Thursday, June 02, 2005

To Heal One Is To Heal All

by anonymous

I extend my respects, and my ever-breaking heart, to the contributors of this blog. To those who are suffering, to those who are healing and thriving. . .and to Andrew, and to his serious and dedicated students who pour out their hearts’ sincerity and the depth of longing into what they hope to be the greatest possibility for their lifetime. None of us is so different from each other, blind but sincere voyagers on this Ship of Fools.

I am not a student of Andrew, but have followed his work for many years, and have received teachings from him on more than one occasion that were of valuable help to my sadhana. I would like to share a precious teaching lesson Andrew once offered me, and with open hands and heart offer it back to him in return.

Many years ago, as a young practitioner on the path, I visited Andrew. At the time I was like many of us, totally ambitious, totally naïve, believing that my wish for Truth was greater than the others, that I was destined for spiritual greatness, that I was, somehow, special. Surely many of us can admit to such a feeling, if only in the privacy of our hearts? That is why Hafiz wrote, “But still God is delighted and amused, you once tried to be a saint.”

Though I believed nothing could come between myself and the most radical and uncompromised truth, I was struggling with a broken practice, with resistance.
I shyly raised me hand, “Andrew, how do I work with the great NO inside of me? How do I overcome this tremendous resistance to practice that keeps me from Truth?”

“Give me an example, Andrew flashed back, playful suspicion in his eyes. “Tell me how this great NO shows up in practical terms.”

I told him of my fall from grace earlier that day, which amounted to a breach of practice so minor as to be perceptible only to myself.

“Oh my God!” Andrew theatrically jumped in, laughing, instantly disarming my self-seriousness and grandiosity. “Did you hear that?” he turned to his students.

“Listen, sweetie,” he turned to me with the piercing swords of discernment, the mood instantly changed. “You’re young, you’re serious and you are just beginning. On this path you are going to make a LOT of mistakes, and some of those mistakes are going to be BIG ones. Everybody does. It is guaranteed. Save your energy and remorse for the big mistakes because you are going to make them and you are going to need your energy to get through them. Got it?”

I think we all got it in that moment, the inevitability of a fall I could not imagine, the humanness of it, the humility of it, and the need to show up as a true spiritual warrior when the time would come.

It is 10 years later. Andrew has made some big mistakes. Some of the ones he said we would all make. The accrual of casualties in terms of the abuse of money, power, and emotional manipulatin, just to name a few of the “crimes of unconsciousness,” are undeniable.

It is a precious moment. What appears to be a devastating shock can become a healing crisis if it is related to with deep courage. A doorway is open that may not stay open for too long. It is a moment in which Andrew can use the fruits of his sadhana, the energy that he still has accumulated, to gracefully work his way through his present predicament. This is the moment in his own life that he was telling me about, one of the BIG mistakes, in which we cash in some of our hard-earned accumulation of energy in order to create a significant healing and transformation.

People can be tremendously resilient and forgiving. When approached from the humility of true remorse and heartbreak, and the admission of human error, hearts open and karma is undone.

Those hurt by Andrew were, of course, mutually complicit in the drama they were a part of. Our neurotic wounds and needs unconsciously kidnap the teachings in service of themselves, and so both neurosis of teacher and student were feeding off each other. This is an inevitable symptom of the times we are in, times of great possibility and a time in which our collective psychological wounding has penetrated to such a collective and epidemic level that none us, including teachers, are immune from its influence. The question is, “Can we work our way out of it?” If we really believe in evolution, this is the humble domain in which it is learned and lived.

Many years ago, Claudio Naranjo, after being fully enlightened for three years, running a thriving spiritual community, came to the stark realization and admission that his enlightenment was not complete. In spite of protests from his students, he dismantled his organization and dethroned himself as guru. He later explained that his own enlightenment had to be sacrificed in order to illuminate that which was still dark within him.

A friend of mine was a very close student of Yogi Amrit Desai. In fact, she was one of those who sued him for his sex scandals (enacted on her) and won the lawsuit. Much later, they did mediation together. Eventually, therapy. Many years later she returned to him as his student, and they now have a mature, thriving, adult relationship as guru and disciple. Corruption and transmission can coexist! Change is possible. Forgiveness is possible.

Let us remember that none of us are beyond falling. Most of us have not been given enough power, authority and fame to fully appreciate the subtlety and pulls of its temptations. We actually cannot know that we would not do as Andrew has done, given the complexity of historical and karmic factors he faces. Most of us have not penetrated the subtleties of dharmic wisdom deeply enough to fully appreciate the degree to which the still unconscious aspects of ego can co-opt Truth into a sterling silver layer of armor and defense, all flawlessly justifiable in the language of Truth itself. Most of us are not beyond falling into the traps that Andrew has fallen into.

However, as a world teacher and model, Andrew is now in an incredible position to offer us an extremely potent teaching lesson about how an authentic teacher can allow himself to become dismantled and dethroned in order to assume the true throne of Disciple of Truth, of Love, of Life. Through his own umcompromised practice, Andrew could, through an essential and brave gesture, undergo the greatest teaching lesson of his own life - turning toward EVERYTHING that is within him, including deep psychological wounds and their consequences, humility, hurt, blindness, in order to demonstrate to all of us that a true visionary will stop short of nothing in his journey to Truth, even the dethroning of his own empire. I envision that the humility of such an action would invoke the forgiveness and support of all of those who, in their heart of hearts, still love him. Things that may still be to come, lawsuits, more difficult books, this blog, could be dropped, forgiven, erased, and even transformed into the fruition of a still greater truth.

I am sure the Gods would sing. The great gurus would arise from their cremated ashes and bestow blessings, forgiveness, the undoing of karma, and true praise for an act of such human bravery. The hearts of present and former disciples would be disarmed in the beauty of Andrew’s humility, and something deep within them could forgive, let go, and all of us could learn something painfully deep and humanly real about the teaching that “there is no other.”

Andrew, you offered me that precious lesson long ago: “Save yourself for the big mistakes because you are going to make them and you are going to need your energy to get through them.” Now demonstrate to all of us how it is done, so when our time comes we will have the courage to do the same.

With All Respects

Originally published March 12, 2005
Original article on WHAT Enlightenment??!, with comments: To Heal One Is To Heal All