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Lee Lozowick on Andrew Cohen

The following statement by Lee Lozowick about Andrew Cohen was copied on WHAT Enlightenment ??! in the 2005 thread Blog A Legacy of Scorched Earth. Much more interesting than attack blogs like WHAT Enlightenment Uncensored $$$, this is a discussion/argument in which both sides get to make their case. Decide for yourself.

The quote originally appeared as a foreword to Andrew Cohen's book, Link to Amazon com Freedom Has No History (What Is Enlighenment? Press 1997, and Full Circle Publishing Ltd 2003). I am including it here to present a pro-Cohen view, as I no longer view him with a simplistic one dimensional abusive guru interpretation I did in the past. Indeed, once one goes beyond the surface being, and acquires even glimpse of the Intermediate Zone (and Cohen himself does not come across to me as a genuinely gnostic figure, but more a "translucent") any rational human judgment is bound to be less than certain.

"I love paradox. After all, what is this incredibly complex yet stunningly simple affair that we call Life or Reality or Truth but the most paradoxical paradox that there is?

So here we are…a foreword to a magnificent book by Andrew Cohen, a book of striking clarity, forceful argument towards the only valid search, that for awakening, and a passionate cry for true sanity.

I first heard of Andrew just after he began his teaching work. I believe the year was 1987. I was giving a presentation (a fancy name for a talk) in London and one of his students mentioned that he thought I should look Andrew up. The demeanor of the man, obviously highly representative of his relationship to Andrew, struck a very sympathetic chord. I made note of the name Andrew Cohen. Years later when Andrew was making a presentation in Boulder, Colorado, I made it a point to meet him. Our first meeting was to be the beginning of what has come to be a deep and abiding friendship. But it is our second meeting that I would like to discuss. We met in a small restaurant, he attended by several of his male students, me by several of my female students—a perfect metaphor for each of our styles of Teaching. Andrew gave me a gift, one that could not have been more timely or more perfect. I had just been written up in the book Holy Madness by Georg Feuerstein, but I didn’t even know that it had come out yet or that I was in it! This book was Andrew's gift. He had read it, and based on the material within, had a number of questions he wanted to consider together.

I have been questioned countless times by people who were ostensibly interested in my work or philosophy or whatever one wants to call it (the nature of the realization upon which my Teaching Work is based might be a nice way to language it). Inevitably their interest is some form of competitive aggression, or at best a self-absorbed attempt to “engage the Master in dialogue” or some such ego-based motive. What surprised and totally delighted me, not to mention encouraged me greatly, was Andrew’s mood in this consideration. He was genuinely interested, passionately interested in coming to understanding or Revelation. He really wanted to know! He had no mood of superiority (I can hardly tell you how unusual that is for someone who calls themselves a teacher), no edge, no accusatory distinctions about the rightness of “his” dharma and the sincere but misguided nature of “my” dharma. He genuinely wanted­ to KNOW. I must tell you, I was impressed. The rarity of such a consuming desire to leave no stone unturned, no concept left unresolved, no knot left tied, unpierced, was not lost on me, no sir-eee. I am not known for suffering fools gladly. Most so-called teachers in our modern world have fallen prey to my chillingly revealing indictments. But I couldn’t find such fault with Andrew. He really­ wanted to KNOW. We had a fierce, deep and enthusiastic discussion that day, and our budding friendship became cemented. We earned each other’s Respect, an even rarer thing (when genuine and not simply defined by spiritual politic or cordiality of manner) amongst those who should be true peers of their dharma when it is true of them. But hypocrisy is definitely not rare in this business and most other businesses either by my observation.

Andrew and I have spent many a lovely afternoon together, made presentations together, taught together. I have enjoyed the fact that Andrew is not caught up in the game of spiritual vanity. He is willing to adjust his approach based on his ongoing investigations, explorations and discoveries. Ah, how refreshingly right. Truth is not some exclusive, rigid dogma but a living, breathing, ongoing adventure. (I may be mildly plagiarizing Andrew with that last sentence.)

And another thing now that I’ve got your attention. The depth of Andrew’s concern for the liberation of his students is a very moving thing to feel. He really cares. He has no life of his own; no ivory tower saint this man. He is dedicated to the liberation of others. Of all others. After all, as long as there is an “other” how can the fact that there is only one, only one person, only you, as Andrew talks about in Chapter 2 of Freedom Has No History (a wonderful title for a book by the way, I wish I'd thought of it) be Realized? I’ll answer that for you; it can’t. Andrew’s tireless dedication (just reading his travel schedule exhausts me) to communicating the depth of beauty, of joy, dare I say (okay I dare) love that he has seen, seen with his whole Being, is a wonder to behold. And I for one, am very grateful for his efforts. When Andrew sniffs illusion, laziness, denial, and abuses of trust and integrity, he is a raging fury of Truth and cla­rity unleashed. I’ve watched him do surgery on the mind of more than one deluded narcissist. It’s a sight to behold, very satisfying for one such as myself, who has been attempting similar surgery for over twenty-five years now. (This is 1996, isn’t it? Time, time, it does tend to fade into obscurity in this business.) Especially for someone as bum­blingly inarticulate as I, Andrew’s pristine dharma-words are an inspiration, to be sure.

Freedom Has No History may seem too “orthodox” for some. Andrew does not leave room to wiggle out of his absolute demand. There is no tolerance for options. One must be serious, absolutely serious. One must be committed, dedicated, passionate about this Work and willing to see the process through to the end with consistency, discipline, dedication, perseverance and perhaps most important, reliability. As Andrew says in the pages that follow, the Universe is depending on you. And why shouldn’t Andrew speak with both such definiteness and such authority? After all what he says is true. Not because “I” say so (after all who am I—say, that’s a good question, hmmm) but because truth is truth. It is what it is, beyond all of our subjective opinions, philosophies, biases, projections and expectations. The call for a practice of integrity is simply a call to a life, or Life, lived rightly. No life-denying asceticism here, simply a call to a full, rich, pure genuine life of liberated activity. This is a beautiful book. Truth is always beautiful. Read it with diligence and put it into practice. After all, only you can do it."

What I found intriguing is Lee Lozowick's highly positive assesment of Andrew Cohen, indeed there is an interview - The Predicament of the Postmodern Guru - dated April 2005 - between the two. The title reflects Cohen's Wilberian interest, and would seem to have nothing to do with Lee Lozowick's teachings. But "Mr Lee's" recommendation is interesting because his guru Yogi Ramsuratkumar represents an authentic (rather than Western pseudo-) representative of "crazy wisdom" spiritual tradition via an authentic Realised being. In a 2001 external link interview with Hal Blacker for What is Enlightenment? he makes some interesting comments regarding "crazy wisdom", which as one poster to What Enlightenment??! noted, see almost prophetic. Blacker of course was later to break with Cohen and set up What Enlightenment??! blog in 2004 (external link here is his account of his experiences with Cohen, as always, the feedback on this forum is intersting). And what about controversial aspects associated with Lozowick' himself, which would seem to put his praise of Cohen in a rather different light?

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page uploaded 18 November 2008, last modified 27th August 2009