where an old hippy lady asked him where the love was in his teaching, "What about unconditional love?" She asked. Well, Andrew really ripped into her, much to the delight of we students. Was she really asking him to love murderers? Andrew's refrain is that Love (especially his love) if it worth anything has to be conditional. Otherwise morality means nothing. Every one of his students knows that his love and approval is always completely conditional. His love always has to be earned, and once earned is never permanent. Falling from grace is never far away.

I'm glad to have discovered that unconditional love - if cultivated and pursued as a spiritual path - may not lead to Enlightenment (whatever that is) but leads to a joy in life that you can never have when your worth depends on the guru's whim.

Friday, 26 June, 2009  
Anonymous Carlos B said...

George - I agree and I would guess that Cohen's 'love' is really his approval. Real love can't be offered and then withdrawn when someone displeases you.

Cohen has replaced love with a duty to an abstract process - evolutionary enlightenment. The idea that the universe is 'evolving' is incredibly vague and clearly culturally conditioned given the general acceptance of Darwin's ideas.

Cohen places himself and his students at the forefront of cosmological development. I'm not sure whether this is arrogance or insanity but it does mean that anything can be justified in the name of serving a higher principle - brutal treatment of 'failing' students, lying, cheating, extortion. The ends justify the means.

What do a few emotional casualties matter if you help God become conscious of Himself (and in Cohen's world I think God is definitely male!)

Saturday, 27 June, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been reading this blog off and on and I'm amazed by the amount of control this man still has over the people whose stories are posted here. He's convinced you that if you do anything in your own defense beyond writing the truth here in this blog, you're narcissistic and "egoic." You've all spent many years trying to understand his effect on you and philosophized and analyzed it to the point where it's almost absurd.

1. If you have to spend $800 on a pair of pants for your guru to get in his good graces, he's a fraud.
2. If you have to go around slapping and abusing people at his behest, he's a fraud.
3. If he's convincing you that you deserve nothing while he gets a $2 million home off your hard work where he can be king of the castle and have his minions prostrate themselves in front of his picture, he's a fraud.

It doesn't matter what religious or spiritual viewpoint he is spewing. The base line is that he gets whatever he wants when he wants and he has a little army of zombies who think they're being enlightened to act as thugs for him.

I have a degree in geology and I've studied evolution extensively. All life evolves - sometimes not for the best. Species have gone extinct in the last 4.5 billion years because they either could not evolve or evolved in the wrong way to the point where they have actually, biologically caused their own demise. That's fact. Just because this guy throws the word evolution in front of another word, enlightenment, doesn't mean he has a clue about what any of it REALLY means. He's just good at juggling the BS for his followers, many of whom have issues that would be better worked out with a good counselor or at least a spiritual adviser who has nothing to gain from helping them other than the satisfaction of helping another person in need. There are such people out there, you just have to find them.

What I would encourage you all to do is file a class action law suit against this creep and sue him for all the pain and suffering he's caused you. You could donate the money to charity if you want, or get Foxhollow in the deal and start a REAL organization that is dedicated to helping people who have survived cults. Just shut him down so he isn't continuing to do these things. It would be a real act of courage and benefit all the future people he will otherwise be abusing.

Friday, 03 July, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An addendum to my comment of yesterday... I don't know how many of you have heard of the Southern Poverty Law Center. It tracks hate groups within the US and is a very respected entity founded by Morris Dees, an attorney from the South who fought many discrimination cases on behalf of African Americans. There is no similar entity to track cults within the US other than some web sites here and there. You might want to combine your wisdom and experience with others who have made it out of cults and put together such an organization.

Saturday, 04 July, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is often asked why people put up with Cohen's harsh treatment and why they do not leave.

The answer may be selection on Cohen's part.

In Colin Wilson's book, Rogue Messiahs, he reported a finding kept secret during the Korean War.

Americans captured by the North Koreans were kept from escaping prison camp. The North Koreans were very shrewd about psychology and they took care to observe the prisoners and identified the small percentage of POWs who showed initiative, leadership and who were the very ones likely to boost morale, foster resistance, and organize escape.

That vital 5% of the POWs were identified, removed from the general prisoner population and kept segregated in a closely guarded compound.

The rest of the POWs, without the presence of these morale building leaders, proved to be easily domesticated in prison and proved vulnerable to thought reform.

So...it may well be that Cohen has figured out in the past 20 years how to identify potential leaders in his ranks and either never recruits them to his inner circle, or finds ways, early on to reject them and perhaps traumatize them so viciously that they distrust their own leadership talents--a great pity.

If this is true, Cohen then hangs on to people who are resilient enough to tolerate massive stress without falling ill or looking haggard, are wealthy and socially well connected enough to bring in new recruits, and have marketable talents.

(Note: given the report that Cohen has whined/whinged to his buddy Ken Wilber about the lack of appreciation he gets from his formal students, and that a letter from Ken to these unappreciative formal students was reportedly copied and put on the wall of the punishment sauna for the miscreant students to ponder for their edification..this means Ken is involved in this too.

So one needs to be aware one is not only going to get dumped on by Cohen but that Ken Wilber, a man who celebrates abusive gurus while keeping a very safe distance from the day to day realities is part of this package too.

IT isnt just Andrew anymore. Its Andrew and in some capacity, Kenny Wilber. And the formal students were not allowed to give Ken THEIR side of the story.

One thing needs to be asked and urgently--what happens to the videotapes, recordings and grovelling letters disciples write, and the film footage of their egoic smiles?

Does Cohen at least promise only he is allowed to view this and no one else will?

The fear that such embarassing material could be used against them might also cause many people to fear speaking out.

One way Cohen can make amends is to destroy all this material and issue a public statement he will never let anyone else see this stuff and it will never be used in a lawsuit.

And..promise not even his closest friends will ever be allowed to read or view this stuff, either.

Doctors promise confidentiality. Doctors to the soul should, too.

Monday, 06 July, 2009  
Blogger philip said...

That Cohen is corrupted by the power he enjoys within a thankfully dwindling empire is a conclusion any independent observer will draw from the detailed and corroborated assertions found on WE??! and in two books by ex students. As Luna Tarlo said to me shortly after I left her son’s London Community, “you couldn’t make it up!” It seems his flaws now include lacking courage to take ownership of his deeds. (We should not be surprised. One of several predictable behaviours by absolutist ideologues – from Pol Pot to ‘uncompromising’ spiritual teachers – is liberation from lesser moralities in the name of a Bigger Perspective. What are a few strategic fibs, set against the Greater Truth?) Thank you Hal, Stas, Susan, Mimi, Luna, Andre and the others who supplied first hand experiences of this ‘Living Buddha’.
I was never close enough to Cohen to witness the slappings, beatings, emotional blackmail and extreme tests of loyalty we now know, beyond reasonable doubt, awaited those who were. But I did live and breathe an atmosphere immensely conducive to such abuses. I left in 2003 because I was no longer willing to ‘pay the price’ (a deadening grind of groupthink and undignified adulation) for ‘liberation’. This despite times of joy, fleeting senses of communion, and glimpses of seemingly better ways of being. As Cohen himself would say, no sacrifice is too high for Freedom, and I have not for a second regretted my decision to leave. One thing has changed, however. I left feeling that for all my personal doubts, Cohen was a good and exceptional man whose communities were good and exceptional places. I now know, from accounts by those who knew Cohen and Community better than I, that neither are benign. I also know, from accounts of other charismatic leaders, that Cohen is less exceptional than I had given him credit for. Is it not more accurate to see him as yet another self made despot made formidable by lack, at least on the surface, of doubt? I shall not dwell on his skills at creating conditions in which spiritual seekers gain ‘glimpses of The Absolute’. Though not ready to deem Cohen a fraud (the charges against him are more serious than that) I'm sceptical of enlightenment - or even descriptions of deep meditative states as ‘tastes of non duality’. In any case, such questions strike me as secondary to the imperative of understanding the dynamics that create and maintain, at least until their excesses destroy them, the likes of Cohen, Da Free John, Jim Jones or David Koresh (The Guru Papers make a good start point for this task) and the still greater imperative of seeing how followers not only condone blatant abuses but become themselves abusers (here the start points are many: Janis,‘groupthink’; Milgram, obedience; Asch, conformity; Zimbardo, role identity). The findings of empirical science interest me rather more than assertions and ‘transmissions’ from the ‘enlightened’.
Finally, a challenge to those contributors who, not having experienced Cohen’s community themselves, doubt the intelligence and/or strength of character of those who have: read those studies by Janis, Milgram, Asch and Zimbardo. Do this with perception and sincerity, and you must conclude you are probably more conformist than you like to think. The vital finding from those works is that the sense of independence westerners are so fond of entertaining is rarely put to the test, and largely illusory. That's why monstrous things keep getting done (or go unchallenged) by ordinary people who, had history taken a different course, would have had no more knowledge of their deadly weaknesses than those who – in the face of all evidence to the contrary – assume immunity from manipulators like Cohen. Knowledge of our willingness to suspend conscience is uncomfortable, to say the least, for ex Cohen students (who include some of the most intelligent and resourceful men and women I ever met) but it is precious knowledge all the same. Thanks Andrew!

Sunday, 12 July, 2009  
Blogger Stuart said...

George said...
> the fact is just about everyone
> around him has those
> experiences.

It's not that Andrew demonstrates the power to reliably induce big special experiences. It's not that he could, for instance, take a randomly-selected group, move them into his community, and have them all report stunning experiences after a few days or weeks.

Rather: The people who encounter Andrew are a self-selected group who want special experiences. The price that Andrew demands (in money and subservience) insures those with the most desperate wants are the only ones that stick around.

Suppose that 1 in 20 people wo come to Andrew indeed get a big experience. The other 95% soon wander off. The 5% from each new wave of arrivals accumulate around Andrew (the secret is volume). Eventually, there's the illusion that Andrew induces big experiences in most people who meet him. This is not the case… though it does require some careful critical thinking to see through the superficial appearance.

Carlos B said...
> Mata Amritanandamayi… It seems
> to me to be the perfect
> justification for Cohen's
> behaviour - particularly later
> in the article where she talks
> about the need to discipline her
> followers and the requirement of
> absolute obedience to the guru.

It’s not for nothing that Amritanandamayi has her followers call her “Amma” meaning “Mother.” All of us start out life as blind followers of our parents; otherwise, we’d have little chance of surviving childhood. As adults, we gradually learn to think independently. We do so to different degrees, and at different paces.

A percentage of the population look to rekindle the dependency, devotion, or absolute faith that we had for our parents as kids. They'll seek and find someone to play the role of a perfect parent. Either it’ll be an Andrew-like or Amma-like guru, or another person, or group, or belief-system, used with similar (if unconscious) intention.

Simon said...
> make no mistake, meeting a truly
> enlightened being is major
> catalyst for spiritual
> exploration.

We have no definition to use in determining who’s a “truly enlightened being,” so I don’t know how helpful this concept is.

True, many people have big special experiences when in the presence of an explicit guru (a person on a big chair, dressed in a fancy costume, speaking beautiful words, surrounded by like-thinking followers, accompanied by an attractive environment with tinkly music etc).

Many many other people get big special experiences from a mind-stopping situation that doesn’t involve any enlightenment-claiming guru. In the US, most people who get transforming special experiences find them in charismatic churches, without any Indian-style guru involved.

Carlos B said...
> shouldn't love and compassion
> always be at the very center of
> a spiritual practise rather than
> speculative, self agrandising
> attempts to explain life, the
> universe and everything?

There’s no universal authority to tell us what the center of a practice (i.e., our life-direction, the thing we hold as most important) should be. So it’s our privilege/burden to decide for ourselves.

Should the most important thing be clarity and compassion towards each being we encounter? Or should it be a self-aggrandizing attempt to gain superior understanding or become more "evolved" than others? We can experiment with both paths, and see how it works out. We can be aware that it’s our own choice to make.

Stuart

Monday, 13 July, 2009  
Blogger Stuart said...

Anonymous said...
> What I would encourage you all
> to do is file a class action
> law suit against this creep and
> sue him for all the pain and
> suffering he's caused you… Just
> shut him down so he isn't
> continuing to do these things.

Or... we could focus on our own lives, our moment-to-moment thoughts and actions. If we don’t want to follow Andrew, no one is forcing us. If other people choose to follow Andrew in spite of readily-available warnings, we can leave them alone. People have their own ideas and situations; it’s not mandatory to force anything on others (by suing or shutting anyone down).

Maybe the most effective medicine is for each of us to think independently… rather than believing that the cause of suffering is rooted in some external evil.

philip said...
> [those who] doubt the
> intelligence and/or strength of
> character of those who [follow
> Cohen]: read those studies by
> Janis, Milgram, Asch and
> Zimbardo.

Many guru-types claim to have magical energy, or “shakti” that gives people special experiences. Superficially, followers can feel the energy flowing from the guru’s body, or photo, or from objects he's touched.

In controlled testing, there’s never any support for these magical claims. Desire, expectation, and belief (especially with group support) have been proven effective in inducing special experiences. But no guru's claim of magical energy has been supported by evidence.

There are people who are intelligent in some areas, but lack the skills to critically examine and test such claims. Critical thinking (a learned skill) does make a difference. You don’t have to be a Physics PhD; a basic understanding of scientific method is enough to detect the BS. People who lack this understanding/skill... can develop it with some effort and attention.

> you must conclude you are
> probably more conformist than
> you like to think. The vital
> finding from those works is that
> the sense of independence
> westerners are so fond of
> entertaining is rarely put to
> the test, and largely
> illusory.

On the contrary… in Milgram’s experiment, most people sheepishly followed authority, but others refused to obey. There were those who were guided by their own independent thinking and ethics, and rejected the orders.

In the decades since Milgram’s experiment, society has moved further from blind conformity (pushed along by Vietnam, Watergate, counter-cultures, and free-flowing information). Were the experiment repeated today, maybe there'd be fewer blind followers.

Milgram proved that some people have a strong tendency to obey authority, while others do not. There are skills we can develop that affect which group we fall into. The lesson is not that we’re helpless against persuasion techniques. It’s that some people think and act less independently than others.

> ordinary people who...
> assume immunity from
> manipulators like Cohen.

Metaphorically… beer companies put out highly attractive commercials, which induce some people to become drunks. But mostly we’re not helpless in the face of intense persuasion. We can learn to think independently in the face of authority, persuasion, and group-think.

Rather than focus exclusively on “manipulation” by gurus or groups or beer commercials… it may be more efficient to examine our own minds, to see what’s at the root of our desire to believe and obey and follow. We can perceive the roots of gullibility in our own thought-process. Then we begin to have more choice as to whether we ultimately believe in authorities and groups and belief-systems… or in ourselves.

Stuart

Monday, 13 July, 2009  
Blogger philip r said...

Stuart makes good points. One, AC's ability to create conditions conducive to "encounters with The Absolute" do take place in a context where people are looking for that, so auto-suggestion can't be ruled out. Either way, AC conflates separate things. Retreat attendees have deep meditative experiences which he says are encounters with "your True Self". When, later, his students 'backslide' (typically depicted in lurid language of Treachery and Aggression) he accuses them of bad faith with said experiences, when it would be more accurate to say they did not act in accordance with his interpretation of them.

Two, we 'shouldn't focus on guru manipulation'. Amend that slightly - i.e. we should, but must not get stuck there - and I agree. And yes, we must 'examine our own minds' but, in doing so, let's not ignore those classic studies in psychology. It's true that a minority did not obey Milgram's experimenters, but most did - in an experiment run many times, in many cultures, and with controlled tweaking of variables. And I can't agree that conformity & obedience are less common now then in the 60s. True, it's unlikely a man in a white coat saying "in the name of science you must electrocute" would inspire as much obedience nowadays, but I'd attribute that more to postmodern disenchantment with science than real autonomy. Adapted to new cultural realities, I believe those studies by Janis, Asch et al would find no underlying change. (I teach research methods at Sheffield Hallam University, and often debate this point with students who share Stuart's view. Asch's apart, the studies I cited were costly, and haven't been seriously updated, so the jury's still out on that question!) Similarly, I'd be wary of taking cynicism with authority (political, spiritual or scientific) in our post-Watergate, post 'god-fearin' and postmodern west as evidence of independence. (I could write an entire essay on superstition dethroned by superstition; conformity by conformity.) Those classic studies, which have not been seriously contested, suggest strongly that most of us have exaggerated ideas of our own independence. That's dangerous.

Three, 'critical thinking can be taught'. I hope so: I'm paid to do just that! And yes, such skills are necessary - but insufficient. If they were sufficient, the Bay of Pigs invasion (which inspired the work on 'groupthink') wouldn't have happened. JFK's team no more lacked brainy, strong individuals than did the team that more recently decided it would be a good idea to invade Iraq!

Sorry: I've diverted this vital thread - specific responses to a major and dangerous move by AC - into general observations on psychology! It's because I believe that two tasks - understanding (a) how manipulators like Cohen delude intelligent, well balanced and (to a fault perhaps) idealistic people and, even more importantly, (b) how groups in the grip of a Big Idea can so effectively oppress dissent - are much more pressing than questions of whether or not Andrew is "in touch with the Dharma". That said, the work of documenting in specific terms his abuses is also vital. I'm happy to continue this more general discussion, but perhaps we need a new thread for it.

Philip

Wednesday, 15 July, 2009  
Anonymous Sol Ray (sol@solray.info) said...

"Anonymous person suggested that AC's ex-students get together and take AC to court. Stuart followed with:

'Or... we could focus on our own lives... it’s not mandatory to force anything on others... maybe the most effective medicine is for each of us to think independently… rather than believing that the cause of suffering is rooted in some external evil.'

If this is so why writing anything on this blog for a start.

There are several misplaced assumptions from Stuart. The anonymous did not say it was mandatory to take AC to court, nor was it assumed that we should not focus on our own lives.

Thinking independently and seeing causes of suffering inside oneself does not exclude pointing to and fighting against evil that is very much out there and very really threatens peace loving folk. This kind of thinking is dangerous as it suggest silence in face of evil. Granted, this is something that is and has been practised throughout the world an mass and is also one of the main reasons why the world is so messed up.

The anonymous in question suggested one course of action which to me sounded like a very good idea. Taking a charity such as EnlightenNext to the cleaners (to the courts for a public examination) is a good idea because EnlightenNext is a deceitful public institution. EnlightenNext proclaims that its reason for existence is to liberate human spirit, but in reality it does exactly opposite, it enslaves people. That is, provable in courts or not, a criminal activity, something that has been fully proven on this blog.

Another thing, regarding Andrew's ability to induce exciting trance states in his followers that Stuart questions atributing everything to his followers... It takes two to tango and if Andrew was not good at what he is doing he would have never attracted anybody, let alone the following he has, past and present, nor could he enjoy the great success of his WIE magazine/website."

Friday, 17 July, 2009  
Anonymous Carlos B said...

Stuart said:

Should the most important thing be clarity and compassion towards each being we encounter? Or should it be a self-aggrandizing attempt to gain superior understanding or become more "evolved" than others? We can experiment with both paths, and see how it works out. We can be aware that it’s our own choice to make.

My response:

Haven't you just tried the self-agrandizing road? So why do you still think this is an option? What do you want? A compassionate society or a disfunctional 'evolved' community of Andrew Cohen look-alikes? Do you really need a higher power to decide for you?

Sunday, 19 July, 2009  
Anonymous Geoffrey Falk said...

At least in the case of KW the integrity of the ideas is the most important thing....

And if you bother to investigate Wilber's ideas in any depth at all, you will find that they (and he) are utterly lacking in integrity. Jeff Meyerhoff has documented that problem in his book, Bald Ambition; I have done the same in my book, "Norman Einstein": The Dis-Integration of Ken Wilber.

Sunday, 26 July, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the things I am most surprised by is EN's response to this question:

Q: Did Andrew ever emphasize the need to absolutely surrender to him?

He absolutely without a doubt DID.

I even remember being at Foxhollow for a students retreat once and there were blown up, poster sized messages on the walls from Andrew saying as much. In addition a video clip in the hallway that was looped where he was saying the same thing.

Monday, 09 November, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the most amazing thing here is that there are "enlightened" beings or those seeking enlightenment that are so willing to violate their "Inner Guru"...the only true Guru to any other human being professing "to be a guru. To "surrender it all does not mean what these folks have made it. They have my utmost compassion. And no, what has been revealed is not so shocking, we are all subject to the same forces of our own minds and egos and we all give in here and there, forgive ourselves, grow and learn...the most shocking thing here is that there are so many willing to surrender themselves...their essence!

Saturday, 17 April, 2010  
Anonymous Rebecca Saxon said...

I am an ex student of AC's from his community in Marin CA. I was part of the first group of "serious students" and I left with the very first reprimand I was given. I was scolded in the group for talking to a "formal student" about a non-sexual dream I had about him. I had the good sense to just walk with my freedom at that time, though I was greatly under Andrew's spell.

I am presently studying Theravada Buddhism, and recently learned the bows that are made to the Buddha statue... in the end a full head touching the floor prostration. In addition, many Buddhists also prostrate to the monks.

After reading about this, I am very clear that I will never bow to another human being again. It is not needed. As one blogger wrote here: We are our own inner guru. yes, we have teachers- life is the teacher, the outcome of AC's actions is our teacher.

NO HUMAN BEING SHOULD BE BOWED DOWN TO. Not Even The Buddha... I didn't know him, and humans are humans are humans. sadly, but truly.

Actually- maybe not so sad. Acceptance.

Tuesday, 10 August, 2010  
Anonymous Rebecca Saxon said...

A further thought... As I finish reading Susan Bridle's answers to the questions posed by Yonatan Levy, I am struck by the continued level of denial that she is experiencing to what happened.

I say this with only compassion for what that kind of experience can do to a person. I remember Susan and Hal and Ernie and Mimi and Craig... and I had a deep respect for them all... I enjoyed and even felt love for them as my elders in the community.

Susan is obviously an extremely intelligent person, and being open to what enlightenment is and what brings it about is one thing... but the relaxed attitude toward for example the sauna accounts of how Andrew portrayed women, and what he put them through- and she says at the end of her horrific description of a man gone MAD: "I doubt if it helped anyone; I certainly think it did more harm than good."

REALLY? YOU THINK SO?.. of COURSE it did more harm than good. How can that help a woman in any way shape or form?

Human beings are very delicate. Bless us all.

Tuesday, 10 August, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sri Papaji said about Cohen that he is worst the the worm in the shit of the pig !

Monday, 14 October, 2013  
Anonymous priya said...

TO ALL THE LOST SOULS ANDREW COHEN DAMAGED KNOW : Sri Papaji said about Andrew Cohen that he is worst then the worm in the shut of the Pig and denied him. AND: know Rule NO. 1 ; Never Pay anyone to tell you the truth, Papaji was very strict about that.

Monday, 14 October, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the blog. I did experience a very intense retreat at Fox Hollow, just when they where organizing the first EE trainings to be shared with others. Andrew repeatedly said that the "Evolutionary Impulse is ruthless, RUTHLESS!", with great passion and intensity. I did not know what he was referring too exactly, but it was a clear warning and expression of his willingness to harm others in the service of the higher good. He also used public humiliation repeatedly to frighten anyone who might challenge him.
The signs where there that he was a potentially dangerous and dishonest leader. He publicly admitted to intentionally bullshitting people to see how gullible they where and concluding that women where less intelligent than men, based on their propensity to believe anything he said. Then he said, "oops".
Craig Hamilton did seem to be able to share some of the gifts developed by Andrew and his community in a very safe and respectable way.

Monday, 13 October, 2014  

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