Monday, January 7, 2008

The uses of disenchantment

Years ago I was watching the Disney film "Beauty and the Beast" on DVD with my nieces in my brother's living room. They were both enraptured with the tale, hanging on every twist and turn. At one point in the story the Beast passes out, I honestly can't remember why, and Belle has to hoist him onto the back of her horse. Now, the beastly Beast is maybe twice the size of petite Belle, yet she lifts him into the saddle with no problem at all. For me, this was just too much. Willing suspension of disbelief covers just so much ground and this was a yard too far, and I said so. Natalia, the more precocious of my two nieces came back with the perfect rejoinder:

"It's a CARTOON. The whole thing is unbelievable, that's the point!"

Disenchantment is not like the willing suspension of disbelief, the failure of which might make us question the plausibility of a Disney plot point or two, before we happily surrender ourselves to the magic of fantasy once again. No, disenchantment is serious stuff. Once a spell is broken it cannot exercise any more sway over the bewitched. For better or worse, you are free.

Doubtless, I should have anticipated this. After all, I was the one who named this blog Rituals of Disenchantment. Didn't I know what the outcome of my magic would be? Wasn't I the one who way back when (three months ago!) wrote:

"I've named this blog Rituals of Disenchantment because we all have to break the spell of silence that has been cast over the Siddha Yoga sangham if we are ever to become re-enchanted with this yoga again."

But, there is no re-enchantment. I'm here to tell you that once you've learned to think for yourself, once you feel free to apply your critical understanding to the claims, teachings and legends of Siddha Yoga, there is no going back. The unquestioning mind of a disciple is no longer yours to possess. You've eaten the apple, peeked behind the curtain, opened Pandora's box and now you have to deal with the plague of knowledge swirling around you.

It's midnight in the garden of good and evil, folks. Step right this way and enjoy yourselves the show!

What I have posted thus far of the message talk for 2008 has been seen as wholly negative by some readers. Oh, Christ, I wish I could maintain the balance that characterized my earlier posts. But, I can't. There is no way for me to view this message as anything other than a cynical ploy to keep good-hearted folk on the hook. This by way of warning for what's coming next. The thing is, I don't believe my perspective is the be all and end all. I actually welcome those of you who feel differently to tell your truth here. Not because I want to argue with you. No, far from it. I want to hear what you have to say because, having lost the certainty of belief, I'm still fascinated by it, it still exercises its fatal allure.

104 comments:

Anonymous said...

SeekHer said:

“I actually welcome those of you who feel differently to tell your truth here. Not because I want to argue with you. No, far from it. I want to hear what you have to say because, having lost the certainty of belief, I'm still fascinated by it, it still exercises its fatal allure.”



Thanks SeekHer for sharing about Gurumayi’s New Years message. I haven’t had the finances to join in the webcast, so it is great to be able to read about some of what was said and your very colorful and well-expressed thoughts while experiencing it.

I don’t fully agree with what you see as a need for Siddha Yoga to “come clean” about all the reported misdeeds and questionable actions that may have taken place. In my opinion, Siddha Yoga doesn’t have to air its own dirty laundry. Others have done this quite well already, so if people are interested in finding information to determine whether a person or path meets with their approval, they can do this easily and at the click of a button or two.

For some who have a focused intention to uplift themselves with teachings that stem from and reach beyond this world, salacious details about the vehicles for these teachings may simply not be how they choose to spend their time and attention. It reminds me of a story Baba used to tell about two men who were allowed into a mango field for several hours. Are they going to spend their time inspecting all the trees and field perimeters, going over the farmer’s accounting, and making sure that nobody on the farm has been misbehaving, or are they going to eat the mangos? If the mangos don’t taste good to someone for whatever reason, then of course they should go and find something else that does. It’s a big, vast universe with potential paths to greater truth under every rock, as many of us first learned in Siddha Yoga. But I don’t think it is fair for someone who doesn’t like mangos or who thinks the farmer has misbehaved to go around trying to pull the mangos out of everyone else’s hands while shouting various conspiracy theories into a bullhorn. Which some have done on other ex-sites.

Baba never told us to meditate on his form or focus on him, although he allowed us to practice and experience the kind of guru bhakti and sadhana that he felt had been so divinely beneficial to his own journey. In a book I was reading the other day, Muktananda said that even if you took a box and worshipped it with true feeling, you would receive the same benefit as if that box were a statue of the divine. As he used to say, God exists in your feeling.

I think most of the problems Siddhayogis and ex-Siddhayogis have had in entering a more universal vision of the guru stem from all those ashram and center mini-gurus (or mini-tyrants) who created, projected, and pushed their own trips onto the path. Even as somewhat of a hermit during my ashram years, I heard plenty of strange and limited notions, assumptions, and rules being put forth as Siddha yoga doctrine by various kinds of people. Fortunately I was blessed to spend tens of thousands of hours watching talks by Muktananda and Gurumayi while editing, logging, and copying videos for the SYDA Foundation in the 1980’s. I’m sure this continual absorption in the guru’s words made it easier for me to also edit out things that didn’t make sense, whether they came from a seva supervisor or from someone who was supposedly “close to the guru,” or even at times from the guru him or herself. In my interpretation, the deeper message of the gurus was and is: Become God and worship yourself; become the Guru and follow yourself; and become trustworthy and trust yourself. In my experience, all the practices and teachings were meant to be in service of this message.

I didn’t come to this path to judge the guru’s actions, aside from using observation and discernment to learn from their wisdom in action as well as what may appear to be missteps. Gurumayi and Muktananda gave amazing, precious jewels for spiritual seekers. I certainly don’t claim to have taken pristine care of these top notch teachings, practices, and other blessings, yet even the few drops of grace that I was able to digest have created what for me have been fairly miraculous creative works – not miraculous in sales numbers or financial compensation, but in the blessing and fulfilled dream of being able to offer this kind of seva to the world through a website of free multimedia spiritual resources and various books, videos, and CD’s. This month, the new 2nd edition of Spirituality For Dummies will be released in bookstores around the world, and once again I have dedicated the book “To my beloved gurus, Baba Muktananda and Gurumayi Chidvilasananda.”

If, as some of you suggest, Gurumayi has lost some ability or desire to be guru, or is pulling back due to some known or unknown reasons, why not have a heart toward someone who has given you the opportunity to feel a pure, deep love that few ever experience, or for the clear and pristine moments of unadulterated laughter and joy during heavenly celebrations or in the profound yet entertaining informal banter between guru and disciples after a full and inspiring program, or in the peaceful and powerful meditations you were blessed to experience inside your own Self? Even a great being is a human being and has feelings. How would you feel if your friends went and wrote horrible things about you, created websites to destroy you, and wanted to see you suffer? I’ve experienced some of this hatred-in-action from devotees after false rumors were intentionally spread throughout the Siddha Yoga community by someone of low integrity, and even as a fairly stoic and detached person, it didn’t feel very good, and inspired me to become more reclusive. I tend to view Gurumayi’s recent changes from my perspective of appreciating the blessings of creative solitude, and from that perspective, I do support her in these changes, even if I would have personally chosen to enact them differently.

I wish the greatest happiness and blessings for Gurumayi and for everyone she has ever touched. As I suggested many years ago during a discussion on one of the ex-boards, if you’re walking on your path and are guided to move on to a different path – for whatever internal or external reason – it is most fortunate to move forward, as much as possible, with a positive feeling. Don’t turn back and spit upon the path that brought you to where you are right now, but kiss the earth and walk on.

Kumuda

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, so.

The reappearance of Kumuda Janis.

I had to think about whether to name you or not, but since you reference in your post a very easily Googled book you authored, I figured it couldn't harm anything, since revealing yourself as author of that book basically announces your identity to the world anyway.

I had wondered why it had taken you so long to show up here publicly. But I suppose it was inevitable.

I simply can NOT resist the opportunity for debate this post of yours presents. I will attempt to be as civil as possible but my maddening attempts to ask you to appreciate the other perspective on things on other sites have me wondering if I'm just wasting my time, since they fell on totally deaf ears previously. In any case, here goes.

You say "I don’t fully agree with what you see as a need for Siddha Yoga to “come clean” about all the reported misdeeds and questionable actions that may have taken place. In my opinion, Siddha Yoga doesn’t have to air its own dirty laundry."

Without airing that laundry, people who SY harmed will not be able to heal and move on, as you suggest they should. Just because you can ignore injury doesn't mean it is dharmic for it to remain ignored. But I suppose if you choose to worship people of questionable "integrity" and the "path" they offer, you have that right.

When you say "For some who have a focused intention to uplift themselves with teachings that stem from and reach beyond this world, salacious details about the vehicles for these teachings may simply not be how they choose to spend their time and attention" it certainly makes me wonder "why is she SO convinced that SY's teachings reach "beyond this world", the bit about "reaching beyond this world" is in fact opinion and conjecture on your part, not established undeniable fact. How can you or any of us truly know for sure whether it "reaches beyond this world"? The fact remains, that if verifiable salacious details exist about the acts and lives of the teachers, the "vehicles" as you refer to them, then the teachings stemming from a tainted vehicle in themselves become tainted. Pure content delivered through an impure pipeline becomes contaminated as it flows through the pipeline. And since the SY gurus' personal stamps are all over the SY teachings, how can the taint of their personal lives not leach into the teachings?

You also contradict yourself without appearing to realize so. In one paragraph, you say "Muktananda said that even if you took a box and worshipped it with true feeling, you would receive the same benefit as if that box were a statue of the divine. As he used to say, God exists in your feeling". Yet elsewhere you say "If, as some of you suggest, Gurumayi has lost some ability or desire to be guru, or is pulling back due to some known or unknown reasons, why not have a heart toward someone who has given you the opportunity to feel a pure, deep love that few ever experience". This is a contradiction. If my feeling for the box brought about my experience of God, THEN BY THE SAME LOGIC, MY FEELING ABOUT BABA OR GURUMAYI BROUGHT ABOUT MY EXPERIENCE OF GOD AROUND THEM, TOO. MEANING THAT GURUMAYI DID NOT GIVE IT TO ME, IT WAS WITHIN ME ALL ALONG. SO I DON'T FEEL I OWE HER A BREAK. PARTICULARLY WHEN SHE ACTIVELY TRIED TO COVER UP THE TRUTH OF HER PREDECESSOR'S ABUSE WHEN A COURAGEOUS FEW DECIDED TO REVEAL IT. For me, it's not so much about her predecessors "salacious acts" (since he's dead), it's more about her own coverups. Sorry, but her coverups, to me, mean that she's not the kind of "person of high integrity" I would choose to follow. Which means that her teachings by default won't be of high integrity either, at least not to me, since "pure content" delivered through a contaminated pipeline become contaminated by that pipeline.

When you say "I think most of the problems Siddhayogis and ex-Siddhayogis have had in entering a more universal vision of the guru stem from all those ashram and center mini-gurus (or mini-tyrants) who created, projected, and pushed their own trips onto the path" then I must again beg to differ with you. I myself split from SY because of my gurus' actions, not the actions of the mini-tyrants at the center I attended. (Although the behaviors of those mini-tyrants could readily be described by some as totally inexcuable as well.) So in my own experience, your theory does not bear out. At least, not for me it doesn't.

When you say "This month, the new 2nd edition of Spirituality For Dummies will be released in bookstores around the world" frankly I can't help but get the feeling you're taking an opportunity to hawk your products, that you're trying to use Seekher's site as an advertising channel to plug your products and earn more income from them than you would have otherwise had you not bothered to mention them here. And I wonder how Seekher would feel at your using his blog in this manner, particularly without compensating him for providing that advertising channel, even more particularly without asking his permission or working out an arrangement to compensate him for that advertising space first?

Possibly the statement I found most disturbing was when you said "if you’re walking on your path and are guided to move on to a different path – for whatever internal or external reason – it is most fortunate to move forward, as much as possible, with a positive feeling. Don’t turn back and spit upon the path that brought you to where you are right now, but kiss the earth and walk on", disturbing to me because I've since learned that path hurt a number of others pretty seriously, and also in retrospect, realize how it hurt me. Why should I stoop to the ground, look back on the path I once tread, and kiss it when it has hurt so many? You are suggesting I (and others) totally gloss over the hurt it caused so many. How can a path be so eminiently defendable when it led to such injury? To me, any spiritual benefit gained via a method offered by teachers where people have been intentionally injured, ceases to be a benefit and instead becomes a matter of shame. It simply causes me to wonder if you even have the capacity to feel the empathy with the injured, and to feel shame at all.

For the life of me, in all of your writing I have seen both here and elsewhere, it still never ceases to amaze me how you can so glibly gloss over the pain, wounding, and shame so many other women, and even children, suffered at the hands of SY's gurus.

Whatever bliss or freedom you believe you obtain from SY's teachings or its gurus, is simply no excuse for you to suggest others among us, who know those injured by SY personally, simply "forget about it and not look back". This amounts to denial of the highest order, and a similar abject inability to have compassion or feel empathy for the injured. At least, that's what comes across to me.

Which, frankly, to me sounds a LOT like Gurumayi!

So, Congratulations! You have successfully merged totally into union with your beloved Guru.

I could go on, but past experience interacting with you on other sites suggest to me that I'm probably typing this just for my own benefit and that this attempt to debate you is probably a total waste of my time and that of the other readers, and that your mind is closed to the other perspective on things, the perspective focused on healing the injury SY caused and dreams by others of SY doing something to set things to rights and reestablish a modicum of "integrity". The definition of which, after reading your posts here and elsewhere, is clearly in the eye of the beholder. I suppose when Baba said "The world is as you see it" at least that one teaching must be true. Clearly your definition of integrity and mine differ greatly.

Say hello to Suze Orman for me.

-A Former Siddhayogi®

Anonymous said...

it all goes to show: GM and syda may not have much to offer regarding actual tools for enlightenment and awareness, but you can learn an awful lot about marketing and PR from the place. hence kumada's missive.

Anonymous said...

Kumuda,

I cannot say I agree 100% with your comment but loved to see it, maybe because I feel it helps balancing things. And totally agree with "if you’re walking on your path and are guided to move on to a different path – for whatever internal or external reason – it is most fortunate to move forward, as much as possible, with a positive feeling." Great!

Pp

SeekHer said...

Kumuna wrote:
"Baba never told us to meditate on his form or focus on him, although he allowed us to practice and experience the kind of guru bhakti and sadhana that he felt had been so divinely beneficial to his own journey."

First, Kumuna, welcome here. I'm happy to have a fully diverse chorus of voices here.

I do have to take issue with your statement above. The kind of guru bhakti that Muktananda practiced was centered directly on focusing on the Guru's form. I was taught in SY meditation courses to imitate Baba's method of guru-worship, which involved "installing" the guru in every part of your body, from head to toe and back again, before meditating. If Baba didn't personally recommend his method to SY students (which is debatable, since it appears prominently in his books), it became part of Baba's teachings after his death.

Anonymous said...

"Baba never told us to meditate on his form or focus on him, although he allowed us to practice and experience the kind of guru bhakti and sadhana that he felt had been so divinely beneficial to his own journey. In a book I was reading the other day, Muktananda said that even if you took a box and worshipped it with true feeling, you would receive the same benefit as if that box were a statue of the divine. As he used to say, God exists in your feeling."

Greetings Kumuda,

Both in the seminal chanting text, the Guru Gita, in Babas' autobiodgraphy Play of Consiousness and in countless photos and anecdotes, Baba modeled and instructed us in devotion to the form of the Guru. It is completely beyond me how you could say that Baba did not encourage a focus on his form.

On the point of 'God exists in your feelings'. I believe this to have been the snare in SY. Feelings are so easy to manipulate. I am seeing that with other paths I don't have to be charmed, have my feelings played. I can use my intellect and evaluate the ideas.

Yesterday I found this on value analysis. It seemed like a good thing to apply to SY since I am no longer 'eyes wide shut' about all things SY and am more interested in things in this world than the otherworlds I had myself sequestered in with the beloved gurus.

Six Basic Querstions of Value Analysis to apply to SY

What is it?
What does it do?
What is it worth?
What does it cost?
What else would work?
What does that cost?

I am finding lots of low cost/no cost ways to get what I got from SY. Especially now that I am finding God, not in my feelings, but in my own adult reasoning. Not kissing the ground she walks on in So. Fallsburg anymore.

"In my interpretation, the deeper message of the gurus was and is: Become God and worship yourself; become the Guru and follow yourself; and become trustworthy and trust yourself. In my experience, all the practices and teachings were meant to be in service of this message."

This I just don't know what to say. It makes me want to ask, 'Where is the real Kumuda and what have you done with her?' With all your knowledge and wisdom, this is what you get? You are a philosopher Kumuda you know this statment could be torn apart and holds no water for the truth to stand in. What gives? The truth is whatever you say it is?

Congratulations on the second edition of the book. Hope it solves your money woes at last.

Anonymous said...

-A Former Siddhayogi®
January 8, 2008 4:37 AM

Thank you so much for your fabulously articulate and even tempered response to Sharon Janis (Share Online Janus?), self proclaimed "monk" of no particular lineage, author of **** and creator of *** with website at www.***.*** etc etc etc.

Even if you believe you wrote to her in vain, you did not do so with regard to this reader. Forget whether or not she understands you. She has repeatedly shown, both in her blog writings and in her books, that she is incapable of understanding and grasping huge areas of moral philosophy, let alone in some instances clear, verifiable facts.

From her own post:

"I think most of the problems Siddhayogis and ex-Siddhayogis have had in entering a more universal vision of the guru stem from all those ashram and center mini-gurus (or mini-tyrants) who created, projected, and pushed their own trips onto the path... [HERE IT COMES] yet even the few drops of grace that I was able to digest [in my VAST humility] have created what for me have been fairly miraculous creative works [they might even be considered SCRIPTURE someday, given their INSPIRED origin] – not miraculous in sales numbers or financial compensation, [MESSAGE: but you can change this if you buy my stuff!!!] but in the blessing and fulfilled dream of being able to offer this kind of seva [SEVA = SELFLESS SERVICE, not marketed product] to the world through a website of free [oh, I get it that's the "selfless" part] multimedia spiritual resources and various books, videos, and CD’s [FOR WHICH YOU CAN PAY REAL MONEY ONCE I'VE HOOKED YOU INTO THE FREE SUTFF].

"This month, the new 2nd edition of Spirituality For Dummies will be released in bookstores around the world..." SO BUY YOUR COPY TODAY!!!

We should pity her, and pray for her.

Anonymous said...

Are there any licensed psychologists out there, reading here?

Do abused people often have the tendency to be unable to feel empathy for other abused people?

Is it perhaps, that for some abuse victims, the act of feeling emphathy or sympathy for other abused people feels like an admission of weakness or something to detest, and thus intentionally not be able to publicly acknowledge to others?

I really wonder about this.

Because if it does, it can do a LOT to explain the habitual behaviors of a LOT of people in SY.

If there are any licensed psychologists or social workers out there who can answer this question professionally and knowledgeably, I'd really like to find out.

Anonymous said...

Lest we all lapse into distraction with the Kumuda post and her inevitable defense of her own writing:

"There is no way for me to view this message as anything other than a cynical ploy to keep good-hearted folk on the hook. This by way of warning for what's coming next."

Frankly, I am looking forward to the next installment of SeekHer's exceptional writing in this blog.

There's a lot to talk about in the latest post. I just have to get my mind away from Kumuda long enough to engage the words of the first, and in my opinion far better blog writer here.

Anonymous said...

Just a few responses to Kumunda's post:

"In my opinion, Siddha Yoga doesn’t have to air its own dirty laundry. Others have done this quite well already,"

So...by analogy..if "others have exposed Richard Nixon, for example, as a "crook", then there's no need for Richard Nixon to 'apologize' or 'come clean'...Understanding we are talking about a politician (who would not have volunteered this information willingly) and a "spiritual leader" (who one might expect would be a bit more ethical).

"For some who have a focused intention to uplift themselves with teachings that stem from and reach beyond this world, salacious details about the vehicles for these teachings may simply not be how they choose to spend their time and attention."

And, more power to you if you can ignore these things (ethics, compassion and sexual assault) in the pursuit of your own personal "liberation". What are "teachings that reach beyond this world?" The world IS what you would call "god". The world is simply a manifestation of "god". Why try to "reach beyond it"? Why not be in your body, be silent and experience that "the absoute is our real nature and that of everything we perceive" (Ramana). And how very insulting that you presume that those who have chosen to look at the shadow side of siddha yoga don't have a "focused intention to 'uplift" themselves. Some of us might simply have a different attitude towards the suffering of others and see "ourselves" and "others" as the same thing.


" If the mangos don’t taste good to someone for whatever reason, then of course they should go and find something else that does."
How very interesting that you should choose this particular "teaching story" (sigh) as muktananda was told not to eat mangoes for a very long period by Bhagavan Nityananda (I wonder why?)

"But I don’t think it is fair for someone who doesn’t like mangos or who thinks the farmer has misbehaved to go around trying to pull the mangos out of everyone else’s hands while shouting various conspiracy theories into a bullhorn. Which some have done on other ex-sites."

Oh for Heaven's Sake...is your "faith" in baba so tenuous that you "dont think it's fair" that people call him on the carpet for sexual impropriety?

"I think most of the problems Siddhayogis and ex-Siddhayogis have had in entering a more universal vision of the guru stem from all those ashram and center mini-gurus (or mini-tyrants) who created, projected, and pushed their own trips onto the path."
And I think you are mistaken. Personally, I have to say that my big "problem" was lying,manipulation and prevarication by siddha yoga from the top down. I know the difference; I've seen the way it can work and siddha yoga is not it.



"I didn’t come to this path to judge the guru’s actions,"

Do you really imagine that ANY of us did? Most of us came into siddha yoga with very similar "ambitions"..to know God; to know The Self...and to receive the "grace" of a "perfected siddha master".But as (again) Ramana said, "Grace is not something to be acquired from others. If it is external, it is useless".


" I was able to digest have created what for me have been fairly miraculous creative works – not miraculous in sales numbers or financial compensation, but in the blessing and fulfilled dream of being able to offer this kind of seva to the world through a website of free multimedia spiritual resources and various books, videos, and CD’s. This month, the new 2nd edition of Spirituality For Dummies will be released in bookstores around the world, and once again I have dedicated the book “To my beloved gurus, Baba Muktananda and Gurumayi Chidvilasananda.”

Oh, I apologize! I am so sorry. I thought we were having a discussion about the gurus and siddha yoga. I didn't realize this was an "infomercial". geez! You come here, insulting other people and then give this sales pitch! unbelievable!

Gurumayi has lost some ability or desire to be guru, or is pulling back due to some known or unknown reasons, why not have a heart toward someone who has given you the opportunity to feel a pure, deep love that few ever experience, or for the clear and pristine moments of unadulterated laughter and joy during heavenly celebrations or in the profound yet entertaining informal banter between guru and disciples after a full and inspiring program, or in the peaceful and powerful meditations you were blessed to experience inside your own Self? Even a great being is a human being and has feelings. How would you feel if your friends went and wrote horrible things about you, created websites to destroy you, and wanted to see you suffer? "

I just can't understand that you don't "get" that being a "guru" is not some "gig" where you have your feelings hurt or feel bad that your friends don't like you anymore.I feel immense sympathy for the "person" Malti Shetty who was trapped in a role she is truly ill-suited for but I have no sympathy for a "guru" who offers "bread and circus" to her devotees in place of the truth...and charges them to boot. You know, true compassion is not being "nice" and collaborating with the delusion. True compassion is fierce and swings the sword of truth!

"I’ve experienced some of this hatred-in-action from devotees after false rumors were intentionally spread throughout the Siddha Yoga community by someone of low integrity,"

Many people who left siddha yoga have experienced stalking, shunning, rumors and all the rest...so what else is new? that's par for the course for siddha yoga.

"I tend to view Gurumayi’s recent changes from my perspective of appreciating the blessings of creative solitude, and from that perspective, I do support her in these changes, even if I would have personally chosen to enact them differently."

Again...YOU are not a "guru"...gurumayi is a SIDDHA GURU (caps for emphasis not yelling). She took on the robes and role of GURU...holder of a LINEAGE...it's not like being a pop star. If she wants to step down, great..then she should do what her brother did and go through the formal ceremony, "unguruing" herself (as described in Hinduism today...google it and you can read all about how it's done) and become an ordinary "hermit" or whatever. You can't have it both ways!

"I wish the greatest happiness and blessings for Gurumayi and for everyone she has ever touched."
Here I agree with you. I do LovingKindness practice for gurumayi everyday...but that does not mean that I have to look the other way when the shadow falls across the road.

"As I suggested many years ago during a discussion on one of the ex-boards, if you’re walking on your path and are guided to move on to a different path – for whatever internal or external reason – it is most fortunate to move forward, as much as possible, with a positive feeling. Don’t turn back and spit upon the path that brought you to where you are right now, but kiss the earth and walk on."

Kumunda, that is simply your rather biased personal interpretation of the actions of other people not some kind of universal truth. You are just a human being like the rest of us..not on some 'higher level of understanding'. You make absolutely no attempt to consider the suffering of others yet you are focused are on your own "hurts" and the "hurts" of gurumayi (which, by the way, you have NO way of knowing. For all you know, she could be orchestrating the whole collapse of the yoga for her own reasons..you just do not know; you simply project your own experience onto her and assume it is "true"). Why should anyone take your "spiritual" advice? You present yourelf as some kind of "sensitive" hermit so wounded by others and yet you have no compassion for the suffering of other people or comprehension of the deep concern that so many of us who learned the truth felt for those who had been so badly used..

I'm quite sure you will simply see this response to your post as "hurtful" or "another of those mean ex-syda people attacking you"..but, believe me, I don't mean it that way. Living in a fantasy world of "visions and experiencs" is not the same thing as waking up. I wish you the best of luck in your "sadhana".

s.

J said...

Seekher said
I do have to take issue with your statement above. ....If Baba didn't personally recommend his method to SY students (which is debatable, since it appears prominently in his books), it became part of Baba's teachings after his death.

---
I think it over simplifies to look at this one way or the other, as mutually exclusive. In fact, Baba took both positions at different times. As has Gurumayi. Now, the complete cynic would say they didn't even know what they were teaching. However, if I look to how other spiritual paths treat this same issue (basically, form vs formless), I see that there is a place for both, at diff times, for diff folks.

Anonymous said...

Uffff.. SeekHer wrote "I actually welcome those of you who feel differently to tell your truth here." but, sorry, reading the 7 or 8 previous comments that reply to Kumuda has nothing to do with welcoming (not saying it for you, SeekHer)... too sad...

SeekHer said...

anon wrote:

"Uffff.. SeekHer wrote "I actually welcome those of you who feel differently to tell your truth here." but, sorry, reading the 7 or 8 previous comments that reply to Kumuda has nothing to do with welcoming (not saying it for you, SeekHer)... too sad..."

Yes. I, too am disappointed that Kumuda has been a bit ganged up on. I've published the replies to her comment because they are engaging the ideas she put forth. Anyone out there care to come to the defense of those ideas?

SeekHer said...

Kumuna wrote:
"If, as some of you suggest, Gurumayi has lost some ability or desire to be guru, or is pulling back due to some known or unknown reasons, why not have a heart toward someone who has given you the opportunity to feel a pure, deep love that few ever experience, or for the clear and pristine moments of unadulterated laughter and joy during heavenly celebrations or in the profound yet entertaining informal banter between guru and disciples after a full and inspiring program, or in the peaceful and powerful meditations you were blessed to experience inside your own Self?"

This resonates with me. One of the teachings that I heard Gurumayi give that has stayed with me the most is "Be grateful to someone who has given you even just a grain of salt." There is more than a single grain of truth in SY teachings, and I do value the sorts of experiences you mention here very much, and try to remember them with affection and love (for all who were present). I have to admit I am currently finding it difficult to feel that gratitude for Gurumayi, but I hope some day gratitude and forgiveness will join hands.

Anonymous said...

Yes. I, too am disappointed that Kumuda has been a bit ganged up on.

LOL, you were part of the gang up, Seekher!

Anonymous said...

In reference to Kumuda posts:

I come on strong for a good reason. I saw this woman's good mind in action in the very early days leading study groups on kashmir shaivism. Not to speak of you in the third person as you read dear Kumuda. So I will address you directly, with real affection for your individuality and integrity. You have maintained you outsider stance all these years. I can relate.

Intellectually what you are sharing about SY in this recent post does not compare to the sharp mind I saw back in the day. You simply cannot brush off what many are experiencing as a tremendous emanicipation after ridding themselves of SY culture and philosophy. Why is that? Why do we feel grounded clarity when no longer doing the practices?

Much respect for you Kumuda.

Anonymous said...

"Lest we all lapse into distraction with the Kumuda post and her inevitable defense of her own writing..."

She may not respond. A pattern I've observed with her is that she'll often respond to a challenge if it's phrased politely enough. If it's a direct, intense attack, she typically ignores it and avoids any response at all.

I wonder if she thinks that by not responding she's taking the high road or even performing some kind of internet aikijujutsu. But to me it has come across as just more passive-agression and/or stubborn denial. I can't read her mind, so all I can do is guess wildly.

-A Former Siddhayogi®

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends,

It is fine if you want to project all kinds of horrible motives to my sharing my opinions here. I always chuckle when some of you ex-siddhayogis create this idea of my great commercial materialism, since I’ve lived under the poverty line while earning under $10,000 during most of the past 10 years and offering my works to the world – yes – as seva. BTW, if you offer CDs and books for free on your website and a few of them are also available for sale, very few people purchase what they can enjoy for free (Spirituality For Dummies is the only of my books that I don’t have the right to post in its entirety on our website). Because my work is done with the feeling of seva that I learned in the ashram, my focus is on the offering of these works that reflect some of the blessings I’ve received to many around the world who have enjoyed and benefited from them. Sadhvi, “s”, you don’t have to be a perfect guru to share teachings and devotional singing that others can enjoy and benefit from. Certainly you’ve taken much time over the years to share many of your own spiritual theories on the various websites.

Of course, receiving almost no pay while working 365 days a year is not very balanced and is something I’ve had to contemplate and work with, but the reality of my situation in contrast to your accusations makes it more obvious that those of you who have projecting these incorrect insinuations toward me are also making up false facts about the guru. So yes, I agree that I am in good company, and I am happy to be in Gurumayi’s company even in this.

I certainly have read the various posts over the years and do understand the many points of view and sympathize with many of them. As one poster said, my opinions are that of my own personal views as an ordinary human being who has contemplated these topics for many years. Just as you’ve all shared your thoughts and opinions, I’ve shared mine. However for those of you who shoot venom towards anyone who has a different point of view to share and make personal attacks against me instead of discussing what I’ve shared – and based on your words, you seem to be the same people who attacked so venomously when I visited ex-sy last year to correct some incorrect information that had been forwarded to me from that site -- it just goes to show that your goal here is not the search for the knowledge of the truth or establishment in the awareness of the Self, but to tear down anyone who doesn’t agree with you as you further your mission of destruction.

In fact, your responses have helped me to appreciate even more the important spiritual guidance in this year’s message, so I thank you for that. SeekHer very kindly invited people to share their positive views, promising that they wouldn’t be attacked. So since I had read some of his posts and the other comments in what seemed to be a somewhat fair forum, I also shared my thoughts and personal views. I’m sure there must be some useful advice in your responses to my sharing, but it would take a lot of muckraking to uncover them, and I don’t really have time or inclination to do so (with the new book coming out and all!), so I apologize to those who may have shared honest and useful suggestions amidst all the mud. Gee, I can’t imagine why any guru wouldn’t want to give more to all of you!

If anyone would like to communicate with me in a humane fashion, you’re welcome to contact me through my website.

Best wishes to all.

Sharon

Anonymous said...

I do not post much but lurk.

I'm not defending any sides here, I can only speak from my own experiences.

1) this dialogue is helping me tremendously with my current personal family relationships. Especially: "You know, true compassion is not being "nice" and collaborating with the delusion. True compassion is fierce and swings the sword of truth!"

2) I am also in publishing but not in Kumuda's genre. So there is a possibility that my knowledge is not correct. From my experiences, when a book goes into second printing there is no second advance given. At this point, money is earned through royalty only. Usually, 10% of the retail cost. Also, most people I meet outside the publishing business do not realize that in order to collect those royalty payments the publisher must first accrue the original advance paid to the author. Example, If I made a $10,000 advance (15-25% also goes to my rep) then the publisher has to have enough sales of my book to equal $10,000 before the royalty kicks in. Mostly, I never see a dime after being paid the low advances (in my genre the pay is low). Hope that make it a bit clearer. There is alot of misconceptions about publishing.

Anonymous said...

Seekher, you said "Yes. I, too am disappointed that Kumuda has been a bit ganged up on. I've published the replies to her comment because they are engaging the ideas she put forth. Anyone out there care to come to the defense of those ideas?"

Seekher, due to your own admission to have not spent lots of time on EXSY, you're probably not aware of a relatively small number (5 to 10?) of individuals over that site's history, individuals who either vociferously support SY and its gurus and tolerate no apostasy of any sort, individuals who view themselves as having become gurus in their own right and recruit for new followers disappointed in SY and/or sell their own spirituality-related products (often claiming some special relationship and/or discipleship to one or more of the SY gurus), and individuals who simply enjoy making trouble.

Whatever the category, they seem to get a kick out of stirring up the pot. And stir they do.

Whichever category she fits in, Sharon Kumuda Janis is one of them.

Another to watch out for is a woman named Rasa von Werder.

And there are others whose names don't immediately come to mind.

Some of these people were, unfortunately for you and your blog, BOUND to make their way here at some point in time. I'm simply surprised it took this darned long for it to happen.

Like it or not, you have regular contributors here who are people who also participate at EXSY, and/or who quit EXSY because they prefer it here for one reason or another, in addition to people who stumbed on this blog as their first spot or second spot after reading The Guru Looked Good.

And folks who comment here regularly have been the recepients of such pot-stirring and don't relish the thought of it happening here.

The fact is, Seekher, that Sharon Kumuda Janis arrived here with an established history. And a number of your "regulars" were very directly involved in that history.

It's not right of her and of us to bring this history to your doorstep, particularly since you didn't ask for it. Unfortunately, it was bound to happen.

And I'll simply say that it's entirely up to you to decide how best to handle this.

I will give you this recommendation, which I hope you'll consider in earnest: I would highly HIGHLY recommend you reach out to a couple of regular contributors here like k. and like s. for off-blog advice on whom to keep a sharp eye out for. If they are whom I think they are, they're pretty well-versed in knowing who the major pot-stirrers are. They can likely provide you LOADS of advice on this point.

Sure hope this is helpful to your understanding exactly what's been going on.

And I offer you an apology for letting myself get dragged into this off-blog history today.

-A Former Siddhayogi®

SeekHer said...

a former siddhayogi wrote:
"She may not respond. A pattern I've observed with her is that she'll often respond to a challenge if it's phrased politely enough. If it's a direct, intense attack, she typically ignores it and avoids any response at all."

Can you blame her? Seems natural enough to me.

Regarding Kumuda's comment having a commercial intent. I don't see it that way. From where I stand she was sharing about what she now does for a living as an example of how she has put SY teachings to work in the world. It's possible to disagree with how she interprets those teachings without impugning her motives for writing about them here, particularly after being invited to (in my last post.)

SeekHer said...

a former Siddha Yogi wrote:
"The fact is, Seekher, that Sharon Kumuda Janis arrived here with an established history. And a number of your "regulars" were very directly involved in that history.

It's not right of her and of us to bring this history to your doorstep, particularly since you didn't ask for it. Unfortunately, it was bound to happen."

Thank you for the back story, my friend. Of course, I prefer that quarrels begun on another site aren't resumed here. There isn't much I can do to stop that, given my open door policy. I have no interest in shooing anyone away here, whether they have caused a commotion on eXSY or anywhere else. If you come here willing to share your on-topic ideas and opinions, you're welcome.

So, what can we as a community do to handle situations like these? I want to offer a suggestion. Let us all only deal with the ideas presented in one another's comments, and leave personal history out of it. I find it interesting that the comments here which deal solely with the ideas and opinions under discussion are most likely to go unsigned. And the ones that attempt to engage on a personal basis tend to have some sort of identifying tag. That doesn't mean that participants who tag their comments don't usually post on-topic, thoughtful responses. Just that when things get heated, they tend to do so because of personal reactions between participants.

Anonymous said...

SeekHer said:
"One of the teachings that I heard Gurumayi give that has stayed with me the most is "Be grateful to someone who has given you even just a grain of salt." There is more than a single grain of truth in SY teachings, and I do value the sorts of experiences you mention here very much, and try to remember them with affection and love (for all who were present). I have to admit I am currently finding it difficult to feel that gratitude for Gurumayi, but I hope some day gratitude and forgiveness will join hands."

Amen, SeekHer. That's my hope, too. But that day ain't gonna arrive as a result of sweeping the dirt under the rug. A thorough airing and housecleaning is needed, IMO.

older but wiser

Anonymous said...

>>"Sadhvi, “s”, you don’t have to be a perfect guru to share teachings and devotional singing that others can enjoy and benefit from. Certainly you’ve taken much time over the years to share many of your own spiritual theories on the various websites."<<

Kumunda,
since you have addressed me directly, let me point out a few differences between us. I do not claim any kind of "higher understanding". I do not have a website selling CD's or promoting writings based on my "spiritual theories" and I have always been very very careful to stress the fact that what i say is simply my personal opinion based on my particular experiences through the years, nothing more. I am very willing to be corrected and to learn from other people and have done so many times on "various websites". I have no aspirations to be any kind of "spiritual teacher" or, in actuality, any kind of "anything". When you accuse others of being venomous, I don't think you realize how very insulting you are to the intelligence and integrity of those same people when you post. I suspect that you don't actually mean to be that way.
I stand with what I said in an earlier post..."compassion" is not always "nice"...think of the sword of Manjushri (and I'm not comparing myself to a Buddhist deity just saying that what you perceive as "venom" might actually be "nectar" if you "change the perscription of your glasses"). Anyway, you and I have been through this before so I will simply say this to you...Kumunda, I truly wish you well..I'll remember you in my Loving Kindness practice tonight..difficult as that might be for you to believe. "May you be Safe and Protected; May you be Happy and Peaceful; May you be Healthy and Strong and May You live your Life with Joy and with Ease".
best to you,
sadhvi

Anonymous said...

Dear SeekHer,
The last thing I would ever want to do is to contribute to problems here..I have been posting regularly (s). I am very happy to butt out of the Kumunda discussion. Perhaps I should have simply followed another piece of Ramana's advice..."be silent"..lol!
Anyway,you are welcome to let me know at any time if I am overstepping what you consider to be helpful here. And, in fact, it might be a time for me to just read and learn.
best,
s.

Anonymous said...

Gurumayi has lost some ability or desire to be guru, or is pulling back due to some known or unknown reasons, why not have a heart toward someone who has given you the opportunity to feel .....

I, too, have moved on from SY and my focus is forward and positive.
Since I left in early '07, my life and spiritual growth have taken a quantum leap. This was shocking to me as my expectation was that I would likely wallow in an empty spiritual desert. Needless to say, my perspective regarding the effect of SY in my life altered remarkably from what I once "naturally assumed".
I feel no personal anger nor do I waste my time revisiting over and over what transpired or perhaps why. We all have our own paths to walk and there are likely as many explanations as there are devotees.
That said, I do know this and believe it to be a truth-not a personal opinion.
If Gurumayi has a need to withdraw from the dharma of the seat, then she has a responsibility to publickly do so(a letter will be sufficient). Out of her "great respect and love" for all and the integrity of the position she holds
she needs to state her intention, wish us all the darshan of our own great hearts and withdraw, shutting down official dakshina, the bookstore and courses. She also would at least obliquely express some genuine knowledge of and remorse for the pain many suffered under her leadership.
If she really wanted to go the full distance, some sort of remuneration to the long-term ashramites who were let go and left to find some sort of existence on minimum social security with no health insurance would be a great gesture.
Without this sort of action, I can only pray that at some point in the future she becomes wise and compassionate enough to figure it out for herself.
I could respect her for such an act and wish her peace and contentment in her forest-dweller years. Left as it is, she and SYDA are no better than Enron except that SYDA is still in business.

~Come on Gurumayi...it's the right thing to do.

Anonymous said...

I keep thinking about the title of your most recent post, SeekHer--"the uses of disenchantment."
Disenchanted, disillusioned--we could do the SY "dictionary definition" thing with them, "unpacking" the words. I for one am so glad not to be living in the enchantment and illusions of SY any longer, painful as it was to pry myself loose from them.

older but wier

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends,

One point I was attempting to make by sharing about some of my seva is that even though SYDA Foundation has decreased its offerings to the world, what I see happening now is that devotees who received something from their years of Siddha Yoga practice are offering their blessings to the world – whether they still consider themselves to be “in Siddha Yoga” or not. Of course, there are aberrations where the teachings are so covered in angst that their light is completely covered. But I think that most people who have been on the path – like Sadhvi – have obviously attained some knowledge and wisdom (from Siddha Yoga and elsewhere) that is worth sharing with others, even if, as you say, you’ve chosen not to publish other than the hundreds or thousands of posts you’ve posted on ex-Siddhayoga boards.

If any of you would like to receive a gift copy of Spirituality For Dummies, let me know. My intention in writing it was to be helpful to people from all walks of life, including Siddhayogis and ex-Siddhayogis – such as the sections on “If we’re all one then act like it,” and “The spiritual correctness police.” All 17 tracks of the CD of devotional music that comes with the book is already available online through the Night Lotus website. Even though SYDA Foundation has put a lot of focus on charging for things of late, it was in Siddha Yoga that I learned to give freely, and have happily given thousands of books, CDs, and videos along with the online offerings. Some of my inspiration for this practice of giving and living simply also comes from spending a year scripting and editing a documentary about Peace Pilgrim (which you can also watch online). Peace believed that spiritual teachings should be given and not sold, and her small foundation continues to this day to offer all of her books, tapes, and videos without charge.

One question to consider -- if you found out that Thomas Edison did something you strongly disapproved of, would you stop using lights?

And thanks to all who are going to include me in your blessings – I welcome your blessings and offer mine back to you!

Best wishes,
Kumuda

Anonymous said...

I'm half convinced some folks visit sites like ROD, TGLG, EXSY, etc. just so they CAN be beaten up.

In other words, they feel some percolating doubts. They don't want to feel such doubts. Now, a person who is accustomed to being a victim since childhood, often plays out the victim role so they can reinforce their self-identity as the victimized who must fight back, lash back, to protect the structural integrity of the self-definition they're accustomed to.

Today someone with a known history of undergoing abuse by a very powerful person came here and stirred things up.

I'm convinced it was done intentionally, but perhaps not for the reasons most of us think, nor even for the reasons the stirrer is necessarily consciously aware of.

Anonymous said...

Kumuda asks,
"One question to consider -- if you found out that Thomas Edison did something you strongly disapproved of, would you stop using lights?"


Nope, but I wouldn't buy my bulbs from Edison.

older but wiser

Anonymous said...

Wow, what an honest blog. It is a great forum to be able to vent and dialogue about a very important subject. Thank you for your clarity, self-inquiry, courage, contemplation, enthusiasm, and seva. I have a feeling Gurumayi would be pleased with the progress you are making in your sadhana.

During the 15 years I have performed sadhana under Her guidance and inspiration, I have wanted to leave Her at least once a year. At least once a year since I met Her, I have wanted to flee Siddha Yoga. She has 'put many bees in my bonnet' so to speak, and hasn't been the least affected by the dramas of my mind, or by the mistakes I've made, or by the mistakes of any of Her other devotees.

I just want to point out in response to your sharings, that these seem like observations of things, events, and dramas happening on the outside of your self. I'm not invalidating your beautiful and sincere feelings here, just identifying with what I do all the time: project, blame, and look for excuses to leave Gurumayi...before She can leave me.

Believe it or not, Gurumayi's retreat for some years has not been the biggest test I have ever been put through at Her hands. It's just another test. If any of the tests She's giving us are bigger than the tests Baba has given Her, I will eat one of my running shoes with mustard.

Every time Gurumayi has EVER given a talk of any kind, or given instruction of any kind, there has always been one universal and constant theme: Look within yourself - Enter the heart, the divine splendour. She never said "Enter the heart, the divine splendour...unless you can't get everything you want from me." She never said, "If I ever change my teaching style, or the way I choose to be a Guru, you should exit the heart immediately and look outside yourself for everything."

People were so upset and frustrated with Bade Baba for hardly EVER talking. If anyone made demands of Him, he would hurl a rock or a piece of fruit at them. The great siddha Zipruanna sat on a pile of shit so people would leave Him alone.

My comments are for me, truly. Not a judgement of you dear blogger. Honest. And I don't find anything disenchanting about honest, soul searching satsang. The only thing I find disenchanting is the word 'disenchanting'. :)

Cynicism is just another feeling.

I love You,

Sadhana Buddy

Stuart said...

Kumuda said...
I don’t think it is fair for someone who doesn’t like mangos or who thinks the farmer has misbehaved to go around trying to pull the mangos out of everyone else’s hands while shouting various conspiracy theories into a bullhorn. Which some have done on other ex-sites.

If someone steals your mango, or shouts at you with a bullhorn, they're disturbing you without your consent. But when you read the ex-sites, you're making an adult decision to get on the net, go to the URL, read what's there, and think about it. No one is forcing you... if you don't like what's on the sites, then don't read them, don't think about them!

WHY make such an incorrect analogy? An ex-site that you go to and read if you choose is nothing at all like stealing your mango or bullhorning your ear.

if you found out that Thomas Edison did something you strongly disapproved of, would you stop using lights?

Of course not. Lights are useful. I don't need to worship or admire Edison to use a light bulb.

If I found something useful in Gurumayi's teachings, I'd use that. I could do so while still recognizing the problems with Gurumayi's teachings, behavior, and organization.

So what's the point of the Edison analogy? If there's something good that's found uniquely in Gurumayi's teachings... what is it? Let's talk about it in a clear and simple way; no need to obscure it with light bulb metaphors.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

I'm going to make one more attempt to boil down a post I made today in reply to Kumuda down to its essence and hope Seekher will let it through this time, since he decided not to let the last one through. The last one wasn't intended to flame Kumuda, merely to point out that people can be upset at stuff she writes on a matter of principle, and that a vociferous argument doesn't always mean a venomous personal attack was intended, rather a serious expression of being upset and objecting to a position she took.

Kumuda, not all replies that may seem venomous to you are intended as vicious personal attacks. Instead they are expressions of outrage at a position you take. You are not your positions. Just as there is a difference between you and your positions, there is a difference between an personal attack and an expression of deep frustration and outrage at something you say. In both cases, one does not necessarily equate to the other.

In other words, it may not always be about YOU. It may simply be a deep expression of disagreement.

Truly praying you understand this.
Truly praying Seekher lets this message be communicated this time.

Anonymous said...

Stuart Said:

“If someone steals your mango, or shouts at you with a bullhorn, they're disturbing you without your consent. But when you read the ex-sites, you're making an adult decision to get on the net, go to the URL, read what's there, and think about it. No one is forcing you... if you don't like what's on the sites, then don't read them, don't think about them!

WHY make such an incorrect analogy? An ex-site that you go to and read if you choose is nothing at all like stealing your mango or bullhorning your ear.”


Hi Stuart, actually it is your interpretation of what I was referring to with my analogy that is incorrect, and I take responsibility for not explaining more clearly my line of thoughts behind the story. The first part of the mango analogy actually referred first to one observation, and the second to another. I’ll try to clarify a bit better here.

SeekHer’s description of analyzing the New Years message reminded me of this idea of going into the mango field and looking only at the incidentals, although I absolutely respect his experience and may have thought some of the same thoughts if I’d attended. As for the bullhorn and trying to take mangos away from others, the fellow (I assume) who went after me with all kinds of untrue accusations to bully me off this board today reminded me of the fellow who spent months threatening on Marta’s and other sites to use his federal contacts to destroy Siddha yoga because he is upset that his wife and children love being on the path. I remember that fellow saying that only if Gurumayi told his wife to leave the path would he stop all the attacks, and that statement really left a chill and made me happy that I’m not married at all, much less to someone who would do something like that, and talk about it publicly. It is this kind of intent to destroy the path for others that I was reminded of by today’s posts, and that I was referring to in the 2nd part of the mango analogy – although how would you know that unless I explained it better.

As for these Siddha yoga blogs and boards, I enjoy reading everyone’s thoughts and experiences, whether I always agree with them or not. Siddha yoga discourse is a rare delicacy for me these days, since being blackballed by devotees, and as a topic dear to my heart, I appreciate all the energy SeekHer, Marta, and others have put into expressing their views and experiences, including Marta’s vivid description of Gurumayi sitting on a white duvet with a purple floppy hat and all the other details of ashram life, and SeekHer’s impressive memory recollections of what Gurumayi said during her talk, which have been a blessing for me to read and imagine. I feel a friendliness and kinship to everyone here, and actually to everyone everywhere for that matter. But that doesn’t mean I agree with all of their assessments or actions.


Stuart says:

“If I found something useful in Gurumayi's teachings, I'd use that. I could do so while still recognizing the problems with Gurumayi's teachings, behavior, and organization.”


Well, then we are 100% in agreement about this. Some seem to have a problem with continuing their practices or thinking about teachings they learned in Siddha yoga when their opinions about the path change, and I was offering that analogy for their sake, even if they’re not actively posting.

Anonymous said...

Forgive.....

When is the prinicipal going to log in to this discussion?

The person I loved and admired would have had a dog in this fight by now. Sure ain't Kumuda, who only speaks for herself.

Anybody speaking for our dearest our there anywhere?????!!!!!!!!

Yes, as Kumuda metnioned there were many sublime moments, vignettes. But they are meaningless as memories only.

Recently read an expression, sorry it is french. It was something like 'adieu les beaujours', or something like that. It was goodbye to the beautiful past days. I took it to mean, releasing the past to a beautiful memory and not requiring the present to offer anything similar. That we could do for any remaining siddhayogis. The glory days of SY of so over.

Hermentically sealed audio webcasts can and should be abandoned going forward. Save everyone the expense and aggravation.

Release everyone from this micabre danse.

SeekHer said...

seekher said...
anon wrote (could it have been Narayan?)
"Recently read an expression, sorry it is french. It was something like 'adieu les beaujours', or something like that. It was goodbye to the beautiful past days. I took it to mean, releasing the past to a beautiful memory and not requiring the present to offer anything similar. That we could do for any remaining siddhayogis. The glory days of SY of so over."

Do you perhaps mean, 'bonjour tristesse"?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Suze Orman, is she still a devotee of SY? And Lester Strong? And Felicia Rashad? What are these people doing these days?

Anonymous said...

To me, reading the comments in this post has become a great practice of centering... Oooops, one comment is terribly sweet, so much covered with sugar (or syrup!), the next comment is so fiery and tough... just like a roller-coaster! ;-)

Pp

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Seekher, for answering the question I posted earlier, asking specifically what the talk meant to those who listened — where it left them.

If a talk was coming, this was the kind of talk I was expecting: one which fell back on the same formulas (as one blogger aptly put it, "Got your active verb in the first phrase, and then the intransitive one in the second, to balance. Doing and being, get it? So profound...Search for the perfect cup of coffee and become established at the corner table.").

Hence I didn't listen to the talk, but was content to wait and listen to whether it genuinely touched anyone at all. If it did, I would happily have acknowledged being wrong, and would have ponied up to hear the talk myself. How the words touched the listeners when they are free to speak openly and honestly (thank you for the web site as a forum, and I think anonymity is a plus) is in this case the test of the authenticity of this 'Guru's word.'

Now the question, especially for the 'regulars' on the site who have soooo much to say about their disgust with the whole thing. Do you have a meditation practice, or what is your practice (besides blogging?)

I'll readily admit it has taken me years to begin to establish my meditation practice as my own. All of the associations with GM and also with Muktananda that bubbled up each time I attempted to sit proved to be a real obstacle, and I've had to search for the essence of the practice apart from their personalities, words and deeds. But I believe in the practice, regardless of what they did with it. There are centuries of teachers such as Vasishtha who had plenty to say about the truth, none of which is discounted by the saga of SY. What then of that truth? And of the practice by which you come to experience it (if there is indeed truth to their words)?

A number of bloggers have begun to refer to meditation as one form or another of a drug (and apparently not a good or healing one), and have offered their own bromides about the truth which, when I look at them closely, appear to be attractively new-agey and post-Guru, but also pretty naive, unhelpful and ultimately trivial, if not deluded. But certainly reassuring, especially to those who want to give up trying.

Again the question: are you (bloggers and readers) content to settle for these? What is the practice by which you continue along your own path? Has blogging, flaming others and pontificating become your practice? Where do you think that will take you, once it helps you through your process of 'healing?' I do continue to be interested in your thoughts — I'm just curious what you're doing in your own life to back your wisdom up and move you forward.

Seekher, you consistently reflect in your comments the purpose of your blog, and you are doing and saying exactly what needs to be said for all of us as we come together. You're being personal, open and honest, and even the 'negative' stuff you're being called on is an essential part of your honesty.

We're all chewing on this. The question is, what are we doing to digest it — or has the whole SY thing just become spicy chewing gum, with nothing to be gained from it apart from the joy of masticating?

SeekHer said...

Anon wrote:
"Now the question, especially for the 'regulars' on the site who have soooo much to say about their disgust with the whole thing. Do you have a meditation practice, or what is your practice (besides blogging?) "

OK, I'm going to take this on before you get piled on, which I think might be coming because part of your comment is certain to strike some as judgmental and a bit self-righteous. But, I think you're question, as framed above is a fair one. My answer is no, I no longer have a meditation practice. I find that whenever I sit quietly, in the sauna at the gym, on a train, or even just on my living room couch, the mantra comes up for me very naturally. I don't know how to relate to this. It is so infused with 'the Guru's prana shakti' associations of SY that I can't feel comfortable allowing it to happen. It feels like falling backwards into a grave.

I don't know if that makes sense, but I would love to hear how you detached your meditation practice from its SY anchors, and hope you won't be chased away by the other comments that I think your posting here is going to bring!

Anonymous said...

"A number of bloggers have begun to refer to meditation as one form or another of a drug (and apparently not a good or healing one), and have offered their own bromides about the truth which, when I look at them closely, appear to be attractively new-agey and post-Guru, but also pretty naive, unhelpful and ultimately trivial, if not deluded. But certainly reassuring, especially to those who want to give up trying."

January 9, 2008 8:22 AM

Greetings Anon,

If what you are trying to do with the above is invite others to join you in further discussion, it's um....not working....try a little tenderness......:-)

Anonymous said...

"I can't feel comfortable allowing it to happen. It feels like falling backwards into a grave."

Exact sensation I have about letting the mantra run or to meditate. Really would you get back in bed with your rapist?

Anonymous said...

"Now the question, especially for the 'regulars' on the site who have soooo much to say about their disgust with the whole thing. Do you have a meditation practice, or what is your practice (besides blogging?)"

"A number of bloggers have begun to refer to meditation as one form or another of a drug (and apparently not a good or healing one), and have offered their own bromides about the truth which, when I look at them closely, appear to be attractively new-agey and post-Guru, but also pretty naive, unhelpful and ultimately trivial, if not deluded. But certainly reassuring, especially to those who want to give up trying.

"Again the question: are you (bloggers and readers) content to settle for these? What is the practice by which you continue along your own path? Has blogging, flaming others and pontificating become your practice? Where do you think that will take you, once it helps you through your process of 'healing?' I do continue to be interested in your thoughts — I'm just curious what you're doing in your own life to back your wisdom up and move you forward."

K responds:

I guess I'll take this one on.

First, thanks for helping us to get back to the real subject under discussion here: what happens when the illusion of a perfect, perfectly accessible Spiritual Parent/Protector falls away, and what to do in the wake of this loss of such spiritual innocence?

As for the practice of meditation, yes I do have one, via method I learned at a fraction of the cost I spent "learning" meditation from my many expensive ashram visits and purchases of SY literature. It comes basically from the Vipassana tradition, though it's grounded in literature written by lay American Buddhist teachers like Jon Kabbat Zinn, Sharon Salzberg and and Jack Kornfield.

The best expression of this method can be learned at the Insight Meditation School in Barre Mass but really, all you need to get going is a good teacher in a Stress Reduction Program hosted by someone trained in John Kabbat Zinn's workshops. These are all built arouind his superb book Full Catastrophe Living - one of the most practical and lucid books I've ever read on the subject of stress reduction and meditation.

The workshops are available at many hospitals across the USA. Just do some calling around to see if one may be offered in your area.

My next recommendation would be a thorough reading of Jack Kornfield's book A Path With Heart, then a Google Search for a reputable teacher or school of Buddhist studies (there's a reason I suggest Buddhism... its meditation communities seem to have matured since Buddhism came to the US, and much of the yoga community is still in its infancy) or a meditation center that DOES NOT encourage devotional practice or personal surrender to a "master teacher" or any charismatic leader.

Here's a link to the IMS should anyone have an interest in pursuing this option further:

http://www.dharma.org/ims/

I found this method very useful as a means of separating the "wheat" of my genuine personal practice from the "chaff" of attributing my meditation experience to the "anchors" (you mean that word in the NLP sense right, SeekHer?) established in my deep unconscious by the psychologically overwhelming experiences I had in SY.

In the simple sitting I learned from IMS teachers, I was able to see all these "anchors" as mental constructs, and to separate them from my body with the repeated use of my breath, in my own SILENCE (ie no tamboura constantly twanging) at my own pace.

It's still meditation, friend, just meditation on the simplicity of my breath, beneath the noise of my thoughts, beyond the longing of my lonely heart.

Oh and I don't want to discount the importance of finding some good therapy to help with the PTSD that came up as I did some of this work. A reputable Zen teacher can offer the same kind of help if you can find one, but I suggest that you look with care as there are good ones and bad ones out there. The good ones are priceless, the bad ones can be worse than useless.

It looks like Stuart has access to a very good Zen community.

Thanks for this thread and again thank you to SkHr for this wonderful forum.

Anonymous said...

SeekHer said:

I find that whenever I sit quietly, in the sauna at the gym, on a train, or even just on my living room couch, the mantra comes up for me very naturally. I don't know how to relate to this. It is so infused with 'the Guru's prana shakti' associations of SY that I can't feel comfortable allowing it to happen. It feels like falling backwards into a grave.

SeekHer: sorry to comment twice in a row but I forgot to say this in the last post: the mantra did take some time to bleed out of my meditation practice but eventually I learned to see the mantra as just another thought pattern. And remember, all those associations we learned to attach to the sound of the mantra, they're just patterns of thought too.

Ultimately, all teachings, all questions, all answers, all blogging and responding to blog writing, they're all thoughts that can be used to get a place of no thoughts, a place where there is nothing but bare, beautiful experience.

Pure experience may feel like a state of seamless bliss for some people, for others it may just feel blissful to be seamlessly free.

I hope to experience some of that unmitigated freedom before I die.

K.

Anonymous said...

"A Former Siddhayogi®" speaks:

Currently I do not have a meditation practice but that is more a function of the fact that my current work life involves nearly 2 hour commute in the morning front door to office desk, and then 2 hours again back home. In other words, I have no freakin' free time at all except on weekends, when I recover.

After leaving SY I would try to simply watch the breath going in and going out, and watch for that point of awareness where the inbreath ends and just before the outbreath begins. Despite absolutely loving the inner stillness that the practice brought about, I encountered several problems:

1. All those drunken feeling of "shakti" came rushing back. And I no longer wish to get bliss-drunk. I'd rather find some way to generate wakeful, aware, silent observation that also generates a quiet inner joy, not some bliss rush. This bliss rush is one of several reasons why I myself referred to the "shakti" as a drug.

There are other reasons. In retrospect I now can look more objectively back on my cravings for a "guru shakti hit fix" when Muk and GM were giving darshan or intensives. I see a dependency in that and the person I have become since leaving SY strongly, VERY strongly does not want to be hooked on any kind of dependency. This was what brought on my alluding to "drugs".

My initial point being that the meditation practices results in not quite the inner state result I'm exactly looking for. Maybe I need another method?

2. Like someone else mentioned, it doesn't take long for the ONS mantra to kick in, mentally. I now associate ONS, or at least the "vibration" that the one(s) we used in SY contain, as containing that "contamination from the pipeline" and I'd truly prefer to feel like the energy I'm working with is "cleaner" and "purer" and doesn't have wrongdoings by that pipeline associated with it.

Once ONS starts up, I basically have to stop meditating, get up, and turn on the radio, TV, or some music to direct my mind elsewhere. That danged mantra is ETCHED into the grooves of my mind's antique LP record player. And I don't know how to UN-ETCH it.

Finally, Anon 8:22 asks "What is the practice by which you continue along your own path? Has blogging, flaming others and pontificating become your practice? Where do you think that will take you, once it helps you through your process of 'healing?' I do continue to be interested in your thoughts — I'm just curious what you're doing in your own life to back your wisdom up and move you forward?"

That's a fair question to levy at me, for sure. The answer is, I'm not sure I CAN move on. Three years later, I still haven't. Then again, one female friend of mine was sexually abused by one of our gurus and another male friend of mine was physically beaten when he was a 15-year old teenager by George Afif and his thugs after challenging Gurumayi directly in darshan. We all know teenage boys can have a real arrogant mouth on them, but I deeply doubt George and his posse would have shoved my young friend into a private office, or thrown him up against a wall (literally), and proceeded to beat the crap out of him, unless during that darshan line, Gurumayi had looked over at George and given him the nod to proceed and go after the kid.

What I'm saying is, in my own case, until I see SY in general and GM in particular doing something significant to make amends to these and other people hurt, I'm going to have a rough time letting myself let go and move on from my anger. The injury just hits too close to home for me. I can't just theorize about it...I know these people.

Which doesn't mean I shouldn't move on. I'm simply not sure HOW to move on, given the depth of feeling I hold based on what I just explained.

I do get the sense you're judging me and others for being judgemental and staying there, especially when it comes to "flaming others" (like Kumuda) who seem to demonize people like me, when she wants to give Gurumayi a pass. Precious little enrages me more than when somebody suggests I forget about the hurt my own two friends suffered at GM's (or her minions') hands. I know that Seekher doesn't want us to bring prior conflict history from other sites here, but my sense of wanting to see amends made and justice served, is just extremely deep.

As for not moving on, we all have our reasons. Some longer-lasting than others, perhaps.

Maybe I'm obsessing about wanting justice. But I can't put it any plainer than this: Seeing the hurt my friends live with, I feel the hurt too. And I simply think it's wrong when a spiritual teacher one attaches one's divine faith in, who allows others to portray as a "perfected human being" and "in union with the divine" lets other people down like that, and hurts them.

Bottom line: It still HURTS.

Anonymous said...

My lineage is sy.
Sy was created by Muk. Muk was a left-hand black tantric sorcerer. He lied about being a guru, he lied about many things.
What does that make GM? She is his successor. Everything she has she got from a black tantric sorcerer.
So what did she give us?
She says everthing she has she got from Muk.
To be blunt, we have been initiated into black tantric sorcery without our knowledge or consent.
Some of us were singled out for more intense invasion, some were on the edges of the group and didn't get the full blast. All of us were lied to.
Like Muk, GM has lied about the history of sy, she has lied to us from the get go. And some of us just paid a hundred bucks to listen to more lies.
She has also used goon squads to threaten and intimidate.
Why, knowing what we know was done to us, being initiated into black tantric sorcery, would we do anything to bring up the mantra or feed the sy connection in any way?

I don't do any spiritual practice...except neti neti whenever anything sy related comes up. I didn't know what I was getting into when Muk invaded my life and I don't know how to totally extracate myself.
I don't believe we can pick and choose sy practices to do and still say we have left.
The mantra is a direct link to the guru.
Why 'go on' when we don't even know how to disconnect from this sorcery and get ourselves cleaned up?

This is so sad, so heartbreaking...to have loved the sy sorcerers so totally only to find out they have stolen and manipulated that love, and polluted us with a path of black sorcery.
So very sad.

Anonymous said...

1. All those drunken feeling of "shakti" came rushing back. And I no longer wish to get bliss-drunk... Maybe I need another method?

2. Like someone else mentioned, it doesn't take long for the ONS mantra to kick in, mentally....

Once ONS starts up, I basically have to stop meditating, get up, and turn on the radio, TV, or some music to direct my mind elsewhere. That danged mantra is ETCHED into the grooves of my mind's antique LP record player. And I don't know how to UN-ETCH it.

***

At times like this, I switch to a hatha yoga practice placing strong emphasis on getting my awareness into my body via the posture. Even when I'm exercising, I try to focus on the bodily sensations and on the physical environment around me, not my internal state.

I have also been successful at using massage to move the impression of the mantra out of my muscles (admittedly I am not as deeply affected by the "shakti" of SY as you have been).

I know some people in SRF (ie Yogananda's people) who do hard exercise before they sit. I guess that helps them to feel grounded in the physical body rather than spaced out and vulnerable to the ethereal body.

Thirdly, I've found it useful to come up with alternate mantras, and use them whenever I feel haunted by the ONS pattern.

NLP trainers can teach all kinds of techniques to uninstall anchors from a person's deep unconscious.

K.

Anonymous said...

Hence I didn't listen to the talk, but was content to wait and listen to whether it genuinely touched anyone at all. If it did, I would happily have acknowledged being wrong, and would have ponied up to hear the talk myself.

--
Like you, I didn't hear the talk. However, I did talk with at least a dozen folks who did, and all of whom loved it. I even heard from a few who were planning to pony up for a second listen. No kidding. Sooo, I don't imagine you're ready to "acknowledge being wrong"?

Anonymous said...

Do I meditate?

Yes! Every day. For me, that is a question like, do I eat? do I sleep? I can't imagine life without.

But, thing is, I learned to meditate 30+ years ago, about 5 years before I met Muktananda. So, while a couple decades of SY greatly colored meditation for that time, I refuse to CREDIT SY with my meditation. SY didn't give me meditation, and it sure can't take it away.

I hear what some of you say about the mantra or other associations interfering with the practice. At times in SY, I recall feeling a bit thrown, even guilty, that I couldn't seem to get the mantra to "stick." My experience was always that if I tried to listen to the mantra, I would immediately go deeper into consciousness, and there would only be awareness and no mantra. Now I'm sure glad for that.

For me, meditation = pure awareness. Whatever comes up in that awareness is of no actual substance. There is just the movement of awareness toward itself (that sounds a bit weird, but best I can describe). At any rate, it has nothing to do with SY.

Anonymous said...

Like you, I didn't hear the talk. "However, I did talk with at least a dozen folks who did, and all of whom loved it. I even heard from a few who were planning to pony up for a second listen. No kidding. Sooo, I don't imagine you're ready to "acknowledge being wrong"?"

January 9, 2008 11:02 AM

Gosh this is like listening to a pusher. No doubt the fix is in the web cast. But I'm out now and it just won't take anymore. Something non-SY is the ticket. If it still works for you...ok

Anonymous said...

January 9, 2008 11:02 AM

Gosh this is like listening to a pusher. No doubt the fix is in the web cast. But I'm out now and it just won't take anymore. Something non-SY is the ticket. If it still works for you...ok

January 9, 2008 11:45 AM

The "fix" is in the secrecy, then the witholding, then the promotion with value added pricing, then the way some but but all of the information inevitably leaked into the community, creating interest in the partially revealed product. It's all standard advertising psychology.

If you decide that the event is over and its importance has come and gone, none of the psychololgy sticks. What remains? Some of the gossip says the experience was profane, some says it was divine.

Is divinity in a webcast/CD event? Or is it within you as you?

The way I see it the webcast/CD is irrelevant to the experience it purports to explain/promote/install in its listener.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the good hints on meditation practice, K, I second what you suggest as antidote to SY-type meditation. I too am doing a vipassana meditation practice now. I completely resonate with what people have said about the effect of the mantra (falling backward into the grave, as SeekHer put it). Its associations with SY are so strong that I would never intentionally use it. At this point, though, when it comes up I just see it as one more thought.

It took me a while--many months of regular vipassana practice--to be able to remain alert and mindful in meditation, to not sink into a dreamy samadhi state almost immediately. In buddhist tradition there is a distinction between practices done to produce states of concentration (that is, samadhi), and practices for mindfulness, which are meant to lead to liberating insight. In Siddha Yoga all we did were what are called "concentration" practices in the buddhist paradigm (that includes chanting). They lead to pleasant states, to samadhi states. It was a very unbalanced way to practice, I now believe. When people talk about the negative affects of meditation, usually they are referring to this kind of practice, which can leave you ungrounded, spacey, "out there", if that's all you do. After practicing in this way for many years, it can be really hard to break the pattern of sinking into some delicious state--especially if you still believe that kind of experience in meditation is going to lead to a permanent state of bliss and oneness and all the rest.

Mindfulness practice is very different from that, and its purpose is not to produce a state--an "experience"--but to allow you to see more deeply into phenonema as they arise. To see things as they truly are. Bare attention is a phrase often used to describe the kind of awareness practiced in vipassana meditation.

I have avoided Tibetan buddhist practice because of the emphasis on gurus and puja in that tradition. I think with my conditioning from SY, it would not be a healthy choice. The more plain and simple vipassana practice, especially as taught by the western teachers K mentioned, has been very helpful. I highly recommend it. (Vipassana as taught by Goenka or other well-known Asian teachers can be more like boot camp. Some like that, but after SY I prefer the focus on compassion that the western teachers mostly share.)

I'll put in another plug for Jack Kornfield's book "A Path With Heart," which is not a how-to book but an exploration of what makes a good or a not-so-good path. Also Bhante Gunaratana's book "Mindfulness in Plain English" which is available *free* in its entirety on the web at www.vipassana.com among other places. That book gives clear instruction in the practice, for those leery of getting involved with live teachers or formal retreats after SY.

older but wiser

Anonymous said...

I'll put in another plug for Jack Kornfield's book "A Path With Heart," which is not a how-to book but an exploration of what makes a good or a not-so-good path. Also Bhante Gunaratana's book "Mindfulness in Plain English" which is available *free* in its entirety on the web at www.vipassana.com among other places. That book gives clear instruction in the practice, for those leery of getting involved with live teachers or formal retreats after SY.

older but wiser

January 9, 2008 2:05 PM

Thanks for your comments and thanks especially for the referral to the lovely Vipassana website. It's FULL of good information. I just put it in my Bookmarks, for further exploration at another time.

K.

Stuart said...

SeekHer wrote...
I would love to hear how you detached your meditation practice from its SY anchors

Way back in the beginning, the original driving force was that I had these big questions of life -- What am I? Where am I going? Why am I here?

All that I was able to find for myself were ordinary life experiences, and a big "don't know." I didn't believe that was enough, so I went to the guru (and the scriptures and the dogmas and the group-think) as a method for getting those answers.

After a long period of testing that out, or maybe just maturing through it, I decided I didn't like believing and following like that. So I went back to where I was in the beginning. Hey, maybe looking into my own ordinary experience, and into my own "don't know," really is enough!

So in ordinary life, I watch my thinking, and respect its power. I return over and over to the big question "What am I?" and make peace with the "don't know." I use mantra, formal sitting, chanting, inquiry, etc, just as ways to strengthen this habit of letting go of whatever ideas I'm clinging to, and returning to a clear, questioning mind.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

..'It took me a while--many months of regular vipassana practice--to be able to remain alert and mindful in meditation, to not sink into a dreamy samadhi state almost immediately"<<<

I asked a vipassana teacher specifically about this during one retreat. She said people who had been deeply involved in traditons that emphasized "bliss states" might encounter some difficulties staying "alert and mindful" during meditation. She suggested doing alot of walking meditation if that was becoming a problem.
About..what we do now, post-syda. I spent a number of years post syda doing hindu tantric ritual practice..from it, I learned more what may have been going on in syda (for me). After that fell away, a simplicity from 40 years ago re-emerged. Now I don't do formal practice but meditation might "arise" for a period and then subside on its own. It's more an awareness watching awareness situation. I'm pretty careful with mantras now after my experiences but there are a couple that still come up now and again...mostly Devi based. Sometimes I might be drawn to do puja but I don't seek it out. Like another poster, I was "immune" to ONS. I am very very grateful for that and consider it a huge blessing that the mantra never "took" in me no matter how much i repeated it, especially after those horrid sessions with Ishwarananda and Shantananda.I have no problem with the buddhist "tool box"; it's very helpful in de-constructing old mind patterns. Tibetan Buddhism, as one poster mentioned, is a bit too tantric for my taste, although I did practice it early on,
Mostly, I remember to wonder: "who is this driving the car?" and be amazed that there's nobody there!
best,
sadhvi
(thanks for asking this question...reading the answers are fascinating)

Stuart said...

Anony wrote...
I didn't hear the talk. However, I did talk with at least a dozen folks who did, and all of whom loved it. I even heard from a few who were planning to pony up for a second listen. No kidding. Sooo, I don't imagine you're ready to "acknowledge being wrong"?

If I understand the implication of the above... it's that if at least a dozen folks love the talk, then anyone who doesn't is "being wrong."

This is the root of sheep-like group-think. We hear a bunch of people all agreeing "Oh, the Guru is so wonderful, whatever the Guru says is so perfect and uplifting yada yada." And through some hocus pocus... we somehow decide that this makes that opinion "right."

The alternative is to keep your "center" as your own experience. Dozens of people or millions of people can all bow to the same opinion... and that still doesn't make it "right." We don't have to follow the ideas of the crowd. We can believe in ourselves.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Thanks friends for the conversation – glad to see you’ve moved on to topics of meditation and such. I’ll be turning my attention from this forum, but have enjoyed the visit, and wanted to say farewell for now. Some of you mentioned personal attacks and such, and I wanted to let you know that I don’t feel personally attacked by you – one benefit from going through the Guru’s fire is that other people’s stuff doesn’t pierce so deeply. With some detachment and freedom from caring too much about what people think, you can look to see if there is something in their responses that you can learn from, and the rest can be chalked up to having possibly triggered some thought process in them that was uncomfortable and caused them to respond in ways that are not up to their usual standards of communication style.

I’ve found that speaking your truth (whether or not these truths are ultimate truths) can be vaguely or tangibly disturbing to those who disagree, and sometimes even to those who agree. One thing I learned from Muktananda’s stories about the Siddhas is that sometimes on the path to greater truth and consciousness, you see things in ways that may not fit perfectly with the masses, and that you can't always conform all of your thoughts and actions to fit into everyone's comfort zone. Although I think one reason “THE GURU” (i.e. Universal) has me writing books like Spirituality For Dummies is to keep me also somewhat grounded in this world and culture so I can serve and grow within that arena, while still enjoying (so far) a life of creative solitude. May you all continue to grow beautifully in all of your arenas.

Best wishes,

Kumuda

SeekHer said...

Kumuda said...
"One thing I learned from Muktananda’s stories about the Siddhas is that sometimes on the path to greater truth and consciousness, you see things in ways that may not fit perfectly with the masses, and that you can't always conform all of your thoughts and actions to fit into everyone's comfort zone. Although I think one reason “THE GURU” (i.e. Universal) has me writing books like Spirituality For Dummies is to keep me also somewhat grounded in this world and culture so I can serve and grow within that arena."

Wow. OK folks. I TOTALLY get where you're coming from on this one.

Anonymous said...

Stuart said

If I understand the implication of the above... it's that if at least a dozen folks love the talk, then anyone who doesn't is "being wrong."

--Stuart, you apparently DON'T understand the implication!

The sentence you are commenting on was a direct response to the other person saying if s/he heard that the talk "genuinely touched anyone at all" s/he would "happily acknowledge being wrong."

So, seems either you need to read entire conversations before interjecting. Or maybe you simply need to pick up quicker when someone is joking...

Anonymous said...

Had to laugh reading SeekHer's comment at 9:41pm.

Yes, indeed. You know the old saw, give a person enough rope...

But hey, it's all useful to look at, right?

I'm still looking forward to hearing more of your summary and comments on the talk, personally.

older but wiser

SeekHer said...

seekher said...
older but wiser wrote:
"I'm still looking forward to hearing more of your summary and comments on the talk, personally."

coming up! will finish up the talk this weekend.

Ps re: more rope. Amazing. Really amazing. Just goes to show you that ego really can be a bad thing in the wrong hands!

Anonymous said...

Sadhvi,

From reading your posts, I sense your and my post-SY experiences have some similarity re: meditation, paths etc. I too have rejected the bliss meditations in favor of simple awareness. But something makes me wonder--what if SY had been a legit path, no lies, no abuse, etc. What then? Would we all still be "happily ever after" with that type of meditation? Philosophically speaking, would something still have been amiss?

J

Anonymous said...

Thank you for answering the question about meditation, each in your own way. The question and everything that came with it was phrased provocatively because it was a mirror. It doesn't really matter if I agreed with or resonated with your answers or not: your answer is your own mirror on yourself. This blog is about reflection, is it not? It all comes back to you.

I do owe SeekHer an answer about my own process. The mantra Om Namah Shivaya as well as the So'Ham mantra are not the possession of SY, nor are any of the other practices, particularly those relating to pranayama. SY co-opted these practices and to one degree or another tried to build in emotional associations to their own purposes. I am free to rebuild the emotional associations in a way that works for me, and to reflect upon my own experience as well as the philosophies of yoga that predate SY by far, to be as clear as possible with myself about where this is taking me — and to be open to what the Truth is, beyond my expectations.

The process is similar to those recovering from PTSD. In the case of those who suffered from traumatic events, they are carefully guided to give new emotional associations to events that happened, rather than intensifying the negative associations each time the event is remembered. Each time we remember something, we add an emotional color or tone to it, and intensify that by repetition, until the memory has a significance that is amplified to the point of being disabling. Sound familiar? What is most relevant to us, or at least to me, at this point is the same process with the practices.

To quote one blogger, 'would you get back in bed with a rapist?' The question is whether, as a consequence of being raped, you would choose to give up sex, or would on the other hand, work to reestablish your relationship to something that was fulfilling to you before it was abused.

Please understand that I am not trying to recommend, prescribe or convince anyone of a particular practice. That is for you to decide. But understand that no practice needs to or should be shunned. The mantra is not the rapist. None of the practices of yoga are. The 'dirtiness' that is being attributed to any of the practices by association with SY is just that — something added by association. You are free — if you want to be — to change the associations. The practices are not the dirt.

For the person who has a hard time moving on because of what George Afif did to his friends. Though I was never 'high up' in the SY hierarchy and you probably wouldn't know me from Adam, I had to work with — or more truly, serve — GA in a way that few people ever did. Thankfully I was never involved or complicit in the kind of physical or sexual abuse toward others that was attributed to him (and I don't doubt the stories for a moment); I did suffer his particular brand of personal abuse and attempts at manipulation and intimidation directly, and was painfully aware that GM was complicit in it — until the plug was pulled on GA. If I can get over what happened directly to me, you can get over your anger for what happened to your friends.

Vipassana is a great and respectable path that has benefitted many. Much of the tradition of yoga philosophy has included a discussion of whether the heightened awareness of 'things as they really are' at a certain level of sensory and mental awareness is the Truth and the end-point of our spiritual insight. If you are satisfied with that, while aware of the full context of yoga philosophy within which that is set, then your answer is your mirror.

Likewise, if you are satisfied with the Buddhist answer that once you penetrate deeply into the self, you ultimately find that 'no one is there,' then who would argue with that? Some sages of later schools simply asked, 'who is it that is aware that no one is there?' Your answer is your mirror.

The practice of yoga demands that we not get stuck in any particular concept, or satisfied with any neat and intellectually respectable (or even temporarily fulfilling) answer. The same goes for the state of bliss, however it is experienced. It is not ultimate either, and you would be right to be suspicious of getting stuck there.

But if you're driving to New York, you don't turn back because you run into Pennsylvania along the way. Neither do you stop and say, 'Well, this is my New York!' Not if you stay focused on your sense, however imperfect, of where you're going, and watch the signs.

This analogy will certainly take some flack for suggesting we're going somewhere or crossing a distance — as if there is a 'there' there, rather than the truth of just being here. An analogy is just an analogy, and makes a particular point while falling short of illuminating other truths. You get the point.

This is your life, people. Your aversions are your obstacles for as long as you give them power to send you scattering in different directions, trying to avoid them. Your practice is your mirror, and its power lies in the question that drives it, not in the answers at which you think you've arrived. The answer was never the point. The universe is a question the Absolute put to Itself. Is your life and practice that kind of question, that kind of mirror?

Thanks for your answers, and everything that came with it. And thank yourself.

Anonymous said...

SeekHer: coming up! will finish up the talk this weekend.

K responds: Great!

To Kumuda: Thanks for noticing that we've moved on to discussing subjects other than you and your posts. I wish you good luck in all your endeavors.

Bye!

Anonymous said...

"Ps re: more rope. Amazing. Really amazing. Just goes to show you that ego really can be a bad thing in the wrong hands!"

Seekher, NOW you get an inkling of why several of us lined up to form a "firing squad". If you took time to read more of her writing elsewhere, it'd blow your mind. It makes what happened here look tame by comparison.

Just pray that neither Rasa Von Weirder or "Swami G." decide to show up.

Anonymous said...

"So, seems either you need to read entire conversations before interjecting. Or maybe you simply need to pick up quicker when someone is joking..."

January 9, 2008 10:53 PM

Anon,

Thanks for helping Stuart with his sense of humor. I missed that there was JOKE in there also.

"Anony wrote...
I didn't hear the talk. However, I did talk with at least a dozen folks who did, and all of whom loved it. I even heard from a few who were planning to pony up for a second listen. No kidding. Sooo, I don't imagine you're ready to "acknowledge being wrong"?

So it's a joke that people are going to pay twice to hear the talk?

It's a joke that a dozen people loved it?

It's a joke that the talk genuinely touched anyone at all?

I like funny, so I am sorry to have missed the joke in this :-) smile. ;-) joke.

***

A few years ago I had a regular habit of writing to the guru. In more than one letter I talked about never really finding a real career path and that I thought I understood why. I was a yogi. Next thing I know we have a letter from Ganapati telling us we are yogis, siddhayogis. I wonder how much of what we imbibed from SY just came from the letters and darshans of the seekers themselves? Makes me wonder. :-) Not that there's anything wrong with that. Just would be good to know. So we can thank the right people. ;-)

Anonymous said...

"What if SY had been a legit path, no lies, no abuse, etc. What then?"

Most excellent question to contemplate. For me, once I stopped with the highs engendered by the reality occluding practices, I am not sure I like the path all that much. Hours of chanting in front of photos? The bowing, the hoopla, all taking me away from the now. Folks barely have time to do what is required just to live, and SY demands a lot of hours on the cushion or at least passively listening and writing responses.

Good question to ask oneself J.

Anonymous said...

SeekHer:

K here.

I'd like to address something I saw in your original writing in this part of your blog. If you decide to post this HUGE thing thanks so much for the privilege.

For reference I'll start with an excerpt from your blog entry, then follow with something form my own writing:

"It's a CARTOON. The whole thing is unbelievable, that's the point!"

Disenchantment is not like the willing suspension of disbelief, the failure of which might make us question the plausibility of a Disney plot point or two, before we happily surrender ourselves to the magic of fantasy once again. No, disenchantment is serious stuff. Once a spell is broken it cannot exercise any more sway over the bewitched. For better or worse, you are free.

"I've named this blog Rituals of Disenchantment because we all have to break the spell of silence that has been cast over the Siddha Yoga sangham if we are ever to become re-enchanted with this yoga again."

But, there is no re-enchantment. I'm here to tell you that once you've learned to think for yourself, once you feel free to apply your critical understanding to the claims, teachings and legends of Siddha Yoga, there is no going back.

***

My excerpt begins:

I admit there are times when I feel utterly put out by the whole phenomenon of Gurumayi. Put out by her put on personality, put out by all the nonsense that goes on around her (still, for some folks), put out by all the nonsense I fell for, put out by the stuff I believe she's done.

Then I find myself asking "why do I keep putting out my own energy to feel so put out by this woman? And her followers?"

After I moved beyond my most flamboyant reactions to the drama of SY, I was back at the familiar if uncomfortable place of asking myself "How do I get by and stay sane NOW... today? And how does Gurumayi cope with Being Gurumayi NOW... today?

I dunno. I don't think she'd be human if she hadn't learned ANYTHING from her time in the chair. I think she's probably been through a LOT, had some horrible times and some really wonderful ones too. I suspect she still has some demons to slay and I'm sure she has friends (real ones!) in her personal army to help her with that.

Would she do it all again if she had the chance? I don't know how to answer that question. I'm not her.

Here's what I know about me after doing some of my own inner work:

a) While I was always enchanted by the IDEA that I had a "woman guru" in Gurumayi, I lost faith in her ability to serve me as a guru early on in my SY journey. Had I not placed enormous faith in Muktananda's attainment and erudition, I doubt that I would have stayed on this path as long as I did.

Sometimes being in SY as created by Gurumayi *embarassed* me.

b) My attachment to Gurumayi says more about my attachment to certain ideas that come from my traditional Catholic upbringing than it says about any of my real experiences with Gurumayi herself.

c) There are many things I loved about participating in SY that were good for me. I hope I can find a way to be grateful for them because really, they saved my life on a number of days,in a number of ways. By taking responsibility for the things I liked I hope to carry them forward in my life without carrying all the baggage of needing to affirm Gurumayi for being a God/dess figure to me.

d) How do I feel about Gurumayi playing God with so many of her devotees, for allowing this whole, elaborate, $expensive$ drama to go on and on around her, then simply ABANDONING all of her devotees and everything they built around her because it no longer served her?

I've got my issues with that! And I have huge issues with the sexual abuse, the cover up, and all the corruption that came from the sexual abuse.

But then I think to myself - what if I consider the possibility that God (the real one, the one I FEEL WITHIN and not the one I look for in any human being) gave me exactly what my feminism wanted in the experience of Indian spirituality through Gurumayi?

What if I was only able to relate to an Indian Guru who came off like an rock star - the music, the closed circuit TVs etc?

What if this was exactly what God meant for me to have in order for me to learn something about what it means to Seek God In A Female Spiritual Role Model? And in the midst of this drama I heard someone (Muktananda) say bow to myself, kneel to myself, worship myself because God Really Does Dwell Within Me As Me?

Ok so Gurumayi doesn't want to be The Bliss of the Play of God in my life anymore. The play of the Play of Consciousness is over.

It was all bullshit. A lie. A game. A drama. Theater. Curtain's up. Elvis has left the stage, and the building. She was never really (the) God/dess after all. She was just an actress playing a role in my life - the whole time.

Who is left here, doing what?

This is the point where spirituality starts to get interesting. It's the moment when sitting on my pillow starts to become real.

Anonymous said...

January 10, 2008 6:13 AM

This looks like one of Kumuda's anonymous posts.

I've seen her do this: come into a blog, write some things anonymously, watch the reaction, then send in a post under her own name, promoting her stuff if she thinks the atmosphere will accommodate that, then go back to playing The Secret Sage.

I wonder if the original inquiry into the uses of meditation was hers.

I wonder how much Kumuda's been manipulating the discussion this week.

Really. I wonder.

Anonymous said...

>>". But something makes me wonder--what if SY had been a legit path, no lies, no abuse, etc. What then? Would we all still be "happily ever after" with that type of meditation? Philosophically speaking, would something still have been amiss?

J"<<

Dear J,
It's so hard to say. At this stage of my life, I just don't feel the need to speculate about what might have been...my poor mind is already way too full of useless information...lol! I feel so very grateful that the interest in all of that subsided on its own and what I am left with is so simple.
best to you,
sadhvi

Anonymous said...

>>" But something makes me wonder--what if SY had been a legit path, no lies, no abuse, etc. What then? Would we all still be "happily ever after" with that type of meditation? Philosophically speaking, would something still have been amiss?"

J,
sorry. There was something else I meant to say. After my post-syda experiences, I really looked at paths whose structure seemed to involve the creation and sustaining of "altered states" (i.e.visions and experiences induced by practices such as intense chanting, mantric repetition, fire ceremonies using specific substances, etc.). It eventually seemed like an awful lot of "going away from what IS" THROUGH the external in order to get back to the simplicity of what is always here and available. My feeling was that, for me, the "tributaries" of the basic river were ultimately kind of beside the point. I don't denigrate this kind of path as valuable for others but, for me, it seemed to play to my weaknesses (magical thinking, mystical allure, longing to "leave the planet", feeling it was "over there" and "in the future" when I had gotten "advanced enough" or whatever..lol..common attributes of "spiritual seekers")and completely ignore the doorway that was right in front of me all the time...right here and now...just too "ordinary" and simple to believe. I saw this very clearly when I was 8 years old but, apparently, I had to experience decades of going outward through more and more elaborately colorful paths until I could accept it as real.

s.

Anonymous said...

"I had to experience decades of going outward through more and more elaborately colorful paths until I could accept it as real."

s.

January 10, 2008 10:13 AM

thanks s, real is better. way better.

Anonymous said...

"Anony wrote...
I didn't hear the talk. However, I did talk with at least a dozen folks who did, and all of whom loved it. I even heard from a few who were planning to pony up for a second listen. No kidding. Sooo, I don't imagine you're ready to "acknowledge being wrong"?

So it's a joke that people are going to pay twice to hear the talk?

---
The joke was that the original poster said s/he'd do the talk after all if anyone at all said it was worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

s said:

"I saw this very clearly when I was 8 years old but, apparently, I had to experience decades of going outward through more and more elaborately colorful paths until I could accept it as real."

This truth - and I think it is a truth - is *exactly* why I value my Vipassana practice so much today.

For me Vipassana isn't "settling for less" in the context of the "glorious whole" of yoga philosophy, it's getting rid of all the extra crap and finally seeing what has always been under my feet.

As Dorothy said, "There's no place like home." But she had to run away, get caught in a tornado, meet the Munchkins, skip down the Yellow Brick Road, stumble through the Emerald City, face the fact that the Wizard of Oz was a mean spirited fraud, see him haplessly abandon her, then hear The Good Witch Glinda (thank heavens there was still one real witch in the land of Oz), say:

"It's always been there with you, under your own two feet." But (according to the story) only after those feet exhausted themselves looking in every other location.

It's almost like the puzzle of the labyrinth. All directions out lead back to the source.

NOW, here's a good question I hope...

Is it really necessary for a "seeker" to go through all that stuff in Oz in order to come back home to Kansas, or would it have been possible for Dorothy to click her ordinary farm girl shoes three times and fall in love with her own very simple life?

I'd like to hear what you guys have to say about that.

K.

Anonymous said...

To quote one blogger, 'would you get back in bed with a rapist?' The question is whether, as a consequence of being raped, you would choose to give up sex...

---
This, and the rest of the post, is one of the best things I've read on this blog to date. THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

S--

Thanks for your responses. I feel similarly (except I guess for the part about being somehow beyond thinking about some of the more philosophical issues... but then i haven't had as long as you)

Perhaps underlying the question, for me at least, is this sense that if everything had been truly hunky dory in SY, I would have lounged forever in the bliss states. I'm frankly not sure I would have had the motivation to get out and look for something else. It is true that I had an underlying sense of something missing even at times when I was fully mired. (what comes to mind is early informal darshans about 83, when I left thinking something I had expected to find hadn't been there) But, regardless, I'm not convinced I had it in me to look further.

J

Anonymous said...

>>"Perhaps underlying the question, for me at least, is this sense that if everything had been truly hunky dory in SY, I would have lounged forever in the bliss states. I'm frankly not sure I would have had the motivation to get out and look for something else"<<

Dear J,
I don't really know. I think we each come in with a kind of pull towards certain things..
My personal opinion: you can only eat so many hot fudge sundaes (as delicious as they may be) before they begin to get a little sickening.
The feeling tone, for me, when I am in that "clear awake state" is so different from the feeling tone I used to experience in the yogic "bliss state" that it isn't really much of a choice for me anymore. Maybe something like the difference between the "hynagogic state" (between waking and dreaming) and the kind of clarity I had experienced in Nature sometimes...fully awake and yet transparent. One has a semi "druggy" feel to it; the other is clear as crystal. Now that I am in the de-construction phase of life, Being Here Fully seems kind of critical!..like why try to get away so fast..it will happen soon enough. Why not have the full experience of being here on the beautiful Blue Planet?

"Is it really necessary for a "seeker" to go through all that stuff in Oz in order to come back home to Kansas, or would it have been possible for Dorothy to click her ordinary farm girl shoes three times and fall in love with her own very simple life?"

Dear K,
Maybe some great souls like Ramana Maharshi can take a short-cut. I think the rest of us have to live out our karma...sigh! I see people "waking up" with Neo-Advaita teachers and I, too, wonder..."will it hold?" but that might just be "sour grapes". lolol!
sadhvi

SeekHer said...

Dear Sadhvi:

welcome back!

Anonymous said...

I love where the discussion is going today. I'm finding Sadhvi's posts inspiring.

J asked:
"But something makes me wonder--what if SY had been a legit path, no lies, no abuse, etc. What then? Would we all still be "happily ever after" with that type of meditation? Philosophically speaking, would something still have been amiss?"

Great question. Personally, I'm not sure I would have seen what I now see as problems in the approach SY took to meditation. I was pretty much hooked on the mystical meditative states and the warm feelings, and I made a lot of assumptions about their "ultimate" value that no one around me was challenging. I think I might have been too blinkered to even consider other ways of looking at what was going on in my mind. I was a true believer, full of "fixed views" to use the buddhist term.

In my first vipassana retreat I was talking to one of the teachers about my SY history and all the ethical issues and this teacher said he thought beyond those issues was a larger problem with that kind of practice, because, he said it "made an experience the goal, rather than wisdom." At the time I thought he was simply misinformed and probably had a bias, and told him that I thought the "experience" included wisdom. I got a bit pissy, and thought, "he simply doesn't understand what it would mean to be a siddha." And the idea of wisdom being the goal seemed so dry and intellectual compared to, you know, being sat-chit-ananda, lol!

Since then though as I've practiced looking closely at what is going on, my old views have become pretty permeable. Permeability is a great place for me to hang out, permeability and not knowing. I feel much freer than I ever did in SY, and I have a sense I would still be hooked on bigger and better mystical experience as signs of "growth" if there hadn't been all the abuses and dysfunction in SY. Now when those states come I relate to them completely differently, and it feels healthier (and that's another view, I know). But I was stuck in looking at things in just one way, and thinking it was the "right" way (a long-time tendency), and personally needed the kick in the pants of the ethical abuses to get me to look at the wider issues of the practices themselves. Once I was willing to entertain other ways of looking at meditation practice, I began to question everything--including who is having these thoughts, and who is aware of the question. No clue!

In response to K's question about the need to go to Oz before coming back to Kansas--for me, I think the need was there. I have a "romantic" personality, and love ritual and color and drama. Oz was seductive, and Kansas used to seem very boring and ordinary. Only coming to "ordinary" later did it begin to reveal its fascinating texture.

Simpler and simpler seems the way for me now. I can thank SY for the push out the door.

older but wiser

Anonymous said...

K--
Your post about Oz is the same question I was raising!
As Sadhvi is implying, it is in many ways a moot point now. Guess it's just my naturally inquiring mind that is inclined to play with the curiosity of it...
J

Anonymous said...

>>"To quote one blogger, 'would you get back in bed with a rapist?' The question is whether, as a consequence of being raped, you would choose to give up sex..."<<

Sometimes you have to do just that for a time (give up sex) before the toxicity and fear can be worked through. Alot then has to happen before you can, actually, fully "enjoy" sex again. I think it's a accurate metaphor for the work that seems necessary post-syda but not a metaphor that would be used by someone who had "experienced" rape.

s

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you have to do just that for a time (give up sex) before the toxicity and fear can be worked through. Alot then has to happen before you can, actually, fully "enjoy" sex again.

***

This is exactly what's needed when someone chooses to leave a pattern of addiction to sex behind. To in a sense cleanse the palate there is a period of time when the individual abstains from all forms of sexual pleasure. Most return to some kind of sexual expression but with boundaries firmly in place, and never to the kind of sex that set off the addiction in the first place.

The same happens when a person decides to recover from the phenomenon known as love addiction. The only difference here is that defining the pattern that leads to a compulsion to lose one's identity in another person may be harder to define at first.

In both cases though there is a stepping back, evaluating oneself, cleansing the deep psyche where most addictions have their strongest hold on the personality, then re-emergence ON TERMS DIFFERENT FROM THE ONES THE ADDICTION DEMANDED.

I think people can and often do embrace some form of spiritual practice after they come to terms with their illusions as SY practitioners. Some even go back to a form of SY, though most can't -- the clarity of thought and heart that comes from confronting the truth is too compelling. A lot of people never do any practice again and find that life without ritual and dogma suits them fine.

In the time since I made peace with some of the most difficult truths about SY, I have come to believe that "atheism" is just as good an answer as any when a person answers the question "What religion do you practice?".

K.

Anonymous said...

SeekHer

Yesterday something came to my mind that I want to share with you and with your readers.

In your description of the 2008 Talk by GM, you made reference to tone of disingenuousness that struck a chord with me. I believe I understand what you mean. I've heard the things you describe before.

The first time I was watching the GM videotape of Blaze the Trail Equipoise etc... you know, the one SYDA published right after the release of the NYer article? The things that struck me so hard about that videotape were Gurumayi's body language and tonal inflections... they were all off, way off. To get around them I eventually bought a copy of the audiotape and tried to hear the talk without being distracted by GM's wooden performance. Nada. Later I took the opportunity to read the printed copy of the talk. Nada again. The talk is bad, the performance is stilted, my otherwise perfectly polished Spiritual Mirror seems clearly distressed. Not at all the living breathing exemplar of the state she describes.

The next time I had that reaction I was listening to the Trust talk. For me this one wasn't as glaringly awkward as the Equipoise talk but I had the distinct feeling while listening to Trust the first time that it was too canned, too deliberately constructed with the Let's All Study This Later attitude in mind. GM's spontaneity - the charm I'd come to love in her other talks - seemed suffocated. Radha came out with her public confession shortly after GM delivered Trust the winter of 2003, but she'd taken her issues to SYDA Foundation for most of the end of 2002. Lately I wonder if GM was feeling the heat of knowing Radha was about to torpedo SYDA's multifaceted defense against the reality of MUK's behavior - that it was real, that it clearly was not tantra, that it did not benefit everyone who experienced it with him.

The last time I believe I had that feeling (and I had it bad this time) was the day I sat down to "study" the 2004 Message. I'd had "study" sessions with other talks before and somehow found a way to move through or ignore the parts that felt artificial or downright inarticulate to me. But that talk, with its tortured delivery, fake fairy chimes and planned choral interludes sealed my negative opinion about SYDA's ability to carry off its goal to lead the movement with a once a year address by GM.

And then, to see SYDA subject its population to that mess for three years running? Including that really awful (IMHO) recording of GM doing the Kundalini Stavaha?

Pathetic. That was my reaction. I thought it was just pathetic.

K.

Anonymous said...

Greetings SY bloggers,

On an erratic connection and a cranky laptop, but there is a thread in this post 'the uses of disenchantment' about an overheard conversation at anugraha. The folks mentioned are very loved by myself for sure and I know many others. How did these dear folk hang on so long? For the 100th monkey to eat that sweet potato, and the whole species is suddenly eating them? Magical thinking, magical science. Works great for SY. Do you know this new age feel good story has supposedly been discredited, but shhhhh, don't tell the kids. They still believe in Santa.

How can Ish, Krip, Indira, and all the rest, absolutely wonderful people and just exactly like ourselves still be hanging on?
The labyrinth of their minds would be something to visit. If they still have one. :-) :-( :-) I love them!

So what is this new program hinted at? Not 100 monkeys...100 gurus....How's that working out? Looks like SY has a good start.
K might be right. The brand could continue a long time.
:-)
... and everyone in SY turned into a Guru. Fin.

Anonymous said...

This morning I found this up on Marta Szabo's blog. Thought it might interest some of the folks who read this one regularly:

Gurumayi stated publicly again and again how much she loves Change. As a former staff member, I witnessed many "changes" in the organization.

1. In 1991 women staff members were asked to become stylish, wear expensive short-length suits and have new haircuts. Catherine Parrish was even asked to dye her hair brown!

2. Catherine was "in" as the CEO, got rid of George and then was "out." almost persona non grata.

3. Afterwards there were several reorganizations - one couldn't keep track of who was "in" and who was "out".

4. Then Lester Strong and Tom Morse were "in". Gurumayi endorsed them whole-heartedly in staff meetings and told staff that if they couldn't support them, they should leave.

5. Then Lester and Tom were "out" and Gurumayi chastised the staff for going along with the changes that happened during their time.

6. During Lester and Tom's time, long term staff signed an agreement that they would receive a pension. When Tom and Lester left, these same staff members were asked to return the agreement, all pensions were off.

7. The Premotsava Initiative was a "big deal", now it has disappeared, dissolved into history.

8. Devotees were personally asked by Gurumayi to move to the South Fallsburg area and buy homes. Now these people are not allowed in the Ashram and have no contact with Gurumayi.

9. Devotees were encouraged to come to the Temple and sit and meditate with Bade Baba for comfort, wisdom and inspiration. Now the Temple is closed.

10. In the past, swamis traveled around the world, speaking at retreats, giving courses, teaching and writing. Now all but a couple of swamis perform administrative tasks at the Ashram, not teaching and not writing.

11. In the past the scholars taught courses and were available for lively spiritual discussions. Since the flap over Meditation Revolution, the scholars no longer come to the Ashram.

12. People were asked by the Guru to move to the Ashram, gift the Guru expensive items and big donations. After spending down their resources, the Guru attacks these same people for trying to take financial advantage of the Foundation (for stipends, medical expenses). GM publicly blames these staff for being irresponsible to not plan for their retirement.

In Siddha Yoga, there is a "damned if you do and damned if you don't "syndrome". A way to work on our egos? I don't think so. A cunning conscious or unconscious effort on the part of the Guru to keep people off balance and control them, Perhaps!

The point is that Change for Change sake ONLY is not responsible. It is like trying to sail a ship when the wind direction switches every few minutes. One needs to head a specific direction and hold course.

I see a global map in my mind's eye on which a dotted route of the Siddha Foundation journey has been traced. I see it wandering all over the map with no clear destination in sight.

It is not healthy, whether it is Siddha Yoga or American politics, to sail such a disoriented path.

Real change is hard as we all know and takes commitment and perseverance even when the sailing is tough or boring or tedious.

Fresh starts are fun and stimulating to the creative juices. I was attracted to Siddha Yoga by its unpredictability that seemingly worked. It was like living with an exciting person who makes life fun and interesting. The only problem is that at the end of 40 years, there is no money in the bank and friends are getting tired of being used.

We need people in place both in Siddha Yoga and Politics who can help the ship hold a steady course once the destination is identified.

from
The Guru Looked Goood
January 9, 2008 8:40 AM

Anonymous said...

K might be right. The brand could continue a long time. :-)
... and everyone in SY turned into a Guru. Fin.

***

This writer is referring to a conversation we had in exSY, not in this blog.

K.

Anonymous said...

>>"Gurumayi stated publicly again and again how much she loves Change. As a former staff member, I witnessed many "changes" in the organization"<<<

Thanks for posting this here..it's very interesting to remember that sense of "hyper-alertness" from the early 1990s in syda. You never knew, from moment to moment, what was going to happen next. It was called "being able to move with the shakti".
Now, though, I think I can really see the difference between this kind of tension filled manipulation of outer events and the change that simply arises from within..organically and naturally as a part of life. No need to "do" anything to "change" things in such an artificial way unless your interest is distraction and overstimulation. Change happens by itself as a part of life. The kind of change that is unmanipulated and arises naturally seems to be a function of growth...but it's subtle sometimes..you have to quiet down and listen for it and then move with it as it happens..not like scrambling to ride the waves of somebody else's idea of "change".
Sometimes I think "change" might just be the mind catching up to what the body already knows.
s.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this here..it's very interesting to remember that sense of "hyper-alertness" from the early 1990s in syda. You never knew, from moment to moment, what was going to happen next. It was called "being able to move with the shakti".

K: a PTSD therapist would call the state you describe "being hyper vigilant". It's a sign of pathology, not trust.

Now, though, I think I can really see the difference between this kind of tension filled manipulation of outer events and the change that simply arises from within... organically and naturally as a part of life.

K: in nature, most changes happen slowly. It's when people or animals, for some reason, don't notice the signals for change that they get caught unaware. Then change seems sudden, random. But real change, in nature, it seems to move slowly, even gently.

How fast does a plant break the soil, move into the sun, bloom, and drop seed? Not fast, but fast enough to keep itself alive.

No need to "do" anything to "change" things in such an artificial way unless your interest is distraction and over stimulation.

K: in my recovery circles we'd call this "control"... or, again, chaos generated for a self seeking purpose. Pathology.

Change happens by itself as a part of life. --exactly-- The kind of change that is un-manipulated and arises naturally seems to be a function of growth...but it's subtle sometimes..you have to quiet down and listen for it and then move with it as it happens...

K: this gives me something valuable to contemplate (!!!) today.

... not like scrambling to ride the waves of somebody else's idea of "change".

K: So then... what would it mean to be completely open to the unfolding of the universe and to respond with grace to a variety of changes? I used to imagine that GM and some of her best staff members had this skill. I wonder if what I believed they had was a mirage, or if it was something real. And if it was real, how did they get it?

How does any person learn to live in a truly skillful manner? Is there something about the ones who have successfully done so that we can see, objectively?

It seems to me that the answer to this question would allow us to determine the difference between a real seeker and a fraud, a real path to The Truth and just another blind alley.

K.

Anonymous said...

"used to imagine that GM and some of her best staff members had this skill. I wonder if what I believed they had was a mirage, or if it was something real. And if it was real, how did they get it?

How does any person learn to live in a truly skillful manner? Is there something about the ones who have successfully done so that we can see, objectively?

It seems to me that the answer to this question would allow us to determine the difference between a real seeker and a fraud, a real path to The Truth and just another blind alley."

K.January 11, 2008 12:47 PM

Problem here is too much looking and comparing self to others and abstract archaic standards. Be your wonderful self. We are all bozos on the bus.

Anonymous said...

So what drew us all to SY? Is it possible that 'magical thinking' worked for a while because that is what we were looking for? And the complaint really is that the execution/presentation of what we were looking for was so sloppy and dysfunctional that it ceased to satisfy?

As a blogger said, "But something makes me wonder--what if SY had been a legit path, no lies, no abuse, etc. What then? Would we all still be "happily ever after" with that type of meditation? Philosophically speaking, would something still have been amiss?"

If they did a better job of delivering what we were looking for — without the abuse, manipulation and general weirdness — would we still be there? Which begs the question, what were WE looking for? Does the 'something amiss' turn upon what we want? And if something WAS 'philosophically amiss' would we catch it, or would we continue to be happy with what we were getting?

What did we want? And was it that SY ultimately failed to deliver, or was it that SY just failed to keep its nose clean, and thus spoiled the party?

Stuart said...

What if SY had been a legit path, no lies, no abuse, etc. What then?

I don't think the "legit path" is found in any outside teacher, scripture, idea, group, organization, or combination of them. The legit way is to look into the great questions of life for ourselves. Of course the teachers and rituals and words can point us in a direction and help encourage us... but the central point must be more personal, how we keep our own minds, the intention we bring to our moment to moment life.

As "older but wiser" has posted... I'm fortunate that SYDA had so many lies and abuses. It was those lies that kinda "forced" me to give up the dream of finding truth by following a Guru or group or dogma blindly, and accepting responsibility for looking into the great questions of life for myself.

Despite absolutely loving the inner stillness that the practice brought about, I encountered several problems:
1. All those drunken feeling of "shakti" came rushing back.


There may be simple changes of form that can help this. I now sit with my eyes open, and find that's a huge help in keeping meditation about connecting with a clear perception of the moment... rather than escaping into a dream-world. A solid, unmoving sitting posture can also help in keeping me awake, rather than drifting into drunken feelings. If that doesn't work... you could try standing or walking meditation, whatever it takes to remain alert and attentive, rather than drunk.

If "Om Namah Shivaya" brings on drunken feelings, just switch to a different mantra. Why not? The tool of mantra "works" because of the effort we put into it, not because the words are magic (in spite of what we were taught in SYDA).

And most important is looking into our own intention and belief clearly and carefully. Cultivate the intention of waking up to the experience of just-now, whatever it is... rather than trying to reach some different, special, magical mind-state that someone has told us is "the goal."

Is it really necessary for a "seeker" to go through all that stuff in Oz in order to come back home to Kansas, or would it have been possible for Dorothy to click her ordinary farm girl shoes three times and fall in love with her own very simple life?

For me, apparently it was necessary. I went through all those years of chasing special mind-states, experienced for myself what that treadmill is like... and only then was I ready to consider living in Kansas, i.e., finding my Truth and Meaning in what's already appeared in this ordinary moment.

you can only eat so many hot fudge sundaes (as delicious as they may be) before they begin to get a little sickening.

My original Zen teacher used to say that no one is very interested in water, since soda, lemonade, or beer are so much more interesting. But if you drink soda etc all the time, it makes you sick. Simple water -- with its lack of any special taste, smell, appearance, or intoxicating effects -- does what's really needed: it takes away your thirst, and you can drink it all the time without getting sick.

How can Ish, Krip, Indira, and all the rest, absolutely wonderful people and just exactly like ourselves still be hanging on?

Having relied on the SYDA organization for their life direction for so long... imagine how difficult it must be to even consider starting back at square one. To have to support yourself with a real job. To look towards the great mystery and uncertain of ordinary life for your direction, rather than the comfortable false-certainty of dogma.

Most of us need a strong kick in the butt, a big suffering experience, "hitting bottom," before we make a big life change. I can understand how difficult it must be for ANYONE to change after decades of dependence on the SYDA scene.

How does any person learn to live in a truly skillful manner? Is there something about the ones who have successfully done so that we can see, objectively?

The one and only thing we can do when it comes to living skillfully... is to try our best to respond to the moment that meets us just now, whatever it is. And when that moment is over, let it go, and attend to the next one.

I don't think it's something we can see objectively, because it's our own inner experience and decision. Personal experience is so much different from the way things appear when viewed from outside (i.e., when we judge others from our own viewpoint). Looking for an objective model to follow may be useful sometimes, particularly when we're young, or starting out on a new path. But eventually we mature into believing in our own experience, not following anyone or anything objectively.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Earlier post:

"anonymous said...

K might be right. The brand could continue a long time. :-)
... and everyone in SY turned into a Guru. Fin.

***

This writer is referring to a conversation we had in exSY, not in this blog.

K.
January 11, 2008 9:45 AM"

It seemed important enough to close that loop with the readeres here, since it was referred to here and the readership could understand what was being referred to, which was a really interesting story, an experience recounted by a member there. The basics of that story, without revealing the author here, are below:

"Sometime between 1999 and 2001, I was in Fallsburg sitting eating lunch at a table in the outdoor seva meal area downstairs outside at Anugraha, with a bunch of swamis--Ishwarananda and
Apoorvananda were among them, I forget who else, I think Dharmananda, which might date it more precisely as he was usually in Ganeshpuri. Everyone was looking a bit undone, with a slightly angry vibe - - which was normal around there, so I didn't question it. Indirananda came and sat down and she seemed stunned. I
don't remember if she said anything to introduce the topic, but very soon she asked (I'm paraphrasing, though I wrote her words down in a journal very soon
after), "So instead of one guru we'll have 100 gurus?" There was an awkward silence then as the others looked pointedly at me to let her know there was someone there who shouldn't be hearing this. Ishwarananda raised his eyebrows and made a face that I thought indicated an exasperated "what next?" or similar sentiment.

There was silence for a while and I definitely felt like a fifth wheel at the table. Then they started talking about something else and including me in the
conversation as if nothing was going on.

Right around the same time there was a big push to train more lay teachers, to have lay teachers offer intensives, etc. It seemed like they were trying to decentralize the source of teaching, expanding beyond the small circle of *aging* swamis (the 'scholars' were already gone)."

Hoping the original author isn't mad that this story was snipped and copied here. I thought it was useful information for the broader reading public to see.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the "legit path" is found in any outside teacher, scripture, idea, group, organization, or combination of them. The legit way is to look into the great questions of life for ourselves.

--
That strikes me as an exceptional egotistical stance. Sure, the truth exists within ourselves. But that doesn't mean we are somehow more "legit" than any other humans or group of humans or other constellation of consciousness.

Anonymous said...

Problem here is too much looking and comparing self to others and abstract archaic standards. Be your wonderful self. We are all bozos on the bus.

January 11, 2008 3:07 PM

Maybe I don't understand your meaning because this answer was so short. I sense a dismissive attitude in your reply that bristles me. I'm glad to have seen Stuart's answer because it addressed my question more clearly.

Thanks in any case for taking the time to respond.

K.

Anonymous said...

From Seekher's original post: "I want to hear what you have to say because, having lost the certainty of belief, I'm still fascinated by it, it still exercises its fatal allure."

Well said. And it seems what many are striving for here is a belief that doesn't feel like a belief, since the assumption is that the 'allure' of all belief is 'fatal.' Is it? The 'certainty' of belief is surely what makes it 'fatal,' but is it possible to hold a belief without some degree of certainty? Would it even BE a belief if there were no measure of certainty?

My belief in the force of gravity is not fatal — quite the opposite, it holds me back from doing any number of stupid and egoistic things, such as demonstrating my ability to fly. (Perhaps I could train myself in the siddhi of levitation, proving my belief in gravity is false, but that would involve investing myself in another set of beliefs (a' la Matrix), wouldn't it? And it would require even greater certainty than my present certainty, if I were ever to prove my present belief in gravity to be wrong)

I agree totally that re-enchantment won't work. Disenchantment is a necessary stage, but disenchantment is neither a practice nor an end in itself.

Many in this blog are attempting to hold a subjective belief (eg. atheism, or 'the now') that enables them to maintain their disenchantment as a virtue.

But is the nihilism of disenchantment any less 'fatal' in its allure? Those who are now putting their money on their own subjectivity/atheism/what have you for the sake of the safe harbor it offers are actually investing it with even more certainty than those who 'believed?' And is it not the certainty what makes the belief 'fatal?'

How do you shake the certainty of an atheist?

To be vulnerable in your beliefs, is that not more honest? Is it that vulnerability that makes belief dangerous, even fatal, or is it the certainty — especially the certainty of disbelief — that ultimately kills the soul while keeping it safe?

Anonymous said...

>>"If they did a better job of delivering what we were looking for — without the abuse, manipulation and general weirdness — would we still be there? Which begs the question, what were WE looking for? Does the 'something amiss' turn upon what we want? And if something WAS 'philosophically amiss' would we catch it, or would we continue to be happy with what we were getting?"<<

I think these are all legitimate questions to ask and, also, I personally feel it's important for each of us to to ask ourselves what drew us to sy in the first place? what compromises have we made (with our own inner compass) in order to continue believing etc.etc. If we don't do this work, we just set ourselves up for an encore.
But I think we can understand, in retrospect, things that were not at all clear at the time. I'm sure that more people than not THOUGHT they were "looking for" an authetic path with a real guru so that they could "know the Self". I don't think too many of us thought, "hey, I think I'll go find a path that offers alot of half-baked 'mystical experiences' which will convince me I'm 'knowing the Self' when I'm really slipping deeper into a deluded state" or "hey,I think I'll look for a guru/disciple relationship with a 'living master' in which I have no opportunity to talk to the 'living master' except through a 'warm bear'".
I have to hope that the lure of "visions and experiences" is just a stage I would have grown out of even if I had encountered a genuine guru (which I actually did post-syda..and found: just that. The pull of these things was no longer there and I could see the cost very clearly).

"if something WAS 'philosophically amiss' would we catch it, or would we continue to be happy with what we were getting"<<

I have to say, quite honestly, that it took me a long time to educate myself enough in Kashmir Shaivism and tantra to be able to make that judgement. However I will say that i knew right along that something "wasn't right" and I wasn't really "happy with what I was getting". I suffered from what most "spiritual seekers" suffer from: the feeling that I was so ignorant (which I was) that I couldn't trust myself and had to turn to "the experts" (a role that the swamis and guru were only too happy to fill).

" Of course the teachers and rituals and words can point us in a direction and help encourage us... but the central point must be more personal, how we keep our own minds, the intention we bring to our moment to moment life."

I agree with this statement of Stuart's. You'll notice that he does not say that teachers are "unnecessary" but simply that their function is to "point"..the rest is up to us. They function as "consultants" not "gods".
I like this statement of Ramana's "It is not a matter of becoming but of Being. Remain aware of yourself and all else will be known".

best,
sadhvi

SeekHer said...

anon wrote:
"I agree totally that re-enchantment won't work. Disenchantment is a necessary stage, but disenchantment is neither a practice nor an end in itself. "

Really, according to who?

"Many in this blog are attempting to hold a subjective belief (eg. atheism, or 'the now') that enables them to maintain their disenchantment as a virtue. But is the nihilism of disenchantment any less 'fatal' in its allure?"

First, all belief is subjective. There is a name for objective belief; it's called science. Secondly, yours is not an observation but a judgment, and an inaccurate one. No one here has argued from a nihilistic point of view. You're setting up a straw dog in order to sell your (not very well considered) POV.

"To be vulnerable in your beliefs, is that not more honest? Is it that vulnerability that makes belief dangerous, even fatal, or is it the certainty — especially the certainty of disbelief — that ultimately kills the soul while keeping it safe?"

Odd. From where I stand this entire blog has been about the vulnerability of belief, and disbelief. But, since you perceive otherwise, and this perception wounds your own particular species of belief, please share that with us. It would be much more interesting than your judgments.

Anonymous said...

Stuart makes the interesting observation that all belief is subjective and then questions the foundation of any statements made in the post by saying, "Really? According to who?'

When you make pronouncements about the nature of belief (viz. "I don't think the "legit path" is found in any outside teacher, scripture, idea, group, organization, or combination of them. The legit way is to look into the great questions of life for ourselves.") the reader has every right to form a judgement about what you have to say about it, the sorts of conclusions you draw, and the consequences of your conclusions. In fact, this is what you are positively encouraging, rather than accepting the statements of others as dogma without examining them for oneself.

This is different from being judgmental, which is to question the motives of the speaker, rather than the substance of what he or she is saying. This is why anonymity is a plus in this blog, since the moment someone reveals her identity — like Janis (and no, I am not Janis) — the comments turned to her personality as devaluing what she had to say.

It is strange to dismiss a statement because it is a 'judgement' unless you just expect people to listen to you and keep their mouths shut — unless they want to praise or agree with you. But to listen and then draw my own conclusions is not unwarrented, and you're not exactly in a position to attack that as 'subjective.'

Is science really objective belief? Or belief about objects? Is 'belief' (other than science) really just 'subjective?' Or is it belief about subjectivity?

If you want to know the basis of my 'belief,' it is what I have learned of Kashmir Shaivism in the context of my overall study and practice of yoga. It is a thorough inquiry into the nature and being of subjectivity. It would be nice to see some sign that you have some understanding of that, because it would be the basis of a better and more fruitful conversation.

I stand by my own 'subjective belief' that your position is ultimately nihilistic. If you would like to explain the deeper understanding and experience of your own self/subjectivity that you come to by your focus on the 'now,' I'm all ears.

But given the stated roots in Zen Buddhism that you allude to, as well as other bloggers' affirmations of their atheism, my statements and questions are neither unfair nor unfounded. You have a lot to say about the truth of the 'now,' 'moment to moment,' but you haven't had much to say about what that truth is, or what its significance to you is. Until then, I am by your lights subjectively free to render my own 'judgement' about where this is going.

Or are only scientists allowed to render 'judgements' since they are so 'objective?' Like the ones rendered against Copernicus?

The original point of my post was Seekher's comments not just on belief, but the 'fatal' attraction of the CERTAINTY of belief. Given that you are so certain of your position and use it to dismiss others as mere 'judgements,' maybe Seekher was right.

Anonymous said...

>> as well as other bloggers' affirmations of their atheism, "<<

Are there many "affirmed Atheists" here? I wasn't aware of it. Not that it's all that important but it has come up twice in your posts....I thought a couple of folks had "taken refuge" in Atheism (lol) but not a real huge percentage of the posters.
Can both of you guys define "truth","objectivity" and "subjectivity" for the rest of us? Sometimes it's not clear to me what is being discussed. Thanks.
s.

Stuart said...

Anony said...
You have a lot to say about the truth of the 'now,' 'moment to moment,' but you haven't had much to say about what that truth is, or what its significance to you is.

In your post, lots of the quotes you asked about were from SeekHer, but you quoted them as if they were from me. I can't speak to those.

Also: you asked me to say something about what truth is. Why ask me? Whatever you're perceiving and doing right now, that's truth. You don't need me or anyone else to explain it to you.

The significance of this truth is that it's literally all you've got.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Glad I stopped by here today! It’s been awhile; life has been busy yet meaningful and enjoyable. Often I just can’t fit the blog readings and my daily doings into the same day, but I appreciate those who take time out of your day, which no doubt is also busy, to share online. This venue, beginning with TGLG for me, has been invaluable in the “leaving SY/ regaining my life” process. Please don’t doubt its benefits. There may be many who might never post but who find reading these blogs just what they need to wake up and ask the hard questions; realize their own great strength to “shake shackle” and move, even dance on.

It has been 4 years since I began my unflocking from SY and I continue to feel the sense of freedom and relief. 14 years I was drunk on SY, high on bliss, and my life “on the ground” sorely neglected. All my eggs were in this one basket, then to find out 14 years down the road that the center doesn’t hold; yep, “to hell in a handbasket” for sure. Yes, I could have gone on believing , “Everything happens for the best” or “Trust”, or “Abide in Silence”, or “The Guru is the Means”, perhaps do more practices, read POC or SOH or “The Perfect Rel.”one more time. But, something happened in that New Year’s message of 2004 for me (many others have on the various blogs expressed similar experiences of ‘where’s the Shakti?’) ; the disenchantment hit just hard enough for me to shake out of the fog, look at the SY basket and all of my smashed eggs and slowly but consciously walk away. And, now 4 years out I am as happy to breathe “guru-free” air as I am to inhale tobacco free air the past 19 years What I am appreciative of and hold on to is “Believe in Love”. That was ours before, during, and after. It is all ours to share; no one person, path, or belief system has a Trademark on it. $100, $500, $1,000. I still have to pay my light bill to Ga Power, but no longer do I need or want to buy “love” or “bliss” from a SY. And, who knows, maybe gridless living is possible in the future.

Liked that quote of Rebecca West shared by Seeker, “When what we had hoped for came to nothing, we revived”. It says so much for the power and strength of the human spirit, of the spirit of the planet and its dwellers. Post SY has allowed me the opportunity to more deeply appreciate and honor the beauty of this planet, the animals and people who walk upon and within it. I’d rather live simple and sober instead of blissed out and wanting to be God. I am human and so are the other people in this world. I ditto the anon who said, “Why not have the full experience of being here on the beautiful Blue Planet?
“ Maybe at some point I will go back to other practices like meditation, mantra, prayer, etc., but, for now, I am enjoying the delights of this one human life. It will be over soon enough.

Does that sound atheist or agnostic? I don’t know; I find that I shy away from belief labels, or I can’t quite find a box that calls strong enough to jump into for long. What I do realize however, is that after SY I felt freeer to question more of my very fundamental and most cherished assumptions. Oftentimes its funny, sometimes, scary, rarely boring –this wilder walk off path. Wishing all the delights of whatever makes your heart smile and your mind seek and question. Happy ’08!


In Peace,
Unflocked Ma

P.S. Thank-you Anon, for sharing the link to “Truth is a Pathless Land.

Anonymous said...

"Wishing all the delights of whatever makes your heart smile and your mind seek and question. Happy ’08!"
In Peace,
Unflocked Ma
January 14, 2008 2:36 PM

Right Back Atcha Unflocked Ma.

Your comments have helped me enormously. The sense of being ourselves, a distinct sense of folks being authentic, no pretense. Teaching me to love the life I have, right here and now. This forum has done that for me. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

Something so is impossible

Anonymous said...

I am curious just what Donald will say about this!


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