It's always a pleasure to see a "guru" revealed as a flawed human being. This has finally happened to Andrew Cohen, who for a long time played pretend-guru along with Ken Wilber.
David Lane has written an interesting piece about Cohen's much-deserved downfall, "The Liberation of Andrew Cohen: How Devoted Disciples Can Enlighten Their Guru."
(By enlighten, Lane means "bringing to light," as noted in a comment.)
Andrew Cohen didn’t resign on his own terms, nor did he come to the realization that he was a lousy master who created more harm than good. More remarkably, it was Cohen’s devoted inner circle that forced him to quit. Andrew Cohen had caused so much damage in his spiritual community that his own following realized that it was time for him to give up the game.
As Cohen explains, “My closest and most devoted senior students were beginning to see through my façade, could see that I was out of control, and see that I didn’t even know it. What made matters much worse is that I ignored the evidence; I ignored their respectful pleas for me to slow down and listen to them.”
I've written some uncomplimentary posts about Cohen.
Andrew Cohen -- an abusive American guru
Integral egos gone wild: Wilber and Cohen relish worship
Andrew Cohen is a tyrant, not a guru
It seemed obvious to me that this guy was a jerk. But gurus often are jerks, and still prosper. Sadly, some people think that being abused can be a means of spiritual progress.
I made an attempt at reading Cohen's May 12, 2015 "An open letter to all my former students upon return from my sabbatical." But the letter is so full of crap, I got disgusted just a little way into it and gave up. I then quickly scanned through the B.S.
That word "sabbatical" is scary. Cohen actually seems to believe that he just took a leave of absence from his gurudom and will be back in business after he does some further soul-searching.
I have to give credit to Cohen for this: he is able to shamelessly brandish New Age spiritual cliches with the best of them. And that isn't a compliment. Here's a few samples from his letter:
Over the previous 15 years I had become an evolutionary through and through. I had experienced a profound awakening to a process perspective and to be honest, have now understood that in that light, I had come to see my students as means to an end, hopefully a higher end, but not as ends in themselves. I gradually lost sight of people’s humanity, including my own, and only saw all of us as the living Self Aware consciousness that, in an evolutionary context, was going somewhere.
...Most often when I would teach, I would experience the grace of my Guru, the gift of enlightened awareness, which would engulf my being in the most glorious way. The amazing part of it all is that in the midst of the growing problems I have been describing, I was simultaneously continuing to evolve and develop as a teacher and as a thinker. I was moving and was still often creative in finding ever-new ways to express the inexpressible.
...I justified my at times ruthless attacks on my students’ egos as being akin to the revered Tibetan Master Marpa’s ruthless treatment of his famous disciple Milarepa. And at times this indeed was the case. There were times when with individuals or groups of individuals my arrow of discriminating wisdom hit the bulls eye and magic happened…dramatic and meaningful Liberating Clarity and Love Beyond Description emerged…and new potentials and miraculous possibilities that had been previously unimaginable and unseen were collectively experienced.
...Slowly over time I have come to see the parts of myself that were broken, that I have been in such ferocious denial of. In that denial I became at times untrustworthy. I see that now. So many of you trusted me with your souls and I proved myself at certain pivotal moments unworthy of that trust. Again I am sorry.
...Eros is the VERTICAL manifestation of the Absolute principle. Agape is the HORIZONTAL manifestation the Absolute principle. To say I neglected Agape is an understatement to be sure. Eros and Agape BOTH are essential ingredients of a truly Evolutionary Dharma. They BALANCE each other. They hold each other in a dynamic embrace of loving, creative and Integral tension. My over-emphasis on Eros with little respect for Agape created the circumstance where a collapse was inevitable. And that’s why it happened so fast…and for this I am to blame.
In my 2010 post about Cohen and Wilber, I ended it this way.
In another article in the same EnlightenNext issue, Cohen talks about how important it is for students to submit to the teacher's authority, since hierarchy is the nature of the cosmos according to Integral philosophy.
The real question to pose to students is, "Are you capable of humbling yourself enough so that Spirit will be able to move through you as it moves through me?"
...You love them so much that you actually don't care about their ego at all.
...So a truly enlightened teacher sees all individuals who come to them as potential vehicles for Spirit and doesn't really care so much about the personal, psychological, emotional predicaments of the particular individuals and the predicaments of their egos.
That's just what wife-beaters say, along with would-be gurus like Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber: I'm hurting you for your own good; you deserve it.
Well, I say: bullshit to that.
Run, don't walk, from Cohen and Wilber, EnlightenNext, and any attempt to entice you into a religious cult masquerading as Integral enlightenment.
What they're pushing is old-fashioned religion in a New Age guise. Cohen and Wilber are the high priests, and they're looking for submissive acolytes who will worship them and submit to their authority.
It's great to see that the submissive acolytes rose up and said, We're not going to take this crap any more. Hopefully there will come a day when gurus run out of people willing to embrace their fake godly status.