Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby liminalOyster » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:23 pm

American Dream » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:44 pm wrote:
liminalOyster » Fri Aug 03, 2018 12:33 pm wrote:
Both of the first two Buddhism Project Sunshine reports (the first, published February 15, included allegations of assault against teachers and community members) indicate evidence that the spiritual organization’s governing body knew about the allegations of harm by their leader and either did little to nothing to assist the people who said they’d been assaulted or, at worst, actively covered up and perhaps enabled the behaviour to continue.

Andrea Winn, who wrote those reports based on investigations by lawyer Carol Merchasin, says a third will be released on August 23. She predicts, with confidence, that its impact on the sakyong will be serious.

“He’s not going to be able to return to lead this community.”


This will be a real test for the communities and individuals concerned.


I think the big test will be whether or not the community moves towards 1) horizontalism or 2) "diversity" in representation.

[That big question is everywhere lately, isn't it?]

So far, I've seen a number of people in the power structure make overtures towards "radical" change but act in a manner that suggests option #2 is a done deal. Which, IMO, will do nothing but suture up the current wound for a later/greater replay of the same crisis.
"If you support factions that get big money backing, you are probably not a 'revolutionary'."
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:01 pm

What does that mean, "diversity" in representation?
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:28 pm

We probably already get the gist of this:


Psychedelics’ Buddhist Revival

For some Buddhists, experiences of selflessness triggered by hallucinogens are tools for practice. But others see distraction and even danger.

By Gabriel Lefferts JUL 27, 2018

Image

Nearly ten years ago, in the middle of a monthlong meditation retreat, Spring Washam had a sobering experience. Far from entering the blissful states of concentration that often mark the jhanas, the progressive stages of meditative absorption outlined in Theravada Buddhism, she entered a state of trauma.

An experienced Buddhist practitioner and teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Washam insists that it wasn’t the Buddhist teachings that were at fault. It was the form—being silent, being still, being alone—that unraveled unconscious levels of pain to an unbearable degree.

“What I realized there,” she recalled, “was that the form of sitting in silence wasn’t alleviating the symptoms; it was making it worse.”

Washam would soon seek to pair her Buddhist practice with a different spiritual calling: the ceremonial drinking of ayahuasca, a plant-based hallucinogen made by Amazonian indigenous communities.


https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/psyched ... t-revival/
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby liminalOyster » Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:38 pm

American Dream » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:01 pm wrote:What does that mean, "diversity" in representation?


One of the most visible hip young (white guy) teachers in the org dropped his title and authored a kind of oddly-logicked piece about how this primarily expressed cis white supremacy male patriarchy and should be met by a process to improve representation of women and POC in the org's teaching structure. Sidenote here that the Sakyong is a diasporic Tibetan who lived in an Indian refugee camp from 0 to 7 and that women have *always* been well represented at every level of power in the org.

Worthy goals but I disagree that improving representation is a well-suited response.
Last edited by liminalOyster on Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby liminalOyster » Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:39 pm

American Dream » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:28 pm wrote:We probably already get the gist of this:


Psychedelics’ Buddhist Revival

For some Buddhists, experiences of selflessness triggered by hallucinogens are tools for practice. But others see distraction and even danger.

By Gabriel Lefferts JUL 27, 2018

Image

Nearly ten years ago, in the middle of a monthlong meditation retreat, Spring Washam had a sobering experience. Far from entering the blissful states of concentration that often mark the jhanas, the progressive stages of meditative absorption outlined in Theravada Buddhism, she entered a state of trauma.

An experienced Buddhist practitioner and teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Washam insists that it wasn’t the Buddhist teachings that were at fault. It was the form—being silent, being still, being alone—that unraveled unconscious levels of pain to an unbearable degree.

“What I realized there,” she recalled, “was that the form of sitting in silence wasn’t alleviating the symptoms; it was making it worse.”

Washam would soon seek to pair her Buddhist practice with a different spiritual calling: the ceremonial drinking of ayahuasca, a plant-based hallucinogen made by Amazonian indigenous communities.


https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/psyched ... t-revival/


I could read this in my sleep. ;)
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:48 pm

Bane of my existence. Sure the subaltern should speak but it matters who and what their point of view is. Simply chanting "QPOC, QPOC!" and pushing whatever malleable soul will serve our purposes up to the podium is never going to get it.


liminalOyster » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:38 pm wrote:
American Dream » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:01 pm wrote:What does that mean, "diversity" in representation?


One of the most visible hip young (white guy) teachers in the org dropped his title and authored a kind of oddly-logicked piece about how this primarily expressed cis white supremacy male patriarchy and should be met by a process to improve representation of women and POC in the org's teaching structure. Sidenote here that the Sakyong is a diasporic Tibetan who lived in an Indian refugee camp from 0 to 7 and that women have *always* been well represented at every level of power in the org.

Worthy goals but I disagree that improving representation is a well-suited response.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby liminalOyster » Sat Aug 04, 2018 12:25 pm

I've just discovered Matthew Remski pretty recently. He seems like the most important writer on this stuff out there.

Don’t Deepen Your Practice

(Some rough, opinionated notes.)

I’m realizing that reading the dynamics of high-demand yoga and meditation groups through a cult psychology lens is necessary work and personal to me. I get hate mail for it, but the grateful notes outnumber the missiles by about three to one.

However, using this language doesn’t answer a crucial set of questions:

Why do groups like Michael Roach’s Diamond Mountain, Rajneeshpuram, Rigpa, Shambhala, and Agama exist? Not: where do the ideas and personalities come from? Not: what unmet needs do they pretend to fill?

But: what are the basic political and economic conditions that allowed so many of these groups to mushroom in the post-war era, and so easily construct a pretence of value? What did the culture at large have to first commodify for these groups to then come along and upsell?

Political cults run on the premise of political action. Warlord cults run on the premise of revolutionary struggle. Psychotherapy cults like the Newman Tendency ran on the premise of transforming a therapeutic mode into a social justice tool. In each of these contexts, I sense a product.

But yoga and Dharma cults? What broadly-accepted social discourse and value allows them to be a thing, to project a plausible relationship to positive, pro-social human labour? What do they promise to make?

The tagline for Shambhala International is: “Making Enlightened Society Possible.” The vagueness seems a direct reflection of Chogyam Trungpa’s alcoholic dreams.

I am the son of lower-middle class union activist high school teachers. They were about two years too old to have run into weed or acid in college. I rebelled against their perceived squareness — also a respect for things — in part by thinking it was good idea to drop out and pursue the weed and acid of spiritual self-development full time. And later, to consider it a job.

But did I really feel it was a good idea? Or was the spiritual marketplace simply open to my privilege, and proximal to other closing doors? I can use psychological frames to look at this till the cows come home, and they’re informative, but the larger political economy that pushed my buttons and pulled my strings will remain illusive if I stay there.

The yoga and meditation cults I’ve been in and have studied emerged in tandem with how neoliberalism mobilized post-war wealth towards an internal turn. This internal turn spiritualized consumerism and conflated globalization with universal consciousness.

Michael Roach used to wax poetic about all of the money he made in the New York diamond business. (I never heard a word about blood diamonds.) He was convinced that his understanding of the diamond as symbolic of Middle Way emptiness theory was at the root of his financial success. He talked about how the money seemed to come out of nowhere. Wealth was an external projection of an internal state.

Unsurprisingly, Roach was also an early dotcom fan boy. He would say that it was through the mystical power of people’s ripening karma that the internet suddenly created a trillion-dollar economy out of nothing. Out of emptiness. Get it?

His barely-hidden subtext was that the Buddhism industry could emerge out of nothing as well. The evangelism would sweep painlessly around the world. But this is as untrue as claiming that smartphone factories don’t kill people.

Dharma courses, workshops, trainings, retreat centres all emerged as reinvestments of 1970s-onwards surplus value, the cream at the top of the globalization milk. They grew, like gentrification developments, as other supportive work was outsourced. Many of the first yoga urban studios in North America opened in spaces left vacant by urban manufacturing companies that outsourced their labour. So now we had folks wearing yoga pants imported from Bangladesh to stretch in rooms where the sewing machines, now in Bangladesh, used to hum.

Dharma leaders of the Nineties emerged parallel to the dotcom boom. Accelerating deindustrialization and technologization parented the gig economy, and us humanities folks began to find or create work in “wellness” by professionalizing their own internal journeys.

Those journeys gained social and capital value to the extent they appeared to “deepen”. Doing the next training seemed to give more license to make intrusive eye contact. But often ignored is the fact that the journey usually began from a basic state of privilege and okayness, which means it might have been running on a manufactured rather than existential anxiety.

Analyzing the cultic exhausts me. But its basic lessons in systemic thinking have given me the liberty to really consider the opiate manufactured by the yoga/meditation industries en masse.

When key aspects of the Shambhala project become indistinguishable from an intergenerational trauma pyramid, I’m no longer thinking in terms of:

If only those people had had access to ‘authentic’ teachings and ‘pure teachers’, their lives would have been better,

but:

What if neoliberalism hadn’t ordained yoga and Buddhism as its religious instruments, and made pseudo-professions out of teaching them? What if neoliberalism hadn’t conflated seeking with consuming, while ignoring the trauma in its wake? Why did seeking become a not only a thing, but a big thing, instead of staying put and repairing shit? How much deepening do we need when the surface of things is so broken?

I’m wondering now, at the starting line of what’s sure to be a long study: what would that slice of the Boomers who went to Pune or Mysore or Naropa or Oregon or Dharamsala have otherwise done?

How many of them relaxed their attachments and activism through meditation and self-work to eventually help degrade today’s resistance to fascism? I know a lot of people 10-30 years older than me who seem trapped in the radiant neuroticism of self-improvement. They continue with it to the extent they can monetize it. What else can they do? What other options do they have?

Make fun of hipsters and maker culture all you want, but if someone is out there learning to grow corn and knit sweaters, thank them.

I think of all those meditators and yoga people who went beyond the self-care of “This is something nice I do for 30 minutes every morning to help me self-regulate” to “I’m seeking enlightenment through 6 hours of practice a day”. What became of all that labour? I’ve spent over ten thousand hours in meditation, trance, and yoga. What if only 5% of that was materially useful — life-skills useful — and the rest was indoctrination?

When the dharma industry presents itself as more than offering help in self-regulation, how is it not parasitic? Shambhala International is quite obviously NOT “Making Enlightened Society Possible.” It is, however, Making a Pile of Money to Service Overextended Properties.

Nobody is born with the ideology that they must personally become enlightened, or that they should join a utopian movement, or that they should approach the problems of the world through obsessive self-work, while mostly ignoring the sleeping conditions of the migrant workers who harvest their vegan lunch. People have to be taught, implicitly, that their self work will raise the vibrations of migrant workers. It’s not their fault.

I was in two cults, but the cults existed within and because of neoliberal transnational flows. They lived and breathed on the cheapness of international air travel and easy credit cards. I believe this is the functional truth of Every. Single. Post-Sixties. Dharma. Cult.

It’s like the economy did this thing that freed only those people who benefited from not having to think about or account for how economies actually work.

Years ago I had an Iranian friend who expressed puzzlement at the ennui of her Canadian mates. Her family had escaped the revolution. Before the Shah was overthrown, she was out in the streets as a child handing out leaflets to help organize workers. In Toronto she hung out with artists and writers.

“You all blame yourselves,” she said, “for being marginally employed, poor and depressed. Why haven’t you read Marx?”

Stealth neoliberal ideology playing out in my own life has fostered a primary focus on psychological issues. I’ve spent an awful lot of time considering the trees of my childhood and my family constellation, to the neglect of the forest of my political reality and privilege. It’s not just Catholicism that gave me a guilt reflex driving me towards self-work, but an entire culture that told me I was solely responsible for my relationships and feelings. The whole culture taught me to centre myself, and while also investing me with the powers of gendered whiteness to make that centring almost impenetrable to other forms of analysis. I was stunted by that.

It’s so difficult for young people in this world to find meaning and structure. I didn’t just drop out of material reality because I met a partner and was recruited by a cult. I dropped out because I couldn’t see what value my labour would have in a world that was dematerializing before my eyes.

Increased digitization, AI, and automation will make all of this worse. This is why Jordan Peterson is both so attractive and so disastrously wrong. He thinks more self-focus is the answer. He thinks the social-material view is both irrelevant and poisonous. Of course all his followers will jump at the opportunity to have the narcissism their political culture has immersed them in from birth sanctified by a preacher who intones Jung. For someone so apparently square, he seems to have nothing to say about real things.

Do your practice, and a little bit is coming, maybe. Learn the basics, share them around. Ask for a reasonable amount of money when you do.

What’s really worth deepening in any substantial way isn’t your breath, flexibility, understanding of Sanskrit, or hours on the meditation cushion. What can deepen is a general awareness of modern global yoga’s unconscious spiritualization of neoliberalism. Then, we can desecrate that spiritual with all the things it wanted to tell us it could replace: accessibility training, trauma awareness, consent eduction, and anti-oppression work. How much deeper could you get?

http://matthewremski.com/wordpress/dont ... -practice/


Spiritualized Narcissism as Trauma Response: A Review of – and Meditation on – A Death on Diamond Mountain by Scott Carney
(This article first appeared in Yoga International.)

It begins with your family
but soon it comes ‘round to your soul
— Leonard Cohen

____

On April 22nd, 2012, Ian Thorson died in a cave in the Arizona desert.

The Cochise Country coroner ruled the cause of death as dysentery-induced dehydration. But members of the cult that effectively chased Thorson into the wilderness without the psychiatric help he needed still search for his cause of death in the garbled neo-Buddhist jargon of their leader, Michael Roach.

Due out tomorrow, journalist Scott Carney’s tangled probe into the tragedy points in a different direction: towards the dangers of spiritual striving. He begins A Death on Diamond Mountain with the question, “How much should someone strive to know their own soul?”

Full disclosure: I broke the news of Thorson’s death to the global media on May 4th with the first of three hasty, mostly accurate, and highly emotional polemics against the cult of Roach. I worked from local news reports, Roach’s deflective justification for the terrible decisions that drove Thorson to his cave, and my own vivid memories of the three years I spent in Roach’s community. So for me, reading through Carney’s book is like seeing old photos from novel angles in an album that I didn’t assemble, reading captions that stray from my own narrative just enough to make me doubt my recollections and illuminate the agendas that form them. This I know for sure: I’m too close to the story and too embroiled in how it has unfolded to have cleanly approached what Carney has succeeded with here.

I’m too close to it to simply review the book either, which is why I’m also calling this a “meditation” – although I’m sure it’ll carry a strong dose of “I would’ve done it this way, if I’d had the stomach for it.”

Carney and I have been in regular contact since he emailed me two days after I first published, and he cites my reporting in his book. I’ll admit that I’m biased in favour of his effort overall because I’m pleased that this cautionary tale has been given a sane treatment before the movie rights are optioned and someone lands Kevin Spacey to play Roach. But I have several reservations about Carney’s method – thick on historical digression, thin on psychology and direct sourcing, and at times overly credulous for subjects who spiritualize credulity – that I hope will make for a balanced account.

The hard facts of the Diamond Mountain tragedy are already as faded and threadbare as the Chinese-made Tibetan prayer flags fluttering over the empty retreat temple Roach built with his followers’ cash. But through dogged gumshoe work, Carney knits some flesh onto the skeletal outline he penned for Playboy a year ago.

He begins with a nuanced biographical sketch of Thorson, unearthing his high school mysticism, the hypergraphia that filled countless notebooks with poetry as wry as it was transcendent, the paradox of the intrepid world traveller who made it to Tibet but had to live with his mom when he returned, his hopeless idealizations of women and sex and India, and his strange eagerness, provoked by meeting Roach, to erase his body through radical fasting and his mind through compulsive meditation. Through the grief of Ian’s mother Kay, Carney is granted enough access to Thorson’s childhood home and his box of journals to tackle his lead question with gumption.

Unfortunately, Thorson’s disarmingly self-reflexive ephemera is as close as Carney or anyone will come to answering “How much should someone strive?” as it pertains to Roach’s inner circle, because none of the survivors are talking. Every principle in this momo[*] western – Christie McNally, the other four young women rumored to have had group sex with Roach during the first three-year retreat (funded by devotees convinced it was a celibate gig), Roach’s current assistant Mercedes Bahleda, the Diamond Mountain Board, and of course Roach himself – mostly refused to speak with Carney, or in some cases actively lied to him. Perhaps they have no choice psychologically, sunk-costs and cognitive dissonances being what they are. But many are also religiously obliged to their omertà, having taken pseudo-monastic vows against “idle talk” and “gossip”, and “harming the Sangha through negative speech.” The silence of a cult amplifies the drone of its leader’s voice.

Investigative journalism is only as good as its sources, and you can’t find out why someone starved to death in the shadow of their guru by reading their notebooks. You have to understand who was around them, the immediate culture they moved in, what they were transferring from their past onto the charismatic leader, and, perhaps, how they had been traumatized in ways they could never reveal, even to themselves. The Diamond Mountain faithful may confess such things to the ether of meditation, but spilling them to a journalist – or even a therapist – would necessitate returning to a world they’d fled long ago.

Any complete account of Thorson’s fate certainly must closely examine his primary influence, Michael Roach. But without wiretapping a psychoanalysis that will never happen, no-one will know anything more about Roach than what Roach loves to say about himself whenever a patron or dupe hands him a microphone. Carney’s entire backgrounder on the Diamond Mountain leader is a composite of Roach’s countless self-narrations. That Roach is a well-documented, shameless confabulator of everything from his work history to his Tibetan studies qualifications to his philanthropic achievements to his celibacy is no small problem for a reporter on the desert trail.

Remember Brian Williams and that helicopter story? Imagine a guy who does that exaggeration-humblebrag thing with every story he tells about himself. Imagine Brian Williams, balding but for a long oily comb-over fringe, with diamonds in his teeth, lying every single day about his history, wearing the robes of a monk while sleeping with women half his age. Granted: this Brian Williams has a smaller televised audience. But he’s also in charge of the spiritual care of jobless and needy twenty-somethings. So it’s too bad that Carney wound up reading off of Roach’s cue cards, but without an interview, there’s little more he can do. Wading through the Roach chapter is like reading the transcript of a smiley ideologue on the Tibetan FOX outlet, typed out by someone as frustrated as you are that you can’t quite hear the strange shit you know is going on backstage.

Here’s the passage in which Carney records the entirety of his single meeting with Roach:

When it was my turn I stood in front of his throne in the New Age church and introduced myself. I tried to phrase a question about how he was dealing with Thorson’s death. He began to talk. “It was a very sad event, but why are people not interested in my teaching? One person dies in the desert and suddenly everyone pays attention. People should be talking about all the good works that I’ve done instead.

Eighteen months of work. Two hundred forty six pages. One measly quote of thirty-nine words. Priceless? Readers may not need to hear any more than this to instinctually stay away from Roach’s racket, or any racket like it, but the gullible cultures of modern Buddhism and Yoga would benefit from a closer look into the pathologies that drive a transnational guru to give the most absurd, tin-eared, megalomaniac answer possible about the death of his student to an investigative journalist.

In this split world where the witnesses are quiet and the perps sing talking-point narcaoke (karaoke for narcissists, featuring songs about themselves), Carney’s path to the truth slants as steeply uphill as the rocky trail that led to Thorson’s grave. Digging deep to scuttle up, he still uncovers achingly suggestive details. In Thorson’s effects Carney finds certificates of completion for two rounds of the solipsistic Silva Mind Control courses, which Ian began at the age of eleven. (What kind of pain prompts a boy to disappear within, to visualize himself as the controlling centre of his universe?) Then there’s Michael Roach’s altar boy service and his ascendancy within the Boy Scout’s appropriation of Native American spirituality – the Order of the Arrow – all against the backdrop of his parents’ alcoholism and early divorce.

Carney also pokes in the shadows of Roach’s diamond fetish, with which he extended his physical and metaphysical empire – diamonds being symbolic of “emptiness” in some forms of Buddhism. It turns out that Roach made millions in Gujarat, well known for its blood diamonds, which means that he funded himself as well as projects along a wide spectrum of neo-Buddhist legitimacy with money made through economic slavery and war. Then Carney tracks down anonymous sources who suggest that Roach superimposed the portrait of his high-school girlfriend onto a photograph of a gilded sculpture of a Tibetan goddess for the cover of Preparing for Tantra, which he self-published, sharing the author credit with his main teacher, Khen Rinpoche, with whom he lived in Howell, New Jersey. (The girlfriend is still alive, and many people know her name and where she is, but she’s not talking either.)

We learn of how the Thorson family hired ex-Maharishi devotees who’d become cult deprogrammers when they realized after ten years of forking over cult-cash that they weren’t really learning to fly. The Thorsons paid them $35K for a year’s worth of trying to yank him out of Roach’s shadow. Despite good intentions, the family and deprogrammers only succeeded in further destabilizing Ian’s sense of autonomy and empowerment. Thorson fled to Germany, fathered a son he was in no condition to care for, and then glommed back onto Roach as soon as the guru breezed through Berlin with McNally on his arm. On a stupider note, we also learn of Bumble and Bumble hair magnate CEO Michael Gordon, Roach’s co-author on the now-hilariously titled Karmic Management: What Goes Around Comes Around in Your Business and Your Life, who’s currently out on $4M bail for tax fraud. Gordon probably should have stuck with doing Roach’s hair.

Then there’s this tender gem: Carney performs the great public service of recounting the exploits of Arizona native Theos Bernard (1908 – 1947). Theos was the better-behaved nephew of neo-Tantrik sex addict Pierre Bernard (1875 – 1955), aka Oom the Omnipotent (a name that evidently inspired several Muppet Show characters). An avid prospector of esoterica, Theos was the first American to travel in Tibet, as Carney describes,

…taking thousands of photographs and hundreds of feet of film with an early movie camera. He toured the Potala Palace and hired important lamas to perform elaborate ceremonies that he could record. When he returned to the West a year later, he appeared in public wearing the crimson robes and yellow hat of a Geluk monk. Despite his very brief stay in Lhasa, he declared to the Daily Mail, ‘I am the first White Lama – the first Westerner ever to live as a priest in a Tibetan Monastery, the first man from the outside world to be initiated into Buddhists’ mysteries hidden even from many native lamas themselves.’

He toured across America for the next ten years, claiming that the Dalai Lama recognized him as a reincarnation of the eight-century saint Padmasambhava, who is arguably the most important teacher in the entire religious history of Tibet.

Does this sound like the rap sheet of anyone we know? Douglas Veenhof – a long-term devotee of Roach – thinks so. (Or at least he did: he refused to talk to Carney for the book.) When Roach emerged from his first three-year love-in in 2003, he asked Veenhof to pen a biography of Bernard, which he faithfully completed in 2011. Carney’s note on Veenhof’s White Lama: The Life of Tantric Yogi Theos Bernard, Tibet’s Lost Emissary to the New World records that it “begins with a tribute to Geshe Michael Roach and extols Bernard’s mystical abilities and tantric teachings…. Multiple sources have suggested to me that Michael Roach may consider himself a reincarnation of Theos Bernard.” [Emphasis mine.] Bernard disappeared somewhere in the inferno of the India-Pakistan border in 1947, four years before Roach was born.

To recap: Roach asks student to compile the biography of his previous American incarnation – a well-intentioned exaggerator at best, a cynical charlatan at worst – who splashed money around Lhasa for a few weeks in the late 1930s and came home claiming to be a reincarnation of the patron saint of Tibet. Student shows a divine lack of critical thinking by taking Bernard’s self-reporting of his travels and attainments at face value. Student doesn’t pause to consider the incredible pathos of suggesting that his fake American lama might be the reincarnation of the original fake American lama. Book is presented to Roach and the community as an act of mutually-validating devotion. Tableau.



_____



Carney’s gold nuggets are hard-won, and they glimmer in the pan. But in the absence of the psychoanalytic rigour that might bring the real pressures of cult dynamics to light, he often lets them pass through the sieve. Casting around for a coherent narrative, he pulls on two historical threads that in some ways are more distractive than explanatory, and regrettably play into the mystifications of his subjects.

The first produces an account of the greatest hits of Tibetan Buddhism and its original European Theosophical distorters. Though replete with reductions that will provoke a flurry of scholarly facepalms, the chapter does a decent job of setting the stage for Roach’s Tibetification of the American dream, and is an entertaining way of filling out a page-count. But at two-thirds of the way through, I think Carney loses the plot with an entire chapter on the brutal encounters between the Chiricahua chief Cochise, his successor Geronimo and the U.S. Army on the desert washes that Roach’s group has settled.

Why the digression? Carney writes:

Stories of Geronimo and Cochise were never far from the lips of people at Diamond Mountain. At times it felt to them as if the new university was following in Indian footsteps and bringing spiritual existence back to the land of the vanquished Indians.

I suppose it’s good to know what the Mountaineers say about what they’re doing, but by devoting twelve pages to a history that does little but inflate the group’s self-importance, Carney tacitly endorses the geo-historical grandiosity essential to any cult. In cult-world, correlation is causation, maps are the territory, poetry is destiny, and intuition is fact – as long as it comes from the top. Everything is pregnant with meaning. The guru’s real estate fortunes in the austere land of his birth are unfolding with cosmic significance. There are saints and angels everywhere, but the Chinese have chased them from Tibet and the U.S. Army chased them from the desert. How fortunate that we have the opportunity to save both by appropriating two cultures for the price of one on land that our guru owns mortgage-free and is re-invigorating with his magical power!

Carney may be unaware of being distracted by this strange brew of motivated reasoning, culture-pimping and white guilt, but he’s totally transparent about being seduced by the occult world of his subjects. While on writing retreat to complete his first draft, he succumbs to paranoia and seeming hallucinations as he listens to hours of Roach’s droning lectures. He wonders if the project has attracted a curse from the nouveau White Lama. Desperate, Carney feels compelled to literally breathe out “the black mist of Roach’s influence” with an improvised meditation oddly resonant with several of the purification techniques taught by Roach himself.

Finally, a concerned Tibetophile he’s been interviewing offers to broker a protection puja for Carney from the Tibetan monastery that has now disowned Roach. Carney sheepishly agrees, and wires cash to pay “eighty monks to chant a protection spell in my name for a few hours.” He feels better when it’s done. So here we have a journalist shelling out to a monastery for a ritual that will protect him from the magical dangers of reporting on a phony cross-dressing monk who’s scandalizing that monastery’s name by claiming to teach under its authority.

I totally identify with writers who both genre-jam and immerse themselves so completely in their task that their objectivity is stretched to the breaking point. But Carney must know that Roach doesn’t have magical powers, because no-one does. The monks at Sera Me can’t protect him with mantras any more than they can resurrect Ian Thorson with Tibetan sculptures made of butter. The only magic at play here is the mystery of intergenerational trauma. So I hope this book provides a solid foundation for an extended study of the deep-seated psychological abuse that spins its ochre shame and crimson guilt into seductive religious costumery.



____



In the prologue, Carney describes how he was drawn to the events of Diamond Mountain by a haunting memory. Several years after I toured in Roach’s dysfunctional retinue through Kathmandu, Bihar, Karnataka, and Goa, Carney was working as an administrator for a college travel company that brought American students to Buddhist pilgrimage sites. On one terrible night, in the very same ashram where I’d once hung out with Thorson, one of Carney’s charges leapt from the roof and died on impact. Meditating on death, which is a standard beginner’s task in many Tibetan schools, had clearly provoked her mental health. Finding her, reading her journal, and then being in charge of bringing her embalmed and iced body back to her family stateside swerved Carney’s life path towards investigative journalism. He elided this undertaker-chaperone experience into researching his book on the black market for human organ trade. I imagine he’s been waiting a long time for a story that would help him make his student’s psychotic death meaningful.

Carney approaches Thorson’s story as most kind souls would, but perhaps with a layer of survivor’s guilt. In many passages he seems less like Columbo and more like a pilgrim, trying so hard to understand his subjects in their own terms that he buys their enlightenment narratives while hall-passing other motivations. Except for a small foray into cult-analysis literature in his account of the Thorsons’ failed attempt to deprogram Ian, Carney resists framing Roach’s group as a cult. The omission is at once generous anthropology and good marketing. Focusing on cult analysis will draw a voyeuristic eye, and it seems that Carney most wants this story to provoke readers towards a sober assessment of their own spiritual drives. But avoiding the C-word can affect a lack of skepticism as Carney recounts the goals of Roach and his group, but glosses over their spin.

The goals and spin of Diamond Mountaineers are undoubtedly cultish. They feature but are not limited to the following. They are trying to rejuvenate Tibetan Buddhism – apparently by FUBAR-ing it. They’re carrying on the teachings of the Dalai Lama – by grossing out the entire Tibetan hierarchy. They’re trying to build heaven on earth – by sponging cash off Chinese and Russian oligarchs. They’re creating a “feminist” model of Buddhism – by installing female teachers initiated by sex with the guru. They’re giving away the “technology” for having perfect relationships – by hawking the virgin/whore dialectic, gender essentialism, and sacralizing partner-swapping. They’re building an intellectual hub for Buddhism unseen since the days of Nalanda University – by running diploma-mill courses in magical thinking. They’re conjuring the ghosts of the Apache for a strength that will heal Arizona – by talking a lot about Indians. And of course they want to save the world – by building air-conditioned retreat huts in the desert for rich people.

It’s true that there are many Roach adherents who earnestly believe in the goals and can’t see through the spin, and perhaps more than a few who have arrived at Diamond Mountain with relatively intact psyches and a simple passion for adventure. It’s also true that some of Roach’s self-regard isn’t unwarranted: he has in fact spearheaded a laudable project to gather and scan Tibetan texts scattered during the fall of Lhasa, and he’s contributed generously to the struggling infrastructure of the Sera Me and Sera Je monasteries in Bylakuppe. But for the majority who orbit Roach’s inner circle, the explicit goals of the cult – from preserving Tibetan culture to gaining an angelic body – can also provide sanctimonious cover for the exercise of intense psychological entanglements that perhaps only recovered insiders and the psychologists who work with them can understand.

Citing Daniel Shaw’s Traumatic Narcissism: Relational Systems of Subjugation might have led Carney to a less forgiving portrayal of the psychic hamster wheel of the Mountaineers:

In cults… the stated, typically grandiose goals of the group are not met, because the group’s energies and resources are constantly directed toward the actual goal, which is always the self-aggrandizement of the leader and his organization through the subjugation and exploitation of his followers. This of course is precisely the same goal as that of the traumatizing narcissist. (Loc. 1428)

Shaw knows what he’s talking about. He’s a cult-survivor like I am, but way more hard core: he did ten years under the volatile thumb of “Gurumayi” Swami Chidvilasananda, the inheritor of Siddha Yoga from the Tantrik polymath and sex abuser Muktananda. Shaw’s humiliation was so deep it propelled him into a career as a psychotherapist. I’ll return to his cogent framework of “traumatic narcissism” and how it plays out generationally in families and social groups in a bit. For now, just imagine contrasting Carney’s approach with the yet-unwritten book of the insider-who’s-now-outside: the person who has felt such confusion, objectification, inadequacy and self-hatred in the shadow of incomprehensible demands that she brought herself right to the edge of that deadly ashram roof, but at the last minute, pulled herself back with some inner fortitude she didn’t know she had, which she would use to restore a self so viciously ravaged by a guru or ideology she considered it redeemable only through erasure or sacrifice.



_____



I can set all of my reservations aside to affirm that A Death on Diamond Mountain provides a solid introduction of the main themes and events leading up to Thorson’s demise. Anyone interested in how strangely creative and corrupt the appropriation of Tibetan Buddhism into American culture can be will find it a fascinating read. Anyone with an inkling that meditative practices can be as dangerous to one’s neuropsychology as they can be liberating will be grateful at how many doors Carney opens with this book. His references to Brown University researcher Willoughby Britton in his chapter on the emerging research into meditation-related mental illness are particularly prescient.

But to my eye, the fuller Diamond Mountain story isn’t about Tibetology, or the haunted Arizona desert, or sex rituals that could either be “spiritual” or abusive. It’s not about lost texts, the dangers of meditation, or the fantastical quest for enlightenment. It’s about what people do to each other when they’re trying to escape both the world and their past.

One of the assertions that Roach made in pretty much every one of lectures I attended from 1996 through 2000 was that no-one seriously came to the Buddhist path without having suffered some kind of horrible loss. He would say things like (I’m paraphrasing from a memory here I can’t shake):

Something terrible needs to happen to you to show you exactly what this world is. My mother died of cancer. Then my brother shot himself in the head. This lady [points to someone in the front row] watched her husband get run over by a car. I have a student in Manhattan whose newborn baby died in her arms. Nurses and doctors are the best students, if they haven’t gone numb, because hey know we’re living in a slaughterhouse. Possessions can’t help you, because you’ll lose them. Relationships can’t help you, because people leave you or die. Psychotherapy can’t help you, unless the therapist knows the way out of this world, but I haven’t met any therapists who do. You should be praying for a disaster to happen to you, because then you’ll finally get it! You’ll start studying Buddhism like there’s no tomorrow, because guess what? There is no tomorrow! All these people here [distinguishing the front row from those of us in the back] – they’re the lucky ones. They’ve had some tragedy, and they know they have nothing left to do in life but to figure out how to stop their suffering, and your suffering [waving to the back row]. They’ve got one purpose. They know there’s no turning back.

The argument carried hints of the more orthodox presentation – with which most Buddhist paths begin – of the necessity for sobering up to the facts of life and renouncing mundane consolations. But Roach cranked it to a fever pitch unseen in the more austere exegetes of the Tibetan, Theravadin, or Zen methods – weeping as he spoke, stoking the otherwise healthy existential despair of his listeners into a fire of dependency. The world was “insane”, humans were lost, and normal life was intolerable to anyone with a heart and brain. Luckily, there’s a solution, Roach would say, and if you come to my next lecture, buy my book – or if you’re really serious, follow me into the desert – I’ll tell you all about it.

Roach’s ultimate punch-line was about as distorting and abusive as one could imagine. According to his infantile misunderstanding of Buddhist philosophy, all of the suffering you have experienced – your mother dying, your divorce, the patient who flatlined on your table – is your own karmic fault, and yours alone. There’s no vulnerable physical body, no outside world, no other people, no diseases, no political power structures, no rape culture, no capitalism. Or if there are – those are your fault too. Reigning supreme over all horror is your own perverse mind, projecting the trash of your debauched behaviours into the future in an unending tape-loop of mayhem. Roach used a manipulative appeal to empathy and then convinced those who cried along with him to “drive all blame into yourself”, as his favourite verse from the Lo-jong teachings states.

I watched his following swell and finally overflow every temple and lecture hall we rented as he shed the same tears literally hundreds of times in those years. When the Dalai Lama’s office publicly castigated Roach for having the arrogance to stage a event in Dharamsala during His Holiness’ annual public teachings, the secretary showed more cultural savvy in his pinkie than Roach carries in his oversized noggin by slyly addressing the letter to “Reverend”, instead of “Geshe” – his disputed title. The Tibetans have his number as a bombastic sutra-thumper in old-timey, snake-oil-faith-healing American style.

But as far as I know, Tibetan Buddhist psychology doesn’t have the non-esoteric tools needed to deconstruct where Roach might be coming from, why people might follow his charisma while insisting to the very point of death that they are following the path of the Buddha.

I think the tools exist. Roach clearly markets to what a colleague of mine, inspired by Melanie Klein, describes as a “failure of ambivalence”, in which the baby cannot learn to accept that the mother both provides and withholds, and hence the world both gives life and takes it. Via neo-Tantric visualization, Roach commodifies the fantastical internal object relations that Ronald Fairbairn describes as substitutes for healthy experiences of intimacy with others. Roach amplifies in his followers the tortured self-blaming that Fairbairn describes as the “moral defence”, in which the child finds it less painful to consider himself bad than to acknowledge the world as chaotic, or blame his caregivers for their neglect or abuse.

Consider this morbid note from Thorson to a baffled friend:

I am responsible for lots and lots of evil. Every child murder I hear about on TV: I made them all. The perception of a bad thing can only come from the imprint made in the past of having done something bad.

These aren’t just Thorson’s words. They were on the lips of everyone in Roach’s circle, including myself for a short while, until I sensed something was really off. How did we get there, and who led us to such an impossibly grandiose and self-erasing precipice?

Through personal experience and extensive research, Daniel Shaw believes that those who readily internalize the moral defence are vulnerable to traumatizing narcissists who exhibit a four-point profile: 1. The wounds of “cumulative relational trauma throughout the developmental years, in the form of chronic shaming at the hands of parents and/or other significant caregivers who are severely narcissistically disturbed.” 2. “Delusional infallibility and entitlement” in which he is “obsessed with maintaining a rigid sense of omnipotent superiority”. 3. “Externalization of shame” in which “dependency and its accompanying shame [is] assigned to belong only to others, so as to protect himself from self-loathing.” 4. “Suppression of the subjectivity of the other”, in which the identity and agency of those who the traumatizing narcissist relies upon for self-validation must be erased in order to stabilize a safely vertical power relationship. (Loc. 1110-1142)

Shaw summarizes the impact of this profile in a passage exquisitely descriptive of the ultimate differences between Thorson’s and McNally’s response to Roach’s shadow:

The developing child [here we can substitute “student”] of the traumatizing narcissist takes one of two possible paths for survival in the face of being raised [by them]: 1. externalization of shameful dependency (the badness) through the subjugation of others; and 2. internalization of the badness the traumatizing narcissist parent [teacher] has projected. Number 1 becomes much like his traumatizer…. Number 2 becomes the post-traumatic, objectified, and self-objectifying person who repetitively finds himself in relationships in which he is subjugated by the other. (Loc. 1147)

McNally could be Number 1 here, dealing with her subjugation by rising up to mimic it. And Thorson could be Number 2, quivering to death in post-traumatic disarray.

Carney’s great gift with this book is to have assembled a functional outline for a sequel that could open with a far less mystical question than that with which he begins A Death on Diamond Mountain. Reaching beyond “How much should someone strive to know their own soul?”, the sequel might open with: “How far must we go to erase our trauma?”

It’s the first question I would ask about Ian Thorson, who began disappearing into spiritualized anorexia and dissociative meditation – and erupting in compensatory bouts of rage – from the day he met Roach. Why was he so eager to vanish? What in his early circumstances led him to devalue his own body, intentions, and desires with such hostility? I’m haunted by a scene Carney relates early in his book: after Ian’s death, his mother went through his journals and cut them to shreds, removing names and ideas that pained her grieving memory. What else cut away at his voice, his subjectivity? How much of the rest of his life did he spend in a penitential cave, exiled by force or his own necessity?

I would ask it about Roach, to understand how rewriting his history through a mashup of Tibetan mythology has helped him recover from a childhood with alcoholic parents. To understand why he needs to twist Tibetan philosophy so completely as to convince himself that he stands alone in a world that exists as a projection of his will. To understand what drives his need to accept or enforce the subjective erasure of those around them as vociferously as he preserves the texts of devastated Tibetan monasteries – as if digital files of ancient books could substitute for functional relationship. To understand the interaction between his dual drives towards erasure and appropriation and how they play out along a macro-political to interpersonal to intrapersonal spectrum. Roach appropriates and erases Tibetan and Apache culture. Roach appropriates and erases the human intellect, sexuality, speaking voice, and even name of Christie McNally, dubbing her “Vajrayogini”, “immortal”, and the “Angel of Diamond”. Not content with erasing her agency, demanding that they eat from the same plate, and keeping her on a 15-foot psychic leash, Roach appropriates her very body via Tantric fantasy, mimicking her gender and appearance. Carney didn’t secure an interview with McNally. None of the old crowd knows where she is. But would we recognize her if we did?

I’ll let Shaw have the last word on cult leaders. He seems much closer to the heart of the matter than Carney or I may ever get:

This narcissist in real life, a myth in his own mind, is so well defended against his developmental trauma, so skillful a disavower of the dependency and inadequacy that is so shameful to him, that he creates a delusional world in which he is a superior being in need of nothing he cannot provide for himself. To remain persuaded of his own perfection, he uses significant others whom he can subjugate. These spouses, siblings, children, or followers of the inflated narcissist strive anxiously to be what the narcissist wants them to be, for fear of being banished from his exalted presence. He is compelled to use those who depend on him to serve as hosts for his own disavowed and projected dependency, which for him signifies profound inadequacy and is laden with shame and humiliation. To the extent that he succeeds in keeping inadequacy and dependency external, he can sustain in his internal world his delusions of shame-free, self-sufficient superiority. (loc. 561)



____



On Carney’s second-last page, we read about Roach teaming up with Tony-Robbins-type Ming Feng Wu to teach businessmen in Hong Kong and Beijing how to get even richer by manipulating the laws of karma. I wonder if the translations of Carney’s book will be out in time for Roach’s next tour through China, which begins in April. If Carney is done for now, I wonder who will ferret out this next episode, in which Roach seems to perfect a loop of vicious irony by selling a fictional Tibet back to the same oligarchs who’ve plundered the actual Tibet. Will we discover that Roach is becoming, consciously or not, a de facto instrument of Chinese propaganda against the Dalai Lama, from whom he once claimed lineage?

But as far as Carney limits his scope here, I don’t think the Diamond Mountain story is about international intrigue, or the wanderlust of Gen-X and Y-ers in the Himalayas or the Arizona desert. I don’t think it’s about Ian Thorson, Christie McNally, or even Michael Roach. Nor is the story about Tibetan Buddhism in particular or religion in general. Unless we’re viewing that aspect of religion that functions as a sublimating conduit for intergenerational trauma – then we might be getting warm.

I think the story is really about cruelty – unintentional as the weather, and as close as the flesh – toileted from parents to children and teachers to students. Diamond Mountain provides a diorama of a primal scene: children needing love, attention, and support, adult survivors of abuse both denying and manipulating these needs out of blind revenge, and how the cycle repeats.

So it might just be about karma after all, but more material and intimate than Roach may ever understand. And more complex, as love and monstrosity become indistinguishable.

http://matthewremski.com/wordpress/spir ... tt-carney/
"If you support factions that get big money backing, you are probably not a 'revolutionary'."
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:10 pm

Powerful. I particularly noticed these quotes:

the paradox of the intrepid world traveller who made it to Tibet but had to live with his mom when he returned, his hopeless idealizations of women and sex and India, and his strange eagerness, provoked by meeting Roach, to erase his body through radical fasting and his mind through compulsive meditation.


Stories of Geronimo and Cochise were never far from the lips of people at Diamond Mountain. At times it felt to them as if the new university was following in Indian footsteps and bringing spiritual existence back to the land of the vanquished Indians.

I suppose it’s good to know what the Mountaineers say about what they’re doing, but by devoting twelve pages to a history that does little but inflate the group’s self-importance, Carney tacitly endorses the geo-historical grandiosity essential to any cult. In cult-world, correlation is causation, maps are the territory, poetry is destiny, and intuition is fact – as long as it comes from the top. Everything is pregnant with meaning. The guru’s real estate fortunes in the austere land of his birth are unfolding with cosmic significance. There are saints and angels everywhere, but the Chinese have chased them from Tibet and the U.S. Army chased them from the desert. How fortunate that we have the opportunity to save both by appropriating two cultures for the price of one on land that our guru owns mortgage-free and is re-invigorating with his magical power!


The goals and spin of Diamond Mountaineers are undoubtedly cultish. They feature but are not limited to the following. They are trying to rejuvenate Tibetan Buddhism – apparently by FUBAR-ing it. They’re carrying on the teachings of the Dalai Lama – by grossing out the entire Tibetan hierarchy. They’re trying to build heaven on earth – by sponging cash off Chinese and Russian oligarchs. They’re creating a “feminist” model of Buddhism – by installing female teachers initiated by sex with the guru. They’re giving away the “technology” for having perfect relationships – by hawking the virgin/whore dialectic, gender essentialism, and sacralizing partner-swapping. They’re building an intellectual hub for Buddhism unseen since the days of Nalanda University – by running diploma-mill courses in magical thinking. They’re conjuring the ghosts of the Apache for a strength that will heal Arizona – by talking a lot about Indians. And of course they want to save the world – by building air-conditioned retreat huts in the desert for rich people.


Consider this morbid note from Thorson to a baffled friend:

I am responsible for lots and lots of evil. Every child murder I hear about on TV: I made them all. The perception of a bad thing can only come from the imprint made in the past of having done something bad.

These aren’t just Thorson’s words. They were on the lips of everyone in Roach’s circle, including myself for a short while, until I sensed something was really off. How did we get there, and who led us to such an impossibly grandiose and self-erasing precipice?

Through personal experience and extensive research, Daniel Shaw believes that those who readily internalize the moral defence are vulnerable to traumatizing narcissists who exhibit a four-point profile: 1. The wounds of “cumulative relational trauma throughout the developmental years, in the form of chronic shaming at the hands of parents and/or other significant caregivers who are severely narcissistically disturbed.” 2. “Delusional infallibility and entitlement” in which he is “obsessed with maintaining a rigid sense of omnipotent superiority”. 3. “Externalization of shame” in which “dependency and its accompanying shame [is] assigned to belong only to others, so as to protect himself from self-loathing.” 4. “Suppression of the subjectivity of the other”, in which the identity and agency of those who the traumatizing narcissist relies upon for self-validation must be erased in order to stabilize a safely vertical power relationship. (Loc. 1110-1142)

Shaw summarizes the impact of this profile in a passage exquisitely descriptive of the ultimate differences between Thorson’s and McNally’s response to Roach’s shadow:

The developing child [here we can substitute “student”] of the traumatizing narcissist takes one of two possible paths for survival in the face of being raised [by them]: 1. externalization of shameful dependency (the badness) through the subjugation of others; and 2. internalization of the badness the traumatizing narcissist parent [teacher] has projected. Number 1 becomes much like his traumatizer…. Number 2 becomes the post-traumatic, objectified, and self-objectifying person who repetitively finds himself in relationships in which he is subjugated by the other. (Loc. 1147)


This narcissist in real life, a myth in his own mind, is so well defended against his developmental trauma, so skillful a disavower of the dependency and inadequacy that is so shameful to him, that he creates a delusional world in which he is a superior being in need of nothing he cannot provide for himself. To remain persuaded of his own perfection, he uses significant others whom he can subjugate. These spouses, siblings, children, or followers of the inflated narcissist strive anxiously to be what the narcissist wants them to be, for fear of being banished from his exalted presence. He is compelled to use those who depend on him to serve as hosts for his own disavowed and projected dependency, which for him signifies profound inadequacy and is laden with shame and humiliation. To the extent that he succeeds in keeping inadequacy and dependency external, he can sustain in his internal world his delusions of shame-free, self-sufficient superiority.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:47 am

The Queerness of It All: An Interview with Jeffrey Kripal

Then what kinds of extreme experiences interest you?

I just finished a book, called Changed in a Flash, with a woman in Houston named Elizabeth Krohn. In 1988, Elizabeth was attending the first anniversary of her grandfather’s death at her synagogue. She stepped out of the car with her two-year-old boy and was immediately struck by lightning. What followed was this incredibly elaborate near-death experience that completely changed her and convinced her that the soul is real and immortal. When she was healing from the lightning burns, she began to have all kinds of dreams of things like plane crashes and earthquakes that would then play out in the next day’s news. Those experiences did not fit into her particular religious tradition but led her to a series of beliefs and convictions that she simply wasn’t aware of earlier. She did not think them. They were given to her.

So she had precognitive dreams about things that later happened?

Yes. They showed up on the next day’s news. Eventually, she learned to send herself time-stamped emails immediately after the nightmare so that she had some proof that she actually dreamed it. She was trying to convince herself she was not going crazy, which is all our public culture can do with these things. Here’s my point. If you keep hearing stories from people like Elizabeth, they get weirder and then weirder. They never make sense. That was the case with Elizabeth. I could tell you many other stories — stories of reading minds, of a haunted necklace, of a plant that dies when its owner dies, and so on.

These kinds of paranormal experiences are not usually considered part of religion. We put them in an entirely different category.

And that’s a mistake. The word “paranormal” was coined in 1903 by a French scientist as an attempt to secularize and make “natural” experiences that had always had a religious framework. These experiences happen every day to thousands of people. They’re as common as water. But we live in a culture that suppresses them, in various explicit and implicit ways, so people don’t talk about them. Elizabeth waited 30 years to come out of her closet to talk about these experiences because she was afraid of what her social peers would think. And she was afraid her children would be made fun of at school, so she waited till they were grown up. She simply doesn’t care anymore. She’s ready to tell her story.

When I think of religion, it’s usually about God or sacred scriptures. That’s not what you’re talking about.

No, God and scripture are later developments that come out of these experiences and then get remembered in a community and turned into ideas, beliefs, and texts. For example, if you had a hundred people like Elizabeth who had similar kinds of near-death experiences, you would have stories floating around in the community about how the soul survives bodily death and can know the future. Then you would develop beliefs in the existence of the soul, prophecy, and divination. Of course, that’s exactly what you see in the history of religions. My position is that these beliefs are not crazy, superstitious things that silly people make up. They are the direct outcome of actual experiences. It doesn’t mean the experiences are metaphysically or ontologically true. I don’t think I can determine that as a scholar of religion.

Does this idea of religion go all the way back to your childhood?

Yeah, it does. I grew up in Nebraska in a farming community. I wasn’t particularly religious as a boy, but I grew up Roman Catholic, sort of assuming a lot of things like this. When I hit puberty, I became super pious and ended up in a monastic seminary wanting to be a monk.

How long did you stay in the seminary?

Four years. At the end of the day, my monastic mentors thought — and I agreed with them — that I didn’t actually have a religious vocation. I had an intellectual vocation, and I needed to go to graduate school, not enter the monastery. So that’s what I did.

You’ve written that most of the other men in the seminary were gay and you weren’t.

It was definitely a gay community. Most of the seminarians were closeted young gay men, good men who had turned to the priesthood as a way of creatively sublimating their sexuality into some kind of productive spiritual life. I was highly repressed and wildly neurotic, but I was ultimately straight. I just didn’t fit in.

Was that just a weird quirk of this particular seminary? Or does it reflect something deeper about the nature of religion?

The argument I make in Secret Body is that this kind of sublimated male homoeroticism is orthodox in the history of Christianity because God is always male. And if you are going to be in love with God or marry Jesus — to use the traditional Catholic language — a male homoerotic orientation works very well. If you happen to be a straight man, it makes no sense. It’s an impossible emotional and spiritual orientation to think yourself into.

Why is homoeroticism part of the foundation of Christian history?

I’m not sure I would make that kind of sweeping claim. I would say that Roman Catholicism is an institution controlled by males who are celibate. Many of them are living in all-male or same-sex communities and are promoting the love and worship of a kind of alpha male in the sky — God or Jesus. They’re not worshiping a woman. They’re eating the body and drinking the blood of a divine male. So that privileges or selects for men who have what we today would call “gay genders” or “gay spiritualities.” None of this implies a moral judgment. Quite the contrary, I think gay men are often more spiritually gifted than straight men. I didn’t leave the seminary because I was angry or had experienced anything negative. I left because I didn’t have what it takes. I was not so spiritually-sexually gifted.

What does that say about the life of Jesus? Are you saying there’s something homoerotic in his story?

Yes. Neither Jesus nor Paul was married. Jesus had a beloved disciple who was another man. Paul wanted all his followers, both male and female, to be virgins and marry Christ, which is a very queer, homoerotic notion for men — a kind of spiritual gay marriage. I think the origins of Christianity lie in this kind of sexual spiritual orientation that could not fit into the heterosexual structures of first-century Jewish society. This is one of the things that made it all so radical, so revolutionary.

Are you suggesting that Jesus was gay?

That’s an anachronistic question. The safest thing to say is that he was anything but straight. He was certainly preaching against the heterosexual family and essentially asked his disciples to leave their families. And he asked his closest disciples to castrate themselves for the kingdom of heaven. That’s what the famous passage in Matthew says, though of course, it’s almost never read or preached on, mostly because people don’t know what to do with it or simply they don’t want to deal with it.

You went on to graduate school. Why did you end up studying Asian mystical traditions?

I became convinced that there were no heterosexual mystical models in Catholicism or Christianity. There was nowhere in my birth tradition for a straight man to be erotically related to divinity. And Hinduism in particular fascinated me because there were all these female deities with whom human males erotically or spiritually unite. So I was really interested in Hinduism because it seemed to offer heterosexual mystical traditions for straight men.


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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:49 pm

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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:28 pm

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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:36 pm

DELEUZE & DRUGS: AGAINST THE MARGINALS’ CONFORMISM

Image

The immanent molecular and perceptive causality of desire fails in the drug-assemblage. Drug addicts continually fall back into what they wanted to escape: a segmentarity all the more rigid for being marginal, a territorialization all the more artificial for being based on chemical substances, hallucinatory forms, and phantasy subjectifications. Drug addicts may be considered as precursors or experimenters who tirelessly blaze new paths of life, but their cautiousness lacks the foundation for caution. So they either join the legion of false heroes who follow the conformist path of a little death and a long fatigue. Or, what is worse, all they will have done is make an attempt only nonusers or former users can resume and benefit from, secondarily rectifying the always aborted plane of drugs, discovering through drugs what drugs lack for the construction of a plane of consistency. Is the mistake drug users make always to start over…

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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:28 pm

Trigger Warning

THE PSYCHIC DRIVER

“Dr Ewen Cameron was one of the world’s leading psychiatrists. He’d taken part in the Nuremberg Trials and wrote several books about Germany. But it was fascination with Nazi mind-control programs that led him down a murky path which ultimately ruined his career. His work on mentally ill patients at the Allan Institute in Montreal involved what he called de-patterning—emptying the mind and then reprogramming it. Patients were put into induced comas, under the influence of drugs like LSD and many were given massive doses of electric shock therapy. Cameron employed his technique of psychic driving, implanting positive thoughts by playing edited taped messages to the comatose patients incessantly for weeks. His assistant Leonard Rubenstein designed many contraptions including headphones fitted to football helmets, the body movement transducer and the Radio Telemetry Laboratory. Their experiments were discovered by the CIA who then funded their research as part of the infamous MK Ultra program. Nearly all of the patients suffered debilitating side-effects and some never fully recovered. Although the CIA and the Canadian Government never admitted any wrongdoing, hundreds of victims pursued claims for compensation.”


Listen: https://syntheticzero.net/2016/09/19/th ... ic-driver/
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:43 pm

PSYCHEDELICS AS GATEWAY DRUGS TO BUDDHISM
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Image

for myself psychedelics were just a lived experience of the ways in which our straight consciousnesses are to a large degree chemical compositions, and having seen first hand that there was no way up/out and no depth dimensions to go deeper in certainly was related to my trying to learn instead to cope with by sitting with/in.


https://syntheticzero.net/2016/08/21/ps ... -buddhism/
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:51 pm

Letters from Gordon Todd Skinner to Krystle Cole from jail. Take with as many grains of salt as you like...


Cole - Lysergic, 2nd Edition.pdf - The-Eye.eu!

Pages 175- 179

June 23, 2004
Dear Krystle,
I received you letter dated 6-14-04, the wording in some places did not sound like
you. Answers to some of the questions:
1) Hypothetically, why would a member of the Brotherhood be involved in the
production of LSD?

It is a great honor to help form the sacraments. It is a blessed position and a
sacred duty. Only a few in over 40 years were so honored.
Some did it for the money too.

2) If you could give the “up and coming” one piece of advice what would it be? (this
question does not sound like you)
I have no advice to give anyone.
3) NO COMMENT NOW
4) Was it all worth it?

Yes
5) Would you do it all again?
Yes
6) Describe what your position is.
Someone who partakes of the sacraments and who tries to show others a path of
sacraments. In the Alphabet soup’s eyes? Crazy, nut.
7) When did you first cooperate with the Alphabet Soup?
DEA – 1989
FBI – 1985
US Customs – 1989
IRS – 1984
8) Why “L” was turned in.
Because of murder the sacraments were tainted. I could feel a major quake
coming. And it was, I was only two weeks ahead of the curve. Money was ruling
everything.
The car accident with you started a check in to how much I was able to do. I was
interviewed by peers in CA. I was told to retire. “L” had nothing to do with the
interviews. These were older powers.
Big Sur operation was hit hard by none other that Karl [DEA agent] – between
Dec ember of 1999 and March of 2000.
Tim’s suicide added pressure.
Secret Service bust added pressure. [Todd was busted for impersonating a federal
officer at a casino]
Natasha got busted with cash at KC airport.
Tim’s father showed up to lab, almost got it.
Others now knew because of emergency lab move.
“L” and “C” did not show up on time to emergency lab move.
Lab was at Wamego when you and Ryan were tracked to missile base, Wamego.
Story on street in KC was lab for MDMA at Wamego missile base.
Too many people knew.
“C” and “L” blew a large batch and shipped it anyway. Shit hit the fan for that.
You were in trouble with DEA – I could not calculate how far the damage went.
K.I. examined “L” and told me that “L” would try to move first on anything. K.I.
did not know what was going on, only that there were problems.
Gunner triggered Guilder [Dutch currency] IRS problem at Wamego bank.
Gunner warned that you knew a lab was somewhere in Kansas, but that you
thought it was MDMA.
MDMA network was on fire in California.
I did not turn “L” in. I went for immunity and agreed to shut big ops down for
such immunity.
Bank started investigations in money movement in California.
Major bust in LSD network in 1999 – Northern, Ca.
E.T. [precursor to LSD] man gets violent with “L” and downstream.
Alfred went off the deep end 1999, threatened to kill “L” for real. Wanted to burn
down the lab.
Ganga got served with subpoena from Customs over UDV. Before the grand jury
spills the beans on swimming pool project.
Andrew U. goes to DOJ about me. 1999-2000.
Lanny W. turns me in to DEA for DMT and other items, 1997-98.
Ganga was causing problems with Sasha and me… Joel and Ganga pitched a case
to Sasha about my old close ties to Feds backfiring on me. Ganga turned me in to
Comptroller of Currency two days before you and I flew in private plane to
Topeka for federal court [Todd’s impersonating a federal officer at a casino case].
Brown glass vial full of LSD busted in Big Sur, Mel problem.
“L” begins to worry about Mel and how far he got into Friday night dinner of
Sasha. “L” starts intelligence op into Mel. Karl [DEA] busted Mel for MDMA.
MDMA lab in San Diego burned to ground is story on street.
Miles of Santa Fe gets jail sentence suspended – Miles drove Kilo’s of LSD to
drop off spot. Miles knew me well. Miles lies to “L” and I.
Secret Service investigation into me increases as I agree on deal. Did not stop till
Jan. 2003, case open even after I was immunized???
Sita says people at club start asking about “L”.
$150,000 is missing in UPS/Fed ex shipment. “L” gets worried.
“L” gets turned into Cal. Bureau of Narcotics for cash payment to [couldn’t
understand word – looks like WCS??] site person.
Houston LSD bust – people mention Bruce’s name – “L” and Al freak out.
E.T. man gets plastic surgery because he is getting ready to flee.
We think sealed indictment of E.T. man “James” is getting ready to come out.
Diazadine [LSD analog] fails to be do-able big stress lines. “Frank” (foxy)
bombs.
DMT scarce. Brotherhood defaults on promise to deliver free DMT in New
Mexico late 1999 – shit hits fan – I make up default and ship 10 oz. far short of 2
kilos promised… “L” and “C” get into big fight over DMT.
C.G. finds out about extent of swimming pool project…
“L” starts a major power move.
I come across Snow Man document in Black Bag operation. (I am code named
Snow Man)
Dutch Guilder falls 20% between November 1999- May 2000. Brotherhood takes
a big, big loss.
Stephen (Ice Man) charges 40% for currency float on one deal.
Ice Man loses 1.169 million of “L” retirement fund in a few days in Russian bond
market. J. H. lies to “L” and I about that.
Problems with W. P. step-child of Sasha.
Hefter group distances itself from “L” and Sasha – leaving me only one in good
graces.
D. N. gets into some hot water at Purdue lab.
Gunner looks like he might roll in July – over stressed.
Lupe and Gunner blasted hard in move of lab. I did not know the extent of the
Lupe problem until trial – when it was disclosed…
Side note: DEA As of trial refuses to disclose Operation Polar info [Canadian
LSD/MDMA investigation]

…I am worried about your question #9 (origin of the silver) – I cannot tell you
how concerned I am about some of these questions… It sounds like you have bounced
into 3rd or 4th level down. Be very careful, government is on the war path these days.
You are a special incarnation; you must take great care… Please center yourself and
make master plan with logic branches. If you get into trouble it will blow long term
progress…
I have not heard from “L” send his address please… My intuition tells me to be
on alert right now – something is afoot in the system – take good care of yourself – get
your knee better.
Side note: Count letters of God-Goddess names and go dextrorotatory a 7 is a 1.
I am forever yours, for all time. My very best friend. I send light and neverending
love. Smiles – favorite person. Love, Todd.


Page 181

June 26, 2004
Dear Krystle,
Hello pumpkins, here are some of your answers. Question #3: Describe your
view of the spiritual universal.”
I want to write over a number of letters on this one. I have spent a lot of time on this one
and have a lot to say. I wish to write on this when I am at Fed’s because I will have
dictionary, word processor, and such – plus desk and table. I will send out some ideas
now.
The spiritual universe is the reason or art of being and includes all of life’s aspects. You
can reword anything I write. There is a oneness aspect of spirituality – but there are nononeness
aspects to spirituality. When one takes a sacrament one may go to the God-head
and see forever and know all answers. The brain is in a way the 3.5 # universe. When
the brain is bootstrapped up and energy levels rise, pathways are opened up. Sacraments
are technology in a fashion. Different sacraments give different paths on spirituality. For
example Lysergamides (in me) enhance reality, amplifies the instant and can bring all of
my mind to one central focus. Most people on LSD (and family) become scattered – I (in
my monomaniacal way) become even more focused – I should say it took a lot of practice
to control all the extra-firing. My mind tracks these experiences closer and better than
“normal” waking life. In last fifteen years I ascend and descend with great ease. Plus the
pea is very easy on me. I have not had a “bad” Lyserg experience in years (probably
never.) I have had a bad 2CB time. Vision becomes sharper and reality has more texture.
Meaning is more apparent, truth more evident. Although you claim I am into a form of
Manichaeism – I am not dogmatic about it – philosophical or spiritual dualism is only
one of many possible views…
You need to start to make plans to leave Topeka, Ks. – I am sure of this. You
should stay no longer than 9-15-04 (please start prep now). Next spot do not place to
deep of roots. Zona, Bay area, San Diego Area, and like-minded spots are good. Stay
away from Seattle or Washington State – do not even visit. Some how Oregon Narc Task
Force has us on radar, I am confused with that one. Arizona you have to figure yourself.
Watch Karl if you go to the bay area. His new office for last year is in San Fran. and he
has moved up the ladder. When I was in Lovelock I had Chi call his phone # and he had
a new 415#. Plus San Fran. article said he won an award and had a new position. Karl
follows habits of people – he knows most of our standard habits – which gives him the
opportunity to slip in a random person. I have heard him instruct people how to get into a
system. It is how he got into Mel – and then Friday night dinners (Sasha). DO NOT
TRUST Sasha’s system… The half-moon system is government op – has been for years.
I believe Al is protected by the Northern Cal. DEA… Young people 18-28 roll faster – if
not well trained. “L” did a study from DEA microdot pub. and found if a person does not
roll in the first 15 minutes, they usually last six months. After that they crack…


http://the-eye.eu/public/Psychedelics/P ... dition.pdf
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