Monday, September 28, 2009

Even Without You

Dear Gurumayi,

A few years back when my brother died and the rest of the family wasn't told about it until a month later I was in such a bad way, in so much emotional pain. I wrote you a letter begging for help. I wish you had written back, so at least I know you had received it.

As time keeps going by and you seem more and more remote I have turned to other saints like bede baba and ramakrishna. I still feel the shakti, even without you being involved.

I really don't understand why you abandoned your devotees. At first I thought you were ill, or writing a book or something, but now I really have run out of explanations for you. You left us, the messages have become standard lame platitudes, and an intensive now runs about $500.

Despite everything I still love you and wish you well. Wish you felt the same way about us.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Express Yourself

Dear Gurumayi,

I do not know where on the planet you are for sure. I guess I do not really care. But I want what you took from me back.

You can send it express.

Thank you,
Former devoted peon to your incredible ego.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mailbox Missive

Dear Seekher,

It’s been three years now since undertaking the gut-wrenching affair of examining the body of evidence available at LSY; concluding with tears streaming down my face, that Muktananda had in fact engaged in sexual liaisons with his young devotees, and that Gurumayi was actively engaged in suppressing the truth. The audio from the American religious scholar’s conference was the last straw, when the levee broke and years of denial (decades really) cascaded over the falls of ‘trust your own experience’, and belief, like mists that rise from watery precipice, vaporized and carried away, invisible, to be belief no more.

Still, the warm and cozy, the embers of unique experience, like a cottage light in lonely winter, linger, even in dreams. Human nature enjoys the generalized, the romanticized, yet sometimes it’s important to see clearly, for the sake of growth.

Firstly, I wonder, was it really so “great” to drop a letter in the darshan basket back when? Well it might have seemed wonderful to have direct access to God given answers, but of course there first had to be a question, i.e. a problem, and the answer if or when it arrived, often took on a form letter quality – short on details and long on devotional catch phrasing. And since regularly scheduled darshan ended in the late nineties I believe, writing a letter with the expectation of finding a home for it in a living guru darshan basket is old, old, old. Son, it’s been the postal service for practically all the faithful for more than 10 years now.

I wrote Gurumayi a letter back in ’84 or so. The problem was that after several days of intense meditation, which was fairly often, I experienced pain at the top of the throat, around the uvula to be exact, and then my health would suffer and I’d have to cut back on mediation. I didn’t actually say uvula in my letter because at the time I wasn’t sure what that flesh thing was called and anyway I assumed that Gurumayi would divinely understand even if I was slightly less specific.

It took over 2 months for a reply to reach my mailbox, but I remember well that on the morning the letter finally arrived I was feeling so pranically hopped-up, really lit and buzzing, and I ‘just knew’ that a letter from Gurumayi was waiting for me at home. Basically the letter said that guru loved me and kept me in her thoughts, and wasn’t it a wonderful Siddha path that we walked together, and keep up your sadhana. The secretary ended by mentioning that Gurumayi had once said that papaya enzymes were good for sore throats.

I was ecstatic about the receiving a letter and thrilled that I was in touch with the Shakti, enough to psychically intuit its eventual arrival. On the other hand I was disappointed that the thrust of my problem wasn’t really addressed, that maybe Gurumayi didn’t know why I had pain or didn’t understand the question. The answer itself wasn’t satisfactory and papaya enzymes, many bottles over many years, totally missed the mark. Some time later while reading a book about Kundalini yoga I learned that there’s a rather important sub-chakra located in the region of the uvula, at the top of the throat. That was actually the yogic answer to my yogic question and I felt better for having finally discovered it, but it raised the question, “why didn’t Gurumayi tell me that in the first place”. At the time I was annoyed with myself for not having specified the ‘uvula’, though in retrospect who am I kidding, I would have in all likelihood gotten the same syrupy bhakti-fied answer either way. Gurumayi was neither omniscient nor a sub-chakra connoisseur. She simply wasn’t detail oriented and certain didn’t want to micro-manage anyone’s chakras. Keep it simple; pray to the guru, meditate a little, do seva, send money, I love you – everything happens for the best.

Speaking of letters, I’ll add that when I was suffering a health crisis in 2001, my wife sent 2 letters to Gurumayi on my behalf. The first was, according to the correspondence office, lost, and the second was answered by what I can only call a form letter. Even then as a hardcore devotee I was so upset that I picked up a stick beat the ground in frustration. When I later wrote a letter to Gurumayi myself, I received a telephone reply from her secretary, though for the most part the suggestions she gave me were not helpful and indirectly cost several thousands of dollars in treatment options.

In any event, back to generalizations. Secondly then, I object to characterizations of unapproved channels, namely eX-SY, as “full of nothing but vitriol”. While I’ve posted anonymously to your blog several times in the past, to me most memorably a lyrical reply to your ‘The Pruned Tree’ entry, I’ve been posting with some regularity at eX-SY for about three years now, and, according to my sensibilities, while the occasional splatter of vitriol does bubble up – hey some people are hurt - by and large the comments are level-headed, thoughtful, sometimes comical and even artful.

You are absolutely right in one respect; the approved channels are censored, and in being so they bottle up years of underpinned discontent till it ferments and expresses itself in the vinegary vitriol you’ve referred to. Well only saints and those who’ve never been jilted are completely without vitriol, though the former are lying and the latter don’t exist.

MovedByGod (MBG)

Monday, September 7, 2009

P.O. Box Darshan Basket

Remember how great it was when we could take a letter up to Gurumayi in darshan, reverently lay it in her basket and then, a few weeks or sometimes months later, receive an answer written by one of her darshan secretaries? For so many of us, this was the only way we had to approach the Guru looking for help and advice about some of the most important decisions of our lives. Well, darshan secretaries have gone the way of darshan but many, many people still feel the loss. Now, more than ever, they want to write to Gurumayi and confide their innermost feelings in a more tangible way than prayer and contemplation alone.

So, I'm opening up Rituals of Disenchantment to everyone—anyone—who wants to write to Gurumayi. Still avid devotees and/or rabid EX-er's are welcome. I recognize that this decision alone might stack the decks to the exes, as active devotees may not be willing to post here. I hope that is not the case. It's been a year since I posted to RoD and many things have changed, but my desire to hear from Gurumayi's devotees and share this space with them has not. So all are invited, and you are welcome to sign your post or remain completely anonymous—without even your internet name to identify you.

Here's how it will work. You send RoD a comment to this post and state you want to post a letter. Put the letter in the body of your comment. I will not approve these comments for publication, but instead will cut and paste them into a new post. I will then delete your comment and, if you wish to remain anonymous, not include any identification in the actual post.

I'm looking at this website as a repository of dreams, both longed for and unfulfilled. It's up to you to supply the dreams, the wishes, the fervent supplications and even the angry denouncements. Dreams are powerful magic, whether pursued or thwarted. So maybe I'm looking for a little Re-Enchantment after all.

PS: Not everyone wants to post a letter and I do expect comments, so fire these at me as well and I will publish them all; tell me I'm naive, a backslider, a reprobate, a hopeless romantic who lacks the courage of their convictions. Slander me as a demon dwelling in a waterless place, or simply an attention seeking whore who wants nothing less than to be ignored. Tell me how you have survived the drought of her absence and if you are one of the few to have seen her, tell us all about it and I promise you that your name will never be revealed. For better or worse---for better and worse---all those years we spent together sipping chai before dawn and sleepily chanting the Guru Gita, or huddled together in hushed silence as SHE entered the darkened meditation hall during an intensive, or swaying as the thousand-throated One in the Shakti Mandap during ecstatic Labor Day chants, have marked us. Set us apart. There is no place else where we can be ourselves, talk among ourselves, argue and cajole, reminisce and rejoice, or remember so that we might at last forget. All the approved channels are censored and the un-approved ones full of nothing but vitriol. Here you can be yourself. Or even your Self.