Session 7 March 2009

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
In this post, I will try to tie up a couple of loose ends from a previous recent post. Even if the quote of concern is from another session, the comments still fits quite well here:
There was
Q: (L) I have a question I want to ask. A lot of people say that esotericism and politics shouldn't be mixed together, that somebody who has esoteric pursuits - or spiritual pursuits, let me put it that way - shouldn't be interested in "worldly" things. I would like to have your view on this. Have we gone completely astray by mixing in politics?

A: Absolutely and vehemently not!!! There is no possibility of true spiritual work progressing without full awareness of the world that surrounds you. What have we said about "true religion?" Let your curiosity guide you. In its pure state curiosity is a spiritual function.
On the net, there is a series of articles from 2008, “Blowing the Whistle on Enlightenment: Confessions of a New Age Heretic,” by Bronte Baxter, who like Susan Shumsky and Judith Bourque worked with Transcendental Meditation, which preceded Ravi Shankar's, Art of Living movement that Craig was involved with.

Bronte observes that much of the social and political criticism and creativity of the 1960'ies and 70ïes was derailed by various influences, including those brought about by various movements originating in India, discussed especially in these articles:
Chapter 1: The Hidden Agenda of Mantra Meditation

Chapter 2: Where Have All the Flower Children Gone? – Part One

Chapter 3: Where Have All the Flower Children Gone? – Part Two [....]
Chapter 8: Catching More Flies with Honey: How ‘Love’ and ‘Oneness’ Teachings Are Used to Disempower

Chapter 9: Amma, the Mother Saint – Hugging Away Your Personhood
At the end of the 14 long article series, Bronte Baxter approaches more a "you create your own reality point of view", perhaps influenced by the environment in 2008, when The Secret, discussed in The Dark Side of 'The Secret' was popular. Still, there are some good points, like in chapter four where she writes about the process of giving up beliefs when new information is encountered:
When I encounter new information that shakes my current paradigm and whispers I may need to let go of another belief, I take a deep breath and say, “I can survive that.” My beliefs are not who I am, they’re something I own. And I want to clear out any that don’t correctly match the nature of the universe. This puzzle-piecing business requires lots of paradigm revision. [Bolded in the original]
For some people, such an attitude is problematic, as indicated by a quote from a forum exchange, where one writer, Richard J. Williams on Thu, 12 Dec 2013 04:49:44 -0800 presents his list of "Kooks" which may give an indication of what is accepted and what not. For clarification, I may insert here that Kook is:
  • [...] a synonym for crank (person), a pejorative term for a person who holds an unshakable belief that most others consider to be ludicrously false.
And the list with a link added under Gena Catena:
I'm thinking of putting Bronte Baxter, Gena Catena, and Gail Treadwell on my list of Kooks, along with the others already on my list:

Judith Bourque
Conny Larssen
John Knapp
Mike Doughney
Robert Kropinsky
Joe Kellet
Tom Anderson
One can look up the names. Bourque has been mentioned in an earlier post and here is a video with Gena Catena.

The above forum thread exchange included a discussion concerning the identity of Bronte Baxter, and since I referred to her articles above, The main accusation is:
glassnatalie99 Tue, 10 Dec 2013 10:23:43 -0800
Holy Hell, Gail Tredwell’s self published book about her memories of Amma, was edited by Jessi Hoffman, a professional ghostwriter and editor. Jessi Hoffman also operates under the hidden cyber-identity Bronte Baxter. Bronte Baxter is the instigator and moderator of the "members only" Yahoo group "Ex-Amma". She conveniently uses various platforms to malign and discredit Amma and promote Gail's agenda. But what is Hoffman's agenda? We don't need to guess because she
has told us so on her own website. Hoffman promotes the idea that Amma is a demonic entity working with the United Nations and reptilian beings to take over the world. And that's why it's so important to her to bring Amma down. Should you believe Hoffman who writes for Gail Tredwell?
Check out this blog to learn more:
http://gail-tredwell-jessi-hoffman-holy-hell.blogspot.com
I checked the last link, but to me, the connection is not completely substantiated. Anyhow, the list of "Kooks" etc, all goes to show that there are discussions about what is the right interpretation of past events, just like there are in many other areas of political and social life. Perhaps I should mention that among the books, (Bourque and Shumsky) and various articles I read in connection with writing the last few posts, the biography/autobiography by Susan Shumsky has by far the most references and sources followed by the film by David Sieveking.
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Since the last post in this thread, it became more clear that two other sessions, in one respect, fit with this one. Craig, who was teaching a variety of Kriya yoga popularized by the Art of Living organization, was present in this session, and at the session 09 June 2009 which has a long detailed introduction by Laura. Preparations for the last visit in early June were discussed however in the session 30 May 2009.

This post has more comments on the environment in which Art of Living emerged from. There was:
On the net, there is a series of articles from 2008, “Blowing the Whistle on Enlightenment: Confessions of a New Age Heretic,” by Bronte Baxter,
In one of the articles: The Hidden Agenda of Mantra Meditation, one finds in the beginning:
What I expected to see when I came back to the Fairfield scene after 20 years away from Transcendental Meditation was a group of mainstay meditators true-blue to Maharishi and a group of robust dissenters, whose minds questioned everything they learned from their guru days. Instead, I found the true-blue meditators, but not the kind of dissenters I anticipated. I encountered people who had left the TM movement but hadn’t substantially changed their belief system. This latter group had changed in the way that people change hats, or redecorate their homes, leaving unaltered the structure underneath.

The dissenters had splintered into a myriad of Eastern or Eastern-related philosophies: Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie and Andrew Cohen were popular, and Neo-Advaitin gurus had rallied many behind their minimalist philosophy.
Written in 2008, one of these groups might well have included Ravi Shankar's Art of Living, founded in 1981. The Art of Living name was possibly inspired by half the title from a book by Ravi Shankar's teacher Maharishi called Science of Being and Art of Living. Craig, as one can read in the session, was also a former student of TM. However, what Baxter observed can be encountered in parallel types of organizations, some mentioned in New Age COINTELPRO, or here COINTELPRO and Disinformation, but there could be others. I doubt it is as specific as the author suggests.

Baxter writes she was surprised, but perhaps because she at the time assumed it was easy for anyone to possess a mind that questioned everything. Perhaps they just questioned some things, and other things not, as most people do, maybe even herself included. She also left the impression that there were no questioning minds among meditators, which is hardly believable. Whatever the details of the case might have been, I will try to find a couple of perspectives to consider when trying to explain what she claims to have found.

Learning takes time, there are different types of people including psychopaths
We know learning takes time; that one can learn from all experiences. Besides, there are different kinds of people too, including psychopaths that make up a varying fraction of a population. On the topic of psychopathy, one finds in Session 09 June 2009:
A: We hesitate to tell anyone what to do, but in this case we suggest that, yes, it would be safer. ... [letters come very quickly] Do not get lost in an illusion that a breathing technique can protect from psychopathy! Only knowledge can do that, and sometimes it takes a long time to acquire the data to make a determination.
[...]
(L) As your question. (Craig) So, are OPs in the public signing up to the Art of Living course? Is this a concern?

A: No.

Q: (L) My guess would be that they would sign up, probably in numbers equal to potentially souled people because they have probably as often as anybody else trauma in their backgrounds, or being abused, or... (Craig) So I want to ask the same question about psychopaths. Is this a problem?

A: Oh indeed. Especially as the process becomes more widely known.
Some movements did indeed become popular, even fashionable. It is claimed 6 million learned TM, while the Art of Living movement now has centers in 156 countries. However, it is not clear how widely known it was in 2009, or if the presence of psychopaths was only a growing problem.

Another reason it is not easy to become an individual questioning everything, is explained by the concepts of illusion and delusion. In this excerpt, a distinction is made between these two words.
A: Realizing one's blindness and ignorance can be shattering but with the breaking of the shell of illusion and delusion, one can be born into the light!

Q: (L) I noticed you used the words "illusion" and "delusion". What's the difference between an illusion and a delusion, aside from our normal dictionary definitions?

A: Illusion is mostly self-generated; delusion is mostly induced from without.

Q: (L) So, if you create fantasies in your own head and believe in them, you're living in an illusion. If you're programmed to believe wrong things or induced into something by life circumstances or other people's words or actions, that would be a delusion. Well, that's a little bit different I think than the dictionary definition. It's interesting to get their view of why they use different words. Anybody else have questions?
The mention of illusion and delusion could also relate to bubble mentioned in the following excerpt:

Q: (L) Okay, is there any final bit of advice, or any last thing to say before we shut down for the night?

A: Just work daily at becoming more aware on three levels
1. Body and immediate environment,
2. Wider world affairs,
3. Cosmos and spirit.


Q: (L) Shouldn't "spirit" go with "Body and immediate environment"?

A: No, it is via the first steps that one achieves cosmic consciousness.

Q: (L) I don't understand.

(Chu) You have to work on the body and environment, and then understand the wider world at first. And then you can develop cosmic consciousness and spirit.

(L) Oooh. So in other words, to achieve cosmic consciousness, i.e. true spiritual advancement, you have to expand your field of vision to be very wide?

A: Exactly. Those who suggest that you must look only within live in a singular bubble.

Q: (L) Alright. Anything else?

A: No. Goodbye.
If one goes back to the quote from Baxter, and consults what else she wrote, her observation was that people had lost interest in what corresponds to: "2. Wider world affairs." perhaps because they were left to believe that if they just meditated enough, meditated enough together and taught enough other people, the world would be well.

A comment on Cosmic Consciousness
Lastly, and not related to the initial quote from Baxter, a comment on the term cosmic consciousness mentioned in the above excerpt. One explanation why cosmic consciousness became a familiar concept might be all people who learned TM in English-speaking countries and going back to the late 1950ies, would have heard it. Later it was carried further by both Deepak Chopra, Ravi Shankar and many others. However, if one does a web search, the modern English expression dates to around 1900. The Wiki has:
Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind is a 1901 book by the psychiatrist Richard Maurice Bucke, in which the author explores the concept of cosmic consciousness, which he defines as "a higher form of consciousness than that possessed by the ordinary man".
If you look up the entry for Richard Maurice Bucke, you find a section with a paraphrase in the first person of an account in his book "Cosmic Consciousness". This experience may have been an inspiration for the word:
In 1872, after an evening of stimulating conversation with his friend Walt Whitman in the countryside, Richard M Bucke was traveling back to London in a buggy. He relates:

I was in a state of quiet, almost passive enjoyment. All at once, without warning of any kind, I found myself wrapped around as it were by a flame-coloured cloud. For an instant I thought of fire, some sudden conflagration in the great city; the next, I knew that the light was within me.

Directly afterward came upon me a sense of exultation, of immense joyousness accompanied by an intellectual illumination quite impossible to describe. Into my brain streamed one momentary lightning—flash of the Divine Splendor which has ever since lightened my life; upon my heart fell one drop of Divine Bliss, leaving thenceforward for always an aftertaste of heaven.

Among other things, I did not come to believe: I saw and knew that the Cosmos is not dead matter but a living Presence, that the soul of man is immortal, that the universe is so built and ordered that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all, that the foundation principle of the world is what we call love, and that the happiness of everyone in the long run is absolutely certain.

I learned more within the few seconds that illumination lasted than in all my previous years of study and I learned much that no study could ever have taught.
How this post can relate to earlier ones
The general subject of this post ties in with others, of which two are not in this thread. To bring them into context, a post was initiated by a question about Hinduism, which perhaps set the ball rolling. And in this thread, there are besides the present the following one, two, three, four, and five. Related by subject is also a post written in the thread of Session 09 June 2009 that included a couple excerpts on the meditation that at the end of June 2009 became the Prayer of The Soul in Éiriú-Eolas.
 
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