|Journeys: Scot Jamieson|
|Date: June 3, 2001|
|[Read Scot's 2005 Update]
On March 14, 2001, I visited this site for the first time. On my new iMac, via my new internet service set-up. I was learning how to add web sites to my Favorites file. For example, Maharaji.org. I had no intention of adding this one. I realized, "This must be the infamous Jim Heller site." (I was with him in a couple of ashrams for more than a couple of years. I felt we knew each other fairly well.)
"Michael Dettmers - oh yeah, I remember him," I thought, as I clicked on his name on the home page. A couple of days later, I wrote DETTMERS DETTONATIONS (sic) on the March 14th square in my appointment book. It was the 16th before I could sleep again. Then again, I like staying up all night sometimes.
About Maharaji's personal life, over the 27 years since I received Knowledge, (mahatma Jagdeo) I had heard very little: some tales, on the order of "Maharaji ate a steak, and it blew a lot of concepts," but they always seemed to be a trivial part of the banquet that was my experience With Knowledge & Maharaji. "He could have had any number of women he wanted, but he's always been true to Marilyn." That's another of the Divine Gossip items with which I was favored. It's always been the very iffy side of what, for me, has indeed been Maharaji's World. I mean, the Knowledge, the inspiration from Maharaji, has always seemed far removed from the ceaseless Jerry Springer consciousness we humans appear to adore. On the other hand, the dirt is where you find your roots.
So what do I have, could I have, to say about something that has been at the core of my life for about half the length of my life? Remembering all the years of Knowledge, I get such a sense of the Maya that is the past. From it can anyone can get a straight answer? There is so much background, context - so many shifting perspectives about even eye-witness events. I was part of a brawl in an all night restaurant once. We all went to trial, and of the 7 eye witnesses who told their tales, no two told the same story. We all told "the truth", though, I believe. And for Maharaji and his world, it's increased beyond any capacity of mine, at least, to track the whole process back, to make sense of it. Overviews are not really my turf. I let them pass.
But we can share our journeys, that we can do. And I don't mind sharing some of mine with you. I've been a good "lurker" on the site for a couple of months, and you have touched me with your humanity. "Getting Knowledge" is personal, and this comes alive here often enough, where you can talk openly. I don't seem able to declare myself as anti-Maharaji. But I am pro free speech. Though I'm disinclined to come out with any scathing condemnations, I can understand how some people need to get them off their chests.
A very enlightened guy - and I highly recommend his books ("Shaking out the Spirits" and "Everyday Soul") - named Bradford Keeney has given me his permission to quote him on this site. These words should mean something to anyone who was able at least once to gamble their hearts on Knowledge and Maharaji :
"Whenever you catch yourself judging another person or yourself, you are not seeing through your heart. Try to find something about the other person that brings your heart back into your viewing. Perhaps you need to imagine them as they were as a child or as they will be as an elder. Can you see them with their own children or as a starving person desperately needing some food and water?
. . . "Seeing with your heart is an essential part of soulful living. It brings us into the deepest rhythms of everyday soul. It is not possible to bring forth deep matters of the soul unless you learn to see more heartfully. One of the most powerful guides to heartful seeing is to carry an awareness of the inevitability of everyone's death. You and everyone you meet will die someday and remembering this fact can be a strong wake-up call to feel differently about how we relate to one another. Given that our time on earth is precious and limited, how can we afford not to see through our Hearts? Is there time to waste on heartless observation when our time with one another is so brief?"
For my own sake, I feel it is better to include the heart in the way I see anyone, surely. Here maybe I speak as a PNIAWAM (Premie Not In Any Way Around Maharaji.) I always felt OK about my longish distance from the locus of M power-ment. Jesus' parable about being called to the head table at the banquet was on my mind sometimes. Its moral: it's better to wait and be called up, rather than go there and maybe be asked to step down. I was a community coordinator for a couple of years, but that was because the community was electing a coordinator (it was the crazy year of '76) and some members begged me to put my name in the hat, to avoid some other candidates being elected, I believe.
I mean, the whole damn adventure has this gloriously hilarious side to it. God, there were such laughs! I was, in fact, asked to step down from the banquet head table. I wasn't a company man, so far as my hierarchic superiors were concerned. I failed to keep a document of every precious letter from Toronto, for God's sake! I got so used to the back, perhaps the second row from the back, seats at the programs, that I used to feel that Ji and I had the same perspective, that of the whole crowd in front of us, and so he was in that sense drawing me near. That's kind of beautiful, now that I think of it. Bliss is maybe foolish, devotion is foolish, but it's not really what you could call ugly.
And so I post : some of my journal entries, as raw as they were when first written down. They comprise a portrait of a long standing premie's thoughts as they encounter the facts on this site and attempt to deal with them. People can draw their own conclusions from these entries. This includes my friends who are still in Maharaji's world, who visit here from time to time perhaps recalling the days when there was a more democratic - well, the word forum comes to mind - for the "company of truth."
Monday, Oct 18, 1999
In my last journal I taped a letter I wrote to Maharaji but didn't send. I should like to write another letter. This time I'm writing it in the book, because I don't imagine I'll send it.
You are inviting me to "participate" - by sending money. O familiar invitation! Everyone does this for me. But I am not a good money-earner. You invite me to come to Australia - but, as my friend Greg M. said last night, "If I save $100 each month for a year, I don't have enough for even the air fare."
Ah, Maharaji, you are moving beyond me and I doubt if I can keep up. I am excluded - by your plans or by my poverty, I don't know. Or by my lack of inspiration.
My wife Norma says, "We do what we can do. If Amaroo is beyond us, don't worry about it." A good attitude. Maybe. Maybe a better one is,"how can I earn more money?" And, "How can I get down there, support myself, and give free labor?"
If I were a devotee - but that doesn't make sense. If devotion were "okay" why is it "hidden"? (Inside the aspirant programs, the introductory videos, the don't-say -anything, just-hand-them-the-videos instructions.) You don't trust us for anything, but we are supposed to trust you in everything. Well, it is a unique relationship. If you hadn't closed the ashrams, would I still be in one? I don't know. Now I am old, and my possibilities are not the same. Do I still have enough energy to fail and succeed, or am I only able to retire?
One thing I can say - as a devotee: the intensity of love has no concern for respectability. It should have no concern for respectability.
March 12, '01
This light is mine; was mine
before there was a me to claim it:
light eternal and omni-ternal
(outside of time's influence, yet for, and in, all time)
- immortal and omnimortal (loves, dies,
with everything) - omnipresent and absent,
omnipotent and helpless; the peace
which generates the ultimate kerfuffle . . .
the inborn kerfuffle grace to defer to
the ultimate peace. This peace is mine, was
March 14 - 2 AM - Near the ides, methinks.
Just read the Ex-Premies' web site. All the Dettmers revelations about Maharaji's alcoholism, sexual promiscuity, personal lack of responsibility, etc.
5:45 AM - I'm in shock, I guess. Haven't slept all night. I'm going out for a walk or a bike ride. Do I have anything to write now? Ah, no . . .
Saturday, March 17
A guy named Scot - can I count on him? As opposed to a guy named Maharaji? You assume, gentle reader, that the answer will be "yes?" I don't.
First, I failed to discount my friends' advice that I return to hear more "satsang' at the "center." But, people I like, I let them influence me. And I tend to like some fairly crazy people. Like Jack Kerouac says, they're the interesting ones, after all. Still, today, am I influenced by friends? To some extent, yeah. Like Joe Cocker said, "If someone told me sincerely enough to put my head in that toilet, I'd do it." But once I was in Maharaji's world - having kissed his feet on my knees - what LOVE, what love we shared, the premies and I. Night after night after night, for years. God help me, I'd gladly do it all again.
Of everyone there, some were okay with it, some were the occasional sour grape, but many as full of the wine of bliss as I was. "Dead drunk in the divine madness," as Charnanand used to say. And Charnanand? I remember seeing him surrounded by adoring "gopies" in Quebec. I was right there in "his" house. ("Borrowed" for his visit.) and to me it seemed to be quite innocent - no plonking going on, just much bliss. But can anyone say for sure? Jag Deo - what are the details with him? Various (some) mahatmas falling in love or just getting it on . . . and me? Yeah, I've fallen in love, but I didn't and don't "break rules." Should I break rules? Would that show a more advanced consciousness? Am I "inhibited?" Need to "break free?"
"Control your mind - you CAN'T", Maharaji has said recently. "Go by the FEELING." Good advice. The feeling is not good, my old master. Should I simply forgive you for your sins? But you aren't asking, you're skipping mentioning them. And I'm skipping mentioning you. The ointment, with its few flies, stinks.
It's over. Can I believe that? I've been living in his world for so, so long. His world, like Charnanand's house, is only borrowed. From the inhabitants of it is it borrowed.
Time to go to bed - I'm sleepy, nodding off and twitching awake. . .
You think a spirit can't die? It can! It can die drowning in the senses. Mine can, anyway. Maybe there are some spirits that have special privileges, but mine doesn't. "Beware of those who kill the soul, " says Jesus. Not to get an ego about it - I am guilty of all Maharaji is accused of, in the sense that I have a human mind, and it is omni-guilty. Who claims to be virtuous is delusional. But as we renounce those senses, we are naturally left with pure spirit. And we can love that pure spirit, and it doesn't judge us. We judge everything, including our sensual selves, our spiritual selves, even our judging selves. Hell is like Heaven - you don't need to die to get there, either.
Sunday, March 18
Not long after Maharaji's wedding, I was surprised to see a film of the marriage ceremony playing in a tent at a festival. Because, what did it have to do with satsang, service, meditation? But I sat down, and the beauty of it was very touching. Thinking of that long ago day now, it isn't possible for me to not hear the faint, sad music of mortality playing. For all of us. His personal life - he shared it when he didn't have to. Now he doesn't want to share it? That's his business. But mine is to know what I'm doing, and if I'm following someone, to know him, to understand.
I remember Kissinger talking about Nixon's last day in office - a very busy day for Kissinger. But he put aside everything in the end, just to feel the personal tragedy of his president, of the human tragedy there. Maharaji, I used to send prayers to you. No more. But I will pray for you. For you and us all.
I don't have dry eyes as I write, Maharaji, I loved you. I meant Arti when I sang it. But now it's over. O yeah.
The stuff in your world I despise - the elitism, the slickness, the top-down orientation - you seem to be going for it more and more. I liked you when you said,"This world is a cult!" which it is indeed. But you're not saying that now - oh, I don't know -it's your life.
It's not that I need to do anything. I heard that little "click," like a ripe mango detaching itself from its stem and settling into your hand, only this time the click was the coupling between your train engine and my caboose. After more and more separation the last 4 days, I notice that I am not actually a caboose. I am an engine. And I notice I'm pulling something - it's Maharaji. (Well, part of his baggage, anyway.) Hear that second click? Now the baggage is getting a bit further off. And it'll keep doing so.
Thanks for this, and no thanks, Maharaji. And thanks for that open door. And I'll tell anyone, it is truly open. I respect that.
Tuesday, March 20
It's the standing on my own that I have to warm up to. Is it a matter of believing in myself? Have I believed in myself? In a way, no. In a way, yes. Have I felt good about myself? That's a better question. Right now I feel the need for physical maintenance, for feeling good about myself physically. I am feeling pain in my abs, pain in my jaw, neck, shoulders, back, legs, arms - if I think about it. I am tired. Sleepy.
Talked to Irma about my new stance toward Maharaji - she seemed much affected. I prayed for her afterward. She's a staunch supporter like I was. I don't feel like condemning Maharaji, or joining his critics on the web - not just yet, anyway. The critics' tone is often glib - not all the individuals there, but some. I guess that's the point, the variety of individual expression. But joining them doesn't give me what I long for, which is - something to connect with in my heart. Something to focus toward other than money.
Saturday, March 24
This separation. Part, not all, but part of me is still unprepared for the implications of being truly separated from Ji.
What can I say? It must have been Maharaji - who killed the actual-human very very often beautiful satsang but GMJ? I'm sittin' here to tell ya, videos are not alive, and are no proper substitute for "Wherever 2 or more of you are gathered in my name." Ji doesn't get this point of view, it's all getting smoother and emptier, and that's the way he wants it. And I've given him enough time. Well, I don't know. It doesn't seem that there was anyone at the wheel if I look back to years ago. And now that there does seem to be someone there, I don't like it. It's all one way or the other. But, that's the deal. You leave your mind and enter the Shelter of Guru's Grace.
That's quite a power, isn't it? To have people give you their minds . . . because everything - body, soul, possessions and abilities come along with that mind.
I guess now I have to believe in myself. And I have to be worthy of that belief. OK!
It's something to have people really trust you. To really love you. It is a demand for great humility if people actually respect you. You can hurt them by not actually being respectable.
So, to Michael Dettmers, I send respect. And a sincere thank you. Some cold, grey dawn comes to every mother's child, but the love that includes knowledge of that cold grey dawn is the one you truly need. You may want the love that tells you the sun never sets, but does it get you through the night? Like, love has to realize its own limitations to be real. We do, too.
My heart feels like a bunch of oh so ripe grapes, heavy, shuddering, clinging to the vine by the straining stem. Love! Illusion. Victim of love. Ruined for anything else. How can I trust my own heart? Do I have a choice? If I want to feel, it must be my heart which feels. Where is that love which spins the cosmos? Love, come with me. I will go with you. Lead me, have mercy. Teach me to be true. You are a spirit. Be my spirit. Be mine forever. Let no consideration separate us. Take me up, cover me over, hush me down, light me on. Spirit of love, let me serve you. Give me love and I will return it. May I never shut down a heart. Let me love. Lead me. Love, let me go with you.
"Getting drunk in this special conscious way," said the sarcastic Bob Dylan. WAS talking about Maharaji, and maybe also Chogyam Trungpa, I now think.
Still, I saw the horizon line shine white as Chogyam lay dying here in Halifax. And the ice came and filled the harbour as far out to sea as the horizon as he died. As it did never before in memory, or ever since. Means nothing? Maybe.
And so may Maharaji, for all his "sins," yet prove a great saviour and a great master. But no one proves anything about a Master. You either follow him or you don't. It's not rational. And you can't tell anything by any signs. One quote I loved from Ji was, "It doesn't matter if they discover 4 new universes tomorrow, you'd still have to do satsang, service and meditation." (To go anywhere.) Unreasonable, yes, but I loved it.
And this guy, Scot? Does he, will he find the / his path of true walking? If he walks truly, the path will form beneath his feet.
That may be the nature of all true paths.
Be strong, therefore. Sober. Balanced.
Best foot . . . fore-WARD!
Monday, March 26
I recall this incident: in '74, very soon after receiving Knowledge, I went to a management training seminar in Dallas (in relation to my job.) I had been going every night to satsang in Ottawa, but now I was on my own lonely own with Texan rednecks for 2 weeks. Even though I meditated lots, my inspiration level was sinking and sinking. I opened my motel room Gideon's Bible, and this quote jumped out: "Faith without works is dead."
Did that really refer to Knowledge and Maharaji? No, it must refer to my need for satsang and service! I had the weekend off and I split for Houston, where I contacted the premies, did service - climbing up precarious ladders as the premies painted a city community center (good will outreach) - and sat cross-legged in satsang for my 2 or 3 nights there. And it was blissful. I helped make the pizzas in the ashram kitchen for a potluck. I remember gazing at this picture of a 9 year old Ji in his Krishna costume, playing a wooden flute, and laughing out loud at the look of gleeful joy in his eyes. I felt rejuvenated, and headed back to Dallas.
The Texas managers did what they could to get me to remove my Ji button. To no avail. Ji buttons not part of the corporate image, you understand. . . Risking my career was no problem. Risking my life, either. But it's a mortal condition, to live. We all risk our lives, just having fun sometimes. Go white water kayaking on the sea. A kick.
So, if it's my integrity versus Ji's integrity, as opposed to our integrity versus the world's, I'll stand up and take it face on. This is my knowledge - he only gave me the key. Key is paid off.
Belief in Maharaji or belief in myself - does it come to that? Of course. Because you let Ji into your control panels, he turned you on AND inserted an ad deep in the works for Prem Pal Singh Rawat. Now the you-or-him question is easier to answer - belief in him is the answer. And to get that Knowledge out of the belief in him zone and into new territory (belief in me,) that is that struggle across the life - afterlife borders in the multi dimensional darkness. Is Ji evil? Whatever you are, Maharaji, I'm standing up. Make way. I don't want to see you. Stay behind me.
10 PM - I guess Jim Heller is a kind of prophet. Years and years ago he split. Just an instinct on his part, I think. He does have a good "non-believer" intelligence. Different kinds of I.Q.s, as they say. And now I'm following him out of Maharaji's world? Only a True Follower type would put it that way. I'm not following. I'm actually doing something I feel to do.
I don't feel good - about myself. Again, doubt hits me. Am I really doing the right thing? Yes I am. The truth sets us free. Free. Free to then stand up and try to become an adult instead of a boy. Peter Pan, get real.
Tough. It hurts. It saddens. But I'm going to try, again, to grow. To grow up. God help me.
Tuesday, March 27
Give this knowledge a fair chance. 27 years - check. Never reveal the techniques to anyone (unless they're holding a gun to your head, added Ji one time) - check. Stay in touch - check. I don't see anyway I could know if Maharaji would be bad for EVeryone, but back in '74 I should have been able to know if it would be bad for me. I was not young when I got Knowledge - 28. Just immature. A person who needed to find something to dedicate to that was dedication worthy. Like, my own self interest was not worthy. Any criminal dedicates to that.
I have to learn to wish myself well, to do good for myself, to give myself a break, not judge but be kind, do service for myself, give (as in these pages) satsang about myself, and give myself darshan. And keep in touch. And don't reveal knowledge of myself to anyone (unless they're holding a gun to my head, OR I deem them fit to receive it.) And give myself a fair chance. Say 27 years?
Wednesday, March 28
I took the bus to work, but got off early and walked along the water to the Conservatory. On the walk, I came to see something pretty interesting in myself, which I realize is also there in every human: Omnipotence, in a defined sense. It is omnipotence, although the list of things I cannot do is so long it cannot be imagined. Because only me, only I, can say yes, or no, or don't know, or oh! No one else, not God Himself, can speak for me. I have that power because I exist, and that free will power in its restricted way, is unlimited. Even giving up my own free will is a gift of a free willed being. You can overwhelm me, but only I and I only can give you myself - you cannot take my free will, if you are God in the Highest or the Devil of devils, you cannot. And so I say it is omnipotent. God has given me a real part of himself, like in a marriage - for better or worse. He has created me. I am married to him for better or worse. He is just there. He is mine. Love is optional, only a possibility, but the gift is given anyway. Given to who exists. Get ready to move. . .
So, like the sibyl, who opened her mouth at Delphi, and delivered the oracle, I look about me and feel my mouth. It is simple: yes, no, don't know, or oh! And . . . I . . . say . . I feel my power, and let me feel it more. If I prophesy, I prophesy. Wait for it.
Friday, March 30
Maharaji is no longer someone I wish to support, and his cause, that of giving people Knowledge, is compromised by being associated with the Great King, which is, after all, the very meaning of the word Maha Raji. Knowledge can't be democratic? Why not?
Saturday, March 31
I tried watching a Ji video again, but I turned it off before too long. Yes, he's a speaker, and full of charm, but I want to say goodbye - by instinct, not by scandal and "Ex-premies."
He takes up a HUGE part of my consciousness, and without him, there will be space for others. Others such as First Nations contacts, John Gatto contacts, Runes guy Ralph Blum contacts. Well, there'll be room for others, anyway. And room for Scot.
I think I'll let a week go by, go past the first of the month, before calling in to cancel my donation. The $ can be goodbye money. Nothing to the decades of donations. It's okay, Scot. It's okay. You are moving on and it's okay.
11:30 PM - I feel lighter, I do. Something has lifted off.
Sunday, April 1
I don't feel screwed up by Knowledge, I feel blessed. And by Ji. That is what I feel. But these charges against him, specifically the Dettmers charges, but the many others behind Dettmers also, how can I dismiss them, or verify them, for that matter?
But I don't have to even have looked at the Dettmers charges to feel like leaving. Ji was a really, really big deal for me, but now? No satsang, or community, no devotion, or, worse, devotion hidden away like a dirty secret? It's over.
Dettmers defense of himself - why he didn't tell everyone the real truth about Ji - was a real killer for me. "The atmosphere" (I'm paraphrasing) "around Maharaji was isolating and everyone was afraid of losing his job and Maharaji always reminded everybody of this fact, that there were 20 in the wings waiting to replace anyone around him." Dettmers was working 7 day weeks with 18 hour days and was too tired to step back and get a good big-picture take on the scene. Ji drinking, smoking cigarettes and dope, and having affairs: this he already convincingly testified about earlier.
I think of the love in a darshan line, so thick you could pinch it, bounce in it - ah! But that could happen many places, I suppose: Jehovah's Witness meetings, AAA meetings, mosh pits? Visit of the Pope? Kissing of the black stone at the Ka'aba?
So easy it is for me to lose my way. But I'm not going to lose my way. The spirit of Love I found in Knowledge, with Ji - I'm taking that with me, even as I depart from Maharaji's camp. And Knowledge is mine. Ji himself has never said it wasn't.
And what about joining the Ji - trashers on the net? I feel to not join them. They have it wrong, so many of them . . . well, no, I can maybe understand their bitterness. But I'm leaving my own way. Not anyone else's. Not Heller's. He could probably use a bit of help getting over his "crusade." Well, I might call him. But his tone is all wrong for me. I can't go from devotion, deep love, to vitriolic frenzy in one breath.
But I'm tired of being isolated. And having the knowledge and using it is incredibly isolating, like Annie said in her post against the trashers. I feel like talking. To someone out of the loops - look out Jackie! Sacral cranial appointment on Wednesday. No, I don't like the hypocrisy of Ji, multiple sex liaisons, etc. No . . .
I'm going for a good bike ride, and then come back and - I don't know. I don't know. Some days, you have to take it 1 hour at a time . . .
Sunday, April 8
Kind of a rocky Sunday again. A lot of self examination and soul searching, etc. It's a drag. I have become self centered, self absorbed, ah well, it's me. I do need solitude, okay?
I downloaded the significant Dettmers files from the Ex-Premie web site this evening . I'm going to prepare a document to make available to people I know who have Knowledge. I'm going to talk to some old friends around and about Maharaji's world. And if I'm still an "Ex" after all that, I may call Heller.
I'm going to print my own reactions to the Dettmers texts and my own feelings about Ji and his mission.
But I don't, you know, feel good about crusading against the Ji. What do I really think? I may not know for months, maybe years. I'm not basing my departure upon the Dettmers stories. Dettmers just cut a tie that had been pre-stretched to fit the size of scissors - pre-stretched by me. I'd forgive Maharaji his "sins" if he asked me. Is my door open? For Maharaji to enter or leave? I hope it is, and will remain so. But he will have to stoop pretty low for my little house doorway . . .
What can I do? Be kind, but be honest. Too much kindness and you have to borrow from honesty. Too much honesty borrows from kindness. So keep the books balanced. In a wide world, balancing, and balancing.
Wednesday, April 11 - 4 AM
Up because of the spirits? In the dark, I gazed at my obscure reflection in the bathroom mirror . Clouds of subtle, silent light, wonderfully complex, like Northern Lights but more beautiful, wreathed about my head, and consoled my mind. I, and creation, are magical. Could write that last sentence again. I, and creation, are magical. It isn't any lie.
Maharaji, make room. Watch! It's okay, I just need room to say what I truly feel.
Thursday, April 12
I have to get my morning's dream down:
I am attending a university, but it's all fake like high school, no one is caring about what we learn, it's just a dull experience of routine learning. And we live in dormitories with 10 people in one room. There's almost no privacy, and I am only wearing tighty whiteys.
Madeline Albright gives a talk, but it's in our little classroom / dormitory. Prime Minister Chretien gives a short, perfunctory speech, talks to me afterward about his son, who is a short and uncertain copy of himself. (Son is in the next room.) Chretien is trying to groom the son to be the next Prime Minister, but he doesn't know if son has the right stuff. I just do not care.
I am sort of drifting aimlessly and get pushed onto the VIP airliner. I watch listlessly as the ground recedes - then we're over the ocean, it's receding. Then the ocean is not receding. It's getting closer and closer! Yes, we are crashing!
The water is beautiful as it swirls over the windows. Ev starts looking for an exit door. There are little windows at the back of the plane, not plane windows but like a bus. I swing up and kick them out with my feet, crawl out - and - we're on a beach. I open the doors, people exit.
Media crawling around immediately, interviewing, taking videos. Crews have boarded up the inside of the plane so it's like walking a hoarding near a construction site. Some VIPs were killed, somehow, in the front section. There seemed to be no impact back in the back.
I wander into town, there's a big private school there, some kids in uniforms, Chinese, about 10 - 12 years old, kicking a soccer ball around the street. I join in - barefoot all the way. I wear underwear only throughout, but I don't feel self conscious, just laid back.
My interpretation? Many changes, but I have no prob with them?
Norma says it all relates to Knowledge.
Good Friday the 13th
I hope I am worthy of being a servant of the spirit of God, or the good-wishing-to-humans spirits. The unknown must be faced with sincerity and seriousness. The unknown must not be ignored like most people ignore it.
No knowledge, of the urban sprawl of knowledge acquired by humanity, can ever supplant the need for the openness to the unknown. The value of this need is so underrated, it isn't rated at all.
I feel hope, though. I feel hope.
- So, that's the end of my journal entries. I depart from them on a positive note.
In typing them up, and editing them, I notice that during these weeks and months of what amounts to recreating myself to myself, I had to reassert my hope, over and over again, that I would be able to escape annihilation in some shadowy and fearful soul disaster. In other words, Maharaji had given me a security of soul beyond deep, beyond judgement. Necessarily, it depended upon a bond between us. A security versus freedom issue is "Leaving Maharaji."
I remember some scholar on radio saying that Jesus had been this huge force in history of judging a person or action by the intention behind it. This applies to me, and to Maharaji, and everyone. That is a kind of freedom, because you don't have to wonder about the intentions of others, just your own. Because it all comes out in the wash - the divine wash, you may as well call it.
“Ain’t over till it’s over”
Four years ago I stopped logging on here at Ex-Premies. I felt I just needed more time, and more detachment. And today, rereading the lengthy, overwrought “Journey” I posted back then, I feel that the decision to give it a rest was a good one. But I promised myself I’d come back after 4 years and have another kick at the Ex can. As predicted, I have had my problems in reassessing Maharaji, but I’ve made progress and I’m slowly developing a new attitude, and coming to my own understanding.
And for balance, I clicked on to the official PR site. The new feature there I observe after these four years is the proliferation of all those boring commendations from various officials and authorities: yeah, they all love him. This is sad and phony. I can’t imagine many occasions more soul-numbing than official governmental presentations, pompous speeches full of circumstance.
I think back to the early seventies, and of Baba Ram Dass, a spiritual guy who happened to be a Harvard professor. He took to wearing simple Indian style clothes, and grew a beard, wore beads and tie-dyed shirts. A kind of reverse image to Rawat, an undergraduate Indian who took to wearing Harvard Professor style suits and ties. The East and West in a head-on collision, that is a big feature of our era, and the collision, in the words of the Yogi Berra, “ain’t over till it’s over.”
So PR (and what a great Freudian-slip acronym that is) has developed, yes, his Public Relations and now collects citations and awards from government figures. He’s following the Sun Myung Moon path to authentication. Maybe he could be invited to North Korea to receive one from Kim Jong Il. They might hit it off well. Both are short, ultra powerful, rather stout, asian, and used to total adulation from everyone in sight. (I just watched a TV special on North Korea, and could not ward my mind off from this comparison).
Already I’m getting crazy here - I mean, let me give Rawat credit: no, he’s not to be compared to a dictator who has had unknown numbers of people killed. I guess I do want to respect Prem Rawat. It’s too easy to get extreme. The part of me that was so emotionally abused by him (sorry, but that IS the way I see it) - that part wants revenge. It’s irrational, but feelings ARE irrational. The theoretical new me, who has experienced nothing devotional re Mr. P.R., insists upon according him the normal respect I would give anyone.
Still, I think of Jesus going around collecting little plaques and scrolls of approval from the governor of Galilee, the mayor of Nazareth, etc. Sure.
So he’s getting a bit scarier - all the more reason to let the true words ring out. The feeling for what is true - that is something governments and authorities never want developed. But if your soul is in fairly fit condition, what’s true is an ever-fresh concern. It’s an ever-fresh source, in fact, of nourishment for souls.
These crummy personal attacks that have been going on against the people who post here just disgust me. The attackers behave as if the Ex-Premie web site had been set up simply out of some kind of vicious personal spite, as if there were no legitimate interest in cover-ups being brought to light, as if no one could have a proper interest in the personal conduct of someone of great importance in their lives, as if there were no such thing as the true version of anything. I am outraged, totally.
It would probably be embarrassing to some of the demure souls here to be considered heroes, but hey, that is what some of us irregulars might be starting to do; I consider you just that.
My friends, I thank you again for this forum of openness. The freedom to say what I truly think and feel about the many issues evoked on this site is a beautiful gift. It’s a striking contrast to the one-way-only nature of ideas in the shifty Rawat world, a world of taboo topics, serial revisions and renaming. The real history of the organization that I contributed to, is here, not on Rawat’s site.
The series of quotes below, from diverse sources, including my own journals, are writings that resonated with my process over the last couple of years. I sincerely hope that they help others like myself who must come to terms with their own difficult departures from emotional codependency, and with finding their own way forward.
Compassion requires maturity, a big heart, a willingness to risk and imagination. Yet for many persons with good spiritual intentions spirituality has meant either meditative disciplines or introverted contemplation. Move beyond these beginning stages of spiritual searching - to a fuller stage of dialectical living . . .
- Matthew Fox
Peace without justice
A sound spirituality of suffering, it seems to me, places suffering within the context of giving birth . . . (suffering to bring something into being) . . . the prophet does not turn inward to find peace and calm there, for the prophet knows that peace without justice is a lie and a cover-up.
- Matthew Fox
Anyone who professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the social and economic conditions that can sear the soul, is a spiritually moribund person only waiting for the day to be buried.
- Martin Luther King
Great gurus can have their limitations . . . a famous Hindu story tells of the great rishi Vishvamitra, one of the supreme sages. His ascetic force was so strong that it was burning up the heavenly realms and disturbing the gods. So the gods created a celestial nymph, Menaka, to bring about his fall. Menaka succeeded in seducing Vishvamitra, but only for a time. Vishvamitra eventually returned to his meditation practice and achieved the highest state, making all the gods bow down to his superior wisdom . . . one should not consider that a guru who has fallen cannot rise again or has nothing further to teach us . . .
No human is beyond the influence of maya or ignorance . . . even the greatest demons were originally great devotees or yogis. When they fell, however, they did not recover from the fall. Such unrepentant fallen yogis cause great harm to the world, and only God can remove them.
The West, with its great material development, has caused some at least temporary falls of even some great yogis. The temptations here are much greater than people from the East are used to. Gurus have often been completely unprepared to deal with them.
In addition, some people from the East have come here to make money and have used the appearance of spirituality to do so, knowing our vulnerability in this regard. The actions of such charlatans should not be equated with the work of great yogis or even the falls of great yogis.
- David Frawley,
director American Institute of Vedic Studies
Advice from the Middle Ages
You should not restrict yourself to any one method, for God is not in any one kind of devotion, neither in this nor that. Those who receive God like this, do him wrong. They receive the method and not God.
- Meister Eckhart
Confidence in self
For Eckhart, a confidence in God that does not apply to confidence in self is a pseudoreligious attitude.
- Matthew Fox
Make those below oblivious?
You achieve greatness when you are oblivious of the dignity of those above you, and make those below you oblivious of yours. When you are neither haughty with the humble nor humble with the haughty . . .
- Anthony de Mello
The only one who challenged
There was once a rabbi who was revered by the people as a man of God. Not a day went by when a crowd of people weren’t standing at his door seeking advice or healing or the holy man’s blessing. They hung on his every word.
There was, however, in the audience a disagreeable fellow who never missed a chance to contradict the master. He would observe the rabbi’s weaknesses and make fun of his defects, to the dismay of his disciples, who began to look upon him as the devil incarnate.
Well, one day the “devil” took ill and died. Everyone heaved a sigh of relief . . .
So they were surprised to see the master full of genuine grief at the funeral. When asked by a disciple later if he was mourning over the “eternal fate” of the dead man, he said, “No, no. Why should I mourn over our friend who is now in heaven? It was for myself I was grieving. That man was the only friend I had. Here I am surrounded by people who revere me. He was the only one who challenged me. I fear that with him gone, I shall stop growing.” He burst into tears.
- Anthony de Mello
In your own darkness
In the old days it was common for people to use paper lanterns in Japan. The paper shielded a lit candle and was held together by bamboo sticks.
A blind man happened to be visiting a friend and since it was late, was offered a lantern to guide him home.
He laughed at the suggestion. “Day and night are one to me,” he said. “What would I do with a lantern?”
His friend said, “You do not need it to find your way home, true. But it might help to prevent someone from running into you in the dark.”
So the blind man started off with the lantern. He soon heard someone coming towards him on the path, but instead of stepping to one side as he usually would do, he reasoned that the other person would see the lantern and avoid him. Crash!
“Hey, you careless fellow,” cried the blind man. “Can’t you see this lantern?”
“Brother,” said the stranger, “your lantern has gone out.”
- You walk more safely in your own darkness than in someone else’s light.
- Anthony de Mello
Leap of faith
Those of us who were not Trungpa’s students tend to focus on his alcoholism and his messy death, as if those “facts” infer something about his quality as a man. To his students, the “facts” reveal only a small and unimportant part of the story. They focus not on how alcohol helped break down Trungpa’s body, but on the constant brilliance of his mind. They do not judge him by ordinary standards because they do not believe he was an ordinary person. They honestly see even his drinking as a teaching. For the rest of us, that takes a leap of faith.
- David Swick
In contrast to the teachings of his guru (Trungpa) Allen Ginsberg found the Jewish esoteric teachings to be relatively difficult to access. When I mentioned the outreach of the Lubavitcher rebbe, who lived across the river from him in Brooklyn, Ginsberg exploded, “He seems like a complete crank and a political reactionary on top of that. Who’s going to go to him for wisdom?” I thought that was funny, because I could imagine a Hasid speaking just as harshly about Ginsberg’s teacher for being a drunk and a sex maniac.
- Rodger Kamenetz
No one mentions “addict” around Rawat
The addictive condition is characterized by an enormous amount of guilt; it’s not as if the addict needs any more of it. What the addict is often doing, in affect, is crying out for help because of the shame. So the question is, what binds the addict to self-destructive and shameful behaviour? . . . many people go shopping not because they need anything but as a diversion from their own inner problems; or they seek to prove themselves through acquisition. Yet they’re aware of the fact that these are very feeble, ill-considered ways of trying to meet the needs in their lives. The ability to talk about it to other people seems immediately to bring the sort of self-knowledge that therapists think has an effect on changing self conduct. If I think about it, then I can change it; but if I never think about it, never talk about it, I just keep on behaving that way.
- Theodore Roszak
Trusted too much
Those who have found balance of an interior kind have often found it at a great price by living as hermits for a while; by honouring their own mistakes, by admitting when they have trusted too much or gone too far; by taking risks and sometimes failing.
- Matthew Fox
Ben Franklin’s saying, “Look ‘round the habitable world, how few/know their own good, or, knowing it, pursue,” scored a hit on my conscience. In the dark and quiet of the night, I admit that in this habitable world, among the few who know their own good, I am not to be counted. This is quite a failure, maybe my chief personal failure. It is to whatever degree tragic, really, that I myself cannot rely upon myself to stand behind me and support me. Self-absconding and self-betraying are my familiar self experiences.
So this is the undesired effect of unenlightened teaching about selflessness; that of self damage. Selves that never establish, that peck a small hole in their shells but never emerge, that stick only the head out, etcetera, are positively the norm. It is as if ignorant gardeners were in control of an orchard and instead of properly pruning healthy, full grown, fruiting trees, had saved themselves the trouble of working atop ladders by taking a literal “short cut” by chopping down the growing trees near the ground. Then they admire the crown of suckers growing out of the stumps, and consider themselves and their orchard the new standard of progressive excellence.
To take up my own cause, to be self supportive, is the good humility, the true humility. To be a real person - it that not a wonderful small ambition? People who cannot trust themselves are so often extremely trustworthy to authority, the good servants of fascists, servants who feel guilty for turning up late for their shifts at the concentration camps. The devastation in the millions of psyches is like the outer devastation you see in war. It saddens the poor soul.
As Fox says, if I cannot be a real friend to myself, who would be wise to want me as a friend?
So, my friend, Scot, what can I do for you today? (I sense my little self stick its eggshell-capped head up, suspicion upon its face.)
Yeh, it’s humbling.
“Honesty means: no fabrication, no pretense, no foolishness. It means: true sensitivity, true understanding. Honesty means: be simple. Realize that you can live with very little - very few ideas, very few possessions. Having very little, you will feel less inclined to make yourself busy; you will be less dependent and will therefore have more time to be free and relaxed . . . Then you will not find any harm outside, since you have subjugated the real demon within, namely dishonesty.
Not being honest creates identity. Not being honest generates selfishness. Not being honest prevents us from living fully. When we are not being honest, we worry: if I do this, what is in it for me, what will happen to me, and so forth. The “me” becomes important, instead of the moment.
. . . the honesty we are talking about is the natural byproduct of a disciplined and energetic meditation practice.” So says Shyalpa Rinpoche. - A disciplined and energetic meditation practice under theauthority of a Tibetan Buddhist, my mind nimbly adds. That isn’t being honest?
‘Round the habitable world we go, and knowing our own good - do you, Scot? I like the Rinpoche’s quote . . .
A paradoxical whole
A so-called good to which we surrender loses its ethical value. Not that there is anything bad to it on that score, but to have succumbed to it may breed trouble. Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism. (Or light, music, word and nectar, I add) . . . recognition of the reality of evil (Ex-premies, for example, in the Rawat view) necessarily revitalizes the good, and the evil likewise, converting both into halves of a paradoxical whole.
- Carl Gustav Jung
No one person
Buddhism emphasizes individual experience as the source of enlightenment, rather than the teachings or even the teacher. I find it necessary to think independently of all others . . . no one person could ever wield authority over my life’s spiritual quest.
- Yifa, a Yale-educated nun at Fo Guang Shan Monastery in Taiwan
“Generally speaking, we regard discomfort in any form as bad news. But for . . . spiritual warriors - people who have a certain hunger to know what is true - feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is we’re holding back.
. . . Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape - all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain. In fact, the rampant materialism that we see in the world stems from this moment. There are so many ways that have been dreamt up to entertain us away from the moment, soften its hard edge, deaden it so we don‘t have to feel the full impact of the pain that arises when we cannot manipulate the situation to make us come out looking fine.
. . . Those events or people in our lives who trigger our unresolved issues could be regarded as good news . . . “
These words are from Pema Chodron. And what about leaving Ratwa behind? Moving on? “May it be,” say I.
After my return to the ex-premie site next year, I pray to forget him and the little, much-overpopulated world wherein he is the be all and end all. Lord, let me finally poop him out of my system. That would feel good.
Peace of mind - does Rawat own the franchise on that? Like, you’re not allowed to open up your own Peace of Mind without his say so? Burger King works like that. You can’t open your own Burger King unless you pay the franchise fees and get the okay from Burger King headquarters. Rawat THINKS Peace of Mind, or just, “Peace” is his franchise. Well, we all have our little illusions. Some of them are pretty puffed up, is all. He’s the Burger King of Peace.
Do I have compassion for him? I feel that I do but, as with any addict, that really is an error. You are faced with the addiction, which automatically “receives” your compassion “on the behalf of “ the person behind, who you intended to receive it.
“Another stinkin’ tragedy,” as Emmylou Harris puts it. Nobody wants it to be the way it is, that describes tragedy. No one moves on from tragedy easily. But they do.
Neither indulge nor repress
It is out of compassion that I send these words to Prem Rawat, from Pema Chodron again: “How do we work with our minds when we meet our match? Rather than indulge or reflect our experience, we can somehow let the energy of the emotion, the quality of what we’re feeling, pierce us to the heart. This is easier said than done, but it’s a noble way to live. It’s definitely the path of compassion, the path of cultivating human bravery and kindheartedness.
. . . When we reach our limit, if we aspire to know that place fully - which is to say that we aspire to neither indulge nor repress - a hardness in us will dissolve. We will be softened by the sheer force of whatever energy arises - the energy of anger, of disappointment, the energy of fear. When it’s not solidified in one direction or another, that very energy pierces us to the heart, and it opens us. This is the discovery of egolessness. It’s when all our usual schemes fall apart. Reaching our limit is like finding a doorway to sanity and the unconditional goodness of humanity, rather than meeting an obstacle or punishment.”
So I hope Prem Rawat really becomes that inspirational figure who brings peace, and I hope his shadow, that self-indulgent addict who lives to undermine all that inspiration and peace, is overcome. But for that to happen, Prem Rawat is going to have to go beyond images, his own “good” image especially. That could be too hard for him. He has grit, but does he have that true grit which shatters all images? I wish that he does, because The Image has always been far too important with him. Words like “impeccable” he introduced to us. And of course, “perfect.” Never mind that - become humble, Mr. Perfect Master. Become free of that - free. No one’s ever said freedom’s not worth the effort, whatever effort.
Then we can stop talking to ourselves and come back to, come up to, the fresh moment of the present. The past ain’t around.
Who am I to judge Prem Rawat? And who is he to judge me? I bet there are ex-spouses who get over their old partners pretty successfully, no matter what the former level of attachment. I admit to being very heavily attached to my Perfect Master, but now I wouldn’t cross the street to see him. I don’t think I would. This bird has flown that golden cage, that holy cage of being nobody, under Rawat. And the “under Rawat” is so tiny. Compared to the whole cage, the lock is tiny. But I would say it’s infinitely better to be nobody, under nobody.
Shakespeare said, “this little life is rounded by a sleep.” And the sleep, it’s rounded by the energy of the atoms, the waters of life, the music of the spheres and the light beyond time. That’s still the way it is after you unplug the Rawat appliance ( a security camera?) from your home’s power circuits. Well, PR himself said this: the knowledge was always there. He also added, so how can you charge $ for it? Ew ya.
Some kind of desperate pawnshop
And all the money I gave, I gave it, nearly all of it, gladly and at first without any pressure at all. But these were the early years before PR really took control. And the more control he took, the more energy went out of Our Thing - whatever he’s calling it now - and the smoother and the emptier it all began to run. Image became number one. Slickness, the fantasy of impeccability was set up as the great goal. O yeah, why o why did I hang around so long?
Do I ever regret that. But I don’t want to later start regretting the vast amount of regret, I just want, need, and pray to Move On. Is PR bringing home $50 million a year now? Fine. Is he in big trouble, down to only a few hundred thousand a year? Fine. Does he have 20 million whatever-he-now-calls-’em followers? Fine. Has he fallen on hard times and only 5 thousand people attended his last North American tour? Chances are, that would be “Fine.”
This is a big, real, wonderful world rattling with energy, and it has zero consciousness of any Rawats, excepting 1 percent or less of its population. In the big, adult world are many very inspiring, beautiful souls - without leaving PR, I’d not likely have discovered Matthew Fox, to mention only one of these people - and I feel entirely glad to be here with them. I guess I have to mention the inspiring Shunryu Suzuki, who seems to me to have been the best example of a sincere eastern teacher who came to the west. Read about him, and compare his life and Prem Rawat’s. And John Gatto - look him up on the Net. This guy is an enlightener, though he takes no religious role at all; his subject’s education. I could go on. They had to take books away from me in the ashram.
Fake humility bows down to any smiling tyrant, but real humility doesn’t. It doesn’t because of children, the children we all once had to be, and the children who are always coming along, who have to be brave. THEY are the ones who should be served, served truthfully, and who are able? Anyone cannot be trusted to do a very good job. Especially those who are conned into giving their judgment over to worship some authority figure.
But, the human heart is like some kind of desperate pawn shop where you can buy or trade-in the strangest of odds and ends. You can shake your head over the contents of this pawn shop, but we all are patrons just the same.
PR’ll be all right without me caring about him. I have a feeling that PR knows very well how to look out for PR’s interests. Can the same be said for me? No, I don’t think so. Confidence and courage and Scot are not always very tight, I’m afraid.
I’ve looked around and I’m looking around. I’d like to find some community I could support and still feel good about myself. Will I become a Buddhist? I could do worse, and have done. Will I find the right shamanic path for me?
Not ever again will I subscribe so wholeheartedly to any path, not like I did to . . . my first Teacher’s. He taught me not to.
But I could be wrong. To hope to find something transcendent in this world, this is the natural attitude of any kid, after all.
God, can I move on now?
Kind of frightening
Still, I remember him crying one night in Denver. Images don’t do that. I don’t know if I feel like writing him up in a positive light, but the thing is, he has a story. A real true story as any individual will have, not the 8-year-old Perfect Master story, or the Humanitarian World Leader story - recall that one? - or the Acceptor of Invitations to Events story or whatever current story now floats.
He is a real person. I don’t care if he is layered with the worldly layers - money, a certain kind of “improved” fame (conveniently anonymous outside of his circle), talent, brains, every kind of power - I feel compassion for him. He’ll die soon, I worry (if worry is the right word - “I guess” is better).
Multitudes, literally, believe in him and actually worship him. And this is covered up. God have mercy on him - it’s kind of frightening to me. What will happen to him? I think of Prem Rawat and I see the extreme need to believe in a merciful God. All the good will I sent to him for so long - did it just mean nothing? There’s the horror of supporting an addict - good will, any amount of it, goes nowhere but down the throat of the unfeeling, dead-but-for-the-sucking-vacuum, addiction.
Arrgh ! What I’d like is to get on with my life, and what I’m getting is Rawat, Rawat, Rawat.
I was actually advised to question
Either the relationship with a teacher evolves to a place of unconditional trust and love, or it doesn’t. We have to trust the process. In either case the relationship with a teacher encourages us to trust our basic wisdom. It teaches us to be steadfast with ourselves . . the teacher is extraordinarily adaptable and loyal to the process of our awakening . . . He or she is a full-fledged human being, not some spiritual ideal. In this relationship, like ay other, we will experience likes and dislikes. We might find ourselves plunged right into the midst of chaos and insecurity. This relationship will show us if our heart is big enough to welcome the whole gamut of life - not just the part that we approve of. To the degree that we are capable of remaining steadfast with our spiritual friend, to this degree we can remain steadfast with the world as it is, with all its violence and tenderness, with its meanness and moments of courage. We find ourselves opening up in a way we never thought was possible.
The master warrior serves as a mirror which shows us our mind with embarrassing accuracy. The more we trust ourselves and the teacher, the more we allow this mirroring to happen. We slowly move in the direction of allowing every person we meet to be our teacher. We find ourselves more able to understand the mind-training slogan, “Be grateful to everyone.”
We don’t, however, think of the teacher as having all the wisdom while we have none. There’s too much hope and fear in that kind of set up. If I had been advised never to question my teachers, I wouldn’t have lasted very long as a student. I was always encouraged to use my critical intelligence and express my concerns without fear. I was actually advised to question authority and rules.
It’s important to understand that the minds of the teacher and the student meet, not by making the teacher all right or all wrong, but in the ambiguity between those two views, in the capacity to contain uncertainty and paradox. Otherwise our adulation inevitably fips into disillusionment. We bolt when the teacher doesn’t fit our preconceptions.
We don’t like their political views or the fact that they eat meat, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes. We’re out of there because we don’t like a change in the organizational policy or because we feel unappreciated or neglected. We’ll hang in for a honeymoon period, endowing the relationship with all our longings to be loved in an ideal, non messy way. Then inevitably our expectations are disappointed, and unresolved emotional issues arise. We feel used, betrayed, disillusioned. We don’t want to feel these painful feelings and we leave.
The main point is always how we work with our minds. Once we click into solid views of justification or blaming, our minds become very small. Closing down in any form causes suffering to escalate. Our “solid views” could take the form of “the teacher is perfect and can do no wrong” or the form of “the teacher is a charlatan and can never be trusted.” Both are expressions of freezing the mind. We love to talk about vast, open mind completely clear and spacious. But can we abide in the openness that presents itself when the bottom falls out of our dream?
Even if we do leave a teacher, if we can stay with the pain and disappointment without justifying or condemning, that teacher has taught us well . . .
In working with a spiritual friend we learn to love in an open-ended way - to love and to be loved unconditionally. We’re not used to this kind of love. It’s what we all want but what we all have difficulty giving. In my case I learned how to love and be loved by watching my teacher. When I saw how unconditionally he loved other people, I began to trust that he could also love me. I saw for myself what it means to never give up on anybody.
. . . This unconditional commitment to ourselves and to others is what is meant by limitless love. The teacher’s love for the student manifests as compassion. The student’s love of the teacher is devotion. This mutual warmth, this heart connection, allows for a meeting of minds. It is this kind of love that tames untamable beings and helps the enlightened-in-training to go beyond their home ground. The relationship with our spiritual friend inspires us to step out fearlessly and start exploring the phenomenal world.
- Pema Chodron
The four strategies
The following is extensively adapted by me to fit the PR situation but the ideas are Buddhist, via Pema Chodron:
The futile strategy of attacking PR is particularly popular. We see Prem’s faults and condemn him. We criticize and shame him for indulging himself, or pity him condescendingly for his unconvincing attempts to look good. We rub his metaphorical face in the mess of his badness and guilt.
The futile strategy of his followers indulging PR is equally common. We justify or even applaud his conduct. “That’s a Perfect Master (or Teacher or whatever) for you. Whatever he does breaks concepts and frees minds. He is above any petty worldly or conventional judgments, beyond any criticisms of the unenlightened.” We may be haunted by self-doubt or feelings of inadequacy, but we talk ourselves into condoning his behaviour.
The strategy of ignoring him - the one I employed back in ‘01 when I said goodbye to the Ex Premie site, intending to “go clear” and put my PR years behind me - this strategy is quite effective. But only for a while. We do anything - dissociate, space out, get busy - to distance ourselves from the naked truth of our idolatry of PR. We go on automatic pilot and just avoid looking too closely at what we’ve done.
There is a fourth alternative, the facing-up-to-it strategy. It’s recommended by Buddhists. There’s a fundamental tenderness and groundlessness about our whole mess -the years of devotion, of misplaced idealism - that is uncomfortable and hard to accept. This is a feeling, though, that can lead us to really transcend PR, if we can stay with it and not escape into any of the three hard-and-set stances of ignoring, or indulging or attacking. Just knowing that others feel this way too is so helpful. Feeling-with-others, that is compassion, which frees without isolating us.
The danger of spiritual materialism is that under its influence we make all kinds of assumptions. First, there are the domestic or personal-level assumptions which we make because we want to be happy. Second, there are the spiritual assumptions that are made because of that greater transcendental, gigantic discovery of some kind that is left mysterious. This brings further great assumptions: we do not know what we are actually going to achieve by achieving that unknown thing, but nevertheless we give it some vague description such as “realizing the Knowledge.” And if anyone questions this discovery of “realizing Knowledge” then we just make up further logic or look for reinforcements from the scriptures or other authorities.
The result of all this is we end up confirming ourselves and confirming that the experience we are proclaiming is a true experience. Nobody can question it. At some stage, there’s no room left for questioning at all. Our whole outlook becomes completely established with no room left at all for questioning. This is what we could call achieving egohood, as opposed to achieving enlightenment. At that point, if I would like to practise my aggression and passion on you and you don’t accept that, then that’s your fault. You do not understand the ineffable spirituality, so you are at fault. The only way left for me to help you is to reduce you to a shrunken head, to take out your brain and heart. You become a mere puppet under my command.
. . . It is recorded that the Buddha was given many Hindu meditation practices. He scorched himself in fires. He related with the energy of tantra by visualizing all kinds of things. He saw a neurological light by pressing his eyeballs, and he heard a neurological buzz of supposedly yogic sound by pressing his ears. He went through all of this himself and realized that these phenomena were gimmicks rather than real samadhi or realization. Maybe the Buddha was a dumb yoga student without any imagination. However, we follow his dumbness, his example as the enlightened one, the completely enlightened one.
As the Buddha’s approach to the practice of meditation evolved, he realized that gimmicks are merely neurotic affectation. He decided to look for what is simple, what is actually there, to discover the relationship between mind and body, his relationship with the grass mat on which he sat and the tree above his head. He looked into his relationships with everything very simply and directly. It was not especially exciting - there were no flashes or anything - but it was reassuring. At the dawn of his enlightenment, someone asked the Buddha, “What are your credentials? How do we know that you are enlightened?” He touched his hand to the ground. “This solid earth is my witness., This solid earth, this sane earth, is my witness.” Sane and solid and definite: no imaginings, no concepts, no emotions, no frivolity, but being basically what is. This is the awakened state.
Compassion is that total openness in which the Buddha had no ground, no sense of territory. So much so that he was hardly an individual. He was just a grain of sand living in the vast desert. Through his insignificance, he became the “world-enlightened one,” because there was no battle involved. The truth he taught was passionless, without aggression. Passion is grasping, holding onto or expanding your territory.
So our practice of meditation, if we follow the Buddha’s way, is the practice of passionlessness or non-aggressiveness. It is dealing with the possessiveness of aggression: “This is my spiritual trip and I don’t want you to interfere with it. Get out of my territory.” The spiritual perspective is a panoramic situation in which you can come and go freely and your relationship with the world is open. It is the ultimate nonviolence.
- Chogyam Trungpa
One eye has no depth
We have to learn what we can, but remain mindful that our knowledge not close the circle, closing out the void so that we forget that what we do not know remains boundless, without limit or bottom, and that what is known may have to share that quality of being known with what denies it. What is seen with one eye has no depth.
- Ursula Le Guin
For who departs, for who stays
The words of Pema Chodron: “In Taoism there’s a famous saying that goes, ‘The Tao that can be spoken is not the ultimate Tao.’ Another way you could say that, although I’ve never seen it translated this way, is, ‘As soon as you begin to believe in something, you can no longer see anything else.’ The truth you believe in and cling to makes you unable to hear anything new.”
Maharaji would always say, “It’s not a belief; it’s an experience.” But that statement is, itself, the belief in question.
The person there in front of you, you don’t love. The far distant, enthroned, idealized, deified person - that’s who you love. The life at hand, you don’t live. The idealized, important, magical life of your guru or movie star - this is the life wherein you come alive, and the fact that you’re only in a spectator role doesn’t matter.
But - I feel a lack of passion about Prem Rawat and his little world. It seems that I have moved on and left him behind. And, this observation is of small interest, even. I’ve made it before and I’m only revisiting it.
I used to think of myself as “good” during my years with my guru. Now, I think of myself as a puzzle of real and unreal. I still want love, but I want it to be real. But what is that? The love in the guru world is very thick, real-feeling. Sometimes. Othertimes, no. It isn’t real, but you are that person in the crowd watching the emperor as he parades his new clothes, you see everyone else with you admiring . . . and you say nothing.
I can see the viewpoint that it’s sad for me that I couldn’t keep on believing in that hit and miss magic . . . well, it’s better to say, I can see the viewpoint that it could be sad. Someone could think of it as sad. But as deep as my soul goes, I feel peaceful and good about departing. And for anyone else who departs, I wish the same.
For those who will stay with PR till his final days, I send respect for your freedom of choice. Someday you might need some respect for your freedom of choice.
As for PR and me, it’s like some old girl friends - I can still remember staring into the eyes of a girl from my grade seven class on an Ontario street one summer night long ago. It’s still something to me, and always will be - if I think of it. But I’d meet her today and feel nothing. Amusement, I suppose.
Prem Rawat, you have my fair indifference. This is speaking personally, as if I were the only one involved with you. Recall that indifference, not hate, is the opposite of love, as someone said.
Taking a more impartial stance, I dislike his effect on people, but I can’t say he couldn’t be good for some. Those some would have to be as needy as I was, though. Well, maybe I’m going to rethink that. It’s just that really admitting how bad his effect on people is, tempts me to crusade against him. Crusading is a big time-commitment, and a huge part of my life has already gone to waste focussed on that illusion, Rawat. Illusion is a web whose stickiness I always underestimate. And they tried Prohibition already, though it was with booze, not cults. Didn’t work.
And. Victims and abusers are always upsetting to watch, because of the inevitable way they are guided toward each other, guided by that dark star you may as well call disaster. For your own peace of mind, my friends, detachment is a must, right here at Ex-Premies central like anywhere else.
Anyway, of words there is no end. Not without intent to end!
East meets West
Whether governmental, institutional or corporate, these things some call networks, these abstract associations for material advantage, are Oriental models. One of the typical things of the Orient is that any criticism disqualifies you for the guru’s instruction. Well, in heaven’s name, is that appropriate for a Western mind? It’s simply a transferring of your submission to a childhood father onto a father for your adulthood. Which means you’re not growing up . . . The thing about the guru in the West is that he represents an alien principle, namely, that you don’t follow your own path, you follow a given path. And that is totally contrary to the Western spirit! Our spirituality is of the individual quest, individual realization - authenticity in your own life out of your own center.
- Joseph Campbell