Current Page: 18 of 29
Re: International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 07, 2011 12:49AM

The Yes Set and No Set Trance Induction Techniques--How Satsang Questioning Blows Our Minds

This is a 'technology'.

It is not a mark of special wisdom or attainment. Anyone can learn it if patient and ambitious.

This mere verbal description may seem inadequate when compared with the bliss and astonishing altered experiences people report "we all had them" around Andrew Cohen or other satsangi guru types.

But imagine someone who remembers the stunning feelings of a first cocaine hit, and you show that person a diagram of how the brain receptors are affected by the action of the cocaine molecule--and then a graph of how the amount of dopamine released declines over time as dose exposure proceeds.

That diagram will seem so inadequate when compared with the utter bliss.

Still here is a description from a longer article below. Persons who remember string of responses they gave to Andrews questions should ask if they repeatedly said yes, yes yes, or no no no.

Then they can read this and see if any of this seems applicable to what they remember.

Quote

So a 'yes set' or 'no set' works because it sets up a pattern which is interrupted by the therapist which leads to the patient's unbalancing and need to rebalance themselves with the help of the therapist suggestions.


Readers are invited to look up yes set and trance induction on Google.

If you are asked a string of questions to which you repeatedly say yes, yes yes
or a string of questions to which you keep answering no, no no)
this elicits a trance in trance-susceptible persons.

If one is on the recieving end of such interrogation and doesnt know about yes setting trance induction, one can in context of satsang, be led to think ones trancing out is a nondual enlighenment experience and attribute it to the Amazing Guru (fill in name here).

And not recognize you've been tranced out.

Intelligence has zero to do with this. Education is no protection either.

Here is further information. It can account for why so many zone out in sastsang questioning

---
[www.behavior.net]

Re: Question of trance induction..
Brian Lawless · 06/18/01 at 8:50 PM ET
Thank you for your response! My question got VERY sidetracked there into something else regarding Brazilian trance! (*which apparently is somewhat your point as well*) I hope it leads these people to some useful data. But, on to my point, the Ericksonian use of confusion refers to a changing of consciousness or alteration of one's sense of reality. What could this mean? I'll write my thoughts here. -You refer to 'experiential states not normal to waking consciousness.' (I'll continue here with your martial arts metaphor.) So, this 'loss of balance,' as in the handshake induction, changes their normal comfortable method of behavior slightly, which leads to internal search (what Dr. Erickson refereed to as searching the unconscious.) This is essentially a pattern interrupt. (Loss of balance - a good analogy by the way!) This ‘unconscious search’ is trance, or to keep with the metaphor, 'keeping one's internal balance' is trance. So, if I understand correctly, the individuals normal natural method of behaving or pattern of behaving in Ericksonian Therapy is interrupted, or slightly confused at some point in time, leading to trance.... here trance is a state which the individual must search within themselves for a response or go to a new response suggested by the therapist, thus affecting change or in other words therapy.

Trance is like an unbalancing and re-balancing action. So a 'yes set' or 'no set' works because it sets up a pattern which is interrupted by the therapist which leads to the patient's unbalancing and need to rebalance themselves with the help of the therapist suggestions. Any pattern will do! Any behavior pattern exhibited by the patient will do! I guess my new question is where exactly does disassociation enter this equation?

Trance isn't exactly an ‘internal confusion’ with the connotations that word brings! Rather a shifting of regular patterns of the problem that leads to a search and a discovery of new pattern of behavior until recently outside of consciousness or rather, in Dr. Erickson theory, inside the unconscious. Internal searching isn’t to me exactly confusion, but I see where they are going with that. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that this term ‘confusion’ can be VERY misleading, and lead to distrust of the theory where a therapist’s fidelity with his/her clients might be in question. I’m sure you understand my meaning here.

So, more to the point, Dr. Erickson used normal pattern interrupt by continuing the normal behavior in the opposite direction (much like the martial arts does!)

This fits so well with Erickson's steadfast cow story! Pull the cow....change the pattern with alittle with a PULL from the other direction while continuing to first pull. Funny how he didn't PUSH the other or PUSH the same way...he PULLED the other way. Is this why it IS confusing? The steadfast cow is left with nothing left to be steadfast about! It's resisting then it's ASKED TO RESIST IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION by the pull. Basically a more complex reverse psychology.

____________________________________________________


PS- I'm an instructor in Jeet Kune Do...on the side, it's not as easy as one might think to 'catch' that opponents hand...is it! ;) It's easier to intercept their intention! Jeet Kune Do the way of the interception fists....or even better like Jiu Jitsu....by taking the opponent to the ground (out of their frame of reference or ‘losing their balance’ one can remove their resistances and subdue (change) a much large opponent by resisting in the opposite direction a little to lead to a trap? Interesting! I knew there is a connection there, I've got it now! I REALLY feel like of got somewhere with your response! Thank You. The last piece often neglected is the resistance in the opposite direction like the handshake induction pulling away slightly in the ‘opposite direction’ then opening the trance or search…I think that has some significance somehow...what do you think?


om] Corboy warning: All this is to assist members of our human family to become awake and free to function to their best capacity as citizens, friends, lovers, spouses, parents, students, workers and at play.

This material was from a forum by and for psychotherapists, who by professional code of ethics are mandated to 1) preserve patient autonomy to full extent 2) increase patient autonomy as much as is possible and avoid fostering undue dependence on the therapist and... finally above all else, do no harm.

Dont add problems to the ones that your patient or client already comes in with.

Anyone who uses this information in unkind ways to intrude upon, objectify and darken/restrict the capacities of any other person will become a monster in human form.

WHen this information is misused, whoever misuses these techniques for their own ego driven gratification will become a prisoner of these techniques, no matter how much bliss they induce in others and no matter how many persons they con into believing the operator loves them and believing they love the operator.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 12, 2011 10:28AM

Guru Induced Bliss as Sprinkles on a Dog-Shit Sundae

(For non Americans, a "sundae" is a confection of vanilla ice cream with hot chocolate fudge sauce topped with whipped cream and a candied cherry on top- Share with one or two friends, then go for a run or a swim. Nicer than an energy bar. Corboy)

"If abusers were abusive 24/7 -- if they weren't capable of doling out a little bliss now and then -- no abusive relationship would last longer than one date. "

(One can substitute "guru" for "abuser")

Dan Savage writes a relationship advice column. Someone wrote to him in confusion about a boyfriend who gave her good times but who was threatening to mess up her stuff if she dared to leave him.

He said something that may apply to gurus. Very many people will make excuses for abusive gurus by saying 'But this person did so much good in this other area.."

Or "I had all these blissful experiences and all these great insights--so how is it possible for abuse to co-exist along with these (alleged benefits)?"

The person wrote this to Dan Savage:

[webcache.googleusercontent.com]

Quote

I've been seeing this guy for about two years in August. We've been living together for six months now, and it's been REALLY bumpy. We fight a lot, I cry a lot, and it just gets really messy. To tell you the truth, I'm tired of it. I work two jobs, and I never get any time to myself because he's moody and insecure. He always wants to know where I'm going or who I'm with. He doesn't like to do the same things I do, and I'm beginning to think this is all one big mistake. The problem is every time I try to leave, it always gets ugly. Ugly to the point that he's thrown my stuff in the front yard, broken things of mine, and even called me names. He's abusive.

As sad as this sounds, and as ridiculous as I feel, I want to make this work. I want us to be happy. And the thing is, I know that we can be. When we're mad, it's like World War III over here. But when we're happy, it's so blissful that I know in my heart with him is the only place I want to be. What can I do? People tell me it's time to sever ties, but the people who usually tell me this are the ones who can't stand him. How can I make a completely unbiased decision? Am I stupid for believing in a love that feels destined to fail?

Hopelessly Devoted To Him

Dan replies:

This is not a relationship, HDTH, it's a hostage situation. He's a controlling, abusive piece of shit -- listen to your fucking friends, HDTH. When your boyfriend breaks your shit, he's making an implicit threat: I can break your face just as easily as I'm breaking your shit, bitch, so don't even think about leaving me. And of course things are great when they're great -- that's part of an abuser's MO. If abusers were abusive 24/7 -- if they weren't capable of doling out a little bliss now and then -- no abusive relationship would last longer than one date. Like all abusers, he parcels out the good times, doping you up with a little bliss now and then, because he knows that these glimpses of how great things could be convince you to stick around against your better judgment.

The bliss is a con, HDTH, a weapon that he uses against you, just as much a part of the cycle of abuse as his tantrums, fits, and threats of violence are. Think of the good times as rainbow sprinkles on a dog-shit sundae -- sprinkles or no sprinkles, you're still standing there with a bowl full of dog shit in your hands.

Get a couple of friends to come over when he's at work or out of town, box up your shit, and leave. You can't change him. Go.

Too many people allow themselves to dwell on a bliss/"Evolutionary Enlightenment" experience and use it to cancel out the howling misgivings emerging from their guts.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: Martin Gifford ()
Date: December 12, 2011 04:26PM

Exactly. Here's a quote from Andrew Cohen's infamous "Declaration of Integrity" (which doesn't seem to be available online anymore).

"One thing that has never failed to mystify me is that so few people seem to connect the dots: If I really were the two-dimensional, sadistic, irrational megalomaniac that I have been portrayed as being, why in God’s name would anybody stick around for ten or more years before finally “waking up”? (And if I were the person they portray me as being, anybody who did stand by me that long would surely have to be a dubious character themselves, and whatever they said should be taken with at least a few tablespoons of salt…)"

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: December 12, 2011 05:29PM

A masterful bit of double-speak there from the rude-boy.
And yet elsewhere he has himself moaned that none of his disciple have ever gotten anywhere near his own cosmic attainment--says something about his methods and teaching style maybe?

For anyone reading and struggling-- I mean that the methods and teaching are utter crap.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 24, 2011 06:11AM

Marc Gafni, one of the Wilber endorsed gurus

[www.tikkun.org]

---------------
“Asseh Lecha Rav”: A Journey Through Clergy Abuseby: Zvi Bellin on December 13th, 2011 | 10 Comments »Several years ago I thought I met the Rabbi of my dreams. He identified as Orthodox and also purported a deep spiritual life. He appeared warm and accepting and he seemed to understand my struggle to figure out how I can blend Judaism with the needs of my personal spirituality. At the time I felt lost in between two Jewish worlds. On one extreme, in my junior year of college, I had become religious under the Orthodox Jewish perspective. On campus, I spent most of my time praying and learning at the Chabad House. I ceased to have physical contact with women (shomer negiah), kept strict kosher laws, prayed three times a day, kept as much of Shabbat law as I could manage, began to grow out my beard, and wore white shirts and dark pants. After college, I went to study at a strict Orthodox yeshivah. I learned Talmud for most of the day and mostly limited my social sphere to people who were engaged in a similar commitment to a “Torah life.”

On the other end of the spectrum, I embraced the creative spirituality of Renewal Judaism. I began to practice meditation and Yoga within a Jewish framework. Attended non-traditional prayer services the incorporated chanting, feminine language for G-d, and allowed alterations from the Orthodox prayer book. My first encounter with Renewal happened at a retreat center, right after I became religious. Truth be told, I did not know what Renewal was when I arrived at the retreat center to serve as an intern for the summer. I thought it was going to be Halachic Jews with intense spiritual lives. At the retreat center I also met a Lesbian woman, who to this day is one of the most compassionate and clearly spiritual people that I know. I also began to pay attention to my own sexuality, and realized that I was not exactly straight. When I left that summer to embark on the Orthodox path, as I described above, I took a seed of Renewal which continuously questioned the “have-to’s” of the more traditional Jewish path. The Renewal seed also created a space of knowing within me that people can be perfectly spiritual and in tune with God outside of the traditional Halachic framework.
After a few years of dancing with these two seemingly opposing Jewish paths, I felt confused. On the one hand, how could I authentically live an Orthodox life when it spurned the amazing people that I had met at the Renewal center (including the part of myself that thrived there) and denied the creative passion of the Renewal perspective? And on the other hand, how could I embrace Renewal when it challenged the comforting rules and legal bindings of the tradition that I grew to love and rely upon? When I met this particular Rabbi, I felt that my struggle was important and that integration was possible. He presented himself as Orthodox, but clearly was engaging in the Renewal perspective and community. It was this fusion that drew me to him – that made him seem as an answer to my struggle.

When I first read one of his books, I was completely entranced – his words represented the Jewish practice of my heart. The textual sources that he referred to were some of my favorite passages and teachings. I had to connect with him, to learn with him. I wanted to know how he resolved living in both Orthodox and Renewal realms of Judaism. I imagined that he transcended this struggle, and thus, there was hope for me to do the same. I believed that he had found a Halachic solution which validated unbounded creative and ecstatic practice within the context of Orthodox Judaism.

I wrote him a long letter, sharing my life story and my current struggles and I waited anxiously and excitedly for a response. At first I received a letter from his then-wife, who told me that the Rabbi was busy traveling but would get back to me later that month. Finally, after much waiting for this sacred connection, I received an email from the Rabbi himself. It was a very brief email. Though for me, it was concentrated with meaning and understanding. The Rabbi invited me to come learn with him in a Jewish camp and potentially to join his ordination program.

Fast forward about 2 years later, I am living and working in a community center in Israel, of which my Rabbi is the director and lead teacher. I was living a paradise picture of existence. The house was on a road that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea, with a small brick oven bakery and locally supplied produce vendor right down the road. Students from all walks of life visited daily to learn Torah from the Rabbi. On Friday nights we would conduct dynamic and ecstatic services with over 100 Israelis – singing and dancing, laughing and crying. I was loved and supported by this community. I grew in my ability to have presence in a group and to be a community facilitator. While my relationship with the community members was nurturing, I began to have serious doubts about my Rabbi’s behavior.

First there was the emphasis on secrecy in the community. The Rabbi taught that as a spiritual community we should restrain from Lashon Harah (Speaking about Others). While this is a valuable ethic to have within any community, I later realized that the Rabbi used this teaching to ultimately discourage members of the community to talk about their relationship with him. The degree of secrecy felt like a dark shroud, where I was cautious to share valid concerns fearing that he would find out. The Rabbi always seemed to find out what was said between community members where he was concerned. Some of the loyal members of the community were used like spies, where he might ask seemingly benign or playful questions about what someone said. He desired to know everything that occurred between community members – whether platonic, professional, or romantic.

Second, the Rabbi always put his vision first, regardless of how this might impact the well-being of those around him. I was able to see now how the Rabbi used tactics of manipulation to coax people to work for him. Even if these relationships turned sour, the Rabbi seemed to be unrelenting. This involved bartering a community member’s technical services for a conversion to Judaism that would never come, and sustaining a toxic working relationship with a community member that involved frequent shouting matches. Additionally, the Rabbi showed no concern for his own well-being. He seemed to work constantly through the night, obsessively checking e-mail and working on publications. On several nights I would be woken up in the middle of the night because he needed another phone when his cordless phone would lose power.

Related to this last point, the Rabbi seemed to try to usurp power from other community leaders by openly disrespecting them in front of their community members. For example, when an elderly Eastern meditation teacher came to our community center for a debate, the Rabbi made him wait more than a hour before greeting him. He was not necessarily doing anything of dire importance, simply working on emails and publications. When confronted by the teacher’s students about his behavior the Rabbi casually dismissed their concerns. On another similar occasion the Rabbi was angry that another community leader was given the same kind of chair that he sat on because it made them look like equals. At the same meeting he accused the entire community of acting selfishly because their spiritual practice involved meditation. The Rabbi claimed that this practice did nothing for the benefit of the Jewish people and was thus an improper focus for their community.

The last point of major concern for me was that the Rabbi’s past was littered with accusations of sexual misconduct. The Rabbi mostly denied that the stories were true and tried to discredit them by defaming the people that told these stories. On a few occasions, the Rabbi was unable to counter the claims and admitted to his wrong doings, though shifted the blame to the victim. He often talked about the danger of getting stuck in the role of victim. I now speculate that his rants against victimization was his way of minimizing the hurt he had caused other people.

With much trepidation and uncertainty, I decided to leave the community. The Rabbi expressed a lot of anger about my decision. He scolded, “What about me?” It was hearing this response that convinced me that I had made the right decision. As a sincere and caring teacher the Rabbi should have been more attuned to my pain and concern rather then solely focusing on how this would effect his work. About one month after I left, the news broke that the Rabbi was sexually engaged with many of his female students. Finally, the silence was broken and his sexual escapades were revealed. The Rabbi, facing legal charges, decided to flee to the United States.

There was much concern for the women that the Rabbi had hurt by the larger Jewish communities that supported him over the years. Their stories were documented and the Rabbi was banned from teaching in most of the Jewish world. Though I was not manipulated into having sex with the Rabbi, I experienced psychological manipulation and after-effects from my contact with the Rabbi. As I spent time away from the community, I slowly became aware that I was being controlled by my teacher. The Rabbi would read my e-mails and respond to them as if he were me. I learned to talk like him and think like him and took on his work ethic, working many days from 8am to midnight. I think it was my need for attention and love that was the tool he used to keep me engaged in his vision. And, of course the fact that I admired his deep teachings and stated relationship to Judaism. Towards the end of my term working with him, I increasingly second-guessed my own thoughts and concerns about him. I was not able to trust my own power of reason when it concluded that my hero was a dangerous person. I began to discredit my mind in order to stay in his favor and not to rock the boat of my own fantasy. Luckily, I had a conversation with a friend who broke through and gave me permission to listen to my gut and heart.

The most noticeable after-effect was that I became seriously weary of most Rabbis and secular teachers, especially charismatic leaders in positions of power. I shut myself off from school professors and neighborhood Rabbis that might have been positive influences on my path. I was left completely to my own devices when it came to making spiritual and religious decisions. Though, I am ultimately grateful for the lesson learned, namely, that I need to be my own Rabbi, it came at a price of my trust for others.

I decided to write this article for two reasons. The first is that I felt neglected from the lifting up and healing that was extended to the sexual victims of the Rabbi. The message I received was that since the women were physically manipulated they experienced the brunt of his ill-will. Thus, no one reached out to me to help me heal from the psychological and emotional damage that I suffered through. Second, when I shared this story with some friends, they failed to see what was really wrong in the situation. “If the sex was consensual between two adults, what is the big deal?” I am writing this to educate the public to the emotional and psychological trauma that is caused by clergy abuse and manipulation, even in the absence of sex, and to affirm that the abuse of power through dishonesty, secrecy, and manipulation was the true crime. The luring of multiple women into sexual relationships under false pretenses was a heinous symptom, while the root of the problem was the insatiable quench for power.

It has been important for me to reflect on how I approach clergy. What do I look for as a consumer of spiritual guidance in a teacher? I have come up with a short list of items that have stemmed from contemplating my experience and short-sightedness with my Rabbi.

1.The allure of secrecy and the inner circle. As stated above an ethic of not speaking about other people is a positive community practice. It makes sense that in spiritual work, one should be mindful of one’s judgments of others and that an effort is sometimes needed to protect the private life of others by not divulging personal information. Leading with that caveat, it is also important that there should not be a sense that the community leader is being protected by an inner circle. A leader’s time and attention should not be bought with favors, and access to spiritual teachings and rituals should also never be made a commodity. The leader should rely on strict personal boundaries to ensure equal treatment of anyone seeking guidance. And related to this, is that the teacher should be aware that he or she cannot be the guide of everyone who knocks. Humility should be shown in sometimes saying, “No, I can’t help.”
2.Honest inquiry into relationships. Righteous relationships, whether platonic, romantic, or sexual, are a challenge to any human being. A spiritual teacher need not be perfect in relationships, namely because, who can really set the standard for perfection. Whether the Rabbi is in a magnanimous marriage or in an open-relationship with community members is not the point. Politics aside, what is most important is that the teacher own up to his or her way of life. Straight, gay, or bisexual, the leader’s personal life should not be locked in an impenetrable closet. As we learn from the Talmud, “Gam ze Torah!” (This too is Torah) The spiritual guide teaches through the way he or she lives his or her life, including who and how many he or she takes to bed. As a good friend reminded me, heterosexual monogamy is also a statement of sexual activity and sexual preference. Your teacher should not be afraid to struggle openly with relationships and be truthful about their relationship ethics.
3.Beware of the littered past. Any person who is honest with themselves will find some interaction where they regret their behavior. Most people become aware of, admit to, and take responsibility for their faults. In Judaism, we strongly believe in Teshuvah (repentance) – the ability for an individual to make up for their deeds by learning from the past and acting differently in the future. Obviously, community leaders too are privy to wrongdoing and repentance. There should be room for Rabbis to make mistakes and be forgiven by the larger community. Thus, a teacher who has engaged in sexual misconduct in the past and other abuses of power can change and should be supported by the larger community to engage in the personal and public work of change. Keeping the idea of Teshuvah in mind, a student should pay attention to the negative stories and rumors that might be floating around about their teacher. As an informed consumer a student should feel comfortable to ask a teacher about their past. It is important to know if rumors are true or not. If they are not true, then it is important to know why the rumors exist. If the stories of abuses of power are true, then a teacher should be able to map out their process of change. A Rabbi’s personal transformation is a rich tool that a student should have access to – “Gam Ze Torah!” What should not happen is that rumors are simply ignored with naivete, nor should they become part of the teacher’s secret vault.
Through my journey of being sucked in by charisma and subsequently jaded to trust any similar teacher, I have come to believe that having a mentor is necessary along the spiritual path and the selection of a teacher should be done with great discernment and caution. You might even say that choosing a Rabbi is in itself a spiritual challenge. We must reach a place of inner confidence to be open to truly knowing the potential teacher as an equal first, and then we make a choice to humble ourselves as students with an awareness that our teacher too is flawed. We have to be ready to learn equally from our teachers’ strengths and fallacies.

Perhaps this is a deeper understanding to the Jewish addage, “Asseh Lecha Rav,” (Make for yourself a teacher.) The term Rav can mean teacher or greater. Thus, the phrase can be translated as, Make to yourself greater, meaning, create a relationship for yourself where you hold someone as greater than you are. In conclusion, the student should always be in control of this power dynamic. He or she chooses to see the teacher as greater in some way, and simultaneously evaluates the relationship because the student is inspired by the teacher towards greater authentic living.

-------------
Comments
MK: December 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm
“I felt neglected from the lifting up and healing that was extended to the sexual victims of the Rabbi.”
This is such an important point, and it becomes particularly so when the response of the accused is try and discredit the victims, as though that somehow would absolve him from the harm done to the targeted victims and to the community at large who put their trust in his leadership.

Reply
Krn says: December 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm
Thank you so much for this insightful and courageous report. Although the article does not identify him by name — and though it will be obvious to many – I think it’s important for everyone to know that the rabbi being discussed is Mordechai Marc Gafni.
The laws of lashon hara must not be used to keep abuse from being reported. Too many people have been exploited and damaged over the years by Gafni’s ultimately self-serving behaviors for the truth about how he operates to be kept hidden.
Although after every scandal he finds a way to dismiss the accusations and attract new followers, more and more people in positions of leadership are distancing themselves from him. See this link for a report on his most recent abuses and public responses:
[integral-options.blogspot.com]

Reply
K says: December 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm
Kol hakavod to you, Zvi, for your brave truth-telling. There is deep healing there. And this behavior has occurred in every denomination in Judaism, as well as in other faith communities. We have a communal opportunity, and a responsibility, to break silences, to tell our stories, to hold one another accountable, and to heal together.

Reply
Julie says: December 16, 2011 at 9:35 am
Thank you, Zvi, for sharing this important and personal story.

Reply
SPR says: December 16, 2011 at 9:55 am
Such a sad, important article. It can be so difficult to sort through the difference between charisma, which so many clergy have and which can be used in a holy way, and manipulation. Brave, honest writing.

Reply
KLsays: December 16, 2011 at 10:02 am
Thank you for this very moving piece. I’m so glad that you are speaking out about this experience. Congratulations on your writing — I think it will really move this important conversation forward.

Reply
William Harryman says: December 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm
Thank you for sharing your story – I am familiar with Gafni’s actions from others (both in Israel and the U.S.), but this is the first time I am aware of that one of his former male students has spoken out – it’s important that you added your voice to the chorus of women who have been heard. And it’s important that people understand that it’s about power, manipulation, and control – not sex. Blessings!

Reply
AJW says: December 16, 2011 at 4:56 pm
I appreciate the honesty in this piece. When inappropriate sexual relations have occurred, no one gives much thought to the other victims of manipulation, especially if they are male (and one can see why, at first). But this opens that discussion. All can fall victims to charismatic, manipulative leaders, no matter their gender, or whether they’re having sex with them or not. It’s easy to forget that.

Reply
Vrnda devi dasi says: December 17, 2011 at 9:16 am
Thank you, Zvi, for re-focusing us on the underlying issue, the self-centred manipulation, of which the sexual aspect is one symptom. Hopefully, through articles like yours, healing assistance will also be offered to the survivors who experienced the non-sexual aspects of this abuse.

The survivors of sexual abuse have also suffered the spiritual betrayal you have so powerfully outlined, and hopefully active responses to all survivors will include healing for that aspect as well as for the sexual manipulation and betrayal.

I also really appreciated your analysis on Asseh Lecha Rav—and would go one further to say, when choosing a teacher, make sure he/she has put him/herself under the authority of a teacher. Anyone who thinks himself the ultimate authority is dangerous.

Thank you for sharing that part of your journey! May others benefit from hearing it!

Reply
Jen says: December 19, 2011 at 11:23 am
Thank you so much for this brave and illuminating piece, Zvi!
Conversation on the topic continues here:
[integral-options.blogspot.com]
Reply

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 24, 2011 06:17AM

[integral-options.blogspot.com]

Tikkun - Zvi Bellin Recounts His Experience as Marc Gafni's Student in Israel
----------
In my efforts to bring awareness to the integral community of the dangers Marc Gafni poses, I have often tried to include men in the discussion as well - the issue as I see it is not about sex, it is about power and control. The women who have related their stories to me have made this point, as well.

For the most part, however, the only visible victims (Gafni seriously dislikes the use of "victim" for the people he has used/abused because it automatically makes him a perpetrator, by definition, and he is seriously invested in not taking responsibility for what he does) have been the women he has slept with. Many others have also pointed out that men are abused as his students, as well, but this is the first time I have seen a personal statement by one of his former male students.

The fact that the article appears on the Tikkun website adds considerable weight to the account - Tikkun is one of the finest progressive Jewish magazines available.

In his article, Zvi Bellin does not mention Gafni by name - he is referred to as "the Rabbi" and in one section Bellin discusses the emphasis Gafni placed on Lashon Harah (Speaking about Others) as something that must never happen in his community. Essentially, Gafni demanded a vow of silence as a way to prevent the members of the community from discovering his actions. It's significant that all these years later, Bellin still does not name Gafni directly.

I have no issue with naming Gafni as the subject of the article, nor does one of the commentors.

It's a pretty long article and I really want readers to go there and read all of it, so I am only posting a snippet from the beginning and some pieces of the more important passages.

“Asseh Lecha Rav”: A Journey Through Clergy Abuse
by: Zvi Bellin on December 13th, 2011
Several years ago I thought I met the Rabbi of my dreams. He identified as Orthodox and also purported a deep spiritual life. He appeared warm and accepting and he seemed to understand my struggle to figure out how I can blend Judaism with the needs of my personal spirituality.
And here are a few of the key passages:

I was loved and supported by this community. I grew in my ability to have presence in a group and to be a community facilitator. While my relationship with the community members was nurturing, I began to have serious doubts about my Rabbi’s behavior.



First there was the emphasis on secrecy in the community. The Rabbi taught that as a spiritual community we should restrain from Lashon Harah (Speaking about Others). While this is a valuable ethic to have within any community, I later realized that the Rabbi used this teaching to ultimately discourage members of the community to talk about their relationship with him. The degree of secrecy felt like a dark shroud, where I was cautious to share valid concerns fearing that he would find out.
* * * * * * *

Second, the Rabbi always put his vision first, regardless of how this might impact the well-being of those around him. I was able to see now how the Rabbi used tactics of manipulation to coax people to work for him. Even if these relationships turned sour, the Rabbi seemed to be unrelenting. This involved bartering a community member’s technical services for a conversion to Judaism that would never come, and sustaining a toxic working relationship with a community member that involved frequent shouting matches. Additionally, the Rabbi showed no concern for his own well-being. He seemed to work constantly through the night, obsessively checking e-mail and working on publications.
* * * * * * *

Related to this last point, the Rabbi seemed to try to usurp power from other community leaders by openly disrespecting them in front of their community members. For example, when an elderly Eastern meditation teacher came to our community center for a debate, the Rabbi made him wait more than a hour before greeting him. He was not necessarily doing anything of dire importance, simply working on emails and publications. When confronted by the teacher’s students about his behavior the Rabbi casually dismissed their concerns. On another similar occasion the Rabbi was angry that another community leader was given the same kind of chair that he sat on because it made them look like equals.
* * * * * * *

The last point of major concern for me was that the Rabbi’s past was littered with accusations of sexual misconduct. The Rabbi mostly denied that the stories were true and tried to discredit them by defaming the people that told these stories. On a few occasions, the Rabbi was unable to counter the claims and admitted to his wrong doings, though shifted the blame to the victim. He often talked about the danger of getting stuck in the role of victim. I now speculate that his rants against victimization was his way of minimizing the hurt he had caused other people.
* * * * * * *

Finally, the silence was broken and his sexual escapades were revealed. The Rabbi, facing legal charges, decided to flee to the United States.



There was much concern for the women that the Rabbi had hurt by the larger Jewish communities that supported him over the years. Their stories were documented and the Rabbi was banned from teaching in most of the Jewish world. Though I was not manipulated into having sex with the Rabbi, I experienced psychological manipulation and after-effects from my contact with the Rabbi. As I spent time away from the community, I slowly became aware that I was being controlled by my teacher. The Rabbi would read my e-mails and respond to them as if he were me. I learned to talk like him and think like him and took on his work ethic, working many days from 8am to midnight. I think it was my need for attention and love that was the tool he used to keep me engaged in his vision. And, of course the fact that I admired his deep teachings and stated relationship to Judaism. Towards the end of my term working with him, I increasingly second-guessed my own thoughts and concerns about him. I was not able to trust my own power of reason when it concluded that my hero was a dangerous person. I began to discredit my mind in order to stay in his favor and not to rock the boat of my own fantasy. Luckily, I had a conversation with a friend who broke through and gave me permission to listen to my gut and heart.
Gafni's seriously messed up behavior is documented here in ways I have not seen before, although many of us know that this is how he operates (as described by the female students whose stories have been given more importance). Manipulation and control are seriously detrimental to everyone, as Bellin describes here.

I hope all current and potential students of Gafni read this article and question their motivations for working with him and whether or not doing so is the best thing for their spiritual growth
----------
comments

19 comments:
Joe Perez said...
Bill,

I'm reluctant to get into another back and forth with you on Marc Gafni because I know your mind is made up and heart is hardened against the man.

I would simply ask of your readers to exercise discernment. This is much ado about nothing, and anyone who reads the piece careful can see that for themselves. What it plainly recounts are events that seem pretty ordinary to me, the sort of usual politics and personality conflicts that happen in just about any religious community. But they are twisted through a poisonous hermeneutic of hate for the man, written by a man who is best friends (I have heard it said) with the two women who have made provably false complaints against Marc in Israel and coordinated their efforts with this hit-piece in an ongoing attempt to smear him. They've sure pulled you into their web of maliciousness.

First, there is the issue of "secrecy." I have personally experienced Marc to value very highly containing containers of trust and trying to ensure the emotional safety of everyone involved. This much is true. The same sort of thing is done in 12-step meetings and all the men's work containers I've been involved with. Perhaps Marc took it overboard, maybe not. It's pretty ordinary, and only when painted with this prism of hostile suspicion does it begin to sound sordid.

Secondly, there is the allegation that he always put his vision out there for people to hear, and that he is very persuasive and persistent, or "unrelenting" as the man puts it. I've experienced Marc's persistence first-hand, and I just pushed back and he respected every difference of opinion I had. Marc is incredibly respectful and honoring of differences, and even when he disagreed he did so lovingly and kindly. Frankly the author of the article sounds emotionally weak and stuck in a victim mentality, suffering from the Weakling archetype as we say in the men's work community. How else do you explain that he felt "abused" by a man stating his views firmly, and now he seeks empowerment by self-righteously exposing him with this sort of weak soup of complaints.

Thirdly, there is the allegation that Marc disrespected other people in front of his congregation. Big wup. What priest, minister, or rabbi hasn't done something like that which could be painted in a negative light by someone who is disgruntled? Really! Is this ALL the guy has on Gafni? Is this the WORST he can say about the man? Listen to the stuff people say about him, and if you strip away the "Poor me. I've been abused because someone had a strong personality and wanted a container of privacy" schtick and it's really not bad, nothing unusual that you couldn't find in any religious community anywhere with a handful of vocal disgruntled people.

4:40 PM
Joe Perez said...
[continued]

Fourthly, the author of the vicious attack says what I think is the real truth. He has heard rumors and allegations of supposedly terrible things Marc has done in his past, and this soured his whole experience with him. This is false. He is best friends with the two women and obviously coordinated this with them. He probably got Tikkun to run the piece on the promise of doing it without naming the rabbi, and then one of the women pipes up to give Marc's name, because they're on a crusade against him.

Okay, I hear the guy. Narc's been on the receiving end of some incredibly nasty and vitriolic things written about him on the Internet mostly by ex-lovers and one or two documentedly mentally unhinged women.

Marc probably would not speak ill of these women publicly, though I kind of wish he would. He tries to stay above this sort of thing because engaging these crazed people will just throw fuel to the fire. I will say frankly I have looked into their history and they are sick. You are aiding and abetting them.

I could go into the reasons why you are doing so, as best I can guess, and why they are doing so, but this reply has already gone on longer than is merited by the article. There's nothing interesting here to see, except a great postmodern example of Internet gossip blogs and rumor mills at their worst. Very sad and unfortunate, not so much for Marc Gafni, but for everyone whose reputations are susceptible to this sort of grotesque attack.

~ Joe Perez

Link to Marc Gafni's point of view and documents from others who have reviewed the material on the false allegations:

[www.marcgafni.com]

4:41 PM
Malka said...
Thank you for posting this, Bill. I've known Gafni for about ten years and every point Zvi made rings true, resonating perfectly with my experiences, as well as with every person I know who's studied or taught with him.
There is good reason why this man has hundreds of enemies and not a single long-time friend or follower (really, how disturbing a record is that for a spiritual teacher?); everyone who is initially enamored by his charisma becomes inevitably disillusioned once the disturbing truth of who he is emerges.
I'm sure Gafni is frantically trying to downplay the significance of this article, likely framing Zvi as yet another "crazy" and "jealous" perpetrator of "malicious" false complaints against him (his favorite words). Actually, the article comes across as incredibly sane and credible.
At this point, with the weight of evidence so stacked against him from so many credible people over so many years, the only "craziness" would be in believing Gafni's version of events.

6:50 PM
Anonymous said...
Joe Perez: Gafni has left a trail of destruction behind him now for over 30 years! 30 years of victims in multiple communities! Starting from inappropriate sexual activity with minors in his twenties, through the destruction he left in Boca Raton as a congregational Rabbi (sleeping with married congregants!!!), through his multiple failed marriages and abandoned children, sexual and financial improprieties at Minad (they took out a public ad severing ties with him!) and other places of employment, the abuses that took place at his little community in Jaffa that led him to flee Israel, on to the current violation of seducing a woman seeking counseling while going through a divorce, can this all be 30 years of persecution from "postmodern examples of Internet gossip blogs and rumor mills at their worst"? 30 years of abuse, in many different settings (from Orthodox Rabbi to New Age "guru") in multiple countries? An Israeli journalist sent to cover the story wrote that he tried to hit on her during the interview and started touching her inappropriately!!! 30 years of this!!!

9:14 PM
Anonymous said...
Wow, Joe. How long have you known Marc Gafni? A few months maybe? And how much time have you spent talking to former students of his? Obviously not much, to make a statement like "I will say frankly I have looked into their history and they are sick." What exactly does "sick" mean? And does "looking into their history" mean actually talking to them and to people who know them well, or does it mean allowing Gafni to sway you into believing his distortions and lies?

Before you continue embarrassing yourself, you may want to start acting like a real journalist and get more information from the other side. Talk to some of the many people who previously did the task that you're now the only one duped enough to be playing: discounting the continuous and widespread accusations against Gafni and attempting to discredit his numerous accusers. Talk to Saul Berman, Joseph Telushkin, Arthur Waskow, Zalman Schachter, Kelly Bearer, Robb Smith, Diane Hamilton, John Dupuy, Tami Simon, Gabriel Cousens, Gershon Winkler, Rocky Anderson, Mary Lanier, so many others...all seriously disillusioned former supporters. Talk to his former Bayit Chadash board members and community members, to his many ex-wives and sexual partners, before you continue to defend someone on issues that you clearly know nothing about.

The one point I will concede is that, yes, Zvi Bellin's article is actually relatively mild...that is, compared to the much more serious abuses experienced by so many others from this man. But your attempts (undoubtably incited by Gafni operating behind-the-scenes) to belittle Zvi's very real suffering demonstrate a disconcerting lack of compassion and lack of awareness of the psychological and spiritual damage caused by abusive religious leaders.

It's over, Joe; the karma has hit the fan. There's actually nothing you can do that will change Gafni's downward trajectory. My advice to you? Walk away. Take it from the many who've been there long before you...this is not someone you will want to be associated with in the long run.

9:21 PM
Joe Perez said...
Sorry but I will not reply to anonymous attack/comments from persons who are almost certainly one & the same as the two women who have been pursuing this awful Internet vendetta for all these years. From what I can tell, a substantial amount of the anti-Gafni hate comments are spread by one or two individuals posting under multiple aliases, trying to disguise their identity.

Whatever the case may be, there's nothing in these allegations that warrants more of my time on this blog, and in time I'll take up this topic again but in my own forum not this one.

10:19 PM
Anonymous said...
When I first heard that Marc Gafni had re-invented himself in the New Age community and was now married and expecting another child, I gave my prediction to an acquaintance who also new Marc Gafni as to how long he would last before self-destructing again. My time frame was that he could hold out until the child was at least 2, but not past 5 years.

I was wrong. Apparently, he couldn't even last through the pregnancy.

4:58 PM
Anonymous said...
Throw and duck out. Nice one Joe.

10:32 PM
Anonymous said...
Joe, that's false. I'm the first anonymous of the two, and am a male, and trust me, having been around Gafni for many years, there are hundreds of people who know of the full history, just walk into the Yeshiva University lunchroom, or anywhere in Katamon (Jerusalem), and you'll hear tales of Gafni. Zvi Bellin is certainly not one of the "one or two" women, and neither are any of the rest of us. See the reality, a 30+ year trail of destruction left behind as his personal "soul print".

10:57 PM
Anonymous said...
bravo wiiliam that you keep reminding everybody about this "spiritual" conman.
these kind of snakeoil peddlers need to be esposed as hard as possible as often as posible till they stop their irresponsible behaviour. where there is smoke there is fire and where there is 30 years of smoke trail their is a big fire . thats for sure. keep up the good work, willie

4:35 AM
Anonymous said...
Folks, everyone should leave poor Joe Perez alone. Marc Gafni's lack of integrity has been indisputable for years, but people like Joe are on their own journey. No matter how obvious the many facts and testimonials are, he won't wake up from his delusion until he's ready.

For Joe, from the book "The Guru Question," words of wisdom said by Lee Lozowick to Mariana Caplan (to whom they also apply!):

"You will attract the experiences you need. You will learn what you need to learn. If you need to learn to be deceived by a charlatan, a charlatan will deceive you. You will learn something and you will go on."

May we all learn what we need to learn...with minimal suffering!

Thank you, William Harryman, for your ongoing clarity and commitment to this important issue.

8:21 PM
Zvi Bellin, Ph.D. said...
Thanks everyone for the comments and support. I only wanted to comment one point that Joe raised. I did not mention Gafni by name in the article because my point was not to further defame him. He is already ruined in the Jewish community and why "beat a dead horse." The article is about what we can learn from this experience.

10:00 PM
Rabbi Michael Lerner said...
I am the editor of Tikkun magazine.
I have no idea that this was about Marc Gafni, nor was this some plan to hurt Gafni or anyone else. We posted this as a general comment on teachers and their manipulations, though as Perez rightly points out, the charges stated in the article could have been used against many many other teachers in valuable traditions. In publishing this article, we continue our tradition of publishing a wide variety of perspectives, and I hope Perez posts his response on the Tikkun website's Tikkun Daily blog, so that his perspective can also be heard. In no way do we mean to endorse the articles we send out on that blog--Tikkun's perspective can be read only in the editorials in the print magazine and in the column on our website www.tikkun.org called Editorials and the column on our abiding perspectives.

10:59 AM
Joe Perez said...
Zvi, are you not close friends with the woman who posted a comment on the article using a pseudonym, the woman who named Marc Gafni and linked to defamatory material?

Are you honestly suggesting that you did not coordinate your article with her, and had no knowledge of her intent to defame Gafni by name? Did you request that comments naming him be removed from the article?

Surely you knew that your close friend would add Marc's name as a comment as soon as your article was published. Your claim that you did not name his is literally true, but you cannot be absolved of moral responsibility on a technicality.

11:23 AM
Anonymous said...
For the record, I am the person who identified Marc Gafni by name. Contrary to what Joe Perez has been told by Gafni, Zvi Bellin is not my "close friend." The truth is, I have never met or spoken to or ever had any contact with the guy. I stumbled upon his article while reading the Tikkun blog and felt morally obligated to identify who was clearly being discussed.

I would not have done so if Marc Gafni had taken even a tiny bit of responsibility for his unethical behaviors, or if he wasn't still trying to attract followers through deception and seduction. Even though he is, as Zvi mentioned, "ruined" in the Jewish world, and I would add, in the Integral world and far beyond, he is still dangerous and should be kept from vulnerable students as much as possible.
Gafni continues to discount and frame his scandals as being just about sex and "consensual relationships"; Zvi's article contributes a valuable tool for limiting future harm by demonstrating, as Bill points out, that Gafni's abuse is really about power and control, causing suffering well beyond the many women he slept with.

3:00 PM
Joe Perez said...
Anonymous:

I don't know who you are. Your name is "Anonymous." On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog (as they say).

I am biting my tongue so as not to indulge this completely empty article of Zvi's with more attention. But in conclusion, it has not escaped my notice that the anonymous haters on the comment boxes cannot defend the false sexual allegations as true, nor has there ever been any compelling evidence of any notable sexual impropriety, and so notice how the haters handle this. They change the subject to the allegation that this is really about power and manipulation. They can't prove any of the sex charges, so they turn to Gafni's strong personality, persistence, charisma, and dynamic leadership style ... and say it's abusive and manipulative.

Read Zvi's piece closely, see for yourself how utterly empty it is, and how truly pathetic it is that he has signed his name to a piece charging a Rabbi of "abuse" because of such horrible crimes as keeping some guests waiting longer than Zvi thought was polite. It's ridiculous.

~ Joe Perez

1:30 AM
William Yenner said... (A former resident of Andrew Cohen's longsuffering community and author of American Guru.
Hi Bill,

I've read "A Journey Through Clergy Abuse" by Zvi Bellin with interest. I noted that Michael Lerner seemed to take a more positive response to the expose of Gafni in this recent post than he did in an earlier criticism written by Be Scofield and posted on Tikkun, which mentions Andrew Cohen, Marc Gafni and several other "integral" teachers. That post lasted only a few hours before Lerner removed it.

Here's the link to my coverage of that episode: [americanguru.net]

Though Lerner states that "we continue our tradition of publishing a wide variety of perspectives", it looks like the tradition hasn't always been consistently applied.

William Yenner
December 21, 2011

8:09 PM
Dafna said...
Dear Joe,

My name is Dafna, and I am one of the women you are mistakenly referring to. We have never spoken or met, and I would really appreciate if you would kindly abstain from posting conspiracy theories about my or other people’s involvement in this, and speaking ill about them in public.

I am indeed a dear friend of Zvi’s, and I do share his perspective and much of his personal experience.
With this said, I am sorry to disappoint you: there is no evil networking, no teaming up, to destroy Mordechai.

This article was about Zvi’s personal experience, not about defaming Gafni.
Zvi did not share or coordinate this article with me or anyone else.
I first read it, as you did, when it was published.
This article was about Zvi’s personal experience, not about defaming Gafni.
Zvi did not share or coordinate this article with me or anyone else.
I first read it, as you did, when it was published.

I also didn’t leave any anonymous comments or mentioned Gafni’s name.
To be more exact, I’ve abstained (as many others did) all these years from speaking publicly about him.

I am very glad and proud that Zvi shared his experience and extended the conversation from its limited focus on sexual abuse towards women, to what it is really: power and spiritual abuse.

Joe, no one is investing any energy or time in “destroying” Gafni.
I am sorry to say that he does a pretty good job of that, all by himself.

The person responsible for this constant deep pain and mess in Mordechai’s life is Mordechai.

I feel sorry and sad that after all these many years; instead of taking responsibility for his actions, apologizing, and receiving help, he is still haunted by the same paranoid and narcissistic conception(which is also used as his main defense), that evil and jealous people are trying to destroy him.

I spent years defending Gafni, exactly like you are doing right now.
And nothing that anyone said to me, could convince me otherwise, or move me from my firm position.
It took me many years and much pain to gain clearness.

None of the people, who shared about their painful experiences of Gafni, are crazy or evil. They do not speak out with the intention to humiliate him. They are all good and decent people, who were once his closest friends, who cared and loved him, and who tried for years and years to help him and defend him in hope that he will change his ways.

I bless you Joe, that your journey will be shorter and less painful then mine, and I wish Mordechai many healing blessings and that he will seek much needed help.

Dafna

6:50 AM
Anonymous said...
Thank you Zvi for your truth-telling and poignant article and Dafna for your eloquent and caring response

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 27, 2011 11:36PM

Language Games

Quote

The last point of major concern for me was that the Rabbi’s past was littered with accusations of sexual misconduct. The Rabbi mostly denied that the stories were true and tried to discredit them by defaming the people that told these stories. On a few occasions, the Rabbi was unable to counter the claims and admitted to his wrong doings, though shifted the blame to the victim. He often talked about the danger of getting stuck in the role of victim. I now speculate that his rants against victimization was his way of minimizing the hurt he had caused other people.
and

Quote

For the most part, however, the only visible victims (Gafni seriously dislikes the use of "victim" for the people he has used/abused because it automatically makes him a perpetrator, by definition, and he is seriously invested in not taking responsibility for what he does)

When an important term (used in law and journalism) such as 'victim' is removed from a discussion, it becomes exceedingly difficult to discuss the topic with the necessary precision.

One could try substituting 'target' or 'mark' for 'victim'.

However, 'target' or 'mark' do not always convey the dimension of betray and suffering as the term 'victim' does.

And that too is an attraction of certain types of nondual philosophy--the ones which deny any inherant reality to the human person, any inherant reality to the status of 'powerholder' 'aggressor' vs 'victim'.

If anyone tries to remove the term 'victim' from the vocabulary used to discuss a situation, it is good to find out the following:

1) Does the person who wants us to omit using the term 'victim' have a personal and vested interest in defending/ratioinalizing the actions of the powerholder whose troubled record is being discussed--and exposed for objective scrutiny by the public?

2) Is the person who wants us to omit the term 'victim' capable of agreeing that it is possible for a powerholder (especially a guru ) capable of making a mistake or misusing his or her power?

If the person cannot or will not agree that it is even hypothetically possible for a guru or powerholder to be mistaken or do wrong--this person will thus have a psychological need to omit any use of the term 'victim' a need that is not based on adult logic and that cannot be resolved through discussion.



What is interesting is that many others also dislike the term victim and engage in victim bashing.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 30, 2011 12:23AM

Small excerpts from a long and very interesting article by Joe Szimart

Its worth examining the aesthetic in Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen's products including the websites and the artists favored by them.

Quote

I thought I was into something new, into a cutting edge revelation that required submission first to achieve clarification with deep understanding coming later.

In subsequent years I learned that most if not all the “new” religious ideas that so intrigued and attracted me were recycled notions re-presented in modern drag or, if you will, a current aesthetic.

Cults continue to reinvent the wheels of human spirituality and too often repeat the mistakes of old and harmful group formations. I also learned that what appears first as a precious opportunity to transform my soul, if that were even possible, can easily convert to a cult of endless submission and mindless ritual. The wheels merely ran in ruts around and around one leader’s grandiose claims. She wore the crown of the Mother of the Universe! She had the stamp of an ascended host on her metaphysical curriculum vitae! She was the most valuable person living on the planet! Was I willing to pay for the privilege of serving her mission with all I had and with my very life?

and

Quote

Roerich and Gurdjieff inferred that they were specially chosen by some higher power yet all that their disciples had for proof was the guru’s word and a devotee’s personal experience of charisma. Is the lesson here about what we do for our art and not about what our gurus do for our art?

The lesson for me from the cult experience as an artist is complicated. I can no more blame a group’s influence for my lack of creativity or success as an artist than I can blame my career as an exit counselor or mental health professional.

Cults like careers take up a lot of time.

I still exhibit a few paintings a year and attract a commission or win an award now and then but my income from art is negligible. The great artists are not distracted from their quest by jobs and family matters much less by quirky cults. Art is their job notwithstanding cultic influences.

The damage I think occurs more often to sensitive artists who are either early in their creative careers or struggling to establish an oeuvre or art identity.

If a struggling artist buys into the notion that a group or guru’s techniques and influence are necessary for a personal transformation to find one’s artistic identity, then the possibilities of restricting a creative career increase.


Options: ReplyQuote
Re: International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: December 30, 2011 12:24AM

URL for this article here:

[jszimhart.com]

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: Martin Gifford ()
Date: January 12, 2012 04:22PM

Ken Wilber took time off to deliberate on the recent Marc Gafni sex scandal. He has now written in support of Gafni, saying that Gafni's recent move to see a therapist "makes him an even more gifted teacher":

[www.ievolve.org]

The Center for World Spirituality has also given Gafni "unequivocal support":

[www.ievolve.org]

Another Integralist, Joe Perez calls for closure:

[joe-perez.com]

Gafni himself has written for "closure" on the issue:

[www.ievolve.org]

My response to all this is here:

[worldwidehappiness.blogspot.com]

Options: ReplyQuote
Current Page: 18 of 29


Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.