Posts Tagged With: fake gurus

Spiritual Con-Artistry and Chicanery (Note: HIGHLY disturbing content and NSFW links and information)

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Long-time readers of this blog will know already how much I despise fake gurus, fake spiritual teachers and phoney spiritual “celebrities”.
Well, it would seem that a certain internet-based New Age guru has been exposed in the past few days. It happened on Philosopher Stone’s blog and it quickly escalated to other sites across the internet, particularly in the alternative research community.
Quick background: Zen Gardner ran his own website , and was quickly gaining recognition in the alt research community, exposing the New World Order, paedophile cults, Satanic cults, secret societies, etc.
Then Steve Seymour dropped a bomb on his Philosopher’s Stone’s blog the other day. It turns out Zen Gardner, aka Don Ferguson was a 27 year member and leader in the Children of God cult from the ages of 22 to 49 and left the cult in 1999.
For those of you who don’t know, the Children of God was and is a notorious California New Age cult which started back in 1968 and quickly spread across the world headed by a known paedophile named David Berg. Berg was a psychotic, insane and perverted man who among other things, advocated incest, sanctified prostitution known as “Flirty Fishing” and rampant pedophilia among its members. The litany of things which the Children of God were involved in is beyond horrific and if you have the stomach to watch the many documentaries on Youtube  about the cult including survivors’ testimonies or read the documents, you’ll quickly understand how insane David Berg was and how the cult attracted deeply damaged or equally crazy people to say nothing of the incalculable amounts of damage the cult did to people who were in it.
David Berg and a "Children of God" member.

David Berg and a “Children of God” member.

I’m not going to go into the back and forth between Zen Gardner and Steve. If you want to know the exact details and chronology of this fallout,  I suggest reading the following articles and links in this order:
1) Zen’s convoluted and nebulous “confession” full of vague remarks and no concise details.
5) Steve releases some of his emails with the information where Zen admitted his deep involvement with the cult.
6) Steve is posting reactions from around the internet on Philosopher’s Stone’s homepage
A few things, right off the bat.
1) Don Ferguson fessed up to his involvement in this sick cult only AFTER being threatened with being exposed. Otherwise, he would never have mentioned it
2) Berg died in 1994. Ferguson left the cult in 1999, a full five years after Berg’s death claiming that he wanted to change the organization ‘from the inside out” 5 years is plenty of time to clean out  an organization or disband it completely as a high-ranking member, which he didn’t do.
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On a personal note, it was Zen/Don Ferguson who helped put me on the blogosphere radar screen. Someone had posted one of my first blog posts in the comments section of his website and the next day it was in the headlines section of Icke’s website. I used to read Zen Gardner’s website on and off after that but then about 2 years ago or so, his old, crunchy, granola home-made cobbley website suddenly got a massive upgrade and became super-professional, polished, full of sponsors  and rolling ads. Money was definitely coming in from somewhere. The energy had changed completely and not in a good way so I stopped visiting it.
Not only that, but I just didn’t find his writing all that insightful any more. It was the same old, same old “The world is undergoing a shift, so are you, hold on to your hats”, mixed in with New Age pabulum and flowery feel-good lingo. Like an internet personal coach, full of fluff but no practical or sound advice.
Then Zen Gardner was suddenly all over the internet, being interviewed on other people’s shows or podcasts, a flashy new book, he was suddenly some New Age alternative researcher celebrity. Definitely not as big as David Icke or Alex Jones , but on his way. Getting a Youtube channel and even a book called ‘You are the Awakening”. Zen was invited to conferences all over the world as a speaker or panelist and he had his own group of followers on his website. Because Zen was very good at writing and articulating certain ideas, his website was very popular with newbies, people just coming out of their shell and looking around for writers/thinkers who can explain to them what the hell was happening.
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There’s a bigger issue behind all of this: How does one discern a real teacher or spiritual guide from a  fraudulent one? It seems to always boil down to this with these kinds of stories. It’s not just Zen Gardner, Marc Gafni, Bikram Chowdhury, John Friend, the Children of God, the Rajneesh movement, going to Wanderlust or some equally idiotic gathering like SpiritWeavers or any of dozens of other examples.
Um, it doesn't work like that...

Um, it doesn’t work like that…

The bigger problem here is that there is a genuine spiritual hunger out there. How does a person who honestly doesn’t know any better, discern the real from the fake? People are looking, sometimes genuinely, sometimes with less intensity, but looking for *something* nonetheless because whether you want to admit it or not, spirituality and the search for profound meaning to our lives is as much a part of the human condition as looking for food to eat, a safe, warm place to sleep and a friend to talk to. Unfortunately in a fast-food market-oriented world like ours, it means there are millions of fakes out there willing to sell their fake wares and fake teachings to the person who never developed any sense of discernment.
It's not real!

It’s not real!

Organized religion has failed, globalization means that teachings which were once inaccessible are suddenly at anyone’s fingertips, there’s the problem with cultural appropriation or the misuse of sacred teachings and paraphernalia by people who either don’t know what the hell they are really talking about or deliberately distorting original teachings to suit their own agenda and inflate their pocketbook. Don’t believe me? Its even hit the shamans of Siberia with shyster Russian “spiritual teachers” (from 3:38 –  5:14)

I admit, I have also had my run-ins with fake teachers and guides and the damage they can do to a person can be huge and take years to recover from. Instead of helping to bring you forward a few steps, they can actually push you back a few meters. One unfortunate thing I have noticed is how deep down inside, many people don’t actually want to make decisions of their own but prefer being told what to do, what to think and how to live. It’s easier because someone has done the blueprint for them already. It’s terrifying for some to completely break free and do things on their own and forge their own path. It’s too hard.
I wish I could offer a few rules and guidelines to help folks discern real teachings and teachers from fake ones, I can’t. I can only offer what I’ve observed so far.
1) Never accept anything and everything at face value. Do your research. Ask pointed, uncomfortable questions
2) You have a brain so use your critical thinking skills. I may follow a few writers or teachers whose writings have inspired me but that doesn’t mean I completely agree with them on absolutely everything they ever wrote.
3) Don’t ever do anything which makes you feel uncomfortable. Listen to your FEELINGS. Just because your 75 year old male guru tells you to get naked with him and slip into the hot tub to receive “secret teachings” or “initiation”, doesn’t mean that you should do it.
4) Don’t mistake genuine ethnic origins with genuine teachers. There are a ton of shady guru-types in India and shamanistic types in South America who prey on white people’s ignorance of their cultures. Just because someone is brown and from India doesn’t automatically make him an authority on ALL Vedic teachings.
5) Keep a track of all inconsistencies in everything which you’ve noticed in what they do and say and question them on it. If someone starts getting hot under their collar and perceives your questioning as being confrontational, that’s a red flag right there.
6) Run for your life when someone asks you to invest a huge amount of cash to join their movement, to give all your stuff away to them, tells you to break off all your friendships and family connections to join their group
7) Keep a close eye on your teacher’s own life, personal habits and lifestyle. I would think twice before taking advice from someone who preaches about the importance of health and hygiene yet smokes like a chimney and lives in a pigsty.

(Please watch this video from 50:00 to 58:00 to see what The Children of God cult does to people)

Categories: Ch-ch-ch-changes, Conspirio, Politico, Raise your EQ | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Yoga Awesomeness going down this week in NYC!

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To those of you who follow this blog because of the issues of yoga, accessibility and BS gurus – Listen Up!

Roseanne Harvey who runs the renowned blog, “It’s All Yoga, Baby!” and noted yoga writer  Carol Horton Ph.D are hosting two (2) discussion sessions on yoga. According to the Abhyasa Yoga Center event page,

“Yoga today is changing – and fast. Once-powerful gurus are falling. New alternatives are snowballing. Why are these changes happening? What do they matter?

Join Carol Horton and Roseanne Harvey, co-editors of 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics, and Practice, for a provocative discussion of the current paradigm shift in yoga culture. Key topics include 1) representing the “yoga body,”  2) re-envisioning the “guru,” and 3) revitalizing Karma yoga. Come add your voice to what promises to be an important conversation on the cutting edge of thoughtful yoga practice today.

This event will follow a participatory lecture/discussion format and includes no asana. No preregistration required.

Cost: $20 or pay-what-you-can (nobody turned away for lack of funds)”

Monday, May 19th
7:00 – 9:30 p.m.
Abhyasa Yoga Center
628 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Tuesday, May 20th
7:00 – 9:30 p.m.
tascbar
309 East 108th St #1A
New York, NY 10029

Same topics will be under discussion each evening but it will be happening at two different locations.  The awesome Yogadork is hosting Monday night’s session in Brooklyn and prominent yoga blogger J. Brown is hosting the East Harlem session on Tuesday night.

If you are in the NYC/Brooklyn area and if these issues mean something to you, I suggest moseying on down to add your voice to the discussion. It would seem both anonymous and non-anonymous bloggers are venturing out  to take part in the action. I’m gonna be at the Brooklyn jam if anyone wants to say “Hello” or as Charlie over at Emergency Awesome would say “High Fives”!

Categories: Uncategorized, Yoga | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

The Veneer of Spiritual Specialness

Mike Myers as a guru.

Mike Myers as a guru.

“True initiates, true disciples present themselves in a simple, natural manner and are always approachable. Why do you wish to impress others and attract their attention with superior airs? You will say: ‘But are we not to manifest our spiritual accomplishments?’ You must not hide them, and you must not display them either. Since you are working on yourself and are busy modelling and sculpting your inner being, let this show in the features of your face, in your behaviour, and in your gestures. But you yourself, stay simple and natural. Why demand recognition with affected behaviour? Since you follow a spiritual teaching, know that your qualities of wisdom, purity, and nobility will show through your expression and your attitude, without any need on your part to assume all sorts of poses to advertise it. Allow your inner work to speak for itself, and even without your realising it, it will bear witness to you. In your wish to help others, you are probably going to absorb some impurities, but do not worry. Think of water and tell yourself that you can follow its example. Yes, water, which is so transparent, so innocent, comes down to earth to absorb all the impurities of the creatures here. Then, one day, it merges with the ocean, and recovers its original purity. If you complain of being defiled, taken advantage of, and diminished, it is quite simply because you think of yourself as a pond, or even worse, a small puddle. Instead of identifying with a puddle, identify with the ocean and you will feel that nothing and no one can soil you. Then, in time, you will be seized by the rays of the spiritual sun which will take charge of your purification, and by rising into space, you will leave behind all the impure elements you have absorbed on your journey.”

– Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov

[To my batch of new readers and followers, thank you and welcome. Also, get used to the Aivanhov quotes in this blog. Aivanhov was a Gnostic, Bulgarian mystic and spiritual master and I’m a huge fan of his teachings.]

Aivanhov here is talking about what another late metaphysician, Stuart Wilde called “The Cult of the Chosen One”.
You know what I’m talking about, right?

John Friend, before the fall.

John Friend, rock-star yogi, before the fall.

Those people you meet at either some spiritual group, New Age gathering or at a yoga studio/mala who boast about who is more spiritually advanced than you, who has had more spiritual experiences that you, who has more spiritual faculties awakened than you and then use that as a selling point to make you feel bad about yourself and lure you into their own cult of personality. Unfortunately, many so-called teachers and gurus also display this stupid tendency, and in my book that’s an automatic red flag and a sign to stay the hell away because it’s ego-driven, not based on anything compassionate or genuineness.

quote-pride-makes-us-artificial-and-humility-makes-us-real-thomas-merton-126335

One thing I learned with my time with some of the First Nations Native tribes is that genuine and authentic Elders and wisdom keepers work with absolute humility. Humility in this sense is not about putting yourself down and thinking less of yourself but rather thinking about yourself, your issues and your stuff less. They don’t say very much, they certainly don’t advertise themselves online or put out brochures and they don’t really boast about their abilities on Facebook or Twitter. Rather, once they’ve accepted you as a student or feel you’re ready to receive teachings, little by little, in their actions, you start observing that they may actually know some really neat stuff worth knowing.

Mental telepathy is one ability many sadhus claim to have.

Mental telepathy is one ability many sadhus claim to have.

Hindu lore especially around the sadhus, or the Muslim Sufi ascetics known as fakirs are rife with stories of supernatural abilities, like levitation, the ability to prognosticate the future, forcing a mango tree to grow in front of your eyes from seed, mental telepathy, telekinesis, tricks like producing ash out of thin air like Sathya Sai Baba used to do or walking on water (which is why the story of Jesus walking on water isn’t such a big deal in India). Native American tribes and Siberian/Mongolian shamanic tribes talk about people with the ability to be skin walkers. Practically every culture in the world has stories of people who display what we would consider to be supra-natural ability.

A Siberian shaman.

A Siberian shaman.

Much of the spiritual literature in Hinduism, Sufism, and Buddhism are unequivocal about these abilities which they call “siddhi” and say that should you develop siddhi along your path to Enlightenment/Oneness, don’t pay any attention to them. These are just the little foothills of distractions on the way to the real mountains towering behind them.

Uri Geller and his bending spoons.

Uri Geller and his bending spoons.

So in case you ever meet someone who does have siddhi, like bending spoons or knows how to see your future on a polished fingernail and uses that ability to somehow convince you to join their group or follow them, I would just quietly suggest to give them a pass. Most of them are just trying to distract you. If you’re hunting for big game, this is just small fish in comparison.

Also, the next time you encounter someone who boasts about being “more spiritual” and tries to come across as more special than you, don’t say anything. Instead, just watch their actions closely because that’s where you’ll find your answer and find out everything you need to know about that person.

As for real teachers and real spiritual masters, I can only speak for myself and from my own experiences but I find the legit ones, their words have a consistent ability to almost have an immediate effect on you. They consistently have a knack for getting to the heart of any matter, quite often using simple words, not complicated jargon, which then resonates on such a deep level with you that you just automatically “get it”. Quite often, you’re not the same afterwards or you start looking at the world in a different way completely, and usually for the better.

Teachers and teachings are everywhere. You just got to know how to look and pick up what you need for your journey. They show up in unexpected places and ways and it’s up to you to pick up the trail of cosmic breadcrumbs.

I had written about a little-known Canadian seeress named Alma Rumball about two years ago. Alma is an example of someone whose works have much to teach us should we want to listen. Recently a documentary about her extraordinary life story was finally uploaded to Youtube and it is well worth a watch.

Enjoy.

 

 

Categories: Ascension, False prophits, Pop culture, Raise your EQ | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

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