Thursday, June 02, 2005

Three Responses

Part 1: "My Turning Point" by Richard Pitt
Part 2: "An Angry Brainwashed Person" by anonymous
Part 3: "Hello Anti-Cohen Bloggers" by Carter Phipps

Part 1
My Turning Point by Richard Pitt
Craig Hamilton’s response to Hal Blacker’s letter showed exactly the tactics consistent with life in Andrew Cohen’s community. A nasty attempt at character assassination under the guise of spiritual superiority. The language also reminded me of another cultic dynamic in our present time – the current US administration – with it’s rhetoric of freedom against the tyranny of evil doers, an administration that Andrew Cohen has vocally supported, for heaven’s sake!

To reduce all the points that Hal Blacker, Susan Bridle and others have brought up to be the clamor of cynicism reveals an arrogance and delusion that is a hallmark of Andrew Cohen’s community. When I left the community after 8 years, the turning point happened when I realized that there was no room for anybody to leave the community with Andrew’s blessing. There was no respect given to those who left and I realized that Andrew simply didn’t care. Initially that made me very sad, and then angry, and then I realized how bitter and deluded a teacher he must be when he can’t let people leave and wish them well and hope that each of them finds what they’re looking for in life. As far as he’s concerned, if you’ve gone, you’ve betrayed him and you’re going to rot in the hell of your own ego. I wrote to him saying that each person has to find their own way, that ultimately no other person can do that for another and we all have to walk our own path. Any teacher worth their salt would know this, but Andrew has been caught up in an expectation of betrayal from everybody he meets, his mother and teacher included, and so this is the prism of his own reality. Those that knew him and then left after many years just confirmed this expectation.

Craig Hamilton and Andrew’s community cannot reduce those behind this blog to being disaffected cowards, hyenas yapping at the ankles of Truth. That is too easy. One of the great things that happened in the community was the level of sincerity of those involved. That sincerity doesn’t leave when a person departs the community, contrary to the rationales given by Andrew to justify why people would leave him. Life is more subtle than Andrew Cohen would have us think. This is the trouble when someone attempts to live his life in such simplistic absolutes; everything and everybody who is not sitting in adoration of him is the enemy, a spiritual “axis of evil” to be battled with.

How many times in human history has this happened when one group of people think they have some kind of unique angle on Truth, and where those that disagree with them are viewed with suspicion, hatred and worse. This is what cults have always been about and whilst I joke that, yes, I was in a cult but it wasn’t as bad as many other cults, none the less it is still a cult and one day Craig may realize this. However, that will happen only after he leaves. Whilst in it, he will never be able to see what is really going on and can only resort to thinking that the very many people who committed many years to living in Andrew’s community and then left are nothing more than lost souls, unresolved individuals, whilst he, Andrew and others bask in the light of wisdom and truth. How noble of you Craig! However, it really is quite good out here with the rest of humanity - not perfect, but maybe perfection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, including our spiritual authorities.

Part 2
An Angry Brainwashed Person by anonymous

Craig--Your words sound like those of an angry brainwashed person to me. I have nothing to do with Andrew's community and never have, but I know the sound of someone who is brainwashed when I hear it.

The first thing of course, is to attack the character of someone who is speaking the truth. We all have character flaws. It's just a cheap shot to do that.

One other interesting thing is that you point to Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati, as endorsing Andrew. That woman is the biggest fraud going! Joya, or Joyce Green, (which is her real name), is a total scam artist. A scam artist endorsing a scam artist! Great!

Good luck to you Craig. May you find the help and support and friends that you need when you finally find your way out of the mental torture chamber you have put yourself in.
- by anonymous

Part 3
Hello Anti-Cohen Bloggers by Carter Phipps

Dear Bloggers,

Hello all anti-Cohen bloggers. Long time no see for many of you ex-students, and for the rest I hope I can help insert a little extra context into the discussion. But first in defense of my friend Craig Hamilton, I have to say that there is something downright bizarre about Andrew being criticized on a blog for months and months, and then Craig comes up here and says a few words in Andrew’s defense, and lo and behold he is suddenly accused of squelching all dissent. :) Is that Orwellian or just a catch-22?

The bottom line from my point of view is that things are better than ever right now around Andrew. The community is more sincere (thanks for the compliments there Richard), more authentic, more full of life, love and excitement about what’s possible than ever before. There is a deeper understanding of and appreciation for Andrew’s teaching and greater awareness of their power for personal transformation and their potential to release our own desire and capacity to contribute to a greater cultural transformation. What Is Enlightenment? magazine continues to inspire us to reach further and explore what could be and should be the spiritual and philosophical context for life in a new millennium. We’re finding common cause with all kinds of committed, interested people in this world who really care very deeply about the state of our fragile planet and about changing things. We’re discovering more and more individuals who are waking up to the thrill and excitement of an evolutionary vision of enlightenment, more and more people out there on this ever smaller globe who are beginning to appreciate and truly cognize the powerful developmental context of our cosmological and biological heritage, and are interested in how we human beings can play a constructive role in life’s further evolution. And in the community itself, there is the joyful recognition of a new consciousness rising between us, a deepening understanding of Andrew’s vision of evolutionary enlightenment that has been forged by years of hard work, consistent commitment and more than a little soul-searching and spiritual reckoning. The living fruits of that labor are sweet indeed, quietly exploding among students around the world, impacting our lives in ways we never could have foreseen, and having unexpected and profound affects on all of our activities.

Whatever up and downs that the community has been through over the 18 years of it’s own evolution, whatever challenges it has faced, whatever individuals have come and gone—some for wholesome reasons and some not—the most important thing in my mind is the future. And let me tell you, the future is so bright, and as much as it drags anyone down to have to endure personal, context-less, unjustified and sometimes even vicious attacks from former friends about the life that I and so many treasure and love, the fact remains that the future is what we’re interested in. That’s truly what concerns us. That what gets me out of bed in the morning, that’s what lights up my life and makes me thrilled to have a place where I can contribute in my own very small way to serving the much needed awakening—spiritually, socially, culturally, politically—of this world that is so much in need. What could be better? What could be more deeply satisfying and fulfilling? What could be more important? Andrew is my teacher, friend, guru. He has provided a context and teaching in which such a life is possible and I am deeply grateful to him for it. It’s a life that hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been more than worth it for so many reasons. So anyone who reads this blog, anyone who reads the words of these few disgruntled former students of Andrew’s teaching and community, they should also know there is another side to the story that you’ll never hear on this board. It’s a great story with many dimensions to it, and over time, I look forward to writing more and more about all of those dimensions. And it’s a story that is continuing to challenge, inspire and uplift those who have the fortune of helping write it in real time. In short, from where I’m standing, we may have a few arrows in our shields, but man oh man, the vistas of what lie ahead are fantastic.

Carter Phipps
Senior Editor, What Is Enlightenment? magazine

P.S. Richard, just for the record, Andrew, like myself, does not like our current administration or its policies. Whatever you heard must have been taken out of context.