Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Code of Silence

- A reader's question:

"I think a lot of this blog is very interesting and fills out a picture of Andrew and his community that is normally hidden. It does seem though that a lot of the behind the scenes news is quite old. Does anyone know what is happening there now?? "

- WHAT enlightenment? responds:

I think that the age of the behind the scene incidents discussed is indicative of the secretiveness of the community, and the control Andrew exercises over its members. The degree of control and the ingraining of a code of silence go so deep that their effects on an individual typically extend for a lengthy period of time after that person leaves the community. Most people are both too confused about what happened and too frightened of becoming a pariah to speak openly about their experiences in the community for at least a couple of years. Some, it seems, forever.

So there is usually a "lag time" of at least a year or two between a person leaving Andrew and that person's willingness to discuss or report the events in the community preceding their leaving. And these events are usually well-hidden from outsiders, those casually involved, and even lay students. The scrutiny of members is so intense, and the pressure to conform exercised by Andrew and the community is so high, that as soon as a person shows any significant doubt they are usually excluded, so the likelihood of having any insider reporting is next to nil.

Compounding this is the belief--ingrained over years--that any public voicing of criticism is tantamount to treason, and will condemn the speaker to suffer being cut off and cast out to live eternally in inauthenticity as the equivalent of an anguished shade in what is viewed as the Hades that is "the world"--or worse!

Of course, it is possible--though difficult--to shake off these imprisoning and destructive acquired beliefs sooner rather than later. The hope that this process can be encouraged and supported is part of what this blog is about. We invite anyone to contribute their comments on more current events, and will respect a choice for anonymity by anyone who decides to do so.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been surprised too at this "code of silence". I was mostly surprised at reading Andree's book at the mildness of the supposedly intense and shocking events. Andree left before the men's and women's saunas were turned into rooms designed to humiliate students. With huge blow ups of private letters to Andrew displayed, with his scathing comments attached. And debased caricatures of students, sometimes life size or more, depicting students as sexual dominatrixes or devils. Every student had to spend an hour a day in there in comtemplation of their evil natures,.....this part of the up to 6 hours of compulsory spiritual practice (prostrations, meditation, chanting etc) which did not include mens and women's meetings. Most students working a full time job and giving to there other duties, leaving around 4-5 hours for sleep. To say nothing of the practices or punishments of submerging in the nearby lake in the winter for up to an hour chanting until lips were so blue and bodies so frozen that it would take up to an hour in a hot shower to get back to a normal temperature.

Wednesday, 15 December, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am curious as well to hear more experiences from those who spent time with Andrew in the community. Also - for those of you who did - what is your view of the Teaching itself? (aside from the teacher)though it may not be possible to separate the two. I have also heard that the teaching itself has changed quite a bit over the years and that things are now "much better and much different" from the old days. What are your thoughts on this?

Thursday, 06 January, 2005  

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