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Disillusionment with Intermediate Zone gurus

In external link this thread on the Lightmind Forum, "one love" cites external link my article on abusive gurus and intermediate zone psuedo-enlightenment in a post dated 9th September.

The thread was being attacked by an Adi Da devotee who was clearly upset by any mention that hinted that there was such a thing as bogus enlightenment accompanied by genuine paranormal powers of the kind Da reportedly has.

It may be that what upsets people is

1) that the genuine paranormal experiences that aroused their faith were not in fact a guarantee of spiritual authenticity but were actually linked to something far short of realization. To face that a decades long spiritual practice and years of sacrifice were undergirded by a misleading and inaccurate spiritutal diagnostic framework has to be shattering, and many would prefer to protect themselves from such horror by getting angry and going on the warpath

2) It may be very painful, even narcissistically wounding, to discover that one's experience, even though abusive, was not linked to a unique and wonderful spiritual phenomenon, but to something that is not unique at all, that you were not part of a special endeavor, but just one cultic group among many-- and--just one IZ deluded guru, among many. You lose the comfort of thinking "Well I went through hell, but God, this guy was special." You dont run into one on every single street corner, but they are not unique, either.

At the end of Amazon com Enlightenment Blues, Andre van der Braak wrote of how he and his partner (another Andrew Cohen survivor), had their eyes opened by reading The Guru Papers by Kramer and Alsted. The book helped them recognize the social processes that had turned Andrew's project from something initially emancipatory into a draining and degrading trap.

Andre wrote:

"This helps Ute and me to see our struggle with Andrew in less personal terms, and to be less angry and outraged with him. We joke that we are learning to view our time with Andrew from an impersonal perspective.

'There was nothing special about our time with Andrew. We've been members of just another cultish group that makes its members feel special. Our experiences are no fundamentally no different from countless others in spiritual and political groups."
(Enlightenment Blues, page 215)

It may also be that one final impediment to full liberation from time spent in a negative group is when people cling to the ego-projected notion that there was something about the group or teacher that was special; a stance that will mark any sort of abuse as something priviliged and in this way deflect both insight and compassion.

Understanding the nature of the Intermediate Zone, and things like the crazy wisdom myth (which as currently presented is merely a meme derived from 1970s mis-interpretations of Tibetan Buddhism) carries with it an unspoken and radical message: that even abusive gurus with paranormal powers are not special, but can be recognized as IZ casualties, something that other traditions such as Sufism have recognized this as well.

Faced with the realisation that one's own (abusive) guru isn't special, and that neither is intermediate zone partial enlightenment, can result in anger and shadow projection on the part of devotees. Or they may simply dissociate when confronted by these facts.

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 17 September 2006