Saturday, March 15, 2008

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You

Friends. I've been away too long—my bad. Two things were going on in my life. One you know; my disenchantment with Siddha Yoga is complete. Which is not to say that I reject it utterly, or feel that I received nothing good or positive from the path. But I am no longer on that path, and am feeling my way towards the next, which has lessened my need to participate here.

The other thing is that I've been having a lot of stress at work, the result of which is that I resigned this week. The details of the drama that led up to my quitting are not all that interesting to me, and I'm certain they wouldn't be to you. But, there is an aspect of this situation that I find fascinating, and that proceeds directly from having left SY. The decision to leave the job was mine, it was not mutual and I left without another job lined up. In short, I walked. Leaving that way required a kind of moral courage that I totally lacked during my time with Gurumayi. 

To be a good Siddha Yogi is to nurture a tenuous grasp of your own reality. Blissful feelings while meditating or chanting are not taken at face value, but are co-opted as evidence of that mystical belief system called the "Guru-Disciple Relationship". Every event, every feeling, each coincidence is re-interpreted in light of the "teachings" until it becomes subsumed by your beliefs. Critical thought and evaluation are crippled. This is particularly true of negative events. How many times have we dismissed difficulties with a seva supervisor, or a friend or co-worker, as karmic—the Guru's fire burning off our negative samskaras? How often have we tolerated situations that flew in the face of our own self-respect, our true evaluation of self-worth, because it seemed more "yogic" to comply, knuckle under, obey? Speaking for myself, I've lost count.

Patience is not a virtue when it means staying in a relationship that is well past its expiration date. Surrender and capitulation to other's manipulation destroys the fabric of our own reality. Our conditioning in SY too often means that we accept others stories even when we know deep down that they're not true, that they twist reality in order to justify bad behavior against us. Why? Because that is a trick we learned too well during our time at the ashram, excusing those in authority--including Gurumayi--when their behavior contradicted the teachings, finding a way to make sense of those blatant contradictions by confusing, disbelieving, misremembering our own experiences.

When confronted with this dynamic at work this time, I didn't—couldn't—back down. I knew that I had to remove myself from the situation because it would not change. I didn't search for other-worldly yogic explanations of what was going down. I trusted the evidence of my own senses, took them at face value, evaluated events and recognized patterns. I made up my own mind. 

As I write this, I realize it sounds very elemental. But for me, it is a liberation. One of the patterns that I recognized was my own. When I was a young child my father remarried and my stepmother was particularly cruel to me and my brothers and sister. My father traveled a lot, and when he did she would berate and beat us, and mentally abuse us, with impunity. When he returned she would make up stories to justify our bruises, or to counter our versions of what happened. Hauled before him we were told to admit our mistakes and take our punishment. Telling the truth, which meant denying our stepmother's lies, only made things worse. We weren't believed and our punishment was increased. Very early on, I learned that to tell truth to power was futile.

This became a lifelong habit. It didn't stop my from telling my truth, but it did lead me to capitulate to other's "truths" when they contradicted mine, if they were in a position of power and even when I knew what they said wasn't true. It's a habit I broke this week, and it had nothing to do with Guru's grace, and everything to do with the clarity of mind and self-respect that came when I turned my back on the path and walked away from that realm of delusion.


50 comments:

Anonymous said...

>>" It's a habit I broke this week, and it had nothing to do with Guru's grace, and everything to do with the clarity of mind and self-respect that came when I turned my back on the path and walked away from that realm of delusion."<<

Congratulations! This was wonderful to read...really exhilarating! It's "simple" isn't it? Self-respect, integrity, truthfulness and true compassion (for ourselves as well as others). Amazing that it takes LEAVING a spiritual path for that to become real to us on a personal level.
best to you,
a friend

Anonymous said...

"This became a lifelong habit. It didn't stop my from telling my truth, but it did lead me to capitulate to other's "truths" when they contradicted mine,"

Seekher,
Thanks so much for your elemental passage. I was there with you during the absence of your dad, and then the situation when he returned. Lived through it myself. Just was in another family. Maybe Tolstoy's quote about happy families being alike, unhappy families unhappy in their own way really means, there's no story in the happy ones, but there is something that needs saying about the unhappy ones.

I have noticed that many of us post SY are coming to a place of explorying the rituals of our famillies and the experiences that incubated our particular style of attachment to the guru. Thank you especially for sharing the quote above. Even just this week I "capitualted" to someone else's truth' in an important situation, but post SY had to courage to follow up with stating my own later. Felt a lot of guilt, confusion and anger but I did it. Reading your passage took those feelings away. A real pain reliever. May your new way of being keep protecting you.
Warm regards, Grateful Anon

Anonymous said...

Hello Seekher,

Thank you for being a very important part of my life, and I know for others.

This is for you and co. In honor of a hackneyed and exploited holiday. Another very special place on the planet, where many writers have struggled to hear and share the voice within.

http://tinyurl.com/38755y

Anonymous said...

Some years ago I too stepped off the cliff and into the abyss. I shed a well-cultivated identity, and thought I would be nothing without a high-powered corporate entity as part of my persona. How wrong I was. I've never felt more free.

Most people don't mind what gets served to them, so they end up with second best, or with getting shafted wherever they might be. I say to them, to quote that old cliched saying:

It's better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 7:04pm March 16 said:
"Most people don't mind what gets served to them, so they end up with second best, or with getting shafted wherever they might be. I say to them, to quote that old cliched saying:

It's better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees."

Can't say I agree that people "don't mind". There are lots of reasons people stay in situations where they aren't treated fairly. Fear is often one of them. Or two or three of them--fear comes in many guises and disguises. What brings people to the place where they have the courage to jump into the abyss is what interests me. How we overcome fear, or set fear aside, or act in spite of it, that's what I like to hear about, that's where I feel I can learn something useful. People's stories of struggles that lead to clarity and freedom--those are what I find inspiring, moving.

Seekher's inner travels over the past few months are that kind of story. Thanks so much, Seekher, for sharing honestly and thoughtfully your own path through the deep woods of disenchantment. It's true service.

older but wiser

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of a bizarre interlude during my last couple years at SMA in South Fallsburg, when a disparate group of 'sevites' was called to the Namaste room for a meeting with GM. We couldn't for the life of us figure out what we had in common. We were then told (I can't remember the exact words) that we basically had the problem of being too shy and not able to stand up for ourselves -- basically a problem with saying 'no.'

So we were handed over to Nivritti Gillette for a program of exercises to give us some backbone. One memorable exercise out in an open field was to have someone facing me and advancing step by step, and I was to say 'No' forcefully enough to make him/her stop advancing. The very artificiality of the situation made me both annoyed and amused, and I was a real bust at the whole thing.

Thankfully GA was more interested in the project he had me doing for him in landscaping, and pulled me out, telling me there was nothing wrong with me and he couldn't understand what I was doing there. Ironic.

The first paradox is of course that it was not Nivrittis' exercises that were needed, but rather the real world act of saying 'No' to GA, and ultimately to the way that my life was being run and dictated by GM and the ashram.

The second and sad paradox was that GM seemed genuinely annoyed that 'we' lacked the backbone to speak up, and yet did not seem to be aware of her very active hand in promoting that situation. I myself had received pretty forceful correction from her in the form of various forms of banishment -- for instance, to that very 'seva' of fixing the mess of the lake project -- which tended to dissuade me from thinking that speaking up was a good idea, or even an option.

When I did speak up in writing and was called in to explain myself to her personally, I was basically asked 'What took you so long?' in a way that quite nearly made me the one who was in the wrong, as if I were part of the problem for going along with everything for so long. In that topsy-turvy and confused world of lived contradiction, it seemed pointless to attempt an answer, thus I didn't. Of course immediately afterward a 'secretary' met with me to ensure that I had the 'right understanding' of what had just been said -- advice which I immediately discarded.

Thus I've had something of the same path of learning ultimately not to 'capitulate' to others' truths, even when they are promoted as divine and visionary truths. The pain did prove to be useful. Again, the irony is sad, stunning, even perhaps liberating.

SeekHer said...

anon write:
"In that topsy-turvy and confused world of lived contradiction, it seemed pointless to attempt an answer, thus I didn't."

YES! It's pointless to speak up and senseless to keep quiet. These are the situations you must remove yourself from. There is no other solution.

Oddly--or perhaps not--my work situation resembles that of the ashram in many particulars, i.e. one strong, authoritative boss who surrounds himself with yes-men, and a coterie of ambitious people who are falling over themselves to be part of the inner circle. We tend to think of SY as unique, but the sad truth is that its disfunction is anything but.

I just read a book about the Curia of the Catholic Church written anonymously by a group of senior prelates named "The Millenari" (the book was released during the millennium celebrations in 2000). It is basically a bunch of anecdotes strung together that lay bare the incredibly petty games and intrigues played by those who hope to advance within Vatican circles. So many of the stories reminded me strongly of both my job, and of SY e.g. the way honest and truly pious people are isolated, ignored, left out of meetings and made to feel worthless because they refuse to play political games, and hence are considered "untrustworthy" because they have no ulterior motives; the blandishments and obvious flattery practiced by the climbers towards those high up and closest to the Pope; even(!) the strategems used by bishops and cardinals to get seated closest to the Pope during special ceremonies (sound familiar?)

None of this is new, and none of it is unique to any hierarchical organization. Perhaps we can be grateful to SY for throwing these things into sharp relief for us, so that we can recognize and deal with them in the world with the same courage and equanimity that exiting the ashram required.

SeekHer said...

anon write:
"In that topsy-turvy and confused world of lived contradiction, it seemed pointless to attempt an answer, thus I didn't."

YES! It's pointless to speak up and senseless to keep quiet. These are the situations you must remove yourself from. There is no other solution.

Oddly--or perhaps not--my work situation resembles that of the ashram in many particulars, i.e. one strong, authoritative boss who surrounds himself with yes-men, and a coterie of ambitious people who are falling over themselves to be part of the inner circle. We tend to think of SY as unique, but the sad truth is that its disfunction is anything but.

I just read a book about the Curia of the Catholic Church written anonymously by a group of senior prelates named "The Millenari" (the book was released during the millennium celebrations in 2000). It is basically a bunch of anecdotes strung together that lay bare the incredibly petty games and intrigues played by those who hope to advance within Vatican circles. So many of the stories reminded me strongly of both my job, and of SY e.g. the way honest and truly pious people are isolated, ignored, left out of meetings and made to feel worthless because they refuse to play political games, and hence are considered "untrustworthy" because they have no ulterior motives; the blandishments and obvious flattery practiced by the climbers towards those high up and closest to the Pope; even(!) the strategems used by bishops and cardinals to get seated closest to the Pope during special ceremonies (sound familiar?)

None of this is new, and none of it is unique to any hierarchical organization. Perhaps we can be grateful to SY for throwing these things into sharp relief for us, so that we can recognize and deal with them in the world with the same courage and equanimity that exiting the ashram required of us.

Anonymous said...

"None of this is new, and none of it is unique to any hierarchical organization. Perhaps we can be grateful to SY for throwing these things into sharp relief for us, so that we can recognize and deal with them in the world with the same courage and equanimity that exiting the ashram required of us."

March 17, 2008 6:19 PM

Thanks Seekher for taking the time to post. I would like to own a book with your name on it someday. Warm regards, Anon

Narayan said...

Imagine - if you can - not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.
And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.
Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless.
You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience, that they seldom even guess at your condition.
In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world.
You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences, will most likely remain undiscovered.
How will you live your life?
What will you do with your huge and secret advantage, and with the corresponding handicap of other people (conscience)?
The answer will depend largely on just what your desires happen to be, because people are not all the same. Even the profoundly unscrupulous are not all the same. Some people - whether they have a conscience or not - favor the ease of inertia, while others are filled with dreams and wild ambitions. Some human beings are brilliant and talented, some are dull-witted, and most, conscience or not, are somewhere in between.
I will go further and also state that Muk could be included in the high incidence of sociopathy in human society has a profound effect on the rest of us who must live on this planet, too, even those of us who have not been clinically traumatized. The individuals who constitute this 4 percent drain our relationships, our bank accounts, our accomplishments, our self-esteem, our very peace on earth.
Yet surprisingly, many people know nothing about this disorder, or if they do, they think only in terms of violent psychopathy - murderers, serial killers, mass murderers - people who have conspicuously broken the law many times over, and who, if caught, will be imprisoned, maybe even put to death by our legal system.
We are not commonly aware of, nor do we usually identify, the larger number of nonviolent sociopaths among us, people who often are not blatant lawbreakers, and against whom our formal legal system provides little defense.
Most of us would not imagine any correspondence between conceiving an ethnic genocide and, say, guiltlessly lying to one's boss about a coworker. But the psychological correspondence is not only there; it is chilling. Simple and profound, the link is the absence of the inner mechanism that beats up on us, emotionally speaking, when we make a choice we view as immoral, unethical, neglectful, or selfish.
Most of us feel mildly guilty if we eat the last piece of cake in the kitchen, let alone what we would feel if we intentionally and methodically set about to hurt another person.
Those who have no conscience at all are a group unto themselves, whether they are homicidal tyrants or merely ruthless social snipers.
The presence or absence of conscience is a deep human division, arguably more significant than intelligence, race, or even gender.
What differentiates a sociopath who lives off the labors of others from one who occasionally robs convenience stores, or from one who is a contemporary robber baron - or what makes the difference between an ordinary bully and a sociopathic murderer - is nothing more than social status, drive, intellect, blood lust, or simple opportunity.
What distinguishes all of these people from the rest of us is an utterly empty hole in the psyche, where there should be the most evolved of all humanizing functions.
Psychopaths seem to have in abundance the very traits most desired by normal persons. The untroubled self-confidence of the psychopath seems almost like an impossible dream and is generally what "normal" people seek to acquire when they attend assertiveness training classes. In many instances, the magnetic attraction of the psychopath for members of the opposite sex seems almost supernatural.
We would characterize criminal psychopaths as "unsuccessful psychopaths." The implication, of course, is that many psychopaths may exist in society who cope better than do those who come to the attention of the judicial and welfare systems.
The study of "ambulatory" psychopaths - what we call "The Garden Variety Psychopath" - has, however, hardly begun. Very little is known about subcriminal psychopathy. However, some researchers have begun to seriously consider the idea that it is important to study psychopathy not as an artificial clinical category but as a general personality trait in the community at large. In other words, psychopathy is being recognized as a more or less a different type of human.
One very interesting aspect of the psychopath is his "hidden life" that is sometimes not too well hidden. It seems that the psychopath has a regular need to take a "vacation into filth and degradation" the same way normal people may take a vacation to a resort where they enjoy beautiful surroundings and culture. To get a full feeling for this strange "need" of the psychopath - a need that seems to be evidence that "acting human" is very stressful to the psychopath
Welcome to your world (Master Charles) Vivekananda and Shankrananda!

Anonymous said...

Narayan,

Intreresting post. It was a well written picture of the SY Gurus I knew. Particularly disturbing is the mix of this anti-social behavior with kindness and personal attention. So seductive, so confusing. I resist lableing these types as completely 'other' than ourselves. however, in an us/them scenario. Taking the last piece of cake in the kitchen perhaps too innocent a sin to relate. The selfishness in each one of us is a little deeper than that I think. The standards of our culture calling us to be the best we can be drive us to compensating exaggeration and deceptions in our self talk. We tell ourselves stories about what goes down with others sometimes.

Even more disturbing as I gain distance from SY is that most New Age philosophies advise us to be our own little gods. You are divine. You, yourself, can be your very own Divinity!

I thought this a good thing for a long time. Replacing my damaged self-esteem from a childhood of trauma which was compounded with each year of living until now. But the old stories from our culture, metaphoric or not, tell a different tale. Such hubris was the main sin for the Greeks. The fall of Lucifer and Adam from the same fault. This overreaching to be a God.

Understanding that we are made in a divine image and that we are children of that creator, rather than being the creator of all we see had eased my mind and heart more than anything I've pursued for a philosophical paradigm to date. Has simplified my life, helping me to not feel an inordinate. and deluded, responsibility for all that I see. It has 'right sized' my ego so to speak and helped me to relax.

Believing you are god is the sociopaths dysfuntional program as you described well. I am so glad to be rid of the BS of I am Shiva!

Thanks Narayan. The SY gurus and their heirs are not gods and have no inside track to knowledge. They are just milking a public relations juggernaut, which many high profile personalities continue to help build. This kind of thing is insidious and widespread. There's a gal on tv who is particularly good at it.

Narayan said...

Hum, " There's a gal on tv who is particularly good at it." Dear Anonymous, who do you refer to?
there are so many want to be's out there? Narayan
PS thanks for you comments :-)

Shitty and Shetty said...

Well, I am glad I met GM. At least she doesn't pour sexual energy all over her devotees, unlike a certain relative of hers.

Anonymous said...

Dear Seekher,

what you write is so wonderful and breakthru-indicating. I can empathize very well with you, particularly what you write about denying one's own truth in face of superiors. Definitely, this is something we learned (or ciltivated) in the ashram, and it crippled us. It took away our self-esteem and self-confidence, and our "adulthood", so to speak. It surely was a brave move to quit your job. I myself am in a similar, while probably not so dramatic, job situation, and it is incredible how scrupulous I am in telling my own truth. We are SO conditioned to ask ourselves, to be scrupulous, when it comes to conflicts (between us and "superiors", for example, be it at work or seva). Others just trust their own experience and take consequences relatively quickly, but we as "siddha yogis"? Fuck this kind of conditioning and the conditioners alike!

I hope you soon find a good new job and that your sense of self-esteem strengthens you.

Best regards and wishes,
P.

Anonymous said...

I would say along with the illusion that we are God is the illusion that we are unreproachable in any form.

Anonymous said...

A quote from RFK in his speech on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King:

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: "Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."

There is pain big and small in our lives and none of it trivial. Interesting but not surprising that a Greek would recognize that wisdom often comes from the 'awful grace' of God, and taught through the pain of the brutality between people, even on the supposedly spiritual path no less than in the workplace.

RFK knew whereof he spoke.

Anonymous said...

So... SeekHer... how are you doing these days? Any reflections you care to share with us? I hope you're well... we haven't heard from you in about a month.

yomamma said...

"When I did speak up in writing and was called in to explain myself to her personally, I was basically asked 'What took you so long?'
This is an egotists way of making everything reflect back to them. they become the agent of your discovery , even taking that away from you. Otherwise they might actually have to think about how someone else feels.

Realizing what kind of game someone is running is very liberating. i think you really do need to draw a line against this kind of stuff. I work in a situation where there is no boss, but their are people who pay more rent, have fancier titles, bigger egos etc. and it is amazing the kind of effect those people can have. Luckily the balance of power is pretty favorable to me so I feel ok right now. but i have learned about how one person can spoil things by not being able to get over themselves.( this has included myself at times!)
and it always seems to be a lose- lose situation if they feel they can't dominate. so consequently i just don't worry about these people so much any more. and thank god they really don't have power over me.
there are a lot of little narcissistic demi-gods around these days, who fancy themselves to be new age visionaries, or gurus, or what ever. If you don't give them power they will cease to exist.
I don't follow this blog all the time , so I'm not up on all the recent posts and happenings in S. yoga , but it seems to me maybe GM just got sick of her own game, maybe she disappeared so she could do something else.

Joan Radha Bridges said...

I would like to let you know about "Shadow of the Guru" trailer we release today.

Thanks for your excellent blog!
Joan Radha

http://www.vimeo.com/926483

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9GeHa-qkYc

K. said...

SeekHer what's going on with you, do you ever expect to write for this blog again?

Hope things are going well for you, how's your new job?

k.

Anonymous said...

Is this blog even accepting new comments anymore?

Anonymous said...

Another area to study:

A Supposedly Ancient Hindu Tradition Covertly Using Modern American Methods derived from Erhard Seminars Training?

http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?12,59228

Anonymous said...

Another area to study:

A Supposedly Ancient Hindu Tradition Covertly Using Modern American Methods derived from Erhard Seminars Training?

http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?12,59228

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this blog. We have you listed under "Blogs We Love" at www.cultofthehuggingsaint.com, a blog devoted to exposing the inaccuracies of the Amma organization.

Anonymous said...

I found out "C", moderator on eXSY(whatever), is and always has been Malti. Take it to the bank. Don't ask me to tell you who told me. Hari bol.

Tagr said...

love you

Anonymous said...

turn me on, dead man.

Anonymous said...

Hope you will be firing this blog up again soon. Why not?

Anonymous said...

I have read through all the comments on this blog- they are at times heartbreaking and sometimes, the continued faith expressed is frustrating. I have given it much consideration and feel I must post a comment to try an add some clarity to the question of gurumayi's disappearance.
I was an 'insider' for many, many years and witnessed what went on behind the scenes in Gurumayi's house, with those closest to her and sometimes alone with her.
Gurumayi and those closest to her have a mean streak, which of course illustrates how impossible it is to consider her an enlightened being. I have seen her howl with laughter, mock and ridicule countless people after an intensive or darshan. I have seen her laugh about what was offered to her either privately or in darshan.
Gurumayi is a very damaged, charismatic and dangerous person. She is extremely selfish and has had a direct hand in the lying and deceit of Siddha Yoga. She loves luxury and surrounds herself with the best that life has to offer. I have been with her on shopping trips to the most expensive shops in London, Paris and Los Angeles. She is fiercely competitive, so that even what was a casual game of volleyball with 'insiders' became obvious, that she would win with ridiculous amounts of praise along the way.
I believe that Gurumayi was/is infatuated with George Afif, and have witnessed her behave with him in a subservient manner many, many times. I don't think she had a physical relationship with him, but she was jealous of all the 'affairs' he had with the many beautiful young darshan girls that were always on the scene.
I do think towards the end of her public life, she fell quite hard for a handsome man, who surprise! divorced his wife and spent a lot of time alone with Gurumayi. I think she is with him now. I believe the pretence of holiness was too much for her to maintain- though she loved the adulation and manipulation of her position.
She was brought up in the midst of cruelty and lies by Baba, and yet I do not excuse her. She has posed as something she is far from being and has raked in material benefits as well as adulation.
Please realise how unworthy she, and all those who perpetuate Siddha Yoga are... I felt completely disillusioned, heartbroken and adrift when I made the break, but am so much better for having done so. I was not surprised to hear that she has gone missing- it was only a matter of time. Gurumayi loves herself and those who flatter her ego- though she rewards their loyalty by sending them away when they know too much!
I am so encouraged to find this community of good people- you deserve more than to worship such a false and cruel person.

anonymous said...

I just sent you a comment about my experience as an 'insider' of siddha yoga. I am new to the blog protocol and realised that I posted as anonymous, so that it would be impossible to contact me, I didn't mean to do that.
I hope that is helpful, don't really think this needs to be posted, just wanted to get in touch with you and give you a way to contact me if needed.
Many thanks.

Anonymous said...

It's the 'insider' again... I have been deeply affected by finding this website, and thoughts about GM and SY, which have not taken up my energy or emotion for years have sort of bubbled up to the surface.
I must seem like quite a blunt instrument in what I have said, there is just so much that could be told, but I wonder what benefit would come from sharing the details? I also worry (!!!) that GM will figure out who I am- and though I am not really worried about it, the fact that it has occurred to me is an indication of how deeply enmeshed in her approval I was for years.
I suppose I am making sense of it all yet again, refining my disenchantment and coming to terms what is an ugly reality.
That there is any kindness for GM or gratitude for the experiences people gained from their practices seems unfair and I suppose that is what prompted me to speak out.
GM is so very unkind, she really is a monster and yet for years and years she was my 'beloved'... such is the culture and mental machinations that one goes through to justify the inexcusable!
At intensives, I used to go in to see Gurumayi during the lunch break to 'look after' her... we had to massage her legs and feet because of all the bad shakti she was taking on board. Just writing this makes it patently obvious that her legs were sore from sitting cross legged for hours- not to mention her ongoing (and very human) back pain. Within the upside-down world of SY, everything was put on to a mystical, spiritual level...and everything was a means to illustrate that GM was a living saint!
GM used to laugh about how disgusting, ugly, smelly, badly dressed people were when they came up for darshan- and that is why George was such a relief- with his clouds of perfume and beautiful clothes, it gave her a bit of a break from the great unwashed masses... GM is so far removed from being self-realised, she is one of the most cruel and destructive people I have ever encountered.
Yes, there were (what I thought to be at the time) many amazing experiences with her- why would I have bought in or stayed as long as I did? But I know that so much of it was down to my wanting and needing the illusion to be real because of everything it would mean if I began to put it all together.
I think that GM couldn't hold it together when George Afif left. He was her rock and she adored him. George really did run the show- and gave her the escape behind the scenes that GM wanted and needed. When she finally got her music man (read Marta's blog about the encounter- I witnessed it first hand on many occasions) it became clear that increasingly, she wanted to be with him and away from everyone else- and that she didn't want to be a guru with any of those responsibilities- much less sacred obligations.
What is most disappointing, though typical of SYDA is the way in which her disappearance has been handled- all smoke and mirrors. If you doubt their story it must be your impurities, etc.
I have also heard, first hand, from one of the 'girls' that Baba had sex with, who went on to cook for GM for many years. When the New Yorker story came out she told me quietly what had happened, and that it was always 'divine' and 'blissful' and that the room it happened in was beautiful and he gave her many beautiful gifts. She was 12 when it first started happening- and GM new all about it. In fact, her first circle of helpers, secretaries, cooks, darshan girls, had all been Baba's girls...it was a sort of club. Their silence was bought with gifts and privilege until they were, one by one, rotated out of the system- I think even with her lack of conscience, GM got tired of seeing them and being reminded.
Wishing you all peace and true self-worth.

Anonymous said...

Great to see new content on this blog! Don't stop now!

Anonymous said...

Dear Insider--Thank you for your postings. Not sure if you are aware the blog has been inactive for many months now, sadly--it was a rich and lively discussion for many months previously. I don't know if Seekher checks the blog or reads the comments anymore.

I had the same experience of GM as you describe. After many years of seva from afar, moving behind the curtain and seeing her treat people so shabbily and be so needy and immature was completely disillusioning. I am very grateful now for that--otherwise I might still be slaving away and sending every spare dollar her way. I feel quite sorry for her now, though I still believe she owes an apology--and the truth--to the many sincere people who offered their lives to her. But she is such a damaged person, that's not likely.

There are a few thoughtful souls on the eXSY list, you might go there if you're looking for others to converse with.

I hope your life is good now.

older but wiser

Anonymous said...

>>>"I found out "C", moderator on eXSY(whatever), is and always has been Malti. Take it to the bank. Don't ask me to tell you who told me. Hari bol."<<

this is insane! several of us know cj quite well...is that you, Abjit? still trying to stir things up? I smell a syda rat here.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,
Thank you for this reminder. Big hole where the guru once sat inside. As they were happening I experienced her cruelties in a stunned condition. Took that for some kind of karma cleanse. Your post clarifies what it really was. Very supportive.

Cameron D. McIntosh said...

Dear "Insider":

We got the scoop on your recent comments here from the "eXSY" Group on Yahoo:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eXSY

I think that the archives at the above group (and "Leaving Siddha Yoga") could explain why people here are generally not "livid" about Siddha Yoga and its shortcomings. Many of us have been through that in earlier phases of our separation.

There's a lot which you say that is interesting but which I can't verify, not having been so close to the guru.

But one observation got me thinking: "GM used to laugh about how disgusting, ugly, smelly, badly dressed people were when they came up for darshan-"

I'm also a veteran of TM (and went to Maharishi International University). It's interesting that (according to biographical accounts) Maharishi shared GM's trait of a "discriminating" sense of smell (he was also averse to people with "disgusting" odors).

One one level, I can understand this. After leaving the ashram I was in poor health and needed to my purify myself (Gerson therapy was the chosen vehicle). After getting cleaned out, I noticed that my own sense of smell was sensitized significantly.

But my present experience in care-giving for my 95 year old mother (who has Alzheimer's) casts this "odor abhorrence" in a different light. When I was a young child, I was often smelly (as is normal for that age) and there were stinky messes to clean up. I was keenly aware that my mother absolutely *never* showed any trace of aversion to the cleanup of the messes or to attending to my personal care. Now with the situation reversed, I also find that my affection for my mother creates a sense that whatever odor or messy cleanup task is called for, whatever inconvenience it represents is *absolutely overshadowed* by my love for her. There is no tendency to divert my attention from lovingly caring for her to call attention to a "mess" or "odor."

While my absorption in love for my mother is not guaranteed to be sustainable as her Alzheimer's progresses, it does raise a question. Is it not true that saints in the sixth state of consciousness (Maharishi's name for the stage of consciousness just prior to to complete enlightenment) experience a state of union with (and love for) the entire creation? How could a true saint experience "disgust" for a human being which his state of consciousness would predispose him to feel is a part of his own deepest inner being?

Of course, this line of reasoning isn't failsafe--real saints don't behave in predictable ways. But I wonder....

Cam-Yateendra (S. Fallsburg trashman)

Joshua said...

Greetings and Happy Thanksgiving Everyone,

I'm so thrilled that discussion has resumed on this blog. Thanks, "Insider," for getting us talking again. There are many great posts in the archives that may help you on your journey, and Seekher has provided a beautiful space here for sharing.

Your post reminded me of why I started on my journey away from SY; the discrepancy between what I saw as the "Good" Guru and the "Bad" Guru. The "good" guru was a being that seemed so kind, so lovely, so beautiful and full of light. Her smile used to dazzle me - she could light up a room of thousands with her laugh.

Then there was the alter ego, the "Bad" guru- the cruel, sharp, rude and abusive Guru that I experienced in private. It wasn't until I read Marta's blog and then began reading Seekher's posts a year ago that it all started coming together. I could no longer "embrace the paradox" of the Guru as I was so carefully taught for 20 years...

"A great being is unpredictable, everything Gurumayi expresses is really love, no matter what it looks like to our limited perception, you can't hold a saint to normal human standards of behavior, blah blah blah..."

Now I believe that mean is mean, rude is rude, and no one gets carte blanche permission to behave that way. Not okay in my book.

Today I feel a freedom I haven't felt in years. Post SY, post Gurumayi, post ashram, post "devotee...." I used to revel in the feeling that I "belonged" to the guru - that I was "hers," body and soul. Today I'm my own person - I don't "belong" to a guru or anyone. What a great, great gift. And this blog has had a pivotal role in the development of that awareness.

One thing I've always enjoyed about this particular virtual community is the lack of vitriol, and how folks here share both the good and the bad of their SY experiences. I don't regret the many years I spent in the ashram or in SY. I learned an incredible amount, met wonderful people, and had some of the best times of my life.

I also gave thousands of dollars and years of my life to a person and organization that I now see as corrupt. And I'm still recovering from 20 years of brainwashing, guilt, and bizarre experiences. LIke most of life, it's a mixed bag, and I love hearing about how others deal with the contradictions of "post SY" life.

Thanks, SeekHer, for keeping this blog up. I hope we hear from you again soon!

Love,

Joshua

Anonymous said...

Gurumayi herself has a very strong natural body odor when she sweats. Anyone doing seva 'backstage' at programs with her was aware of that. A sharp, musky, almost animal smell.

Anonymous said...

Joshua, You have always belonged. I notice in our society in general that group approval is the norm for self-esteem instead of individual acheivment. At the beginning of sadhana, I wanted to belong. Not participating with the group I know I already belong, to the Universe. Do not miss the groupie thing.

Anonymous said...

Hello Seekher, et al,

It is great to read some new posts here. Through the worst of leaving sy after a life completely focused on guru, guru, guru. Ugh. At least the habits of so-called sadhana have been stopped. As Joshua said so beautifully, the freedom of being your own person is vitalizing. Still there is a hole where there was once so much heart. That loss is a dull ache now. Attempts to fill the empty space have been premature, naive. Not eager to fill it anymore. But sad that something precious and great was betrayed. Finding new comments here was very nice. All the best to everyone.

Anonymous said...

Hey SeekHer

How are you and how has the rest of your year gone? Did you ever reconcile your soul with Siddha Yoga? Some people go through a period of rebellion against the path only to find themselves not so certain that they want to leave. Others have what feels to them like a moment of truth, they leave, and they never return.

I was just wondering which of the two describes you:

I have one vision of you sitting in a Siddha Yoga hall next Thursday, listening to Gurumayi's talk, still trying to make sense of your experience with her and with the Siddha Yoga community. (in this vision your relative silence in your blog suggests some ambivalence about the things you wrote here a year ago).

In the other vision, you've definitively left Siddha Yoga behind, stayed clear of your old job, found a new one and may have opened a new chapter in your love life as well.

Regardless of where or how you spend your New Year's Day, I wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

Hey, nice to see comments here again.

Anyone have thoughts about the coming New Year... either in or out of Siddha Yoga?

Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell us the 2009 New Years Message. I need the $100 to buy food.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Agreed that it is very comforting to see new discussion here again.

Happy New Year, Everyone. I hope 2009 is a better year for the entire world. 2008 was so darned hard.

SeekHer said...

Happy 2009 Anonymae and every One else. I'm also glad the discussion has returned here. Last night I dreamt and in my dream Gurumayi and some of her robed followers were appearing on the festival circuit, as a kind of traveling holy sideshow, except I spotted them and outed them as carnies and then they chased me for revealing thier secrets. It was scary but almost worth it just to see some of the old faces again.

I'm well and truly out of Siddha Yoga and don't look back much except the days after those nights when Gurumayi so impolitely walks into my dreams.

SeekHer said...

PS: Does anyone wanna play "guess the message" for 2009 before we eventually "hear it" from someone else? My turn!

THE SIDDHA YOGA MESSAGE FOR 2009 is...

Revel in the Splendor of the Eternal Present as You Drink a Brimming Cup of the Nectar of Forgetfulness.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, too late for a contest, we already know what was presented. The new message was reported to be "Attributes of OM" by someone on the eXSY group whose friend went to a program. Buying the "attributes" is part of the message, I guess. You know, subscribing to a daily dose of attribute. The first one was given away "free". It was "the primordial sound", one of the definitions of OM.
"Attributes of OM" doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, does it? I guess they've gone beyond slogans to something else, something....with daily attributes attached (at $21 per month). Sigh.

SeekHer said...

WOW I had to reread your post twice because I couldn't figure out what OM stood for. I must really be out of it! Yeah!

Attributes of OM? That my friends is the universal sound phoning it in.

Anonymous said...

"Attributes of OM"?

That's not a message, it's a sentence fragment!!!

Brilliant in its marketing-y-ness, however. All sorts of "attributes" of the "om" mantra could be whipped up for contemplation, dharanas, and journaling, with lessons on each attribute going for a specified price, in a way that could be milked not only all year long, but for a good 2 or 3 years in a row. The mantra "om" and its qualities and effects is so deep (yet really so simple) that lessons on it could be prolongued for a long, LONG time.

Thus elminating any need for quite a long while for further development work by the SYDA staff (thus enabling even further staffing cuts), any need for Her Orange-robed Majesty to show up on camera (G-d FORBID she get off her butt and WORK these days), and ensuring the believing faithful still send in their hard-earned dakshina during financially and economically troubled times.

Freakin' BRILLIANT strategy, if you ask me.

What I don't get is: Why don't the continuing faithful finally just wake up and GET IT already? Makes me wonder...something's GOT to be wrong with them. Persistent, stubborn REFUSAL to see reality for what it is, I guess.

Anonymous said...

"THE SIDDHA YOGA MESSAGE FOR 2009 is...

Revel in the Splendor of the Eternal Present as You Drink a Brimming Cup of the Nectar of Forgetfulness."'


Lol! Hey, it could work! :) These days I'm turning more and more to nityanada (bede baba). He's always been there for me, and i swear to all the gods that when i first went to SF and walked into the temple he smiled at me. I was flabbergasted at that but he totally was.
When i found out that people could no longer drive to SF and go to the temple to visit I cried and cried.