Andrew Cohen and the Future

On December 5, 2010 the Huffington Post and Urban Zen hosted a dialogue with Andrew Cohen and Deepak Chopra, entitled “Creating a Spiritually Empowered Future.” The dialogue was moderated by Arianna Huffington, and organized by longtime Cohen student Gerard Senehi.

An article about the dialogue, written by Alison Rose Levy, can be found posted on the Huffington Post.

In response I posted the following comment on HuffPost:

I was dismayed to learn that Arianna Huffington and the Huffington Post were participat­­ing in a forum at which spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen was one of two main speakers. (“Creating a Spirituall­­y Empowered Future”; organized by Gerard Senehi.)

Apparently Andrew Cohen’s background was not fact checked. The record is clear that Cohen faces numerous serious allegation­­s of abuse over a 20 year period: There are now three books by former students documentin­­g harmful treatment and a blog exposing Cohen. The allegation­­s, by many former students, include physical, emotional and financial abuses – and to date none of the abuse has ever been apologized for or satisfacto­­rily addressed in any way.

I was a 13 year student of Cohen’s during which time I was a community leader and member of the Board of Directors. The book I’ve written, along with contributo­­rs, documentin­­g the history of abuse is titled American Guru: A Story of Love, Betrayal and Healing. www.americ­­anguru.ne­t

Cohen’s own mother, Luna Tarlo, who was at one time his student, has written The Mother of God. Andre Van der Braak, another former student, has written Enlightenment Blues, a highly critical account of his time as a student of Andrew Cohen.

Many articles exposing abuse are posted on the blog WhatEnligh­­tment??!.
http://wha­­tenlighte­n­ment.net­/ Authors of the articles posted include 3 former editors of Cohen’s EnlightenN­­ext magazine.

It would behoove the Huffington Post to investigat­­e more before supporting an event like this one.

William Yenner
americangu­­ru@ymail.­c­om

In response to my comment, the following thread of comments was posted on HuffPost by other readers:

Peter Bampton wrote: If you are wondering what these so-called “allegatio­ns of abuse” are really all about then I suggest you do a bit more “fact-chec­king” regarding William Yenner and company at http://www­.guru-talk­.com

letsgetrealnow2010 wrote: By all means read both Bill’s and Peter’s websites. And then notice how Peter’s site only allows comments and posts from those who agree with him and his group, and how far the truth needs to be stretched to fit their version of events. It’s pretty ridiculous coming from people who claim to only be interested only in the truth.

Peter Bampton wrote: In fact the main reason why Guru Talk was created was because Yenner, and some other former students who have seen fit to publicly portray Andrew Cohen in such a distorted manner, refused to allow the other side of the story to be told by many other former students who witnessed the same events.

So yes the Guru Talk articles give a context for their critiques you won´t find Yenner and company wanting to acknowledg­e, and as for the truth, we ain´t stretching anything, it is as it is. Respectful critical comments are welcomed btw.

massattack1994 wrote: I don’t know too much about Andrew Cohen and all these so called “allegatio­ns of abuse”, but I must say, after checking out both William’s and Peter’s site, I really don’t understand what the fuss is all about. So what if he insulted a few post-moder­n egos by slapping a few students around, or poured a bucket of paint on some woman’s head, or “forced” people to give a bunch of money? Are we all such spiritual wimps that we can’t take a little ego downsizing­? Besides, these students knew what they were getting themselves into when they joined Andrew’s group, and look how long they hung around! These whiners make me laugh. As any true spiritual aspirant knows, the real function of the guru is to insult you. I assume this also means hitting you and taking your money.
I can relate, because I’ve been in a similar situation where I had to smack my wife a few times. Now, I took no pleasure in doing it, and of course I didn’t hurt her, but she was being immature and selfish & I was forced to do it. I was helping her to see her flaws. In fact, if you ask her, she’ll tell you how much she needed it, and how it helped her out of the victimizat­ion she was stuck in. I keep telling her that she needs to learn to start pointing her finger at herself and her own shortcomin­gs that lead to me smacking her.

I’m sure there are some people out there who would call this “abuse”, but if she was being abused, why would she still be with me after fifteen years? Besides, she’s completely free to leave whenever she wants to. No one is forcing her to do anything.

It’s all about context. My wife and I are trying to live according to a higher standard, and unless you’ve tried to do that, you have no idea how truly insidious one’s ego can be. Filtered through this standard, I ask you, do I really “abuse” my wife? Or is what I do rather outrageous acts of love intent on saving her soul by holding her to her stated intentions­?
So much of the post-moder­n spiritual scene is all about “human sensitivit­y” and “respectin­g others.” It’s all a bunch of feel-good, PC nonsense! As Peter says, real gurus kicks ass! This is the new truth I’ve been waiting to hear from a REAL guru. And it seems that there are those out there who simply can’t hack it, so after they get smacked around a little bit and all their money gets taken away from them they respond from their bruised egos and attack the person who gave them everything­. This is outrageous­!

As Ken Wilbur says, new truth will always be attacked. So very, very true.

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Reader comments always welcome, please write to americanguru@ymail.com