Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lucid Memories, Chapter One, 3

As I wait in line a tanned, wispy-haired woman wearing a guaze skirt, chunky turquoise bracelets, silver Roman sandals and a nametag that says “Urvashi Cohen" dances up and down the line, trying to tempt us away to the temporary dining hall across the street. "There's plenty of time!" she assures. "You can come back for Darshan after dinner!" No one budges.

Five minutes later she twirls past us again, this time literally singing this evening’s dinner specials. Unlike the pinched-faced volunteers who scurried me out of the lobby and into the outside darshan line two hours ago, this woman seems to be genuinely enjoying her assignment. She stops near me and describes each dish on the evening's menu in mouth-watering detail, as if any attempt on our part to choose just one of these delectable items will prove to be exquisite agony. She’s a character. I like her, and everyone within earshot is engaged by her ardent effort – but not a chance. No way am I losing my spot. Undeterred, she pirouettes away and tries her luck again, further down the line.

At last we are moving, but as the line inches off the sidewalk and back into the lobby, my mind drifts, out of the theater and back to the dream I had about Gurumayi last October – the night after I broke up with Jack . . .

I’m at my mom’s house in Colorado. A group of her friends from the local Siddha Yoga center have gathered for an occasion that feels ceremonious. Since I’m not a member of the center I'm not sure why I’m there, or what’s going to happen next. I notice, however, that I’m the only one in the room dressed in what looks like a more formal version of white cotton pajamas.

Everyone assembles quietly into a seated circle then begins passing around an old, heavy, atlas-sized book. I can't see the cover but it looks like an ancient text of some sort. The book makes a full circle and gets handed to me last, open to a page containing an elaborate diagram illustrating the back of a human head. Looking closely, I notice that traced over the back of the head are the precise outlines of the bare soles of two feet. I’m intrigued. I’ve never seen an image like this before. I have no idea what to make of it.

As I study the image, everyone begins speaking in hushed exchanges. Clearly they consider the image to be powerful, symbolic. When I close the book and look up, Gurumayi is standing directly in front of me. The room falls silent. As if it’s an involuntarily automatic response, I immediately lay my entire body flat, face down on the carpet, and place my head at her bare feet, pranaming before her. Then, lifting her feet one at a time off of the carpet, Gurumayi steps delicately up onto the back of my head, and balances there in place, almost weightless. I can feel the bare soles of her feet pressing lightly against the back of my scalp. I’m alternately watching all this happen from a vantage point somewhere high above my body, and experiencing it internally with my eyes closed.

After holding her motionless position for a moment, her feet slowly lift off the back of my head and she levitates up into the air and hovers over me, the bare soles of her feet floating a just inches above my head. Turning slowly in midair, she steps down onto my back, kneels between my shoulder blades and begins to manipulate and contort each of my limbs through a series of humanly impossible, though somehow painless, complex and specific yoga postures. Once she completes this intricate, ritualistic procedure, she remains seated on my back, kneeling in silence.

After a pause she starts to speak. The deep vibrations of her voice coat me in a protective balm.

“I’m going to tell you some things," she says, her voice calm and almost monotone, "And I want you to repeat each of these things back to me, so that I know you've heard them.”

She then gives me specific instructions about my breathing, followed by a description of the true purpose of the silver japa ring I wear on my wedding finger – a gift from my mom purchased years ago at the original ashram in India, one of the few possessions I treasure but have never used for actual mantra repetition.

I repeat everything Gurumayi tells me back to her, word for word, step by step.

Then her voice drops down into a final instruction. “I have no importance here,” she says.

Repeating her words, I reply: “I have no importance here.”

At that moment the dream ended and my eyes split open – as if I’d been grabbed by the throat and yanked awake. I kicked off my sheets and ran down the hall to wake up Melissa. I was bursting to tell her what had just happened. I had no idea what to make of it. We fixed coffee and took our conversation back to my room.

As we sat crossed-legged on my bed talking, Melissa confided something she’d been holding onto for years. Leaning in and smoothing a stray strand of hair away from my forehead she said, “Michael, I have to tell you something. I always regretted not going back to the ashram that second night with you and your mom. Something happened to you that night, and since then I’ve felt like Gurumayi has always been with you.”

The look in her eyes turned more serious.

“I think for you to have this dream about Gurumayi, right now, while you’re going through all this with Jack . . . I just know it must mean something. Something important.”

My mind drifts away from Melissa’s words, and back to where I’m standing inside The Paramount, in the darshan line that’s finally made it's way deep into the inner lobby. In front of me now is the temporary bookstore they’ve set up for the program. My gaze meanders across the sprawling display of assorted tapes, videos, jewelry, and incense featured along on the various tables – then slams to a stop when my eyes fall on a picture depicting the bare soles of the Guru’s feet.

My breath leaves my body.

I can’t believe what I’m seeing. It’s as if someone has lifted the image directly out of the dream I had last October, placed it inside this photograph and strategically displayed it in this exact spot, at this precise moment, just to catch my attention.

Immediately I turn to the older, seasoned-looking devotee I've been standing next to in line for two hours and barge into her reverie, hoping she can help. “Excuse me," I ask, pointing toward the photograph, "Can you tell me why there is a picture of Gurumayi’s bare feet? Is there some significance?”

“Oh, yes!” she bursts, not skipping a beat, as if thrilled I’m soliciting her expertise on this particular matter. “They are very significant!" Suddenly self-conscious, she lowers her voice, draws me in and shares in a near whisper, "It is said that all of the guru’s power travels through the soles their feet.”

I’ve passed through the looking glass again . . .

I can barely focus as she continues and politely points out because obviously I’m new at this, that the picture I’m referring to is actually of Baba Muktanada's feet, not Gurumayi’s.

Suddenly, something amusing occurs to her and turning to her also seasoned-looking female comrade she ponders aloud, “Are there any pictures of Gurumayi’s feet?” At this musing the two of them erupt in giddy giggles. Apparently posing such a question, while standing moments away from bowing down before the real thing, strikes them as laughably superfluous.

30 minutes later, on stage inside the theater, just a few feet from her chair, Gurumayi’s eyes lock with mine and never break away. Her eyes penetrate me, as if in this moment she sees everything I’ve put myself through in the four years since I saw her last, as if she sees that inside I've died a brutal emotional death. She holds me suspended in her gaze with the deep concern of a parent who has been away from their child far too long. Her eyes implore one clear, direct question: “What has happened to you?”

People are bowing down six heads across; several attendants are perched at Gurumayi’s side – making introductions, taking notes, whispering messages, distributing gifts, and removing the baskets that continue to fill with offerings of flowers, coconuts, cards and money. All the while a small group of musicians play a soft lullaby version of the mantra just a few feet away. There is a lot going on up here, but Gurumayi’s gaze never leaves me. As I take her gaze in to the deepest part of me and see all the activity happening around and between us I think, It can’t be possible, she can’t be focusing on just me, I must be hallucinating.

I'm motioned to move closer in the line by an attendant and Gurumayi then directs me with her peacock feathers to step around the group that's already bowing down and come kneel close beside her, near the edge of her chair, as if she were going to tuck me up under her shawl. I kneel at the base of her chair, place my forehead to the carpeted floor of the stage, and then – Tap! Tap! Tap! – three jolts of static electricity shoot out the ends of her peacock feathers and zip through me like a current. I hear a something crackle and a sharp spasm rockets through my chest.

Backing up and away from her chair, I’m trembling. I feel naked, exposed, too aware of myself, and the crowd. I want to get off this stage and escape to someplace safe and private as quickly as possible.

I bolt up the aisle, exit the theater and catch the first BART train home.

As my train pulls away from Oakland and disappears back inside the tunnel, I sit in my seat unable to move. I’m traveling in some other zone.

Everything is so different, again.


Anonymous said...

I think many, if not most of us, have guru dream stories of seemingly deep significance similar to this.

Perhaps I'll share several of mine, when the time is right, which right now, it clearly (for me) is not.

This has always been the conundrum of Siddha Yoga for me. For an activity that, in retrospect, was clearly a "cult" in terms of the treatment of people by the leadership and the behavior amongst many of the devotees and ashramites of each other, there were still some seemingly deep spiritual experiences whose timing and meaning were "right on target" in terms of being significant.

How does someone who's never been exposed to the idea of the "power of the guru's feet" have a dream about it before you're ever even consciously exposed to it? Was it really a "subtle communication from the inner Guru" or was it our own latent inner prescience at work? I myself had recurring dreams of riding up to S. Fallsburg to meet Baba with a couple in a car in the mountains, for years as a child and teenager before it ever happened. And then, on autumn day in 1981, I'm riding in the back seat of the car of my then-hatha yoga teacher and her then-husband, with my legs outstretched across the back seat, looking out over the mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania on Interstate Highway 81. And suddenly the image I'm taking in while riding, and the image of the recurring dream, collide and fuse into one, and I realize I'm having a serious Siddha Yoga-driven deja vu moment.

I have several other stories like this, where the actual "guru" (meaning Muk, Nit Jr, and GM) discussed significant things with me in dreams...but will hold them for now.

Was the guru reaching out to me before I ever physically even knew of him at all? Or was it my own inner latent prescience at work?

I suppose I'll never know.

With the intensity of my own shaktipat-by-touch experience with Muktananda, and the years-later "energetic" after-effects of it, in addition to those dreams, I can say that I, like Lucid, had experiences like this. I'm sure many of us, if not most of us, have similar stories.

And it's just one of those deep, deep mysteries that leave me wondering if SY was truly 100% TOTALLY negative, or was there also some positive value it had in my life?

What a conundrum.

Anon 11:11

Anonymous said...

>>"And it's just one of those deep, deep mysteries that leave me wondering if SY was truly 100% TOTALLY negative, or was there also some positive value it had in my life?"<<

Dear Anon. 11:11,
I don't think anything is 100% negative. And life is deeply mysterious. Syda had a really positive value in my life...as a fairly "benign" way to learn never to give myself over to someone in that way and to trust that little nagging voice that says, "this is not right".
Almost every tradition I have been involved with seems to generate "experiences"...dream visits and initiations, meetings with people long before you meet them in real life, teachings received in languages you don't speak, etc . It's like there is a "channel" out there that is on your mental dial and you "click into it" under certain circumstances.Then this flood erupts.

these things appear to exist as much as other ephemeral states. But then there is the work of contemplating what real significance they have in our lives. I don't dismiss these things as any more "unreal" than other mind states.To me, denying that they exist gives them as much power as believing they are highly significant. But that's just how it seems to me at this point in my life.
I wonder if others out there have had intense "experiences" and teaching dreams in traditions other than syda? I think it helps to realize just how common an occurance it is on spiritual paths.the big difference seems to be in how these experiences are viewed.


Anonymous said...

Hi and that channel or dial might be the collective unconscious!?

Anonymous said...

Hi Lucid....
All I can say is WOW....Such an incredible experience and courage to put it on the web for others to read. I have had similar experiences and can feel with you almost like I was there with you going thru all that.. I am thoroughly enjoying your story.
Thank You

Anonymous said...

Hi to OS
In response to your question to others out there of which I am one of, yes, I have had some very deep dreams/experiences during a time that I had my footing in no spiritual tradition, my mother had died and I had lost all my faith and trust in any spiritual path/God.... I was in a deep dark black hole and depression and thru my kids pediatrician stumbled on to a wonderful family therapist who happened to be buddhist and an artist ... he helped me on my slow long crawl out of that hole to where I am now.....

SeekHer said...

Lucid's latest entry falls into two neat halves: his dream of Gurumayi and his darshan. Both are fraught, even overloaded, with significance for me. I won't touch darshan for now; I feel if I plug into that current my circuit might trip at the moment. Dreams are simpler, less charged and yet, absent the outer drama, even more telling about our inner state. I had many of G. Most often she would stalk my nights like an apparition; that is, even in the dream state everything else was suspended and there existed only a nimbus populated solely by her and by me. I can remember one, or several, or many dreams in which she spoke to me in a softly droning voice. Her speech was uninflected with emotion and yet charged with vital, even critical importance. I understood that the literal meaning of what she was telling me was of no importance; it was her underlying intent that I was meant to absorb at the core of my being. Like a broad and seemingly slow moving river which is swiftly and silently cutting deep channels in the earth, the real import of what she was saying escaped my surface mind and sank ever deeper, into the fathomless depths of my unconscious. When I woke I remembered that she had spoken to me, but I could never recall even one of her words. I was only left with an insistently lingering image--her words were like cool water disappearing into hot desert sands, nurturing hidden and long-dessicated roots.

That's the metaphor these dreams invariably left me with, like a reassuring parting gift. Now I have to wonder. What was it Gurumayi was whispering to the deepest levels of my consciousness, and why was it so important to her that "I" not remember a thing?

Anonymous said...

I just remembered another thing, while in therapy with my buddhist therapist, I was having a barrage of teaching dreams and in the dreams I was in a classroom many times and the teacher was always my therapist and I was always sitting in the front row wanting to be so close... to imbibe the lessons. He had me keeping a journal which I keep to this day off and on and I wrote the age old saying of when the student is ready the teacher will come....we have many teachers in our life.. and some are so profound when we can see it.

Anonymous said...

GM came into my dream state, however, not very often. Once many years before we met at SMA. Sometimes I feel that is an invasion of space. I'm saying this a bit tongue in cheek but when I had surgery oxycodone pain pills gave me some wild psychic dreams that are still unfolding. The guru had nothing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Dreamed of Subash, Malti's brother, we were sitting around a boardroom table, he came in wearing all white with a gold wrestling belt to tell us Baba had taken samadhi. It was exactly one month before murky ananda died. I never told anyone about the dream. I thought 'what kind of disciple dreams the guru dies?' it was just one of many experiences that seem to add up to saying I was dealing with supra normal activity. But like our wise oldsters here have said, these types of things are normal at the edge of conciousness such as a dream state is. Sorry auto correct changed Baba's name, but I like it. Murkyananda!

Typo How similar our inner experiences. Enjoying the stories.

Anonymous said...

A gold wrestling belt.
Preparing even then to wrestle with his big sis for control of the org?

Anonymous said...

My friend dreamed that GM told him ""Tell xxx (my name) is Leaving Siddha Yoga". I tried interpreting that dream for a few years while having no idea that the LSY website existed.

Anonymous said...

>>" I'm saying this a bit tongue in cheek but when I had surgery oxycodone pain pills gave me some wild psychic dreams that are still unfolding. The guru had nothing to do with it",,

Dear Anon,
that's funny...and true. I was once on morphine for an extended period prior to surgery. I had wild dreams and visionary experiences that continued from sleep state, through the liminal state between dreaming and waking and right into the so-called waking state. There was a sense that the boundaries between the states were eraced. It was very strange. I've had a number of "experiences" where "something" is consciously passing through the stages from deep sleep to waking up..the whole process. These have been real turning points in my understanding of how the identity is formed.
We really don't know alot about the mind. Current research in neuroscience is very interesting but just beginning .And we have a tendency to think we know more than we do..and we have a tendency to think that if we can find a word/label for something then we have "understood" it.
I'm curious to see what will happen if the Dalai Lama can pursuade scientists to explore re-incarnation as a real phenomenon. Won't that be an interesting thing?

thanks for the conversation. Can't get the image of Subash in a wrestling belt out of my mind...errrr.


Anonymous said...

Re: “. . . she spoke to me in a softly droning voice. Her speech was uninflected with emotion and yet charged with vital, even critical importance. I understood that the literal meaning of what she was telling me was of no importance; it was her underlying intent that I was meant to absorb at the core of my being.”

Holy smokes, SeekHer! You’ve done it again! How do you do it?! And where the hell were you when I was trying to write this damn thing?! ;)


SeekHer said...

"Current research in neuroscience is very interesting but just beginning .And we have a tendency to think we know more than we do..and we have a tendency to think that if we can find a word/label for something then we have "understood" it. "

Yes, OS, I agree and think that psychiatry is guilty of this practice a lot. For instance, relabeling spiritual visions as 'hallucinations' and diagnosing mystics as 'schizophrenics'. Now, there are many patients throughout the world who fit the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder definition of schizophrenia, and many of these suffer auditory and visual hallucinations, that is, they see and hear in the absence of external stimuli. But they also typically manifest disorganized speech, grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior, lack of emotional affect and a severe decline in motivation.

St Teresa de Jesus had ecstatic visions of such range and intensity that she was commanded to write them down by the Inquisition, and the many books that resulted are considered paragons of classic Spanish literature, as well as peerless guides to the kind and variety of inner states accessible through prayer and meditation. In the meantime, she effected the reform of the Carmelite order throughout Europe--all while remaining a cloistered abbess. Her charm was such that members of the Spanish royalty fought each other for the privilege of endowing one of the many reformed monasteries she founded. So much for disorganized speech, behavior, lack of emotion and motivation! And yet, I've read psychiatric texts which blithely diagnose St. Teresa de Jesus as a schizophrenic in absentia based on the record she left of her visions. In fact, this is the standard way psychiatry explains mystical visions of every sort.

What's more, when pressed, psychiatrists will admit that they hardly understand schizophrenia at all. The can name its symptoms and prescribe drugs that dull its affects, but as to its etiology they barely have a clue. So how are we to understand this renaming of phenomena that had hitherto been classified as belonging to the spiritual world, except as a kind of lexiconic land grab, i.e. psychiatry enlarging its territory into the realm of spiritual phenomena until such time as it can discover and name their causes--much the way the USSR recently planted a flag on the ocean floor beneath the Arctic ice cap in an attempt to lay claim to future oil reserves.

Of course, many of us in SY experienced intense mystical phenomena during the years we practiced and, speaking personally, I am very far from being either a schizophrenic or a saint. So I think we have to be very careful when labeling the ineffable, and particularly in accepting others' labels in place of our own based on claimed but unearned authority.

SeekHer said...

One more thing--this thread is so rich thank you Lucid for your inspiration!--

RE: reincarnation--it HAS been systematically and scientifically studied for decades by Dr. Ian Stevenson. He devised a rigorous protocol for examining cases where very young children had vivid past life memories of such detail that they were able to be investigated, and in which the trail led to finding the child's prior family. He traveled the world meeting with and interviewing these children and their families--both current and past. Stevenson published his studies in academic journals and wrote several books, including a two-volume, 2,300 page work that exhaustively detailed cases where birth marks on children with past life memories closely corresponded to the location of wounds they suffered in death in their previous life. There are several popular books that summarize Stevenson's work, notably one by a science writer for the Wall Street Journal entitled "Old Souls." But Stevenson's own works are written in accessible prose and were, for me, easy to understand and follow, and extremely fascinating. If you haven't read anything of his, or about him, I'd highly recommend it. Interestingly, Stevenson himself never made any claims about the reality or nature of reincarnation. He merely logged the time and the miles and documented the cases with scrupulous care and asked: can science provide a better explanation for these facts?

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon 11:11, I just wanted to let you know how taken I was by your post on January 29, 2013 at 3:38 PM.

The night after the most devastating betrayal of my romantic life, that guru "foot" dream came careening out of nowhere and mowed me down like a hit and run. I had no context, no idea what to make of it. I hadn’t seen GM since first meeting her almost four years prior. Hadn’t been to a center or ashram. Hadn’t dove head (or feet!) first into the teachings. At least not yet. The no-frame-of-reference factor (even my mom who was years ahead of me in SY didn't recognize the symbolism when I told her) combined with mysterious riddle of Gurumayi’s words shaded the whole thing in a beguiling aura of mystical significance.

The night before that dream occurred I lay down to sleep laying my soul on its deathbed. I needed someone or something to save me. To this day I don’t think I was consciously calling out to GM, but in retrospect I was in need of a miracle and let's face it, folks, who else in my subconscious, or life was gonna pull that off?

In terms of the “I have no importance here” instruction, the most I could surmise, at least initially, was that it was GM’s way of telling me that I had no importance in my relationship with “Jack” – her guru-speak way of pointing out that I was in the wrong place, with the wrong person and I needed to let him and the relationship go. My relationship with "Jack" was toxic, so the exorcism-like aspects of the dream made more immediate sense, even if they were still a little freaky.

Much later, when I shared my dream with someone who'd been in SY forever their response, no surprise, was, “Sounds like pure initiation to me!” And that fit right in with the lore, right? That “disksha” could occur in a dream. In fact, initiation via that means was almost more special. Not to mention the fact I saved myself $400.00. (Badump-bump.)

In time, as I fell further and further down the rabbit hole, I think I came to understand and decide that “I have no importance here” was in fact a form of ego annihilation. Which again is why SeekHer's comment -- "I understood that the literal meaning of what she was telling me was of no importance; it was her underlying intent that I was meant to absorb at the core of my being" -- blew me away.

Once I discovered that photo of Muk’s feet, a discovery which also struck me like a hit and run, I went off searching for and found no shortage of similar lotus and the like imagery, in all kinds of Buddhist, Hindu art, texts, etc., reaffirming just how very profound my dream was. Yes, I wanted to understand it – but again there was always that underlying nagging need for “proof,” some concrete confirmation that my SY experience wasn’t a fantasy. In this particular instance I found confirmation everywhere. And that was before google images!

But in retrospect, why not just marvel at the dream? Why did it have to be more than that?

We all know the answer: "Lucid" was desperate and the dream starred Gurumayi. It had to mean something. Something significant.


Anonymous said...

These dreams and darshans are now like signposts. Permanently planted markers that dot the long and winding road that leads into and back out of enchantment. I can hit rewind, click in on any specific one – a dream or memory of an experience with GM – and see where I was before, during and after in my pre- and post-enchantment process. Each signpost still exists; frozen in the moment it first appeared. But hindsight affords me the ability to maneuver around and view it from all angles.

The darshan experience in this story captures – to the best of my writing ability and lord knows, people, I tried! – my exact memory. I didn’t fully believe the experience while it was happening and replayed it in my mind for years, mining it for meaning through my devotee lens.

On the one hand the memory still seems a bit outrageous. But, as I mentioned in response to SeekHer’s comment in the prior stream, looking back at it today there’s no longer a charge. And that’s saying something cause it’s about as “charged” a memory of GM as I can muster! That realization is significant because my darshan memories, especially after darshan was cancelled, were a current I used to tap back into whenever I needed a hit. Seriously. I could chant a little, put myself into a mantra-induced mind set, dial up a potent image of GM and catch a buzz. It was that straightforward. But by 2004, maybe earlier, it was pretty much a tapped resource. It stopped working.

Not trying to make light of anyone else's darshan experience or memories, or the exchange that took place between GM and I that night at The Paramount. There was an exchange, for sure, between one human being and another. But I also think had any moderately sensitive, aware person up on that stage really looked at me they too would have seen a young man who was shattered inside. It’s just that in that particular moment, with each of our roles so concretely defined, at least in my mind – her’s as guru and mine as devotee – everyone’s focus was on her, the massive groundswell of attention was directed at GM, and in the midst of all that, for whatever reason, she placed her attention on me.

Hey, wait a minute! Didn't someone say something in a prior post about an infantile need to feel special, singled-out, and valued?

But that was her job, right? GM was SY’s professional Darshan Administrator.

I suspect for many of us darshan closed the sale; it sealed the deal. Darshan provided us with our own up-close-and-personal experience – one we could then relive over and over in our minds, recount to other devotees, perhaps even affirm in a testimonial in front of an audience at our local center. Darshan was a 10-second “one-on-one” hit that kept us going . . .

Anonymous said...

. . . Still kind of amazing to me that such a flicker of a moment could send anyone reeling for such a long time – BUT let's keep it real guys, the before-during-and-after-hype that surrounded everything GM said or did was a powerful. well-oiled machine. Just as I used to think of my relationship with GM as personal, internal and having nothing to do with the Org, I also used to view our exchanges during darshan as isolated and intimate – separate from and having nothing to do with all the pre- and post- org-driven hoopla.

So I think it can also be said and probably has been said many times before here and elsewhere that one of the keys steps in the dis-enchantment process is coming to accept that every aspect of SY is interconnected. Or, put differently, once you begin to accept SY as a whole, warts and all, the end of enchantment is nigh!

But, speaking just for myself, here's the rub. I wanted so badly to believe. I wanted that easy way out of my life. Believing was, for a time, such a relief. But trying to sustain a belief in something that isn’t real – especially once you start to sense, if not yet accept, that what you’re holding on to is false – eventually does you in, or forces you to leave. At least my take is that’s what happens if you’re someone who at your core craves the truth.

So that too is another stage in the process, the point at which the scales tip, the point at which holding on to your enchantment and sustaining your belief becomes a burden. Somehow, when we we're in that stage, we knew the two couldn't mix – the highs can't coexist with the gnawing in our gut.

There is a moment that comes in the disenchantment process when you know SY has betrayed you. From that point forward you have to make a decision whether or not you're going to betray yourself.

I went into SY to escape the pain in my life; I left SY to escape something that turned out to be worse than that pain – the ramifications of living inside a lie.

Sorry, I know much of this goes without saying; I know we've discussed a lot of it in different ways and places over the years.

Still, incredible to me to revisit the conversation here with all of you over these past few weeks. I don’t take it lightly. Not for one minute.


Anonymous said...

Thank you SeekHer and Lucid!

I am really enjoying this thread. Lucid, I fully acknowledge your own interpretation of your own dream as the most valid, however I thought GM was saying (and having you repeat) she, herself (as the guru) had no importance...as though she was predicting (this) future time.

I feel as though I more or less outgrew rather than quit SY. It just feels so over, a time long passed, like high school. And like high school I can look back with appreciation, embarrassment, horror or any other set of sentiments I would choose. But I am the one who decides how and what I feel. This is what I learned in the crucible of the ashram, though I could have learned in other places and ways.

A whole lot of people feel betrayed...betrayed by parents, schools, churches, leaders, friends, lovers in an almost endless list. Even Beounce (!) lipsinked the national anthem and a lot of ink got spilled in discussion of what we could believe to be 'true' and honest in the age of Photoshop. Sadly nothing is as perfect as our need for perfection. We learn to forgive, not to make right those who betray us nor to excuse the wrong they did or do, but to free ourselves from pain, to live in freedom.

SeekHer said...

"I thought GM was saying (and having you repeat) she, herself (as the guru) had no importance...as though she was predicting (this) future time."

that's generous, you could also interpret to mean this was G's way of tricking Lucid into convincing himself he was of no importance in their relationship, under the guise of repeating her own falsely humble words

Anonymous said...

Gosh SeekHer, I was not suggesting GM actually appeared in Lucid's dream (nor does Moses or Jesus appear in fact in anyone's dreams actually, imo) rather in a more Jungian frame,I was suggesting his most inner being already knew that eventually the guru was unimportant...generous really?

Anonymous said...

Whenever the guru appeared in my dreams I believed it was my higher self talking to me in symbolic form.

SeekHer said...

Well, I do believe that Gurumayi penetrated Lucid's dreams, and mine as well, and those of many, many others. I don't hold to the idea that we were all simply good Freudians sublimating and projecting all the phenomena that we experienced in SY. I believe that shakti is spiritual power and tantra is the means to harness and wield spiritual power and that Muktananda and Chidvilasananda had, for a time, control of that power in the lives of their followers. They had control over US. Of course, we willingly gave them access to our thoughts and subconscious minds. Hell, that was the price of admission for disksha. Even to this day I have to admit to something like Stockholm syndrome when it comes to SY. I WANTED to give those deepest levels of myself over to another's control. In the end all that it took was the interloper capitalizing the world Self and convincing me that this was an inside job, after all.

Anonymous said...

Wow! SeekHer,

This is is unexpected. I agree that we were supposed to believe that the guru had these kinds of powers. But the actual power to animate within another's dreams, personally and by volition, is quite a power. It would leave Freud and Jung's theories in the dust bin.

I recall that at darshan after a particularly emotional intensive during which she gave the 'touch', she said to me, "When did you come, I did not know you were here", my tears and mascara was still wet all over her skirt.

I think charismatic charlatan...not cosmic superhero. Further, if I possessed such abilities I would not manipulate the woes and fortunes of 100,000 (more or less) pretty poor to middle class, educated, cranky followers, I would have gone after a far, far smaller, more elite group who could grant me many more powerful options.

Anonymous said...

"100,000 (more or less) pretty poor to middle class, educated, cranky followers, I would have gone after a far, far smaller, more elite group who could grant me many more powerful options."

But in a way doesn't that kind of describe the larger devotee fanbase, the major donors, and the inner circle? Maybe you've gotta have a mass following in order to attract a "1%". And let's not forget we're talking about a narcissist here. More is more.

SeekHer said...

Anon 12:56

Well, Freud's theories are already in the dustbin of history--you might be able to find an unreconstructed Freudian analyst if you really searched, but I wouldn't recommend taking the talking cure from them. However, Jungian theory (as far as I understand it) is perfectly conversant with what I believe we experienced in Siddha Yoga. With Jung's idea of the collective unconscious we are already drifting towards the numinous, in fact, aren't we really talking about the "ground of being" under another name? And his conception of archetypes impinges on the sacred. I think Jung intended these constructs to create a borderland between psychology and religion, a place where neither could confidently assert its superiority, but rather each must submit to learning from the other.

The Guru is an archetype, whether it goes by that name or "Wise Man" "Teacher" or "Savior". I believe in the power of invocation. When we supplicate an archetype as we did in the Guru Gita, giving it full and abject and unconditional access to all levels of our being, we open ourselves to colonization by another entity. That entity only superficially wore the name of Gurumayi, or Baba. So, no, when "Gurumayi" walked our dreams and spoke instructions and commands directly to our subconscious mind, it wasn't Malti Shetty doing that, it was the shadow side of an archetype that has existed throughout human history.

Anonymous said...

>>"The Guru is an archetype, whether it goes by that name or "Wise Man" "Teacher" or "Savior". I believe in the power of invocation"<<<

Dear SeekHer,
I found these comments on Jungian archetypes to be very astute and interesting in view of "Lucid memories". There's a entrophic pull going on here that feels very strange to me personally. Not so sure I want to take that trip...best of luck to you, Lucid. Your writing is very evocative. And thanks again, SeekHer, for providing an open forum for conversation.

best luck to all,

Seek Her said...


There is no collective trip here, and there never has been, just each of us trying to make sense as best we can out of what happened to us all. Perhaps, personally, I've just begun to formulate a theory about that, but it is only mine. Not only am I not asking anyone else to ascribe to it, I appreciate other and conflicting points of view. So if your last post was a sign off based on the belief that some new orthodoxy was being imposed here, rest easy. That is inimical to everything we've built together over the last seven years.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of "guru's feet" . . . wouldn't you know it? There's even a FB page and tweets. Follow your guru on twitter!




Anonymous said...

>>"So if your last post was a sign off based on the belief that some new orthodoxy was being imposed here, rest easy"<<

Dear SeekHer,
no...not at all...I'm not holding any beliefs about what is happening here. I just didn't want to suddenly disappear without explaining that "Lucid Memories" is a bit too evocative for me...in Jungian terms..smile.If I check in, I read...I'm a huge reader. Some things I'd rather not stir up and invite back into my dreams. that's just my way...not making any judgements here. And, to Lucid, keep on....your writing is very powerful.

best regards,

Anonymous said...

February 1, 2013 at 2:24 PM: "I feel as though I more or less outgrew rather than quit SY."

I hear you on this. Very similar for me. In fact, ironically, I think GM and I both started to check out around the same time – but it’s still somewhat a chicken or the egg question.

Her “last talk” in 2004 was so empty and yet my reaction wasn’t disappointment so much as, hmmm. She offered nothing in that talk and I thought, Well maybe I don’t need anything. The feeling was mutual. (wink)

From that point forward I still maintained my little puja up at home, still ran on the treadmill to the fast chants, loved reading Hafiz and Rumi and some of GMs early collections of talks but the only real draw for me in any of this was GM – I didn’t attend a center, didn’t have strong bonds with hard-core devotees (I had lots of friends who, like me, went to see GM when she was out on tour, but we were friends first, not through our connection to SY, I never made a lasting friend through SY, including GM!... and in time all of them, just as I did, “left”).

Point is, it only naturally followed that GM's phase out would be in synch with mine. But at the time of course I didn't step back and call myself out on this like, "Hey wait a minute – this means nothing to you if she's not around? What does that tell you?"

But the mind-fuck of the supposed “inner self”-focused practice juxtaposed with the guru-focused org was so circular. No, no, no, it’s about honoring your own self,… but yes that ability must be awakened and guided by a perfected living master. Amazing, isn’t it, to think that once upon a time these fallible, fractured human beings were put forward to us as representative of having reached “the goal.” And yet how grateful we are today to no longer be bowing down, literally or figuratively, to their dysfunction and instead tending to our own!

When I discovered RoD and Marta’s blog in 2007-2008 it wasn’t so much a revelation as it was, Okay finally this all makes sense. Not that I accepted the whole thing in such a cavalier fashion at first. The grieving process was real, and long. But the thing is I was ready. And by that point SY I knew was dead and gone; there wasn’t anything “external” left to let go of, I just needed to take care of my own stuff.

So yes, “outgrew” fits better than “quit” for me as well. My departure felt in many ways like an afterthought.

Besides, it’s kinda hard to resign from a position that’s no longer available.


Anonymous said...

On OS point about Lucid's evocative writing.

I felt that at first also, almost triggering. I perissted although it was uncomfortable to re-awaken these memories. I am at a point in my road back to myself, that the me I am now is reading and seeing what I went through.Basically its working therapeutically, like exorcism.

I think I spent all of my sy dissociated. The stuff that happened was so excrutiating being a zombie on japa and chanting and meditation was pain relief.


Anonymous said...

>>>"Basically its working therapeutically, like exorcism."<<<

yes! exactly! exorcism.


Anonymous said...

"...I WANTED to give those deepest levels of myself over to another's control...."

".....So, no, when "Gurumayi" walked our dreams and spoke instructions and commands directly to our subconscious mind, it wasn't Malti Shetty doing that, it was the shadow side of an archetype that has existed throughout human history...."

"...When we supplicate an archetype as we did in the Guru Gita, giving it full and abject and unconditional access to all levels of our being, we open ourselves to colonization by another entity..."

I remember one darshan with baba where I stood there as our eyes locked and I energetically opened and gave him the deepest parts of myself, feeling that I had finally found someone I could trust completely, someone I could give myself to. It was like spiritual sex. And though I was in my young twenties, I trusted him much like a child trusts, for decades of dedicated involvement.

My dis-illusionment began in '04 when I took my last intensive, knowing the shakti was gone. Marta's book, this blog and the LSY before it have helped me sort through the spiritual rubble.

But there are still deep places of pain. I am not a victim of anyone or anything else. In the end, it was my own self betrayal. It was me giving myself to what I believed was a true guru. I wanted the "reward" of living in a state of constant and unbroken union with the Divine. You know, like we were promised. I wanted my life to count for something of spiritual value.

What I now wonder is, was I a simple soul, only to be food for some bigger, more powerful soul? Think a sort of Nat'l Geo special on Spirits in the Wild. By our very nature, we get devoured by the bigger, more powerful. It's spiritual Darwinism. By being open and trusting, I by nature invited or invoked being colonized or perhaps in this case, devoured by a more powerful Essence? And thus Soul evolves. The collective soul, as well as my individual soul.

Anonymous said...

In Jung's borderland construct, wouldn't you want to throw science into the mix?

Anonymous said...

As I work through many issues that did not get handled during decades in sy, even though my 'ego got worked on' whatever that means. lol, I am impressed by just how destructive the experience was. Completely reifying childhood wounds. Ego busting as practiced in sy was deeply humiliating. For some personalities catastrophic to their healthy functioning. Not everyone had the same ego stength. All staff were hazed up the yin yang. The whole thing based on shaming and blame to get control. Then add covert manipulation of the mind alternating good and bad treatment. Why did I believe this was spiritually uplifting? It was a lot like est and scientology, boot camp. The breakdown of the ego to rebuild it. Loving only to enjoy reaction of removing that love. Triggering abandonment fears or night terrors of waking up in an infested jungle with very big cats or being born In a waterless region. DAMN STUPID GURU GITA! :-) Typo

Seek Her said...

"His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it...too forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed.

Even to understand the word "doublethink" involved the use of the word doublethink."

George Orwell, 1984

SeekHer said...

Well, Lucid's richly drawn, powerful accounts of his days in SY are stirring up a lot of memories and unresolved emotions here (as well as perhaps provoking two spontaneous self-exorcisms.) They've certainly stirred some long repressed conflicts back to the surface for me. I have tended to discount the long term psychic damage that abject surrender to another human being who is playing a divine role can inflict. At times I've almost sold myself on the idea that my 25 years "inside" were an amusing lark that reaped some blissful experiences along the way and a blog peopled with like-minded peeps who have kept me company on the long, winding exit ramp out.

I recognize now that's denial and delusion. I've just finished re-reading Orwell's 1984 and it has been an odd synchronicity to revisit those pages and the memories that Lucid's narrative have provoked at the same time. The older I get, the more viscerally frightening that book becomes. And all the more so because Orwell's concept of doublethink describes the process we used to call "contemplation" only too well.

Yes, I do believe that the ritualized and formal worship of the Guru that we were taught and enthusiastically engaged in (let's not forget those meditations practiced in groups and alone, wherein we "installed" the Guru in every limb of our bodies down to the cellular level) were the most dangerous species of black sorcery. But even that pales in comparison to what we were taught to do to our minds. On the organizational level SY suppressed, denied, erased and rewrote its past—from the non-existent unbroken ancient lineage, to Baba's supposed elevation to Guru by Nityananda, to his abuse of underage girls, to the succession struggle between Gurumayi and "the brother", to the fall-out from the New Yorker article and on and on. And on a personal level we all played along. Every doubt we harbored, every inconvenient fact we discovered, every disturbing personal anecdote we heard, everything that contradicted the official narrative of the Guru's perfect divinity and compassion were explained, and then explained away and forgotten, through the process of self-administered mind control known as contemplation.

I was re-reading my earliest posts on this blog today and somewhere I wrote that I could never remember a single one of the 'amazing revelations' that came to me after countless hours spent walking and contemplating the teachings. Of course not, because I now realize that contemplation was most often reserved for those times when something impinged on the perfection of my Siddha Yoga world view, when some distantly threatening thought needed to be not confronted and resolved, but cornered, surrounded, subsumed and erased—and then forgotten.

Please God never let me cede that level of control to anyone or anything ever again. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Potent, SeekHer, to encounter that harrowing Orwell passage here in this context. Such a haunted, tortured sadness comes through. It doesn't speak to anything in my life right now yet I feel an ache reading those words.

The strength, clarity and emotion in your post is just as immediate and comes right through. A few sentences in I felt I might need to stop. Something unexpected triggered. But I kept going.

I'm old school, preferring paper over pixels whenever possible. Something about holding the writing in my hands grounds the connection between me and the author. But what you say here reaches right out through the screen. I hear and feel it. Just wanted to let you know.


Anonymous said...

... That night I had Gurumayi's darshan in my dreams — profound dreams where I felt tremendous bhakti, devotion, throbbing through me. When I woke up, I knew that the power of studying the Message had drawn Gurumayi's darshan. I understood that this direct Message really IS, in its deep essence, the form of the Guru.

a devotee from California, USA

Click here to participate in A Sweet Surprise 2013 satsang.


Anonymous said...

If you build it, they will come

Anonymous said...

yes, but who are they?

Anonymous said...

I have dreams of Gurumayi and baba whenever I need them to come to me. once Bade baba came to me too but I couldn't understand his accent LOL! Its Ok that I don't see the guru in her physical form anymore, maybe its better. In my dreams were alone and I dont have to share her with anyone

Neil P. said...

There has been a lot of talk about Gurumayi "leaving", but can anybody confirm if she has actually left SY? I was at Fallsburg in 2003 and she was still there then, but not taking an active role in the daily routine. Has anything changed since then?

Neil P. said...

For what it's worth, Shree Muktananda Ashram have just told me by email that Gurumayi is there now.