Hasn’t part of our “FOF sickness” been an inability or unwillingness to set limits for ourselves…existing in that “ego-less”, dependent state that allows and enables others to violate our personal boundaries?
Enough is enough, I say.
That’s what I had to decide for myself in order to leave the FOF and not put up with anymore of Burton’s manipulative bullshit, too.
Enough is enough. Let’s work together.
If we don’t limits, then we invite others to exploit us.
We have a great opportunity here to create an educational and healing forum where fence sitters and the freshly liberated can express their vulnerable side and do some much needed reality testing from a variety of viewpoints.
I myself observed the shining young men with their eager faces being given lunch by Burton’s boys. They were being primed and readied by the corrupted, who were eager to extend membership of their exclusive club, and share both the burden of shame and the excitement. Their ‘less fortunate’ friends (!!) left behind encouraged them, plucked them of their self-esteem and delivered them as a sacrifice to propitiate Burton. Their wives or women friends, told that they themselves could not become conscious in this lifetime because they were a ‘lower cosmos’, openly envied the young men’s beckoning opportunity.
Inexorably squeezed from all sides, they gave in.
But, it isn’t that simple, it never is.
Once, as an experiment, I tried to intervene in the grooming of one young man. I gave him a ride one day, and told him the truth. He told me about the pressure and the turmoil that was going on in him (he was at the stage when he was taking trips with Burton, and Burton had just started asking him for sex).
He said he had no money to get back home. I offered him employment, and he seemed grateful to take it. I discovered that he had no skills and was quite lazy. Though I made allowances for his state, he was unable to complete the work within budget, and I let him go. He certainly earned enough money to get home, above expenses (he was American), and I gave him plenty of encouragement and ‘pep talks’. I found out later that he had given in and submitted to Burton while I was employing him anyway.
A good lesson for me; I wonder what he learned?
81. Opus 111 - August 27, 2009
79 Another name
I think the key to linking what he says about trauma and the experience of abused men in the FOF is not that it was violent (in the ordinary sense), but that it happened in a state of helplessness (freeze state). The helplessness is induced by the sham spiritual context introduced by the perpetrator (“C-Influence arranged this for us”, “this is special and will accelerate your evolution”, etc…) or veiled threats (“you will lose your connection to me and to the gods”, whatever). Recovery from such traumatic events is often long, if it occurs at all. Too often the trauma leads to manifestations of the post-traumatic stress syndrome or, according to Dr. Scaer (what a prophetic name!) to a variety of ill-defined chronic ailments that resist common therapies (Irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, torticolis to name just a few).
83. Jomo Piñata - August 27, 2009
I haven’t watched the whole Scaer presentation yet, only the first ten minutes or so. I plan to watch the rest and look into his writings. Great stuff.
The helplessness is induced by the sham spiritual context introduced by the perpetrator
A complementary way of looking at this: The function of the Fellowship brand of fourth-way ideology was to induce a state of learned helplessness in its adherents so as to promote their exploitation. It seems to me that “learned helplessness” links right up to the “freeze response.”
91. Panoritsa - August 27, 2009 One other issues that I have seen play quite a big role in my thinking and expressing my current feelings about my time in the FOF, is those two old bitches: guilt and shame…
A current member (who said it was a question of time for them to go…) told me a few months ago:… “Gosh, I still remember you sitting next to Robert…” And I wanted the earth to open and take me deep down in her arms…
Because, yes, I longed for sitting next to Robert and I longed for his attention and one or two “significant” words…(like…nice blouse you have on…) And I would do anything for all that (…well, I am a girl…so…not exactly…). How stupid I think now. But, Robert was a God in the fellowship family… All the people I cared for and respected since I was 22 were praising him and they were all looking up to him. I went with the flow.
The difference is that I went all the way in a way… I did not sit back and kept on praising (well, I did that too…). I came closer to the God and then I did not have such a fantastic feeling in my stomach when I was sitting next to him… To be sincere, I felt like vomiting most of the time and my head would spin and spin…but I had nowhere else to go… And all those “funny” physical reactions were clearly my “instinctive centre” which is a “beast” and could not take the “higher hydrogens” of such a being as Robert… Was I not school material after all????
Yoga for the New Woman and the New Man: The Role of Pierre Bernard and Blanche DeVries in the Creation ofModern Postural Yoga
Like Dr. Latson, Bernard marketed yoga’s associations withsexuality and secrecy. Syman notes that the early twentieth centurywas a period when Americans were joining secret and semisecret soci-eties in large numbers. This included not only the Freemasons, ofwhich Bernard later became a member, but numerous other esotericgroups as well. Bernard understood how to appeal to this market.Young bohemians may have been drawn to his Tantrik Order pre-cisely because of its grades of initiation and its ‘‘blood oaths.’’ Evenafter Bernard adopted a more respectable persona, he still maintainedan air of secrecy.
The humanist Charles Francis Potter was a visitor atthe Clarkstown Country Club and once asked Bernard why he nevercontradicted the many rumors about what went on in his club. Ber-nard replied it was his policy never to give interviews.41 He may haveunderstood that a few rumors are good for business.It is significant that Bernard’s name often appears alongsideboth Vivekananda and Aleister Crowley.
All three of these men werenegotiating the two-tiered model of religion using very different strat-egies. Vivekananda sought to reconcile ‘‘true yoga’’ with Protestantideas of ‘‘true religion.’’ Crowley, an iconoclast, embraced yoga andTantra as alternatives to Protestant religious and sexual mores.
Ber-nard, however, weaved a middle path between these strategies. Aftermeeting Blanche DeVries, he showed a remarkable ability to tailor histeachings to his audience, presenting yoga as wholesome exercise atsome times and dangerous and esoteric at others.
By maintaining thisbalance, Bernard and DeVries were able to take the aspects of yoga thatseemed most ‘‘other’’ and turn them into resources for Westernersseeking to define themselves as autonomous women and powerfulmen. In doing so, they helped to define a new tradition of modernpostural yoga
This ideal of the Oriental dancer as a sort of glamorous sexualmystic, trained in the mysteries of the East, helps to explain whyyoung women were drawn to Bernard and DeVries.
When GertrudeLeo agreed to become Bernard’s ‘‘nautch girl,’’ she likely something akin to what St. Denis describes in ‘‘White Jade.’’
AlmaHirsig suggests that Bernard understood his female students’ fanta-sies of being sensual celebrity mystics like St. Denis and that heworked to indulge these fantasies. She writes, ‘‘Little girls like to’dress-up.’ So do big girls. Oom, the Omnipotent, knows that. So hedresses them up. And when he does they believe they are actually thefigure they represent.’’
**(Exactly. Go to Yoga Journal and look at the adverts for various brands of yoga clothing and fashions today--Corboy)
It was Blanche DeVries who successfully channeled thepopularity of Oriental dancing into a female market for yoga lessons.As an aspiring vaudeville performer herself, she understood evenbetter than Bernard what drew women to Oriental dancing and yoga.DeVries and the female students she attracted formed the foundationof the empire Bernard eventually built. In 1914, she was put in chargeof a yoga school for women on East 54th Street. Five years later, sheopened an institute for teaching ‘‘Yoga Gymnosophy’’—a name thatconveys the blending of yoga with both physical culture and Westernesotericism.
DeVries continued to employ Oriental choreography atthe Clarksville Country Club, where she devised dance performanceswith such names as ‘‘Buddhamas Festival,’’ ‘‘Dance of the FiveSenses,’’ and ‘‘Birthday of Krishna.’’48 These performances contrib-uted to the blend of Eastern wisdom, sensuality, and mystique thatattracted wealthy patrons to the club
This suggests that women who studied yoga at theturn of the century likely regarded themselves as independent andcapable of mastering a potentially risky situation.
By the timeBernard opened the country club in Nyack, he seems to haveunderstood that his female students prided themselves in theirability to manage risks. He would often tell his female students,‘‘Live dangerously, carefully.’’
Taken together, the writings of Ida Craddock, Ruth St. Denis,Mary Doyle, and Alma Hirsig suggest that even the very negativeassociations that Americans had with postural yoga, such as salaciousdancing and dangerous gurus, were actually potential resources forwomen seeking to construct new identities as independent and sex-ually autonomous beings.
Bernard and DeVries capitalized on thisdynamic to recruit highly devoted female yoga students. This presen-tation of yoga, which was disseminated widely through Bernard’snetwork of wealthy patrons, set the stage for modern postural yogaand its associations with sensuality and female empowerment.
Bernard’s publication Vira Sadhana (1906) translates roughlyinto ‘‘the way of the hero.’’
Just as Alma Hirsig described joining ‘‘lovecults’’ as a sort of risky investment, in Vira Sadhana Bernard warns ofthe dangers of studying Tantra and emphasizes that only the bravestmen are up to the challenge it presents.
(Corboy: Not so different from the subtle dare implied today in many advertisements by and for brutal gurus)
He describes the members ofthe Tantrik Order as ‘‘men of thought, ambition, courage, and aggres-sion.’’ He adds, ‘‘But mind this: Yoga cannot be trifled with unpun-ished. Before you enter this path weigh your forces carefully; considerwell if you have faith, courage, and perseverance enough.’’
Bernardmade his appeal to the New Man even more explicit in a lecture in1924 when he stated, ‘‘The simplest way to translate the word yoga is Evolution.’’
To continue moving forward, the New Man would firsthave to go back and learn the ancient secrets of India.Just as DeVries helped Bernard market yoga to women,Benarr MacFadden influenced how Bernard marketed yoga to men
It is also likely that the relationship between Bernard andMacFadden shaped American perceptions of Tantra. Hugh Urbancites Bernard’s influence in the American conception of Tantra as the‘‘exotic art of prolonging your passion play’’ rather than an asceticdiscipline with soteriological significance. Love suggests that Bernarddid engage in Tantric sexual rites, but only in secrecy with his initi-ated followers. MacFadden, however, wrote that ‘‘the perfect manshould be able to maintain it [sexual intercourse] for an hour’s dura-tion.’’ For MacFadden, this was not a religious discipline but a way ofproving one’s virility. Unlike Bernard, he was willing to teach thistechnique to anyone through his mail order instructional courses. TheAmerican Tantra described by Urban seems to combine MacFadden’steachings with Bernard’s nomenclature. This is another example ofWestern physical culture becoming confused with Hindu thought inmodern postural yoga.56
Traveling to India had once changed his life, so Kelly thought it was time for him to make another trip. Perhaps this would provide the clarity he sought. His plan was to spend several months studying under Pattabhi Jois, the master yogi in Ashtanga who had few equals. Life in India was cheap by American standards. He would be able to stretch his modest savings a long way there. He rented a spacious apartment near Pattabhi’s house where the master lived and trained. Pattabhi was a real character in his own right, a yogi of almost unparalleled realization and skill, and not above the occasional demonstration of his humanness.
Kelly flew to India and then journeyed to Mysore, located in the southwest of the country. Pattabhi Jois taught out of his modest home, not out of some huge ashram like Kelly had envisioned. The orientation talk was held in the small basement studio of Jois’ home, where a dozen or so Western students, including Kelly, had gathered. Pattabhi explained a little about how they would train and what they could expect, and afterward pulled Kelly aside. “One of my nieces will be cleaning your apartment for you, and cooking your meals. You will pay her one dollar a week.”
Kelly scoffed at this. “I can afford to pay her more than one dollar a week.”
Pattabhi shook his head sternly, wagging his finger in Kelly’s face. “This is a radiant, beautiful Hindu goddess who is doing this service for you, and for me. Do not take this happy creature and convert her, with your morality, into a capitalist pig by giving her a single extra dollar.” Kelly’s mouth popped open. He was, after all, a man who had given a near stranger $8,000 on a whim — a kingly sum in the early 1970s. “Our culture,” Pattabhi continued, wagging his finger more aggressively, “is not your culture. Our culture has been in place for thousands of years, and it has worked for a reason. We do not need or want your values here. We will come to your country when we want to learn your ways. But you are here, to learn from us. So learn.” He waited until Kelly’s eyes registered the profound truth of what he had just said, then turned and left.
New Age Bullshit Generator
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The inspiration for this idea came from watching philosophy debates involving Deepak Chopra. I wrote a blog post* about it if you're interested.
"On the New Age Bullshit Generator and parodying woo"
After sitting through hours of New Age rhetoric, I decided to have a crack at writing code to generate it automatically and speed things up a bit.
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Put it on your website as placeholder text.
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