Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Can't Believe I'm Doing This

I'm viewing the New Year's slideshow on the SYDA site, listening to Raga Taranga for the first time in  what seems like many years. It is bittersweet to hear that melody and see again those photos of the South Fallsburg ashram, to indulge in the remembrance of the many years we spent there together, the thousand and one magical summer nights, the cold winter days blanketed with snow and ice but warm, so warm inside the temple, wrapped in our shawls, breathing in unison as we sang the arati and followed with avid eyes the arc of flame circling before Bade Baba's murti.

This is pure nostalgia, yes, but I feel myself wanting to give in to its spell. Perhaps disenchantment is not a permanent state after all but, like grace, one which can both be attained and fallen from.

It wasn't Eden, but we were once all together, doing japa as we strolled around the lake in Fallsburg, meditating in the gardens of Ganeshpuri, exulting in our communal state of grace (so we once believed.) And this is not exile, but we are far apart now, living separate existences and dealing with the consequences of the fall of Siddha Yoga. "In this vale of tears", in the words of an old prayer.

Maybe it's also a consequence of getting older. Probably. It's true that I've begun to feel the mass of years piling up. I've reached that point when I understand viscerally, not just intellectually, that I have less time ahead than behind me. When you're young life is one long projecting arc, the flame of a rocket trailing always upwards. You can see the horizon of your life but it is a faint and distant line way below, almost an illusion that seems to constantly recede as you approach it, and you are sailing up and away far, far above it.

After all those years of burning fuel and hurtling ahead, how strange now to want to arrest that arc, turn it backwards. That's the impetus behind nostalgia, this need to throw your arms around the past as well as the present in order to embrace the full span of your years. At least it is for me. And when I start to feel this way it seems an act of complete wastefulness to discard so many memories simply because I no longer believe now as I did then.

Because faith and practice are what bound us Siddha Yogis together, they can seem the sum and substance of those years, and the dissolution of faith and abandonment of practice call into question the value and meaning of decades of our lives. If so, this is terribly sad.

Maybe there is a further shore of disenchantment, where the rejection of belief is final and where our hearts, having done the hard work of healing, can now begin to reclaim the sweetness of memory. It's not so different from the dissolution of a long relationship--you know you're finally and truly over them when you can look back and enjoy memories of the good times.

I'm not speaking here of Gurumayi, necessarily, but of our memories of one another. Maybe I'm alone in this. I have had a life long tendency to forget the past and live in the present, so this looking back is a new thing for me. I remember so many friends I've loved in Siddha Yoga, many of whom stayed when I left, complicating what had always been such simple friendships. I miss them terribly.

326 comments:

1 – 200 of 326   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Your post touched me, SeekHer.

By coincidence I happened to just have been reading a comment supposedly made by the Buddha to his attendant Ananda some 2500 years ago. Here's the quote:
"Ananda declares, 'Lord, this spiritual friendship, spiritual companionship and spiritual intimacy is no less than half of the spiritual life.' 'Say not so, Ananda,' the Buddha replies. 'It is the whole, not the half of the spiritual life.'"

We had some worthy companions in those walks around the lake, and down the silent path, and across the table drinking chai in the early morning silence. I think it's lovely to remember that and value it.

I agree leaving SY is similar to a divorce or maybe even more accurately to the death of a difficult but loved friend or relative--the flaws lose their power to rile you up once you've come to terms with them and know they can't mess with your mind any more. Then the good bits can stand out and be seen from a new perspective.

Developing a strong sense of community with a group of people--even a small group, even a few like-minded friends--takes time and work. I hope we all find--or create--such a community again.

OBW

Anonymous said...

Thank you Seekher you have touched perhaps the point that concerns me the most. When is it enough grieving for a loss? In the loss of love as in the loss of a dear one, some say 6 months others a year! But if we get stuck remembering and lamenting indefinitely it becomes a pathological attitude and counseling could be needed. Of course this is not an ending to a love relation or a death of a family member, this loss involves our deepest beliefs and for many it’s the loss of hope. Nothing lasts forever and living is essentially learning how the deal with loss. Buddha always spoke about the awareness of the impermanence and how that is the root of all suffering, the attachment to what we had and we lost. Become free G, and her managers in SMA, more that disenchanted let's become detached! Free!
I read many nostalgic posts in your great blog, few are aggressive most are in my opinion nostalgic. I wish I could help all, many of them my friends, but I can’t. There are no easy solutions in this matter. In my case I have become an agnostic, a cynic, I don’t believe in anyone specially if they use orange robes, but I don’t recommend it to all. Remember the good, forget the bad, don’t let SMA influence you in any way, don’t give them money! The dream is over but it was great while it lasted. Continue doing yoga, meditate and live in peace, forget the mantras because they keep you bonded with G, get rid of the photos anything that can help you bury the past and put it to rest. Put an end to all of this, find another path and let the poor newbie’s in SMA discover the truth for themselves, hopefully there are no other abuse cases happening today in SMA other tan the abuse of being lied to and mislead. They worship videos, talk about the digital era! There will never be recognition from SMA of its wrongdoings; they will never admit there is anything wrong even today where you are not allowed in a place that proclaims itself to be welcoming.

Anonymous said...

Your writing is so poignant and lovely Seekher but I can't say I share the same nostalgia. So happy to free of the noose...for every cuddly memory of our warm huddling in the Shakti Mandap with glistening snow outside, there's an equivalent memory of turning my power over to outer Form. I had no clue who "I" was, only knew myself as a rabid devotee of Her.

Leaving has been worth everything. It's like giving up the nuzzly memories of my favorite stuffed animals from childhood for the joy of being a radiant adult.

Anonymous said...

I just LOVED this quote:

"It's like giving up the nuzzly memories of my favorite stuffed animals from childhood for the joy of being a radiant adult."

Everything in my jumped up and hollered "YESSSS!!!!" at that statement.

I fully understand SeekHer's nostalgia. I have family members still involved with SY and hearing ONS, the GG, Arati, and various chants playing on an almost daily basis, I must remain ever vigilant to not get pulled in..."Lulled in" would be a better description...to those memories and warm fuzzy feelings of blissful trance that they conjure for me.

And then, I remember my freedom. My own choice to say "No! You can't suck me in THIS time! I won't LET you!"

And the feelings of being ME as entirely MINE and not HERS (or HIS before her) and claiming that as mine, as me, for me, make me feel so content that I live for myself again, and not for her.

Nothing is worth losing that to me. NOTHING. No warm fuzzy feelings, no wonderful memories, no old friends...great people, but people nonetheless with whom I truly share very little in common anymore other than having tread the same road and having been of like mind and heart for a while.

It reaches out to me SeekHer. But it has entirely lost its power over me. And for that I can address the source of all that is and heartily say "Thank you!".

Anonymous said...

Yes, Anonymous, I soo relate to your comments. As a therapist I once had a patient who kept wishing to reminisce about the 'high point' of her life: being pushed around the supermarket by her mom at age four in a shopping cart. She had the sweetest memories of that time, the only period when she felt fully safe and loved and nestled in joy.

Well, it took a loong time to help her say goodbye to that dream cart and want to stand happily on her own two adult feet. She had to start giving herself what she kept wishing to get from that perfect, fantasy iconic Mom.

And, you know, at some point, if you're healthy, you might just wanna do your own damn shopping too. At least once you're past thirty.

And after fifty...ye gods.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a few of us are saying the same thing: Syda Yoga was the most perfect and elegant spiritual kindergarten and playland around. All the dark corners were neatly hidden and tucked away, so none of the sleeping children got scared.

But at some point, the tooth fairy leaving money under the pillow and Santa popping down the chimney each year just aren't enough. Visions of sugar plums and dancing blue pearls lose their allure.

If you're lucky.
And waking up is worth everything.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps a few of us are saying the same thing: Syda Yoga was the most perfect and elegant spiritual kindergarten and playland around. All the dark corners were neatly hidden and tucked away, so none of the sleeping children got scared. "

So true!!

And in the early days, when the energy was nuclear blast strength, especially so.

It can be so hard to wake up and shake off the deep sleep, dream state. But when you do , you realize you didn't even know what you were missing out on til you experience it - REAL inner strength, not the contrived "I'm a really centered yogi" type.

Anonymous said...

Very encouraging, it seems as if we are not that nostalgic after all, as if we have all broken the umbilical cord but in my opinion, with respect, I think that is easy to say now that G has disappeared and we have only left the greedy SMA. It’s easy to feel free from what we don’t like, but I wonder how many of us, if we had the chance and G sat again on her chair and opened the Mandap would be the firsts in line for Darshan. How quickly her smile would melt our frozen hearts! Il’d say it’s not over till it’s over. Maybe some of us, the strongest, have healed better and sooner than others, but there are many lonely devotees chanting an outdated gurugita in their homes, (nobody really knows how to chant it today after so many arbitrarious changes) attached to their memories, their photos, their mantras and their gurus, waiting perhaps for the triumphant return of the jedi and her “force”. It is important for those to know that it is really over, today there are divided families, some members are free others still stuck. There is still a power that drives people in like gravity. What we must try is for those who are still wondering in the depths of the bleu ocean of bliss is to help them wake up and recognize it was just a dream, help them swim ashore and understand it’s not so bad living out here in the opened air of reality. Shaktipat was the product of an environment of support, dim lighting, incense, peer pressure, the need to find answers, fear, collective hypnosis, breathing techniques and long hours of deep introspection, with our hearts wide opened, not some miraculous yogic technique transmitted for generations from master to disciple as we were taught. It is a product of modern marketing technology, subliminal advertising. We are all very eager to say how free we are from G, but how many can say that shaktipat was an illusion. How many times have you heard, “I know about all the problems in SMA but my shaktipat experience was REAL” We all felt the wonder, the inexplicable phenomena! Well it’s not inexplicable; it’s called suggestion, hypnosis. No matter how free we might say we are from the nostalgia of our warm cups of chai, the sour cereal , the walks in the silent path or the dancing saptas, what if we go to the root of the attachment, if we still feel that shaktipat was real then we owe it to ourselves to bow again in front of that chair even if it is empty, and celebrate all together our ignorance. I know it’s terribly hard, I still have it clearly in my memory, but if we want to break the spell it will not be possible if we don’t remove that experience from our hearts, even the Mantra! you might say “it’s used by many groups and Hindus”, well yes, but if you want to leave siddha yoga you better find another mantra. Why is the Mantra so powerful to you because it was received from an enlightened being,it’s empowered! but if you still believe G is enlightened or was when she gave it to you then more likely you are still a devotee… aren’t we all…
Thanks again RoD

Anonymous said...

Hi Seekher...no, my love, no longer a devotee on any level of the word except a devotee of Life and Love itself...no more false gurus, no more toxic mimics of Truth stealing the show with their thousand kilowatt smiles...

I can assure you that GM's visage would not 'melt me' if it was in front of me...I feel nothing but some compassion and a touch of bemusement when I see her photo (like, Oy, what WAS I thinking?).

I know this as she's come repeatedly in lucid dreaming and I tell her point-blank to go. No draw there at all anymore.

As Anonymous said, kindergarten is over. She fed on my shakti long enough. I scrubbed Her (TM) toilets, cleaned up vomit in Her ratty hotel rooms (housekeeping seva lol), and spent enough years lost in Her trademarked delusions. Am so overjoyed to be grounded inside Me without a parasitic overlord.

As one of the chorus of Anons said, "Real Inner Strength"has arrived. It doesn't need to be 'tested' or proved, you trust it because you simply feel it.

And it's absolutely ok if you or others doubt it. Your process may be different and the longing may linger.

But for some of us, done done done.

Anonymous said...

But here's also a thought. Why do assume the hearts are 'frozen' simply if they are not open to G's manipulations and 'shakti'? Not frozen at all. Wide wide open to life and existence in all its forms. Most days I cry about something in this mad, beautiful world that touches me. Simply not open to being hooked again by the great Sleep-Agent. That is not a closed, frozen heart by any stretch. Actually I'm a much more open and loving person than when I was chanting 182 verses of Sanskrit a day, flying high on Chai and living my life for my pretend Beloved.

I've learned to bow to life As It Is.

Anonymous said...

Dear SeekHer...for what it's worth, your comment about standing in line again in the Shakti Mandap waiting for darshan sparked a reaction that I really had not expected.

I felt almost nauseous.
Wow.

Anonymous said...

Anon of January 25, 2011 5:34 AM
said a lot of things I'd like to respond to below:

"I wonder how many of us, if we had the chance and G sat again on her chair and opened the Mandap would be the firsts in line for Darshan."

My response: Not me. In fact, I'd run like hell in the opposite direction.

"How quickly her smile would melt our frozen hearts!"

My response: I consider my heart open and UN-frozen since cutting the cord.

"waiting perhaps for the triumphant return of the jedi and her “force”."

My response: To me she is now the Sith Empress and that "force" is none other than the dark side.

"It is important for those to know that it is really over, today there are divided families, some members are free others still stuck."

My response: Yes, this is absolutely true. I have to live in a divided family every day and that long-standing division absolutely BITES.

"There is still a power that drives people in like gravity."

My response: I prefer the phrase "inertia-propelled momentum" even if it IS an oxymoron.

"What we must try is for those who are still wondering in the depths of the bleu ocean of bliss is to help them wake up and recognize it was just a dream"

My response: My experience is that one cannot be "helped" to wake up. My experience is that one will refuse to listen until one is ready for the courage to let that one little crack in the armor of belief happen. My experience is that once cracked, it cannot help but eventually shatter. For some faster, for some much slower, but once reality is looked at with courage, eventually shatter nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Continued:


"Shaktipat was the product of an environment of support, dim lighting, incense, peer pressure, the need to find answers, fear, collective hypnosis, breathing techniques and long hours of deep introspection, with our hearts wide opened, not some miraculous yogic technique transmitted for generations from master to disciple as we were taught. It is a product of modern marketing technology, subliminal advertising."

My response: Yes and No. In the era after GM stopped giving the touch...and even into that era...I would agree with your statement. My experience receiving the touch from Muktananda in 1981 was an extremely palpaple, heavy, unmistakeable movement of energy from Muk directly into me, and the movements of energy, lights, spontaneous breathing exercises and bodily movements, feelings of extreme heat, etc. were real. Oddly...a few years later, around 1985 or 1986?...when GM gave me the touch in an intensive, I didn't feel a darned thing. So, after she'd "lost the energy" and gave up the touch entirely, then I'd have to agree with your statement...after a certain point in history, it WAS a product of all those factors you mention. But my experience with Muk leads me to disagree with your statement, at least until a point in time for a couple of years after his passing, once I stopped feeling much of anything resembling "shakti" from either GM or her brother.

"No matter how free we might say we are from the nostalgia of our warm cups of chai, the sour cereal , the walks in the silent path or the dancing saptas, what if we go to the root of the attachment, if we still feel that shaktipat was real then we owe it to ourselves to bow again in front of that chair even if it is empty, and celebrate all together our ignorance."

My response: Again, I have to disagree. I am now totally unsure whether what I received from Muk was actually something divine, pure, and blessed, or something dark, negative, and damaging. Surely the vessel from which I received it proved to be unpure, criminal, unworthy, in the due course of time as the truth came to light. As to whether what was received was of the same quality of the vessel or not...I'm not sure and will probably never know, and have long since given up any introspection about it, precisely because I'll probably never know. And since I don't know if it was positive or negative, and allow for the possibility it could have been the latter, I refuse to ever bow to that chair or show it any degree of reverence ever, EVER again.

"if you still believe G is enlightened or was when she gave it to you then more likely you are still a devotee… aren’t we all…"

My response: I no longer believe she is enlightened and am definitely NOT a devotee any longer. IF you're suggesting I still am, then I find it difficult to not feel a bit resentful of the comment.

Best to all.
-AMPA

Anonymous said...

Dear Seeker,
thank you for not posting my very long response earlier. You are right: getting older means really experiencing "viscerally" (as you put it) how little time we actually have left here in this body/mind, on this planet. It seems to me there is a choice to be made: to really turn towards what is here and what it is that we are, to actually do the work we thought we were doing in siddha yoga, to turn and engage fully in life, to experience what life is before we die...or to cling to our idea of the past or possibility of the future. One helpful thing about the aging brain is that memories are less "charged" unless you make a strong effort to relive them . Also the desire to project into the future is somewhat dampened by realizing death is right around the corner. Those early morning aratis in the temple may well have been a beautiful experience for some of us but, like all experience, it's gone, finished, over..unless we, ourselves, decide to hold onto it.
How can we experience the present if we are trapped in the past, no matter how lovely it may have been (or not)?

I had a friend who died recently. I was with her the day before. She turned to me, with tears in her eyes and said, "I don't even know who I am or what I am. I feel like I've lived without understanding what life is. If I had it to do over again, I'd pay more attention to life and less to my mind". She was a poet and a good one. She lived in her mind, in a beautifully constructed world of fantasy and imagination.

Nostalgia is longing. It's something that can break open into the truth...a key.

s.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this whole thread is just amazingly beautiful. Thank you Seekher for posting your honest, eloquent attachments to the past... it's just exquisite to read the responses from so many people saying with equal fervor and eloguence, no no, no..we have not only moved on, we have flourished outside the nursery school in ways we never could have imagined!

And btw, Anon 5:34:
<> Absolutely! couldn't have said it better myself. So many of us are on the same wavelength about this. Thank you.

And for the quote from s. re her dying friend, THANK YOU!! There but for the grace of God would have been I, had I not disentangled from the extreme fantasy Syda life with all my dreams and desires and absolute ignorance of my actual nature. I fell for it hook line and sinker right down the rabbit hole and amazing how a path purportedly dedicated to
'waking up' could be a route to deep, deep walking sleep.

Blessed beyond belief to be free.

Anonymous said...

I mean this with respect Seekher, but the more I read your posting about darshan, frozen hearts melting, et al, the more annoying I find it. I know you didn't mean to be so, but how deeply presumptuous! It's one thing to write about your own obvious confusion and ambivalence about this path, and other to drag all of us who read this blog there with you. Please don't assume what some of us are feeling! As you know, it never works.

Anonymous said...

Anon of January 25, 2011 5:07pm:

I've read and re-read SeekHer's post twice and cannot find the word "frozen" or phrase "frozen hearts" anywhere in this post at all.

In fact, it was Anon of January 25, 2011 8:41 AM who used that phrase first.

Why are you blaming SeekHer for this?

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:34 signed their piece "R o D", figured that was Rituals of DisEnchantment, ie. Seekher, the one who hosts the blog...someone else made that assumption too and the quote was 'How quickly her smile would melt our frozen hearts'. The darshan assumption was contained therein as well. A few writers after that comment also had similar reactions to mine.

it gets confusing cuz there's about 10 of us Anonymous' writing here! And I suppose that too tells you a lot that many of us still don't feel fully comfortable writing without a veil.

Anyway, if said comment was indeed it was NOT written by Seekher, my bad. Never been big on blame anyway, lol. Left that behind with Syda.

Just wanted to point out that I was annoyed by assumptions that we would ALL wish to run to darshan and all needed hearts defrosting! Heavy assumptions indeed. Anyway, if i assumed that was seekher and i was wrong, that I was mistaken too! So whoever wrote it, please take my words as kindly directed to you.

Anonymous said...

I guess an interesting question to be asked now is: is the one who signs their 'anonymous' post "R oD" actually Seekher? Is it a simple version of 'rituals of Dis..." Inquiring blog-readers are vaguely curious to know.

Anonymous said...

Hi Seekher,

Happy New year. So happy to find you posted.

The phrase 'vale of tears' has been circulating in my free thoughts. And the idea like the Buddha says life is suffering. As opposed to the 'make life on earth a paradise' that we learned at the guru's feet, which is most clearly most defintely is not.

Was this the prayer you referenced?

"Blessed is the man whose help is from Thee; in his heart he is disposed to ascend by steps in the vale of tears, in the place which he has been set.

"Since happiness is nothing else than the enjoyment of the Supreme Good and the Supreme Good is above us, no one can enjoy happiness unless he rise above himself, not, indeed by a bodily ascent, but by an ascent of the heart. But we cannot rise above ourselves unless a superior power raise us."

Bonaventure, The Soul's Journey Into God.

Again so glad you wrote.

Anonymous said...

Seekher,

Your post is giving me a foil to think about issues that have been like a mist gives a place for them to condense.

Haven't read all the comments but I will. Considering Siddha Yoga and it's aftermath, still relevant to my current spiritual path.

With so much social media linkage, I frequently get networked to old siddha yoga friends. I don't click the links, but I think about all we shared. I have connected with a few and find a way to not talk about the elephant in the room.

I miss those friends terribly also. Many had a vital intimacy I have never experienced elsewhere. Sadly the organizing principle, devotion to something we thought was holy was corrupt underneath. Still we had those deep experiences.

I applaud your post. Comments are thought provoking appreciated.

Thanks once again for offering this forum to us.

Stuart said...

Anony (Jan 25, 10:10am) wrote...
My experience receiving the touch from Muktananda in 1981 was an extremely palpaple, heavy, unmistakeable movement of energy from Muk directly into me, and the movements of energy, lights, spontaneous breathing exercises and bodily movements, feelings of extreme heat, etc. were real.

Two very different claims are mixed together here. One is that Mukt touched you and you felt heat and saw light etc. This is likely an accurate reporting of your memories.

The second claim is that the experience was caused by magical energy that came "from Muktananda." This is a belief, a speculation, a story. With any inner (subjective) experience, we can only guess at what the cause is, and our guesses are indeed highly "mistakable."

Experiences like this (special feelings that people get at SYDA intensives, or in Charismatic Christian services, or in hypnotism stage shows etc etc) have been thoroughly studied scientifically. 100% of the time, evidence supports the cause of such experiences to be the subjects' beliefs, desires, and expectations, enhanced by the group dynamics and controlled environment. 0% of the time is there any evidence that it's caused by magical invisible energy emitted by a guru.

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

Anonymous said...

The confusion about the post with RoD at the end--that wasn't a signature. The poster said "thanks again RoD". The poster was saying thank you to the blog, not signing it. SeekHer signs his/her posts.

OBW

Anonymous said...

Thank you OBW for clarifying that. Much obliged!

Anonymous said...

First, I wanted to sweep Siddha Yoga under the rug to get back my life. Lately, it seems that to get back life, I’ll need all the pieces, including thoses under the rug. Those pieces fill out the fullness in the frame of life. Why should they be tossed? What’s the point of assigning perhaps decades of memories to the void?

The anger and betrayal I once felt toward SY is receding. Distance and maturity construct a bridge of resolution to that “further shore of disenchantment”. With that vantage point, the higher ground, all the ages of my life can be redeemed and accounted for.

Various images came to mind as I read the blog; being outside the main gate by Brickman Road; arriving after hours of driving to walk the parking lot path through the young escorting evergreens that led to the rear courtyard entrance. I remember how it felt being there, viscerally, the pranic surge electrifying limbs, the heightening of the senses, the expectancy of feeling immanent God closer than just around the corner. Yes, there were moments of rapture and glory and insight among the rubble and hardship. Sometimes the highs were shared, or known in sharing, that others were on your path, on your communal wavelength.

Of course we can never go back, nor would we, I assume, want to. That isn’t the issue. The issue is about perspective, absorbing the full measure of a time gone by. There isn’t a one size fits all answer to suit all tastes. Recently I permitted myself a few rounds of Om Namah Shivaya. Pushing it aside like a perennial leper, concerned I was calling forth the boogeyman, was binding me negatively to my otherwise retreating Siddha Yoga past. Creating objects of untouchability can only get one so far. It was time to let that go.

But more to your point, sure, why can’t nostalgia and maturity peacefully coexist without giving up one’s principals?

MBG

Anonymous said...

Simply rejecting all that went on in SY keeps you glued to it by the bonds of ill will. Truly putting SY behind you asks that you see how it fit into your life. Part of it was the good people we met and worked with in those days. Part of it was the physical environment, much of which was beautiful. Missing those things needn't be confused with being nostalgic about GM and the "shakti" and the godawful stupid darshan lines or the chance encounters with the guru in a hallway or on a path, etc etc. Those things might be part of my history, they certainly had an effect on who I am today, but I have no nostalgia for them! Missing people you'll not likely see again because you have left "the family" is not the same thing as nostalgia. And if there is nostalgia, nostalgia for parts does not equal nostalgia for the whole shebang.

OBW

Anonymous said...

I way I see it my time in SY is a boat that brought me to this place. Some parts of the experience were good, some were bad and much of it was in between. I learned a lot in SY…a whole lot. I am grateful for the experience. I still see my SY friends, I enjoy them. When I hear a chant or see a photo and a happy memory is triggered; I relish it. I do not feel in danger of being lured (lulled, coerced, drawn) back into the fold. In the same way when I hear a Christmas carol (or even sing one) I do not automatically feel anger and disgust over clergy sexual abuse (or any other transgression of the Christian Church or its goofy theology); I just feel uplifted.

The world is the play of opposites. We are the ones who empower our own experiences. Baba and GM did not make us do, think, act upon anything without our volition. We are always active participants in our own reality. To believe anything else is victimhood and dis-empowerment.

I would be interested in hearing from the RoD community about the positive things learned from being a participant in SY. It seems that a forum of this kind would heal, help and inspire more than a continual rehashing of the misdeeds, upset, unfulfilled promises, disillusionment, and anger. No more magical thinking… you are your very Own.

Anonymous said...

>>I would be interested in hearing from the RoD community about the positive things learned from being a participant in SY"

Hi Anon 12:37,

I'm going to take an honest swing at this..what are the lasting and positive things I learned from siddha yoga?

1.trust-trust your own Beingness as the "level"; trust that intuition when something feels "off", no matter how beautifully it is presented.

2.responsibility-don't hand it over to somebody else and hope they know what they're doing.

3. Regarding "experiences"-they really ARE beside the point.

4. The need for authenticity-go straight to the source material not the "interpreted versions".

5. Traditions-it's critical to explore the cultural aspects and see how much of the tradition is cultural. i.e. are all the robes, bowing and scraping, sacred holidays, etc. about Truth or about how a culture approaches it?.

6. Teachers-is this a "real" relationship that includes both "me" as a human being in time and space and "me" as the Absolute? Can I talk to my teacher? ask him/her questions? Are they full human beings? Are they walking the walk or, at least, trying to?

7. Friends...what are they? People you share an obsession with? or those who you are in real relationship with?

8. Gratitude...profound gratitude for the veils ripped so painfully from my eyes.

In a sense, I owe all of this to my time in siddha yoga and its aftermath. Without the experience of siddha yoga, I don't know if I would have come face to face with my own spiritual fantasies and delusions, get sucked deeply into them, climbed out of the quicksand and begun to turn towards Life, as it is...the precious moment, each moment. So, even though I wouldn't recommend this way for others, for me it was the necessary fire and, for that, I can only see it as "positive".
That's one person's experience; that's all. good question.

s.

Anonymous said...

Stuart,

I've seen in previous posts of yours elsewhere that suggest you discount other peoples' sense, experience, or feelings of "energy" like shaktipat and leads me to conclude you think such "subtle energies" don't exist.

I don't know if I'm misinterpreting your position, but frankly, it makes me want to ask one question:

In that case, explain the existence of Reiki, please.

Anonymous said...

Wow, s. did you ever hit the nail on the head about what you learned in Syda yoga! Brilliant.

I would add, never give monetary donations to an organization with no transparent accountability. I can still remember the day that someone I knew "behind the scenes' began to tell me the truth of what was actually happening to my hard-earned and lovingly offered dakshina dollars. As stories unfolded of rental cards for darshan girls to go on shopping sprees and movie theaters being rented for George Afif to have private parties, I became more and more sickened.

As they say, if you follow the money trail, you can often know everything about what someone/something stands for.

Anonymous said...

**Without the experience of siddha yoga, I don't know if I would have come face to face with my own spiritual fantasies and delusions, get sucked deeply into them, climbed out of the quicksand and begun to turn towards Life, as it is...the precious moment, each moment. So, even though I wouldn't recommend this way for others, for me it was the necessary fire and, for that, I can only see it as "positive".**

This quote by s. is so brilliant and apropos I had to highlight it and comment. Syda was the consummate dream-factory. If you were imaginative and willing, you could fantasize yourself into any conversation and relationshipwith the astral guru at any time. God only knows that any of it had anything to do with anything.

Like s., I had to eventually nearly get a concussion driving myself into the concrete wall of Reality. With great shock I had to discover what I had been doing and how the game was set up to invite me to 'do' it.

s. is right. I'll never have to fall for delusions of that nature again. Worth everything.

Anonymous said...

What we thought were spiritual experiences were carefully constructed LGAT techniques, taught to Muktananda by Werner Erhard. The chanting, then hynoptic sleep inducing talks, then more chanting, then a sugar break, more chanting, more programming by swamis, then a talk by the guru imparting divine wisdom. Every word a sacred mantra. Then we were ready for the most miraculous of all gifts, shakitpat. A gift so precious, that was once only given to few after years of tapasya. But Murkatnanda was creating a revolution of all that, giving it away for a pittance of it's value.

That was some heavy duty marketing.

Hard to believe in hindsight how I fell for this, but reality testing was completely disarmed by these techniques. Now in use by all kinds of groups.

Agree with S excellent post. Once burned, twice shy.

Still the topic of this post keeps resonating. There is more than nostalgia in my memories. I loved so many friends in Siddha Yoga. Like the way those in the military together bond for life.

And I loved Gurumayi very deeply. That is a disconcerting, dissonant fact. Though thankfully I rarely think of her except as a distant echo. I was used, but on my end it was love as I understand it. Done with the hating part of the healing process anyway, that feels like progress.

Thanks Seekher for launching a subject on my mind.

Anonymous said...

And I loved Gurumayi very deeply. That is a disconcerting, dissonant fact. Though thankfully I rarely think of her except as a distant echo. I was used, but on my end it was love as I understand it.

***
And I myself wonder as someone who also 'loved' her, what I thought 'love' was. Most of it was fantasy and projection like being a teenager. Love is so different now as an adult.

Anonymous said...

>". I loved so many friends in Siddha Yoga. Like the way those in the military together bond for life.

And I loved Gurumayi very deeply. "<<

Dear Anon. 9:19,
I've been deeply contemplating "love" since reading Nisargadatta's statement that love is the underlying "force" of the expansion of pure consciousness into form. What! How could that be? with all the suffering. Then I was thinking about his statement about the recognition of being: "I Am; I love to BE" and how that DID explain an aspect of love...that kind of Darwinian "survival of the fittest" aspect of embodiment..I exist! I want to continue existing! And this organism will do anything and everything to sustain itself. That made sense to me as it's so easy to see reflected everywhere in Nature. Then, the necessary "attachment" of Mother to child or lover to lover, ensuring continuity of species. Then, friends, bonding together to form groups or families bonding together, a way of forming "societies" or "packs" that hold the idea of history together. The more I looked at this idea of "love" the more sense Nisargadatta's statement made to me. But there is this other love that I've been contemplating...this love of Being for itself reflected everywhere...such a deep profound expanded, joyous recognition of this underlying current of Oneness. When we fall in love with our own Self reflected in the teacher, when something triggers off that "recognition" of the One-ness, this is not a love that can ever be "gotten over". How could it? Somehow, that person or situation or sunset or immersion in the ocean connected us to what we really are. I think what we are really holding onto is that waking up to the Truth not to whatever caused it. That person or situation was only the trigger that set off this experience of clarity. Our minds just rush away from the clarity and grab onto the trigger because, to do otherwise, would mean realizing something we might not be ready to embrace. Any person or place we shared this "recognition of the Truth" with will always be held in our hearts even if we may not "like" them very much. Sometimes we might long to go back just to "re-experience" the re-cognition but, as alot of people have said, it can only happen in this moment. Just my thoughts.

s.

s.

Anonymous said...

>, what I thought 'love' was. Most of it was fantasy and projection like being a teenager. Love is so different now as an adult.

January 28, 2011 10:47 AM"<<

sorry! I forgot to ask at the end of my post: what do others here feel this "love" is now? I know there is ALOT of life experience here plus psychologists who are familiar with projection . I would really welcome hearing what you all think. In your EXPERIENCE, what is this "love" that Nisarga describes???? Hey, Stuart...especially, from a zen perspective....so many tales of teachers moved to tears by their love for the Truth or pain in the face of suffering of others, OBW, from a Mahayana buddhist perspective??? MBG? Seekher? all of the anons?

s.

>

Anonymous said...

Two great posts, s. Thanks so much. I think you really nailed the source of a lot of "nostalgia" in the second one. Like you I think we associate the person or other trigger for our first glimpses of oneness with those glimpses, and I think love is a natural response. My first "transcendent" experiences were in nature, and they completely transformed my attitude to nature. I have always ever since been in love with the natural world. I don't idealize it, though, like I did GM. In that SY relationship, there was the belief system that gave a context for the love and pretty much demanded that it be accompanied by idealization and a particular mythology. That was cool with me at the time, but I see now that it was a kind of projection. I'm not a psychologist, but I think projection happens all the time.

As for what that love is that Nisargadatta speaks of, it is a mystery to me. I don't know that it can be defined in any nuts and bolts way. I don't practice Mahayana Buddhism, but Theravadin. The metta sutta, the Buddha's most important teaching on loving-kindness (metta) describes it as, in its fullest expression, being "unbounded"--expanding in all directions. Immeasurable. At its core, it is a wish for the well-being of others. At its most exalted, it is the basis for the bodhisattva vows--for the vow to awaken for the benefit of all beings, to put the welfare of all beings ahead of one's own welfare. That doesn't describe what it actually IS though, or where it springs from.

I think we're biologically, evolutionarily, and culturally conditioned to bond in the way you have described, but also to compete and harm other beings--those beings we are not bonded to. Is it only attachment that separates this bonding kind of love (with its corollary ill-will to those outside the bonding) from the love that is the force Nisarga speaks of? Man, I haven't got a clue! I know that love viscerally, but to be able to nail what it is in words? No way. Sorry, no help here!

OBW

Anonymous said...

>>>>". Is it only attachment that separates this bonding kind of love (with its corollary ill-will to those outside the bonding) from the love that is the force Nisarga speaks of? Man, I haven't got a clue! I know that love viscerally, but to be able to nail what it is in words? No way. Sorry, no help here""<<

Hi OBW,
whoops! sorry about the buddhist mix-up! But what you've written is exactly what I'm so interested in hearing about: what people have deeply experienced in relation to this "concept" of love. What does it REALLY mean to them at this stage? There are so many people who post and read here who, I know, have considered these things deeply. Wouldn't imagine it could ever be "nailed down in words" but interested in further exploring it, just to hear what other's have to say.
The Boddhisattava vow. I can remember so well considering it in the early 1970s and what i thought about it then and how it seemed to be something from the outside that you "took" in order to look at the world in a particular way, something that was used to "curb" innate human selfishness and spiritual pride. It's really different when that impulse arises naturally from the inside. And, I think, alot of that comes as we age, the natural arising of things that we once read about in books. There is SO much wisdom here on this site, the wisdom of experience. Thanks alot for your comment.

s.

Anonymous said...

>>>The world is the play of opposites. We are the ones who empower our own experiences. Baba and GM did not make us do, think, act upon anything without our volition. We are always active participants in our own reality. To believe anything else is victimhood and dis-empowerment.

I would be interested in hearing from the RoD community about the positive things learned from being a participant in SY. It seems that a forum of this kind would heal, help and inspire more than a continual rehashing of the misdeeds, upset, unfulfilled promises, disillusionment, and anger. No more magical thinking… you are your very Own.<<<


Beginning with the words “we are the ones” through “victimhood and dis-empowerment”, those views I would tend to disagree with. I believe that what arises as our reality; that we are as we are; stems from the interaction of numerous influences. What the conscious mind ultimately empowers or does not empower, believes or does not believe, embodies or does not embody, is not entirely under its control. Genetics, subconscious, unconscious, and environmental (including planetary) influences all precede any given thought. Subtly, I believe individuals emanate a certain code or energy that causes mutual sets of actions and reactions. I act on others and shape them. Others in turn act on me and shape me. By forces unknown to our conscious control, the unexpected and often unwanted comes into being. Perpetrators and victims exist in our world of opposites. Sometimes the notion of “soul contracts” is used to explain our earthly circumstance. Nevertheless, it doesn’t jive for me as a means to whitewash over duality, responsibility, or common perception.

I am more sympathetic to your second paragraph, however. I learned many things during my more than two decades of SY, obtained valuable insight, and experienced extraordinary spiritual phenomena. Some of the more intense mystic experiences resulted in spontaneous (though temporary) personal transformation, and I know what it is to be rid of all the heavy baggage and truly feel free – FREE BABY. I know what is to have the innate sense of self spill over in all directions. I gave up minor addictions and bad habits. I learned about work ethics, confronted my selfishness, and became more of a good-deed-doer. I levitated once (boy I wish I could do that again), saw the thumb-sized blue being in the heart, and saw Parvati step out from a cloud that materialized out of the vibrations of the ONS mantra and in indeed was one with the mantra (I’ve learned since from non-SY sources that mantras are classified as male or female and ONS is female and Parvati is deity of the mantra.) The experiences pass, yes, but the worldview and questions they give rise to remain. I learned some Vedanta, some Kashmir Shaivism, some Kundalini Tantra – and use the word “some” with intent. Regrettably SY didn’t go into any depth in these subjects.

Now please don’t anyone halleluiah me, “guru’s grace”! I’m a spiritually oriented person and I could imagine progressing just fine in a much more benign and slavish free setting. The SY guru’s could have done a whole lot better by us, and in many ways they totally lost it. But, okay, I’ll stop there in the name of no-rehashing and instead offer up a quote from Woody Allen that could be rephrased to define the effect of guru’s grace.

“If it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever.” Hmmm…

MBG

Anonymous said...

I m anon Jan 25th and I am sorry if my post might have created some strong opposition and mixed reactions, truly sorry if I hurt anyone’s feelings, my intention was the opposite. I am not Seekher or Obw. I was answering to the original post” I can’t believe I am doing this”, I have fully supported the line of thought and the most comments expressed in this blog for years, in which I myself have collaborated many times in the past and I am also one of those unfrozen hearts who does not need any melting by the gurus darshan.
I was being ironic and made a poor choice of words since some comments seemed to suggest that there were some still “good things” that happened in SMA. Another post also from 1/25 says still says, after all that has happened, that G’s Shaktipat was not real but Muk , oh yes that was the real thing. How many times have we heard this? He was a sexual predator! That’s where he gave his real “touch”. He should have ended his days in jail!
My point lately to ex SMA’s has been to really let go of everything, you may keep whatever is really helpful for you, no dogmas here. I did also mentioned the fact that many of the stronger ex devotees are already totally over it and I congratulate them, but I am afraid others are still waiting for things to go back, to return to I don’t know what, like in those divide families. I feel strongly for those hurt ones, for the lost and confused. It is a long process to replace a set of beliefs that gave meaning to your life. To all the ones that are totally over SMA, G, MUK, the mandap and the chais, congratulations! and welcome to the club. My concern is for those who aren’t over it yet, and would be willing to start anew, perhaps we can help them a bit with our example and resolution.
Thanking SMA for opening your eyes is like thanking a robber for making you more aware for avoiding certain dark areas of the city so you don’t get robbed again. Thank them for showing me what is false so now I can really look for the truth, avoiding anything that looks like you. What a lesson! It’s like someone burning you hand so you kow how painful it us, surely you’ll never put your hand in the fire again.
My point is that it was ALL a fraud, not only part of it and that no matter what we should not allow them to rob us of our dignity, our time or money never again! Don’t get lured again in if even if G appears again. Don’t provide any support to SMA, let it die slowly.
I will sign this time
R

Anonymous said...

"Thanking SMA for opening your eyes is like thanking a robber for making you more aware for avoiding certain dark areas of the city so you don’t get robbed again."

THANK YOU, R! Rflmao! That was too perfect and true. Not sure you meant it to be funny but it hit with such precision I just can't stop laughing!
I often say that if I hadn't given all that dakshina (or as my other escapee friend says, Dogshina)I'd probably own three homes.

Thank god I trust that one way or another what I need comes anyway. And believe it or not, having said all that, I do believe I attracted the beautiful syda palace of mirrors and illusions for an important reason.

Exactly the one you said lol!

Anonymous said...

>>" It’s like someone burning you hand so you kow how painful it us, surely you’ll never put your hand in the fire again.""<<<

Hi R,
thanks for your post. Your compassion and concern for others is really inspiring.
For me, though, it wasn't ultimately true that, "it was all a fraud not only part of it" and that was part of what was so confusing at first. The "guru" was a fraud and the whole absurd structure of "siddha yoga" was a fraud and the swamis (in general) were as far from "awake" as you could get but some of the yogic texts ,Sanskrit, the Vedas, my strong desire to wake up, the beauty of Silence, meditation itself and even the longing to "serve" in some way, those things did not seem fraudulent at all. For me, it took a while to do the work of unraveling this, mostly by going deeper into what I felt was truly authentic and trying to discover what it was there that resonated so deeply. That process helped me to see what was alot of fake whipped cream on top of something more substantial.

About that fire...and someone shoving your hand into it... it could be that a part of me put my hand into the fire myself because it looked so beautiful. the fire is there...it felt important to me (after pulling the other stuff apart) to look at what it was that attracted ME to this particular fire. Not investigating why THIS path, in particular, attracted me kept me hooked up internally. After all the completely necessary and justifiable anger at the "guru", the regret over the thousands of dollars of "dogshita" offered, dealing with the deep fears that arose and all the rest of it..what was I, eventually, left with? Myself, once again.So I asked myself: why THIS path and not, say, evangelical Christianity or Islam ? why THIS guru and not some Tibetan rinpoche or zen master? why THIS group and not some other one? What was it about siddha yoga, in particular, that seemed so irresistable at the time? what was it that hooked ME in? Why did I choose THAT group at THAT time? I started to see some deep-rooted patterns in the kinds of teachers I had been attracted to through the years and, believe me, it wasn't a pretty sight!
It was not very pleasant to look at my own deep egoic stuff but it's part of beeing free. It doesn't absolve the thieves or the false teachers but the power is not really in their hands, as I once thought it was.I have a pretty strong sense that I would not be seduced into this kind of relationship again (although, who knows really)because I do see why I got pulled into it in the first place and that particular hook is gone.
Siddha yoga will NEVER come clean, NEVER accept responsibility. That "guru" will NEVER even begin to do the work on herself that all of us are forced to do.It will never tell the truth; if you think about it, how could it possibly do that when it's constructed on a tissue of lies?
Like you said, R, "what a lesson!" One of the more painful ones I've experienced but the beginning, for me, of the end..of needing to suffer in order to learn something.

best to you,
s

Anonymous said...

Beautiful s, very very very beautiful. You are saving me so trouble having to write this out myself since you are articulating so many of my own deepest thoughts!

Anonymous said...

I do recommend anyone just coming on board this conversation to read this thread from start to end. It's staggeringly beautiful, honest, real and profound. I've actually printed it out to save, to remember why the grand, delusional and quite comical phantasmagoria happened and to bless it all.

Anonymous said...

Funny note tho...at one point around 1992 during a particularly dismal stretch at SMA where all of us attributed our misery to 'karma-burning' I remember turning to a friend and saying, only half in jest, "I don't really want to be here anymore but damn: I've become addicted to the chai."

What a metaphor for so very much!

Anonymous said...

Seekher, I posted a somewhat lengthy comment on the nature of determinism and dualism in response to the notion of "victimhood", and followed it with some positives garnered from more than 2 decades of SY, in the context of, could I have gotten them elsewhere.

It was not an easy commentary for me to write. It posted last night, 1/28, and this morning it's gone. Blogger is buggy at times so I don't know if the deletion was intentional or glitch. The post was intended to be therapeutic, balancing, something more than an SY exit stategy, but so far as goes and for reasons maybe beyond our control, I'm not feeling the love.

Thanks,
MBG

Anonymous said...

maybe it was the shakti lol

Anonymous said...

> I remember turning to a friend and saying, only half in jest, "I don't really want to be here anymore but damn: I've become addicted to the chai."

Dear Anon 10:58,
I snorted coffee out through my nose when I read this. You managed to find the "jewel" in the syda crown...chai! Remember the Summmer raw foodies convinced the ashram to serve herbal tea instead of chai after early morning arati? Ewwwwwww! On the plus side, no more elbowing to be first on line for refreshment.
got to go out and shovel snow. Can't get down the hill except on snowshoes.

best,
s

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your post of 10:21 Jan 29, S. So important, that self-inquiry, deep self-inquiry, into why I was attracted to this particular guru and group. It's so easy to just keep the focus outside ourselves, but if we do we are never going to learn the truth about ourselves--which is MUCH more important than the truth about SY! It's the only truth that matters, in the long run. Yes, yes, there should be acknowledgement of harm done, yes, yes, I want to warn others off, but that doesn't even begin to touch what needs exploration and exposure to the light of day if I am ever going to become completely free.

Seeing my attachment to the idea of perfection, of something eternal that doesn't change (language from the flyer from my first intensive), seeing how that desire, to find some perfect state of being that never changes--seeing that is what hooked me to this glittering Disneyland path--that was absolutely crucial for me. I can see how that desire for something permanent still subtly drives so much that is clingy and attached in my life. Seeing it in my pull to SY allowed me to see it in other areas of life, and that has been liberating, because when I really see the way in which I am hooked, the hookedness begins to loosen.

The post you wrote about what you learned, S--I know many probably took it as simply ironic, cynical almost. But I didn't take it that way, because learning what not to trust was a step that had to come before looking at WHY I had trusted that thing in the first place. What deep, unconscious beliefs in ME led me to fall for it? I truly believe if we don't explore that, we are ALWAYS going to be subject to the temptation to just transfer whatever desire took us to SY to some other guru, some other belief system that promises whatever it is we thought we were going to get from SY. We'll project again somewhere else. We'll just look for substitutes--god, I have seen so many ex-SYers go from it to Kalki Bhagwan or others who hold out the same sham promises of eternal bliss. Or we can completely turn our backs on the idea of any kind of inner growth or the idea of liberation, seeing it all as a delusion, and become cynical.

OBW

Anonymous said...

Dear OBW,
thank you so much for your very helpful post about self-inquiry. It really moved me deeply. Thank you also for understanding that my post about what I learned from siddha yoga was genuine and not some sarcastic exercise in irony. I was really trying to hit that syda pinata to see what fell out for me at this point.

best,
s

Anonymous said...

>>maybe it was the shakti lol<<

good one...

though at this point, this shakti is not happy with that shakti.

MBG

Anonymous said...

MBG, I have a hunch SeekHer hasn't checked the blog in days, or s/he would probably have written something in response to all the comments the blog post spawned. I also don't think s/he deletes anything that isn't truly spammy or abusive or otherwise very offensive. I would guess some kind of computer glitch was the source of your post getting lost. Sorry, I know how frustrating it is to lose something you've worked on.

OBW

Anonymous said...

In regards the important questions about what is that love to the Guru, why did I chose this path and not Christianity or Islam or another guru, or what is worthy too keep and what to reject from this path. We could write volumes and I don’t pretend to know the answers. But I can suggest just a few starting from the most superficial and hopefully getting to deeper ones. Why G? Because she was beautiful, yes we all love beauty. I know not all spiritual leaders are attractive and they still have followers, as I said this is a first very superficial attempt to explain her magnetism but it is true that her charm was an asset and was used and abused in the sales of photos and garments. SY became an elegant path, dear to models. It is well kwon and this I know for certain that she surrounded herself with beautiful people in public events. In global broadcasts only beautiful people were allowed around her, (or with beautiful wallets) carefully handpicked to give a good impression on camera. Secondly and most importantly G’s never put the blame on you, her talks were positive, never walked you by the old trail of most religions, guilt, sin or repent to control you, she did it in a more subtle way. For her we were all fine as we were, and we loved it. “there is no problem with you” she would say no matter how messed up your life was. Finally someone understands how great I am! Assumptions that lead many to believe somehow their actions would not have karmic consequences, since grace had been bestowed upon them. We were so to speak, morality free! We humans like to be praised and the other paths were more into what you were doing wrong, while this one was saying “keep it up”. Baba once said to a, one day to become swami, who was confessing to him a list of sins he had committed that were tormenting him “continue doing what you are doing, just come to Satsang” This guilt free self assuring philosophy has influenced many movements beyond SMA and even some famous contemporary Christian preachers, and in my opinion though it may sound very merciful and understanding has also been the reason behind many of the mishaps and abuses we have seen during these years.
In a deeper way, she was really brilliant and a great speaker, she made deep spiritual concepts clear, almost evident in a few words. Her concept of the “crescendo of silent” in her message “Abide in Silence” of 2002 where she explained how during the alternation between chanting and being silent while the other group responded, silence was building up! Like in a musical crescendo and when finally the music ended, the silence reached its peak. That is one of the most exquisite reflexions on music and I have ever heard. So yes, we were not fooled by any ordinary teacher, she was an exceptional one, so much for our egos!
One final note is that I truly think G believed in herself for some time as we all did, only then can I give her the benefit of the doubt, assuming she was trying her very best to live to our expectations but once she became aware of her own flaws, as visible to all of us as to herself, she continued to impersonate this being we had all imagined, from that moment on she started lying. I don’t blame her for trying so hard, I do blame her for pretending to perpetuate this masquerade.

R

Anonymous said...

This is a great discussion! Here’s my offering.

What I learned of lasting value in Siddha Yoga:
1. I learned to meditate. I eventually learned that the divinity I see within myself is ME alone. It stands completely on its own, owing to no other being, idea or event. It is accessible.
2. I am able to be as miserable in a utopian, Disneyland cult as I am anywhere else. I am able to be disappointed and disapproving in any circumstance. Conversely I am also able to be contented and happy under any circumstance. The world Is truly as I see it.
3. I am able to manage myself and others, under difficult conditions, with love, respect, joy and humor.

What I learned of lasting value after leaving Siddha Yoga
1. Seeking perfection in any external, leads to my own disappointment and unhappiness.
2. Each person’s spiritual quest is theirs alone. I am not qualified to judge, quantify, recommend or discredit the choices others make. Sometimes it is really necessary to endure a difficult patch and come out the other side. (So blessings on those that leave and those that stay!)
3. Through meditation, self-inquiry and patience it is possible to overcome the feelings of anger, fear, abandonment and disappointment so common after leaving SY.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Gosh, R, I have to respond to some of what you said because my take on it is SO different from yours...not that my view is right...just so different that I have to comment:

"Secondly and most importantly G’s never put the blame on you, her talks were positive, For her we were all fine as we were, and we loved it. “there is no problem with you” she would say no matter how messed up your life was."

Wow! Were you there for the famous talk where she told us that "our begging bowls were full", what did we want from her anyway? why were we so selfish, taking and taking,more and more" She was "through with us" and, from this time on, she would focus on the "young people". Did you ever see her lay into someone onstage? I never, ever, ever felt that I was "fine as I was" and that she loved me unconditionally, warts and all. Quite the opposite...whole different experience here.

" We were so to speak, morality free! We humans like to be praised and the other paths were more into what you were doing wrong, while this one was saying “keep it up”."

Again, I couldn't disagree more with what you say here. We were constantly held to a very high standard by what we chanted and repeated every day and by the scriptures we were, supposedly, studying. If we took our "sadhana" seriously, the level of morality was exceedingly high. I NEVER felt "praised" by anyone or anything in siddha yoga..ever.I spent almost all my time focused on reading things like "Ashram Dharma", doing my silent seva non-stop and trying to live up to the standards described in the "sacred texts". Maybe I was naive, a spiritual dork, I suspect so...but, boy, I REALLY took the scriptures and texts very seriously.

"In a deeper way, she was really brilliant and a great speaker, she made deep spiritual concepts clear, almost evident in a few words."

Wow! again, this is hard to understand. If I read her "poetry" or remember her talks, what i remember is a string of spiritual cliches with significant pauses. I was watching the movie "Town" last night. It was so good and I was thinking how much the music contributed to the emotional tension in the chase scenes. Then, for some reason, I thought of the talks at Fallsburg...and what would they have been without the lighting, musical build-up and emotional tension...to me, nothing at all.


"alternation between chanting and being silent while the other group responded, "silence was building up! Like in a musical crescendo and when finally the music ended, the silence reached its peak. That is one of the most exquisite reflexions on music and I have ever heard."

I can't follow this...how does Silence, which is the absence of sound, "build up"...Silence IS; maybe our awareness of it increases but Silence, itself, does not change its nature.

s.
(continued on another comment due to space constraints)

Anonymous said...

(continued)

"So yes, we were not fooled by any ordinary teacher, she was an exceptional one, so much for our egos!"

I don't follow you here...is being fooled by someone you think was "exceptional" different from being fooled by an "ordinary teacher"? And what does this have to do wth our "egos"? Having been around some teachers who were considered "exceptional" (Trungpa Rinpoche, for example) , I have to say that gurumayi is among the least exceptional teachers I have ever sat with. It used to really bother me...why was I so consumed by this person? It had very little to do with what she was saying. It was like falling for a movie star, a kind of high-school crush...romantic and immature (on MY part...not saying it was true for everyone).

Anyway, I hope you understand that since you used the pronoun "we' in your comments, I felt it important to clarify that my experience in siddha yoga and with the guru and my take on it is almost completely the opposite of yours. As to her motivations, who knows. I don't imagine we will ever know. I feel a kind of sympathy for the pit she dug herself into but very little real respect for a spiritual teacher who can't find the courage to face the Truth. Try not to cause suffering for others; if you have, try to make amends.

s.

Anonymous said...

Wow! again, this is hard to understand. If I read her "poetry" or remember her talks, what i remember is a string of spiritual cliches with significant pauses.

**

oh s., you are SO right on this one! As a writer myself, I used to be dismayed just as you say...I couldn't fathom why I was obsessed with this person who clearly had a second-rate mind and intellect. After all, she had a written a book with the riveting title, "Smile, smile, smile." I was often embarrassed by the utter lack of freshness and genuine vision in her talks.

And yet, one look, one glance and I was often 'hooked' again. Now I know some people here disagree with my appraisal but this is where I do think black magic was operative. On the psychic level, a competent black magician can literally 'hook' the psyches of susceptible, willing souls and make it very hard to disentangle. I feel inside me this happened, as my own intelligence often was advising that I go. And I simply could not.

This is not said to caste 'blame.' I take responsibility for the decision to stay and have no regret now for lost time. My life is great. But I have no other appraisal for why I would have stayed and stayed, captivated by that 'glance', in contrast to all my other inner knowing.

Anonymous said...

Dear R,
I should have gone out for a run before responding to your comment. It sure pushed my buttons..I think it was the "we" pronoun attached to so many things that did not apply to my experience. The old cognitive dissonance thing that was so strong and so confusing for me in siddha yoga. I didn't mean to come down so hard on you or your take on what we all shared in our own particular ways. Sorry about that.

s.

Anonymous said...

I too have to chime in in response to R's last post about why we were pulled in. I am right on board with what s. said, and more!

As far as the beauty and style factor, it took me years to get over my aversion to that. At first that was the most negative aspect of the whole scene for me. The superficiality of all that was such a turn off. Later somehow I rationalized it, you know, it was necessary in order to have broad appeal in a culture that puts so much value on the surface of things. But now even looking at that, whoo, why would I want to be a part of a path that was trying to look superficially like it was "mainstream," when mainstream meant falling for Madison Avenue, pretty much. Bizarro.

And I also share s and the anon at 11:46AM's appraisal of GM's speaking and writing. I remember once buying one of her poetry books and being so embarrassed by it, not wanting any of my non-SY friends to see it because it was so poorly written and cliche-ridden. And her talks as well. Every time I had to give a talk myself, or MC a program, finding things of hers to read that illuminated a teaching with clarity was so difficult. I usually ended up reading something from Muk, even though I felt no devotion to him.

And I also had such a different experience of the guilt thing. I remember squirming during many talks when GM would talk severely about how "we" acted, defensively thinking "I'm not like that!" while at the same time being sure I did not measure up, needed to do more seva, offer more dakshina, be more devoted (never had the thought I should practice more meditation, interestingly--that was not really on her priority list, that people actually practice).

My experience of all the things you mention, R, is very very different from what you describe. I definitely fell for GM, but I think I would have fallen earlier if she had NOT been so beautiful and elegant--those aspects of her seemed put-on, for the benefit of others, not simply expressions of her natural state. And I never thought she was very smart, though quite skillful socially, quite canny, as they say in Ireland. But I came to believe she was "one" with the shakti, and that's where my devotion came from.

Like s, I reacted a bit to your use of the word "we" in relation to all these things, R. I think each of us had our own reasons for getting involved and for sticking, and that they lie within us, and are in many cases related to very deep core issues in our psyches, as I said in the post I wrote yesterday. Examining those has had great benefit in my case. I was drawn to a path that promised a permanent refuge in this ever-changing world, and I fell in love with a guru who was impossible to please, and tried for 20 years to please her. Why? The answers lie in me, not in her.

OBW

Anonymous said...

Dear 11:46 am Anon and R,
thank you both SO much! I did go out for a run, thinking about both of your posts..and I realized something: what kept me in siddha yoga and why I accepted the cognitive dissonance. I hadn't understood until today what a very very very deep seated unconscious belief I had that, in fact, mystical experiences WERE a sign of high spiritual attainment, despite what buddhist teachers had said to me. I saw, during the 60s and 70s and into the 80s that, in fact, these experiences were secretly held in high esteem even by teachers who warned students against them. It was one thing to downplay them if you had them and quite another not to have them. This was the 60s legacy...most of us were "grooving on the mystical". I lived on a diet of St. Teresa, John of the Cross, Ramakrishna, William Blake, etc. etc. You could rarely go into a health food store without seeing "Autobio.of a Yogi" peeking out of someone's backpack.
The clear awake conscious awareness of Being that I had experienced since childhood, I just thought was some personal weirdness. I longed for the kind of annihilation described by Ramakrishna....talking statues, dancing deities. I was really a spiritual infant even after 25 years of practice when I encountered gurumayi. It was only after siddha yoga and being around truly and obviously demented "powerful" yogis, that I saw very clearly how insubstantial and unimportant those mystical experiences were.

so thank you both very much. It's always a great thing to see something about yourself you had not really seen before. Knowledge is freedom.
and...now, folks, I will STOP TALKING...geez! I must have cabin fever.
s.

Anonymous said...

Me too, going to have to go on vacation from posting, it's getting addictive. But like s. again, the experiences I had w/GM in the early days of my involvement were what convinced me of SY's "truth". I too thought those were "proof" of something, and now know they weren't. The funny thing is that experiences of oneness and transcendence happened before SY, so why when they happened in SY did I make her the "cause"? Another question that leads inside.

And those kinds of states happen now, and there are practices that lead to them happening. They can be "cultivated". They have their uses in developing insight. But they are not evidence of awakening, of being liberated! They're just states. We were fed a bill of goods about that. What was it in me that was so ready to swallow that bill of goods?

OBW

Anonymous said...

Hello Discussion,

Very appreciated that those commenting have taken the time.

The level of devotion I yielded to Gurumayi will forever be a great shame for me. She never deserved to be worhsipped as a god. I took the brahmin priests as a guide on this worship, not realizing at the time that priests could be purchased.

Back in the comments, I think it was OBW, made a distinction between love that teens experience and love adults experience. I have been thinking about this a lot. Romeo and Juliet were teenagers, yet, their love is one we still cry over and admire as true.

Adult love, mature love is not as beautiful or sexy as that of the young. When I met Muktananda, then Chidvilas and her brother, I was still in my twenties and full of the splendor and passion of youth.

Too much to detail here, now, but would like to express my appreciation for the discussion. I am now loving like the old do, not like the young.

Yet theirs is an ideal, an ideal that while I practiced Siddha Yoga I kept alive. Weren't we all compared to the young? Aren't we often encouraged to become like a child in our pursuits. Be a Beginner forever.

Now I love in another way, not so innocent, not so passionate. Not jaded, but cautious. Human life, not ideal.

Anonymous said...

"...those kinds of states happen now, and there are practices that lead to them happening. They can be "cultivated"..."

Currently reading at another site fighting a cult. Also another site that talks about drugs being used to induce spiritual states.

In any case, we were played in Siddha Yoga. You can induce a spiritual experience. Does this make it less authentic, less real? Do not know answer to that.

My experiences and those of others matter to me. If someone tells me they were induced by drugs or technique, then I need to incorporate that into what they tell me of their experience.

Thank you for all the collective wisdom being brought to what we lived through. 'Eat Pray Love', book and movie, were not in any way adequate to the ideals of the people I met while pursuing this path. This is not to defame the author of that book. Just that there was the most awesome weight of sincerity to what people brought with them to Siddha Yoga. To find the path unworthy of all that weight continues to be upsetting and motive to write.

I completely beieved in the sincerity of those I met in Siddha Yoga and what they were trying to achieve. The Guru, omigod, not so much. Aaaargh, that hurts so much to say. not kidding.

How can Ishwarananda, Kripalandanda and many others I respected continue to defend this path?

The continued involvement of people loved and respected haunts me.

Anonymous said...

Amazing grace, blah, blah, blah, ... that saved a "SOUL" like me. "Wretch" removed.

R, you are correct (sometimes). Like as in, "Understand, right this very moment, you are THAT." Yeah, true dat.

On the other hand, some GM talks could ripped seekers a new a-hole. Brutal. And the Fire Course. Sheesh. Never took it, but I heard stories. Ouch. I think the ashramites saw a harsher side of GM, one that was hidden from the more casual visitor. The weekend talks and the stuff in print tended to be fluffy. That could be why you, and s and obw, are on different pages.

She was an accomplished speaker: poised, comfortable, engaging, authoritative. Occasionally she was extremely insightful and I think she possesses an above average intelligence, though artistically her sensibilities are superficial dreck IMO.

I believe she had at least a partial mojo working and I can understand your sentiment about finding comfort for the ego in being fooled by someone of that stature - at least. Sure, why not.

I don't know what she believed about herself, but she certainly did work hard for the first few years. Was it altruistic, or just shoring up the inherited empire.

Thanks for your post. It was in some ways refreshing.

MBG

PS. Very odd that a Blogger goes silent on his own show. Still want to know if posts are being intentionally destroyed here.

Anonymous said...

Make that Amazing grace, etc., etc.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any "real" friends from almost 2 decades in SY. I always thought it was small talkers and fair weathers. Once I left, I learned my instincts were correct. Not feeling blue. But like some of the others here, that taught me to trust myself first.

Anonymous said...

To all,

Thank you and good night,

Don't anyone give up posting,
please

You just never know who you are going to help

Please keep on.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I'm still holding to my heart a particular line from anon on jan 25:

Am so overjoyed to be grounded inside Me without a parasitic overlord.

wow. says it all! it's true, you never know when a particular well-stated line is exactly what you need to hear to cut free, free, free, all the way free.

Anonymous said...

To anon who wrote about feeling ashamed of all the devotion and love she felt for GM. I hear you. I used to feel this way too. I was overwhelmed with shame that I gave so much precious love and attention and my most vibrant years to a fraud. but eventually I remembered: I gave it all with purity and clean heart to God. It was all only for God.

Even if GM circumvented and even at times ridiculed the transmission, God got it anyway. No viper can ever take away what was given with full intention.

That's between God and my own heart and can never be altered. It was received.

Anonymous said...

Someone said "In a deeper way, she was really brilliant and a great speaker, she made deep spiritual concepts clear, almost evident in a few words."

I beg to differ. I've seen it stated in other places that Malti as GM didn't write her own talks. Instead, she largely used ghostwriters and as the story is told, the most frequent ghostwriter was Sally Kempton (Durgananda). So apparently, it was other people's brilliant talks. Malti was just the actress who delivered them and infused them with her own nuance.

I kept this short deliberately. Some of the posts are just long and involved for me to follow who said when and when did they say it.

Anonymous said...

Another point on the ghostwriters:

2004 was the last time GM delivered a New Years' Day talk.

Sally Kempton (Durgananda) left SYDA and sannyas to begin teaching meditation on her own.

Compare the 2004 "Kundalini Shakti" New Years' Day talk with those in prior years.

The elegance was gone. The talk came off as awkward and, well...somewhat infantile, IMHO. Something...or a big set of somethings...was simply missing in comparison to the amazing talks given on earlier New Years' Days.

I personally would be willing to wager that the "something missing" was Sally Kempton.

Anonymous said...

Point being:

I think that Sally being gone revealed GM's level of talent...or lack therof.

Anonymous said...

I think the last posts solve a question i've had in my mind for some time (back in the day when I actually cared abt such stuff)...how did the same person who wrote such insipid garbage as the aforementioned 'smile smile smile' debacle also give the talks that on certain years did indeed fly and soar?

and now I know the answer.

Writer/journalist Sally Kempton. Of course. Thanks for clarifying!

R + L said...

First, thank you for this blog. I'm impressed with the writing, and depth that many of you share so openly. I stop by every few days always hoping for an entry that may answer the founding question 'where is Gurumayi'? Or that someone may offer some insight on why she doesn’t simply speak to her devotees directly? And no one has posted that they’ve seen her in person. So I come here looking...
Who has actual facts, not theories and projections or second-hand gossip? Aren't you dying to know WHY? I am still hoping to learn what happened. But today it remains unanswered, and I find that fascinating in this information age.

Why did Swami Chivilasananda step away from our global group of seekers without a direct communication to the community at large? Why not write a letter to her students and patrons? It doesn’t make sense to me. With an absence of transparent communication delivered personally from Gurumayi, in my psychology, it reinforces the SYDA shadow.

If I am still confused by all of it, then can I honestly say I’ve let go? Yes. I have let go. I don't expect closure. I don’t expect to see the physical form again. And I don't expect to have my questions answered. It's confusing, and that's just what it is. My devotion to the Guru Principle has been re-ordered. It's not easy, simple or quick to release one's self from the deep cut of a relationship with a Spiritual Master. It's painful. We all have our own stories.

Many argue here whether or not Swami Chidvilasananda was or is a Master at all. I am not in the position to know or to judge. I do know that a woman who's known as Gurumayi and who above all else was once a fiercely devoted disciple in the fire of yoga, saved my life at a time when I needed saving. Through her writings, intensives and talks, I found my Self being pulled towards a path to becoming conscious. For that I am grateful.

The recent situation of 'Gurumayi disappearing’ has an upside. It became a gateway for me to dive into Buddhist studies. In that regard, I offer my heartfelt and most sincere gratitude to her. I have Swami Chivilasananda to thank for the push towards the soothing and practical practices of Buddhist teachings. I know, like I said, it’s complicated. Because I am also outraged for the suffering and exploitation that happened and for the years of secrecy around it. Can I go forward holding both?

As for today, I hold many conflicting emotions and experiences from my years as a devotee of Swami Chidvilasananda. I can say with a clear heart, that I hold an equal amount of gratitude for the teachings I received. And I do owe my awakening to my experiences with Gurumayi and the Siddha Yoga Path.

I am so sorry for the seekers who had a different reality. May you heal. May you find peace.

Thanks for listening.

br

Anonymous said...

hasn't she devoured enough of this fleeting incarnation for you?

Ex-editor said...

It all seems so long ago and far away, now. And SY reminds me of one of the I Ching hexagrams... about a well that was once used but is long since grown over and neglected. A neglected well....

I'd say somewhere along the line that GM:

1) got sick
2) could have been anorexia. Think how thin she got.
3) hair loss: she always seemed to be wearing a wig.
4) nervous breakdown.
5) in a relationship, maybe with a woman.

She was a clever woman, but with very little life experience when she started the SY thing. Full of energy at first, but dealing with all sorts of hidden financial and other problems which began to pile up.

The rise of the internet was ultimately what helped contribute to the downfall of SY. Freedom of speech and sharing of info suddenly brought a whole new level of accountability to those in power.

There are other ways of expressing love for God - i certainly found a far safer and more humble home in a religious grouping grounded in 100s of years of gradual refinement. Great comrades there, just as in SY. And honest, too.

Honesty... now there's thing which these flashing eyed Gurus appeared to forget about. Tsk tsk.

Anonymous said...

>>"I stop by every few days always hoping for an entry that may answer the founding question 'where is Gurumayi'?"<<

Hi R & L,
I read this and thought, "hmmm; i guess I stop by frequently too". Sometimes I don't stop by for several months. Then I find myself posting alot. Why? Nothing to do with gurumayi, really. I think if I saw her buying lamb chops in Hannaford's, I would have as much interest as seeing, say, Lady Gaga...that is, not too much after the initial surprise of it....better costume maybe?
What brings me back here is the conversation with other former devotees and listening to how each one has dealt with life post-syda. SeekHer's topics, starting the ball rolling, are always thought provoking. I've really learned alot from participating. So...thanks, all of you and a special thanks to SeekHer for managing to maintain this site. It can't be easy.
Good luck to you, R&L. those "soothing and practical" Buddhist practices can get pretty fiery and turn around and bite you in the butt (or the egoic structure) with fierce precision, as I'm sure you know....s.

Anonymous said...

"hasn't she devoured enough of this fleeting incarnation for you?"
February 2, 2011 4:25 AM

4:25
That is a brilliant line and a keeper. It broke through a certain foggy malaise. Many thanks. The Hungry Ghost Malti Shetty, Begone!

Anonymous said...

BR,

There was one answer I came across to the question of "Where is Gurumayi" that really seemed to fit. I don't remember which website I read it on and I don't remember all the points made. But it was an 'ahah' moment that made sense.

Something like Gurumayi was threatened by a lawsuit and being defrocked from the Saraswati Order if she did not stay out of public view. She was advised to go silent or there would be a public defamation. The idea being that she had defamed the teachings and practices.

Even though I am not remembering the points, the story line gave me relief from wondering. I now think she is fine, living the good life and has moved on from Siddha Yoga. Stays involved just enough to cover legal requirements and to nurse the rich elite egos that crave her affirmation.

Anonymous said...

MBG
January 26, 2011 9:30 PM

Your comment deserves some thought. Thank you for it.

And thanks Seekher for starting this thread. Halo 2 ewe!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I LOVED the speculation from 'ex-editor' about what may have happened our 'Beloved" (TM, gag, snort,etc.). It brought back such a wave of memory of hours (and years) spent sitting in the Amrit pontificaing about what was happening behind the scenes, if only we were 'important' enough to find out. s. may have been reading the holy texts but I was part of unwashed, unevolved masses wondering who the latest darshan girl or secretary was. I didn't become serious about my spiritual life until I LEFT. SY in those days was like a trashy, riveting issue of National Enquirer that you just couldn't put down.

Ok back to ex-editor comment. I especially LOVED your speculation that GM might be in a relationship with a woman...where did THAT one come from? .Ex-editor, if you're reading this, can you say?

Mostly the whole post brought back such a memory of people 'sharing secrets that you were not allowed to repeat." Whispered in dark corners of the ashram, maybe by the Temple shoeroom or in the back of the Hall...furtive whispers, "don't tell anyone, you can't say you heard it from me, I'm not allowed to be saying this..." On and on. THIS is what we spent our time discussing! Surely not the Pratyabhinahrdyam, lol.

And you know. I spent probably two years of my life wishing I was allowed to go down that secret elevator in Anugraha that let to GM's quarters. I was OBSESSED with that damn thing and who got to go down Remember when everyone would cluster and push around the Namaste Room begging for a glimpse of Her (TM) and then the moment would come when She (TM) would go. And you got to see 'the special Ones" who went along and who didn't. My dream during the years in SF was certainly not enlightenment but to get see her quarters, lol.


Now, of course, I view it all like I was on acid. I see it like the elevator ride to some strange Hell that God loved me too much to allow.

Wow, perspective is everything.

Anonymous said...

>>" s. may have been reading the holy texts but I was part of unwashed, unevolved masses wondering who the latest darshan girl or secretary was. SY in those days was like a trashy, riveting issue of National Enquirer that you just couldn't put down."<<

Anon.9:42,
I laughed at your comments, especially this one. My magical thinking had much more to do with all of those "holy objects" just guaranteed to accelerate your sadhana. I remember the year I saved up for one of the fancy darshan girl asanas with silk trim and matching chanting book cover. I waited until the "end of Summer sale" and used them for the "end of Summer intensive". Hey, they made no difference...still the same "unenlightned" idiot...lol.
At first I thought it was just "the American disease" (consumeritis) until I went to India and saw crowds scrambling for "holy cards,malas, garlands,sari bits, sandals,toothpicks,nail clippings, etc.etc." Just a human thing, I guess...the desire for secret information and magical talismans.
Got to love those traveling relics of the "saints"...fingers, toes, toenails,parts of the "true cross", buddha's footprints...all encased in golden boxes. We are nuts..human beings...lol.

s.

Anonymous said...

oh god, yes, s., the sweet memory of the fancy asanas for $150 a piece and all the other pseudo-spiritual high end artifacts!

I remember when a friend of mine (who later left with a lot more clarity and speed than I could muster at first) spent $108 for one of those god-forsaken squares of Baba's 'former carpet.' When she started understanding the level of sex abuse that was the hidden underbelly at SY, she said to me, "Oh my god, I have to get rid of that thing! Who knows what that carpet is actually filled with?"

It went from being a 'holy relic' to a possible repository of semen, et al. Roflmao (even tho I know better and part of this is just not funny..).

She threw it into a dumpster in Monticello by the Shoprite. I remember the day.

Anonymous said...

Can't resist responding to anon at 9:42AM's post, with the old SY joke:

"Why is there so much secrecy in SY?"
"Sorry, that's confidential."

You know, anon, if you HAD managed to become one of those who joined Herself in the private elevator, you just might have seen enough to send you packing before too long. That's why so few were allowed. Only those who had passed the "holding confidentiality" test were welcomed, and they were re-tested all the time. First sign of ethical or moral doubts--in SY-speak, "not being in alignment with the guru"--or even a funny look on your face, and you would have been out of there.

Last post for a while, I promise!

OBW

Anonymous said...

OBW hope you're not vanishing forever...your wit and insight is invaluable!

Stuart said...

To Anon 1/27/11 1:20pm:

Example: you stand on one side of partition, and put your hands through a hole in it. You're told that on the other side, which you can't see, there's a great Reiki master who, without touching you, is sending powerful healing energy into your hands.

You may indeed feel extraordinary energy in your hands. Whether you do so has everything to do with whether you believe the powerful Reiki master is there. It doesn't matter in the slightest whether there's really anyone at all on the other side of that partition.

This has been tested over and over and over. Never has a Reiki master or SYDA guru or anyone else, demonstrated that they can affect anyone by controlling magical invisible energy. What people can do is encourage BELIEF in magical energy etc, and belief has great power.

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

Stuart said...

To anon 1/28/11 11:42am

From a Mahayana Buddhist perspective, when I act for myself, that's called "attachment." When I act for you, that's called "love."

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

Anonymous said...

I don’t feel a need to explain my previous remarks but I do want to apologize for the use of the word “we” when referring to my own experiences and understandings of SY, I am aware everyone lives in their own inner world and perceives reality it his or her own way, I respect and learn a lot from those other points of view. But this string of posts began with “I can’t believe I’m saying this” and some other posts that followed were more in line with melancholy and remembrance of the good old days, of blind folded shaktiful experiences. Was there anything of value about all of this? Someone evenespressed it very well; the best of all was the Chai! And that is so right and funny! But even if we are upset, sorry I am upset, in first person, for being left out of a movement to which dedicated 15 years of my life (not old timer…) and even though I am convinced the path was misguiding and a scam after all, I don’t consider myself naive, I have practiced yoga for over 30 or more years, lived in other ashrams and met other gurus, apart from Monasteries of different denominations. I was not led into siddha yoga by a little group of fanatics, some light effects and a droning Tamboura like a zombie. I genuinely thought I had found something great and was very happy or filed with joy as I would say then! Or so I thought. Yes the awareness of the divinity dwelling in me, that was good, but I had read that a million times, Atman is Braham. The teachings of Kasmir Shaivism and the preeminence of consciousness over all, that was kind of new but I wouldn’t have sold my house just because of that. The pantheism, everything is God, you are God and so on, were not enough. The meditation and experiences like shaktipat were new, I have already stated that I do attribute those to peer pressure and hypnotic techniques where slow and deep breathings, the endless repetition of a mantric formula accompanied by light effect videos generated an atmosphere were some kind of trance was possible. Someone posted that even if they were hallucinations they could still be true, not so… (in my opinion) that’s why they call them hallucinations… but we have this awkward believe that anything that entered my mind was somehow true because all that exists is the mind, so if I closed my eyes and saw Saturn, I was in fact “on Saturn” sorry that conflicts with modern 21st century elemental knowledge. I think I was brought in by a beautiful charismatic person, quite intelligent, surrounded by a powerful organization with hotels and conference halls that could fit thousand, with huge quartz crystals, beautiful gardens, and satellite events. I was Perhaps captured by the external, the glitter, the inner knowledge I already had, I didn’t learn anything new other than, never follow again a charismatic leader and never believe what their inner circle tells you. But no matter how many times I might have felt guilty or unworthy for not being up to the task, the main teaching in SY was for me that I was free because I was divine. That the blue pear is untouched by karma and I was that! True or false I don’t know, but certainly it was liberating to free guilt free and divine at least for a while. I am not talking about the guilt of not finishing your seva one time, o feelings of unworthiness that I was told were only in my mind, my lower self, my ego. But that somewhere deep inside lies the real me, perfect, eternal, in absolute bliss, untouched by karma. I never met that fellow inside me, but I surely tried to find him… that’s what hooked me up. Today I don’t even think he it exists.

R

We all miss your posts OBW or Seekher, come back!

Anonymous said...

Stuart please stop trying to tell us our experiences. It is unseemly.

Anonymous said...

Stuart,

You said "Example: you stand on one side of partition, and put your hands through a hole in it. You're told that on the other side, which you can't see, there's a great Reiki master who, without touching you, is sending powerful healing energy into your hands."

Stuart, if this is your understanding of Reiki, it is so totally way off what I was taught that I can only conclude that you've heard it third or fourth hand by people who themselves weren't Reiki practitioners...or that what is currently being taught by Reiki "masters" is so incredibly diluted from what I learned in the early 1980's that it would lead me to conclude there are a lot of charlatans out there teaching uninformed people what they're calling "Reiki".

I was taught by one of Hawayo Takata's original group of students. I was NEVER told to envision that I was "standing on one side of partition, put my hands through a hole in it, and that on the other side which I couldn't see through, was a great Reiki master who, without touching me, would send powerful healing energy into my hands."

Rather, there are a series of initiations performed on one's hands and one's head. One is told that the Reiki energy itself is guiding its own flow from one's hands into the body of the person the treatment is being performed on. No visualization of an "unseen master sending energy into my hands" or even necessary. If an area of the body needed energy, the Reiki would flow. If not, it wouldn't. Time and time again, I have confirmed this by first asking the recipient if they felt anything and compared that with the feeling in my hands. And, I've never acted as a professional Reiki therapist. I've never charged money. I don't need to. I've got a fine career in a rather boring profession and have nothing I feel a need to sell.

Stuart, time and time again, I've read your comments here and other websites.

You may know a lot about Zen but you're still arrogant. Please keep your comments to things you truly have expertise in, and please hold yourself back from commenting on things you truly know nothing about.

Your statement about Reiki was so astonishing I couldn't feel angry or sad or even amused. I couldn't feel anything but amazement at the extreme conviction through which you seem to believe you can explain anything and everything whether you know about it or not.

I'm reminded of an old saying: "Those who know, do not speak. Those who speak, do not know."

I would ask you to bear this in mind a bit more, please.

Anonymous said...

"No visualization of an "unseen master sending energy into my hands" or even necessary."

I meant "No visualization of an unseen master sending energy into my hands OR ANY OTHER VISUALIZATION was even necessary."

Anonymous said...

"an area of the body needed energy, the Reiki would flow. If not, it wouldn't. Time and time again, I have confirmed this by first asking the recipient if they felt anything and compared that with the feeling in my hands."

And I forgot to add that I would ask the recepient this and NOT tell them what I was feeling in my hands. I didn't need to say anthing to them, since I didn't need to seek validation. Much more often then not, the experience they related to me corroborated closely with whatever I was feeling (or not feeling at times) in my hands.

This is all I have to say about this topic.

Anonymous said...

What's interesting is that Stuart unfortunately shows the same arrogance and lack of respect those who read him that he decried in Syda. I often feel a lot of compassion tho when I read his words, as if he were a little boy that no one listened to enough, or perhaps someone who had to prove himself to a bully father. I know I'm getting out of line with these conjectures, but as others stated, his tone is so dismissive and unpleasant on this thread, it's really striking. Set a contemplation in my mind, "What could be this poor guy's history that he needs to talk to others this way?" That way I could keep my heart a bit open. Wow

Anonymous said...

What Stuart seems to preach is a sort of atheism. There is no God, no contact with the Beyond is valid.

Through the practices of Siddha Yoga, others here once found God and found Him inside themselves. To the extent they used the Guru as the vehicle for that varies. Those who worked this idea without the deification of Gurumayi seem to be recovering from the loss of the Guru better. They are the ones that can keep what works and leave the rest.

If Gurumayi was a God for you then that was a lot to lose and a lot to still integrate.

All of these things we talk about here are beliefs. There can be no proof or data for any of it. What works for one, does not work for another. Here in the USA we protect this right to believe whatever you want.

The reiki practitioner @5:07, 5:14 seem to get close to where I am at this time in my beliefs. Tentative very, but pretty certain that what is solidifying as a belief is that the focus of life is meant to be on others than oneself. I like the idea reiki practitioners does not tell those she is helping that something whoowhoo is going on. Keeps it to themselves. That seems respectful, humble, mature.

Stuart also offers something of a contradiction of his typical behavior with this "From a Mahayana Buddhist perspective, when I act for myself, that's called "attachment." When I act for you, that's called "love." I think what commentors are saying to you Stuart, is we wish you would more often make comments out of love not your attachment to your beliefs.

Thinking you are God is nice, but doesn't do much for others. Finding you are divine within is an immediate high and a tremendous ego boost after a lifetime of the opposite. In Siddha Yoga we were somehow supposed to hold in concert 'I Am That' with 'See God in Each Other'. These are incompatible beliefs. Just saying they work together just does not wash for me anymore.

What I am working on now has a lot in common, I think, with what R @ 2:52 and Reiki Practitioner shared and especially what Seekher started with this thread topic. Would like to work back to that in discussion here. All the cult manifestations in Siddha Yoga have been well described and decried. It's a thread killer to repeat them here. I think what Seekher was broaching is what else was there. What else happened that can open up to future spiritual vistas for us. It's a strengths based approach rather than a focus on the pathology of a narcissistic Guru.

Thanks again Seekher for putting this topic in play seems there is some life in it by the number of comments.

Thanks to everybody who visits here and comments. Big help to me. Grateful

Anonymous said...

...'. In Siddha Yoga we were somehow supposed to hold in concert 'I Am That' with 'See God in Each Other'. These are incompatible beliefs. Just saying they work together just does not wash for me anymore. ',,

Dear Anon.10:15,2/7,
Your comments were very interesting and so is the discussion about Reiki! Thank you. When I read the quote above, I thought to myself, "If we really OOULD experience these two statements and how they are the same thing, it would be an experience of the Truth". Like you said, you are working on alot of what "reiki person" is working on. In my own life, although I don't hold these statements as beliefs, I can now begin to understand how related they are to each other. If "I" AM That (meaning what IS, what is changeless), the "I" is not this "me" thing (s.)but awareness of Being, a manifestation of what human beings call "God" (that changeless ground of Being). Isn't that the same thing? the same thing we all experience when we stop and go deeply within beneath the noise of the mind? And isn't "seeing that 'God' in each other" somehow recognizing that we are ALL that same Beingness that is underneath everything? That is what we ARE on the deepest level not what we "believe" we are..this identity that crumbles when we begin to look closely at it.
I think, on the egoic level, these two statements appear to be "incompatible" but on the level of the Truth, they are just reflections of each other. They really aren't "beliefs". I know Iused to read "See God in Each Other" everywhere I turned when I was in siddha yoga; but I never really saw anyone practicing this on the level I'm talking about. I, personally, was incapable of understanding what these two phrases meant except on the most superficial level (i.e. be "nice" to each other because we are all chosen, special devotees of the guru). It's only now that I am beginning to touch on the most elementary things that I thought I already "knew".
I think, again, that's what can get so confusing about any spiritual path. There IS truth there along with the garbage. You sense it, just like SeekHer's original post that set this discussion off...the longing for that kernel of truth that he/she? had experienced. I think it takes a while to sift it all through the filter of our own inner knowing.

best to you,
s.

Anonymous said...

So many comments ! I've not read them all (excuse my perhaps not perfect english).
It's important for me to make a difference between my inner experiences and the events that have brought up the experiences.
Yes I've had wonderful experiences been in Ganeshpuri, specially during Mahasamadhi or doing seva with some sweet people in the blizzard at SMA in winter... and all these experiences, when I was in them were quite real for me at that time.
That time is over, those beautiful events, but I can remember them, and when I do so the experience is there ! And what I feel then, remembering, is real : it is what really takes place in myself as I'm remembering.
Yes of course, there is for me a mystery about where Gurumayi is, even sometimes I wonder if She's still alive (physically), I also wonder about what SYDA is really doing. And a part of me "don't like it".
But what I'm very happy with is when we recognize that love that has been shared between so many people... the same love that I feel more and more with people around me - Siddha Yogis or not... most of them outside Siddha Yoga, but never mind, what counts for me is that love I can feel (not all the time ! but very strongly some times, in different situations, different life processes, different environments.
I accept this mystery about Gurumayi and at the same time I don't accept, for example, that we had 3 times the same new year's message... this is my choice or my personal "understanding", the choice that is useful for me now, that makes sense for me.
Just the idea of Baba and/or Gurumayi is what my being, in a deep level, needs to reach that love - There are so many ways, actually. I don't feel that I need something else but just this subtle "idea". And this "subtle" is subtle to an extend that makes me think : oh ! I don't love my Guru - and I feel quite OK about that... I don't have to "love my Guru", I'm just happy when I can be in contact with that place in myself where love dwells - and for me, my Guru is there, whatever happens in the outer world. This is the reason why I meditate every day - this is something that Baba and Gurumayi have taught me and it is precious to me today.
Thank you all for your wisdom and your different points of view or experiences. We are all different... and, in an other level, all the same !
I love you !

Anonymous said...

Dear s. you posted on 01/30/11 before going out for a run, responding to my previous post:

"During the alternation between chanting and being silent while the other group responded, silence was building up! Like in a musical crescendo and when finally the music ended, the silence reached its peak. That is one of the most exquisite reflexions on music and I have ever heard."

You responded:

“I can't follow this...how does Silence, which is the absence of sound, "build up"...Silence IS; maybe our awareness of it increases but Silence, itself, does not change its nature”

If you smile at me and I tell you, “I love the pearls in your mouth”, and you answer back to me, “what do you mean by pearls? I don’t have any pearls in my mouth, I have teeth! No one has pearls in their mouth, pearls grow inside oysters, I don’t get it, I have teeth not pearls!

I would be shocked thinking, what a linear thought that is, can she really not understand what a metaphor is?

Metaphor is the concept of understanding one thing in terms of another.

Of course silence doesn’t build up. Of course you can’t raise the volume to silence; of course silence is the absence of sound. That is what makes it such a unique idea. Like saying, silence is there showing its face and hiding until finally it stands right in front of you and “says” (silently of course) “here I am”

If that was the general understanding of one of G or Durgananda’s, as I know now, most incisive and profound messages, makes me think she might have been preaching at the wrong choir.

I love all posts, Regarding Stuart, poor beaten up Stuart. I understand the point he has tried to make is very valid; that there was never energy coming from G or M to the disciple in SY shaktipat experiences. Any phenomena was caused by the “recipient” (at least that’s what we thought were). We actually generated our experiences assisted by catalyzing outer conditions. It is well known how faith cures terrible deceases, not necessarily because of an acting deity on the other side, but simply because of our firm conviction that we could be cured. I agree with that 100%. Keep it up Stuart.
I’m gonna go out for a walk myself…

R.

Anonymous said...

Hi R...so appreciate your comments...first of all, for the record, never had any desire to beat-up 'poor' stu, lol...my comments were never about his 'message', rather the nature of his delivery, as so often is the case...

when things are presented with a subtle, palpable disdain for alternative positions, people necessarily shut down and disregard your point (unless they themselves have an affection for condescending, parent-figures to tell them what's what...i lost that when I left syda about seven years ago lol

There's such a level of maturity and understanding here on this site that there's no need to be a condescending pundit. if you assume people are intelligent, it's usually best, as opposed to presenting as if one has the sole repository truth. Wouldn't you agree?

on some occasions I actually agree with Stu's points, tho not always. And actually the conversation here is so lively and fruitful, it's a shame to sidetrack it onto him when there's so much else of interest.

But I think it hit an ironic core: so often in Syda, many of us felt that same disregard and condescension when posing alternate 'views', when we even had the courage to do so. Of course ironic, then, to see that posture so clearly in one who has left himself!

Anonymous said...

>>Like saying, silence is there showing its face and hiding until finally it stands right in front of you and “says” (silently of course) “here I am” "<<


Dear R,
I do understand what a metaphor is but I have to say....personally, I much prefer what you say above to the example from gurumayi's talk...just personal taste, I think.

best,
s.

Anonymous said...

Actually this set of reactions to Stu's posts is a useful barometer for me to see the internal changes since my Syda days. Way back when, when posed with an authoritarian-type character giving the 'message from the mountaintop" I usually second-guessed my own knowledge and cowered in deference.

Now I simply think, "wow, wonder what happened in this person's background that they need to speak to others with so little respect?" No need to imbibe their 'fountain of truth' as truth at all or to be impressed in the least by their 'scholarship.'

progress indeed, lol!

Stuart said...

Anonymous said 2/7/11...
Time and time again, I have confirmed this by first asking the recipient if they felt anything

Of course if you're doing Reiki on someone and they BELIEVE that energy is flowing into them, then they'll feel something. Belief is very powerful. Just as if someone believes they're getting energy from a guru, they'll surely feel the effects of that belief.

What the Reiki recipient, or the guru worshiper, feels has everything to do with belief, and nothing to do with any magical invisible energy flowing.

How do we know this? Because someone who merely believes that a Healer is sending magical energy into their body gets the same feeling, whether or not there's any Healer present at all. This is very very easily tested, by placing the supposed Healer on the other side of a partition, so the recipient can't tell whether or not there's anyone there.

You may know a lot about Zen but you're still arrogant.

Since you have no evidence to support your claims, and are unwilling or unable to discuss them in a reasoned way, all you have left is to hide behind anonymity and throw personal insults at anyone who questions you.

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

Stuart said...

Anonymous 2/6/11 said...
Stuart please stop trying to tell us our experiences.

Lincoln famously asked, "If you call a dog's tail a leg, how many legs does the dog have?" The answer he gave was "4," because a tail is a tail, it doesn't matter what you call it.

Likewise with beliefs. You can call your beliefs "experiences," but they're still just beliefs.

Experiences are undeniable. Beliefs -- the stories we tell ourselves to explain the experience -- are always open to doubt.

This is very relevant to what happened in SYDA. People called their beliefs "experiences" (e.g., the belief that the guru controls or transmits magical invisible energy). Once you confuse beliefs with experience, you've lost your "BS detector": then how can you possibly avoid believing in any sort of nonsense?

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

Anonymous said...

Oh bulls**t, Stuart.

If I put my hands on someone who has NEVER experienced Reiki, doesn't have any preconceived notions of WHAT to beleive and they feel like the area of their body my hands are on are hot, cold, tingling, or whatever, I describe this as a SENSATION and NOT a BELIEF.

Anonymous said...

More about symbols and language....just as a matter of interest:
...Metaphor is defined as:
"1. A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in "a sea of troubles" or "All the world's a stage" (Shakespeare).
2. One thing conceived as representing another; a symbol: "Hollywood has always been an irresistible, prefabricated metaphor for the crass, the materialistic, the shallow, and the craven" (Neal Gabler).

comparing teeth to pearls is a similie or so I remember from english classes?

so...although I get what R. is saying, the silence thing doesnt do it for me...different strokes for different folks and I like R's "talking silence" better (especially since it has a sense of humor)...just a personal opinion.

best,
s.

Anonymous said...

Btw, the latest New Yorker coming out on FEb 14 has AMAZING interview called "Paul Geddis vs Scientology' about the film director who left the cult after 35 years. Huge expose. You can also find it online now.

Some of the parallels with Syda are astonishing. Does every cult work with the same rule book? Is there no innovation in the world of authoritarianism, even when charisma adds surface sparkles?

Anonymous said...

Anon @8:23

Thanks for noting the New Yorker expose. I read that Scientology required the author to go through 8 hours of fact checking with Scientology lawyers. Still they couldn't cover up the dirt.

Your observation about all cults being alike is something I am experiencing also. Since leaving Siddha Yoga I am better able to discern faulty thinking. I was such a sucker for a lot of New Age bunk. It was in this compartmentalized place left over from childhood, surviving into adulthood. A large part of me was a skeptic but still I fell for making wishes that the magical guru could make come true because I was sitting under the wishfulfilling tree at her feet.

A lot of this kind of thing turns adults into children. Who wouldn't like to go back to those sweet days. But we can't and perhaps a large part of the epidemic of narcissism is this childish notion that we are the center of our world.

Stuart's posts are always refreshing for me to read, because he cuts out this childish thinking. However it is a little to barren for me because his perspective cuts out a lot of important nuance and additional information that adds to my understanding. (Don't mean to speak in third person, Hello Stuart!)

Recently have been in touch with an old professor discussing memoir. He made the point that there are the facts and then there is the truth. Truth and real understanding of a situation/issue does seem to often exceed the facts capacity to capture reality. Since our powers of observation are so limited. Thus humans have always used metaphor. Not time to explore all that but hats off to Wittgenstein's theories about the limits of language. Studied him in school, but still was susceptible to the SY brainwashing. They were very good at orchestrating visceral experiences.

Would like to say to all here, that I carry what is posted here along through my days and your views provide an added light on many reflections. Hope to get back to many points made in this thread.

Anonymous said...

"I was such a sucker for a lot of New Age bunk. It was in this compartmentalized place left over from childhood,.... They (syda)were very good at orchestrating visceral experiences."

Dear Anon 10:44,
this was a wonderful post. Thank you! I think it's so important to see how intense spiritual experiences can just by-pass and cut through any kind of discrimination or rationality. They seem to come from and touch off that same 'visceral non-verbal sense of Being-ness that many of us experienced as children. They can seem more real than the present reality (which, as adults, can be overly mental) because what they do touch off is such a deep core issue, something we may have held onto for a very long time, something that seems more "authentic" than the false identity we have constructed.



"Would like to say to all here, that I carry what is posted here along through my days and your views provide an added light on many reflections. Hope to get back to many points made in this thread."

I would love to hear more about the limits of language...as you have experienced it...
thanks,
s.

Anonymous said...

Hasn't anyone else heard that GM is dying of AIDS?

It called metaphorical irony.

dude

Anonymous said...

An old friend died a few months ago and I got to be by her bed for an afternoon before she went...she was in that veiled place between the two worlds with messages to give each of us. It was really something. She was transluscent and alight with love but still had her very New York barbed humor. It was like talking directly with Death herself, Kali-Ma.
And here was her message to me:

"I so love you but why the hell did you give so many years of time and money to that CULT? I never, never could understand! What were you THINKING? You wasted so so many years of your beautiful life with them and this life is so very short." Those were her final words to me.

I could only say, "Karma, just karma. I couldn't get out before I could get out."

And I started laughing but a part of me was quite sad.

Anonymous said...

Anon @7:17

Suffer the feelings you describe. The previous thread on Resurrection deals with overcoming this sense of a wasted life.

The new article in the New Yorker about Paul Haggis, the movie director, former Scientologist, goes into this very poignant experience you are having. At the end of a very long article, it provides the coda.

"I (that's Lawrence Wright) asked him if he felt that he had finally left Scientology. “I feel much more myself, but there’s a sadness,” he admitted. “If you identify yourself with something for so long, and suddenly you think of yourself as not that thing, it leaves a bit of space.”

He went on, “It’s not really the sense of a loss of community. Those people who walked away from me were never really my friends.” He understood how they felt about him, and why. ...“I was in a cult for thirty-four years. Everyone else could see it. I don’t know why I couldn’t.”

7:17 thank you for sharing a powerful moment. Those still propping up the sham of Siddha Yoga hope they read it.

"Make the most of your regrets...To regret deeply is to live afresh." Henry David Thoreau

Anonymous said...

S,
Thanks for response on language and all your thoughtful posts. Contemplating what you shared, will get back to it here, oh but when?!
Warm regards.

BE.HALFACRE said...

Hi everyone, I haven't dropped by here for some time, having read the full thread would just like to offer a few thoughts .... I joined SY in '79/'80 when Malti was still running around the ashrams with her friends, going out shopping, flirting with boys and generally living as free a life as possible under the circumstances. Once she was in the seat her life changed radically and she eventually grew to hate it in my opinion, I left in '85 so I was not around to witness that stage personally. She never had a normal life and I think she longed to just be herself and live normaly. She once came to my birthday party when we were on tour but because she was the guru she couln't just pull up a chair and join in the fun, she was awkward and cut off from us and I could see that in a way she resented our freedom to just do as we liked, to have an impromptu party and be really silly and laugh a lot. Her relationship with George was the biggest thing in her life and while it was blossoming she was compensated to some degree for the loss of her other freedoms. When George left I think she would have been shattered and that probably marked the beginning of the end of her desire to carry on in the guru role. I don't know when she actually shut up shop but I immagine it was not too long after George left. It's a story of ordinary human fears and desires imo. She never had years of free life experience to build and draw on in her role as a Siddha Guru like Muktananda did. He grew into the role organically after years of wandering around India doing god knows what. Very few of the official successors to legendary teachers burn as brightly as their masters did. The circumstances around George's banishment and Malti's reaction to that banishment are key to her withdrawal from public life imo. I can imagine a huge row between her and the Foundation and her refusing to carry on in the role if George was forced out. Forced out he was and she would have been furious, petulant and crushed, she loved the man! She just would not be able to carry on without him. He was her guide and inspiration, friend and possibly lover, I saw them together behind the scenes and they were very very close, it would be the first and only real intimate relationship she ever had with a man and they took him away from her. Tazzy.

Anonymous said...

Tazzy, as a first hand observer your observations very appreciated, but there are things you did not see. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. La Belle Dame sans Merci forced GA out. No one else.

Anonymous said...

Well summarized Tazzy.
I "joined" in 78 and remember her as bitchy, remote (all the inner circle were remote - that was a must-have attribute) and seeming to itch for freedom as well. I was once invited to Baba's house when he was in Honolulu. There were only a handful of us there, maybe five or six people and as soon as he left, Malti and Rohini, another of the inner, inner girls started to jump on the furniture and giggle about nothing, like letting steam off when the lid was lifted. At the time, I saw it as "playful shakti", or high energy generated by the yogic practices, but I have another view of it now. Its more like a release of tension, after having to hold yourself in so intently. Unless you were there, you can't imagine how intense the focus on Baba was. Your entire focus was on him when he was around. You were supposed to anticipate your guru's requirements, his next move and be ready... would he need his shoes, would he walk out of this door or that, would he walk into your department, is everything just perfect for him? This of course made us ideal disciples.
And many of us did our best to be perfect disciples (I groan when I think about it now), while behind the scenes, in the inner, inner circle, there was a whole other world, all hidden.
Holding secrets, keeping up a public face, not speaking, not relating, not sharing, these were pre-requisites for being close to "The Fire".
Wow, wouldn't you just want to kick off your shoes and dance??? Or play, or do as most nubile young things do???
I kind of felt sorry for her years later.

Anonymous said...

Me again.
I should add that I remember George well from those days. He always carried himself like a celebrity movie star - think Errol Flynn with coat draped over his shoulders and young acolytes kowtowing as he swept past. He loved it!

Anonymous said...

Me again, again:):)
"I should add that I remember George well from those days" I need to clarify, I remember George well from 82 onwards when he really came to prominence.

behalfacre. said...

Tazzy, as a first hand observer your observations very appreciated, but there are things you did not see. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. La Belle Dame sans Merci forced GA out. No one else.

Hi Anon, yes that would fit the story also and knowing George he would have his hand in the cookie jar. How long after George split did La Belle Dame sans Merci spit the dummy? Tazzy.

Anonymous said...

Tazzy,

That "hand in the cookie jar' was the issue. GM lost control of Afif. The more she tried to rein in the ridiculous spending and projects the worse he got. Out of spite he commissioned over the top ridiculous landscape projects, construction projects, costly celebrations completely against GM's directives. But by then the early 90's he had total control of everything and everyone. Took a long time cultivating a few trusted people who were strong enough and sharp enough to marginalize him progressively. All of this had to be under wraps to protect the mission.

After all that, where could Siddha Yoga go to move forward? Many had come for the glamorous dog and pony show and then times were changing too. The New Yorker article was fatal blow, the Catskills were cold, the buildings crumbling and not worth the money being spent on them. GM wanted to move the whole headquarters to another place, but where? That never happened.

The hollow core, the corrupt inner meaning of the Siddha Yoga practices could never last. They were made up by a wandering sadhu who had learned how to fake it and con people, then he met another con man Werner Erhard and using LGAT techniques it all took off into the 'Meditation Revolution'.

To her credit, GM I believe was sincere at many levels, longed to be truly holy and good, but was also fractured. You never knew if you would be dealing with the white witch or her evil twin. She vacillated. All part of the play of shakti we convinced ourselves, when really it was plain old mental illness on a grand scale.

A lot was wasted in the practices of Siddha Yoga, a terrible potlatch of resources. Making something out of all that, finding some takeaway is what I come here for. Analyzing Malti's behavior interesting at some level, but as a spiritual exercise it won't yield anything. Why? Because instead of really coming clean, being a true disciple of the truth, she bailed and took whatever bank account and hangers on were left with her. GM has no authentic spiritual presence for me now,none. I look at her as a fellow traveler, fallen like myself. As a human being my heart still remembers how much I loved her. Don't think that will ever really die.

Luckily now I find people who do have this presence. They are guides for me. They are 'nobodies' who cultivate a true relationship with the Unknowable, not magical thinkers, never asking me to think stupid new age nonsense. Cannot stand any of that wishful thinking now and I once gorged on it. The people who I find helpful now are people who are happy to find the face of God not in a Photoshopped head shot on their puja table, but in the suffering faces of everyday people.

The ROD site is an important place for me to focus on my present spiritual condition, so wont spend too much more time digging into the Siddha Yoga Wayback Machine. Hope this was not too much for this thread. Would only like to do so if it helps to illuminate the present.

cobra said...

I hope no-one will take this the wrong way but I do not view my life as wasted or the times i spent in SY. I don't think you should either but that's not up to me but up to you. I still believe that I was where I needed to be at the time I needed to be there. Now I need to be somewhere else believing something else. Life is a journey, yo!

Anonymous said...

Cobra,

So who said your life was wasted?

Anonymous said...

Anon 2/13 @ 9:15 am:

Your post moved me deeply.
Thank you for it.

I also recall hearing about that plan to move the HQ from SF to "elsewhere" from someone who was on staff in SF at the time. Because that person was told the preferred new location was California somewhere, that person moved to Oakland, and is living there still.

I recall seeing the closeness between GM and GA on tour in a country outside of both India and the USA back in the early 90's. The physical closeness and the looks they shared together took me by surprise. Even back then I had the thought "That doesn't make sense, she's a celibate shaktipat guru" but as many of us learned in SY I turned off my critical thinking in favor of holding onto belief. Looking back on it, I really should have seen the warning lights and heard the alarm bells going off in my head and told myself "Wait a minute...this spells trouble in paradise."

Anonymous said...

Anon mentioned Wittgenstein, Finally! Some words about the healing effect of logic. I see myself today as an agnostic, an atheist if you will. For me the question has shifted from, how did fall in this or that cult? To, why the need for a cult at all? Without getting into details, Wittgenstein demonstrates how it is impossible to state something as “this is a hand, I know it because it is mine? Simply because you start from the premise, “I am sure, I can’t be wrong about this” in a book called On Certainty. Language as we, humans use it today, expresses and infinite array of concepts that denote objects that simply don’t exist in the “real world” it is all a play of words, metaphors over metaphors like layers on an onion, when you peel them one by one at the end your left with nothing. I would like to recommend also Julian Jaynes and his Bicameral mind theory where God is nothing else than the right hemisphere of our brain talking to the left one. If I decide to continue to “believe” not in M or in G but in something or someone else I feel I am making the same mistake. We.ve gone from water, to refreshing, to humidity, to the source of life because I feed our crops and so on, to cleansing to purifying to finally arrive at Salvation, when in fact the only “thing” out there is water. You could say Salvation is ultimately a metaphor of washing your hands. I am not trying to impose anything on the contrary I would welcome any thought that could help me regain my lost certainty.
You can’t express in words what is inexpressible and if “that” whatever it is, is inexpressible, surely it does not exist. That is what religions and cults give us, metaphors of reality, just words… But no one knows more than you, all of us have the same doubts and fears, from G to me. I worship him or her who gives me comfort and hope and somehow make sense of all this chaos around me. By the way “me” or “I” is just another metaphor of the universe, all pervasive, infinite, eternal... There are no easy answers, religions or cults simply exploit this fact to their advantage, to gain power over others and make some profit while doing so.

R

Anonymous said...

R and readers

Two views on the subject:


Is God a Social Illusion?
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/brainiac/2011/02/is_god_a_social.html


Rothman

" If belief in God is instinctual, then how do atheists overcome that instinct? I don't believe in God - but I don't find myself fighting some built-in tendency to personify the universe. ... His idea is that all people are religious the way children are religious - that is, in a literal, animist way. ... Being religious, though, isn't about having an imaginary friend; it's about understanding the meaning of life. Victor Frankl called his book Man's Search for Meaning, not Man's Search for a Personality Up There in the Clouds. If there's an instinct at work, it's the instinct to make sense of things. That's why it's a mistake for Bering to dismiss theology: Systematic theology is about making sense of the universe, and it's at the heart what makes religion useful.

My guess? It's the search for meaning, not the search for personality, that makes religion part of the fabric of human life. Aristotle called it "the desire to understand." That's a desire we all share - atheist and religious alike."


Rothman is responding to this:

The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0393072991?ie=UTF8&tag=slatmaga-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0393072991

Anonymous said...

In retrospect, the ultimate word for my 15 years in Syda is 'cognitive dissonance.' Soo many things that set off alarm bells were ignored because of the cozy comfort of belonging to the elegant tribe. I considered myself the valued and lucky servant of an enlightened and all-knowing master.

Oy. Meanwhile, somehow the thread on GM and Afif's relationship brought that dissonance home again. Though I was nowhere near the inner circle, it was obvious as rain to me that they were lovers. The energy was completely palpable. And at the time, I could never put it together, as he literally seemed like a personification of evil to me. I've rarely met someone with some a dark energy field.

When I mentioned it to someone at the time, she said, "Oh yes, I'm sure GM is keeping him nearby as a wet log. You know, the ones that need to be next to the fire in order to burst into flame.'

Indeed, lol.

Anonymous said...

Because it really does raise the question that if GM herself was not a dark magician (as I've often wondered) and was in fact at least partially a good-hearted, even holy being, how the fuck could she be with that guy? So often like energy attracts like and you can really know people by their choice of lovers and companions. So what does Afif ('The Thief' as some called him) as her consort say about HER?

Anonymous said...

"the cozy comfort of belonging to the elegant tribe,"
AND "she needed a prime minister to solidify her power grab of Muktananda's throne and George fit the bill. Her brother did not conduct himself with enough decorum.

Such a royal court it was with all kinds of intrigues. Ladies in waiting, serfs, royal dogs, it had it all."

So well expressed. I witnessed all that. George was her henchman and she needed him there.

I also remember an ex-Swami talking about the energy between Chid and George being the thing that woke him up to something being awfully wrong because George was in control. He was running power plays with her in the inner circle, doing things to push her buttons. Not quite the Guru-disciple relationship.

Anonymous said...

The real story of Malti Shetty could be very compelling. As described in this thread she lived an abbreviated constricted existence. As a work of fiction it could fly, I think.

Utterly self-absorbed and selfish, manipulative and scheming. Still she could be so charming and then laugh and mock behind one's back.

GM was all kinds of intense but it was a fire without any true warmth. And I thought all that was getting me closer to God. The ego shouldn't be coddled, but it doesn't need to be trashed. This was one of the most damaging concepts I picked up in Siddha Yoga. That the destruction of the ego was the goal. Totally stupid idea for someone who needs to function in the real world and left me a sitting duck for all kinds of abuse.

Does Siddha Yoga still hawk this hodge podge porridge as a path to enlightenment?

I think the books out now have been edited, selected for mainstream consumption. Siddha Yoga lite. So I guess those finding it now won't hurt themselves trying to apply the blandishments of Smile Smile Smile!

b.e. halfacre said...

anon wrote,
"GA's hand in the cookie jar was the issue. GM lost control of Afif.".
Is this just your own perception of events anon, or did you witness it, is it a widely held view here on this list also?
When I said " hand in the cookie jar" I was thinking more of GA messing around with other women behind her back.
anon wrote,
"The hollow core, the corrupt inner meaning of the Siddha Yoga practices could never last."
I agree, how can a teacher who refuses to deal with the finite relative truth of the everyday goings on in the organisation, a teacher who actually promotes lies and the covering up of those truths then claim to be able to reveal or be in possession of the ultimate truth, reality, self realisation?
When supporters claim "you can never understand the ways of a self realised being" then the question that needs answering is, if that is true why lie about their actions? Does the truth need protecting by lies? I think only the false needs protecting, the truth is fearless.
anon wrote,
"Luckily now I find people who do have this presence. They are guides for me. They are 'nobodies' who cultivate a true relationship with the Unknowable, not magical thinkers, never asking me to think stupid new age nonsense."
Well good for you, after all the ancient Vedantins did say, "discriminate between the real and the unreal" which equals "discriminate between fact and fantasy".
It is telling that the first words of the first two sentences on the SY web site page headed "The Teachings" is "imagine".
"Imagine" little old you being a Self Realised Siddha Master with all those cool powers, WOW, now just keep on imagining that for the next thirty years or so......don't forget your dakshina now.
I also found another teacher, a friend who refuses to entertain imagination and offers nothing, no org, no practices, no spiritual clothes, no bullshit, just the fact of what you are. It's interesting that those teachers have very small groups around them, the wannabes don't like it when there is nothing on offer except the truth. All the best, Tazzy

Anonymous said...

I will still bet you that without the chai many of would have left years earlier.

Anonymous said...

Anon @6:20

Have often thought something similar, that the cultural impact of Siddha Yoga far exceeds the spiritual. Along with chai, Siddha Yoga helped popularize nag champa and pashmina, and helped sell a lot of fancy orange and red hats.

Anonymous said...

You are so right! The spiritual contribution of Syda is almost nill, being as someone described earlier a hodgepodge of madeup half-ass mantras and new age cliches..but as a sales ploy for incense and orange hats....now you're on to something!

Also, don't forget that impeccable memorable version of 'Nacho Rey' which my friend used to call the "Nacho Chip song"

Anonymous said...

Tazzy,
Thanks for mentioning the Siddha Yoga website, hadn't been there in a while. The language I can now see so clearly is completely of a type described as pseudo science.

I like this website for exposing the New Age bunk which is now everywhere.

http://www.skepdic.com/skeptimedia/skeptimedia95.html

For a while after Siddha Yoga I found myself still somewhat susceptible from a feeling standpoint. I had become accustomed to experiencing spirituality a certain way. Addicted to the trance states maybe. Took awhile to get over that.

The Siddha Yoga website exhibits all the following traits of how to create a pseudoscience.

This is a summary from the Skeptic's Dictionary.

Appeal to something that most people fear or desire

Make big promises about having scientific proof that you can relieve any physical illness or emotional pain,

Use a lot of jargon and weasel words.

Don't be afraid to make stuff up

Don't be cheap.

Make sure you claim that you have to offer is a "secret"

Get celebrities, on board, people trust celebrities more than they trust scientists.

Claim that some ancient civilization or lineage that can't be traced by real historians developed the technology

Don't be afraid to use magic tricks to deceive people, but these are rarely necessary since most people like to be deceived and won't know that you are playing on their ignorance

Don't worry about the lack of scientific evidence for your product. People are more interested in and persuaded by testimonials and stories.
(Remember GM's hypnotic words “ 'Let me tell you a story….' and we were off to la la land.)

Claim the product will reveal everything important about who they are inside.

Find a model to copy.

Promise them things like salvation

Claim that anyone who speaks against this quackery will be cursed and born in a waterless region populated with viscous animals.

All the above contained in the sacred text of the Guru Gita programming manual.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! (And sad. $100,000 later...she finds out the truth)

Anonymous said...

A spiritual path that does not teach you how to recognize when you are being exploited, or taken advantage of, is not much of a spiritual path, no matter how many followers or how blissful it feels or how wondrous the parlor tricks seem.

"God" is a metaphor of intuition and fortunately it is never too late to build a partnership with the unconscious. However, should Gurumayi die from AIDS, as she undoubtedly will if she truly has the disease, then the stage will be set for even more monumental denial from SYDA (pun intended). Talk about a lila!

JJ

Anonymous said...

JJ

You need to do some homework. AIDS is not a death sentence today. With medication it becomes a chronic illness that can be managed. Millions are surviving.

In any case the is absolutely NO credible evidence that Gurumayi is suffering from the disease. That suggestion was in a rather ignorant comment left here, and it was ignored for good reason.

Anyone who really knew GM, would know that she was extremely fastidious. Everyone who was allowed to be in close personal contact was thoroughly vetted. In any event, to discuss someone having a potentially lethal disease in a cavalier manner is inhumane.

Anonymous said...

People with AIDS, even despite the advances of modern medical treatment, still eventually die, barring accident or injury, from complications of the "chronic disease".
When it comes to my inhumane cavalier manner in discussing Gurumayi's affliction, do a little searching on the Web and you'll find other references.

As for lack of "credible evidence", the same protest still characterizes the official SYDA position on Muktananda's pedophilia. So I guess, unlike Baba who can't climb out of his samadhi shrine to defend himself, it's up to Gurumayi to come out of hiding and openly refute any false speculation. I'm sure her dwindling number of disciples would actually be grateful if this happened since they still pine for a glimpse of their troubled fixation.

Incidentally, I privately interviewed one of Baba's young nubile conquests and her word, coupled with numerous observations, was plenty enough credibility for me.

JJ

Anonymous said...

omigod not this again. please go back to exsy where these dubious speculations fly. so one of Baba's conquests told you Gurumayi has AIDS and you observed Gurumayi exhibiting symptoms of AIDS? please the discussion here was intelligent unitl you showed up. you are a liar. just go away.

Anonymous said...

Actually this conjecture re AIDS is strangely fascinating to me. It's obviously complete hearsay, just like the rumors someone tossed around once that GM had left the organization to be with, what? One of her (many?) lesbian lovers...Oh right, that rumor...

Actually, I ADORE these crazy specuations conveyed with total authority as if they were unalloyed truth. They remind me of the 'good ole days'sitting in Amrit high as a kite on chai and pretending to 'do saddhana' while we simply lingered in a warped fantasy world obsessed with 'our Beloved.'

I remember being so grateful for any odd morsel thrown my way about her, like a starving dog awaiting any bone.

Oooh, someone would say, I saw her out running on a trail behind the golf course in her pink agora cap! Ooh, She'll be at the Guru Gita on Thursday. Ooh, don't tell anyone, but She might show up for Christmas! Oh for a mere glimpse to soothe our wretched, suffering souls!

It makes me remember the final Holiday Retreat in Ontario, California where the whole hotel presciently stunk of cow manure from nearby plants. She vanished after three days, leaving hundreds of dejected sevites wandering the hallways for the rest of the week like sad, abandoned children.

What a throwback. Oh for the days when we all projected our own profound inner power, intuition and divinity onto such a wounded and unworthy receptacle.

Charisma can be the greatest charlatan.

Anonymous said...

NOT lesbian, likes MEN

Anonymous said...

Oh darlin' did you ever miss the point of that post, lol

Anonymous said...

I appreciate what I'm reading here and relate to much of it. I spent 30 years being very involved. I find myself wanting those years to have some SOME meaning - how can I write off over half my life as being a waste or as destructive? I'm fine with being done with it and I don't want to rewrite history to give it value that it didn't have. It just seems very sad to think that I squandered years on a delusion.

Anonymous said...

>A spiritual path that does not teach you how to recognize when you are being exploited, or taken advantage of, is not much of a spiritual path, no matter how many followers or how blissful it feels or how wondrous the parlor tricks seem."


Hmmmm...well, that would include: many of the tibetan buddhist paths, many of the zen teachers, many of the hindu-based paths, most of the current gurus, virtually all of the New Age teachers...in fact, almost every tradition you can name has an unfortunate history of "exploitation"...so I guess the conclusion would be: keep your wits about you....sometimes this can be tricky: keeping your wits about you at the same time the "you" thing is being dissolved. Just a thought.

s

Brenda said...

I had been drifting away from SY for a few years when the defining break came. My dad was headed toward hospice and around that time I finally decided to read the condemning articles and websites that I had avoided for such a long time. I officially "left" and found myself amazed that I could experience my dad's death without all the "shoulds" about the prescribed SY ways I needed to be experiencing it. What a relief to not feel all the pressure and guilt about the number of GG's I should do etc. Very liberating - I saw what clouds of fear I had been living under.

Brenda said...

I had intended this last post to be anonymous. Would you please remove my name? And then remove this post? See the clouds of fear still exist! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:51

"Actually this conjecture re AIDS is strangely fascinating to me...
Actually, I ADORE these crazy specuations ..They remind me of the 'good ole days'sitting in Amrit..."

Schadenfreude has become the national pastime and I am as guilty as another. But when speculating goes to suggesting a mortal disease in a jocular tone it becomes malevolent. That kind of gossip crosses the line and is malicious. The moral status of the subject doesn't matter.

Such conjectures are also off topic. Seekher, our host here launched a discussion in this thread with such words as "where our hearts, having done the hard work of healing, can now begin to reclaim the sweetness of memory."
Add to that that many comments in this thread report that their hearts are not completely hardened to the person in question. I appreciate this forum for this reason as it has allowed me to assess what I spent half my life pursuing in a more positive way.

For complete haters who have decided that their former guru now falls outside the rules of basic charity I think they should go to the website where that is the going style. This isn't censorship, it's off topic here.

Anonymous said...

Love that story re your Dad's passing, Brenda...I soo relate. Have many similar experiences!

Anonymous said...

Love that story re your Dad's passing, Brenda...I soo relate. Have many similar experiences!

Anonymous said...

Wants to be anon at 9:54

Just don't worry about it just don't. Part of the healing. It's all right. Sorry to hear about your dad. Peace

Brenda said...

I may have not been clear. I wanted my name removed from the previous post. The one beginning: "I had been drifting away from SY for a few years" Is it possible to make it from anonymous? If not, would you remove the whole post? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

>>" I find myself wanting those years to have some SOME meaning - how can I write off over half my life as being a waste or as destructive? I'm fine with being done with it and I don't want to rewrite history to give it value that it didn't have. It just seems very sad to think that I squandered years on a delusion."<<

Dear Anon 9:28,
It's amazing when you look back at some of the things you took so seriously, isn't it? Most of it appears to be part of some bizarre "delusion" about how to be a human being. I can remember some professional ambitions that seem, in retrospect, to be really far off-base. ..but that's where I was at the time. When I think of my current attitude towards the same "work", it's like two totally different perspectives. Same with siddha yoga: that's where I was and what I seemed to be deeply drawn to. There is this deep longing for wholeness and an end to the illusion of separation; most people who get involved with "spiritual paths" are pulled by this longing. If siddha yoga exposed one way NOT to go about it, then it was worth its weight in gold. We don't have to repeat that particular lesson. The "longing" for true awakening is never a waste of time, imho.
To me, what's really "sad" is holding onto the idea that siddha yoga was the one shot any of us had at waking up! now THAT would be really depressing.

best to you,
s.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous at 10:00 am. Thanks. I needed that.

Anonymous said...

Hi all, Lucid here, it’s been awhile. Since the salon bomb last August, I think.

This thread prompted my recalling two years ago, when a family friend and still devotee asked with sincere, non-confrontational interest why I had “left” SY. At the time I believed this friend was open to “going there” with me, willing to engage in a genuine conversation. I knew neither of us was out to change the other’s mind – that wasn’t the point and would have been pointless. It was more about us seeking a better understanding of each other, now that a change, in the direction of “my path” at least, had taken place.

Since we live different states, we navigated the conversation over email for a few weeks until I realized what I wanted to say was so big, layered and tangled I asked if we could suspend our exchange temporarily – I needed go away for awhile, to put my thoughts together. That was the last time we spoke.

On and off over the two years that followed I continued, on my own, to write to her. The end result was 50+ pages worth of letters I never sent. After pounding everything down, then setting it aside to cool, I realized, of course, that I had written it all for myself, in order to arrive at my own understanding of the answer to my friend’s original question: “Why did you decide to leave?”

Sending those letters no longer seemed like it would serve any purpose. But there I sat, staring at a fat stack of pre- and post- SY “memoir”. For a time, (inspired by SeekHer, Marta Szabo and other brave soul bearers, many of whom have contributed to this forum) I considered publishing everything in a blog: “Letters to a Friend Still in Siddha Yoga.”

I mulled the idea over for a few months, then decided a blog would only further the conversation in a direction I probably wasn’t up to managing. Part of my reluctance came from a sense of already feeling depleted – I had already invested so much in SY and I decided, for me personally, blogging about would be one more part of myself I’d be “giving away” vs. healing.

Also, I wasn't exactly eager to subject myself to the potential public character assassination.

Reading through this latest stream resurfaced all the above and I realized: if my friend raised that same question today I wouldn’t need to send her 50 pages worth of letters. Today I can answer her in a sentence:

At this point in my life – as a parent in my mid-40s, on my way into the second decade of the 21st Century – there are few things I find less attractive than being involved in a group led by an individual whose authority can’t be questioned.

Okay, so that’s a long sentence. But the realization I can contain in the width of a half inch what once bled across 50 pages gave me an unexpected, rewarding sense of personal triumph, a feeling I’ve stepped that much closer to the exit.

Being able to wrap my mind around this whole experience in increasingly distilled ways is, if you’ll pardon the expression, “sweet.”

Watching pages turn into paragraphs and paragraphs turn into words makes me hopeful that one day I might just wake up and realize I don't have anything more to say about SY.

Maybe there IS a “light” at the end of this tunnel after all.


And suppose for a moment that two decades ago, when I first met Gurumayi, I’d given myself the challenge of containing in a sentence an answer to “Why do you want to be involved in Siddha Yoga?”

It would be quite something to sit here now and see both of my answers side by side – the beginning and the end, containing everything in between.



Thank you, SeekHer, for creating and taking on something we couldn't.

And thank you to everyone who continues to write, read and seek – I learn from you all.

-Lucid

Anonymous said...

That was beautiful Lucid. Hope you keep writing about whatever. You turn a phrase into knowledge of interior states. Poetic prose. Thank you for all you have contributed here.

That SY memoir you pounded out may have some shelf life. If anything like what you post here, likely a lot worth reading. Share perhaps, as you like. Never know who could benefit. This does seem a space for those who like to write about the inner experience.

Thanks for your many offerings here.

Anonymous said...

Lucid, A blog is not required to have comments. Comments can be turned to off and you are still anonymous. Just a thought. Whatever is your decision, best to you.

Anonymous said...

"there are few things I find less attractive than being involved in a group led by an individual whose authority can’t be questioned."

Lucid,

With you on your summary statement, yet still trying to understand the place of obedience in spiritual life. Clearing out old files found a ton of stuff on Rule of Benedict. Monks are all about obedience to the abbot. In the East too this is true. Christ and Kirshna obey against there own will. Self-will associated with egotistical following your own way despite consequences.

But I feel like you do about leaders who cannot be questioned. Blind faith is over forever. Doubt is my guide now.

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion. For me, it has nothing to do with being guided by doubt...it has to do, after a lifetime of not following the undeniable inner tugs and guidance, I follow now without question or apology. I follow the voice inside me, which astoundingly many in years in Syda helped 'cover.' Now it reigns unimpeded. There are days of more and lesser clarity, but every day I acknowledge its supremacy it grows stronger. Without a false intermediary.

Anonymous said...

10:29

"following the undeniable inner tugs and guidance"

Going to give that a try, even though trusting myself that completely will be very tentative. Such confusion inside sometimes. You provided a context for renewing meditation practice which has been missing. Had no desire to think about coiled snakes, chakras or supposedly sacred feet.

Meditating for clarity. That's simple enough. Many heartfelt thx.

Anonymous said...

“And the message for the Year twoooooooooooo thooouuuuuuusand and eleven is: Blind Faith is Over Forever.”

Now fling those bookstore doors open and let me at that display of pens, post-its, mugs, totes and spiral-bound, Stephen Covey-style journals – I’ll take two of everything!

But seriously folks, thank you to anon (February 18th at 9:34am) for whittling down the answer to my friend’s original question even further:

Why did I leave Siddha Yoga?

Because blind faith is over forever.


Just six words. The count(ing) down continues.

- Lucid

Anonymous said...

Lucid for you

"Many people need desperately to receive this message: 'I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people do not care about them. You are not alone.'"

Kurt Vonnegut

Anonymous said...

We had some worthy companions in those walks around the lake, and down the silent path, and across the table drinking chai in the early morning silence. I think it's lovely to remember that and value it.

**

Been meaning to respond to this early post for a long time but got lost in the vibrant conversations here on other matters. Just wanted to ask how worthy are companions who shun you once you leave the fold? How much do you have in common with someone where the main connection is a obsessive fixation on a false guru? Looking back I see it less like the spiritual companionship the Buddha lauded, and more like teenagers giggling about their mad crush. Did She look at you today? Did she smile?

I remember a couple who got 'worked on' by the 'guru' sending bouquets of flowers to the husband while ignoring the wife. Eventually they divorced from the jealousy of it all. THIS is spiritual companionship?

When the obsession falls away, there's really nothing to bind your souls together.

A couple close friends have remained from that time, but they too have fled the path and so we exult together in our freedom.

Anyone else is long gone and so, in a sense, might have never been what they appeared.

Anonymous said...

@8:51

Have felt the sting of lost friends very acutely. This evening while driving I was letting some of those resentments swell. My destination changed that a bit. This is the message I heard there:

"And if anyone requires you to go one mile, go two miles with him.

Give to anyone who asks you, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.

'You have heard how it was said, You will love your neighbor and hate your enemy.

But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you;

so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on the bad as well as the good, and sends down rain to fall on the upright and the wicked alike.

For if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even the tax collectors do as much?

And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional?"

The frame of mind created by these word I heard this evening are similar to the state of mind created by Seekher's original post. Words that loosen the knot of my resentments.

Peace everybody.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm glad your heart opened! I feel no resentment tho. Just happy to be connecting to people now based on truth and genuine connection, not addiction, that's all.

Ex Editor said...

All of these conclusions remind me of that old adage:

"Walk softly, and carry a big stick."

Which if you think about it, is exactly what Baba actually did... literally!

It is poignant and sad that we actually "built this city" on love and committment, as a sort of ideal world for us all. But it is also sweet that collectively many of us have now gone thru the grieving process, step by step. And when I say "us" I'd like to include the whole army of mostly baby-boomers that ascribed to dodgy gurus - Shri Chimnoy, Rajneesh, Chidanandaa, Hare Krishna each and every one with feet of clay.

The World War II generation was not quite as gullible or stupid but there we go, it happened like it happened. And the young adult generation (my kids) certainly are far more knowing and suspicious.

As Democratic protests unroll across the Middle East it does remind me that SYDA gave its devotees no basic rights whatsoever, beyond the right of free choice. Which we have now made.

Anonymous said...

The World War II generation was not quite as gullible or stupid but there we go, it happened like it happened.

****


I suppose my personality is from the Baby Boomer generation but to be honest I feel pretty damn eternal, not really trapped in identifying with any particular generation. Actually there's a lot of Gen X and Y that I relate to, so who knows? Some of us are awfully flexible; we're kinda like creative magpies that pick and choose what glitters in each generation and adapt.

But what really struck me in your post is I feel neither gullible NOR stupid for all the years (and dollars) I sent to Feet of Clay Enterprises. It took a while but I truly believe now that everything I gave, heart and soul and bank account, I gave with a pure heart straight to the Divine. That was my intention. It was received, whether a small-time spiritual con artist tried to divert the funds or not.

I don't know how the hell this happened but though like so many of us, I temporarily lost my faith when I first left five years ago, it soon enough came back. And when it did, I knew my years of offering to God had been received. GM was pretty superfluous to the whole matter. In any case, Bade Baba have no doubt was the real deal and many of our sincere prayers went to him. He was almost like the uncorruptible clean river in a sewage treatment plant.

For me, it's essential to view it in this way. Thirty years of life was NOT wasted if you can come thru a 'break-up' like this: feel your feelings, have yr whole world collapse and still end up trusting your own inner knowing and goodness and oneness with the Divine.

In an odd way, Syda was more useful to some of us as a fraud than if it had been the real deal. To fully regain faith after completely losing it was clearly a lesson I could not avoid. Perhaps for many of us this is so?

Anonymous said...

Ex Editor

"It is poignant and sad that we actually "built this city" on love and committment,"

I was so into that Utopia and excited that it would be guided by our benevolent(?)Gurumayi. All the while behind the curtain, subterranean activities went on. Now those activities are all that's left.

Thanks for putting the SY disappointment in a larger context. Our Siddha Yoga experience part of an entire generation. Still the time spent on it will always be a deep regret. I can't ascribe to 'I am always in the place I am meant to be' thinking. That's New Age stuff. Seems delusional to me now. Especially that kind of thinking prevents learning lessons and taking responsibility for faulty thinking. Kinda like the 'It's all good' meme.

I burned up so much trying to make a city on the hill for the guru. There is no benefit in that for anyone that I can see. Thanks for the response

'A burden shared is a burden halved' and all that.

Anonymous said...

To Anon,
February 20, 2011 11:17 PM

Thanks for the grace in your response. The 'glad your heart opened' was positive reinforcement that once in while I can get a little closer to the ideal.

Ex Editor said...

I'm on the side who reckon the SY years were never wasted, but being a journalist i always kept an eye open on those other big movements from the East that flowered in the 70s, and it's so interesting that one thing actually sealed the fates of each and every one: the internet.


I remember the first people to really suffer were the Hare Krishnas when all the child abuse allegations spilled into the wider public domain. SY's turn in the spotlight was inevitable.

I don't think a drop of service in its deepest sense of service to the divine (or service to humanity, to goodness/loving kindness) is ever lost at all. Absolutely not. It is what gives us wings as a species. Despite everything, to work for love on this planet is truly a noble endeavour, and we have learned it is invariably a multi-faceted one. Maybe our mistake was to narrow it down to revering a worn out carpet tile.

SY ecstacy was all glorious in some ways, like a trance dance event at 3am in the full moon, and yet the dawn comes up.

But one thing really sticks in my own throat is why GM could not have come clean, why she did not have the courage not just to walk away but hold her hands up and say "well, actually..."

In case anyone wonders if any person exalted to the nth degree ever did such a thing, remember Krishnamurti? Built up by the Theosophists as the Avatar for the New Age etc etc, he stopped the whole she-bang. Now that takes guts.

Anonymous said...

Ex-Editor, that last comment...brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. And the Krishnamurti story, yes, I know that one. And you are so right.

Anonymous said...

It is just so ironic that the major credo of SY is that ‘God dwells within you, as you’. Then it sets up the Guru as the all powerful, all knowing, living embodiment of God on earth and goes on to demand absolute obedience, and grants absolute authority to that living person in order to create a new world in which people will experience God in themselves and ‘see God in each other’. This is the ultimate master’s class in empowerment and dis-empowerment, I think. I am happy to finally be graduating. As I read through this blog it occurs to me that we are all of us writing our thesis on these pages.

The abrupt and ignominious end to SY brought about by the durability of the information posted on the internet, highlighted GM’s complete withdrawal from public life, and underscored by the stilted and legalistic approach taken by the SY Foundation in responding to any and all allegations is proof positive that ‘absolute’ authority no longer works. The world has moved on; citizens are no longer the ‘children’ of a dictator or monarch. The Church can no longer sell indulgences for ‘sins’ real and imagined. Real authority is within each of us…by us, and for us alone. Trusting our own power is difficult and scary, but necessary. Living without blame and trusting others is more difficult and more scary but crucial in this new paradigm.

I am glad I spent 30 years in SY. All good education is both difficult and expensive, and this surely was. I don’t worry about those friends and relatives still in, because I know that they too will eventually realize their own power. Until then they are where they need to be. What is true for them is not necessarily what is true for me, but not less valid. This world is a kaleidoscope of ideas, motives, ideals, facts, images and projections; not a morality play about good and evil.

Anonymous said...

>>"But one thing really sticks in my own throat is why GM could not have come clean, why she did not have the courage not just to walk away but hold her hands up and say "well, actually..."

Dear Ex-Editor,
This is so much the reaction I had when it was all over. I can have compassion for the excesses and confusion and even see how the lying happened. Anybody who gets past the age of 45 and isn't aware of this in his/her own life hasn't looked too carefully.
But it was the not coming clean...not only from gurumayi but from the swamis who left, the ex-ceos and leaders who left, the ex correspondence course personnel. I would have genuine respect for someone who stepped up and said, "I was misguided and confused. I'm sorry for the suffering I may have caused; it was not intentional, just ignorance on my part". That has never happened and, probably, never will. Some of the groups tried to address this but it doesn't work too well with only half of the equation taking part.

s

Anonymous said...

As I read through this blog it occurs to me that we are all of us writing our thesis on these pages.


***

The writing on this particular blog and this particular thread of this blog has been inspiring and eloquent. What theses indeed! I bow to you all in gratitude.

Anonymous said...

This is the ultimate master’s class in empowerment and dis-empowerment, I think. I am happy to finally be graduating. As I read through this blog it occurs to me that we are all of us writing our thesis on these pages.

***
That's the full quote I wanted to highlight. Thank you Anon 1:00 pm! exactly!

Anonymous said...

S,

Back on Feb 7, 10:45 you said:

"If "I" AM That (meaning what IS, what is changeless), the "I" is not this "me" thing (s.)but awareness of Being, a manifestation of what human beings call "God" (that changeless ground of Being). Isn't that the same thing? the same thing we all experience when we stop and go deeply within beneath the noise of the mind?

"And isn't "seeing that 'God' in each other" somehow recognizing that we are ALL that same Beingness that is underneath everything? That is what we ARE on the deepest level not what we "believe" we are..this identity that crumbles when we begin to look closely at it.


"I think, on the egoic level, these two statements appear to be "incompatible" but on the level of the Truth, they are just reflections of each other."

******************
I have been meaning to get back to the above comment. It was sticky in my mind, but I couldn't engage with it very well. Now can also include Anon's comments Feb 21 @1:00pm using the same:

"create a new world in which people will experience God in themselves and ‘see God in each other’. This is the ultimate master’s class in empowerment and dis-empowerment..."

********************
Still ruminating, with not enough clarity to propose where I am today with those indelibly burned into the brain sayings that exist along with "The Guru is the root of all action" and "Only he who obeys can command", but want to say that having this space and excellent minds to open up to is absolutely invaluable.

I am consolidating decades of old files in the physical world so having help doing the same with my spiritual clutter is of great value. No therapist could serve me better than those commenting here.

Especially helpful is the refrain by so many that the time in Siddha Yoga was not wasted. That if in our hearts we believed our thoughts, prayers and longings were directed to the Divine they actually went there. Allowing that idea to sink even just a little is creates a springtime inside, complete with April showers. This is happening for me even while hanging on tight to the Richard Dawkins of the world.

Regards everyone.

Anonymous said...

Especially helpful is the refrain by so many that the time in Siddha Yoga was not wasted. That if in our hearts we believed our thoughts, prayers and longings were directed to the Divine they actually went there. Allowing that idea to sink even just a little is creates a springtime inside, complete with April showers.

***

Oh Anon 2:57

Your comment above brought tears to my eyes. I'm so glad this has helped. Bless you.

(And isn't this hysterical, the Greek chorus of Anons, all of us unable to fully come forward with our names for a host of reasons that in itself speaks volumes of the cult-like nature of our pasts and yet so many filled with clarity, solace,poetry and wisdom)

Anonymous said...

>>"Especially helpful is the refrain by so many that the time in Siddha Yoga was not wasted. That if in our hearts we believed our thoughts, prayers and longings were directed to the Divine they actually went there. Allowing that idea to sink even just a little is creates a springtime inside, complete with April showers. This is happening for me even while hanging on tight to the Richard Dawkins of the world. "<

Dear Anon 2:57,
I've felt the same lifting of alot of sadness I didn't even realize I was still carrying thanks to the recent posts here. Maybe that whole Salon ruckus recreated an atmosphere I had forgotten about or thought I'd understood. Somebody said to me very recently (and it was directed at the "me"..relative s.), "you really need to forgive yourself for the decisions you made that led you towards suffering and away from joy". Maybe that forgiveness can extend outwards to those people I was just mentioning in an earlier post.I don't think any of us thought we were moving "towards suffering and away from joy" even people who appeared to have a great deal of power in the syda hierarchy. At this time in my life, I see "joy" as something much deeper than personal happiness. It feels like what begins to arise when we really start to find that Truth in ourselves and each other.
thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to this thread and thanks to whoever sent in that great Vonnegut quote.Especially, thanks to SeekHer for this forum.

s.

Anonymous said...

The 14th century German Christian mystic said:
"I pray to God to rid me of 'God.'"
I think we all know what he was talking about.

D

Ex Editor said...

Yes, this is a kind of bizarre "Debate of The Anons" and at least we can laugh about it all, really. It's like having a dinner party in total darkness, you never know what is going to be served next...but the company is delightful.

Someone talked in an earlier comment about how the SY friendships proved illusory, but i'd just say that there is a huge difference between what you could call "comradeship" and friendship. Comradeship can in many ways be just as fulfilling, when a group works together closely for some common purpose. And as long as it is clearly understood that this friendship is linked to the purpose, then the links can be deep. But NOT enduring.

I lost a whole community of what i thought were friends when i walked gently awaty from SY about a year or two before GM did. It was a shock at first, but comrades are comrades, friends are friends. THat's the way I understand it, anyways.

Anonymous said...

Others have mentioned a kind of emotional lightening and release going on from writing and reading this thread. I find it healing since this open-hearted, honest sharing takes me far quite fast. Memories have also been unexpectedly surfacing I'd forgotten and I'd like to tell this one and just let it go.

I did a lot of seva in the 'Hall' and from time to time we'd be visited by the secretaries and darshan girls close to the 'Power.' Oy. I remember this particular one, I used to call her the Ice Queen, was her name Aira? Can't remember, but cold, European, conventionally pretty, mean as a snake.

Back in the day I was desperate to please these emissaries from the throne as I cared so deeply that GM would receive a good 'report'. The Ice Queen spent a whole morning jerking me around to do and redo and redo a particular project (some petty thing I barely remember like the exact location of a table clock) in the Hall, as I jumped like a frenetic bunny to do her bidding. Suddenly I looked over and realized she was laughing hysterically with another secretary at my eagerness. She was falling over laughing.

Looking back now I can only feel compassion for that former 'me'. I got to exactly replay a childhood of pleasing an abusive father over and over within Syda. And, oddly, once I learned to finally love and take care of that child myself, I walked straight out the goddam door.

Anonymous said...

>> Suddenly I looked over and realized she was laughing hysterically with another secretary at my eagerness. She was falling over laughing"<<<

Dear Anon,
I wonder how many of us have stories like this one? And there we all were, separated from one another and any kind of real caring and compassion for one another by our common fear of being the odd one out, being "out of alignment with the shakti".
I'm glad you made it through. Sometimes I wonder about people I knew like the woman you describe. Were they all really just as terrified as I was? or was siddha yoga a golden opportunity for them in ways I can hardly imagine.
It's best not to have to do that kind of work on yourself...looking at why you actually found amusement in the suffering of others. It must take alot of effort never to allow the realization to begin to glimmer over in the corner of your mind.

best to you,
s

Anonymous said...

"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth." Oscar Wilde

Hello Anons and Nons,

Have given this issue some thought and the above quote fits where my mind went with it. Loved ex editor's description of a dinner party in the dark, hilarious. I want to be invited.

I have felt that perhaps I should identify myself, but then I find that discussion stays closer to the points raised in the post when the comment is anonymous. There is less of a halo effect of previous concepts about the writer of the comment. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I also appreciate being able to track the thinking of S, Lucid, OBW et al. (and Seekher too if he ever re-emerges, hint hint.)

Some recent research supports my preference to stay anonymous and who doesn't like to have that once in a while. Not to say that if the assembled readers here really wanted everyone to have a label, I would comply. Then again there those who still want the cover.

From the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

"The closeness-communication bias: Increased egocentrism among friends
versus strangers"

by researchers at Williams College,The University of Chicago,
and Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Abstract: People commonly believe that they communicate better with close friends than with strangers. We propose, however, that closeness can lead people to overestimate how well they communicate, a phenomenon we term the closeness-communication bias. In one experiment,participants who followed direction of a friend were more likely to make egocentric errors—look at and reach for an object only they could see—than were those who followed direction of a stranger. In two additional experiments, participants who attempted to convey particular meanings with ambiguous phrases overestimated their success more when communicating with a friend or spouse than with strangers. We argue that people engage in active monitoring of strangers’ divergent perspectives because they know they must, but that they “let down their guard” and rely more on their own perspective when they communicate with a friend.

****************************

On one hand as former devotees we share a certain ecosystem that deepens the communication here, yet the same connection may short circuit some parts of the message too.

Thanks to all for a very meaningful discussion.

Anonymous said...

"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth." Oscar Wilde

Hmm,
well, as much as I might enjoy reading Oscar Wilde, he is not exactly a shining example of speaking deep truths and this particular quote seems really off the mark to me, unless he is talking about the tradition of theatrical masks. What truth are we talking about? some egoic individual perception of the way things are? What is "talking in your own person" except talking from behind a mask? the ego is nothing but a mask. Until we begin to see through both the person and the mask, truth is something we are just speculating about.

" Some recent research supports my preference to stay anonymous those who still want the cover.

I think everyone is anonymous here. We may think we "know" someone because of some opinions they have expressed. We may think we "get" their perspective but, really, none of us "know" each other. This is a very abstract form of communication...minds (in various stages) communicating with each other. Any idea we have formed of one another is about us, not any kind of real knowing.

"monitoring of strangers’ divergent perspectives because they know they must, but that they “let down their guard” and rely more on their own perspective when they communicate with a friend."

And...? so it's somehow more realistic to be paranoid? why must they monitor strangers perspectives? this is the root cause of separation...paranoia.

"On one hand as former devotees we share a certain ecosystem that deepens the communication here, yet the same connection may short circuit some parts of the message too."

We are all kind of talking to ourselves through each other, don't you think? Clarity can occur through the very human experience of hearing someone else's unmasked truth as they understand it.Or it can help just to know other human beings are thinking of these things... just like the Vonnegut quote. It feels to me like "truth" arises as veils are lifted or peeled away. It's always there but we aren't. If we can help each other (even if we seem dopey to each other sometimes), that's a very good thing.

s.

Anonymous said...

"We are all kind of talking to ourselves through each other, don't you think?"

Thank you, s. Hadn't thought of it this way before but for me that's it exactly.

- Lucid.

Anonymous said...

"We are all kind of talking to ourselves through each other, don't you think?"

s,

Not certain, but somewhere along the way I picked up that you may be from New England, home of the trancendalists. The above certainly is something Emerson or Thoreau even Whitman might say.

Your entire comment was professorial, and I mean that in a good way. You challenge what is said and lead thoughts forward. Thanks for sharing your very good mind. Many things you've said in this getting to be quite long thread I would like to get back to, especially your knowledge of Eastern paths, which I kinda sorta studied, but so much of it came through Americans and the knowledge seems gummed up goobered up, not authentic. Appreciate the effort you have made to get back to original sources.

Anonymous said...

"Your entire comment was professorial, and I mean that in a good way. You challenge what is said and lead thoughts forward. Thanks for sharing your very good mind. Many things you've said in this getting to be quite long thread I would like to get back to, especially your knowledge of Eastern paths,"

thanks...but I have to say this: my mind is so very very very limited when it comes to deeper knowing. It really is.It becomes a useless tool. A mind can be very smart and incredibly clueless at the same time. I love books and learning in an almost visceral way (and always have) but the knowledge you get from books really is second hand, just like they say. What is direct knowing? Nothing much to do with what the mind thinks.
Anything I know about Eastern paths has come at great personal expense...the real part of it anyway. The mind.....wow, what an incredible puzzle: hard to live without one but not the most reliable thing in the world (smile). Just yesterday, I was contemplating: what IS the "natural spontaneous state" of my mind? not the defensive, combative state, egoic state. It's an interesting thing to ask...when is my mind actually functioning in a way that is helpful and clear?

thank you for your response. I'd be interested to know how others feel here about "the mind"...??

s.

Anonymous said...

"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth." Oscar Wilde

actually, tho I often agree with s.'s opinions on many topics, i didn't on this lovely Oscar Wilde quote. Thought it succinctly hit the nail on the head and didn't need to be overthought or overanalyzed. It was simply about the comedy of so many of us operating behind 'anonymous' in order to write our true experiences within the cult. Why over-interpret the meaning of the quote into more than that? Replete with theatrical masks, no less, lol.

But perhaps a good example of how the mind, however bright, useful and smart, can make a straightforward event much more insidious and convoluted than needed...I'm sure from time to time we all have done this. In fact most higher education teaches and rewards people to do exactly this!

Just a thought about future of this blog said...

Hello Seekher,

Creating a useful and compelling blog for several years is no small feat. Your effort is very appreciated by many. To keep it going, perhaps this blog can become more of a team effort.

There seems to be a dedicated number of regular commentors on the posts you make. Those posts often bring up other engaging ideas.

Wonder if you would consider allowing others to team with you to write original blog posts? I think of other quality sites where this is common.

My reasoning is that this site provides something that just cannot be found anywhere else. Ready made niche. Site Meter stats might be helpful in analyzing all this. It seems many read, but never post.

To do this would just be a matter of changing the settings to include additional authors.

I am sure this will sound like blasphemy to some, but if you decided to include a Google Ad Sense to compensate for time spent on ROD, would not mind a bit.

There is nothing on the interwebs quite like what is found here.

Anonymous said...

>>"But perhaps a good example of how the mind, however bright, useful and smart, can make a straightforward event much more insidious and convoluted than needed...I'm sure from time to time we all have done this. In fact most higher education teaches and rewards people to do exactly this!"<<

Ugh! yup! sigh..exactly what I was talking about regarding the mind. Hopefully not "insidious" but definitely "convoluted"...sigh. Grrrrr.

s

Annie B said...

This is my first visit here. Like all of you, I'm also a person who practiced Syda Yoga for an extended time. Very interesting to read these comments.

First thing that really stands out to me: There are 186 comments on this post and of those only two are posting with their real names. Of those two, one was someone who posted her own name accidentally and wants it removed. I have to say, there's something dissonant for me about reading long "self-revealing" statements from people who refuse to identify themselves. It makes me not want to read. Why should I, if you don't even dare to stand behind your words?

That said, the discussion is interesting and I've felt many of the same things others have expressed as I've dealt with the apparent demise of Siddha Yoga. (I say "apparent" because as far as I know it's never been announced as such.)

What I feel now is this. I feel fortunate that this isn't the first time I've lost my religion. As a gay person who was metaphorically if not literally excommunicated from my childhood religion, and as someone who tried and abandoned more than several other spiritual paths and technologies, I entered Siddha Yoga with a strong intention to only participate as deeply as felt right and comfortable to me, which for me meant that I kept my involvement mostly at the local level. If I hadn't had those prior experiences of losing my faith I might not have been so circumspect and would probably be more upset today, so I'm grateful for that.

The other thing I'm ever grateful for is that Siddha Yoga introduced me to ancient teachings and texts that I can't imagine how I would have otherwise found: the texts of Kashmir by Abhinavagupta, Utpaladeva and Kshemaraja. I still study these texts, here in my modest American ranch house, and I love them. So thank you to Gurumayi, whoever and wherever you are, for that introduction.

Sometimes I feel angry, but only when I want something that I think SY used to give me. Most days it's clear that it is Life Herself who is my teacher, and she never leaves me.

Blessings to you all. See you in the great hall of the world, in the grocery line waiting for the darshan of the cashier or in the cafe on Main Street sipping some chai. Let's wink at each other. Let's celebrate the common.

Anonymous said...

>>" I have to say, there's something dissonant for me about reading long "self-revealing" statements from people who refuse to identify themselves. It makes me not want to read. Why should I, if you don't even dare to stand behind your words?"<<

I really don't understand this.I don't think people have "refused to identify themselves" or not "dared to stand behind their words"? Where did that come from?

I'm not sure if you are aware of the cyber-stalking and actual stalking that has gone on as the result of people leaving siddha yoga? Be that as it may, some people feel comfortable posting their photograph, their personal information and links to their artwork on-line and some people do not. You have to remember, alot of folks were "with Baba", meaning they are from the pre-Facebook generation so personal identity may have a different sort of meaning to them.
The other thing that troubles me..to insult people's integrity and then offer them "blessings"...this is the kind of thing that feels "dissonant" to me...nothing personal.

s.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, there's something dissonant for me about reading long "self-revealing" statements from people who refuse to identify themselves. It makes me not want to read. Why should I, if you don't even dare to stand behind your words?


****

Hi Annie...welcome and brava for not only posting your name (no last name too? lol) and even your picture! I liked your post but have to say I've dropped any judgement about why some of us might have extremely good reasons for needing to still be anonymous. I would think if you such a vigorous, dedicated student of Abhinavagupta (and the whole lot of kashmir shaivites) a little more heart and lot less judgement could be quite vivifying. That was part of the problem in syda, as you might well agree...such a focus on teachings that really didn't get lived out much on a practical level.

As for me, I don't post caring whether I am read by someone who rejects my authenticity for being anonymous. Anyone who needs what I have to offer here will be guided to read it. Anyone else doesn't matter. And as someone else wrote in a wonderful post, really we're all just talking to ourselves anyway, lol. From the nondualist perspective no one is out there anyway.

Having said that I can assure you when the time is right I'll be out with my full identity. That's probably true of many of us, and has more to do with the cult-like grasp syda had on many of us. Family members, work connections, all sorts of stuff. Not all of us were so 'lucky' as you to stay on the minimal local level. Some of us had deep, intricate and very public involvements and cannot be fully out yet. I'm sure you can understand this as a lesbian. It's a little like judging someone for not being fully out of the closet. I trust people's processes unless they're actively hurting others.

But if you should choose to not read me (as part of the entertaining array of anon's here) absolutely fine! I trust the shakti. Whoever needs to read and benefit from this thread and this beautiful blog in general, will find it.

Already many have been helped, including a most deeply grateful 'me'.

Anonymous said...

wow, s. you said it all. Everything I didn't have a chance to type into my letter to Annie you managed to cover. So convenient to not have rely on my own mind and know that one of the others will just cover it. Honestly. It's like one big mind here sometimes!

Names? That's icing on the cake, lol. The general honesty and shakti of this thread has been blowing me away for some time now.

Anonymous said...

s, one more thing. do you realize we posted within two min of each other, essentially typing our responses at the same time? I certainly hadn't read yours when I wrote mine, lol

Annie B said...

Sorry for my comment linking "authenticity" with "anonymity." I should know better than to walk into a forum I've never been to before and critique it. I apologize. I was just kind of wierded out by all the Anons, and I felt strange posting publicly. But that's what I do - I post publicly. Annie Bissett. Northampton Massachusetts. Practiced Siddha Yoga for around 15 years. Never a famous yogi, and probably not even a very good one.

I do offer my blessings to you all. The experience we share is unique and there are not many people I can speak to about it easily.

best,
Annie

Anonymous said...

Hey Annie, at least on my end apology most accepted and hope you don't go running away. You would be our only member with a real name and picture. What a boon...hope my endless, irreversible sense of irony isn't offending...because I do mean this, and you are right, not many people out there who haven't been in the 'fold' could understand.

But I also have to say you really gave me a nostalgic, if bemused smile today. Something about how you thanked GM for introducing you to these spiritual books that you read with such enthusiasm at the same time that you were chastising us! It was such a memory of the exact mix I remembered from my ashram days, a kind of spiritual boasting laced with superiority and judgement. I have a true sense that you're a nicer person than that from your follow-up post but wow, did you ever bring that sense back.

So thanks, I guess!

Anonymous said...

>>"I apologize. I was just kind of wierded out by all the Anons, and I felt strange posting publicly. But that's what I do - I post publicly. Annie Bissett. Northampton Massachusetts. Practiced Siddha Yoga for around 15 years. Never a famous yogi, and probably not even a very good one.

I do offer my blessings to you all. The experience we share is unique and there are not many people I can speak to about it easily"<<

Thank you, Annie,
very gracious. most of us have a hard time keeping track of the multitude of Anons. As the Anon before me said, we're all one big Anonymous mind, hoping to gain insight from one another.
s.

Anonymous said...

Annie,

Another thing I'd like to ask you to consider regarding why some folks prefer to remain anonymoous: Some of us are living in "divided families". In other words, where one or more is still involved with Siddha Yoga and one or more is not.

Retaining anonymity is a useful way for those of us who would like to share such discussion with others who have left, without causing undue strain in our family relationships. You might wonder what kind of family relationships are weak enough to require this, but when children are involved, maintaining family harmony to the extent possible where the ex-SY spouse and the in-SY spouse can continue to manage and steer an otherwise good marriage AROUND Siddha Yoga issues for the benefit of the kids, can be very important.

"Coming out" would certainly create disruption that we just don't need right now given factors caused by the economy. Remaining veiled enables me to share my thoughts and evaluate the thoughts of others who are in similar stages of the "disenchantment process".

I hope this helps explain one other perspective that you may not have initially considered.

Anonymous said...

I do feel like running away frankly, but I also feel drawn in because of the content of this blog. Thank you both (all?) for accepting my apology. And thanks Anon 4:09 for describing the "divided family" situation that can necessitate anonymity. I can relate to that. In my own family our rates of disenchantment have not always matched, although happily we tend in the same direction.

If I do end up staying around, one thing you should know about me is that I'm hopelessly earnest and I often don't pick up on irony.

I hear you, Anon 3:36, about the SY spiritual superiority thing. But you know, just because I like to read Kshemaraja doesn't mean that I can live it. Heck, I probably don't even understand it! But in retrospect, I like to give us all the benefit of the doubt. The thing we were all longing for, or at least the thing I was longing for, was an experience of pure and perfect Being-ness, and that may not be humanly possible. Aren't you holding that shiny unattainable image up to me even now when you point out my imperfection - that I read Kashmiri texts and still judge you? That's me, a big unholy ball of human contradictions. That's what I'm trying to learn to live with here.

I like to fit in, so I'm posting anonymously :)

Annie

Anonymous said...

that's very funny Anon-Annie! No, not holding you to any shiny standard, those stopped many years ago. As someone who really loves studying nondualism I now just consider all those ideas of Disney-fied perfection to be so many spiritual fantansies that had nothing to do with much of anything. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Nisargadatta Maharaj, a favorite nondualist writer, never felt that chasing little blue men in meditation was needed to awaken!

I do remember with much amusement people boasting stuff like "I can recite the Rudram backwards while standing on my head in Amrit" as they treated the person next to them like garbage. So very glad you understand..

And glad you stuck around, at least for now, long enough to respond!

Anonymous said...

>>" "I can recite the Rudram backwards while standing on my head in Amrit" as they treated the person next to them like garbage"<<

I laughed at this remembering the "Rudram contests" around this time of year at the Hindu temple I used to go to post-syda. The men would elbow each other out of the way to be in the front row...and the Brahmins chanted as fast as humanly possible so as to throw the non-Brahmin chanters off rhythm (not supposed to chant it if you aren't a Brahmin, don't you know).Sometimes you could see these two high-caste brothers give each other an eye signal and suddenly they would both start chanting as fast as possible. It was a matter of pride to keep up. One of the best chanters was a notorious wife-beater..but, boy, could he chant the Rudram! ah life! aren't we all too funny? But, hey, as clueless as we can be, we can also each experience that pure and perfect "Beingness" right now in this very moment, no divine intervention necessary. If we couldn't experience it, we'd be "dead". All we need to do is take our heads out of our butts and just keep on doing it until we don't have to anymore...errr, speaking personally here.. but anoymously..lol! The best "siddhi"? A sense of humor about oneself.
s.

Anonymous said...

yes, that's the one and only siddhi i seem to have been born with, the nonstop ability to laugh forever and ever at myself. so very grateful for that one tho i have to admit it's a little hard for me to be around people for too long who can't do the same.

Anonymous said...

Hello again. Lucid here. Forgive me for being a bit slow on the uptake. I’ve been following along but am just now returning to some of the gems recently strung across this thread. A few in particular caught my eye:

“How much do you have in common with someone where the main connection is an obsessive fixation on a false guru?”

“I truly believe now that everything I gave, heart and soul and bank account, I gave with a pure heart straight to the Divine. That was my intention. It was received, whether a small-time spiritual con artist tried to divert the funds or not.”

“In an odd way, Syda was more useful to some of us as a fraud than if it had been the real deal.”

“. . . the time spent on it will always be a deep regret. I can't ascribe to 'I am always in the place I am meant to be' thinking. That's New Age stuff. Seems delusional to me now. Especially when that kind of thinking prevents learning lessons and taking responsibility for faulty thinking. Kinda like the 'It's all good' meme.”

“Once I learned to finally love and take care of that child myself, I walked straight out the goddam door.”

“. . . being a journalist I always kept an eye open on those other big movements from the East that flowered in the 70s, and it's so interesting that one thing actually sealed the fates of each and every one: the internet.”

With regard to the last comment, I’ve often wondered if in the early aughties the powers at SY knew the death of privacy – iPhones, social networking, etc. – loomed along the horizon in clouds about to burst. SY was notoriously shameless about its extravagant use of state-of-the-art technology, and Silicon Valley was a major devotee hub; certainly they would have been on the list of those with an advance, inside scoop such things. Sure, privacy was on life support prior to 2004 but it’s buried six feet under now. How many of us can scroll back 6 years ago and say we had any idea where things were headed?

I lean in and present the above conjecture with a wink, of course, but the timing of the org's retreat just prior to the onset of hand-held everything is not lost on me, even if it is merely ironic. Try for a moment to imagine SY as it was run in its heyday – transplanted to 2011, or ‘10, or ‘09 or… What would they do? Ask us to check our iPhones, along with our shoes, at the door? Send us through body scans? The logistics of managing such a show of shows now would be a nightmare. Not even a nightmare, just impossible period.

An organization built on controlling information can’t exist in an age where everyone has access. An organization which only exists as long as the secrecy at its core remains shielded can’t survive in an age where there is no longer a way to ensure it.

Regardless of how the timing was or was not connected it does stick out – the most public aspects of the org's operations closing up shop just prior to the social networking explosion and all the personal gadgetry that came with it. In a way it's surprising tech-savvy SY didn’t stick around to take advantage. “Follow Gurumayi on twitter” is about as catchy and brand-appropriate as it gets!

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