Sunday, January 13, 2008

When what we had hoped for came to nothing, we revived.

OK, folks, let's dance this mess around one last time. Rat-a-tat-tat, just the facts, ma'am. I'll save the extended commentary for the comments page, where it's gonna go on regardless.

Where were we? Oh, yes. When last we left our lady in orange she had just finished relating the tale of the ten nincompoop seekers, who couldn't manage to count to ten between them, and then, after wishing Baba a happy 100th birthday several times in several different ways, she mentioned Play of Consciousness before reminding us that we have the treasure of the Siddha Yoga path only because of Baba's study, practice, assimilation and implementation of the teachings he received from his Guru.

At this point we were more than half way through the broadcast, and still there has been no mention of the message for the year. This is highly unusual, based on past years the formula for the New Year's talk was clear, after a brief introduction Gurumayi would quickly announce the message, then spend the balance of the talk uncovering and unfolding its meaning. During the 2004 talk, for instance, only four or five minutes passed before Gurumayi announced the message for the year. But, we still aren't there yet. First, Gurumayi wants to remind us all about the importance of sadhana:

"Sadhana gives you the means to see clearly what was not clear before. Just as the full moon blazing through dark clouds will illumine a landscape and allow you to move through it with ease, so with shaktipat a light is lit inside you. By means of that light you see things you couldn't see before. your physical and subtle senses are heightened, they adjust to a finer degree of perception than you knew before, perception of color and form, of energy and intention, of people and situations. In truth, sadhana for us is to experience this Bountiful grace. As you practice sadhana you come to a true estimate of the value of grace in your life. Did you hear that? As you practice sadhana you come to a true estimate of the value of grace in your life."

Next, Gurumayi told the story of the Sufi saint Rabia who, when asked what percentage of God she had attained, replied 100%. When next asked how much of herself she had given to God, she replied "100%, I got as much as I gave." Gurumayi paused and asked her audience of silent, absent listeners to contemplate Rabia's words:

"I got as much as I gave."

This contemplation was followed by a brief break to stand and stretch, punctuated after a minute or two by Nivritti Gillet greasily "welcoming" us back to our seats.

Gurumayi then asked us to close our eyes and visualize a column of light extending from the base of our spine up to the crown of the head. Your breath moves up and down the golden column as it comes in and goes out of you body. Let the breath come in easy, let the breath go out easy. Feel your own breath coming in and going out. Feel the breath at the top of your head. Feel the breath inside your head... et cetera, et cetera, you know the drill.

Then, the moment we had all been waiting for! "The Siddha Yoga Message for 2008 is..." (she taps mic three times to be sure we're all still awake out there)

"Search for the knowledge of the Truth and become established in the awareness of the Self."

Gurumayi continued: "In the coming year I would like you to study the new year's message for 2008 in the same way you have already learned to study through your work with the daily attributes, or your study of the sadhana of the heart, or the home study course. Study each world of the message and apply its meaning an d hidden blessings to your daily practice and daily life. You can do it! You have done it! Day by day. As you pondered over each new attribute, or quotation. Discover the message for 2008 word by word and extract the subtleties, the various connection between the words, and between the words and you life! ascertain the depth of color and form, of energy and intention, of people and situations."

Perhaps by way of further encouragement, Gurumayi added a small morsel of the fruit of her own contemplation: "While I was studying the words of this message and the composition of the sentence what leapt out for me is: you need to have both—the knowledge of awareness, and the awareness of knowledge."

Uhhumm. That's just what I was thinking.

"In his book Light on the Path Swami Muktananda says: Knowledge is one of the ways of obtaining God realization. It is knowing one's real self by acquiring knowledge of the truth in its essence, by the teachings of a guru. Baba Muktananda's words: through the teachings of a Guru. This is something Baba says over and over again. Disciples receive the teachings in their manifest and subtle forms from a Guru."

Gurumayi then narrated what she described as a commonly held fantasy of enlightenment: You meet the master in a remote place, bow and fold your hands, the master gazes at you with a bittersweet smile and Presto Magico! Enlightenment is yours!

But, Gurumayi asked, was this Baba's way? No. When you went up to Baba in darshan and asked for the mantra, or for the experience of meditation, he would hand you a mantra card, or point to a corner of the room and tell you to go sit, very matter of factly. Still, "the mantra came alive in the sound of your own silent breath. Meditation enveloped you in the deepest stillness. Your life was transformed. "

Hey, wait a minute, you might say! Isn't that a variation of the fantasy she just talked about? Never mind, you're missing the point of the story, which is:

"It is not about your own expectation of the Guru, or about indulging in fantasies of initiation in exotic settings. It is actually about following the teachings of the Guru."

At this point it has been several long minutes since we've had a good story, so Gurumayi offers one, a real one! from an early edition of the Ganeshpuri newsletter, "Siddha Path".

fairy dust chimes

"My friend and I had been going to Ganeshpuri village for Bhagawan Nityananda's darshan for many years. This happened 2 or 3 years before revered baba Nityananda took mahasamadhi. At that time we had no knowledge of who Swami Muktananda baba was. In those days, Muktanandaji lived in two rooms in Ghavdevi We would have baba Nityananda's darshan, and then go straight back to Bombay. One day Bhagawan asked, did you go to Gavdevi? When we said no, he told us to visit Swami Muktananda in Gavdevi before going back to Bombay. He had told us this one time before as well, to first go see Swami Muktananda, and then come back to see him in Ganeshpuri.

Whenever Bhagawan Nityananda's devotees would come to see him, he would tell them to go meet Swami Muktananda first. Every week when we would go to see Nityananda he would ask the Same question: Have you already gone to meet Muktananda of Gavdevi? We would reply, eh, we'll meet him on our way back home. One day Bhagawan NItyananda asked as always: did you already meet Muktananda? Before we could reply he said Muktananda Baba very wise, knower of the scriptures, saint. In this way he went on speaking in his succinct style. It was because of Nityananda that we could have the good fortune of receiving the nectar of knowledge from Swami Muktananda baba. Sometimes when we would go to see Swami Muktananda first, he would ask; did you already go to Ganeshpuri to see Bhagavan Nityananada? And when we would go to Bhagawan Nityananda first, he would ask: did you meet Muktananda? In this way, this bound of love between guru and disciple carried on to the end. Truly speaking, Bhagawan Nityananda himself trusted us to revered baba Muktananda."

Now, I have no reason to doubt this tale, but it did raise a few questions. Why, if everyone in the Guru tradition is always waiting and pleading for a command from their Guru, did these two hapless fellows travel all the way from Bombay to not only ignore Nityananda's direct instructions to go see Muktananda once, but several times running? I thought the Big Guy would assault people with sticks and throw stones at them for less? One can't fault them for being confused, though, with Nityananda sending them to Muktananda who sends them back to Nityananda, who send them on to Muktananda and so on.

But, we're missing the point again, and then there are the fairy dust chimes telling us story time is over...

Next Gurumayi sings in Hindi Baba's prayer to his Guru, from Play of Consciousness (so we did make it back there, after all) before giving the English translation. And then she has an inspiration:

"Baba's prayer is just so divine. In your future study of the message I would like to make a suggestion. You can cultivate your creative expression by writing a prayer to the guru! Here is one way to approach it; read Baba's prayer from Play of Consciousness several times through. Notice if any particular word or phrase draws your attention, calls to you. Or maybe it is an image or a feeling that is evoked for you. Note that word, or image or feeling in your journal. Allow it to resonate for you. You can even devote a special section of your journal to your experiences of the Guru. Or, you can create a Guru journal! Hmmmm. Be creative. Don't hesitate to write down any inspiration that arises for you, know that once you have set your intention to create your prayer, you will begin to attract the very images and words that will fulfill your intention. "

(Must be that 'ole debil Shakti again, heightening your physical and subtle senses and fine-tuning them to a higher degree of perception...)

And then Gurumayi repeats the message again in English and Hindi and...

SGMKJ!

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing more of the talk. Unfortunately your commentary was more on the side of sarcasm than substance, which suggests the topic is wearing thin.

The nature of the commentary does suggest that it's relatively easy to take a step back and critique from the viewpoint of disenchantment, which given the history behind the talk, the speaker and the movement is not entirely unjustified.

But with the conversation between you and the speaker (GM) broken — because the spell of enchantment is broken — there is only so much left to be said, at least so far as debunking the speaker is concerned. What next?

Just an observation.

SeekHer said...

Anon wrote:
"But with the conversation between you and the speaker (GM) broken — because the spell of enchantment is broken — there is only so much left to be said, at least so far as debunking the speaker is concerned. What next?"

Yes, you've divined my mood exactly. The subject has worn as thin as an ascetic's blanket. I felt an obligation to report the rest of the talk, but no real enthusiasm for doing so. Apologies for the sarcastic asides—they are a bad substitute for real commentary, true, but have the virtue of being short as the talk was long.

What's next? For me, I don't know. Someone wrote here that the opposite of belief isn't disbelief, but indifference. Maybe there is something more to be said about that.

Anonymous said...

Muktananda never needed to make his audience do visualizations.

Whether it was for good or for bad, just being around him tended to make one automatically get sucked into a deep meditation-like state. All he had to do was be there.

His "successor" needs to resort to guided imagery and visualization techniques.

With him, you FELT the column of energy up and down the spine. (At least, I did.)

With her, you had to visualize it and reach for it.

Somehow, it was just never quite the same. She had that capacity for a few years, but it dissipated over time.

Her ability to "work energetic magic" pales by comparison.

That tells ME something.

Does anybody else reading draw different conclusions?

Anonymous said...

What strikes me about this talk (as reported here) is what I remember about siddha yoga: although it presents itself as an "ancient tradition from an ancient lineage", it's really a mish-mash of "world teaching stories" (Hindu, Sufi,Rabbinical), New Age techniques (prosperity consciousness, journaling, creativity techniques,business time managment techniques and pop-psychology), a smattering of Hindu-based magical thinking, a few guru tradition visualization processes, Nada yoga "lite", tantra "lite", hatha yoga "lite" and a HUGE, major, maHA serving of guilt (for the Westerners who respond well to being told they are "greedy" and "selfish")plus a nice little packaged "experience inducing" set-up. The chimes ring, the "guru" tells you what you are going to "experience": if you do, you are "in alignment with the shakti" and "special". If you don't, there's something "wrong" with you (you aren't ready, you are jada, you didn't "get it", etc.). Either way, she "wins": if you have the experience, it's because of "the guru's grace"; if you don't have it, there's something lacking in you. And, either way, the experience is totally meaningless... without any real importance in terms of peeling off the layers of delusion.
If you look closely at what is being given here, what it seems to amount to is a message (which, for some reason, the guru herself has to contemplate...why would she have to contemplate her own message? I don't get that at all)..anyway, there is a message and then some New Agey suggestions about journaling, creating (through the "Law of attraction") your very own guru through your wishing, hoping, praying and intending (please notice there is NO mention at this point of the "inner guru" dwelling in each individual's "cave of the heart")...and some hokey stories about muktananda and nityanada to give the talk some gravitas.
It's seems to be an even weaker version of what has been offered before...each year, a little weaker; each year, the devotees are thrown more on their own devices, with "help" that they could just as easily find in O magazine).
Personally, I don't see a real "problem" with advising people this way if you are Dr. Phil but marketing yourself as a "siddha" and offering this as your "teaching" is kind of sad. Wouldn't it be kinder for gurumayi to just cut her devotees loose if she doesn't want to be a "siddha guru" any longer?
I feel very sorry for people who are caught in this mess...including gurumayi. It's sad.

s.

Anonymous said...

I know lots of folks have turned to Bhagwan as the real saint in this mess.
But I can't help but feel that he failed Muk. Big time!! Maybe if Bhag. had spent less time in la-la land and more time paying attention to Muk and what he was up to, our lives might have been very different.
If it's true that he sent people to Muk and told them Muk was a saint, then he is just as responsible for the this sy mess as Muk and GM. How could he have made such a HUGE mistake? If he did know, he didn't care much.
I don't give him a free pass on this...he failed us too.

Anonymous said...

When you mention...

"What strikes me about this talk (as reported here) is what I remember about siddha yoga: although it presents itself as an "ancient tradition from an ancient lineage", it's really a mish-mash of "world teaching stories" (Hindu, Sufi,Rabbinical), New Age techniques (prosperity consciousness, journaling, creativity techniques,business time managment techniques and pop-psychology), a smattering of Hindu-based magical thinking, a few guru tradition visualization processes, Nada yoga "lite", tantra "lite", hatha yoga "lite" and a HUGE, major, maHA serving of guilt (for the Westerners who respond well to being told they are "greedy" and "selfish")plus a nice little packaged "experience inducing" set-up"

...I can only respond, yet again, this is entirely GM's personal stamp on SY. A total mish-mosh of practices from different sources, packaged entirely too elegantly and neatly and prettily to be "natural".

Why? It comes back to what I said before. With Muk, he had so much inward-sucking energetic stuff (trickery?) going on, you didn't need all that unnatural overly from non-yogic sources. In Muk's era, it was all chanting, meditating, slava, japa, darshan, and intensives. No prosperity consciousness, no journaling, no creativity techniques, no business time managment techniques, no guided imagery or visualization of columns of light or gurus pouring liquid light into your head or whatever. Fast Chants, text chants, mantra chanting, meditating, slava, darshan were the main things going on. It all seemed quite genuinely like an exotic import from India.

That GM had to rely on in the introduction of all those western-sourced, new-age, not-traditionally-yogic techniques as a distraction speaks VOLUMES to me about GM.

Just IMO. BTW, please don't misunderstand, I am NOT DEFENDING Muk in any way. Merely, pointing out the major differences in the modus operandi between Muk and GM, and the "draw" that was there.

Anonymous said...

>>"Just IMO. BTW, please don't misunderstand, I am NOT DEFENDING Muk in any way. Merely, pointing out the major differences in the modus operandi between Muk and GM, and the "draw" that was there.""<<

Thanks very much for your important perspective..i hear what you're saying about the huge difference between muktananda and gurumayi. There is a major pull that exists in the tradition and you can find it, even today. I have my own feelings about how well it can work for a Westerner but those are personal.
I had alot of problems with the "watering down" in gurumayi's siddha yoga..the dumbing down of the teachings and practices. I get the feeling that gurumayi, herself, is confused about who, exactly, she is and where, exactly, she comes from. It's like she has asked herself, "who is my audience" and then (with help from swamis who, themselves, are unsure of the same things and psychologists, who are, themselves, unsure of the same things)created a "path" that has the "widest appeal". It's just very diluted and inauthentic. I think alot about that teaching story..."dig your hole in one place" that they used to use to warn devotees about going to see Shree Maa or Anandi Maa or Ammachi...Later on, I came to see that teaching story in a different light..."dig your hole in one place"...yup! in your OWN mind/soul/self/experience of incarnation. It's weird to see a "guru" who doesn't appear to have done that.

s.

Anonymous said...

SeekHer Said:

What's next? For me, I don't know. Someone wrote here that the opposite of belief isn't disbelief, but indifference. Maybe there is something more to be said about that.

January 13, 2008 8:50 AM

I might sugggest, if you have the energy to do so (you may not have it now but the energy to pursue this may come back. You had a lot of energy for SY in the past.) you might want to start with some basic questions:

What did I really want from GM? I mean really, it's worth a few periods of quiet reflection to ask yourself this question.

What do I want to do with the time I have left in my life? That's always a good line of self inquiry to follow.

And then there's the age old Zen question - who is asking all these questions?

Or even... if I just sit there and "do" what seems to be nothing... then "What is happening behind all that nothing"?

What's behind all that NOTHING is the SOMETHING you may have been trying to experience in SY. Not something flamboyant and life altering, something subtle, ever present, something that always was and will always be.

I finally figured out that *this* is what the SY teachings meant by The Self. Consciousness. Pure Awareness. It's so simple, most of us miss it on an everyday basis.

Maybe I was more of a Buddhist when I thought I was a "yogi" than I realized.

Oh and about the comments on the strange trip called Gurumayi's Siddha Yoga vs the Big Trip people experienced around Baba Muktananda - you know sometimes I think I preferred GM's SY to Baba's because hers seemed less messy and out of control.

I actually used to like the idea that I could go to a fancy ashram in the Catskills and sit for meditation on an expensive cushion next to some daytime TV star. And "write about my experience" in am elegant, equally expensive journal. It all seemed so PRISTINE to me at the time.

But now... to me that just seems sad.
k.

SeekHer said...

K wrote:
"I might sugggest, if you have the energy to do so (you may not have it now but the energy to pursue this may come back. You had a lot of energy for SY in the past.) you might want to start with some basic questions"

thank you for these, K. I do look forward to getting to know this awareness that's hiding behind the effort to find answers and is really the answer itself

Anonymous said...

K said "sometimes I think I preferred GM's SY to Baba's because hers seemed less messy and out of control"

I'm the person who wrote what you were responding to, and actually I can appreciate your perspective. If you think I was saying Muk's SY was necessarily "better" than GM's version, that's not what I was saying, just so we're clear. All I was pointing out was the energy buzz was higher around Muk and thus he didn't resort to all sorts of other "techniques" whether yogic or borrowed from elsewhere.

Seekher, one "dharana" that I've always enjoyed relating to "awareness" or consciousness" was actually something Ishwaranda taught me late in Muk's era. It went something like this:

"Observe the one who is observing you all the time. Meditate on the one who is meditating on you all the time."

It can create some interesting insights and effects. Whether they're positive or not...I don't know. But it was quite interesting for me. It typically led to feeling two things, simultaneously, which were:

1. What I'd term as a "I am a drop in the ocean" perspective: I felt like I was this tiny little microscopic speck in a big universe, and yet fully ingrated and "at one" with the underpinning energy that created that vast universe. In other words, everything was all "one" whole and even though I was only a tiny, tiny part of it, I felt something like a permeating, blanketing connection and unity with it.

2. The second simultaneous perspective was an "I AM the Ocean" perspective. It felt like I was all that existed anywhere and anytime, that "I", that observer consciousness, contained ALL things in the universe and all of that vast universe was contained inside myself and was just a small part of that vastness. I was all that existed and had ever existed and could ever exist. No concept of "two" or "other" was possible since all things were contained within my being.

In other words, I simultaneously felt my tinyness inside some huge vastness but united with it as a small part of it, and also felt like I was the vastness and EVERYTHING was contained within me and I was all that had ever existed, and all things were part of me and one with me because they were contained within me.

As I write this, not only am I amazed at being able to perceive these two perspectives at once, but in writing it out, it almost looks insane.

And yet...even today, when I focus on it, I can still feel those two simultaneous perspectives, but I have to focus on it. I definitely don't typically live in that perception moment-to-moment.

Has anybody else had this experience during their time in SY?

Oh, the other huge "dharana" for me was that lesson Ram Butthead wrote on the Matrika shakti for the correspondence course...it was Lesson 11, wasn't it? That watching of the matrika shakti, of thoughts crystallizing and then dissolving into nothingness, the words taking form into sound-thought patterns and evaporating again, was quite deep in its effect. Made my mind awfully quiet to practice that. For a while it was a really good exercise to do while I was driving to become hyper-aware of the situation around me by making the mind totally still. (At least, I THOUGHT I was hyper-aware. Maybe I only simply psyched myself into thinking so!) But I haven't practiced either of these two dharanas deliberately in years.

Anonymous said...

Hi Seekher,
It's not "Om Hari Om" on youtube, its Gopala Krishna by George Harrison. Sorry its totally off topic. In any case, its beautiful and you should take a listen for yourself. No need to publish this. However, I do want to say, I am spending a tremendous amount of time doing kirtan now with the "Das brothers"; Krishna Das, Shyamdas, Jai Uttal. All this chanting is really helping me to purge the "bad" feelings and the bad taste in my mouth left over from 13 years of SY sadhana and the subsequent disappointments we all have been reading and writing about. So, what I'm saying is that I've found it very beneficial to take a practice that I learned and loved, chanting, and now using it to heal and find closure. I recommend it, as the bhakti that arises isn't for GM, its just for the Self, (once the old crap gets purged.
Thank you for this amazing seva you've been doing, it seems to be helping many people.
Om shanti.

Anonymous said...

"In other words, I simultaneously felt my tinyness inside some huge vastness but united with it as a small part of it, and also felt like I was the vastness and EVERYTHING was contained within me and I was all that had ever existed, and all things were part of me and one with me because they were contained within me."

Yup that is exactly what Sy in Bab's time did for folks.

too bad it is kind of useless in the grand scheme of things...my own life...but I am glad for SY for one thing. I can stop searching.

:-)

Anonymous said...

>>"too bad it is kind of useless in the grand scheme of things...my own life...but I am glad for SY for one thing. I can stop searching.

:-)"<<<


Exactly! The method was bizarre but the end result is positive....no more searching. lol!

s.

Anonymous said...

Okay, about this SY teaching style by Gurumayi, and the exercises and journaling and all that New Agey crap. I've got to add this. Kathy Downing. That's the person responsible for years now. For whatever reason, GM turned the reins over to her, and she's been the brains (or lack thereof) behind the operation. Perhaps GM was impressed with the fact she has a doctorate in education, and didn't bother to find out her educational toolbox is about 10+ years behind current trends. Whenever people talk about how GM's teaching withered over the years, I always think, well, duh, it's all Dr Downing.

Anonymous said...

Have to say amen to the post about Kathy Downing. Funny how you never hear her talked about on any of the SY message boards. The fact that she had such influence was incomprehensible to many, one of those "don't ask" areas. But SY's current teaching style, including the infamous premotsava, is a mirror of the adult learning theories and practices of Downing's mentor Jane Vella. It's practical adult education learning theory that is treated in SY as holy writ.

Anonymous said...

SY's current teaching style, including the infamous premotsava, is a mirror of the adult learning theories and practices of Downing's mentor Jane Vella. It's practical adult education learning theory that is treated in SY as holy writ.

---
No kidding! What an irony. Did you hear that 2007 New Year talk by Ish in which he said something about how GM wanted people to take the old message and apply and implement and something-or-other? Well, I just googled Jane Vella, and here is a quote from her website:

"Vella uses the terms “description, analysis, application, implementation..."

Stuart said...

Anony wrote...
With him, you FELT the column of energy up and down the spine. (At least, I did.)

If it were really Baba's power, then everyone would have felt it, just like everyone who goes near a fire feels heat. But with Baba, it was completely different. A minority of people felt something when encountering Baba's scene, while the majority were unimpressed and bored.

This suggests that the key factor was the beliefs of the people who came to Baba, not any special voodoo that Baba himself had.

With her, you had to visualize it and reach for it.

If you had different experiences with Gurumayi vs Baba, it's probably because of your different feelings towards them (consciously or un-), or your feelings towards the overall group-dynamic in the ashram at various times, or just stuff that was going on in your life, that you thought was coming from the guru.

Somehow, it was just never quite the same. She had that capacity for a few years, but it dissipated over time.

It's got nothing to do with anyone else's capacity. OK, OK, some people have charisma, so maybe they can encourage you a bit. But your own mind is so so much more important.

That tells ME something.

Nah, you really don't know. All the time, people experience the power of their own thinking... then project it outward, thinking it came from somebody or something else.

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

Anonymous said...

Had to check out Jane Vella, who thankfully I missed though I spent a lot of time with adult learning advocates. No wonder I never heard of her with thoughts like these:

‘Once people learn about what it is to learn, there’s no other addiction.’

The acclaimed adult learning theorist, who some call a guru of adult education, is vehemently against conferences.

“I wouldn’t go to a conference if you paid me. ”

Conferences and trade fairs are booming and considered to be the best place to learn new ideas and to network etc. Lots of research has proven that companies are not wasting money this way.

Maybe this is why we no longer got the benefit of getting together with each other at the ashram and experienced this radical isolation of the sangham. Vella's ideas would provide theory for shutting the place down.

Anonymous said...

"Nah, you really don't know. All the time, people experience the power of their own thinking... then project it outward, thinking it came from somebody or something else."

Stuart
January 15, 2008 3:15 AM

With the pleasure of moving away from thinking about SY 24/7, your comments are still helpful Stuart.

Hard to remember this projection thing. Sobering. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Stuart said...

If it were really Baba's power, then everyone would have felt it, just like everyone who goes near a fire feels heat.

___
Poor or misleading analogy! What other people felt or didn't feel doesn't prove such power.

If two people stand in front of a fire and one is naked and the other wearing an insulated suit, who feels the fire?

Anonymous said...

>>"If two people stand in front of a fire and one is naked and the other wearing an insulated suit, who feels the fire?"<<

or, if two people go to a concert..and one is intensely moved by the music to such an extent that it creates physiological changes in the body and the other is jabbering on his cell phone and feels "nothing"

or,someone who can smell colors or taste music or someone who has lived in a mountainous, undeveloped region of Albania who can hear the sound of animals in the forest and identify them by sound...even though the visitor can't hear a thing.

Anonymous said...

To the anon poster at 8:25 am, referring to Jane Vella's dislike of conferences. I think your suggestion that SY gave up big events as a result of that is a real stretch, not plausible. That's just a personal dislike, not part of Vella's teaching strategy. There are many many more likely reasons for the end of big events in SY.

It's the "principles" and practices of Vella's teaching strategy that have been adopted and made to seem sacredly revealed in SY. Including the very idea of learning "principles", which if you have been around SY in the past ten years you will easily recognize as a buzzword (premotsava, anyone?). What I find abhorrent is that simple educational theory--the kind of thing that is in vogue for a while and used and then changed as its flaws become apparent--was adopted by SY and presented to those in courses as though it was god's revealed truth. That was a pattern, ideas adopted from business or other areas of life and then presented with an overlay of spiritual significance. It always made me cringe. People blame the sevites, but the impetus for the various "teaching initiatives" comes from Gurumayi. She gets hold of an idea and that is that. There are many people in the courses and programs areas who have the savvy to know that these ideas are simply practical tools, but they stifle their own opinions because if GM is enthusiastic about something, the only way to remain close to her is to share the enthusiasm. Ultimately this is self-defeating, as people get sick of the "next great thing" taking over SY, over and over again, each thing presented as some kind of eternal truth (remember the Vidya Mela? Kathy Downing's baby, as was premotsava). A series of enthusiasms--GM's enthusiasms--that's one way of looking at what SY has become. Such a shame.

Anonymous said...

Previous Writer: With him, you FELT the column of energy up and down the spine. (At least, I did.)

Stuart: If it were really Baba's power, then everyone would have felt it, just like everyone who goes near a fire feels heat. But with Baba, it was completely different. A minority of people felt something when encountering Baba's scene, while the majority were unimpressed and bored.

This suggests that the key factor was the beliefs of the people who came to Baba, not any special voodoo that Baba himself had.

***

Sorry Stuart, I usually agree with you but in this case I have to say I don't. I strongly believe that giving "shaktipat" is a skill that can be learned like any other. Muktananda was *great* at it, Amrit Desai was good at it, though Desai eventually abandoned it, Gurumayi may have been ok at it years ago but it would appear that she's lost the skill (or may just be withholding it) these days.

Desai told a small number of his devotees (I had a good friend who studied with him) that he could have chosen to teach the technique but decided against it. He thought "shaktipat" had a place in the overall effort to introduce yoga to the West but once the actual practice of yoga took hold he saw "shaktipat" as a distraction rather than a tool to help closed Western minds open to a new way of seeing things.

Plus, it has a tendency to go bad for some people. That's the real reason he abandoned the practice... because he saw it hurting too many of his students.

Like LSD - we've had this discussion, remember? It was good for some of the people some of the time, then it became bad for a number of people too much of the time, then it just became a bad idea to keep it circulating.

K.

Anonymous said...

>>>" What I find abhorrent is that simple educational theory--the kind of thing that is in vogue for a while and used and then changed as its flaws become apparent--was adopted by SY and presented to those in courses as though it was god's revealed truth. That was a pattern, ideas adopted from business or other areas of life and then presented with an overlay of spiritual significance. It always made me cringe. "<<

Amen to that! It was the major reason that I, eventually saw the "light of reason" regarding syda... attending a vidya mela course in Ganeshpuri (it was a REQUIRED COURSE...you had to take it..but not, of course, free..you also had to pay for it). During this incredibly stupid course, creativity concepts I had encountered during many years of teaching art were presented as "Ancient Vedic Wisdom" and powerful "Yogic Techniques". I was so disgusted by this that it knocked some sense into me.The blatant nature of the dissembling was part of what helped me to finally disentangle from syda. Once again...it's the LYING that's the problem...use the techniques but don't call them "Ancient Vedic Wisdom". Call them: time management, creativity exploration, successful business methods, etc....and don't FORCE people to "imbibe" them for a fee! It's the worst of huksterism ...preying on a bunch of vulnerable, clueless people...and lying to them as you give talks on "Trust". Still going on though...so I guess it must be an effective business model.
s.

Anonymous said...

During this incredibly stupid course, creativity concepts I had encountered during many years of teaching art were presented as "Ancient Vedic Wisdom" and powerful "Yogic Techniques".

--
I had the same problem. Only in my case (I have the same doctoral degree as Downing), I was recognizing the concepts and techniques I studied in Grad school a good 20 years earlier. They were fresh news at the time. What galled me was when Gurumayi was given credit for creating these things.

Anonymous said...

To second K's earlier post in this thread, St. Francis is also attributed with saying, 'The One you are looking for is the One who is looking.'

This is the fundamental orientation shared by the great — and truly liberating — mystics, one which immediately takes the air out of the tires of any movement or teacher who claims to be the true intermediary between self and Self.

As an aside, the medieval Christian mystic Nicolas of Cusa called the Infinite 'a circle whose center is everywhere, and circumference nowhere.' Worth contemplating as an understanding of how the Self is both infinite and in all.

Anonymous said...

Did Stuart ever have any personal experience of what he so easily and comfortably stands in judgement over?

It's rather tiresome to have very personal, complex and significant experiences — that many of us have spent years contemplating in the process of our disenchantment, seeking the truth at the core of them — dismissed out of hand by someone who (as far as I can tell) never really had the contact or experience.

It's really not so easy to write the whole thing off. The truth is not so simple as "Nah, you really don't know. All the time, people experience the power of their own thinking... then project it outward, thinking it came from somebody or something else."

Kind of an annoying statement if it's coming from someone who was never there.

Anonymous said...

>>"It's really not so easy to write the whole thing off. The truth is not so simple as "Nah, you really don't know. All the time, people experience the power of their own thinking... then project it outward, thinking it came from somebody or something else." "<<

Whether or not Stuart has had the "experiences" of which he speaks is not really what is so bothersome to alot of people (imho). I think it's more the dismissal of the experiences and points of view about those experiences as "mental projection" or whatever and the tone of certainty with which he speaks. Like all of us, he offers some wonderfully helpful information along with some irritating opinions . But all any of us can offer is our own opinion regarding spiritual matters...it's not like cloning sheep..lol! (or, maybe in the case if siddha yoga, it IS like cloning sheep..lol).
Stuart has a particular point of view-take it or leave it. The tradition that he embraces (zen) is vast and quirky...not quite so easily pinned down. I've had some interesting discussions with zen masters about "experiences". It's not a monolithic perspective by any means.

s.

Anonymous said...

Quote "
1. What I'd term as a "I am a drop in the ocean" perspective: I felt like I was this tiny little microscopic speck in a big universe, and yet fully ingrated and "at one" with the underpinning energy that created that vast universe. In other words, everything was all "one" whole and even though I was only a tiny, tiny part of it, I felt something like a permeating, blanketing connection and unity with it.

2. The second simultaneous perspective was an "I AM the Ocean" perspective. It felt like I was all that existed anywhere and anytime, that "I", that observer consciousness, contained ALL things in the universe and all of that vast universe was contained inside myself and was just a small part of that vastness. I was all that existed and had ever existed and could ever exist. No concept of "two" or "other" was possible since all things were contained within my being.

In other words, I simultaneously felt my tinyness inside some huge vastness but united with it as a small part of it, and also felt like I was the vastness and EVERYTHING was contained within me and I was all that had ever existed, and all things were part of me and one with me because they were contained within me.

As I write this, not only am I amazed at being able to perceive these two perspectives at once, but in writing it out, it almost looks insane.

And yet...even today, when I focus on it, I can still feel those two simultaneous perspectives, but I have to focus on it. I definitely don't typically live in that perception moment-to-moment.

Has anybody else had this experience during their time in SY?"


Yes, I have. Thank you so much for sharing this. It's the first time I've come across this experience post sy. I thought I was the only one.
This samadhi-like state happened to me shortly after Muk died. After his death, my kundalini went nuts. My spine burned so badly that I couldn't sit down. I was thrown into ecstatic states, fell into spontaneous meditation...I had no control.
Then, during a workshop, I suddenly went weak and cold. I was laying on the floor shaking from cold, under a bunch of blankets.
Waves of ecstasy poured through my body. The only warmth was a tiny place in my heart, so I concentrated there.
Then an energy came in through the top of my head, went down the front of my body. And as it touched each cell, the cell began spinning faster and faster until it exploded into light. And when it reached the base of my spine, I had no sense of a physical body at all. I was just awareness, and I moved up the spine as awareness and as this energy/light. Everything was golden and each chakra turned upright and when I reached the head and beyond, there was only awareness and golden light.
There was no sense of 'me', no thought, just light and awareness. Then the light disappeared, and there was only awareness, and then that went out. I no longer existed...erased as if I had never been.
Reminds me of that mantra, Gone, Gone, Gone Beyond, Gone Beyond Beyond, Hail the Goer.
Then, something twitched, something moved, and there was "I". Oneness, no other, totally complete.
Then "I AM" arose, then "I AM THAT" arose and as soon as that happened, "THAT AM I" arose.
There was no other, no thinking, no physical form, I was total and complete, and the only One.
And within myself, all things arose and dissolved.
Like the universe of form existed within my womb.

All of a sudden something caught my attention and there was a sudden contraction, like one of the satelite cameras, zooming into a person standing on a street somewhere. I came flying back into the body, and the eyes popped open, and I was in both states at the same time. Everything the senses perceived was perceived as Self. Everything was loved equally. Again there was no thinking, no self-reflection.
There was knowing without thinking.
Then just as fast as incarnating happened, dissolution happened again.
I had no control. This went on for 12 hours.
When I finally came back into my body, I was in a falling-down-drunken bliss state, for months. And everytime I stopped thinking, I would collapse into meditation.

There was a small sy paperback book, with a light blue cover and a picture of Muk on it. I think it was on the Shive Sutras?? Anyway, it described the steps of creation from Shiva on down to the physical plane. That is the only place where I found a description of what happened to me.

I can go back there anytime I want...something has been permanently changed. But I don't. I've found out that any spiritual practice will activate all that, so I keep my attention on ordinary things, and live very simply.
Thanks again for sharing, it's good to know I'm not the only one who got blasted that way.

Anonymous said...

"I can go back there anytime I want...something has been permanently changed. But I don't. I've found out that any spiritual practice will activate all that, so I keep my attention on ordinary things, and live very simply."

This is an important point, I think. Those experiences are not exclusive to Siddha Yoga. People in many traditions--with or without gurus-- experience these states. In SY there was enormous importance ascribed to them, and people were encouraged to share their experiences as evidence of the power of the path and the guru (and to persuade others of that power). In other traditions practitioners are warned not to ascribe too much importance to them. There is awareness that they can be addictive. People are taught in a systematic way how to enter such states in some traditions (e.g. buddhist jhana practice). Many people leaving SY can't tolerate hearing that experiences like these may not have a lot of intrinsic importance, and refuse to look at them differently than the dogma of SY prescribes. For a lot of people (including me), the fact that they entered these kinds of samadhi states was the best evidence that the path was true. People pointed to them all the time as proof positive that the guru was a siddha and thus the path must be perfect. Discovering that other traditions treat them as interesting, useful and valuable but temporary states without intrinsic significance created a lot of confusion and resistance in me. Hearing that in some traditions students are actually warned against getting attached to such states was startling. And discovering that people in other traditions do specific practices in order to enter specific states like the ones described took some of the spontaneous, "play of the shakti" magic out of them. For me that was the beginning of investigating them more objectively, trying to discover for myself what their value is, whether they have any ultimate meaning outside of what some swami or ancient text SAYS they have.

SY often called itself an empirical yoga but I think that is nonsense. Experiences had predetermined weight and meaning, their importance was assumed, they were not a matter for wide ranging individual exploration or investigation. They could be explored only within the tightly closed box of SY beliefs about them.

Anonymous said...

>>"Has anybody else had this experience during their time in SY?""<<


I had this experience several times...once in Florida very powerfully. I had this experience you describe before siddha yoga, in siddha yoga and post-siddha yoga.
I spent alot of time exploring the alternate points of view (as described by Anon.12:56pm...and thank you for that clarity)only after I left siddha yoga. As she/he mentioned, in siddha yoga, there was ONE way to look at these "experiences"...as an "empirical proof" of the validity of siddha yoga. I remember gurumayi telling us, "hold onto your 'golden experiences'; they are proof that the yoga is working in you".That puzzled me, as I had had powerful "golden experiences" before meeting the guru..what were THEY about?
I think each person has to eventually come to terms with what his/her relationship to these experiences is. For me, they are just like any other "miraculous" part of life....like breathing or REALLY seeing a mountain or any one of a number of other things...in each moment, everything really does exist... for me,some things have proven more "helpful" to explore than others as I try to grasp being in a body on the planet.

best,
s.

Anonymous said...

"can go back there anytime I want...something has been permanently changed. But I don't. I've found out that any spiritual practice will activate all that, so I keep my attention on ordinary things, and live very simply.
Thanks again for sharing, it's good to know I'm not the only one who got blasted that way."

January 16, 2008 10:30 AM

Hello Anon,

You are most definitely not the only one that got blasted that way. It kept me in SY despite the cognitive dissonance.

Anonymous said...

"They could be explored only within the tightly closed box of SY beliefs about them."

January 16, 2008 12:56 PM

Hit the nail on the head. Absolutely the big nut.
Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi all,thanx a lot for this blog.I am with SY for about 11 years, in a very sine wave manner.For last almost 1 year I am away from all messages and talks,satsangs.To my own amazement I read the 2008 SY message around the last week of Feb.
I want to thank you not because,I share your views but any how it brought me back to think of my own experiences with SY,Shri Gurumayi and Ganeshpuri.
I thank you as you made me read some part of the msg along with your commentary on that.
Your points made me to redefine and practicalize my own experiences on this path.I am sure, with the time passing by you will accumulate further more new things.I request you to share those, as people like me will take their parts of interest out of it.I wish and pray good for you.You can mail me at laughyaar02@yahoo.com.
bye for now...

cobralily said...

thanks so much for telling us about the message. it saved me a lot of $ lol! With the economy the way it is and my financial situation i would never be able to afford any SY stuff. Too bad there is not a lot of free gatherings available anymore.