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May 19, 2015


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Brian, the problem is justification. Once you claim a position, you have to defend it, to justify it. Then comes all the BS.

That's as true for Atheism as it is for Spirituality. Once you claim an intellectual understanding, a position, as factual, you then must defend it.

Why? The human mind cannot comprehend most of reality. At best it creates an abstract model, a wire-frame of the Truth. It will never go beyond it. So a "guru" is really anyone who, for one reason or another, finds themselves a spokesmodel for some position, political, spiritual, religious or otherwise.

They may set themselves up as such, or they may accede to the requests of others, such as a journal of Agnosticism. There's not much difference. At some point other people need content, and they are happy to ride the coat tails of whomever they can convince to take the lead.

But taking that lead, that position, means having to justify it. And that ends up having to attack other positions and people they can't possibly understand: to claim principles which by the limitations of intellect, are cast judgements upon those they know and many they do not.

To try to claim that someone falsely presumes too much when they are teaching what they claim as truths about God is equally in error as someone who claims "It Isn't So!" to all things they have no connection or experience with.

In both cases a little understanding is presumed to be factual for all time.

This is what the human mind does. It's sad, and very unscientific.

Spence, as was noted in last night's blog post, it comes down to whether we are gnostics or agnostics.

I'm a proud agnostic -- meaning, without experience and evidence, I don't claim that something is true, and I will challenge people who take the "gnostic" approach.

Agnosticism is the scientific approach. Good reasons have to be given for saying "this is true." Otherwise, we're left with religious believers, mystics, New Age adherents, and such who simply say "I just know what is true, because I have faith that it is true."

Here's a quote from a Spiritual Naturalism essay:
Gnosticism is the claim that knowledge can be inherent or come to us through means other than experience and evidence. Agnosticism is in opposition to this – it is the claim that knowledge can come only through experience and evidence. And, that without such evidence, we simply cannot know something.

You are right to say that "without experience and evidence I don't claim that anything is true."

But there are experiences and evidences that are hard to reconcile with the idea, image or model of what we are.

Descartes asked, "What can I be absolutely certain of?"
The answer he got was, "I can be absolutely certain that I exist."

He went off the rails after this by saying, "I can be certain that God wouldn't allow me to believe eggregious falsehoods."
But his realization, "I can be absolutely certain that I exist," does need some refinement.
Refinement of the nature of realization rather than logical development.

But many folk have realizations of this sort that need refinement. This is how swine like Cohen are able to obtain some leverage.
But Cohen was never able to lead anyone to an understanding, realization, of what this "I" is and what it means to "exist."
This is Cohen's real crime.
It is in this regard that he is a total charlatan.
I am surprised that no-one has sought to seek justice.

I spent a couple of years with Andrew and his gang, shortly after Papaji had told him to spread the word. Something happened during that time to loosen the grip of my conditioned conceptual framework (including Andrew's). With it's release what remains is an open hearted response to experience. For that I remain exceedingly grateful.

This is a very difficult and must-needs-be very nuanced conversation, rife with contradictions.

I have not met Andrew Cohen nor have I met any of his students. They are, after all’s said-and-done, the “product,” if you will, of his “art.” If even one of them has awakened, he’s done his job, regardless of his personal failings. If three have awakened, he’s a phenomenon.

AND, even if he’s done his job, it does not excuse those failings one iota.

No teacher is perfect, and there are no perfect human beings, because our human incarnation is not meant to be perfect. If the teacher were perfect, s/he would not be living a human life, and so could not teach.

We are living-into a new model of both spirituality and spiritual teaching, one in which the janky and even the ignoble are embraced as portals to greater wholeness — and even to those precious and rare transits into the perfection of the Uncreated — instead of being judged into a compartment somewhere or left at the door with our shoes lest our humanity defile the sacred atmosphere of the temple. This is a model in which the teacher comes down off the mountain and makes no bones about his/her own challenges, and uses the context of the study circle to expose and work on his/her own ego instead of living an unchallenged but necessarily false image of being an embodiment of that perfection.

And we are living into a model of spirituality where we tell it like it is: The spiritual path hard, it’s frustrating, it’s more-than-a-bit dangerous, and there are no guarantees. Punctilious attention to details are necessary at every stage of the journey — and the teacher is still on the journey regardless of his/her titles and attainments. Better that the teacher stay off the pedestal than damage people in falling off it.

The rarefied realms of the Formless are our real being, and they are the most intoxicating and seductive experience a human being can partake. The temptation to just park ourselves there can be overwhelming, because our limited human existence truly looks false and unsubstantial from there — but that view is in fact just another limitation to be overcome on the path.

There is no excuse for a teacher’s misbehavior, but we can’t let our teachers’ humanity become an excuse for our own egos’ rejection of our need of teachers. And we do need them, and in fact they need us, as mirrors for their own process. We are all the growing-edge of the Universe. When I was initiated/consecrated/ordained as a sufi shaikh, my teacher said to me, “I wouldn’t be giving this if you didn’t have the necessary minimum capacity. You need certain things called-forth from you now, and this is the quickest way to do it. Nevertheless, it’s a title — only God can give you realization — and I’m giving it because you need it, not because you ‘deserve’ it; never forget that.”

I don’t know anything about Andrew Cohen personally. Perhaps he is just another mediocre teacher having some magnetism and a way with words. Or maybe he truly has something and this clusterf**k is what he needs to truly get real, do his shadow work, and truly fulfill his potential. I do not know, and no one died and left me in charge. In the final anlysis, our assessments and judgments are just our egos and the book of this is not yet closed.

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