Centerpointe Awakening
Posted by: elena ()
Date: January 02, 2004 12:55PM

Robert Hare, in his book "Without Conscience," talks about the intractability of psychopathy. One of the defining characteristics of a psychopath is his or her reluctance or inability to learn from mistakes or to change, even in the face of threats or certainty of punishment or confinement.

There is some speculation that the psychopaths and sociopaths among us are like a variant of the species, an evolutionary "experiment," or a more efficient survival adaptation. After all, they invariably reproduce without restraint. Some of the studies being done with various brain imaging techniques have shown that the brains of psychopaths or sociopaths operate and respond in ways that are remarkably different from the rest of us.

What Hare suggests is learning how to recognize them and, if they can't be put in jail, warning others and staying the hell away from them. As long as there are large numbers of people who believe in the basic goodness of man, there will be happy hunting grounds for the predators. The answer is education and dissemination of information.


Centerpointe Awakening
Posted by: Cosmophilospher ()
Date: January 02, 2004 03:01PM

My personal opinion is that human primate "predators" were selected for by Evolution over millions of years.
Being a predator on the savanna hundreds of thousands of years ago was very useful.

The problem is that in modern society, those same predatory behaviors do not work, or only work for a very short while.
But those same paranoid/predatory behaviors worked great in pre-civilization.
The sociopaths i know will die as sociopaths. That seems self-evident to me.


Centerpointe Awakening
Posted by: elena ()
Date: January 04, 2004 09:50PM

You posted:

>>My personal opinion is that human primate "predators" were selected for by Evolution over millions of years.
Being a predator on the savanna hundreds of thousands of years ago was very useful.

The problem is that in modern society, those same predatory behaviors do not work, or only work for a very short while.
But those same paranoid/predatory behaviors worked great in pre-civilization.
The sociopaths i know will die as sociopaths. That seems self-evident to me.>>>

Actually, one of the reasons sociopaths do not respond or even submit to treatment, even when faced with punishment or prison, is because they themselves see nothing wrong with their behavior or the way they treat people. They are generally quite happy with themselves as they are and see whatever "problems" they are accused of having or making as being other people's fault; the complainers, victims, or society in general. In their dog-eat-dog view, victims as just part of the landscape and, as often as not, are themselves blamed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time or of making themselves available to be victimized.

As unfortunate as it is for the rest of us neurotic, cooperative, willing and self-sacrificing types, the sociopaths are often in charge because it is those qualities of ruthless self-advancement and entitlement that get those smart enough to operate within the law to the positions of wealth and power. Some speculation is that in this society most heads of major corporations are high-functioning sociopaths. Makes sense. The top of the food chain and all that. The only solution, for the rest of us, is to recognize them for what they are and stay as far away from them as possible.


Centerpointe Awakening
Posted by: MarkusWelch ()
Date: January 04, 2004 11:11PM

Ellen posted previously:


"the sociopaths are often in charge because it is those qualities of ruthless self-advancement and entitlement that get those smart enough to operate within the law to the positions of wealth and power."


The law may be the issue, not men, and not nature.




Centerpointe Awakening
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 05, 2004 12:44AM

I agree with elena. My guess is that in primative cultures where hunting, warfare were constant pressures, people probably sensed that a highly confident leader was essential for the clan group's survival. In such a desperate context, a fearless psychopath could serve a pro-social function. Meat was hunted down, dinner was served, and enemies were scared off.

* In harsh conditions when no human could survive apart from a clan, it was in the psychopath's best interest to serve the clan, because he couldnt live very long apart from the clan--and knew it.

The clan's welfare was his welfare.

But complex societies like ours are different from tribes in the wilderness. Complex societies require collaboration, empathy, long term planning, conflict resolution and impulse control. They are composed of many subgroups that can be played against each other. In complex societies, a psychopath's lack of empathy and fearlessness are disruptive. The psychopath becomes society's bane instead of its savior.

I was friendly with a classmate in seminary(!) who had such severe narcissistic personality disorder that he came close to being psychopathic. He did not have 'the psychopathic gaze' that I recall. (I never saw him when in a rage, so I dont know if he would have summoned up 'the gaze' in those conditions.)

The other reason X wasnt quite psychopathic was that he could be moral--but only when it suited his vanity to do so. Otherwise, he re-invented history to suit himself--something that is quite common amongst leaders of authoritarian franchises.

X fits the profile of someone who would want to become an authoritarian leader, so I will try and describe him, and the social climate he created.

It wasnt just my own assessment that X was narcissistic. A woman friend closer to him than I was lost her health under the stress of defending and supporting him. Her therapist, a clinical psychologist, immediately pegged X as a high degree sufferer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

This man had astonishing confidence and charisma. His laughter had a childlike radiance and could seemingy light up a room and make it glow. I was with him in a restaurant with another friend and X created such merriment, that people at the surrounding tables kept turning around, looking at us, their eyes sparkling and smiles breaking out on their faces.

I cannot do justice to the quality of X's radiance and the quality of his laughter. Try and imagine champagne fizzing in sunshine. When an adult can project that kind of energy, he or she has a ravishing effect on others--literally bringing them alive, connecting onlookers to their own deeply buried childhood radiance.

In his book [i:7995055180]Prophetic Charisma[/i:7995055180], Len Oakes puts it thus: When we behold a charismatic narcissisist, we may unconsciously connect with a lively, vibrant part of ourselves we had to suppress when we left childhood and submitted to living life on life's terms. We are moved by the person's charisma and unconsciously think 'Such was I, before the world got to me.'

But, though the charismatic creates an atmosphere of freedom, inwardly, he or she is unfree. The person seems to be savoring the moment, in an agenda-free manner, but is actually pursuing a desperate agenda--control and seduce the audience at all costs.

Getting back to X, it is not surprising that X was a superb preacher and did very well in youth ministries at his internship church. His machismo combined with his radiant residual childishness was the perfect recipe for relating to adolescents. Where X had constant problems was relationships with authority figures, adult peers--and intimate relationships with women he hoped to marry.

Where he needed to dominate or enthrall/inspire he thrived.

When he had to relate (peer relationships)--he had trouble.

This residual childlike quality has been identified as an important ingredient in charisma by Len Oakes (vide his book Prophetic Charisma), and X definitely had it. This quality seems to inject 'psychic oxygen' into the environment and elicits a happy sort of attention from others. Babies and tiny children love to attract this attention from caregivers; this 'love bath' is necessary for a small child who is 'growing a self' and finding confidence to leave Mom and explore the world.

This ability to irradiate the atmosphere and enchant others is not, in itself bad. But the problem is, the ability to enchant is NOT THE SAME AS EMPATHY. Empathy means experiencing people as 'other-than-you' as not extensions of you, but as worthy as you are.

Empathy is learned much later in childhood, starting with those painful lessons about 'play nicely with others' and 'Its time to let someone else play with this toy.'

All too often, charisma is developed as a substitute for NOT having learned empathy and adult intimacy skills. Len Oake's book Prophetic Charisma traces this in detail, and with great sympathy.

Getting back to X, his charisma was not pro-social catgory. He wore people out. For reasons known only to him, X would lie, quite unnecessarily. He would present himself one way to one friend and another way to another friend. My hunch is X had no or a minimal core personality, and that he 'improvised himself' on a continuous basis to suit a fluctuating set of agendas.

He was quite strange about accessibility. He'd call on the phone twice a week to chat, then suddenly for weeks at a time, he would not call. He wasnt ill, wasnt troubled and wasnt out of town. He was either intensely present, or just as intensely absent. If anyone objected, they'd be accused of co-dependance. This 'on again/off again' quality works against an intimate relationship.

The key thing was, X had NO SELF DOUBT. It gave him a magic kind of strength. Other people's perspectives did not matter. His perspective was the only thing that was real. Everything else, everybody else, was an extension of him. He had a toddler's obliviousness to others, combined with a sophisticated adult intellect.

To use a computing analogy, X 'operating system' (that is his sense of self and emotions) was primative and yet it ran highly sophisticated applications. But in the stress of mutual adult relationships, this produced a lot of 'crashes'.

Thats why persons with NPD try so hard to manipulate social interactions to go 'their way.' They want to avoid precisely the situations that would unmask their childs level emotional lives. Hence they need to be in control and will target people who are eager to take a vacation from adulthood, people who want to be enchanted.

Thus, X did not suffer from anxiety or self doubt, and this probably contributed to his mesmerizing quality, and probably endowed him with an unusual degree of energy. Because he didnt get anxious or question himself, (he had no core 'self' to question!) he did not 'leak' energy as normal humans do, and thus did not tire easily or feel embarrassment as normal humans do. He was a hermetically sealed unit.

The problems for X were in relationships. He could not hear any perspective but his own. Psychologically he was 'deaf' to any other persective.

A person with empathy, capable of feeling concern for the feelings and views of others, was at a huge disadvantage in relation to X ; like a brick wall, a severely narcissistic person is inert. A normal human psyche and body will bruise and grow tired. If you keep beating your fists on a walled off narcissistic psyche, eventually you get exhausted. You are not inert. You are capable of caring. The wall is inert and just stands there. It's lifelessness outlasts your living empathy.

A woman was engaged to get married to this person. The two of them went for a 2 day trip. When they came back to town, she broke the engagement and told us, 'If I marry him, I will have to submerge my identity in his personality. It would be too exhausting to maintain a seperate psychological existence in relation to him, because he cannot compute/or assimilate any viewpoint other than his own.'

This guy never did become a minister. I dont know if he wants to create a an authoritarian group centered on himself, but if he ever gets married and has children he will probably run his family like a cult.

He had a strange mission to have children. I think he wanted children because children below a certain age are controllable and will allow adults to define reality for them.

The only time I saw this guy feel anxious was when his one remaining friend stopped calling him regularly. Its only fear of abandonment that will reach these people. If they are very brave, they may go into therapy when this happens.

The only way to get a narcissists attention is to stop paying attention. They cannot be healed in the context of ordinary friendship or a love relationship. They need remedial parenting from someone with the knowledge and authority to provide it and that means a mental health professional who is trained to work with personality disorders.

As long as people in this predicament have even one or two admirers who provide narcissistic affirmation, they will keep right on doing what they do. The prospect of working on themselves for real means consciously passing through a kind of psychic death--and doing that calls for first degree heroism--and this heroism must be created and sustained in private, never in public.

When narcissistic leaders are healed for real, you'll almost never hear of it--because if the healing is genuine, they love privacy and will not abandon it. Its the ones who fear healing who stay in the headlines.

Centerpointe Awakening
Posted by: elena ()
Date: January 05, 2004 03:47AM

I wrote:

>>the sociopaths are often in charge because it is those qualities of ruthless self-advancement and entitlement that get those smart enough to operate within the law to the positions of wealth and power.>>>

To which you added:

>>The law may be the issue, not men, and not nature.>>>

What kind of legal solutions do you imagine? If any?


Centerpointe Awakening
Posted by: SarahL ()
Date: September 21, 2004 11:59AM


Now that Maharishi is in his 90s, more and more folks are swiping his stuff and creating spin offs. There is someone named Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (not the musician) who is doing something similar to TM. He's getting a nice rep because he's sponsoring social justice programs in India.

But I did find one citation on a google listserve in which someone complained that he and other participants began getting headaches after following SS R S's meditation program--the symtoms intriguingly similar to TM - induced trance/stress reactions.

I'm seeing more and more posts on the net from followers, claiming that the program is everything from a cure for addictions to a cure for cancer. A common modus operandi is to post on various support group lists their claims that Art of Living is the answer, that they are free of whatever problem because of their participation.

And check out their many guises:

Centerpointe Awakening
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 21, 2004 12:39PM

concerning Art of Living here are some quotes from various sources.


The FACT Net correspondant wrote:

'Hi, Ravi Shankar and the art of living foundation operate mainly in north-west europe, and India (with hq based in Bangalore). They are especially big in Holland, Germany and Denmark with ashrams and such. I have heard a lot about this organization from former martial arts training buddies, who got sucked into the organization via weekend courses that focused on health (standard breathing exercises, vegetarian diet, gentle yoga, meditation etc) and was then introduced to the philosophy and lifestyle of art of living. As you can see on their websites they offer standard ancient-wisdom-of-india stuff. They are also involved in 'charity' projects such as teaching meditation to inmates and social rehabilitation programmes for adolescents.

'In India they have built some hospitals, i don't know whether these are free or not. Ravi Shankar himself did his 'guru training' at the feet of TM Maharishi, who apparantly saw R.S as some kind of wunderkind. Apparantly he is still one: i have personally heard R.S describe himself as 'a child' (in response to an audience question - "Why are you not married and have children?" - at a R.S lecture I attended) even though he is in his fifties. This "I am a child" also explains R.S's tendency not to take audience questions seriously, mock rational people aswell his own erratic behaviour.

'Beacause he is so spontaneous and 'in tune' with the cosmic forces he is not responsible for his personal conduct, say, something as simple as keeing an appointment. Disciples/organizers of R.S events never know if he will actually show up when and where agreed upon. It is costumary that the inner circle of devotes along with current vip's such as rich and influential people and journalists must attend a private meeting with R.S after an event ( to show that they really are proper devotees) so they have to hang in mid air waiting hand and foot on the master, indulging his every whim.

'So here is a fifty some year old man who behaves like - and believes himself to be - an erratic/"spontaneous" little boy and yet his devotees literally prostrate themselves on the ground before him and believe him to be a spiritual father, an incarnation of God. Go figure.

'I barely recognize my former buddies after their involvement with this organization, the transformation is complete inside and out.
I know people that have lived in their ashrams for several years and left for what they consider very good reasons. They got fed up with social isolation, peer pressure and powerstruggles in the ashram hierachy. Not to mention the impossibility of living up to a spiritual ideal of being constantly happy, always good and unconditionally loving, and, off course, divinely pure as defined by and measured against R.S himself.
Art of living people come on heavy with a manically beaming happy chappy attitude and evangelizes in a way that would make even a supercharged pentecostal preacher nod in approval. It can be highly seductive and contagious. However the smug arrogance of the righteous is never far off.

'About a year ago I met a few of them and they asked me if I was coming to a Ravi Shankar event and i replied no.

"you are just not ready yet" they replied.

"what do you think it would take for me to be ready then?" I asked, keeping the tone light, and one of them looked me up and down and said
"a few more incarnations"

It was a small incident but it crystallized the sum of my impressions of the art of living perfectly.

Hope this was any good to you in your queries.

Best wishes from Denmark. (end of quote from Factnet correspondant)

This next citation from an article describes Mr. Allan Salkin's experience and also gives a lot of background info.

Interestingly, Mr Salkin developed what he called a hammering headache [i:4db06e1367]and was told he was purging toxins--which sounds very similar to stories told by TM veterans[/i:4db06e1367]

(Mr Salkin's account:) 'The kriya requires breathing in and out through your nose in circular breaths without pausing in between the inhalation and the exhalation. During the retreat, this lasts about 25 minutes and is done in time with the tape of Shankar. The at-home instructions are to start with 20 long and slow in-out breaths, followed by 40 medium-length breaths and 40 small, fast ones.This 20-40-40 is done three times and lasts a total of seven to nine minutes. After that, you let the breath do what it wants for one minute and then finish with five long, slow "so-hums." We were told to allow our thoughts and emotions to flow, to deny nothing. After about 25 minutes, the breathing over, we were told to lie on our backs and then our right sides—which felt excellent. What descended then was the quiet empty space that meditation can bring. It was nice. Calm.

*But that night at home, I developed a hammering headache. We'd been told to avoid medicines if possible, so I resisted pills.

'The headache lasted into the next day's class. DiSilverio said my condition
was probably the result of my body purging toxins. Still, after the final
class, I'd had enough detoxing and blissfully swallowed an ibuprofen, which brought relief.

'I felt cleansed and clearheaded for days afterward, and most of the other
students said they felt quite peaceful at the end. [i:4db06e1367]Some of them had endured stomach problems, and a few others had headaches. [/i:4db06e1367]That might just have been caffeine withdrawal, but I left feeling that daily practice of the Kriya would probably be a good thing to do. According to DiSilverio, Shankar says you can't really see the profound benefits of the practice until you do it for six months. What put me off the most about the idea of doing it every day was the time commitment of it. For me, a busy New Yorker, it seemed like too much to do.

The rest of Mr. Salkin's article can be read here:


Now, bearing in mind that Mr. Salkin says he and some participants reported headaches and that others 'endured stomach problems', lets look at the list of complaints triggered by serotonin elevation brought about by practicing Transcendental Meditation.

We need to get more information from Art of Living participants and rule out whether caffiene withdrawal or allergies from a novel environment could produce these same symptoms. Meanwhile, prospective participants should proceed with caution--its worrisome when people are advised to ignore physical symptoms, instead of stopping the meditation practice to see if this brings some relief, then resuming the practice more gently, making sure to stop or slow down if syptoms return.

Side Effects of Transcendental Meditation--reported from an article on

Muscle twitches and convulsions


Stomach and bowel complaints*


Insomnia and other sleep disorders

Inability to focus -- feeling "spacey"

Anxiety and panic attacks


Dissociation and depersonalization

Nervous breakdown and suicidal ideation

From 'TM & Serotonin A Model of Effects'

at []

Centerpointe Awakening
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 24, 2004 01:05PM

can be accessed here


(text of first article)--other articles are also on this same thread


This seems to be a relatively new group. But anything that is a spin-off of TM deserves a close look. Up to date information appreciated.)

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a guru who spent some time with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (Transcendental Meditation) and then went his own way. - 25k


Powerful breathing techniques (pranayama) were part of TM and also part of 'Art of Livng' (aka Sudarshan Kriya)

These breathing techniques can be very helpful but ONLY if prescribed to suit the needs of each individual. Many people were harmed in TM because they were told to keep doing their breathing exercises even when they began to suffer side effects indicating that they needed to stop.

TM and very likely Sudarshan Kriya give people pleasant effects by boosting serotonin. But over time, the excess serotonin can make people ill. For more information on this very important subject and some scientific research go here:


Reports of Headaches and Side Effects From Art of Living/Sudarshan Kriya Yoga


'Many years ago I was invited to the house of a TM'er turned
"Ravi Shankar"ite where I witnessed the hyperventilation.


*If you want to investigate this path, find out if the Art of Living teachers know the signs indicating when a student should stop using pranayama and take it easy. Find out too if they know how to prescribe an approach that suits the needs and constitution of each student. Some people have trouble staying 'grounded' and probably should NOT practice pranayama or practice it very carefully and know when they're getting spacy and need to [u:eae34957cc]stop [/u:eae34957cc]the technique.

*If the teacher has a 'one size fits all approach' for everyone and insists that there are no problems or side effects associated with practicing pranayama, you're probably better off consulting a teacher who knows the wide variation human mental physical constitution and knows how to prescribe individualized yoga approaches--theres a very sophisticated understanding of this in Ayurvedic medicine/yoga.

Please research the background on any and all workshops and spiritual teachers, just as you would assess the qualifications of a heart surgeon or moving van firm.

Here are one persons comments on the Google listserves about Sri Sri Ravi Shankars background.


Centerpointe Awakening
Posted by: Toni ()
Date: September 24, 2004 04:47PM


So much I could add ... bizarre personal stories, growing up w/ all this, aspects of it ALL my life! (my family in TM) ugh! The resulting, deaths, suicides, schizophrenics, bankruptcies, sad.

I thought this thread was about "Centerpointe Awakening?"

Lots of TM folks go guru-hopping. Very few of my old buddies from TM days, who have also left the TM movement, are currently guru-free. I still get personal invitations to all sorts of healer/psychic/ spiritual teacher/ aura cleanings, etc .. types of events. Of course they all cost $. I never attend. I'm still held up by some, as being specially pure / 'evolved' because I'm one of the first 'kids' who grew up in TM... (what a bunch of bunk!)

For your entertainment,... a few teachings, forgive my paraphrasing, that I've found particularly delightful:

MMY used to say that "If a lawyer tells you that you cannot do something, then fire him. A good lawyer will tell you how to do what you want to do, legally!"

L. Ron Hubbard (Scientology founder) is credited with saying "The fastest way to become wealthy is to start a religion."

More MMY-isms : The Counsciousness of the Leaders of any group, government, etc is a manifestation of the counsciousness of the individuals in that group. .. by that rationale, Hitler was the manifestation of the conscousness of the German population (including the German Jews) of that era.

Such a teaching thereby absolves leaders of any accountability. Their behavior is purely a result of the populace's degree of enlightenment.

Thus, the solution to EVERYTHING... politics, business, etc .... is to raise each individuals' counsciousness (voting, political activism, etc was irrelevant). One must meditate, meditate, meditate, go on advanced course$, pay for advanced technique$.

"Water the root to enjoy the fruit" Meditating is watering the root (of counsciousness) to enjoy the fruits of one's life. Don't waste time on life's little problems.

Don't worry about cost of such. Just use your credit cards, as Nature will Support your growth in Consciousness. As you gain higher consciousness you will have spontaneous fulfillment of desires. The money and all you desire will return to you many fold for every dollar that you spend for your own evolution. Delay in achieving all that you desire is just because of too much stress. Meditate and the stress will leave, and Nature will spontaneously support you in all aspects of life.

The best karma that one could be born with is to be born into a family of yogis (meditators). The second best karma is to be born into a wealthy family, thus there would be the family $upport to pursue enlightenment without worrying about material needs.

WOW! Sure 'sounds easy'

but Damn it! I was initiated as a child... and I STILL don't have a winning lottery ticket! (oops... I've never purchased a lottery ticket... could that be part of the problem?)

Oh yes... also MMY said, in an enlightened society, the leadership will be determined by measurement of the consciousness of the candidates. Brainwave studies will reveal who has the highest level of consciousness, that is how Presidents will be determined. John Hagelin of TM Movement has fun for President a few times with the "Natural Law Party" (the TM political party).

OK, please excuse these various ramblings. Just sharing some childhood treasures, for your enjoyment, err... for your enlightenment. :wink:

My mother would kill me if she knew I was posting this! Amazing how the inner parent continues editing our behavior...

toni :D

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