Fans of "Eat, Pray, Love" may be surprised to learn that this woman who spent months in daily prayer and yoga no longer meditates very much. "I'm not a monk. And it was really clear to me, even in that moment, that if you want this, all of the time, this extremely poignant and pungent esoteric religious experience, this must be what you dedicate your life to, you know... And I don't belong in that. I don't belong in a monastery, you know, I belong, I belong in the world." Gilbert's found a new sort of divinity, she said, in the daily, dirt-under-the-nails divinity of marriage.
The reason the deal fell through? According to what seems to be Cooper’s only public remarks on the subject: At the last minute, Hyperion asked him to make it racier, he told the New York Post’s Page Six. "I set out to write about how, in the wake of a devastating and unexpected divorce, I slowly rebuilt my life by redoubling my already decades-long commitment to humanitarian relief and human rights work,” he said. “In the end, it seemed to me that Hyperion hoped to push the book in a more controversial direction—something I was unwilling to do.”
A few minutes of archived audio footage reveal a telling glimpse into Cooper and Gilbert’s relationship. In 1998, before the divorce and the book, the pair recorded a segment for PRI’s “This American Life,” for an episode dedicated to financial windfalls.
Early on, they tell host Ira Glass how they met. (Gilbert was a bartender in Manhattan’s Village, and Cooper was a patron one evening. When he ran out of cash, she lent him ten bucks.) But the meat of the segment focuses on their wedding.
After acquiring $10,000, Gilbert wanted to save the money—Cooper wanted to spend it on their nuptials. They fought over it and cried over it, and they eventually decided to go for the fancier affair. “In many ways, Michael is always just what I needed,” Gilbert says, “as far as showing you what’s more important than having $10,000 in the bank.”
One other relic of the couple’s marriage seems fitting, in light of recent events. Gilbert’s dedication in her first novel, Stern Men, reads:
“To Michael Cooper—for playing it cool.”
Subj: Another ex delurks (cont'd)
Date: 96-04-27 23:48:30 EDT
Finally, after agonizing indecision, I quit graduate school and EST and moved
into one of GM's ashrams. I had a distinct thought that checking into this
institution voluntarily was far better than being committed to one
involuntarily, a direction I feared I was heading. Even my parents were
mildly supportive (though clearly, if cluelessly, concerned). And my state
did improve somewhat.
Unfortunately, I started to see the ashram as my home instead of a temporary way-station. I went on staff in the kitchen and limited my social life almost entirely to devotees.
I devoured the Correspondence Course.
I took as many courses as possible, and did more than enough seva to win the trust of the management.
I took, assisted, and occasionally taught Hatha Yoga.
I eventually did virtually every seva in the ashram but manage the place.
I think a lot of devotees may have seen me as a model devotee, with the one
annoying tendency of putting down my mind frequently. It took my almost ten
years to discover that this is what I HAD to do to keep myself on the "Siddha
I spent as much time with Gurumayi as possible, even going to India twice to
be around her in the "heartland" of SY. I had some very deep and tranquil
meditations at times. I hoped for the day she might pick me for something
special, bring me into the inner circle somehow, but it never happened. To
the end, I remained a gopher, and my main real satisfaction is that I got
pretty good at it.
The end of my relationship with SY was also precipitated by a nervous
I decided to save money to take the first Month-Long Course in
Ganeshpuri, and my boss at work agreed to allow me to work 12-hour days
towards that end.
A couple months before that summer, I got involved in an
affair with another devotee, and a monkey-wrench was thrown into my plans of sailing into the Month-Long Course and becoming utterly and finally purified
of this nagging sense of wrongness I could never get rid of.
The short-lived affair was unexpectedly stormy, and it continued into the Course because she was also attending it. To make matters worse, we were discussing marriage in India before the course started. I started having the wierd dissociated feeling I had when I was leaving graduate school, like I was living in a bubble of denial that I couldn't break out of.
As the Course dragged on and the Rule of Silence was imposed, I began to fear I could really slip off the deep end, especially after the "secret" install-the-Guru-in-your-body meditation which did NOT feel like a loving thing to do to myself, despite everyone's doe-eyed testimonials to the contrary.
I wrote Gurumayi about what was happening with me and she had her secretary tell me to meet Swami Umeshananda (the former shrink) when I got back to the States, and to do a lot of sports there too. I told everyone I was surprised and relieved at her compassion - I expected her to assign me to garden seva or something...'
It is worth pondering that Gurumayi has not been seen in public for 5 years. For…they are still asking for money.
Gurumayi hiding after installing herself in them is very powerful.
Gurumayi could also just be sick of all those people and wanted to be able to get away from them, while still keeping hold of the organization. Who knows, if she has not been seen, she could even have had face-lifts, and then just do whatever she wants.
But installing herself in their psyche's using advanced techniques, and then vanishing without saying anything is very very diabolical.
She knows if she tells them what she is doing, then it kills the mystery and power. A True Believer might think she is in other dimensions communing with demi-gods, when in reality, she's watching American Idol, or Bollywood Idol, and eating Cheetos, or whatever. (Most Gurus tend to love to watch TV for hours, and the male ones often play video games hours a day...nothing else to do, I guess.)
But the happy story is people can deprogram themselves and do a Guru UNINSTALL. Just do the opposite of what they did before. Kick her out of the body using imagination and self-hypnosis meditation, over and over. Reverse all the processes.
One has to do the same thing with Byron Katie if she is in your mind too. Kick her out using the same methods she installed herself, in reverse.
NEW JERSEY: Eat, Pray, Love….divorce – Elizabeth Gilbert on plotting her exit strategy from her second marriageThe Wall Street Journal had an interesting interview with author Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame, which you can read here. [online.wsj.com] The book has been turned into a movie starring Julia Roberts. The one statement that jumped out at me from the entire interview which was done by Elizabeth’s friend Ann Patchett is this one by Elizabeth:Quote
“As somebody who, in my second marriage, insisted on a prenuptial agreement, I can also testify that sometimes it is an act of love to chart the exit strategy before you enter the union, in order to make sure that not only you, but your partner as well, knows that there will be no World War III should hearts and minds, for any sad reason, change.” Emphasis added.
This remarkable statement comes right after Ms. Gilbert pretty much waxes poetic about marriage in general and her marriage in particular. She says (of marriage), “it is like cockroaches and alligators. Marriage will be here long after humans are gone.” But she also describes marriage with a certain reverence, speaks of it as an institution, the only institution, that gives one instant “power” and “social respectability.” That’s a pretty intense viewpoint she expressed. Yet, she speaks of charting an “exit strategy” from this institution of power and respectability as being an “act of love.”
Here’s another excerpt, a question asked and answered during the interview:Quote
Interviewer: Now that you’re married do you feel you’ve been the recipient of all this gravity?
EG: Yes. You don’t feel it or understand it until you have it. I moved to a small town in rural New Jersey with my husband and the very fact that I could introduce him as my “husband”—rather than my boyfriend, or sweetheart or, God forbid, life partner—meant that we were instantly trusted, instantly welcomed, instantly legitimized. Our marriage was a huge shortcut to social respectability, and there are countless tangible and intangible benefits of that. He and I are rebellious and stubborn enough that we would have foregone those benefits, but now that we have them, they lend us undeniable power.
I wonder whether this “act of love” Elizabeth talks about, i.e., the prenup, is an act love for her partner or whether it is really self-love? I think obviously the prenup is an act of self-love more than it is an act of love for the partner no matter how poetically its proponents push its merits.
And don’t get me wrong, I think it is smart and financially prudent to get a prenup. But to suggest it is an act of love for one’s partner is to be disingenuous. Let’s admit what this thing, this prenup, is: It is an act of self-preservation, an act of self love. Period. It is a way of manipulating those “tangible benefits” of marriage in such a way that you keep more that is yours and your spouse keeps what is theirs and those benefits don’t get too stirred up and redistributed to a spouse who may not have “earned it.”
Further, for all her cavils, I think that in “plotting her exit strategy” before she cloaks herself in all that “power” and “respectability” of marriage, Elizabeth is, in a strange way, really saying that real “power” comes from self-determination; but self-determination is taken away when one gets married. So in order to preserve that self-determination, it is necessary to utilize an apparatus like a prenuptial agreement. Essentially, what she says in the subtext is that the prenup legitimizes the right of the individual to remain self-determined, independent (emotionally and financially), and to have their self respect and dignity hold fast, after a marriage ends. (Without a prenup, many divorces become protracted battles that end in shame, humiliation and a sense of powerlessness for the less affluent spouse – usually the wife – who has to fight to get more of the money which she or he has not physically earned.)
To me, Elizabeth accidentally implies that when an individual recognizes that he or she has the power to preserve themselves and their individuality and self-determination by entering into a prenuptial agreement prior to entering a marriage, that it is the greatest testament to love–self-love–that there is. And that, this love and respect for self, is the ultimate most powerful type of love and respectability that there is, as opposed to marriage.