Monday, October 8, 2007

CULTS AND WRITING

If anybody had asked me at any point during my ten years plus of living in the ashram, “Are you really doing what you want?” “Are you here of your own free will?” “Are you happy?” I would have answered them easily and honestly. “Yes! I have never been happier in my life. This is what I want to do more than anything else. This is what I truly believe in. I am assisting a saint and doing more for myself than anything else I could possibly do with my life. I am benefiting the world. I feel myself becoming stronger and freer all the time.”

I had no doubt.

For one thing, the ashram had so many great people, people I loved and admired. I saw creative, smart, dedicated, hard-working, warm loving people all around me. There were the chillier ones, of course, but they were the minority. What better place to live, I thought. It was my home and I loved it as a home.

Baba once wrote something about how ordinary people look pale and lifeless to those who are actively on the spiritual path, and vice versa. People on the spiritual path look pale and lifeless to people out in the world. I noticed that. I noticed how people who visited the ashram for the first time, or people who visited from the town, looked different than us. They didn’t have our bright eyes, our bright light. You could almost pick out of the crowd who was practicing with the guru and who was living out there in the lifeless world.

There was no way you could have convinced me otherwise. It was the writing that made the difference. I was not looking for a way out of my beliefs.

I have learned that in real writing two realities cannot co-exist. Not for long, anyway. You cannot write what is real for you and hold onto denial at the same time. The writing will chip away at it. That’s one of its beauties. Writing – real writing, not writing that seeks to reproduce someone else’s writing, not writing that is propaganda, not writing that has a goal in mind and just exists to reach that goal – real writing will always keep reaching for what is real. As all true art does. That’s its purpose.


I think that very gently, and very surely, writing leads you into what is taboo, what you’ve put a fence around. And it’s in moving past these fences that one’s voice and individuality begins to emerge.
I find great satisfaction in writing. Not in the sense that I am proud of what I write. Fred will confirm that I rarely “like” anything I write. Maybe once or twice a year I will “like” something. But I write and I love to write. And then I publish it, I put it up on my blog. Not because I think it’s good but because I am so tired of censoring myself. I do believe there is something real in my writing that is beyond my sense of what is “good” and what isn’t.

Recently, Siddha Yoga devotees have been taking pot shots at the content of what I write, using it against me. That’s really against the rules and I do not listen. In our workshops – where people write genuinely and personally about what has happened in their lives – we are very careful to keep the conversation on the writing itself, not to let it stray into questions (“Did you really steal that car??”), or chit-chat (“I saw that movie too!”), or suggestions (“You should really talk to that boss of yours!”), or even sympathy (“Wow, your brother was so mean to you!”). No, we stay focused on the writing as if it existed independent of the writer sitting across the room. Fred and I even go so far as to remind everyone in the group never to assume that just because someone has written about their divorce that they want to talk about it in the kitchen afterwards. Not at all. What is written is sacred.


So I do not write about my life to get suggestions or sympathy. I don’t write to get anything, except the sense that I am heard. I write to express my world, what I live with, who I am. I have a passion that I cannot explain for translating my world into words. I get satisfaction from it so I keep doing it.


Writing is the greatest weapon I know of against group-think. I define cults by groups that foster group-think. Siddha Yoga certainly did that. I had a thousand ways at the time to justify thinking like everybody else. It wasn’t “group-think.” I called it “surrender.” And if you hadn’t understood me, if you had argued and been unconvinced, I would have just smiled and let you go on your way. This wasn’t something I could explain to you. It was in the guru’s hands.


Imagine, though, if we’d all been doing this kind of writing in the ashram. Not trying to interpret our lives and thoughts through some prism of “guru’s grace”, but honestly writing in concrete terms what we knew to be true no matter how petty and small it seemed under the blazing chandeliers of the meditation hall. The ashram would have been a very different place.


I couldn’t see the group-think for what it was when I was in it, and I am not surprised that people still deeply invested in Siddha Yoga don’t see it either. But I can see that I was not thinking for myself then the way I am now. And I know this through my writing.

I guess another way of saying it is that writing cuts into denial. When I was in the ashram, my life was built around the belief – an assumption -- that the guru was all-knowing and all-loving, that this work was the way to have the greatest life and to benefit the world the most. When I started, in Fred’s workshops, to really explore writing not about my life – but from within my life – I couldn’t go near anything that had to do with my ashram life. I could not write about it in concrete terms. I knew that without “right understanding” it would not be seen as I saw it. And "right understanding " wasn't anything concrete. It was a sort of secret ingredient that only the initiated had. Nothing I could write about.

So I had a fence around my guru-centered life. For awhile, that fence kept writing out. As soon as writing found its way in, that whole area began to look very different. Suddenly, angry words were just that. Angry words. Not the guru's tender teaching.


I didn’t anticipate all the hate mail. It’s funny how they use my own writing that I have published myself as if it were heavily researched material that they have “dug up,” as if they were showing things I never wanted known. I don’t think I would write and publish those stories if I wanted to keep all that hidden. So much for their “scoop!”


It’s funny too how often the writer demands that I retract what I have said about Siddha Yoga. I know that whoever writes something like that hasn’t read much of what I have written. They have probably been prompted to write something aggressive by a phone call from someone else. You can’t retract memoir! You can’t retract the simple honest telling of what you remember. Which is all this book is. If you want to continue believing that the woman in the book, Gurumayi, is an enlightened saint, go right ahead. I guess for a lot of people it works. For me, it didn’t. I wasn’t getting out of life what I wanted. I thought I was for awhile, for over ten years, but I grew out of it. I wanted more. I wanted something else. And I don’t for one moment regret that moving on, this new life I have stepped into that feels my own.

People don’t have to like what I have written. But don’t try and tell me to write something else. You write something else. This is my writing. It’s what’s true for me. In ten years my writing will be deeper. I’ll be able to say more. For now, this is the best I can do.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

Marta, you are wonderful! All power to you!! Your clarity, intellect, honesty and your natural talent are a gift to others! Thanks for a fantastic journey and for telling us your truth... and in that process helping us to shed light on our own truth.
Thanks honey!!

Anonymous said...

After I wrote the draft for this post I tried to publish it in the comments under Marta's Chapter 42. I couldn't get into the blog because Marta was posting her Epilogue and Postscript. I think that means I need to post this here, and I may post a few other things here as well.

Now...

"Clearly Marta is not afraid to look at herself and her past." For me this is the very definition of spiritual courage.

Two points out of the three
I would have made after Chapter 42:

a) Definitely the discussion about SY benefits from a focus on the principle teachings and practices of yoga, whether or not they are on display in the SY community, and not on the personality weaknesses of anyone including "Grumpy" who is after all just another COMMON MORTAL.

Yes I have seen latinate attacks on personalities both here and in exSY, but I also saw them in huge public programs in what I used to call a House of God... coming from the mouth of the Supposed Goddess Herself. AND I HAVE EXPERIENCED THEM TOWARD ME IN THE ASHRAM BY ASHRAM STAFF, AS WELL AS BY MEMBERS OF ONE OF MY OWN LOCAL SY COMMUNITIES. The accounts of mental and emotional manipulation and abuse in the context of SY are REAL.

It's clear to me that none of this is consonant with the practice of spiritual principle, even when I indulge in it. At the same time, I believe that anyone who portrays Marta Szabo as a criminal (for getting stoned? It's not even illegal in some countries...) or who allows someone to portray Marta as a criminal in "Her" name deserves to be publicly called to account. Hence I agree in principle with the writers who say the open attacks on Marta have at least the silent support of You Know Whom...a woman who engaged in one of the most unprincipled and abusive public attacks on HER OWN SIBLING that I've ever seen... because he engaged in behavior that mirrors that of a A MAN TO WHOM SY DEVOTEES REGULARLY SING DEVOTIONAL HYMNS.

Also, I should say that at one point in my history with Siddha Yoga I held very harsh judgments against exers with my devotee friends. From this perspective I can say I have some empathy for the poor fool who erected that attack blog, though in my case it came from a great fear that what the exers had to say might actually be true. Turns out for the most part their points (though not always the delivery of same) are well taken.

b) In another post I described my SY experience as a definitively mixed blessing. One of the things I regret about this blog and its readers is that the folks who enjoyed reading it as devotees have felt shut out of the discussion about Marta's memoir. In the future I hope that their Authentic Stories (whether or not some of us agree with what feels authentic to them) might find a place in the Authentic Writing community.

They deserve to grow in awareness at their own pace and in their own time.

Hence I applaud the Hatha Yoga instructor who posted the blogspot called The Guru Looks Bad, though I might suggest a name change to The Guru Looks However You Happen to See Her, One Day At A Time.

I also hope that when I write my spiritual memoir I include all the things I truly loved about Siddha Yoga, because for me a memoir that excludes or editorializes them out of existence could never be authentic.

For achieving a remarkable equipoise in her writing and in the way she has managed this blog site, and for being an incredible role model to anyone who wants to write a spiritual memoir about the experience of SY, or any other charismatic religious movement, I thank Marta Szabo with great respect and love, with all my heart.

K.

Anonymous said...

Marta, I, too, have enormous respect for you and your writing. I am so sorry that your own personal story is so threatening to SY folk or folks that they have resorted to threatening you and attempting to discredit you. I believe that the large majority of us can see their attempts for what they are. I am one who happens to believe in karma so I believe that their crude and mean attacks on you will come back around to haunt them at some point.

Your Tuesday blogs have been the highlight of my week. I am just sorry that this is the last one!

God bless you and your courage.

Anonymous said...

"I think that very gently, and very surely, writing leads you into what is taboo, what you’ve put a fence around. And it’s in moving past these fences that one’s voice and individuality begins to emerge."

*** ***

I want to share that I know this to be definitively true, not only for Marta but for myself as someone who has tried to use writing to get at some of the most difficult truths of my life.

A couple of years ago I took a workshop designed to bring women into harmony with the story of their lives. I found it strangely difficult to write about some of the areas of my life because I was struggling with the dissolution of my belief in the SY system of thought. Couldn't get past that in my prose, couldn't get past it in my poems, couldn't get through it in my fiction. And strangely enough I couldn't get into the non-fictional parts of myself because I had so many hang ups about being seen and heard. Not to mention that I was desperately struggling to come to terms with another truth about another Radiant Soul in my life, one I dared not speak in the community where I took the memoir course.

Well, didn't that struggle come out on paper despite my every effort to keep it silent, and didn't I pay for that. Still, by telling the story I found parts of myself that I tend to keep hidden from myself, and by speaking them and seeing them I somehow found a way to embrace them.

In some ways the story about coming to terms with Siddha Yoga for myself remains blocked up in me because I fear that no one can or will hear the inconsistent parts of the story if I tell them from the pit of my stomach and the deepest recess of my heart. And yet there is no diffident reader or listener I fear more than myself, though this is the one person to whom I most need to appeal.

I need to do this not just because I have this thing I call "finger hunger"... an organic drive to write that's been with me all my life.

I need to do this because being part of Siddha Yoga brought me such incredible gifts for a very long time and it cost me an incredible price at other times in the course of my life.

I need to do this because writing is what I do whenever I don't know what else to do. I need to do this because I think if I do it well it can help someone other than myself (maybe I need to examine that motive in writing). I need to do it because if I don't even try I could die wondering why I let such a big part of my life go manually unexamined.

I need to do it because it's mine and I deserve to lay a claim on it.

So I am in the process of putting together my own simple blog space, not for or against Siddha Yoga but about what it means to write authentically. Mostly it's an information resource at this time. Later it could become a place where I publish some of my writings, though I know I need to be sure this is the right thing for me to do with my personal work.

In the meanwhile, I'm taking out the notes from that old class and looking at which parts of my life I backed away from writing about.

I will ask for some form of Grace before I attempt to so so again. With any luck I may invite my fingers do the walking through those dark passages of my life, shedding light on them simply because I became willing to touch them sincerely at the keyboard, one page at a time.

Thank you Marta for showing me that a person can do this, and survive.

K.

Anonymous said...

Marta

Thanks for giving the remains of my spiritual life a place to compost and incubate.

Wonderful to find echoes of what I found to be true in your work. Gave me that reflection we all need, we all sought.

Was so glad to read how sincere you were on the path and that the writing led you out and on.

No Rx needed, no g*d needed, just the writing. Excellent.

We need you in the schools.

Warm regards,
MC

Cameron D McIntosh said...

Marta--your account has a simple immediacy which has enriched me deeply. To my sense, it doesn't "psychologize," (doesn't seek to assign a concrete meaning), rather, it lets the reader re-explore their parallel experiences through their own lens of meaning.

My SY apprenticeship spanned eight years, mostly in South Fallsburg, my exit dovetailing Marta's entry in 1990.

For me, the interesting moment in this tale is when Marta found she could consider her ashram experience another way:

"I wrote it simply, just as if I were writing about having breakfast in the kitchen or watching my mother iron. I left out all the fairy dust [...]"

This is what my life is currently exploring. How a central function of an ego (the organizational structure of a human being) is as an *amplifier of meaning*. For the seventeen years since leaving South Fallsburg, I've desired to *understand* what had happened there. Somehow that quest has lead me to another tradition, one more deeply integrated with Western thought. My current spiritual guide's background is as a clinical psychologist as well as the leader of an unorthodox order of Sufism.

The principles I've learned which have the strongest validity for me are:
(1) An ego is not a bad thing. It is essential that the latent gifts and qualities we bring to an incarnation be developed to the fullest extent possible through a well-developed and integrated ego. This process of ego-development and refinement occurs in the initial phases of every life.
(2) That in the current age, it is not necessary to "pull down" spiritual power through ritualistic practices. Conditions now allow people to naturally draw energy and refine themselves while following a normal pattern of life.
(3) That everybody is actually pursuing a "spiritual" life--there are no other kinds. Some processes are more easily undergone without a conscious knowledge of ones relationship with a higher power.
(4) That the ego dissolves through being melted by rigorous use in the context of love. It is not actually violently destroyed by a master (though a real master may rarely appear to do so). If an attempt is made to violently destroy the ego, it will not go away, but will be damaged, and the damage will have to be healed before the ego can proceed to be naturally dissolved through love.

Again, deep thanks for a lovingly written memoir. I am so happy that you have found a companion and a calling which have tapped the gifts you have to contribute to the world.

Yours, Cam McIntosh (Yateendra)

Anonymous said...

Dear Marta,

Having looked at what your detractor(s) have to say, I understand the feelings behind your post on 'Cults and Writing,' and admire your strength and discipline in not reacting even more strongly. You have been honest throughout, and your honesty is its own defense. This is clear from how so many of us, myself included, have resonated with your observations, and provided our own experiences in confirmation. With honesty, Truth shines of its own light.

Those who purport to write the 'truth' about you, your personal life and background only serve to demonstrate how much the 'truth' as we call it is something made and manipulated by someone from selected fibers of the fabric of our lives, more often than not to be used against us and to attempt to control us, primarily through fear. We know quite well from our current culture, political and otherwise, that 'truth' is used to discredit, silence, undermine, and, yes, slime. And we know that this is not truth, but something else.

When it comes to those who matter — first yourself, and then those who read your words with a passion for growth, understanding, and, yes, Truth with a capital 'T,' your honesty is enough to be a catalyst for this higher purpose. You have no need to defend yourself, or your writing, which is your true dharma in the right sense of the word.

All of us have the choice to either sit down and cry endlessly about what happened, or to pick up like you have and return to the inspiration, the spark of light that is at the center of the real and true teachings of yoga that first attracted us to a spiritual path, and follow it once again. This spark is the light of the soul itself, seeking to know itself. It is not a 'teaching' or doctrine, nor something that has to be bestowed upon us by another. It is through and through unmediated by the doctrines and interpretations of others, and in its Truth is entirely personal.

The one big mistake we all made was to believe that someone has a magic wand by which to do it all for us, and give us that light on a silver platter. We can overcome that mistake, the mistake which makes suckers of us all. But we cannot overcome our own act of giving up on it when we find that 'magic' to be a ruse.

If we forget that spark of the real truth in our bitterness, we have abdicated the one thing that cannot be taken from us unless we agree to it, and we have abdicated our own true worthiness. Then however much we reject one 'guru,' at one point or another we will end up dancing to the tune of another, if only the guru of our own bitterness, which is a poor substitute for that original sense of worthiness.

Even those who are running their own blogs and web sites defrocking and defaming 'gurus,' while they serve a useful purpose, are also doing it for their own purposes and agendas, and play at being a sort of 'guru' in their own right. There is a 'group think' at work there too that feeds upon itself, and we all need to be careful of buying into that as well. For while they provide cautions to the unsuspecting and naive, in the end they take us nowhere.

When it comes to all of the anger expressed in those blogs as well as in many of the comments submitted to this blog, there is a saying: Indulging in anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Marta, you have taken the high road, and may you never bring that poison to your lips. May the rest of us finally come to reject that cup as well, and choose honesty over angry and sarcastic LOL's. SY has brought itself to its own end. There is no need for us to kill it. Your call to honesty is a better path.

I honor you in walking that road with a steady stride, and I know that most of the time you probably don't quite feel that steady. But you are, and nothing about your past and everything that has brought you to this point can change or discredit the worth of your work.

doug

Anonymous said...

I am not a person who was ever heavily involved with Siddha Yoga.

I was invited a few times by a friend to a Siddha Yoga center in my town, but it didn't seem a fit. I went to please my friend, and honor our friendship, and try to share something that seemed so important to her, to understand it, maybe feel what she was feeling.

Over time, that friend left Siddha Yoga. As she grew and matured, it wasn't as important to her.

Sometime shortly after this blog started hitting the internet, my friend e-mailed me to tell me about it and sent me the URL link.

The first few chapters didn't really hit me but I pushed through and by the middle of the story, I started getting captivated. The captivation turned into a writing addiction because I'd had just enough experience with Siddha Yoga to relate to the story, and that small bit of experience made reading about ashram life and life directly in Gurumayi's immediate sphere totally addicting. I suppose I had occasionally wondered to myself "what if I'd really taken to it and it was as important to me as to my friend?" Marta's stories were so well written that the scenes vividly came alive in my mind despite never having been to many of the places she wrote about like the ashrams in South Fallsburg, India, or even Krishnamurti's house in California.

I'd like to congratulate Marta for finding and sharing her truth with the world. And, now that the story has concluded, as I was finishing up my reading here, what came to my mind was the following completion to Marta's title:

The Guru LOOKED Good...But Appearances Can Be Deceiving And Looks Aren't Everything!"

Thanks again Marta for entertaining me and so many others.
And congratulations again at discovering your own meaningful tool for self-transformation and growth.
-Erin

Anonymous said...

For me, this quote from Marta says it ALL. I just LOVE it. I did, begging Marta's forgiveness, take the liberty to use capitals and periods and an exclamation point to add emphasis, not to yell, and how I heard it in my own head as I read it (ahh, the old "matrika shakti" at work again):

"People don’t have to like what I have written. But don’t try and tell me to write something else....YOU write something else. This is MY writing!"

And such a contribution your writing has been, Marta. Thank you for sharing it with us as you claim it for yourself!

Anonymous said...

Marta, you have taken the high road, and may you never bring that poison to your lips. May the rest of us finally come to reject that cup as well, and choose honesty over angry and sarcastic LOL's. SY has brought itself to its own end. There is no need for us to kill it. Your call to honesty is a better path.

I honor you in walking that road with a steady stride, and I know that most of the time you probably don't quite feel that steady. But you are, and nothing about your past and everything that has brought you to this point can change or discredit the worth of your work.

~ doug

*** ***

I don't know if I can achieve this in my personal writing because anger sometimes serves as a tonic to soothe the debrading effect of fear and confusion in me. I am willing to see your vision as the one on my horizon -- to do my best to turn my poision into strong medicine, my spiritual pain into wisdom from the school of life.

thank you so very much

K.

Anonymous said...

This is Blogger's content policy:

http://www.blogger.com/content.g

I believe "The Guru Looks Good" may have have the violate some content policies such as the the unauthorized posting of other people's private and confidential information.

I'm reporting the above blog to Blogger.

doug said...

I know what you mean, K. Anger is first a tonic against complacency, fear, and all that brings inertia. The problem comes when it begins to get intoxicating, and only once we're anger-holics do we appreciate how the liquor has become a poison by our own overindulgence. I need a bit of anger too. We all do. Just a bit.

doug

Anonymous said...

[People on the spiritual path look pale and lifeless to people out in the world. I noticed that.]

Marta, is this what you intended to say? Seems to contradict what you say elsewhere. And I can think of many times people would come to the ashram (not knowing anything about what all might be going on there) and be impressed by how alive people seemed.

Anonymous said...

Note to Doug--

Of all the many comments, throughout many chapters, yours here stands out for me! Thank you so much for expressing it, and so clearly and lovingly.

Anonymous said...

doug said...

I know what you mean, K. Anger is first a tonic against complacency, fear, and all that brings inertia. The problem comes when it begins to get intoxicating, and only once we're anger-holics do we appreciate how the liquor has become a poison by our own overindulgence. I need a bit of anger too. We all do. Just a bit.

doug

*** ***

I'm so glad you understand doug. And I agree, anger can become a drug as intoxicating as any that can kill an overindulgent soul.

I loved your post and I've kept it in a doc file as a reference not only to guide me in my writing but to guide me in dealing with some of the touchier aspects of life.

It was filled with life giving wisdom for me.

I'd also like to say that I agree with another writer here -- you're very well spoken.

K.

Stuart said...

K wrote...
One of the things I regret about this blog and its readers is that the folks who enjoyed reading it as devotees have felt shut out of the discussion about Marta's memoir.

You speak of devotees who "felt shut out of the discussion." I don't think you're claiming censorship, since that's entirely different from "feeling" shut out. As far as I know, Marta has not censored anyone for merely commenting from a devotee's perspective.

But as far as feeling shut out, people will feel what they feel, and others can't control it. From what I've seen, there are some devotees who want to express their views, but avoid at all costs hearing from people who disagree, from having their views questioned. Such people need to either learn to accept an open dialog, or avoid uncensored forums entirely.

For devotees or anyone else who wants to join this discussion, there are 2 choices. You can post to one of the existing open forums, and accept that (horrors!) some people might question or disagree with your opinions. Or you can find a censored forum (is DeconstructingSY still operating?) where only one type of opinion is allowed and questioning is banned.

After years in a closed community, people can get into a very strong habit of always sharing the same beliefs, of never having those beliefs questioned, or opposing beliefs presented. Anyone who isn't ready to break that habit will indeed feel "shut out" of a conversation where diverse views are freely presented. I don't feel there's much to do in such cases, other than to wait for people to decide, at their own pace, that they're ready to hear voices of doubt and questioning.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Note to Anonymous who wrote "This is Blogger's content policy:

http://www.blogger.com/content.g

I believe "The Guru Looks Good" may have have the violate some content policies such as the the unauthorized posting of other people's private and confidential information.

I'm reporting the above blog to Blogger."

Actually I reported the very same thing to Google (Blogspot is owned by Google) yesterday, but I'm glad that you did too. The more voices calling attention to potential policy violation, the greater the chance of result.

Pluribus Unum

Dan Shaw said...

In so many ways throughout her story, Marta captured the very essence of life in SY, so artfully, so truly. This was one of the best bits. She said:

"I remember in the ashram, during my last few years there, there were many times when we were told to “speak up,” to not be afraid to say what was on our minds, to point out things that could be improved or that we thought were incorrect. But I never saw it really happening. Perhaps that it even had to be spoken about, or broached at this superficial mental level points to how deep the problem was. I didn’t see people really at ease enough to explore their own psyches in this way. Yes, you could mention if the dinner line could be handled differently. But to dig deep into the culture of the ashram and change the very nature of the place, this was taboo territory."

To dig deep into the culture of the ashram, you would have had to name Gurumayi as the single most important influence on that culture, and you would have had to name her dishonesty, her cruelty, her selfishness and her incompetence as the crucial determinants of why there was so much deadness under all that mania there.

If you lived there and worked there, you would constantly have to avoid admitting that the central problem with Siddha Yoga was Gurumayi herself - her insistence on infallibility, her refusal of accountability, her denial of reality.

The United States might be able to heal, one hopes, when King George Bush the Delusional is no longer in office; but it's unlikely that Siddha Yoga will ever have the chance to heal, to rise from the ruins. If Muktananda the molester, and Gurumayi, the unrecovered inheritor of the intergenerational trauma, must remain enshrined in the midst of their lies and delusions, then there can never be a place for the truth to live in that ashram.

Thanks again, Marta, for your truth.

Dan Shaw

Anonymous said...

Anger is first a tonic against complacency, fear, and all that brings inertia. The problem comes when it begins to get intoxicating, and only once we're anger-holics do we appreciate how the liquor has become a poison by our own overindulgence. I need a bit of anger too. We all do. Just a bit.

doug


It is entirely independent from person to person. There is no exacting formula for "just a bit" of anger, whatever that means, and whatever it means to try to label for someone else what may be a perfectly normal reaction of what may appear to be extended anger and a healthy release over issue such as betrayal, abuse, corruption, etc..

I am always wary of people who try to prescribe such exacting prescriptions for anger, as it is a very normal part of the grieving process, and one which cannot be overlooked for its rightful place in the healing process.

When dealing with a diverse community such as those who have come out of SY, I find it best to let each person seek very good professional guidance and help, if necessary. Adding more baggage such as the language of "just a bit", could indeed be very damaging to someone who needs to rage for X amount of time (dependent upon what they have been through).

Imo, best to leave such important guidance to those who are very skilled in dealing with some of the egregious issues which have surrounded people who were abused while in SY. It's not a matter to be solved in an on-line environment.

Anonymous said...

I'm reporting the above blog to Blogger."

Actually I reported the very same thing to Google (Blogspot is owned by Google) yesterday, but I'm glad that you did too. The more voices calling attention to potential policy violation, the greater the chance of result.

Pluribus Unum

It looks like either the perpetrators killed their own blog (the cowards) or Blogger took it down this morning. Congratulations to anyone who made this happen for Marta.

Anonymous said...

"It looks like either the perpetrators killed their own blog (the cowards) or Blogger took it down this morning. Congratulations to anyone who made this happen for Marta."

WOW. SUCCESS!!!

Now this is what I'd call the exercise of some REAL "collective wisdom"!

Anonymous said...

Since this section is about cults, I wanted to quote someone from another site who said:

"If a cult ceases to expand at the periphery, and, because nearly
all cults carry within themselves the seeds of their own demise, the almost inevitable decay begins to hollow out the core, there seem
to be two choices:

(1) the cult can relax its particular rules, beliefs
or customs (and there are dangers to the cult in doing so, in that the arduous unconventional mannerisms also provide a sense of
uniqueness) and appear more main stream, in the hope of attracting
new recruits who would be put off by the extreme aspects that may
have been appealing only to the original hard core adherents;

or

(2) The cult can become more ingrown, "circle the wagons", become more intolerant of the outside world, and jettison members on the fence, with the intent of making membership seem more valuable to the remaining members."

Anonymous said...

Re: Since this section is about cults, I wanted to quote someone from another site who said:

"If a cult ceases to expand at the periphery, and, because nearly
all cults carry within themselves the seeds of their own demise, the almost inevitable decay begins to hollow out the core, there seem
to be two choices:

(1) the cult can relax its particular rules, beliefs
or customs (and there are dangers to the cult in doing so, in that the arduous unconventional mannerisms also provide a sense of
uniqueness) and appear more main stream, in the hope of attracting
new recruits who would be put off by the extreme aspects that may
have been appealing only to the original hard core adherents;

or

(2) The cult can become more ingrown, "circle the wagons", become more intolerant of the outside world, and jettison members on the fence, with the intent of making membership seem more valuable to the remaining members."

September 19, 2007 6:24 AM

*******************************

I believe this is the kind of reading Marta might have been doing post SY, that she said reflected her experience So she looked deeper into cults.

Need to vent:
The collecting of a particular kind of human experience under an absurd reduction like 'cult' just p***s me off. (hmm..)

Maybe its because I feel the word truncates human experience. That heading just shuts off so much. Like the above description could apply to the court around Louis XVI just as well. Humans display these behaviors in groups.

Yet the quote above is so dead on about what I saw happen in SY, both scenarios, that looking deeper into the literature is a must for me.

I am aprehensive about taking on another mental straighjacket full of concepts. I know you understand this resistance.

Thanks

MC

Anonymous said...

Hi Marta,
I still practice SY but came into it and always remained a rebel. I never saw GM as a saviour, only a teacher. So my expectations of what a guru is and would give me was/is somewhat healthly. However, I do think that cultish behavior starts in the mind. Alot of people get into groups when they are not feeling good about themselves. Dangerous. Alot of SYDAs still try to make me feel bad about myself, but that is their own personal issues projected onto me. I have a career that is uplifting :writing and painting and get acknowledge throught that all the time. The SYDAs mostly acknowledge it if they want a favor or else they are not great at well wishing. Alot of childhood issues get projected onto the guru.
I am thrilled GM closed the ashram to facilitate the adolecent behaviors of the devotees to grow up and become self-sufficient. However, the letting go of the elders without skills really burns my butt. That is truly unforgivable and total hypocrisy. I call the SY halls the Land of Small Talk. I see spirituality everywhere and the SY teaching taught me that. I am grateful to the teachings and the teacher, but never fell for the propaganda of having to give my all to the guru, alot of that thinking is still the pre-conditioned mindset of our very repressed religious backgrounds. I still find SY user friendly, in that whatever practice turns you on is what to do and meditate daily. A smile to stranger on the street is seva. I never felt obligated but I understand the layers of guilt seva can bring up. Alot of uncooked devotees offering very unsound, undercooked advise. I avoid hanging out with the devotees like the plague. I have a much more healthy, authentic lifestyle with the bohemian artists in my own hood, who I find very spiritual with their light and their shadows and without all the guru trappings. Cult starts in the mind. Be a rebel and get angry, do not dwell in it but feel feelings and let the body expel the trappings of all fundamentalist ways. That I believe is where the collective is going. Hope so.

Anonymous said...

So it appears "The Guru Looks Good" is back up &!$%? WTF? Did anyone notice any changes to the content?

Anonymous said...

""It looks like either the perpetrators killed their own blog (the cowards) or Blogger took it down this morning. Congratulations to anyone who made this happen for Marta."

Ohhhhhhh.....R - A - T - S.

It's back.

I guess it was only down temporarily.

Anonymous said...

After having been through the Siddha Yoga sausage machine (I don't know, am I still in it, since I discuss it and read blogs?), there is a tendency to view any group as a cult, with different degrees of intensity.

E.g., Institutions, such as corporations (your boss is God, and you are Dilbert, and so on up the chain to the ultimate God, the CEO), the US Marines (Semper Fi and all that, don't question authority), law or other partnerships (partners are God, and everyone else is a slave). Is the family some sort of cult? There is so much dysfunctionality, just see Dr. Phil.

I participate in high intensity sports. People there are cultish, in the sense that outsiders are viewed with a degree of disdain, for not being on the path. As a post-SYer, I laugh at their thinking.

I don't trust psychologists, for they are also fallible and put their own spin on things. There is no objective criterion.

One can be part of such organizations, but not buy into the BS. After all, one has to eat and pay the rent.

Anonymous said...

It's Baaaa-aaack...

About The Guru Looks Good But Only In Prada, With The Latest Designer Hat -- it appears that there's a short post for Sept 19 but other than that, same old same old.

I'm actually relieved to see it back up - what a wonderful example of See God In Others. I'll be sure to send all my friends there to see how Siddha Yoga embraces everyone "with great respect and love."

And with NO Comments Allowed you can breeze thru the entire barn of BS in about ten minutes.

Hang in there Marta, you used to be alone with this, now you can share it with all of us.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else see this?

http://martaszabooverview.blogspot.com/

The BS just keeps going on and on...

Anonymous said...

'm actually relieved to see it back up - what a wonderful example of See God In Others. I'll be sure to send all my friends there to see how Siddha Yoga embraces everyone "with great respect and love."


You are absolutely right.

Anonymous said...

Whoa! I just read the other blog. In fact, I found this blog last night and could not stop reading.

Marta, sorry they are airing a sick version of your life. At 21 we all do immature crazy things. I did and my family upbringing was not as radical.
Most of the devotees seem to have low self esteem in my eyes when they give their power over to someone else. I was just at a satsang and we had to share in small groups about dakshina. One lady just gave the same old rhetoric, the guru gives me everything so I give all my money. I was rolling my eyes right in her face. One young lady told me that the guru is not human but a supergod. OY!

To the other blog, coz I know you are reading this: I've heard rumor that GM''s parents disowned her after the brother fiasco. True? Why is the brother photo omissions like the Communists? He is a part of SY history so please stop omitting it, we want all the truth, not some of it. Some of the truth is not the truth. It is a cover up. Marta's last entry was that she was closer to her sisters, so why lie and say they are estranged? GM is not close to her parents, or brother, so don't go pointing fingers.

My friend left SY because she wrote GM a letter pouring her heart out about her childhood traumas. She asked that GM reply to her only, however she heard from a secretary and was promised the name of a therapist. The women never called my friend back with a referral. My friend called the secretary and still the secretary blew her off. I was pissed for my friend and told her to stand up and be heard, but my friend was vunerable and fearful to stand up, so she left and then stopped talking to anyone else in SY. Including me.

I am wise enough not to blame GM for the cultish ways of the devotees. Those who superimpose their upbrings and "ol' time religions" onto SY.
But I have come to learn over the years that if
I want to feel bad about myself, I'll go hang out with the devotees. I have never been treated so mean and dismissed and then told 'it felt right in the moment'. I was gossiped about and abused by my seva supervisor, but went over her head and bust her to steering committee and then let her know, so not to triangulate as she did to me.
The ethics and actions of the devotees have left a sour taste in my mouth. The teachings are great without the group. I've progressed much faster without them and the rhetoric.

I never see GM as over me, only at my side and I like her. When I catch her screwing the men with my own eyes I'll believe it, the rest is hearsay.
Even if she is, I'd say 'more power to ya girlfriend'. Except, don't lie about it and act all holy. That's the point I turn off. I even had talks with the swamis just human to human on the same level and they have come to respect me;

Never give your power away to anyone or anything else. We are all equals.

Stuart said...

Anonymous said...
Did anyone else see this?
http://martaszabooverview.blogspot.com/
The BS just keeps going on and on...


The "About Us" section on that bogus blogs says of the authors, "We are still practitioners of this path of yoga, which continues to transform and uplift our lives."

Aaak. Next time I encounter people like that, arrogant and self-absorbed enough to advertise themselves as "transformed and uplifted"... remind me to run in the opposite direction.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

I can't believe these devotees have a blog spot to get people to the blog spot where the "real" dirt is dished on Marta.

There is nothing uplifting or transforming about how they are writing about another human being and the fact that they are posting anything that maligns another human being bespeaks of an assassin's mentality. Nothing spiritual, or enlightened, only malicious gossip.

They are definitely NOT seeing God in Marta.

Anonymous said...

DO WE WISH BABA STAYED IN GANESHPURI?

What a circus he brought to town. To a generation growed on Disney. Baba of course fit perfectly. The Mirror. The Perfect Relationship. He allowed a window into a world we only dreamt existed or saw in the movies. And lo and behold we found it existed within ourselves. Wow. This experience was extended to many, so many. Do you realize just how many spawn had Baba? Gadzoooks! Try Google with any of our dear ones names. Drilling down you will find so many former sy students have included the names of SY lineage, short though it was, in their websites.

These people have made productive people out of themselves by following the teachings of SY and getting on with their own gig under their own name. So what if they reference the SY lineage? So what if they peel money off of others wads? The phantasmagoria of monetizing our creative output extends far wider than SY. It’s leaders cannot be held responsible for the corruption that lies within the culture, within us, as fallen heroes everyone.

Everyone’s a business man in this world, except the monks. Vows of poverty usually included where I come from. Yet there are few of those mendicant beggar types around any more. Baba was one at a historic time in history, Then came some very sharp business men who showed Baba how to monetize his creative output. I believe Baba did help create a Meditation Revolution and his impact has not really been traced or assessed. We could start with the infusion of nag champa, chai and pashmina shawls into the culture. Kind of like a Marco Polo effect. That story has not really been told completely.

There is a polarity in thinking about SY that is not objective. I am seeking that. I think a lot of readers here would like to see at least the level Marta has reached in writing about SY. Just what she experienced. No publicity talk. No cheap shots.

Objective. My understanding is that that is best achieved through a 360 degree outlook that can only be obtained when all voices are heard.

Some posters here at Marta’s site feel they are shut out from the community. Why this either/or? Example, as Marta said about the very well liked S. Ishwarananda McCormick. She wanted so much to invite him but said it could never be. Why? I am not being obtuse. What is the why? Someone spell it out for me?

Could this group discuss this. New lines of thinking on this planet mean that discourse is continued in the face of challenges like people are facing in SY. I am not alone in this quest. Lots of people in the world understand that keeping open dialogue going is the only way to heal a broken relationship and a broken world.

Middle age hits organizations too. The former young are now tired, The new recruits don’t have quite the fire. These organizations having a life cycle. Can’t this group at least have it in themselves to take care of those who need the help? Like it would be so easy with a minimum of good will and organization. But not with polarized thinking.

Several chapters here at Marta’s contain Jack Kornfield’s advice on cults. I posted his guidelines twice myself. There was one point I did not post the first time. It was too impossible to think of. The second time I posted his advice I did include it.

It’s about reintegration of the former teacher somehow. I don’t have it clearly in mind what Kornfield means. I do know that it is just too cruel to think of all the folks I absolutely love so much that are still considering SC their guru, as ‘left behind’. SY attracted the most incredible people. Supercharged and full of life, even the shy ones were loaded with dynamite as people. Complete originals. That’s why I can’t stand the label cult. Everyone the same? In SY? Nah, People were uniquely themselves.

No where on earth did I ever meet the people like I met them in SY. I miss them. I want to say I miss their teacher. But I can find her in her books. Opinion: She is free to have a real life if she wants it. Free.

Dan Shaw, whom I do respect, sometimes says things that are imprecise. That’s where I challenge him. When he mentioned the Hunger Project as ‘shady operation’ in any earlier post, I was furious with him. Take a more recent Google. The idea that we have to think differently about social problems is very real. The Hunger Project was launched when people were still enthralled with The Great Society. Now we know that the government cannot engineer people socially. It is how they keep their own minds that matters. That is not a bad message. There is nothing shady about The Hunger Projectnow and they have freely admitted mistakes. It received an A- from the organization that assesses philanthropy in the US. Imprecision in discussing people isn’t fair.

I value the content of these discussions very highly. You are all my spiritual nursemaids. I was damaged, and my hull is healing more quickly than I anticipated. It’s the writing and community here that is doing that.

Let everyone change and grow and emerge. No one left behind.

MC

Anonymous said...

I appreciate MC referring to the polarization that comes up around SY. Maybe it's the natural swing from an organization that professed no shadow side, so when the shadow does emerge, it has to be expressed in all its intensity to balance the all-good all-divine presentation of SY. Maybe that's what I've found missing, from some (not Marta) who've left: an appreciation for the enormous complexity of the SY experience.

The gifts I received from being in SY are undeniable in terms of how I grew as a person. I wouldn't give up that growth for the world, any more than I'd give up the growth from leaving. The shakti around the guru was palpable. Oddly, even reading blogs from ex-devotees carries shakti with it. I miss that shakti, and haven't yet found a vehicle, a practice, that doesn't feel tainted. That's where I feel lost. But I don't find it on the SY path anymore, either. Was Gurumayi a fraud? Was she real and then her time for us came to an end? Did we not benefit from framing everything that happened as work of the shakti, or a message from the Guru? Was it just human tendency to take a complex teaching, that things are not as they appear, and often have an underlying meaning, to the extreme, looking to Gurumayi for signs of when to go the bathroom?

For me, there was definitely group think. I'm embarrassed by that now. I think I was also buoyed by being in SY, and having been out of it for four years find myself "slipping back into ordinariness," which is disturbing and welcome at the same time. The path held something great, something very real, and very, very transformative. I have certain things in my life that seem to be a direct result of having been in SY. But all of that said, I don't have a clue who Gurumayi is. If anyone can address that, I'd be very interested to hear.

EDS

Dan Shaw said...

MC- thanks for pointing this out. - "Dan Shaw, whom I do respect, sometimes says things that are imprecise. That’s where I challenge him. When he mentioned the Hunger Project as ‘shady operation’ in any earlier post, I was furious with him. Take a more recent Google. The idea that we have to think differently about social problems is very real. The Hunger Project was launched when people were still enthralled with The Great Society. Now we know that the government cannot engineer people socially. It is how they keep their own minds that matters. That is not a bad message. There is nothing shady about The Hunger Projectnow and they have freely admitted mistakes. It received an A- from the organization that assesses philanthropy in the US. Imprecision in discussing people isn’t fair."

I'm sure I've made many imprecise statements here, and just about anywhere else I've ever been.

But it is definitely not imprecise to say that for a good deal of time, The Hunger Project was operating under false pretexts that is well known and documented. Werner ERhard is a tax fugitive in exile because of that and other criminal activities. It is good to know that the Hunger Project is no longer corrupt - if in fact that is the case. What organization that rates charities were you referring to? Do we know who is in charge of that organization? Sometimes it's the fox that is minding the hen coop, as the Bush Administration has been so prodigiously demonstrating.

If someone else wants to research when exactly the Hunger Project was considered corrupt - and whether or not Catherine Parrish was involved during that period, I'd be interested to hear. Perhaps Catherine left the Hunger Project in response to the problems there, perhaps she did recognize corruption and wanted out. Her move from there to Siddha Yoga, if that's the case, was an unfortunate one. From bad to worse. But i don't know, I don't have the facts. Anyone have time to research that more deeply?

I think that we can't really have this kind of discussion if we are expected to do thorough fact checking on everything. We need, I think, the freedom to think out loud - and fortunately, we can correct each other when it's appropriate.

Thanks
Dan

Anonymous said...

Re: Humger Project

Updated information is just a Google away for everyone.

http://southasia.oneworld.net/article/view/121817/1/1893

http://www.thp.org/

Plenty of information available to know the whole 360 on an issue. No excuse for staying stuck in polarized thinking anymore. Hunger Project was and continues to break new ground on thinking about development.

To Dan: Your quote below doesn't do you justice:

"anyone else wants to research when exactly the Hunger Project was considered corrupt ... i don't know, I don't have the facts. Anyone have time to research that more deeply?"

If you don't have the 0.09 seconds it took Google to investigate the facts, you shouldn't state opinions as if they were. Simple as that. Make it clear you are basing your statements on your subjective viewpoint.

I am not trying to incite a hurt reaction. Your braveheart has cut a path for retreat from mind control thinking that is a great gift for many people. For that your opinions matter to the group listening to you. Carries impact.

I just feel you have shaped a black and white image that is diminished. I am sure you could think of something positive you got from SY too.

Can't these realities co-exist?

MC

Anonymous said...

"....It’s about reintegration of the former teacher somehow. I don’t have it clearly in mind what Kornfield means."

MC - your comment of 6:36am got me. You gave words to what I've been feeling but was unable to express.

The above part, though, is something I don't understand either- reintegration of the former teacher. Anyone have some thoughts on what this means?

Anonymous said...

Re: "I think that we can't really have this kind of discussion if we are expected to do thorough fact checking on everything."

Say what?

Anonymous said...

I find that our sharing is about spiritual heirarchy is a microcasm that reflects the macrocasm.
Pantajali's Sutras says to test the teacher over and over again. So whenever the dust bunnies have a spotlight on them under the carpet, the teacher is once again being tested. And we are all learning how not to be duped in and out of the halls. Can the teacher stand up to the testing, that's another story.
From reading, lots of people give over power so readily. Want a saviour to save them, without self effort. Why we can have a Bush in the White House, he also pumped himself up with religion and Big Daddyisms which duped lots of people.
Personally, my taste for religions is sour, for it seems they cause division, prejudice, class wars.
And growing up permeated in it from childhood is something we as the collective are trying to overcome, maybe the busted guru reflects growing pains to self containment.

Anonymous said...

In response to EDS at 8:08--I think one way of working with confusion about the energy many of us felt in the guru's presence (though personally I stopped feeling that energy around her toward the end of the 90s) is to ask yourself where you got the idea that such energy is a sign of spiritual perfection. I know for me the idea came from Siddha Yoga, and I was surprised to learn that that isn't a commonly accepted truth in yogic paths or scriptures. Discovering that siddha-hood or high realization was not a prerequisite to giving shaktipat cast many past situations with the guru in a different light. I think it's possible to come to feel gratitude for the changes SY catalyzed in us and at the same time accept that there was a dark side, even a very dark side. In me that has led to a much more grounded approach to practice, a determination not to let bells and whistles, bliss states and blue light, visions and dreams have more significance in my life than kindness to neighbors, honesty, ethical behavior, clear seeing. Honest, deep inquiry is essential to me now. What does this mean, this vision of blue light? Without reference to any "authority", what does it mean? Can I say it means anything at all?

Timothy Conway, a direct student of Sri Nisargadatta and an Advaita Vedanta teacher himself, has an extensive website with lots of good resources, including a section on flawed teachers and cults, etc. One of his little essays really hit me strongly when I first read it. He is addressing some questions about Ramesh Balsekar, another student of Nisargadatta who is probably the most well-known of his students as a teacher. Recently some scandals erupted around Balsekar, and some people jumped to his defense while others were disillusioned. What Conway said about Balsekar and others seems so relevant to SY and its gurus. Here's one short quote:

"One of the classic rationalizations, remember, that the pretender and the cronies chronically deploy, especially when the flaws of the pretender are being exposed, is the idea that "nothing is really wrong", that his lack of freedom, as reflected in the exploitative behavior, is somehow "perfect", "Divinely willed", "part of the Divine dream", therefore "not a problem". Unfortunately, this rationalization is easily available to pretenders who labor in the field of mystical nondual spirituality, because nondual traditions usually articulate quite clearly this absolute level of truth, the paramartha satya, over the conventional or relative level of phenomenal truth, the samvriti satya."

Trying to excuse or defend inhumane behavior by referring to the absolute level of truth is a little trick that was often played in SY. I think there is a way this is related to my habit in SY of making every mystical state that arose evidence that the guru was perfect.

Conway's full essay on Balsekar and what he calls "inauthentic pretenders" can be found several places on the web, including here:

http://www.inner-quest.org/Real_Advaita.htm

You'll have to scroll down the page quite far to find his essay, and there is also a link to it at the top of the page.

older but wiser

Anonymous said...

MC and EDS your thoughtful posts have me thinking and I would love to see more along these lines.

I agree there is a complexity to the spiritual search that we don't really understand and this is reflected in SY. I have come to the conclusion that it was tantric at its core and that is why so much energy was available to so many.

Former SY now Episcopalian

Stuart said...

MC said...
I can’t stand the label cult. Everyone the same? In SY? Nah, People were uniquely themselves.

Right, "cult" is just a label. The word itself, until we examine the specific facts more deeply, isn't terribly valuable, and it's not horribly harmful either.

I've often thought about how many people have an image of a "cult" based on what they've seen in movies or TV, or media reports of the weirdest or most cultish of the cults. It gives people the wrong idea of what, for instance, SYDA is like. People think SYDA must be made up of people who are all the same, who lack all individuality.

Truth isn't served by focusing on the extreme like that. In SYDA, of course MC is correct, everyone is NOT the same. People DO maintain individuality. But is it 100%? Or is there some line, some belief that can't be mentioned within the group. Are people at an SYDA course able to openly wonder and question the claims of the guru's specialness or powers or ultimate goodness and knowledge?

Maybe it's just these few little things that can't be questioned, while ashramites may be individuals in all other ways. So it's nothing like the cults we've seen portrayed on TV. Nonetheless... if you're in a family where 99% of topics are open for discussion, but 1% are taboo, and you dare not mention them... that 1% may seem small, but it's the part that most needs attention, it's that tiny part that can rot the whole social system.

And by the way, I can attest that while there are many different meditation groups where there's some dogma of some type that no one can question, there are indeed some groups where people meditate together but are 100% free to believe and express and question and doubt absolutely anything. This is possible.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Stuart said...

EDS said...
The shakti around the guru was palpable. Oddly, even reading blogs from ex-devotees carries shakti with it. I miss that shakti, and haven't yet found a vehicle, a practice, that doesn't feel tainted. That's where I feel lost.

My opinion: whatever you feel around the guru, or when reading a blog, is your own experience. The most effective way to understand your own experience is to examine your own thoughts, feelings, and behavior, right in this moment.

If instead you try to find something or get something from a guru, a blog, a vehicle, a practice, then you'll always feel lost.

Was Gurumayi a fraud? Was she real and then her time for us came to an end?

I see no value in making simplified judgements, like Gurumayi is a fraud, or Gurumayi is real. Everything is real. A sharp knife is real, but that doesn't make it good. It all depends on how you use it.

Did we not benefit from framing everything that happened as work of the shakti, or a message from the Guru?

You can only answer that for yourself, since it's 100% a matter of opinion whether something is a benefit or not. You know what it's like to frame everything as a message from the Guru. I say that whether or not you think it benefitted you in the past is a dead issue. Do you think it benefits you now? You decide for yourself, no one else can or should do it for you.

I don't have a clue who Gurumayi is. If anyone can address that, I'd be very interested to hear.

My personal opinion is that Gurumayi is an ordinary woman, who from a very early age was put in a terribly difficult position. Since she was made guru, she's been surrounded by people who don't question her enough, who don't give her feedback on her mistakes. It's made it very very difficult for her to find understanding, clarity, or compassion in her life.

More important than that, I believe that my opinion of Gurumayi is a highly trivial matter. I don't mind talking about it on the level of mild curiosity, but it's not important. What is important is for each of us to look into ourselves; it's much much less important to judge or speculate about Gurumayi or anyone else.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Stuart said:

My personal opinion is that Gurumayi is an ordinary woman, who from a very early age was put in a terribly difficult position. Since she was made guru, she's been surrounded by people who don't question her enough, who don't give her feedback on her mistakes. It's made it very very difficult for her to find understanding, clarity, or compassion in her life.

My response is:

I would agree with this except to say that I also believe Malti/Gurumayi had some extraordinary energy movement techniques that she may have obtained too early, with too little training in the ethical and effective use of them.

Further, I might add that I personally believe she may have been psychologically damaged by her childhood experience with this energy, and remained in a state of trauma throughout her adult use of it. She may have subsequently lost the ability to move energy so effectively. I'll never know for sure.

I do believe she was capable of incredible pettiness and cruelty, but I also believe her character weakness comes more from internal damage than genuine greed for money, fame or influence.

I say this as someone who never lived in close proximity to her.

K.

Dan Shaw said...

Hunger Project history and criticism: a summary is at

http://www.rickross.com/reference/hunger_project/hunger_project1.html

And then check this link about how the Hunger Project attempted to delete information about its history from the internet:

http://www.rickross.com/reference/hunger_project/hunger_project2.html


The above links are based on research by Rick Ross and Carol Giambalvo, 2 cult specialists.

Other info on the Hunger Project online may or may not be identified as information put there by the Hunger Project itself.

Therefore, the "facts" are not always so crystal clear, and it is often necessary, in forming an opinion on a controversial subject, to compare different research results, learn who is behind those research results and what their affiliations are, and then decide for oneself.

Dan Shaw

Anonymous said...

Re: "The above part, though, is something I don't understand either- reintegration of the former teacher. Anyone have some thoughts on what this means?"

Post SY reintegration means, for me, that I have taken the lessons learned, the teachings that meant the most to me, and left behind the teacher who said them. It means the integration of my SY experience in my post-SY world and moved on.

I have to laugh because the closest metaphor I came up with for this is someone with a disassociative disorder who has successful integrated the fragmented personalities into a gestalt of wholeness, integrating the parts into the primary personality.

??

Anonymous said...

K--At this point in life, I've come to think that all "character weakness" comes from some kind of internal damage. Greed, lust, hatred, all the "seven deadly sins" seem to have their roots in a damaged psyche. And everybody I've ever known is or has at some time been messed up to some extent. That's where compassion starts for me, in recognizing the complex threads of cause and condition that affect each human being.

Which is not to let anyone off the karma hook. There are consequences for harmful actions. And reconciliation requires that the perpetrators of harmful actions acknowledge them and sincerely ask for forgiveness. In this case, that doesn't seem very likely.

older but wiser

Anonymous said...

K:

You forget. Stuart doesn't seem to believe in "Energy" at least in the context of "shakti" powers posessed by Muk or Malti.

Anonymous said...

Re: "The shakti around the guru was palpable. Oddly, even reading blogs from ex-devotees carries shakti with it. I miss that shakti, and haven't yet found a vehicle, a practice, that doesn't feel tainted. That's where I feel lost. But I don't find it on the SY path anymore, either. Was Gurumayi a fraud? Was she real and then her time for us came to an end? Did we not benefit from framing everything that happened as work of the shakti, or a message from the Guru? Was it just human tendency to take a complex teaching, that things are not as they appear, and often have an underlying meaning, to the extreme, looking to Gurumayi for signs of when to go the bathroom?

For me, there was definitely group think. I'm embarrassed by that now. I think I was also buoyed by being in SY, and having been out of it for four years find myself "slipping back into ordinariness," which is disturbing and welcome at the same time. The path held something great, something very real, and very, very transformative. I have certain things in my life that seem to be a direct result of having been in SY. But all of that said, I don't have a clue who Gurumayi is. If anyone can address that, I'd be very interested to hear.

EDS

September 20, 2007 8:08 AM

************

Similar to EDS, I too find all known practices of praising tainted. I know I am bereft about it, but in denial. I feel like my old lapsed catholic self. No mass, confession, communion happening. Mortal sins accumulating.

Simply plugging in another character to worship is not for me any longer. In fact Eastern religion for me right now seems like something I only could ever pretend to understand. Though I do keep a copy of Dalai Lama's Answers need my desk. A short q & a with him, that I reread. He loves science. Puts it over dogma everytime. Love that.

OBW post sep 20 6:13 very helpful also. Wrote on it in journal thanks

Thanks Marta for providing a vehicle to carry all this stuff and for the company.

Anyone remember these days of yore?

We're all bozos on the bus,
so we might as well sit back
and enjoy the ride.
-Wavy Gravy

People are keeping it going:
http://www.ecomall.com/greenshopping/bozos.htm


Bozo on the Bus
MC

Anonymous said...

Re: Stuart responses to EDS said...
The shakti around the guru was palpable. Oddly, even reading blogs from ex-devotees carries shakti with it. I miss that shakti, and haven't yet found a vehicle, a practice, that doesn't feel tainted. That's where I feel lost.

My opinion: whatever you feel around the guru, or when reading a blog, is your own experience. The most effective way to understand your own experience is to examine your own thoughts, feelings, and behavior, right in this moment.

If instead you try to find something or get something from a guru, a blog, a vehicle, a practice, then you'll always feel lost.

Was Gurumayi a fraud? Was she real and then her time for us came to an end?

I see no value in making simplified judgements, like Gurumayi is a fraud, or Gurumayi is real. Everything is real. A sharp knife is real, but that doesn't make it good. It all depends on how you use it.

Did we not benefit from framing everything that happened as work of the shakti, or a message from the Guru?

You can only answer that for yourself, since it's 100% a matter of opinion whether something is a benefit or not. You know what it's like to frame everything as a message from the Guru. I say that whether or not you think it benefitted you in the past is a dead issue. Do you think it benefits you now? You decide for yourself, no one else can or should do it for you.

I don't have a clue who Gurumayi is. If anyone can address that, I'd be very interested to hear.

My personal opinion is that Gurumayi is an ordinary woman, who from a very early age was put in a terribly difficult position. Since she was made guru, she's been surrounded by people who don't question her enough, who don't give her feedback on her mistakes. It's made it very very difficult for her to find understanding, clarity, or compassion in her life.

More important than that, I believe that my opinion of Gurumayi is a highly trivial matter. I don't mind talking about it on the level of mild curiosity, but it's not important. What is important is for each of us to look into ourselves; it's much much less important to judge or speculate about Gurumayi or anyone else.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

September 20, 2007 1:28 PM

*************************

Stuart, your posts can be absolutely bracing in the am. Like a glass of grapefruit juice, unsweetened. One of life's pleasures. And beneficial.

I have been working with the idea that SY was a cargo cult yoga, and all that the metaphor implies. Ever see The Gods Must Be Crazy or Luggage of the Gods?

I am carrying a lot of religious luggage, with nothing in it. Like the channels to god took on a form at an early age and need to be filled. Not surprised a former SY went Episcopalian. Lots of form there.

Stuart, you drive a hard driving beat through some very romantic notions about worship. Go easy on those who like a little sugar with their grapefruit. ;-)

MC

Anonymous said...

What really makes me throw up reading that anti-Marta-blog is the terrible hypocrisy:
"To Support Marta in her Healing, contact:"and then giving the full address phone number. What is this to mean? An appeal to do what? Heal Marta? Haven't we had that before? SY beleaguering people? Remember Miss Shetty's brother? Would Marta now need a body guard?
It's always the same with those damned hypocrites: Know that we love you (but don't forget "each one kills the thing he loves").
To support Marta in her healing!!! This combined with the blog's content - no further comment needed.
Keep it rolling, Marta!
D

Anonymous said...

I wrote in 7:36am and 3:06 9/19 and 9/20 11:15am; will now give myself a tag.

The teachings are universal. How we use them is our unique way. Again, I will say how we enter a group is a big clue to that. What I find is a caste system or heirarchy carried over from being steeped in patriarchal religions that are embedded into us from childhood. As a rebel I fought back and ran from that caste system. The teachings of SY are about Unity which I find as matriarchal, the organization of SY is run by undercooked over steeped patriarchs who superimpose their upbringings onto the teachings.
Did Jesus really live or is that a tale told and told again and reshaped by the retellings? How do I really know, was I there then? It comes off as illusion or delusion to me. Do I believe in self realized humans, yes. Liberation is not being all blissed out 24/7/365. it is a shift in perception in the mind, that's when a layer is dissolved.
All this 'heart' 'sweet' 'the shakti did it' is the undercooked humans laying their own layers onto us. Also, I am shocked that devotees see the swamis and other devotees as 'elite', 'inner circle', that thinking is from that person's own mind. It comes from those layers of heirarchy that we are raised with. One swami pulled his elite crap with me and I told him off (politely) and then he really opened up to me in an authentic way. When my seva supervisor was triangulating me I told all parties off one by one and told them how much respect I had lost for them and then I busted the supervisor to someone over her head. These people now show me respect, I could care less if they like me or not, don't really trust them from those actions.
Anyhoo, the lessons over the past few years is experience, which means get out of the halls into life and feel our feelings, all our feelings, not the ALL GOOD which illogical in the realm of duality.
And power, do we give it away to leaders, teachers, politicans, celebrities, etc or do we own power and become self contained. My understanding is that self realization is about maintaining the tools to uplift ourselves from within when we have low periods, doubts, depression, and not fall into the downward spiral. It's that simple, the other hoopla is all from the layers we carry from childhood (past lives if you believe in that).
The best seva is to take care of yourself as your own mother= nurture, father= provider , brother =protector ,sister= own best friend.

3rdeyeopened

Anonymous said...

It seems very likely that the anti Marta blog, so stupid and imbecilic as to be mind boggling, could be the work of Vikram Singh, a cyber stalker who has for years been abusively harassing people who criticize Siddha Yoga. That he himself was barred from the ashram seems not to matter to him. He is simply not in his right mind, not sane. And no one sane could have written that sickening piece of trash against Marta.

Stuart said...

MC said...
Stuart, your posts can be absolutely bracing in the am. Like a glass of grapefruit juice, unsweetened. [snip] Go easy on those who like a little sugar with their grapefruit. ;-)

Big thanks, MC. It's cool that you use this metaphor. My teacher said that good teaching is like water. Plain water with nothing in it.

Water doesn't have an especially good taste; it tastes like nothing. Likewise it lacks any interesting color like wine, aroma like coffee, or effect like beer. Most people don't like water so much, preferring those more interesting beverages.

But water's got one thing going for it. When you're thirsty, you drink it, and the thirst disappears. You can do that over and over, all the time, in every single situation you get thirsty in, and it'll be no problem. Quenching thirst with beer or soda is OK sometimes, but if you do it all the time, it makes you sick.

So maybe Siddha Yoga teaching is more like Coca Cola. It's got plenty of water in it, so it really does quench your thirst, but it also has all this other unnecessary stuff that over time may make you sick.

Politically, I'm a free-market libertarian, so I like to see everyone have all sorts of options that they can freely choose between. I'm glad people can choose Coke, lemonade, vodka, Tibetan Buddhism, Hare Krishna, Catholocism, and Siddha Yoga.

I personally don't feel the need to recommend any of these interesting choices, since there are plenty of other people trying to sell them. People can and do try whatever flavors they like. And sometimes they get sick or tired of these interesting choices, so I say it's good to remember that there's always water.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

anybody know what Martin Brost wrote when he left?

Anonymous said...

Don't you think the anti-Marta bloggers missed a great opportunity when they forgot to insert a little sign on their fake Blogs that said something like:

PARDON OUR PROGRESS! YOUR DAKSHINA DOLLARS AT WORK.

Anonymous said...

PARDON OUR PROGRESS! YOUR DAKSHINA DOLLARS AT WORK.

It wasn't written by someone paid by dakshina dollars. It was written by some kook named Vikram Singh. Just look at it. The man can't even put a decent sentence together. I'm ignoring it.

MartaSzabo said...

Since the comments have become particularly interesting, it's been suggested that all commenters please move up to the new entry "Continuing the Discussion" to put the new threads in one place, easier to find.
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I read that other "The Guru LOOKS Good" blog and I have to say, malevolent content aside, it's written terribly!!! It's a never-ending reiteration of Marta's much more thought-out, sensitive and detailed account of her personal experience. It reminds me of those Scientology defense press releases: cold, myopic, hyper-defensive and so long it makes me think their grasp of their own spiritual path must be tenuous if they're so easily offended and threatened. I mean, don't they have better things to do? Shouldn't they be embracing seva or chanting or mediation in favor of an angry blog response?

Yes, Marta has had some troubles in life, like so many of us. That she is sharing these difficult times with us is brave! The creators of that blog don't understand Marta's writing style or its purpose at all. And if they read closely, they would see that Marta never insults or tears down Gurumayi - she left when she left for her own reasons.

A guru-disciple relationship is tricky like all relationships - it smacks of co-dependency and anyone in any co-dependent situation knows it's gray. I'm not even sure you can have a relationship that is NOT codependent in some regard. Sometimes the best thing to do is leave; sometimes the best thing to do is stay and grow within and despite the situation. Marta's journey is her own individual journey - but I guess individuality and independent thinking are not admired in the skittish SY community. Sometimes I wonder if Gurumayi would shake her head and "tsk-tsk" at these people - because they don't seem to get the freedom of true love of the self at all.

Gold For Runescape said...

Don't you think so your anti-Marta bloggers skipped an excellent possibility whenever they neglected for you to insert just a little sign on their artificial Websites having said that something like:
Rs To Gold
Final Fantasy 14 CD Key