Monday, April 25, 2005

Of Cohen, Koresh And Authoritarianism--3 Views

At Saturday, 23 April, 2005, Anonymous said...

I have an idea...

Why don't we just condemn Cohen, as a David Koresh and Jim Jones type, poisoning and misguiding people, report him to the authorities, call the editors of the New York Times and whatever else we think is fit, take him to court, charged with abuse and be done with the whole thing. How about it Hally, Hal (haven't heard form you for awhile), or Helene (who are you, anyway)? Then, we can all get on with our petty lives and stop wasting so much valuable time debating whatever it is we are or aren't debating on these blogs (blobs, I say). Are you all so bored with your lives that you have to keep going on and on about all of this stuff.

At Saturday, 23 April, 2005, just another "blobber" said...

The previous "anonymous" wrote:

I have an idea...

Why don't we just condemn Cohen, as a David Koresh and Jim Jones type, poisoning and misguiding people, report him to the authorities, call the editors of the New York Times and whatever else we think is fit, take him to court, charged with abuse and be done with the whole thing

Nobody here has compared Cohen to Koresh or Jim Jones--although given the proof submitted on this blog from numerous named and reliable sources as to the physical abuse, financial and psychological manipulation, and the fear, guilt and shame tactics used by Cohen at his Foxhollow compound and elsewhere, a cogent argument could be made that he is certainly heading very rapidly and determinedly in that direction.

The virulent tone of some of the recent posts on this blog condemning it and its contributors appears to indicate a heightening of fear and paranoia in Cohen's circles. Definitely a recipe for disaster, if history tells us anything.

Maybe some of the previous poster's suggestions--going to the press, investigating the abuses shown here and more recent ones that are likely to be occurring, and taking legal action, where appropriate--should be seriously considered, both for the good of Foxhollow compound inmates and the innocent unwary public.

Maybe the previous defender of Cohen does have a good idea after all.

At Saturday, 23 April, 2005, Anonymous said...

Why don't we just condemn Cohen, as a David Koresh and Jim Jones type, poisoning and misguiding people, report him to the authorities, call the editors of the New York Times and whatever else we think is fit, take him to court, charged with abuse and be done with the whole thing.

Because the whole thing is not just about Andrew Cohen.

The Cohen issue is the micro level issue. The macro level issue is about a “political” conflict taking place along a continuum where at one pole we find spiritual authoritarianism, at the other spiritual deep democracy, with various shades in the middle.

What Cohen, Koresh, and Jones (both Jim and Franklin) have in common is that they are all closer to the spiritual authoritarianism pole of the continuum.

This is the model where the teacher implicitly or explicitly communicates the following message:

"There exists a hierarchy of consciousness. I am high on this hierarchy. I am higher than you. I'm enlightened and you're not. Only those at my level can appreciate my behavior and speech acts at the level from which they emanate, while those at lower levels may easily misunderstand my behaviors and speech acts to be rooted in egocentricity and neurosis rather that compassion and an absolute relationship to life. Therefore, my students must question only themselves and must turn all doubts about me, my behavior, my speech acts, and my teachings, back onto themselves. Students who doubt me are caugth in egoic resistance to the very process of transformation itself. Therefore, those who leave me have simply fled from the fire of living Truth. There is nothing I can say to them to disabuse them of their illusions, and so I say nothing to those who leave and then in Judas-like fashion, attack me."

Let's say that John Doe embraces this model and he reads Susan Bridle's post here, titled, “A Legacy of Scorched Earth: Reflections of a former student”, (Wednesday, February 02, 2005) where she recalls her life as a Cohen student and shares that she presently studies with Danan Henry Roshi at the Zen Center of Denver.

She says, “It’s sooo different from Andrew’s community. Much more spacious, much more respectful of the individual, definitely not authoritarian. I’m finding my way with having a completely different, non-guru-like relationship with my spiritual guide.”

John Doe reads this and because his allegiance lies with spiritual authoritarianism, he automatically concludes that Susan has fled from the "fire" of the "Rude Boy" into the arms of a "comforting" and "consoling" teacher who probably has the "disease" Ken Wilber calls "boomeritis Buddhism."

But anyone who reads Susan's post can see that she has actually gone deeper into the fire of transformation, and has outgrown the parent-child teacher-student spiritual authoritarianism mode Cohen offers.

Those whose allegiance lies with the spiritual authoritarianism model are reactionaries. If this were the late 18th century in Colonialist America, they would be Tories, loyal to the King. They are loyal to the King and to the model of the guru as sovereign absolute monarch. They are stuck in the past and like professional reactionary Ann Coulter they defend their retrogresive values by attacking everyone who has exceeded these quaint values.

The alternative to the spiritual authoritarianism model is not "boomeritis" spirituality, but is deep democracy, where teachers do not isolate and insulate themselves from an open flow of feedback within their teaching systems as Cohen has done. Jack Kornfield, as one example, does not have "boomeritis" (though a reactionary bitch might say that), and no one can possibly suggest that sitting for a five-week meditation retreat with Kornfield is "comforting" or "consoling." If one wants to know where the money comes from and goes in the Spirit Rock Meditation Center which Kornfield founded, one can look at the annual report that always includes a pie chart that accounts for every cent of income and expenditure. If there is a problem with a teacher at Spirit Rock this is never ignored but always addressed openly and at the level of community. Only a reactionary would call this "boomeritis." No, this is deep democracy and it is a developmental advance over the antiquated spiritual authoritarianism model Cohen represents.

Because of the micro and macro issue here, there are some who remain aligned with the spiritual authoritarianism model and who see the problem only at the mirco level as being with Cohen, as if a more benign king would be just fine. Others, like myself, see the problem with Cohen but feel that the very model he represents is an anachronism, regardless of whether or not the king is benign or pathological. And reactionaries, such as Ken Wilber and Cohen, attempt to defend their attachment to the antiquated spiritual authoritarian model by accusing people like myself of being caught in "boomeritis" and of having some fear of hierarchy. This is ironic, because I very much believe in hierarchy and think the model Wilber and Cohen embrace is rather low on the hierarchy. In their terms it's not "second-tier," it's "blue."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes everyone of us gets a little emotional. Sometimes we all attack things for the sake of it, unconsciously sometimes through fear we lash out to preserve our status or the status of our beliefs, sometimes its just a sense of loyalty or duty. After 19 years , Mr Cohen’s practices and teachings should be able to stand some scrutiny , evolution will do this in any case (as Andrew recently said ‘time will tell’) .

For those of you who become angry when Mr Cohen’s infallibility, value, worth, perfection, teachings, skilled means or behavior is questioned, look within yourself for where that anger springs . Ask yourself why am I angry ? What purpose does it serve for me to be angry ? What do I fear? If you consider yourself to be a victim of Cohen and you find yourself becoming angry when someone justifies his behavior think deeply about what and who you are angry about?. Ask yourself who is angry? Surely our only purpose is to fully understand the truth and take action when we become aware of that truth. To be fully aware, to discriminate and make judgments with our mind and our hearts, then let our actions flow from this awareness, surely that is one of our major purposes as a humanbeing .. To those of you who are protecting him STOP NOW, to those of you who are attacking him STOP NOW.

The ability to rationally discriminate between the higher and lower is a Tier 2 behavior whether it at the collective or individual level. The ability to differentiate truth , to find goodness, too love with both our Yang and Ying Heart, to rationalize through Big Mind are the skills and qualities that will bring our the world to consciousness. Similarly absolutism, infallibility, mythical knowledge, magical realizations and transformations are Tier 1 Blue , they are at a lower stage in the evolutionary stage of enlightenment..

Those arguing for either the noose or a pedestal are wallowing in their more primitive unconsciousness.

Delusion, ignorance, fear, unconsciousness, selfishness are mankind’s greatest enemy. The only solution to these wounds is love, disciplined spiritual practice and rational inquiry.

Craig T

Tuesday, 26 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Craig T.

Great post Craig. I thoroughly enjoyed it. We are one mind today. Check out my story on Juan at WEU.
Love Freebird

Tuesday, 26 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Craig, where might one get educated to understand the tiers you speak of?

I'm admittedly tier-clueless

Tuesday, 26 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is about the best short summary I could find on the web

or this one from Andrew's own WIE

Andrew is developmentally a blue ;- morally, ethically , interpersonally, sexually ( reported attitudes to sex), although intellectually and from a consciousness he may have had much higher experiences and realisations. We can only interpret higher realizations from where we are developmentally; therefore a full realization in the time of Christ produces a different result than if it happened last week in London.

If Jesus or Buddha returned next week they would definitely perceive the world from a 2005 perspective and as with anything their teachings would dynamically change as well. If a blue has a spiritual realization they interpret and teach it egocentrically its individual to them. If you listen to Andrew talk about his enlightenment to Ken Wilber you can hear the pride as he reflects on it just happening to him, Ken’s talking about how you go through stages one by one and Andrew is talking about it hitting him like a truck from nowhere.

Like a magical gift that’s been granted it didn’t take any work at all it just happened to me. If you re- read his autobiography its full of this magical almost mythical stories of realization , Poonjii apparently said he saw it straight away in his eyes (although he later denied he ever said it at all) . Even Buddha had trouble getting people to see it but apparently with Andrew his teacher could see it immediately.

These beliefs of magical individualization by Andrew, his special absolute consciousness, his special ness in realization is spread through everthing he does , its how a blue reflects on or sees things. As we humans develop through the stages we can only imagine we will continue to evolve our contextual realizations of consciousness relative to these stages . Now Andrew claims to have jumped through the stages and arrived at the destination, he cant tell us how he got their it just happened. So he teaches how to get there , which is problematic because he doesn’t really know how he got there himself.

So he makes up myths (the ego for instance) , he conceptualizes the world into polarities and absolutes, he creates hierarchy and order , all cloaked in the language of the 20th century. Think carefully about the almost alchemistic existence of Cohen’s ego. The ego is the devil, its putrid and disgusting , it needs to vanquished but its hides it cant be found . its all about dragon slaying, good and bad, black and white, one choice or the other, either joy or suffering misery he alone knows the path but very, few make it (well none to date)

Craig T

Craig T

Tuesday, 26 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bit me

a)None of my theories are my own they all come from greats Buddha, Naraygan etc

b)I have published my complete contact details in several forums that you could easily trace back 2 years on these issues

c)These blogs provide unlimited opportunity to have your say. Have your say and stop playing games. Play the issues and not the personality

Craig T

Wednesday, 27 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this blog is still very helpful/useful, but perhaps we also need a private email discussion list for (ex) community members. Other option would be a Yahoo Groups where membership can be controlled by an administrator(s).

Wednesday, 27 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it's time for WHAT enlightenment?! blog to turn off the comments feature.

Though some comments are on topic, all too many have descended into attacking the presentation of the blog, personally attacking other commentors, or advertising other blogs. Some manage to do all three in a single message!

(Yes, this comment is also not about "topic" which is Andrew Cohen and his students' experience.)

Then we readers can send in comments via email, and WE can decide what to post. Much of blogsphere is done this way, for the very reasons demonstrated here.

I do appreciate readers' input on all sides when it is on-topic.

That's my two cents.

Wednesday, 27 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all posters on WE:

This morning WEU's new post by Shaolin Monk made me bid them all farewell.

Their intent is and was to drive WE out of commission. We may be dealing with a group or one angry vengeful individual who has set himself up as the King and judge over all with his fierce loyalty for Andrew Cohen.

Some see Cohen as a saint, others as far, far, below sainthood, but everyone has a right to express their views.

The whole purpose of WEU is not to take an uncensored look at Cohen, but to drive you all underground and for you to depart from speaking your minds freely on the Internet.

At first I thought WEU was a fun, innocent blog, but no more. The reality and truth surfaced for me this morning.

I have always supported WE and free speech and hope Hal and company will not cave in to WEU's demands.

Wednesday, 27 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once one learns to use the mind through the physical form so that contributive element of consciousness is a given part of the skill of the personality, it's a movement in growth to learn when it's appropriate to use the mind. It's just another tool in the tool box.

For those identified with the mind it is like the situation of a person with a toolbox with only a hammer in it--then every problem has to be a nail.


Wednesday, 27 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew Cohen and company, you have had your last laugh because I caught you all red handed with your creation of the cyberbaby Shaolin Monk who is sterile and programmed to attack Hal, company and all us posters.

Andrew's baby sure went beserk with Freebird's love posts, which are foreign to it's mind.

Wednesday, 27 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's a mighty fine idea to disable comments!

Wednesday, 27 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure Hal and Co can decide for themselves how they want to manage their baby. My suggestion is that Hal become ruthless with the peanut gallery to keep it all on topic. There are obviously a few spoilers in here who are simply trying to distrupt.

Wednesday, 27 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some anonymous posters have been most unkind to Craig T and Freebird. I am a big girl and can take it, but in defense of Craig, I am saddened for him. He was an excellent contributor to this blog.
In fact, Rabbi Ginsberg complimented both of us on some comments we made.

I can see your point clearly about this blog's existence being solely for former students. Craig and I could have avoided being insulted would we have been told that outsiders were not welcome.

Did the beginning of the first comment by Craig T in response to the new post come to be, absolutely.

Wednesday, 27 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always supported WE and free speech and hope Hal and company will not cave in to WEU's demands.

What demands?

Thursday, 28 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To previous poster re: what demands

WEU states that an apology and retraction for what they label hate-mongering posts on WE, especially the comments that Andrew is alike in his mentality to Koresh and Jones, is in order.

No one, and I repeat, no one, has ever stated here that Andrew is just like Koresh and Jones. So far this would be totally absurd and unfounded. Some posters have stated that Andrew and the other demised mentioned individuals share similar characteristics with their controlling hypnotizing enslaving hold over their students.

Andrew, hopefully, will never reach this climax , yet one never knows if same could not happen and ,therefore, should be open for a discussion. Caution cannot be thrown to the wind. I personally pray that Andrew will walk a straight and narrow path that will only be more centered in love and in a direction toward God.

Shaolin calls Hall and company insane and spews forth many cruel allegations that are most definitely unfounded. He also states that among the posters we have anti-cultists. deprogrammers, and suggests that a team of lawyers is standing by to cash in on some of the abuse victims. What a crock of bul.

I am an intuative and suspected the infiltration of new anti-WE posters a few months ago. Slowly they crept in to take over our wonderful blog. I mentio

Thursday, 28 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To previous poster re: what demands:

WEU wants an apology and retractions for what they label hate-mongering posts on WE, especially the comments that Andrew is similar in his mentality to Koresh and Jones. From some postings we hear that Andrew shares some of the controlling, hypnotizing and enslaving traits of these demised individuals. No one stated that Andrew and these individuals will go down in history together.

Shaolin calls Hal and company insane and makes all kinds of alegations that are unfounded and untrue.

More on all this later, since this is my second post. The first one disappeared.

Love to you all

Thursday, 28 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Continuing from post one were I was cut of midway.

As mentioned, I am an intuative and suspected an infiltration of anti-WE posters a few months ago. I mentioned same and was totally ignored. Now take a look. We have chaos, turmoil and antagonism that was never present in the beginning with our regular and loyal posters.

I state that WEU's motives are not pure as they state, but cut throated with hail and icy attacks to make us turn against one another, which at times has succeeded. We must all become aware of this tactic by WEU and return to the purpose of this blog, which WEU wants to annihilate. They also baited Craig T.

Not every posting has been negative about Andrew. We have loyal supporters who still sing their praises to him.

Shaolin is a genius mastermind who gave himself this compliment when given to Hal.

Furthermore, Shaolin gives us tidbits of what he will reveal, so far nothing. What about your Papaji-Cohen alchemy, and your fascination with Freebird. He has been asked over and over again to reveal himself, his interest in Cohen and his experiences with Andrew and community. I give you the floor Shaolin and applause for coming forward.

Let us remain centered and continue in our quest for truth.


Thursday, 28 April, 2005  
Blogger the Editors said...

A Note From The Administrator

We are asking that posters of comments try to stay more on topic. Your support of this blog is greatly appreciated. But we feel that further discussion of the WEU "counter-blog" is unwarranted and unnecessary here. It seems obvious that that blog's only reason for existence is to harass, annoy and attempt to intimidate contributors here. We feel it should not be taken seriously. We also will be periodically removing comments that do not further the discussion here. We hope to have a more substantive headline posting in the near future, and appreciate your patience. In the meantime, all serious contributions are welcome.

Thursday, 28 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vicky if thats your real name the little ticker in the bottom left hand corner is ticking over faster than ever so there are probably a few people still reading this blog.

Friday, 29 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moving right along
In response to: Why don't we just condemn Cohen, as a David Koresh, etc........

Every single leader deviating from the path of love sooner or later puts a noose around his/her own neck. No one does it for them, except the leader himself/herself.

"Blind and mad" is the man who prejudicing his mental power derogates from the spiritual and moral laws laid down by God and all wise sages from the beginning of time.

Only time shall tell, for we shall judge them by their fruits.

Steve Conran
Spiritual adviser for FABA
Great courage you have Freebird

Friday, 29 April, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I’ve been reading your blog regularly and would like to thank all those who contributed to its creation, as it has helped me tremendously to understand my own experience with Andrew’s community.
I admire your courage, openess and honesty.

Although my experience was rather short lived and I never lived in Foxhollow nor was I involved personally with Andrew, I went to many long and short retreats with him, to simply find out what he has to offer. That was in 2000/01/02.
Soon after the last long retreat I decided to move into his “orientation house” inspired by the retreat.

Although at first my great enthusiasm and joy kept me going, I only stayed about a month and moved out, as I could not stand it.
Only in my first week staying there I was put into the famous “hot seat” where I did not know most of the people, people who never even talked to me, strangers, have told me all and everything what was wrong with me, with very angry outbursts.

I had to listen to all that and was not allowed to speak nor to question their opinions, where did they got them from?
My feeling was so unreal, as if I was a part of a theatre play, where the script was pre-written, well in advance, nothing to do with me.
Only later I understood that I witnessed the “scoring points” meeting.
It happened every week and in between I was regularly verbally abused by senior female student member and called names, I rather do not repeat.
It continued and it was enough for me to say NO MORE and leave.
I could not tolerate abuse in any form. There were other newcomers who also left at the same time with the same experiences of disappointment, confusion, hurt and abuse.

We just could not understand what is wrong with the students, where was their “unbearable lightness of being”? their joy, their enthusiasm, their happiness ?
Most walked around like zombies, running on gallons of coffee a day just to keep going.
I often thought that by some terrible mistake I joined some fanatics following a military dictator and not a spiritual teacher.
The atmosphere of constant spying on one another and being very careful what one says to others, reminded me very much of the Communist regime, and the emphases on the collective good and the total ignorance of the individual.

Perhaps my own little experience is really trivial and not important and yet even after such a short time of connection with the students and Andrew, I left very confused, sick and totally bewildered.

It has taken me a long time to make any sense of it and with the help of your blog I understood why all this was happening.
I often compared his community to an army camp where most people slept only a few hours a night, then went to work and then worked at the centre or had their 10 meetings a day together.

I cannot claim that I really got to know Andrew’s students from anywhere else, but this one centre. Nor I have had any experiences with Andrew, apart from the retreats, as I was only the beginner student.
I found his retreats relatively helpful to me, as he is very good and entertaining when it comes to the EGO, and he makes people understand why it is important to see it.
Yet I find his teaching lacking when it comes to some greater picture, apart from the ego-games. It seems to me such a waste of life to spend so much time focusing on the ego and nothing else.

The questions I asked myself during my stay in the community were:
Do I want to be like those people, live this kind of life?
“The proof is in the pudding”…I really did not like the taste!

The value of any Dharma Teaching is in the students living that teaching, yet what I saw and experienced was most of the time truly repulsive, so totally different then the atmosphere of the retreats and the promise afterwards of this “Heaven on Earth” to follow, if one commits oneself and joins the community. In my very short experience it was “Hell on Earth”
My answer was NO, I also found most of the senior students really dull and suppressed, who would only repeat over and over more or less the same mantras: “Isn’t Andrew great?” “Wasn’t it a great retreat?”, “Isn’t he wonderful?”, etc.etc.

But what really surprised me was the atmosphere of fear and luck of authentic, free self-expressions, lack of any original individual thoughts about any subject whatsoever.
Most students would just use more or less the same kind of expressions about anything, as if some kind of scripts were handed to them earlier, so they did not have to use their own brains.
And the most infuriating was the expression” I disagree” used by everyone in situations where it was totally inappropriate and illogical. Like after someone has expressed their own personal feelings and experience on a subject, someone would say “I disagree”, nothing else, no explanation, nor argument, nothing.

Probably I do not know any of you, ex-students, yet you all sound like very intelligent, bright, sincere individuals and I wish I met people like you in his community…and yet I wonder if you would have been the same open, honest, courageous beings you are now?
As it seems that theoretically this kind of qualities were asked for from his students by Andrew but in practice they were discouraged very harshly.

Anyway, the last question I’m still asking myself is not What is Enlightenment? But WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF ENLIGHTENMENT?
I know that historically the purpose of Enlightment has been to alleviate human suffering.
When one looks around this world the greatest suffering here is still poverty, hunger, disease, death and no hope for better life. Apart from the very small minority of the Western Developed World, the rest 70 % of the population suffers terribly.
I was wondering what is the purpose of that “Freedom for the sake of all” Andrew promises to his students and how it relates to the rest of the suffering world? I hope his organisation does support charities and not just his lavish lifestyle.

The “suffering” in the developed western countries is mostly on emotional/mental level, where in the rest 70% of the population it is basically about the survival on the physical level. And then there is the common suffering of old age, disease and unknown death. .

Is spending years masturbating with one’s ego individually and collectively, as in Andrew’s teaching, being cruel and abusive to his committed students, has anything to do with “alleviating suffering” in this world? I wonder.
I know this is a huge topic and I’ll not going into it, yet I wonder if anybody else ever thought about it ?


My very best wishes to you all,
PS. writing in english is not my best ability, as it is not my first language, so sorry for the lack of any sofistication in my expression.

Friday, 29 April, 2005  

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