Thursday, August 24th 2017

Andrew Cohen and WIE: a tire fire (the New Age edition)

We’re not in the business of using other people’s pain as a source of entertainment. So let’s reel this out and look at it as a mirror for what happens when any one of us falls into a rabbit hole of unconsciousness.

Here is a gallery of intelligent people who took the road less traveled, so to speak. Now they’re in a conflict that first went public with the publication of the book, Enlightenment Blues, a critique of Andrew Cohen, editor of a magazine that covers mysticism and transpersonal psychology. Then came the launch of a companion blog to the book. Here’s an entry from one of the contributors:

Legacy of Scorched Earth

Reflections from a former student

By Susan Bridle

I was a student of Andrew Cohen for ten years, and worked very intimately with him for many years in my work as a writer and editor for What Is Enlightenment? Magazine and other Moksha Press publications… I left Andrew’s community a little over three years ago, and while I am busy with new academic, career, and spiritual goals, I am still “digesting” my experience of my relationship with Andrew and my time in his community. Bottom line, I experienced so much that was truly profound and transformative – and that I will forever be grateful for – and also so much that was really abusive and twisted – and that still deeply saddens me. The lightest light and the darkest dark. Both. All tangled together like miles of black and white yarn entwined in a big ball at the pit of my stomach. I guess for me, I feel my work is to digest the whole thing, tease it apart… One thing that continues to strike me with painful irony is the fact that Andrew would, almost tearfully, lament about other teachers who had shown such great promise, whose passion for the spiritual life and searing dharma inspired so many spiritual seekers to abandon “the world” and give their entire lives to a spiritual revolution – but whose abuses of sex, money, power, and other addictions in the end disillusioned thousands of seekers and instead promoted cynicism about the whole endeavor. This is, in fact, the reality of the situation now with Andrew.

Last week, Cohen launched a counter-blog featuring a five-page inaugural post. Excerpts:

“In traditional, Easter, premodern enlightenment, the ego was an obstacle because as long as one was hypnotized by its endless fears and desires, it was impossible to let go of compulsive identification with the mind and time and experience the bliss of Being… I say the ego’s a problem for a much bigger reason: because the degree to which we are identified with it is the degree to which we inhabit our own potential to consciously participate in the evolutionary process.”

“In fact, it has been my unwavering commitment to authenticity, transparency, and integrity that has been both the thing that has attracted so many to me, and that which others find the most threatening.”

“I have always been very public about the fact that I am a guru in the true sense of the word…”

“I have always been very up front about the demanding nature of the path that I teach. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever given a teaching, to a small or large gathering, in public or in private, where I have not implicitly or explicitly repeated this mantra, over and over again…”

“If I really were such a domineering, unapproachable egomaniac, I’m sure I wouldn’t have any friends, probably wouldn’t still be happily married to my wife of twenty years, and would most likely be living a miserable life surrounded by miserable people – and nothing could be further from the truth!”

This is a fire tire burning out of control.

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