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Fellowship Of Friends/Living Presence/Pathway To Presence Discussion – Page 121 June 4, 2012

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Welcome to the newest page of the Fellowship of Friends/Pathway To Presence Discussion.

At the Moderator’s discretion, excessive abuse, personal attacks, taking up too much space, as well as deliberate attempts to unmask people taking part in the discussion will result in a warning followed by a ban or a leave of absence from the discussion.

Participants require 1 moderated comment before they can start communicating in real-time. (ie. if you are new to the discussion, your comment will appear about 1 day after it has been posted, any subsequent comments will appear instantaneously).

To visit the official site of The  Fellowship Of Friends;

http://www.livingpresence.com/

Comments

1. sallymcnally - June 4, 2012

In my experience what self observation does is balance the right and left brain to create more harmony within. This has been my passion for a long time to create harmony within myself and I had to leave the Fellowship years ago when it became apparent to me that it was not possible to do this in a dysfunctional environment with a dysfunctional teacher. The toxicity of the climate can only create more of the same. ‘He walks his talk’? Something to contemplate perhaps.

Self observation is done by me. I learn through doing it. I don’t learn by observing and listening to someone who is teaching people to not love themselves, to love and honor him. He does not love himself therefore he cannot love others.

Many people in the Fellowship know this. No matter how hard it is to leave it’s healthier than staying. And it helps to have some kind of faith that we do have a purpose and it’s not to keep staying in unhealthy relationships and toxic environments which only keep us held down and inauthentic to ourselves and others.

2. Tim Campion - June 4, 2012

In an earlier post, I overlooked perhaps the primary site in Asaf Braverman’s “Ancient Wisdom” collective, Ark in Time (which may or may not be the title of his forthcoming, and much anticipated, book.)(Thanks, Ames.)

So, a more complete listing of Mr. Braverman’s sites follows:

Ark in Time
Mysticism
As Above So Below
Know Thyself
Ouspensky
Gurdjieff
Road Less Traveled
Apollo Camelot

As you can see, for anyone interested in “Boarding an Ark in Time,” there are many gangways (and even additional portals via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media.)

Bon voyage!

(And, yes Tempus, I’m being sarcastic.)

3. nigel - June 4, 2012

192. I’m outta here.

It took some time for your post to register…..something to do with your stating that all Haven does is go ‘ya-da, ya-da, ya-da etc’ and Ben Yudin pretty much the same…..

All that seems to have happened is that these ‘creeps’ have immersed themselves in the FOF ‘crap-talk’ and NO BEING…..

Yes, I mean, these idiots are keeping the ‘FOF slaves’ in the ‘cult-trap’ by spouting forth stuff that means nothing except – “the soul has to be pursued by being present in our little (1,500 strong) group”…..

And they do nothing for themselves or others of import…..

They are NOTHINGS issuing forth to those who become NOTHING by listening to them…..Nigel.

4. Tempus Fugit - June 4, 2012

INDEX TO THE BLOG

Animam Recro – Fellowship of Friends – a cult for intellectuals, and Fellowship of Friends Discussion
Part 1 through Part 10

http://animamrecro.wordpress.com/2006/04/16/fellowship-of-friends-a-cult-for-intellectuals/

The Fellowship of Friends Discussion – Free speech is a dirty business
Part 11 through Part 33

http://fellowshipoffriends.wordpress.com/

Fellowship Of Friends/Living Presence/Pathway To Presence Discussion
Part 34 through Part 121 (current page)

https://fofdiscussion.wordpress.com/

These links will allow you to access every page of this blog from its beginning in 2006.

Read with an open mind and you will find out the truth about Robert Burton and the Fellowship of Friends.

And if you are a member of the FOF you may find your path to freedom.

5. Golden Veil - June 5, 2012

2. Tim Campion

Re: Asaf Braverman’s prolific mystical musings…

Well, with all this proselytizing regarding Arks, Know Thyself (yeah!), etc. he indeed must be the “heir apparent” of Robert Earl Burton. Perhaps he is safe, though, from The Teacher’s other passion…

6. Wondering Who’s Watching - June 5, 2012

This could be true:

Does Asaf Braverman own up to the fact (on his many web sites) that he was married to two women at the same time and was forced to leave America (or possibly refused reentry into America) because of this questionable act? (No, it was not a mistake.) Who knows what else lurks behind the curtains of the wizard?

You see, in Fellowship of Friends (FoF) / Pathway to Presence / Living Presence / BeingPresent.org / Church of Robert Earl Burton (REB), you could be compelled to deceive your self, and all/any others, in order to achieve the aim of satisfying your teacher, REB.

You could be expected to perform criminal acts, and by doing so show your loyalty to REB and earn his respect – among other things, like: green cards, favorable immigration treatment, declaration and assignment as a minister in the church, expense account, salary position, lavish lifestyle, and, yes, marriages of convenience – not to mention love affair and sex with REB. That may also put you in a compromised position as far as your ability to act freely and from your conscience sometime in the future. So, unlike Miles, who acted from conscience and left FoF/REB (for good reason), this heir-apparent was captured by REB and turned into an indentured servant.

You see, as example, you could ask whether the people in the financial community that brought us this near nightmare economy, broke any laws, or are/will be presecutable, etc. But, the real question is: ‘Should I be doing this action just because I am forced to or that many others around me are doing it?’ Or, simply ask: ‘Is this right action?’

7. nigel - June 5, 2012

Going lateral in the ‘flow of this page’, but remarking on what is so wrong in the FOF cult – from the “Rodney Collin – Tilt Your Head” site…..Nigel.

“This is from the writer Rodney Collin: ‘Sexual energy is the finest energy normally produced and conducted through the human body. This means that it is also the most volatile, the most difficult to store or keep under control.’

To me this also means that sex plays a big part in our sense of who we are. This is so because our feeling of identity is largely dictated to us, not by our daily, commonplace moments, but by our most intense experiences. Intense experiences, sexual or otherwise, push us into ourselves in a way that other, more humdrum experiences cannot. They force us to think and feel at a level that either exhilarates or, in some cases, frightens us.

And since the energy from sex is just that, energy, it has a tendency to animate our movements, our thoughts, and our feelings. A man and a woman who are flirting will stand and move in a particular way, and they will speak in a way that they feel is attractive—whether it is or not. They want to emanate sex energy. They want to be sexy.

The energy from sex can also be used for activities that have nothing to do with sex. It can be used, for instance, to write a song or a poem, to excel in sports, to sell a car, to debate a political theory, or to preach a religious point of view.

Again problems arise because of the intensity. Sex energy may be attractive, but it doesn’t automatically bring with it other qualities, like a balanced judgment, or an ability to listen impartially to others, or a capacity for love and affection. As we all know, believing in something passionately doesn’t make it right. Judicial choices are not often made in the heat of passion. But at the same time, inspired choices need passion. The difficulty is bringing all our faculties—our passion, our best thoughts, and our most generous emotions—to bear on our problems and relationships.

Here’s Rodney Collin again, ‘Nothing negative, either in thought or emotion, should be allowed to touch it (sex).’ If, for instance, a man associates competiveness or violence with sex—as is so often depicted in certain kinds of popular movies—it is inevitable that these feelings of violence will spill over into other parts of his life. In same way if a woman associates the feeling of being a victim with sex, it is equally unavoidable that these feelings will affect her work relationships, her friendships, and her self image.”

8. nigel - June 5, 2012

6. Wonder Who’s Watching

…..because of your reference to Miles Barth, I delved into the archives to find this (part of his) leaving letter from 1985…..Nigel.

“Though I view RB now as a truly evil person, and his group as a pathetic caricature of a “school”, my real interest has focused on the characteristics in both my personality and in human nature in general that were responsible for my remaining in FOF as long as I did.”

“Though I learned much while in FOF, and much more by leaving it, it has been very hard to acknowledge that I was a fool to remain with it for as long as I did, and that I had to remain because I was a fool. RB did not fool me; he fooled himself, and I fooled myself. He exploited our weaknesses because we were there with them, and he could not do otherwise because of his own twisted belief system.”

“I do not judge him now for being homosexual, since I believe that we do not have conscious choice as to our sexual orientation; I judge him evil for the callous abuse of his power over people and his distortion of the 4th Way to serve his selfish purposes. I see my responsibility now as being to understand why I was so susceptible to accepting his distortions, even with reservations. This aspect of the journey has been much more shocking and disconcerting than anything I learned while a member. Anyway, the point of the paragraph, and really of this letter as a whole, is that for me the acknowledgment of my own foolishness was the necessary first step in growing beyond it.”

(to the Sheik, who was moderating the blog at the time) “I admire your effort to communicate some of your personal truth about RB to members of FOF. I have occasionally contemplated doing something similar, but for various reasons have not. Don’t be surprised if none of them reply; it is still not a wasted effort, because it may help to plant the seeds of doubt in whatever remaining critical faculty a few of them might have. But we can only hear what we are strong enough to bear responsibility for; the rest may as well be in Sanskrit.”

(Interestingly enough, with regard to my post 7, I had reason to ask Miles how I could come to terms with not having many sexual relationships before entering and, indeed, while in the FOF. His answer was that, as I grew older [I am now 55 years old] I would not find that realization so important…..as the Desiderata states…..”Take wisely the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth”. My view is that, if we were meant to be in relationships, it would be our destiny – funnily enough, this probably refers to the [strange?] relationships that occured/occur close to the heart of the cult or even with REB…..Nigel.)

9. nigel - June 5, 2012

…..from the Rick Ross site – “Trouble Taints a Cerebral Sanctuary” (Thanks, Tempus Fugit, for posting the ‘research’ sites…..Nigel)

Apollo is the worldwide headquarters of the Fellowship of Friends, whose 2,000 cerebral members believe that keen self-awareness, a positive outlook and immersion in life’s finest things–from Baccarat crystal to Johann Sebastian Bach–offer a path to higher consciousness.

They have been led on this journey for 25 years by Robert Earl Burton, a former schoolteacher who has guided everything from when his followers bear children to what sort of shoes they wear. Burton tells members he speaks with 44 angels who watch over his flock–among them Abraham Lincoln, Plato and Jesus Christ–believers say. Burton also has predicted that Apollo will be the lone surviving outpost after a global nuclear holocaust in 2006.

Disillusioned former members say the fellowship is more than just another California curiosity. A growing number of them–as well as some academics–call it a cult that entraps its mostly well-educated members with a false promise of spiritual evolution. A recently ended lawsuit and accounts from ex-members echo that claim and add another: Burton, they say, has for years seduced young males in the group.

The suit and similar allegations by other members have spurred dozens to leave the group. It was brought by a Marin County man who claims Burton first demanded sex from him at age 17. Troy Buzbee, who had asked for $5 million in damages, charged that Burton brainwashes members into a state of “absolute submission,” allowing him to feed a “voracious appetite for sexual perversion.”

Fellowship officials and their attorney, Abraham Goldman, did not respond to repeated requests for interviews about the group and Burton. The Buzbee suit was settled late last month. Buzbee’s attorney, Ford Greene, would not comment except to say the case “is over.”

Several former members, including some who held high-level positions, said the details in the suit served to confirm for them what a number of followers had come to suspect about the 57-year-old Burton. “For years I ignored or justified a lot of things, but this I could not ignore,” said Pamella Cavanna, 54, who left the fellowship last year after devoting two decades and more than $250,000 to Burton and his teachings. “A teacher should have moral standards that we aspire to. Instead, Robert has standards we are forced to overlook.”

10. Ames Gilbert - June 5, 2012

“For years I ignored or justified a lot of things, but this I could not ignore,” said Pamella Cavanna, 54, who left the fellowship last year after devoting two decades and more than $250,000 to Burton and his teachings. “A teacher should have moral standards that we aspire to. Instead, Robert has standards we are forced to overlook.”

This is the same Pamella Cavanna who later ‘changed her mind’. Her husband never left, and she rejoined the Fellowship of Friends a few years later, and is a member to this day. I remember a conversation with her after she left, about Burton and his misogyny, the very much second–class status of women in Burton’s fantasy world, his claim that “women cannot become conscious in this lifetime”, his inability to understand the Feminine Principle.
Since then, she has fully supported Burton, his misdeeds and his lack of standards for another decade or more, and given him further hundreds of thousands of dollars to indulge his weaknesses . . .
Sigh!

11. Ames Gilbert - June 5, 2012

Further to the mysticisma.com site run by Benjamin Yudin, who, since 1979, “has been a member of the Fellowship of Friends where he received his training in keying the esoteric interpretations to sacred literature, legends, and myths.”

Ah yes, the good old science of “Keying”, co–invented by Burton and Asaf Braverman and supported by the research of dozens of followers, mining the ancient wisdom over the last 150, 000 years.

To complete this particular circle jerk, the site has attracted the following splat of turgid sycophancy:
“I have just re-read your entire website and its essays in one sitting. It is a brilliant and understandable piece of work for someone with a developed magnetic center, as well as, one already on their way.
It is my opinion that the FOF, with its aim to attracked (sic) new members, might want to consider directing prospective students to your website.
It is also my opinion that a new student primer could be composed from your website and taught for a period of a couple of months.
With much graditude,
Bruce.”

The same Bruce Fein who is, by strange coincidence, a present member of the Fellowship of Friends. Pass the oil and wank the person to your left.

I don’t think Bruce goes far enough. I think Benjamin Yudin, guided by “future conscious being” Asaf Braverman, could easily extend the contents of the website into a two-year course. And $50,000 a year would be a fair price; after all, “payment is a principle”, and deep esoteric knowledge on this scale is practically priceless.

12. Tempus Fugit - June 5, 2012

From the “Backstage” section of Braverman’s website on Gurdjieff:
http://ggurdjieff.com/backstage/

“I encountered the Fourth Way in 1995, joining Burton’s Fellowship of Friends, and am still a member of that organization. I moved to the California headquarters in 2000 and began working closely with Burton on his teaching. In 2007, I was forced to set out on a two year journey, which brought me in contact with the origin of the ancient wisdom that I had been previously studying in theory.”

Note: I WAS FORCED TO SET OUT ON A TWO YEAR JOURNEY

Could this have something to do with allegations of bigamy noted by Wondering Who’s Watching in Post 6, Page 121 (current page)?

13. silentpurr - June 5, 2012

The Fourth Way offers us genuine tools for observation and self-study. But unfortunately for the R. Burton followers, the role of the individual conscience (an important aspect of Gurdjieff’s teaching ), is disregarded as incomplete, immature, subjective and maybe even sentimental.

By “neutralizing i’s” , the Fellowship student can become effective in staving off nagging conscience or anything else considered non-useful for the “aim” ( which ultimately would be Robert’s aims).
The student hears and believes the oft repeated saying that “confusion is a high state”,gradually, passively welcoming cognitive dissonance and allowing Robert’s memes to be established.

The individual then practices fitting into the collective.
The collective mores must be sanctioned by the leader.
Everything trickles down from Robert.
The fact that Robert appears to disregard the emotional well-being of others would be accepted and reflected throughout the Fellowship in varying degrees depending upon so-called “level-of-being”.
They may argue the finer points of “emotional well-being” but in the end it’s still ABUSE..

14. Tempus Fugit - June 6, 2012

My deep appreciation for silentpurr. Here is her latest post again, with my apologies for minor editing.

The comments following her post are my opinions and mine alone.

“13. silentpurr – June 5, 2012

The Fourth Way offers us genuine tools for observation and self-study. But unfortunately for the R. Burton followers, the role of the individual conscience (an important aspect of Gurdjieff’s teaching ), is disregarded as incomplete, immature, subjective and maybe even sentimental.
By “neutralizing i’s” , the Fellowship student can become effective in staving off nagging conscience or anything else considered non-useful for the “aim” ( which ultimately would be Robert’s aims).
….
The individual then practices fitting into the collective.
 The collective mores must be sanctioned by the leader.
 Everything trickles down from Robert.
…..

The fact that Robert appears to disregard the emotional well-being of others would be accepted and reflected throughout the Fellowship in varying degrees depending upon so-called “level-of-being”.
 They may argue the finer points of “emotional well-being” but in the end it’s still ABUSE…..”

I think these incisive and brilliant comments not only damn Burton and the FOF but should sting the conscience of all who still have one.

Can a leader who encourages followers to ignore or even participate in harming others be considered a true spiritual teacher?

If you are a current member of the FOF and reading this, I ask you only to be conscious of your own reactions- not only to this post, not only to this blog – but to your own experience of Burton and the FOF.

Do you agree with how Burton and the group treats yourself and other people? If not, perhaps the voice of conscience inside you is telling you something is wrong.

Will you continue to ignore the voice of your own higher self?

15. Ames Gilbert - June 6, 2012

Whatever Burton pretends to know about “higher self”, it has no relation to conscience. Burton made this quite clear when he said,

Conscience is just a collection of ‘I’s; anyone accumulating too much material there should leave the school

I certainly agree with the part about leaving the ‘school’. Anyone who is in touch with their conscience has no need for Burton or the Fellowship of Friends/Pathway to Presence, and should leave immediately.

16. WhaleRider - June 6, 2012

*****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*****

Self for Hire

POOR HOUSE, CA (USA)- Despite the recent world economic slump, one tiny Northern Californian hamlet boasts self-empowerment there has hit an all time low. This is due in part to the reckless suckcess of the self-fulfilling prophecies of Robert E. Burton and his Fellowship of Friends, inc.

burton has capitalized on the self growth industry by enjoying little competition in the self market there, applying exploitive leveraged marketing strategies on the weak and vulnerable to completely monopolize, control, and dominate his self-less and loyal customer-subscriber base into bending over to his self interest.

The corporation claims wish fulfillment and production quotas are sky rocketing among burton’s faithful following as they follow in self observance of his “Self for Hire”, pay as you go program, which works for some but not most others.

About 10,000 people have opted out of self decline and moved on compared to the 1000 or so who still make payments, fixed upon the belief it is in their hire self interest.

The corporation has always been under relentless pressure to pursue new markets in order to compensate for such a high turn over rate among those who come into close contact with burton. The corporation and its members have established and maintain an international network for the recruitment and traffic of their human resources.

In lockstep, the roll over rate among board members of the corporation has always been high as well. Over the years many have been unable to stomach the ride.

Critics have called it a pyramid scheme in D major.

This article contains forward thinking concepts, and the customer is duly informed that no results in the past or the present is any guarantee whatsoever that some result may occur in the future or afterlife, it’s just highly unlikely, so I wouldn’t bet the farm on it if I were you.

17. Fee fi fo fum - June 7, 2012

Article in the NY Times about things going wrong in a yoga retreat. The characteristic we recognize is the lack of critical thinking.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/us/mysterious-yoga-retreat-ends-in-a-grisly-death.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

18. Mick Danger - June 7, 2012

RE: Mysterious Yoga
“Kissing & genital touching”; “donations & adulation”; “unconventional behavior”; “could not be reached for comment” Pikers! Still, better percentages – “Of its original 39 participants, 34 remain.”

19. nigel - June 7, 2012

A short, pithy quote to ‘aim’ at Burton…..

“One that does not think too highly of himself is more than he thinks.”

Goethe (on Humility)

20. nigel - June 8, 2012

“The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.”

-Atisha-

21. nigel - June 8, 2012

…..from “Animam Recro” (Introduction) – ‘prospective students’ BEWARE!!!!!…..

…..”The leader is quite definitely insane, a paedophile, brainwasher and manipulator. And he’s good. He likes people to dress up nice and smart, he doesn’t like people to joke, he hates smoking and, just for good measure, he dislikes pre-marital sex and homosexuality. That’s coming from a man who has had several lawsuits filed against him for forced homosexual acts. He also believes that he talks with 44 angels – including Jesus, Franklin and Goethe. Rock on Burton!!! Sadly enough this madman has managed to attract around 2000 followers.

3) This is the hard part. I hate to say it but some of the people I met in the Fellowship were incredibly inteligent, well-versed in esoteric studies, knowledgable and possibly quite far on the self-exploration path. They seemed to have that ‘it’ that serious students of alternate states of consciousness, the inner and outer realities, acquire after time. Doesn’t bode well with the cultist reality of the Fellowship but that’s what I was getting from them. After reading some more on these things I have to say that most of it was probably an act. The arrogance felt from the members of the Fellowship towards the listeners can be explained by the belief of these people that whoever is not a member is a worthless robot who deserves nothing from the superior members. This is a belief that is taught as a part of the teachings of the Fellowship of Friends, it always results in alienation from one’s family, friends, partner – you name it.

So be warned – there are better Gurdjieff organisations, other schools and other teachers. Cults should never be trifled with! I believe that an integral part of a personal journey is the (sub-conscious) search for a teacher, it would be a mistake to learn from false prophets. So don’t be attracted by easy gains, it’s better to wait for the real deal than to join a cult that offers the ‘perfect’ self-betterment practices. I have come across most of the techniques that were briefly talked about in the presentation at other places. One of the techniques that the Fellowship uses to attract new members is by putting Fellowship bookmarks into books in esoteric bookstores and libraries. Coincidence? – hardly.

So what is the lesson of the day? Always be sceptical, don’t trust or believe anything and let things happen as they wish. Your mission is to deal with it afterwards, integrate it and learn from it. Don’t let people manipulate you! And if you ever run out of money start a cult and put your esoteric knowledge to good use (as Burton did).”

22. nigel - June 8, 2012

“Animam Recro” – Post #3 (Sheik)…..

“Seriously watch out. First decide whether you truly do want to join a group, the history is full of people who managed great things on their own. There are also other ways to meet like-minded people than to join a group that may be potentially harmful to you. The Fellowship will be harmful to you, you have been warned.

If you still wish to join a Gurdjieff group, you might want to have a look at:

http://www.disinfo.com/archive/pages/dossier/id132/pg1/index.html

If you don’t mind me asking why have you decided to seek help in your search for enlightenment and what do you think it is that the Fellowship has to offer that you can not get on your own? – as to the truthfulness of the Fellowship of Friends, it is a lie that you can not do work on yourself alone. If they lied once, who is to say how much of what they say is true.”

23. nigel - June 8, 2012

…..from the “Disinformation” site…..

To quote Gurdjieff: “Beware of someone who wants to teach you something.” The first rule of many ‘Fourth Way’ groups is: “There is nothing compulsory. One is not asked to violate cherished beliefs or accept any of the ideas presented. Rather, a healthy skepticism is encouraged.”

24. Pearl - June 9, 2012

Hello everyone. I am not and have never been a member of FoF, but am a relative of someone who was a member. I choose to be anonymous because I have met and am in occasional contact with some of his friends who are still there. I am concerned for their welfare and do not wish to do anything that might identify me or lead to those friends being forbidden to communicate with me. At the same time I want to learn as much as I can about this insidious cult, in order to better understand my relative, and to be of help to his friends if I can.

I am very cautious about what I might safely say on this blog, as I imagine there are people close to Robert who regularly monitor the conversations here – would this be correct?

For now I’d just like to say thanks to all of you for having this conversation and providing a voice of sanity for those who have left, as well as hopefully for some who may be thinking about leaving.

25. Shard_of_Oblivion - June 10, 2012

I have just read the mysterious yoga article
17. Fee fi fo fum – June 7, 2012.

It has made me think about how it had happened that I had willingly entered the mind space that a cult provides.

I agree with Fee fi fo fum that it is critical thinking that is temporarily lacking. I also think it is a lack of critical thinking in a very specialised area. A vulnerability of a particular nature that we are liable to, which ends up with us as long term members of a cult.

We want to find someone who has been there for sure, and who knows how to get there, and who will show us the way. If someone can credibly present themselves as someone who has been there, and knows how to show the way to others, a cult will form around this man/woman, as they will automatically attract people who wish to learn “the true way”.

Someone once told me that he thought the prime attribute that Burton had which allowed him to make out he was conscious and lead a school containing thousands of others, was a hugely inflated sense of self confidence and self belief. So that when Burton said something, we all desperately wanted to believe it, we were made that way, we were the seekers of the truth, and once something inside us had nominated a particular individual as our teacher, we were very vulnerable indeed.

But how does that first incorrect assessment get made? I suspect in very different ways for different individuals. Which will complicate the task of trying to warn others of the dangers of charismatic cults.

In my particular case I accepted Burton as a conscious teacher on the basis of the aura and general vitality of the two centre directors at my first centre. They clearly knew more than me, I took this from the quality of the perceptions they could share (in the form of those photographs so ubiquitous in the FoF), and the kind of electric buzz in the air when they starting talking in a meeting. I also kind of fell in love with them both.

After 10 years in the FoF I now feel properly inoculated against the particular allurement of the “guy who knows”. My way to disentangle the spell was to go back to first principles, and think about whether anyone can ever in fact “know” anything at all. The 4th way has this pretty concept of “objective knowledge”. Sounds so great doesn’t it? We would all like some of that “objective knowledge” now wouldn’t we? But it is predicated on the very shaky postulate that there exist on earth and have existed in the past “higher minds” whose advanced level means that we normal people are unable to judge whether their knowledge is correct or not, we have to just attempt to understand it. If we don’t agree with the teaching, the fault is ours.

Now I contrasted that with the studies I was undertaking with the Open University at the time. There was no secret about how the theories were arrived at. How the knowledge was derived was the major part of the study of a science. All and sundry were invited to try to follow the reasoning required to understand the conclusions given. And what is more, having done that, everyone was then invited to come up with a better theory and replace the current model.

We are subjective beings, and I assert that there are no higher minds that have access to objective knowledge. I was a fool to think there were such beings, and an even bigger fool to mistake Burton for one of them. After all, he turned out to be a deluded narcissistic sex maniac, didn’t he?

26. Golden Veil - June 10, 2012

Remember all the talk about “Identification?” Boy, the entire “School” trip was one big “Identification!”

27. nigel - June 10, 2012

25. Golden Veil

Other important things we ‘took on board’…..

“I want a role”, translates as “I want to ‘kick ass’ in the FOF.”

“High level of being”, translates as “Ability to be an enabler in the FOF” or “Ability to comply with all the (obligatory and optional) requests for money for the FOF (i.e. Burton)”.

“The Work”, translates as “The Afford”.

“Being emotional”, translates as “Squirming with delight at all the wonderful ‘friends’ we enjoyed and all the ‘convoluted’ high-level events we attended (including meetings)”.

Anyone else care to add more “angles” to these?????…..Nigel.

28. fofblogmoderator - June 10, 2012

#24 is new

29. Ames Gilbert - June 10, 2012

Shard_of_Oblivion (#121-25 or thereabouts), thanks for that.
(Note to self: watch out for the mutual congratulation syndrome prevalent in the Asaf Braverman/Benjamin Yudin blogs . . .)
Yeah, my story too, one of ascendency of magical thinking over common sense, let alone reason.
I wanted powers, I wanted knowledge that few others had access to, I wanted to feel special, I wanted a community of like-minded (read, community of similar weaknesses where we would mutually agree to not recognize those weaknesses,). In many ways, largely an appeal to vanity, which seeks to be recognized as special, apart from the crowd.

You said, “In my particular case I accepted Burton as a conscious teacher on the basis of the aura and general vitality of the two centre directors at my first centre.”
Yes, It didn’t help that Peter Bishop, one of my ‘centre directors’ in London when I joined, was borrowing that powerful sense of certainty from Burton, who, at the time was well on the way to permanently entering into his fantasy and passing to utterly believing it was real and true. It didn’t help that Peter Bishop outright lied when I asked him if Burton was celibate. I say lie, because in 1994 I finally learned the truth from him, which was that at the very time I asked the question in 1978, he was in an ongoing sexual relationship with Burton. He also told me that it was physically extremely painful for him to be buggered by Burton, and that sex with him was in every sense disgusting. I asked him why he put up with it and why he stayed. He gave one of the standard answers of that time and time in FoF history, that ‘the positives outweighed the negatives’. When I asked him whether his conscience bothered him then or now, he also reiterated the quote from Burton that I posted above, about the role of conscience in the Fellowship of Friends/Pathway to Presence.

Imagine if he had told newbies like me the truth! Instead, Peter told me that Burton was conserving his energies, that he used sexual energy as a gateway to higher states. In other words, egregious lies told to bolster his self-image in some way, to reduce the turmoil of cognitive dissonance (which I assume must have been occurring). He admitted that he also suspected that Burton was fucking and sucking other young men at the same time as him (“But I don’t actually know, I was not there with them, and anyway it was none of my business . . .”), that Burton was not seeking any kind of emotional relationship with him or those others. When I put it to him that this made it mere lust, Peter still claimed, in defense of Burton, that Burton was doing it to break the mental patterns of his students, that he was helping them evolve. When I asked him if he felt his own personal ‘spiritual evolution’ had been helped, he said working with his sense of disgust was a huge and ongoing task for him, and from that point of view, it was helpful. Such a twisted view of suffering!

In hindsight, it seems obvious. Of course Burton sends out missionaries (‘center directors’, ‘travelling teachers’ who have joined and can promote his fantasy, true believers who are certain they are ‘On The Way’. He transmits authority and certainty to those most suited to retransmit those energies to the next layer, the new recruits. The needy followers in turn reflect those energies back (narcissistic supply), providing reinforcement and belief to the fantasy. And round and round (and in and out) it goes.

30. silentpurr - June 11, 2012

I remember witnessing the demise of his relationship with Hope. it was sad and unexplainable, but then we were all quite ‘good’ with the ‘gossip task’ and no details were shared.

31. nigel - June 11, 2012

I thought of Whale Rider and his work in the psychiatric field and of my ‘friend’, Robert Haas, at my local pub, who suffers from ‘Obsessive Compulsive Disorder’, but cannot see a way that he can deal with it (his personal hygiene causes distress among the pub-goers). In a sense, I have tried with my ‘Bipolar Disorder’ to see what effect I am having on others and very much being dependent on asking others for their opinion. I am wondering if this extract will help others with the ‘trauma’ that may have followed their leaving the FOF…..Nigel.

…..from – Wikipedia “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy”…..

“There are different protocols for delivering cognitive behavioral therapy, with important similarities among them. Use of the term CBT may refer to different interventions, including “self-instructions (e.g. distraction, imagery, motivational self-talk), relaxation and/or biofeedback, development of adaptive coping strategies (e.g. minimizing negative or self-defeating thoughts), changing maladaptive beliefs about pain, and goal setting”. Treatment is sometimes manualized, with brief, direct, and time-limited treatments for individual psychological disorders that are specific technique-driven. CBT is used in both individual and group settings, and the techniques are often adapted for self-help applications. Some clinicians and researchers are cognitively oriented (e.g. cognitive restructuring), while others are more behaviorally oriented (e.g. in vivo exposure therapy). Interventions such as imaginal exposure therapy combine both approaches.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is most closely allied with the scientist–practitioner model, in which clinical practice and research is informed by a scientific perspective, clear operationalization of the problem, and an emphasis on measurement, including measuring changes in cognition and behavior and in the attainment of goals. These are often met through “homework” assignments in which the patient and the therapist work together to craft an assignment to complete before the next session. The completion of these assignments – which can be as simple as a person suffering from depression attending some kind of social event – indicates a dedication to treatment compliance and a desire to change. The therapists can then logically gauge the next step of treatment based on how thoroughly the patient completes the assignment. Effective cognitive behavioral therapy is dependent on a therapeutic alliance between the healthcare practitioner and the person seeking assistance. Unlike many other forms of psychotherapy, the patient is very involved in CBT. For example, an anxious patient may be asked to talk to a stranger as a homework assignment, but if that is too difficult, he or she can work out an easier assignment first. The therapist needs to be flexible and willing to listen to the patient rather than acting as an authority figure.

32. sallymcnally - June 12, 2012

cognitive behavioral therapy is based on self observation. in my opinion the best psychiatric methods available to date

33. James Mclemore - June 12, 2012

moderator –

Steve – I need to contact you. How do I do that?

34. WhaleRider - June 12, 2012

nigel:
Hmmm…I haven’t met too many people with OCD who have issues with poor personal hygiene, it’s typically the opposite, such as obsessive thoughts about germs causing the compulsion to wash the hands incessantly.

In several OCD cases, I have found a deep seated, unconscious belief of being flawed, sometimes accompanied with a minor deformity on their body somewhere.

However, I have met quite a few more people dealing with schizophrenia who have lived on the street and used poor personal hygiene as their protection to ward off others.

If your “friend” smells bad, maybe you ought to stay away from him. It’s fine to tell him why, if he asks. Does he overindulge in alcohol?

And I think your suggestion about CBT is a valid one for cult survivors.

There’s a significant amount of memory capacity on reserve in the brain, allowing even stroke victims to recuperate, so attaching new positive memories to old traumas can bring about some relief from chronic anxiety and depression.

In order to challenge the faulty cognition leading to cult dependence. PTSD, and depression, a huge step forward in self help would be to make the behavioral change of avoiding the use of fourth way cult language.

One lovely change for me was abandoning the words “external consideration” for the word compassion.

Splitting the concept of “consideration” into internal and external in the cult is self defeating, IMO, as though inner considering, taking one’s self into account, is to be resisted to be more conscious.

How useful is it really, to pitch one process against the other in a mutually exclusive way? This is an example of black or white thinking, thus setting the stage among cult followers to compete for who can be the most selfless and most self sacrificing as testimony to their high level of being…and they might even win a trip to Europe or Egypt.

Ya, and how much does the Dali Lama really suffer promoting more compassion in the world? The guy is treated like a rock star and probably with great compassion (everywhere but China!)

So IMO, one ought to treat others with great compassion and treat oneself with great compassion, too…and being externally considerate of oneself seems, IMO, contradictory. It’s set up as one or the other.

Isn’t being “externally” considerate of others also the same as being “Internally” considerate of them as well? AKA, the ability to empathize with others, feel a little as they do…something a psychopath lacks…compassion.

35. Golden Veil - June 13, 2012

34. Whalerider

“There’s a significant amount of memory capacity on reserve in the brain, allowing even stroke victims to recuperate, so attaching new positive memories to old traumas can bring about some relief from chronic anxiety and depression.”

You’ve brought up some good points; I found the above exciting and would like to know more about it, especially specific techniques. We all spend time on memories and ways to transform them, the ones that are emphasized, could be useful to overcome PTSD and other mental disorders that really impinge on quality of life.

Regarding compassion and empathy, for some the challenge is to be more compassionate and nurturing to oneself. Mothers, for example, can be especially selfless and end up feeling emotionally impoverished if they are always in the giving mode and don’t take time to nurture themselves. It can be crucial to learn to develop ways to nurture oneself, especially if there’s no one else doing it!

36. fofblogmoderator - June 13, 2012

#33- my email is;

nogurus@yahoo.com

37. Ames Gilbert - June 13, 2012

My opinion is that if you don’t nurture yourself, you are pretty much incapable of nurturing anyone else, especially over the medium and long term.
During my stay in the Fellowship, it seemed to me that a disproportionate number of people were unhealthy or depressed or both, and I wondered why. I came up with two reasons.
First: it is a notable feature of the FoF (especially at Apollo/Renaissance/Isis/whatever) that Burton keeps his followers busy, busy, busy. This makes for a stressful life, and ongoing stress (rather than the brief stress spikes in a ‘flight or fight’ situation) weakens the immune system. In this case it has an additional advantage; it leaves little time for critical thought, especially about the leader and his motives.

Second: I observed how helpless otherwise seemingly competent people were in their relationship to Burton. Many, many times I would make a proposal of some kind, and the reply would be something like, “We would have to ask Robert”, or more usually, “Robert wouldn’t go for that”. This dependence on Burton is a critical part of reinforcing the illusion that ‘Burton Knows Best’. When I was around him, I saw the very often pathetic and ridiculously detailed kind of advice sought and given, and he personally told me that the fact that he makes hundreds of decisions a week for his followers is a sign of his consciousness. More proof that he is actually very far from being conscious, and the worst kind of teacher to put one’s trust in. This debilitating psychological disempowerment is, in my view, reflected in the body and its health. And, of course, because there is no graduation from Burton’s ‘school’, there is never an end to the infantile dependence.

Jomo Pinata had a great link about Learned Helplessness in #78-212, if anyone wants to to learn more.
______________________________________________

Pearl (#121-24 or thereabouts),
if you are interested enough and have the time, wading through this blog from the beginning will provide a complete education about the “Fellowship of Friends” / “Pathway to Presence” / “Living Presence” / “Beingpresent.org” / “Church of Robert Earl Burton” and offshoots: “asabovebelow.com” / “mysticisma.com” / “thyselfknow.com” / “gurdjieffouspensky.com” / “www.arkintime.com” / “ggurdjieff.com” / “meetup.com/powerofnowsf” / “meetup.com/The-Power-of-Now”.
Just the sheer quantity of disguises should tell you something! You can learn a lot from the defenders who have appeared on these pages, as well as the detractors.

My guess is that there are folks who still monitor the blog, though Abraham Goldman, who told me he undertook this as a duty, recently committed suicide.

If you have questions your relative can’t answer, ask away; you can be sure that there are others would like to know the answers as well. Hopefully who ever obliges will distinguish between opinion and fact.

38. nigel - June 13, 2012

37. Ames Gilbert

Just to ‘bolster up’ your post regarding depression in the FOF…..personally, I found it very difficult to enjoy the artistic success I had in California, due to the financial demands of the FOF…..always work, work , work and money, money, money…..Nigel.

Learned helplessness

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Learned helplessness is a technical term that refers to the condition of a human or animal that has learned to behave helplessly, failing to respond even though there are opportunities for it help to itself by avoiding unpleasant circumstances or by gaining positive rewards. Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation. Organisms which have been ineffective and less sensitive in determining the consequences of their behavior are defined as having acquired learned helplessness.

Foundation of research and theory

Seligman and Maier

The American psychologist Martin Seligman’s foundational experiments and theory of learned helplessness began at the University of Pennsylvania in 1967, as an extension of his interest in depression. Quite by accident, Seligman and colleagues discovered that the conditioning of dogs led to outcomes that opposed the predictions of B.F. Skinner’s behaviorism, then a leading psychological theory.

Experiment

Summary

In the learned helplessness experiment an animal is repeatedly hurt by an adverse stimulus which it cannot escape.

Eventually the animal will stop trying to avoid the pain and behave as if it is utterly helpless to change the situation.

Finally, when opportunities to escape are presented, this learned helplessness prevents any action. The only coping mechanism the animal uses is to be stoical and put up with the discomfort, not expending energy getting worked up about the adverse stimulus.

(However I think there were/are a great deal of ‘students’ of the FOF who have enough money/power who could/can ‘buffer’ the continued pressure of efforts coupled with a sense of helplessness)…..Nigel.

39. WhaleRider - June 14, 2012

Golden Veil:
Some of the best techniques I have found for attaching new positive memories to old traumas and for facilitating corrective emotional experiences needed in the healing process involve interactive guided imagery with a bit of Gestalt therapy rolled into a light to medium depth trance state.

Gee, contrast that with the build up of depersonalized emotional experiences of paying to have your guru force fellatio you.

It was certainly shocking to me! And numbing, too, and not very corrective nor healing, either; in fact, the experiences have had an emotionally corrosive effect upon me for many years.

Current followers ought to ask themselves, “Do real teachers teach by example what not to do”?

I don’t think so, IMO.

If we all taught our kids by being bad examples, how would that make the world a better place for them?

I don’t care about crazy wisdom! Nobody gets to call themselves a teacher, “real” or otherwise, like someone I’d want to send my kids to even as adults, if all they do is teach about how to be a bad example.

Graduation from a real teacher and a real school is usually a happy occasion for all.

40. nigel - June 14, 2012

39. Whale Rider

“Graduation from a real teacher and a real school is usually a happy occasion for all.”

I hope I have taken that on board with my little “Academy of Precious Metal Arts” (you can Google the site!)…..Nigel.

41. nigel - June 14, 2012

…..just been thinking about the recent varied posts…..

Positive events and positive outcomes; negative events and negative outcomes; negative events and positive outcomes; positive events and negative outcomes…..

Ames’s post concerning Peter Bishop’s experience with Robert – “The positives outweigh the negatives” – an emotional see-saw (teeter-totter to you in the USA!). I think ESSENCE (not a word often used on this blog, but I think very important, and Gurdjieff made many references to its growth towards Real I, the Master, the Self) is very affected by our sexuality and ‘goings-on’ in that area. I feel Burton has either a dead or otherwise numbed Essence, despite his attempts to educate (?) what he liked/likes to call Essence with all this culture, art and ‘lahdey-dah’ bullshit…..

Whale Rider and Golden Veil have both alluded to the (TRUE) healing process – EXTREMELY NECESSARY ON LEAVING OR OTHERWISE HAVING EXITED THE FOF CULT – and I thank both them profusely for that (although I cannot always ‘take on’ their posts at first reading and have to do some ‘extra on-line reading’) and hope they will continue…..

I hope ‘Pearl’ (post #24) and others close to members of the FOF cult can use what they glean from the fofdiscussion.com site (and those related to it) to positively affect those still struggling with their ‘conscience versus involvement with the FOF’…..

Just a little addenda quote from me…..

“What is REAL in YOU will produce JOY in YOU and OTHERS in the LONG RUN”…..Nigel.

42. WhaleRider - June 14, 2012

Nigel:
I don’t happen to agree with the writings of Girdjieff on the subject of the “real self” or primary “essence” anymore and have since moved on in my thinking about the psyche.

Whether you call it false personality or true personality, it is still a personality, an aspect of the Self, but not the whole Self, IMO.

IMO, we were instructed to remember only part of ourselves in the fourth way. I was taught to remember my fellowship personality in all its nuances, put on my game face, define what is real within as only the observant aspect of the Self, and to keep the critical aspect in check.

I was unknowingly Balkanized. Any criticism or doubt was turned masochistically inward. I’d always tend to blame myself for not being present enough.

Also in the cult we were expected to project our divinity outward onto “higher forces” or onto burton and remember them too, causing an inner disconnect with the divine aspect contained in the Self.

And regression back to one’s so called primary “essence”, what purpose does that actually serve in the cult?

Apparently Jung believed the archetype of the inner child came in two forms, manifesting in dreams as the joyful child and the masochistic child. Both are naive.

Now it seems to me that while I was at Renaissance, as we called it back then, and spending an awful lot of my time getting in touch with my naive childlike, “essence”, I do recall experiencing a fair amount of joy coupled with a fair amount of masochism and naiveté. Was that more real than “life”? In retrospect, I don’t think so.

So when you say “Gurdjieff made many references to its growth towards Real I, the Master, the Self,” I cringe.

In the cult you were told what was real, growth toward “the Master”, (as opposed to Mastery), translated as a growth toward burton’s gaping maw, and I happen to chart my growth of Self as alongside my “essence” not toward or away from it AND certainly independent from the likes of people like burton and his delusions of grandeur.

In fact, isn’t a person’s true “essence” or soul also the distillate of wisdom gained after a lifetime of experience, learning, and adaption?

Thank goodness for Wikipedia, an aspect of our collective consciousness.

43. nigel - June 14, 2012

42. Whale Rider

Sorry if my definitions (supported by references to the teachings of Gurdjieff) made your psychological ‘leanings’ (Jungian etc.) ‘do a loop’! And also if the closeness in terminology to the REB/FOF ‘blah’
made it difficult for you to understand me. And I do believe, in a way, that all on the blog who regularly post are heading toward a personal spiritual goal and have found it necessary to ‘turn back and help the willing to escape’. There is a reason I did not succeed in my suicide attempt (read Ames Gilbert, post #37, second paragraph) and why I have the numbed nerve-endings in my fingers to remind me. I am fully capable in my craft again and loving the teaching of it in my little “Academy” to adults of all ages. Some FOF student, after the event, unwittingly stated – “C-influence saved your life” – and I do believe that we are all (those of us who are ‘true pilgrims’) guided by forces or other spiritual beings (what survives beyond death – can you offer an answer to that yourself?). But I ramble! Read my post #41 last paragraph again – “read and inwardly digest” (as Grandma Wallace used to tell me)…..Nigel.

44. nigel - June 14, 2012

Pilgrim

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A pilgrim (from the Latin peregrinus) is a traveler (literally one who has come from afar) who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying (often on foot) to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system. In the spiritual literature of Christianity, the concept of pilgrim and pilgrimage may refer to the experience of life in the world (considered as a period of exile) or to the inner path of the spiritual aspirant from a state of wretchedness to a state of beatitude.

(Have we all ex-FOFfers experienced both?…..Nigel)

45. Shard_of_oblivion - June 15, 2012

Nigel in #43 I do believe that we are all (those of us who are ‘true pilgrims’) guided by forces or other spiritual beings (what survives beyond death – can you offer an answer to that yourself?)

None of our awareness survives the death of the physical body. The things we did and said and the effect they have on others last for a little while, but after your death you simply don’t exist. In the same sense you didn’t exist before you were born. Our awareness depends on our brain being alive, it is something that happens inside our brains. I have absolutely no doubt about this point at all. It is a wonderful relief when you look that full in the face and accept it. Nothing can really frighten you, once you understand this simple fact.

46. Toby - June 15, 2012

“… once you understand this simple fact.”
“…absolutely no doubt…”

Shard, I can relate to your aversion to religious dogma, but your phrasing reminds me of Ouspensky. It may be the flip side of the same thing. To some degree, it reminds me of Bob B., too. Gurus seem to specialize in confidently expressing their certainty on numerous topics they can’t possibly know anything about– including birth, death, the ancient past, and future events. Unfortunately, Burton rubbed off on many of us that way.

47. nigel - June 15, 2012

45. Shard_of_oblivion

…..from the King James Version of the Bible (Eclessiastes 8:15)…..

“Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.”

…..and here is some mirth…..

Either you are some warped type of Jehovah’s Witness or you are a NIHILIST!!!!! Wha-ha-ha. Can you answer me this? – What is the purpose of this Diverse and Wonderful Universe?????…..Nigel.

48. brucelevy - June 15, 2012

46. Toby

I agree. #45 was a pompous load of narcissistic horse shit. But we are what we are.

49. Golden Veil - June 15, 2012

50. silentpurr - June 15, 2012

fox news?
meow?

51. Ames Gilbert - June 15, 2012

Golden Veil, (#121-49 or thereabouts),
that is proof? I think I’ll stick with the scientific method, thanks.
Although I also comfort myself with various stories to bring some kind of meaning and purpose to my life, and hope something continues after death, I have never actually come across any actual verifiable, repeatable experimental evidence of reincarnation. So, in the absence of such, Occam’s Razor applies, and I go with Shard_of_oblivion in #45, above.
BTW, that doesn’t make me an atheist, I believe in higher powers of some kind (I sure as heck can’t make a universe, or even a simple cell, and even if the universe came about entirely by accident, that does not preclude higher powers). But, I fail to see why ‘they’ would take a particular interest in us. And what is so special about our existence that would require a record of it? And I certainly can’t understand why ‘they’ would need our help, let alone worship, let alone rig the system so only licensed intermediaries can explain it all to us.
IMHO, which I reserve the right to change at any time, of course!

52. Golden Veil - June 15, 2012

50. silentpurr

fox news or Fox News or schlock news… it’s probably all the same.
Of course this family could be perpetrating a fraudulent reincarnation. I have heard about these sorts of people, children, and just plucked this one from the internet. There are fictional stories of this type. “Teddy” by J. D. Salinger [from “Nine Stories” 1953], and the movie “Birth” by Jonathan Glazer [2004] starring Nicole Kidman.

53. Golden Veil - June 15, 2012

51. Ames Gilbert

“BTW, that doesn’t make me an atheist, I believe in higher powers of some kind…”

It wouldn’t surprise me if ‘all and everything’ is just the result of what seems to be an infinite multitude of intricate gorgeous harmonies emerging from massive horrific Chaos. But, you may be right ~ perhaps there is some sort of ‘higher power(s)’, maybe even intelligent and compassionate, loving high power(s) ~ not just evolution over eons and beautiful physics.

But I really would not go so far as to be again part of a cult with a magical belief system such as the one under constant revision by Robert Burton. No way, Jose!

54. Shard_of_Oblivion - June 16, 2012

47: Nigel.

Thanks for the mirth quote, I hope we all get plenty of mirth in our lives.

To recognise the reality of death does not make me a nihilist. Rather the contrary, it gives huge and significant meaning to each and every event that happens. For me life is precious because it is finite and unrepeatable.

Then you pose a question – Can you answer me this? – What is the purpose of this Diverse and Wonderful Universe?????…..Nigel.

When we say something has a purpose, we imply in that phrase that the thing we are referring to has been created by a conscious being which had an intention when they created it. I am not in a position to comment on whether that applies to the Universe as a whole. It is very large and I am comparatively small. But it doesn’t seem likely that if indeed it has a purpose that I would be able to understand it. As an organic life form my understanding of things like purposes are rooted in the experiences available to me, hunger and satisfaction of those hungers. Fulfillment of a dream, finding a companion or two with whom to spend the time we have here on earth. We animals have purposes, and as reflective beings we can examine ours and modify them. To assume that the Universe has a purpose is a very large assumption, and I cannot think of a practical way to test it one way or the other.

55. Mick Danger - June 16, 2012

To paraphrase: Relying only on intellectual proof for the existence of Creation (Everything) is like asking for the privilege of being able to see with your ears.

56. Mick Danger - June 16, 2012

Read all about it in my new treatise – “The Theory of Love”

57. Shirley - June 16, 2012

45 & on – Some of us were trying to distinguish on the other website the difference between knowledge, belief and conviction.

The “what” of what we want to know seems to be an important factor in whether it falls into the “I know” or “I believe” range of the spectrum (not sure they even belong on a spectrum). For example, mathematics satisfies many people because it sometimes gives certainty of answers. In contrast, definitions of personhood, and what constitutes the beginning of life or what constitutes “a person”, often lead to heated discussions. And thoughts about death and what survives death, seem to remain persistently in the speculation and belief arena.

There seem to be at least 2 impulses that lead one to speculate about that which survives the body. One seems to be a human need to ask about the meaning of life. The other seems to be the experience of loss of a loved one through death. Anyway, those are just some random thoughts.

58. Arthur - June 16, 2012

“The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which are dull faculties can comprehend only in heir primitive forms–this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness”. Albert Einstein

Then after this is debunked next will be the Tibetian Book of the Dead, the 72 Moslem Virgins, and finally the hint of the Resurrection?

59. nigel - June 16, 2012

…..just to ‘add fuel to the fire’ of this particular episode in the life of the discussion blog…..Nigel.

Afterlife

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Afterlife (disambiguation).

“After death”, “Life after death”, and “Hereafter” redirect here. For other uses, see After death (disambiguation), Life after death (disambiguation), and Hereafter (disambiguation).

“The afterlife (also referred to as life after death, the Hereafter, the Next World, or the Other Side) is the belief that a part of, or essence of, or soul of an individual, which carries with it and confers personal identity, survives the death of the body of this world and this lifetime, by natural or supernatural means, in contrast to the belief in eternal oblivion after death. In some popular views, this continued existence often takes place in a spiritual realm, and in other popular views, the individual may be reborn into this world and begin the life cycle over again, likely with no memory of what they have done in the past. In this latter view, such rebirths and deaths may take place over and over again continuously until the individual gains entry to a spiritual realm. Major views on the afterlife derive from religion, esotericism and metaphysics.

Some belief systems, such as those in the Abrahamic tradition, hold that the dead go to a specific plane of existence after death, as determined by a god, gods, or other divine judgment, based on their actions or beliefs during life. In contrast, in systems of reincarnation, such as those in the Dharmic tradition, the nature of the continued existence is determined directly by the actions of the individual in the ended life, rather than through the decision of another being.”

60. Arthur - June 16, 2012

which ARE should read which OUR dull, and only in HEIR should read only in THEIR primitive. Could’nt read my own print should there be other mistakes.

Who can tell maybe there are ET’s making love to apes producing mankind?

61. nigel - June 16, 2012

58. Arthur

A beautiful ‘find’…..thank you for sharing it with us…..Nigel.

62. Golden Veil - June 16, 2012

“Atheism is a non-prophet organization.”

63. nigel - June 16, 2012

…..posted before, but is where I am now…..Nigel.

“In My Craft or Sullen Art” by Dylan Marlais Thomas

“In my craft or sullen art
Exercised in the still night
When only the moon rages
And the lovers lie abed
With all their griefs in their arms,
I labor by singing light
Not for ambition or bread
Or the strut and trade of charms
On the ivory stages
But for the common wages
Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.”

64. Shard_of_Oblivion - June 16, 2012

Joining in with the Dylan Thomas quotes:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

65. Shard_of_Oblivion - June 16, 2012

Ry Cooder on lead guitar, Sir Mick Jagger singing the words, shivers going up and down my spine:

66. WhaleRider - June 17, 2012

Personally, these days I am more concerned about what happens in this life than I am concerned about what happens in an afterlife.

And thankfully, the irrational and superstitious fear of purgatory does not drive my morals and ethics, nor require me to adhere to a formal religion.

Do the spirits of people who die in agony keep returning until they find peace, as suggested by the story of the boy James in the link above or the movie “The Sixth Sense”? Maybe, maybe not. It certainly gives us peace to honor the dead in ritual.

I do know there are sensitive people (both young and old) with vivid imaginations and expanded ego boundaries who can feel the pain of others, including suffering animals, as there own…sometimes even in an unhealthy, debilitating way.

67. nigel - June 17, 2012

45. Shard_of_oblivion / 66. Whale Rider

I can find where we are in agreement (and that matters to me and, I hope, to you)…..

We have to do all we can in this lifetime to become real in ourselves (not following another’s aim, ‘chasing the buck’ or becoming just a ‘social or worldly thing’) and give to others of our strengths, hoping that we will receive help from wherever…..

As we sometimes often hear it said…..

“Life is not a rehearsal”…..Nigel.

68. Shard_of_Oblivion - June 17, 2012

66 Whalerider.

Yes – life is the thing.

67 Nigel.

I agree. Though I think we are already “real in ourselves”, but that experience can be made still richer and more full of wonder in exactly the way you have described in earlier posts, by developing our talents to their full potential.

58 Arthur.

Albert Einstein can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned.

69. Golden Veil - June 17, 2012

The below section (within the ~ marks) was titled “Escaping the heat. Is the Fellowship of Friends a liability?” and lately posted in http://robertearlburton.blogspot.com/ and comments upon and lists copycat Fellowship of Friends style blog sites. Although they don’t mention Robert Earl Burton I think they’re most definitely cause for concern. My bet is that they’re all “fishing sites” to lure new students to the Fellowship of Friends, aka Living Presence, aka Pathway to Presence cult.

“Is the association a bit too inconvenient? [sic]”

Hell, yeah!

The below is reprinted from:

Robert Earl Burton: An Unauthorized Blogography

* I have put in http addresses since I wasn’t sure if the beautiful blue links would transfer here in a functioning format.

~

[ed. – It appears Asaf Braverman, Benjamin Yudin and friends are trying to escape the stigma now attached to everything Burton and everything Fellowship. The following sites have a very familiar look and feel. Different packaging, same old cult? (The tag line for the blogs – “Boarding an Ark of Ancient Wisdom” – may offer a clue.) You decide. But, I would encourage an abundance of caution. Gurus cast from Burton’s mold have a documented history of deception, abuse and crime.]

http://www.arkintime.com/
http://mysticisma.com/
http://asabovebelow.com/
http://thyselfknow.com/
http://gurdjieffouspensky.com/
http://ggurdjieff.com/
http://rltblog.com/
http://bactriandromedary.com/

[ed. – I haven’t viewed all the sites, but I was initially surprised at an obvious absence: that of their current “Teacher”, Robert Burton. Is the association a bit too inconvenient?]

~

Please note: The last link above is for the blog site Apollo Camelot. When I clicked on the “About Us” tab it brought me to this:

“About Us

The Fellowship of Friends is registered as a 501(c)(3) California non-profit church organization and is a member of the International Council of Community Churches (ICCC). The Fellowship was founded in 1970 in the Fourth Way tradition, also known as “esoteric Christianity”.

This is an example page. It’s different from a blog post because it will stay in one place and will show up in your site navigation (in most themes). Most people start with an About page that introduces them to potential site visitors. It might say something like this:

Hi there! I’m a bike messenger by day, aspiring actor by night, and this is my blog. I live in Los Angeles, have a great dog named Jack, and I like piña coladas. (And gettin’ caught in the rain.)

…or something like this:

The XYZ Doohickey Company was founded in 1971, and has been providing quality doohickies to the public ever since. Located in Gotham City, XYZ employs over 2,000 people and does all kinds of awesome things for the Gotham community.

As a new WordPress user, you should go to your dashboard to delete this page and create new pages for your content. Have fun!

© Copyright 2011 Apollo Camelot”

Ha! Ha! Evidently the blog creator forgot to eliminate the section example that begins “Hi There! I’m a…” !!!

Anyway, I think all of the above are definitely ‘fishing for students’ for the Fellowship of Friends, aka Living Presence, aka Pathway to Presence cult. To lure the wary, one must be devious.

70. Golden Veil - June 17, 2012

The above 8 blog sites were already mentioned in post 2 by Tim Campion on this page. On this particular blog site, Ouspensky, at

http://gurdjieffouspensky.com/

if you click on the tab “Backstage”, Asaf Braverman promotes his forthcoming book “An Ark in Time” at the end of the last section, entitled Ouspensky’s Legacy in the 21st Century. It’s very clear, though, from what else is written on the page, that at this point in time, the Wizard is still running the show…

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

71. Tim Campion - June 18, 2012

68. Golden Veil

Rather than creating an ark, Asaf Braverman’s marketing efforts suggest he is preparing to launch a virtual lifeboat. With faculties diminishing, Robert Burton, Asaf’s “spiritual benefactor”, is becoming irrelevant. The future of the Fellowship of Friends and its Apollo headquarters is increasingly uncertain.

Braverman recognized a role he can exploit and is laying the groundwork to take his show on the road. He is rebranding “esoteric wisdom” as his own, and while acknowledging his mentor, he is already sanitizing the tainted trail that led to his vaunted position as heir apparent. If his book is published, readings and receptions will become recruiting opportunities.

Perhaps Asaf’s activities are but one manifestation of the Fellowship of Friends’ demise.

72. fofblogmoderator - June 18, 2012

#69 was hung in moderation

73. nigel - June 18, 2012

69 and 70. Golden Veil

I have read through these sites you posted (some several times) and sense DESPERATION…..

1) No mention (or, at least, not much) about Burton – as the blogspot article stated, there seems to be a feeling that being attached to Burton (in his obvious, torrent-like downward spiral into total madness) is a liability…..

2) Asaf Braverman, mainly, along with Ben Yudin (and, perhaps, Dorien Mitai?) are trying to vie for who will become next to ‘rule the roost’. The trouble is, as I would put forward, is that too many FOFfers are ‘Burtonised’ and would feel quite lost when Burton finally ‘pegs it’.

3) Did anyone (in or out of the FOF) envisage that the ‘Golden Ark’ would come to a crumbling ruin, as it is now, with the deceptive, lying, power- and sex-crazed bunch of idiots that we find described in the ‘Robert Earl Burton – An Unauthorized Blogography’, this blogsite and, now recently, Braverman’s supercillious sites?

74. nigel - June 19, 2012

Dear Whale Rider

Remember you said “I want to remember my dreams”…..

…..well, for the reason of not being able to collect them from my pharmacy today, I have not taken my anti-psychotics, and, despite finding it very difficult to get off to sleep, I had this dream…..

(My colour-coding and my number coding)…..

…..I was on a shipping wharf, about to have a fencing match with Prince Andrew (I was wearing purple and white gear – royalty in Chist). There was a hex-key to tighten my suit. (6 = sex) As I retired to my corner, there was a singer named Faith, (who had cancer), dressed in pink (the Universe is a Rose-coloured spectacle). I woke up (to the sound of my dog, Ferdy, shaking himself) and found it was 2:34 (to love-locked)…..

…..all super-psychadelic and powerfully remembered (see if you can decipher that one!!!!!…..Nigel

75. Golden Veil - June 19, 2012

All you really need to know about Robert Earl Burton ~ if you’re on the fence regarding joining or leaving The Fellowship of Friends, Living Presence, or Pathway to Presence:

http://fellowshipoffriends.wikispaces.com/jamesbatt

76. Dick Moron - June 20, 2012

Benji Yudin as a teacher of anything but selfishness? What a joke. Just ask Don Rickles…..

77. Wouldnt You Like To Know - June 20, 2012

Here is an image of a license plate that I would like the Fellowship of Friends soothsayers to ‘key.’ It is a license plate of a U.N. observer vehicle in Syria shortly after it had been allegedly attacked.

[IMG]http://i48.tinypic.com/33258as.jpg[/IMG]

If this image does not display in this blog post, try clicking on this link:

or copy/paste in browser address window.

78. Ames Gilbert - June 20, 2012

Golden Veil (#121-75 or thereabouts),
thanks for reposting that. I wrote some more about James on page 68 #52 of this discussion (http://tinyurl.com/6uhfhfa). James was an example to us all, someone who lived his life to the full, with joy and courage and dignity. Looking back at what I knew of his life, it is so clear what makes a teacher and an example and what does not. If Burton had one percent of the wisdom attributed to him, he would have been at James’ feet, trying to learn how to be human (not that James would have accepted that, he would have reached out the hand of friendship, as he did to anyone, and without judgment).

I’m not raising James on a pedestal, we all have unique capabilities and gifts, we can all enrich the lives of our neighbors and fellow voyagers, we can all expand into a fuller version of our human potential, and we should. That is how we repay the gift. But sometimes it is heartening to have an example, and I like to point out James as such, because many of us knew him and loved him. He truly lived in the now and extracted the maximum juice from the life he was given, ups and downs equally, accepting experiences on their own terms as they came. The exact opposite of Burton, a coward and a bully, who hides away from life, sheltered by sycophants and worshippers, whose life is an entirely predictable round of self-gratification, who does not even have the guts to go down to Castro and seek partners on equal terms, but must use force to get his pleasures.

79. nigel - June 20, 2012

I wonder how many of us/you ex- or current members of the FOF were/are struggling with ‘teaching payments’ during your time in the cult. And, come Christmas, there was/still is that stupid request for a Christmas gift for ‘our beloved teacher’ – a jewelled trinket, maybe, or a case of the most expensive wine available, blah, blah, blah. Good God!!!!! Turn me/us upside down and empty our pockets!!!!!…..I thought this extract from the ‘Robert Earl Burton – An Unauthorized Blogography’ may hit home and act as a reminder. I agree with Ames (post #78) that Burton is a self-seeking coward who thinks that everything is for him and has shown not a single act of kindness in his life (adult or otherwise)…..Nigel.

“Truth Be Told” wrote on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog:

‘The claim on the previous page that FOF workers were allowed to go hungry is among the more serious charges against the Fellowship of Friends/Living Presence/Power of Now/Pathway to Presence/Whatever, based in Mount Carmel/Via del Sol/Renaissance/Apollo/Isis/Apollo.’

Some background: Until the late 1990s, everyone was fed at a common trough. Free food was one of the benefits of being “on salary.” Management decided, during a round of budget cuts, that this was encouraging “tramp.” People should take responsibility for themselves. A fancy restaurant, Apollo d’Oro, was created, and members were expected to pay for their meals. Someone told me, about 2003 or 2005 I think, that some students were actually going hungry in the wake of this plan. I took the matter to El1zabeth Blak3, a psychologist who was then a member of the “Fellowship Council.” As I recall, I suggested the extra food at the Galleria could be distributed, or at least something to do with the food being wasted.
She asked me to name names. Of course I didn’t have any. This had been described to me as a general reality, not the complaint of an isolated person or two. It seemed believable enough. She floored me when said anyone who was hungry should come forward. In other words, the beggars would have to identify themselves to get help.
“Please, sir, may I have some more?”

I guess the Council was the “spiritual wing” of the FOF. They didn’t do compassion. They were too busy tracking down Adyashanti followers and discussing the candidates for center directors. (Pardon the snark.)

“For I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink … Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not unto me.” Matt. 25: 42, 45.

80. nigel - June 20, 2012

…..and, as for the FOF enablers – this definition seems to hold true…..Nigel.

syc·o·phant (sk-fnt, sk-)
n.
A servile self-seeker who attempts to win favor by flattering influential people.

81. WhaleRider - June 20, 2012

Nigel: “…..I was on a shipping wharf, about to have a fencing match with Prince Andrew (I was wearing purple and white gear – royalty in Chist). There was a hex-key to tighten my suit. (6 = sex) As I retired to my corner, there was a singer named Faith, (who had cancer), dressed in pink (the Universe is a Rose-coloured spectacle). I woke up (to the sound of my dog, Ferdy, shaking himself) and found it was 2:34 (to love-locked)…..”

Most excellent dream, Nigel, well done! Yes, I gather that taking your meds does disrupt your dream process. But you managed to remember yourself by waking up in your dreams. Good work!

IMO…The wharf symbolizes the liminal space between the two worlds where the unloading and commerce of dreams occur: usually the deep watery world of the unconscious meeting up with the more solid ground of consciousness. There is often a fight between parts of our inner selves, in this case between you, (your ego in the dream) and what ever Prince Andrew symbolizes to you personally, probably your idealized, royal view of yourself and your grand aspirations. Your “suit” in this case, and from what i know of you through your posts, could be your relationship to your meds, both a way of keeping your sex=hex energy under tight control and the Christ-like sacrifice you make to keep your aggression (both toward yourself and others) under tight control too, or retired. So instead of engaging with this idealized, inflated side of your self, a fight which you can’t possibly win, because after all he is the prince by royal blood, you “retire” to your corner with Faith, who is also your shadow side dressed in “positive” pink, who apparently can maintain a rosy view of the world despite failure, and is the source of your creativity. She is part of you who also seems terminally ill, too, with a compromised immune system, unable to dismantle mutant formations, including distorted tumorous strains of thoughts. What would Faith in yourself or in God help you to accomplish in this fight with your idealized self? Can she be trusted? Cancer is usually treated with powerful drugs, yet how can you place all your trust in Faith if she seems terminally afflicted, about to disappear on you? The inner conflict raised your awareness to the point of being able to register sounds in the room and your dog woke you up. Then your weakened ego, grasping for meaning and security, attached personal synchronicity to the random sequence of numbers on the clock, 2:34…neverthess, you managed to wake up with an awareness of a rosey Faith in yourself, Nigel, and that’s great…IMHO.

82. Tim Campion - June 21, 2012

While the media reports on the current sexual abuse trial of Jerry Sandsuky, it is impossible to miss the parallels with Robert Burton. Sandusky founded The Second Mile, a charity for at-risk youth. Burton founded The Fellowship of Friends. Whether by design or not, both “non-profits” served to supply their leaders with naive victims.

What’s remarkable in Robert Burton’s case is the widespread network of enablers and defenders who have served this charlatan and his self-proclaimed insatiable lust. Since the first revelations of sexual abuse of young heterosexual men decades ago, Burton loyalists, from top Fellowship of Friends officers to rank-and-file members, have continued to defend Burton and denounce his detractors.

According to what has been reported here, all but one of Burton’s victims have been young men over the age of 18. While this distinction might suggest a difference between Burton’s and Sandusky’s alleged crimes, of what relevance is this if the unwelcome sexual advances are an abuse of authority, a violation of the trust between teacher and student? In the relationships he cultivated with his “children” (Burton’s term for his followers), the boundaries are lowered to such a degree one barely need lift a foot to cross the line.

True leaders, or at least any leader with a conscience, would recognize the potential for abuse of their power and assume responsibility for avoiding inappropriate contact with the membership. In contrast, Burton (and many members of his “Inner Circle”) exploited these relationships to the fullest.

An all-too-common story of power, avarice and lust was made worse in the The Fellowship of Friends by the isolation of this small and secretive cult.

83. Shard_of_Oblivion - June 21, 2012

81 Whalerider.

That dream analysis is great. I feel like I have just witnessed a little moment of magic here on the blog!

84. Best of the Blog - June 21, 2012

Tim and Ames and all, thanks for contributing so many substantial, thoughtful posts. Lots of good stuff here, for those who truly are trying to wake up.

85. nigel - June 21, 2012

81. Whale Rider

That analysis of my dream made sense and would seem to fit with what I discuss are my priorities of mental health with my ‘workers’. Thanks…..Nigel.

86. nigel - June 21, 2012

81. Whale Rider / 85 nigel

What you described about ‘fighting with the over-inflated sense of myself’ (or, at least, retiring from it) strikes a chord. It is very necessary for me (maybe all of us) to work with the everyday things and (in the case of the visual artist like myself) not yearn for ‘world recognition’ and the huge commissions that may come. When people call me by phone or ask what role I have in my ‘Academy’ I say CEO, floor sweeper and tea-maker. “Little things for little people” is one slogan I use for my silver and jewellery work. And, in terms of other things in my life, it is necessary to remember the words from an old Anglican hymn – “The daily round, the common task, Shall furnish all I need to ask.”

After I gained local recognition in San Francisco for the Papal Commission, Burton had me make a stand for his “Athena” coin, then polish the tympany drum for the Renaissance Orchestra and polish the copper pans in the Academy kitchen – making me work on vanity, I think. However, dreary things still continue, as well as the ocassional ‘bright spot’ of a nice little art-piece. I feel the continuing healing part of anyone’s life is that, at base, there has to be JOY. If this is not the case, you are in the wrong business…..Nigel.

87. nigel - June 21, 2012

Never heard this word before, but Whale Rider used it…..Nigel.

Liminality

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the concept of liminality.
For the original video animation, see .hack//Liminality.

In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold” is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a ritual’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold” between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes.

88. nigel - June 22, 2012

…..just thinking about how Burton ‘manoeuvres through’ his sexual excursions…..

At my studio, there is a predominance of women students, some of whom attend on a one-to-one basis with me. Obviously I have my attractions, but feel quite strongly that nothing sexually overt should occur because of this. I don’t know why I have this ‘inner stop’ – is it something to do with a strong conscience? is it something to do with not wanting to lose business? or reputation? – maybe all of these! I can quite strongly relate to these ladies’ intellects and emotions, without wanting anything physical to occur other than their learning my trade.

In my view, with regards to Burton, there is something very wrong, and damaging, to those with whom he becomes involved in this way, for him to have sexual relations with his students. Add to this the fact that he has no emotional regard for these poor, trusting souls. It must be obvious to all who partake in (or just read) this blog that Burton is criminally insane – the term that many have used is that he has ‘narcisstic personality disorder’ and is a ‘sociopath/psychopath’. Again, add to this that he lies about his goings-on, allows himself to deceive everyone necessary to gain power, money and sexual gratification without any thought to whether his partners enjoy the experience (and ensures that his ‘enablers’ fall in line with his power-pyramid).

I feel strongly that it must be stated and related, again and again, how Burton is getting away with what must be among the greatest psychological crimes of this era…..Nigel.

89. Golden Veil - June 22, 2012

88. nigel

“I feel strongly that it must be stated and related, again and again, how Burton is getting away with what must be among the greatest psychological crimes of this era….”

I agree!

90. Ames Gilbert - June 22, 2012

Sometimes I’ve poked fun at Girard Haven and what I felt were truly pathetic attempts over the last thirty-five years to explain or excuse Burton’s so-called ‘teaching’. I decried his efforts as futile, as ridiculous as attempting to polish turds, or trying to pick one up by the clean end.

Time for an abject retraction.
Girard, I apologize, I was very, very wrong. I totally misunderstood the abilities of a Man Number 5 like yourself:
http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/polishing-a-turd-minimyth.htm

And since I was so very wrong about that, it also opens up the possibility that you have perhaps also found a technique for picking them up by the clean ends. I will have to re-read “Creating a Soul” and see if I can learn that trick.
Again, apologies. Mea culpa, I was too blind to see.

91. nigel - June 22, 2012

Maybe, if we had not SO DRASTICALLY gone in the wrong direction TO WAKE UP TO OURSELVES AND LIFE, and escaped that FOF/cult/prison, we would not so strongly now yearn to be FREE AND IMMEDIATE HUMANS…..Nigel.

92. nigel - June 22, 2012

Thanks, Ames, for the hint in ‘that direction’. This extract from the ‘Living Presence site – An Interview with Girard Haven’ shows that not even Burton takes any heed or notice of his ‘lesser numbered men’.

Haven: “Being present is the art of focusing one’s attention in and on the present moment. It is being aware of what one is doing, why one is doing it, where one is doing it, its possible effects on others and on one’s various aims, and its relation to higher forces.

Thus, it is possible to think of the past or the future, or to imagine solutions to a problem while one is being present, but only if one can maintain an intense awareness of the fact that one is doing that and the purpose for it. Without such an intense awareness of oneself in the moment, our lives pass us by as if in a dream, and it is simply better to be awake than asleep.”

(“Sweet dreams are made of this; Girard Haven takes the piss” – The Enemacs)

93. nigel - June 22, 2012

“Abnormality is the norm”, says Robert Burton…..

April 6, 2003
“It is within my power to make my students immortal, and it cannot be achieved in any way other than that which the Gods dictate. Immortality is yours—you just have to accept their methods. You cannot expect to have a normal life with Gods in your life, because it is already abnormal to have Gods in one’s life.”

94. Ames Gilbert - June 22, 2012

BTW, in the video above, hasn’t the guy who is polishing the lion turd captured Girard Haven’s motivation perfectly?
“You know, the casual viewer might look at this and say, “Hey, yeah, pardon the pun, what a load of crap, who needs to know this, this is disgusting. But I’m actually rather fascinated by this, even though it is a disgusting material, yet it’s totally unlikely, yet by really thinking carefully about it, by polishing and working at it, we’ve actually got a lovely shine on this”.

Girard, this is why I’ll never be a Man Number 5, like you. I don’t have the interest or fortitude to choose something as unlikely and disgusting as Burton’s ‘teaching’ (both theory and example) and spend thirty-five years learning how to polish it to such a nice shine.

95. Golden Veil - June 22, 2012

94. Ames Gilbert

And, Man Number 5 may just be jive. I love the video, Ames. It’s
an apt analogy of the b.s. spin regarding Robert Earl Burton that is pervasive throughout the Fellowship of Friends management team, Centre Directors, and the writings of Gir-rd H-v-n, As-f Br-v-rm-n, etc.

96. Tempus Fugit - June 22, 2012

Several recent posts have suggested that Asaf Braverman is possibly being used as a front for the FOF or even groomed as Burton’s successor.

To me this raises the question of how the FOF will end.

One blogger recently recalled, and I also heard Burton say personally, that he would die at age 72, his current age. However, we know that Burton’s predictions are meaningless, and I believe he will continue his current ways as long as he can.

That said let us consider the possibilities. Burton is now old and of unknown health status. Thus it is not unreasonable to think he may die at anytime.

So what will be the final act in this tragedy? How will Burton die and how will his death affect others?

1) Burton could die suddenly, leaving the governance of the FOF and disposition of its assets to whatever legal structures are currently in place. True believers might then stay on while those more loosely attached might leave.

If Braverman or someone else has already been installed as the new leader this could support a more stable transition.

2) Realizing death is near Burton could choose a grandiose exit with special ceremonies, last pronouncements, and enshrinement in a special mausoleum with speeches by his chosen successor. The importance of continued membership and spiritual connection to Burton would be emphasized.

In my opinion Burton is highly narcissistic, and the image of a “church” in his name might make this ending an attractive choice.

(If anyone knows of any funeral plans made by Burton, or plans to build a mausoleum or shrine in advance of his death please share this information.)

In this scenario true believers might continue to live out their lives in fantasy of eventual reunification with Burton, while, again, those less attached would tend to drift away.

3) But what of the possibility of a true horror ending?

As Burton gets older and his body ages the pleasures of the flesh will weaken. Serious illness, if it comes, will only accelerate that process. Unlimited sex, the best wine and food, and the enjoyment of power over others will lose their appeal. Envy may arise as he sees those close to him, healthy and vigorous, continuing to enjoy what he cannot.
I remember 1978. I was at the Farm (aka Apollo) when we heard about the mass murder orchestrated by Jim Jones of the People’s Temple cult in Guyana. Over 900 people were killed, including more than 300 children.

I was standing on the patio of the Lincoln Lodge with Burton and several others when someone asked Burton if this could happen in the FOF.

Burton said “no” because (approximate quote) “we are a real school and C influence would not allow such a thing to happen to us.”

Well, in my opinion the FOF is not a real school, and mass murder-suicide could certainly be the final act of the FOF. Just like Jim Jones, in bitterness and failure, Burton could decide to destroy himself and what he has created.

Here are words from a transcript of an audio tape recovered by the FBI at Jonestown [http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/]. This part of the tape records Jones exhorting followers to poison their children and themselves (punctuation is from the transcript as given):
“Jones: … Must trust, you have to step across … We used to sing: “this world, this world’s not our home.” Well, it sure isn’t. … We were saying, it sure wasn’t … Really doesn’t want, you’re telling me. All he’s doing is what we’ll tell him. Assure these … Can some people assure these children of the relaxation of stepping over to the next plane? That’d set an example for others. You set 1,000 people who say, “We don’t like the way the world is ….
Crowd: That’s right, that’s right)
Jones: … (unintelligible words) … take our life from us, we laid it down, we got tired. We didn’t commit suicide. We committed an act of revolutionary suicide protesting the conditions of an inhumane world.. …”

Although the story and belief systems are different I can see parallels in the lives of Jones and Burton. I can imagine a time when Burton, perhaps realizing his life is ending in frustration and disgrace, chooses a similar path.

On page 113 of this blog, comment 135 recounts words allegedly spoken by Robert Burton on 09/21/2011:


“We are destined for immortality – eternal life – and this is what makes Paradise so sweet: it is a deathless place. Also, everyone is conscious and immortal there. Here everyone is mortal and unconscious, except for us.”

If you are reading this as a current member of the FOF, please don’t dismiss the possibility of a “Jonestown ending” as unthinkable because all around you seems beautiful.

Isn’t is possible the brightly polished apple is rotten at the core?

97. Shard_of_Oblivion - June 23, 2012

I suspect Burton will live for many years yet. I seem to recall a statistic that those who live an affluent lifestyle live much longer than those whose have to physically work hard. Also he has the most perfect toy to play with, he has created a world, and he is the centre of that world, and that world feeds him everything he wants. I am sure many more students will leave him, and denounce him, but I am also pretty sure he will always be able to find a few willing to play his game.

But that does not alter the fact that he is an appalling and horrible man.

Sometimes we catch that someone is not authentic in little ways. I remember I particularly hated the way he would use the word “persons” instead of “people”. It reeked to me of prissy pseudo refinement, like a lower class snob who adopts some behaviour they think of as being classy, which just sounds pretentious and false.
(shudder)

Here’s a fun little ditty I dedicate to Burton:

98. Toby - June 23, 2012

96. Tempus Fugit
Some sort of shocking and negative ending, whatever form that might take, is not unthinkable. It hasn’t been useful over the years to think about the FOF as though it’s a benign entity. That sort of naive thinking is partly what got many of us in trouble from the start: thinking and believing that Burton was benign and incapable of hurting anyone.

Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant coach for the Penn State football program, was convicted Friday of sexually assaulting 10 boys over 15 years. Right up to the end, his supporters continue to be in denial. “I think he’s innocent,” one supporter said this week. “Think of all the good he’s done for all of those kids over the years.”

* * *

99. Golden Veil - June 23, 2012

How could people at “more than 60 centers” internationally be wrong? It’s a mind control style cult. Read the above and the below.

http://livingpresence.com/who-we-are/worldwide-centers.html

100. Shard_of_Oblivion - June 23, 2012

99 Golden Veil.

Yeah I recognise that sweet essency, “Hey I’m being present right now, but discreetly, ‘cos I wouldn’t want to be seen to be vain about it,” look.

I used to love it. I used to take weekly spiritual baths in it. But now it doesn’t have the same attraction. In fact it is a relief not to have to live up to those bright divided attention eyes twinkling at me all the time. Everyone making those worthy efforts, it was all so exhausting in the end.

I just follow my inclinations wherever they lead now, and have as much fun as I used to think a conscious being would have – go figure.

101. nigel - June 23, 2012

…..in case Burton believes his way of life is of a ‘worthy, noble nature’…..

Hubris

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Look up hubris in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Hubris ( /ˈhjuːbrɪs/), also hybris, means extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.

The adjective form of hubris is “hubristic”.

Ancient Greek origin. In ancient Greek, hubris (Ancient Greek ὕβρις) referred to actions that shamed and humiliated the victim for the pleasure or gratification of the abuser. The term had a strong sexual connotation, and the shame reflected on the perpetrator as well. It was most evident in the public and private actions of the powerful and rich. The word was also used to describe actions of those who challenged the gods or their laws, especially in Greek tragedy, resulting in the protagonist’s fall.

Hubris, though not specifically defined, was a legal term and was considered a crime in classical Athens. It was also considered the greatest crime of ancient Greek society. The category of acts constituting hubris for the ancient Greeks apparently broadened from the original specific reference to mutilation of a corpse, or a humiliation of a defeated foe, or irreverent “outrageous treatment” in general. It often resulted in fatal retribution or Nemesis. Atë, ancient Greek for “ruin, folly, delusion,” is the action performed by the hero or heroine, usually because of his or her hubris, or great pride, that leads to his or her death or downfall.

102. silentpurr - June 23, 2012

Yes, it seems as though Robert’s path of obsession with ‘burdens’ and ‘crosses to bear’ could be related to his sexualized victimhood or a kind of ‘self-hatred’ for which others must overcome their disgust with. You will notice from his remarks, (thanks Shard of Oblivion), that the terrible, horrible suffering he imagines bearing appears as the psychic weight of his students and the foreknowledge of all mischief influence C has planned for them.
Robert’s tragic flaw is that he thinks he doesn’t have one.
– His themes are more Christian Fundamentalist/Opus Dei than Egyptian and not very Greek , to me.

Jerry, Robert, Dottie, Fellowship student-body.

103. silentpurr - June 23, 2012

…Opportunists and Enablers.

104. Ames Gilbert - June 24, 2012

Toby (#121-98 or thereabouts), yesterday was a bad day for pedophiles:

(CBS News) PHILADELPHIA – For the first time, a senior member of the Catholic Church in the United States has been convicted of concealing sexual abuse of children by pedophile priests. Sixty-one-year old Monsignor William Lynn was the secretary for clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which has 1.5 million members.

Lynn was found guilty on one count of child endangerment. He was found not guilty of a separate child endangerment count and not guilty on a conspiracy charge.The jury came back in the afternoon after 13 days of deliberations.

Lynn was taken into custody and seen weeping when he left the courthouse. Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams said the verdict sent a clear message that anyone who protects pedophiles would be held accountable.

“What happened here was unspeakable,” said Williams. “People knew that these were predators — who were much more concerned with the institution than the victims of sexual assault.”

As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, I was part of a group of folks who met from time to time to discuss the issues; we called ourselves “The Furry Insects Society”, and one of the stipulations was that anything could be discussed. We had some heated moments during the furor over the Troy Buzbee case. Half of us left within the next few days, the other half stayed. One of the more amazing moments was when fellow participant Mary Carlisle/Hinrichs told us that “everyone knew that Robert was having sex with Troy Buzbee”. I asked her when she knew. She replied, “From when it started, it was obvious to everyone around”. I was amazed, I actually caught myself with my jaw hanging open. Since my wife and I had not been living at Apollo/Renaissance/Isis at that time, after I had recovered somewhat, I pressed on. I asked, “So you knew that Robert was having sex with Troy when he was underage?” “Yes, I knew, and everyone around knew as well” “Did it occur to you to intervene?” “What could I do? Robert is my teacher, his sex life is none of my business, and Troy was very mature for his age, as far as I could see he was able to handle it”.

Here’s the kicker. Mary Carlisle/Hinrichs was a Center Director at Renaissance at the time she was speaking of (not when I had this conversation). I believe she had a duty to those under her in the hierarchy. Maybe not a clear, ‘strictly legal’ obligation like the members of the Board of the Fellowship of Friends had and have, but surely something, not to mention common humanity? I don’t know if she was also on the “Spiritual Council” as well, but whatever, like the quote above, she and others, Center Directors, members of the Council, every member of the Board, every follower who stayed, “were much more concerned with the institution than the victims of sexual assault”, and very protective of Burton, the “brightest light in two thousand years”.

None of the people that stayed cared a damn, obviously, whether they had power/authority/obligations within the organization, or not. And part of the self-justification, the self-calming was and is, “Burton/The Fellowship have never been convicted of anything, so he/we must be innocent”. Yes, it is true that cases did not come to trial, but only because the Fellowship settled the cases (and had the records sealed as part of the settlement). But the actual truth is, Robert Earl Burton is a pedophile (and this also means, a rapist), and would surely have been convicted had I and Mary Carlisle/Hinrichs and dozens of other witnesses been called to court and simply told the truth to a jury. And, after a long prison term, he would be on a permanent sexual offenders list.

105. brucelevy - June 24, 2012

Ames, you know that almost all of the members who had “positions” somewhere in the hierarchy used the exact same argument. “What can I do?” “He’s my teacher”. “It’s nobodies business.” ad nauseum. Until they’re ready to leave, then all of a sudden they get indignant, shocked and hurt at the shit they knowingly and conveniently accepted all along. For me, that’s the height of hypocrisy, and pure bull shit. They leave, and then seek sympathy from those already out, to help heal their emotional wounds. They can go fuck themselves, collectively. They too are sociopaths, narcissists and manipulators.

106. Shirley - June 24, 2012

104. Ames, it was rare if anyone in the Fellowship had a sense of “common humanity.” Did we even use that term, or even think of ourselves as being a part of “humanity”? Instead, there was a constant focus on “working on the machine, do what the machine doesn’t want to do,” do the exercises, hold down two jobs so you can make those teaching payments and ever-increasing special donations for ever more extravagant art objects and cars…

My guess is that what Mary went through, many students went through, and current students still do. It’s not about caring about another human being, it’s an obsession with obeying the rules and believing what you’re supposed to believe. Even when something made us uncomfortable, or wrong, it was forbidden to question and analyze it, whatever it was. It was explained away as the lower not being able to see the higher, or similar excuses.

107. Ames Gilbert - June 24, 2012

Bruce, (#121-105 or thereabouts),
you are right, that is indeed sometimes the case.

You yourself told anyone who would listen about Burton and his abuse, what, in 1980? That included me, I hung around at the edge of a crowd, and I heard. I believed you, and thought you were right to leave, but only because it was right for you personally. I simply was not mature enough to extrapolate, to see that the harm done to you was harm done to all of us. And to see that by not getting to the bottom of it by ruthless questioning, by not speaking out on your behalf, by not acknowledging that condoning Burton’s behavior by any pretext or disguise, coruscated my soul and diminished me. I didn’t trust my conscience, and actually at that time couldn’t tell its voice from all the others internally arguing for and against. I stayed for sixteen years, after all, didn’t I? So, what you say about those who were in authority is true, but it was equally true for me and those like me, who happened to never attract such a position. As more information became available over the next fourteen years, I had further chances to act for myself and others. I didn’t take those chances. Little by little I became comfortable; the latest revelation was not that so much different in degree or detail than the previous one. But it sure all added up, didn’t it? I did the whole round, “It doesn’t affect me personally, it’s the teacher’s private business, they are adults, they can take care of themselves, it’s not my responsibility, I don’t know enough, the lower cannot see the higher, crazy wisdom, the good outweighs the bad . . .”, and on and on.

That is one of the reasons why I spend the time I do trying to put what I see as the truth in front of anyone who chances on this blog. The fact is, I was so self-unaware, I was able to join an organization supposedly for the purpose of ‘waking up’ but which actually made me more asleep. I was so unaware that I devolved instead of evolved in every important sense. And what got me out were not any particular efforts, but grace. So, one of the ways I can show gratitude for an unearned and undeserved reprieve is to try to warn others, here and now.

And I apologize for not valuing your gift when you tried to warn us. You paid a very high price for direct knowledge of Burton’s criminal behavior, and had the rare courage to tell us, but I spurned the gift, not recognizing its value at the time. But you did plant a seed . . . thank you so very, very much!

108. Ames Gilbert - June 24, 2012

Shirley (#121-106 or thereabouts),
you also mentioned the phrase, “The lower cannot see the higher”. I took this to be true for much of my stay in the Fellowship of Friends. It sounded ‘truthy’, so unfortunately I never seriously tried to find a way to test it or bypass it until very late in the game. After some thought, I did find a solution. I pointed out a practical way that the lower can indeed see the higher for all intents and purposes at the end of an essay I once wrote, about management styles in different kinds of corporations compared to the Fellowship, a condensed version of which I posted on page 8-400 of this blog: http://tinyurl.com/79mf3gm

The relevant paragraph was:
By the way, extending this analogy (of a corporation) to another area… It has been said many times that Burton has a higher being lesser folk cannot comprehend. Let us assume that this is true—for a moment. Here is the solution to the quandary of what happens if the founder is remote or inaccessible in any way. All we have to do is to look at his work, the results of his being. In this analogy, when a founder takes in managers and workers, he will mold the management to suit his purposes. That is, they will manifest his management style, they will be in fact lesser or miniature versions of him—any new recruit that does not fit in with his style is shown the door, of course. So, if the founder is inaccessible, study the lower layers of management that are accessible. Study Girard, study Linda, study the center directors, study the older students. They are in Burton’s mold. “By their fruits ye shall know them”. Watch a student in line for promotion/glory, watch how they mold themselves to suit, watch their manifestations. You will get a very accurate picture of those “above” them.

109. nigel - June 24, 2012

Ames and Bruce (lately) and others who had more direct contact…..

I am truly appreciative of your posts, keeping us keenly informed of what exactly went on in FOF ‘inner machinations’. I was on ‘the edges’, if you like, of the cult and offered what I had to offer (money I could not not afford as well, which got me into $30,000 of debt). But I think more posts from those who had direct contact with Burton and the enablers would add to the critical thinking of those hesitant now to leave…..Nigel.

110. Ames Gilbert - June 24, 2012

Bruce, sorry, my mind is slipping. I should have looked up my notes, I meant to say 1985, not 1980. I heard you tell us your story in either late 1984 or early 1985.

And, not completely off topic, I note that the motto of the IWW union is, “An injury to one is an injury to all”. Those ‘life’ people! And I used to think I was somehow better (or, the way Burton and the Fellowship put it, “luckier”) than ‘them’ . . .

111. Shirley - June 24, 2012

There was an article in today’s front page of the NYTimes, “Retired Teacher at Man Recalls Sex with Pupils,” about Tek Young Lin, now 88.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/24/nyregion/tek-young-lin-ex-horace-mann-teacher-says-he-had-sex-with-students.html?pagewanted=1&emc=eta1

I excerpted a few of the paragraphs that sound a bit like REB and the FF. Some of the readers’ comments that follow the online article are relevant to what REB did/does.

“Mr. Lin, who lives near Santa Cruz, Calif., said no coercion had been used. “The only thing I can assure you of was that everything I did was in warmth and affection and not a power play,” he said. “I may have crossed societal boundaries. If I did, I am sorry.”

“One of the three students expressed mixed feelings about Mr. Lin’s admission. He said Mr. Lin was right to acknowledge the relationships — but to not know it was wrong? “Delusional might not be the right word,” said the man, grappling with feelings of disappointment and anger. “But to not have the awareness that there’s a built-in power dynamic with a teacher and student?”

“He said that he was 17 when Mr. Lin asked him to sleep over, and that his parents did not view it as strange.

“The two slept on mats on the floor in their underwear. Mr. Lin asked to give him a massage. The teacher straddled his back and rubbed against him. The next morning, Mr. Lin caressed him. “It was like it was another person,” the man said. But nothing more happened, he said.

“He said he never spoke to Mr. Lin again, and soon started to see a therapist.
…………..

One of the online comments that follows the online article could describe REB:

“Lin’s characterizations of what happened–that it was “warm and affectionate”–are typical of child molesters. It reminds me of how Sandusky described his sex play with boys in the shower as “horsing around.” Making light of the abuse is just an attempt at rationalizing and justifying the behavior. As in Lin’s case, some abusers can actually admit to having sex with their victims, but reject the idea that it was wrong. It’s as if they are saying “Yes, we had sex, but not in the way you think. You think it was something ugly. What we did was special.” Remember, Lin did not happen to fall in love with a particular student–he had sex with a series of boys. That makes him a predator. Far from being “warm and affectionate,” Lin’s dismissal of having done anything wrong (aside from crossing “societal boundaries”) shows that he is completely callous to the effects of his actions. His philosophizing about the 60s and 70s is exactly what you would expect from a predator who isn’t ready to accept responsibility..””

112. Shirley - June 24, 2012

Correction, the title of the article was re: Mann, not Man, as in the school Horace Mann. There have been several articles recently exposing sexual abuse at Mann by teachers, a long time ago.

113. Associated Press - June 24, 2012

121/107. Ames Gilbert:

‘I didn’t trust my conscience, and actually at that time couldn’t tell its voice from all the others internally arguing for and against.’

In this film:
myreincarnationfilm.com [Click on my name, above, to go there.]
about Tibetan spiritual master, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu,
[‘Filmed over 20 years by acclaimed documentarian Jennifer Fox, My Reincarnation chronicles the epic story of exiled Namkhai Norbu’s rise to greatness as a Buddhist teacher in the West, while his son, Yeshi, recognized at birth as the reincarnation of a famous spiritual master, breaks away from his father’s tradition to embrace the modern world. . .

Never before has a high Tibetan Master allowed such complete access to his private life. . .’]

Chögyal Namkhai Norbu states [at about 49:44], in a private moment with his wife, after experiencing his own near death:
“What dies is the body. The conscience doesn’t die. . . The conscience gets reborn. Then it manifests with a new body.”

So, based on this view, if one kills one’s conscience, as it is strongly suggested to do in the Fellowship of Friends, then one’s possibilities of evolving, through multiple lifetimes (if there is more than just this one lifetime), is killed also.

I could not imagine a better definition of Sleep than that.

* * * * * *

Memorable other quotes elsewhere in the film:

“Being present of time is very, very important. One day we notice, ‘Surprise! Oh, this is the end of life.’ ‘What I do now? What I did?'”

“Many people, when they have learned something, then they say, ‘Oh! I want to teach. I want to become teacher.'”

“Buddha never said, ‘You need to have devotion. . . and your realization depends on me. And I make you realized.’ Buddha said, ‘I give you the teaching. . .The path. . . And the realization depends on you.'”

Appearing this week on PBS program POV [Point of View], or watch it here:
http://www.pbs.org/pov/myreincarnation/full.php/

114. Golden Veil - June 24, 2012

Some thoughts on the aforementioned ~

Although the young men Lin spent the night with were sexually molested, and by their experiences with Lin felt confused, disturbed, and their trauma “sounds familiar”, the above described sexual abuse sounds almost mild or tame compared to the heavy sexual abuse committed in “The School” by its founder, “The Teacher”. In the cult most often called “The School” by its students, sexual diseases are transmitted, mass drunken orgies in a wine cellar are organized, and, along with the procurement of victims by Centre Directors, sexual human trafficking and prostitution is rampant ~ sexual favors are performed for pay and in exchange for material goods like clothing, jewelry, and green cards. It is said that over the many years that sexual abuse has gone on in “The School”, the suicide of some of the sexual abuse victims has been the eventual result of “the Teacher’s” sexual predatorship.

There is a much higher level of sociopathic criminal behavior by the serial sexual predator at the The School’s apex, “The Teacher”, who has not only been active for decades, but perpetually victimizes the married and unmarried male heterosexual students that catch his fancy to this very day. In order to perform he uses Viagra and also presses it upon his “Student” victims whose bodies are not sufficiently sexually responsive to their elderly male “Teacher”, who calls himself “an angel” and a “goddess in a man’s body”.

115. brucelevy - June 24, 2012

Personally I hold the “procurers” and those who exerted “pressure” to further RB’s ends, and those “who just didn’t want to hear about it” (while they actually knew about it) as barely less culpable then the actual perpetrator of the sexual crimes.

116. brucelevy - June 24, 2012

All of the “enablers” that I knew were people with massive egos and profound sociopathalogical traits who were only interested in climbing the hierarchical ladder of power and prestige.

117. Opus111 - June 25, 2012

As has been mentioned before, the level of cognitive dissonance is large for members of organizations like the Fellowship of friends, in particular when it comes to seeing its leader, Robert Burton for who he truly is.

It is worth recollecting what Veronicapoe, I believe, mentioned in the past: there were a few members who saw clearly in 1970 most, if not all, of the Burton sociopathic features that took other members up to 40 years to see.

118. Toby - June 25, 2012

From my own experience, one of the effects of meeting a large number of master manipulators and sociopaths in the Fellowship of Friends is that I am considerably more skeptical about some people who in the past I might have been more open to. That always has the potential of becoming a negative, as it could have morphed into a general distrust and cynicism about anyone I meet.

But overall I think the newer attitude about people has been a positive. I’ve learned to appreciate people more deeply, and I’m often more pleasantly surprised and moved by the genuine warmth and compassion I see in others.

I remember many years ago being puzzled by a general culture in the FF of “I’ll do whatever I can to make money and advance my career, and will lie to others without shame if it helps me achieve my goal.” The more I interacted with my fellow cult followers, the more I saw that this was the norm. It’s as though people were giving each other a “high five” whenever they were able to “separate from feminine dominance” and deceive someone (especially a “non-student”, but fellow “students” as well) to make money or to advance their careers.

What I’ve learned is that this attitude started at the top, as it does with all organizations. That means Robert Burton. People tried to act the same, because that behavior was admired within the cult. It was like a disease, a contagion, just as it is with any organization where strange behavior becomes the norm.

Regarding my new-found skepticism about people after my FF experience, one of the things I’ve learned is to appreciate anyone who appears to feel a genuine compassion for others.

And what’s just as important, I’ve learned not to doubt that perception, as though it’s somehow irrelevant or as though it’s a weakness that runs counter to may “aims.” Because that is definitely what we were taught in the FF.

I read somewhere recently, by the way, that compassion may be the happiest emotional state there is. So whatever imagined “good” there may be in the FF that supposedly outweighs the bad (a common refrain by cult followers), it might be helpful to start examining the entire experience from that point of view.

119. brucelevy - June 25, 2012

118. Toby

“I remember many years ago being puzzled by a general culture in the FF of “I’ll do whatever I can to make money and advance my career, and will lie to others without shame if it helps me achieve my goal.”

or…”intentional insincerity” (or shit wrapped in mink).

“That means Robert Burton. People tried to act the same, because that behavior was admired within the cult. It was like a disease, a contagion, just as it is with any organization where strange behavior becomes the norm.”

or…”like attracts like” (sociopaths attracted to RB like flies on shit).

“Regarding my new-found skepticism about people after my FF experience, one of the things I’ve learned is to appreciate anyone who appears to feel a genuine compassion for others.”

Yup, compassion is one of “the big things”. Totally lacking in the FOF spiritual superstructure.

120. nigel - June 25, 2012

105. brucelevy

You made me think about ‘someone I knew’ in the FOF, who procured a prominent role (and married an enabler – perhaps the greatest). They now post (rarely) on the GF site, not answering posts to them (except from time to time). If you email to them, they do not respond. How much does post-FOF guilt play in this?…..Nigel.
(By the way, thanks for your candid and apropos posts…..n.)

121. Ames Gilbert - June 26, 2012

Great one, Bruce (#121-119 or thereabouts), “shit wrapped in mink”, that one has a certain ring to it, destined to become a classic!

Ann Herbert updated Lord Acton’s words to say, “Power attracts the corruptible, and absolute power attracts the absolutely corruptible”, and that is true in any situation that I’ve experienced. The only constraint seems to be in the few periods of history when the rule of law operated. When it doesn’t, we get Maximum Leader Barack Obama deciding, among many other prerogatives he has claimed, that he will be judge, jury and executioner and can kill anyone at anytime, or Maximum Leader Burton deciding that his followers will get abortions, get married, or provide sperm, according to his whim.

Many apologists for the Fellowship of Friends parrot this ‘lower cannot see the higher meme’, but none more assiduously than Daily Cardiac on this blog, and I gave him the answer above (#108) on page 48-149, but added an example (http://tinyurl.com/6og6vrg):
_____________________

. . . Watch a student in line for promotion/glory, watch how they mold themselves to suit, watch their manifestations. You will get a very accurate picture of those ‘above’ them.” So, Daily Cardiac, here is an example of how to really use the idea of “As below, so above”, as you put it.
One clear example is how Mihail and Dorian acted when the cat was away. They sold favors for sex. They exchanged the Fellowship scrip, the coupons for meetings and such, for sexual favors from female members. They copied Beloved Teacher, who exchanges money, favors, shopping experiences, cars, clothes, and status for sex. What happened when Beloved Teacher learned of this? M and D were put out of circulation for a few days—a token ‘punishment’ by any account—then restored to favor. Just giggles, really.
This is the reality of Burton’s ‘higher’ being, Daily Cardiac. No need for interpretation or buffering of any kind. This is what he taught; the followers practiced the lesson to make sure they’d got it, Burton gave feedback on their efforts. I’d say he gave them an A-. What do you think? There are hundreds of other examples to study, if you will.

One day it may be possible to show you that one can observe the ‘higher’ quite directly, but in the meantime, since you have the ‘lower cannot see the higher’ pretty firmly fixed in your mind, I’ll argue on your terms.

_______________________

P.S. for explorers landing on these pages for the first time, Mihail and Dorian are/were followers of Burton, anointed by him to become “the Next Conscious Beings”, at a time, place and under conditions of his choosing. Of course, this gave them a certain borrowed authority, and this is just one of the ways they chose to use it. Not to belabor the point, but Burton can only teach his followers what he knows, and an example carries a thousand times more weight than fancy words.

122. Ames Gilbert - June 26, 2012

And P.P.S., Burton gave Dorian and Mihail an ‘A minus’ only because they failed the cardinal rule, “Don’t get caught”; otherwise it would have been a perfect score.

123. Mick Danger - June 26, 2012

So how did they get caught? There must have been a rat.

124. Golden Veil - June 26, 2012

Evidently the whole place is a rat’s nest. Those students sound like a creepy pair. I remember being told that “The Teacher” was gay (so, what) by the student who introduced me to the Fellowship. It wasn’t until years later that I learned what he was really up to back then. That was then ~ today with the internet, details of “what he does” are an open book.

119. Bruce Levy

or…”intentional insincerity” (or shit wrapped in mink).

The nearest neighboring Centre Director to my Centre wore an ankle length coat lined with sheared mink. Must have been a gift for… who knows? Or perhaps she was one of those “trust fund” students that even today make up the old guard of the Fellowship.

125. Ill Never Tell - June 27, 2012

124. Golden Veil:

‘Evidently the whole place is a rat’s nest.’

Sorry, the ‘whole’ place is not a ‘rat’s nest.’

(That would be an absolute.)

Besides some rats, there are some other rodent types like: mice, squirrels, porcupines, beavers, guinea pigs, and hamsters. But, sorry, mink is not a rodent type. Must go elsewhere for mink. Although, raising mink might be a good idea for FoF to do. The Ark must be populated with pairs of all that lives.

126. Shard_of_Oblivion - June 27, 2012

The whole place is a termite’s mound, with a hideous bloated queen controlling the worker’s with her pheromones.

127. nigel - June 28, 2012

You may have thought Burton was not artistic, but, in fact, he is a talented musician. He is stunning on the mouth-organ and wows the audiences with his phallic-cymbals…..Nigel

128. nigel - June 28, 2012

Seriously, though, Burton is so entrenched in his sexual deviations that he cannot change ‘for the better’ or show even a whisper of decency. He has his enablers explain away his acts of sexual indulgence as ‘activity of a higher nature’ or even has them plain lie about what is going on.

I would seriously recommend anyone who is having doubts about a ‘cultural ark’ being led by such a slime-bag to search their own moral conscience and talk to ex-members (if they are in close enough proximity).

TRUTH IS THE KEY THAT WILL BE YOUR STANDARD…..NIGEL.

129. Tim Campion - June 28, 2012

128. Nigel

Little did we understand when we first boarded Robert Burton’s Fellowship of Friends Ark that it was in fact a prison ship.

And once at sea, it is difficult to escape.

That’s why it is chilling to see Asaf Braverman elaborating on his master’s dream.

130. nigel - June 29, 2012

…and,also, we hve Benjamin Yudin, to add to Braverman’s ‘lie machine’…..

(from Ames Gilbert, writing on Robert Earl Burton – An Unauthorized Blogography)

The mysticisma.com site run by Benjamin Yudin presents his credentials thus:

Benjamin Yudin has lectured and taught classes on mysticism for more than thirty years. Since 1979, Benjamin has been a member of the Fellowship of Friends where he received his training in keying the esoteric interpretations to sacred literature, legends, and myths.
Benjamin’s well loved and edifying museum tours attract people from all walks of life who are interested in his deciphering of the mystical message in art, sculpture, and architecture. Benjamin has served as the keynote speaker on mysticism, body types, features, and other esoteric themes for both private and public organizations. This would include Intentional Development, Financial Focus, and the Association for Past-Life Research and Therapies.

When he is not traveling, Benjamin teaches, via Skype, individual and group classes on mysticism from his home in California.

What a load of bullshit!

If I was Benjamin Yudin, I’d not be quite so proud of receiving my ‘training’ from the sociopathic sexual predator Robert Burton. What is Burton qualified to teach? How to scam and hoodwink people. Check. How to exchange supposed spiritual benefits in exchange for sex. Double or triple check, Yudin has learned that one particularly well. How to expand random firings of neurons to great bundles of self–referential fluff. Check. His site speaks for itself, continuous drivel, semantic content not just zero, but far less than zero. Actually harmful for those who might take it seriously. How to grossly indulge in spiritual materialism. Check. How to look for external signs and wonders to cover up internal emptiness. Check. Etc, etc.

So now he has a Masters degree in Advanced Superstition. What a big deal he must be!

Has Benjamin Yudin graduated from the FoF after thirty years or more? Nope, Big Fail. He prefers to remain a big fish in a very small pond, really just a puddle, and muddy at that. What does that say for his qualifications to teach anyone anything? By his own admission, he has abjectly failed; he is still an infantile dependent and worshipper of Burton. He joined an organization that indulged his weaknesses, puffed up his vainglory and sense of importance, and now wants to pass on these valuable lessons to other idiots. What a shallow poseur!

Honestly, if anyone other than other present members of the Fellowship of Friends responds to him or any of the equally grandiose and self–indulgent advertisements on the Asaf Braverman websites, I ‘almost’ feel they deserve what they get. But not quite. So, any seeker landing on these pages, know that this whole proliferating mass of websites are just additional portals to entice you into Robert Earl Burton’s fantasy world.

You have been warned!

131. nigel - June 29, 2012

…..from Asaf Braverman’s “Know Thyself” site…..

“Self-knowledge is all-encompassing. What is learned on one scale of experience can be applied to all scales. It is the highest form of knowledge, surpassing all other knowledge. Self-knowledge is also timeless, which means that what is gained in one era, benefits all subsequent generations. On this website we have gathered many and varied expressions of ancient wisdom that have been formulated and articulated by eminent men and women from all ages, traditions and cultures. Our compilation reveals the universal nature of man’s quest for self-knowledge and further shows that no age of mankind was necessarily any closer or farther from this quest than any other.”

…..and, as Burton would have it – “Know thy sex-partner”…..Nigel.

132. WhaleRider - June 30, 2012

“The Power of Nightmares” (Part 1)

By Adam Curtis, BBC

133. nigel - June 30, 2012

I like this passage from Walt Whitman…..Nigel.

“…..and that only that person has no great prudence to learn who has learnt to prefer real longlived things, and favors body and soul the same, and perceives the indirect assuredly following the direct, and what evil or good he does leaping onward and waiting to meet him again—and who in his spirit in any emergency whatever neither hurries or avoids death.”

REAL LONGLIVED THINGS? Does anyone think the two great ‘white elephants’, the Renaissance Vineyard and the Theatron will last? The Vineyard is already in decline and the Theatron just needs to be neglected (due to local laws)…..n.

134. Tempus Fugit - June 30, 2012

My special thanks to all of you who post here and carry the message of warning to others trapped in the FOF cult. If you are reading this and are one of those trapped, just remember you can leave any time, and the best time is NOW.

Please allow me to share a little more of my experience and encouragement with you.

A longstanding teaching of Robert Burton and the FOF is that “life people” are asleep or spiritually dead.

Actually, I know a lot of “life people” and am very fortunate to have met only one Robert Burton.

Curiously the “life people” I know are alive, both physically and spiritually, and Robert Burton is the only human being I have ever met who is physically alive but spiritually dead.

How do I know that life people are alive? Because of the love and compassion they show each other. How do I know that Robert Burton is dead? Because, apparently, he only loves himself.

This is of course just my opinion and the opinion that counts for you is your own.

Next time you see Robert Burton, try looking underneath the smiling face. But be careful – you may see the grinning head of death looking back.

135. Golden Veil - June 30, 2012

In light of the most recent comments made by Tempus Fugit,
the statement below is especially pertinent and so I re-post
it here. Ames Gilbert posted this on the Fellowship of Friends Discussion blog, November 19, 2009. Originally written in January of 2008, it can also be found on the Greater Fellowship website, and on the online site, Robert Earl Burton: An Unauthorized Blogography, October 11, 2011.

Why did you leave the School?


What do you say when someone you knew inside the organization, and not even too well, calls you one day from another continent and asks you to please explain why did you decided to leave the School? A brave step actually, because such direct questions are not normally voiced by current
members.

It’s not an easy answer, mostly because the question is phrased in a way I would not phrase it now. When you’re inside, you hear claims that people leave because they become “negative” about the money or sex or some other external issue, and because of such a trifle, they fail to look beyond to a “higher aim” that the organization is ostensibly serving.

Not to diminish the sexual manipulations and misuse of funds: they are no trifles. But they have been rationalized before and can always be rationalized again, in the name of the cause. That is what keeps people in: as long as they believe in the essential goodness of the cause of an “esoteric school”, any irregularities can be explained away and swept under the carpet, a carpet that I think would be several inches off the floor by now, after 37 years of the FoF.

But current members say external issues are never the real reason: it’s that people “lose the work”. Well, what can I say – they are right. If by “work” they mean perpetual self-monitoring for manifestations of thoughts and actions not in line with RB’s wishes; repetition of a magical formula that is to assist me in reaching the ever elusive Divine Presence, with a view to create an astral identity that will survive physical death – then yes, I have thoroughly lost any interest in the “work”. Whether you view that as a tragic failure or not depends on which side of the fence you are looking from. I say I never decided to leave because leaving eventually happened just as naturally as opening my
eyes after waking up in the morning.

It’s not “I left when I saw that RB [Robert Burton] was wrong,” or “I left when I saw that GH [Girard Haven] was wrong.” Not even “I left when I saw that PDO [Peter Demianovich Ouspensky] and GIG [George Ivanovich Gurdjieff] were wrong.” That all pales in light of the realization that I personally had been spectacularly, mind-bogglingly, fabulously WRONG.

I was wrong to take on faith so many statements of belief just because they sounded good and I wanted them to be true.


I was wrong to feel special.


I was wrong to believe in a hierarchy of more and less enlightened individuals.


I was wrong to assume that others can accurately tell me what
I am thinking, feeling or what state I am in.


I was wrong to think that just because some aspects of the teaching make sense, all of it should make sense, even if
I don’t yet understand it.


I was wrong to grasp at the slightest bit of teaching that seemed reasonable while dismissing massive evidence to the contrary.


I was wrong to want to be told what to do.

I was wrong to suppress my own dissenting questions because of peer pressure.

I was wrong to want to get others to express support for our beliefs.


I was wrong to make myself feel guilty for being non-compliant.

I was wrong to want to make others feel guilty for being non-compliant.


I was wrong to continue supporting what I no longer believed in.

I was wrong to value security and familiarity over my conscience.

I was wrong to feel that all this was normal.


I was wrong to feel that I had no choice.


I was wrong to think that I would assure any real friendships just by belonging to an organization together.


And above all, I was wrong to not trust myself and my own better judgment.

I left because that period of my life was irrevocably over. But the really interesting question for me right now is not “Why did you leave?” Much more fascinating and perplexing is “Why did I stay so long?”

136. Ames Gilbert - June 30, 2012

Golden Veil (#121-135 or thereabouts),
those are golden words. I just want to make it clear to readers that they are not my own, but those of ‘Traveler’, who used to blog here, and who wrote some other powerful and useful and worthwhile posts as well. This one appeared on the Greater Fellowship site, and I got Traveler’s permission to repost it over here . . .

137. Golden Veil - June 30, 2012

Ames, thank you for clarifying the authorship. Yes, many of us who were at one time with the Fellowship of Friends could say that we felt and thought very similarly to how Traveler describes… I could have written many of these assertions myself.

138. nigel - June 30, 2012

…..to “Traveler”, wherever he/she may be, with gratitude to Ames for reposting those words…..Nigel.

“Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting” – Dauphin, in ‘Henry V’, by William Shakespeare

139. Someone - June 30, 2012

A year ago was the last time I paid this blog a visit. I was counting back then 25 people posting during one month. I was just counting the June posters and it’s 25 folks again.

Many here are pointing out how blind current FOF members are. And I say – how bling are the 25 who are spilling thousands of words that almost no one will ever read.

The biggest target missing lies in the bitter fact that those who were sexually abused have given up any juridical action.

I have known some of you guys quite well and it makes me quite sad to see that you are failing to realize that unfortunately this battle against the FOF in this blog is totally futile.

Hence, life is too short to be punished twice – once inside the FOF and once after leaving it, by soaking into and endless futile ocean of words.

I have no offensive intentions, I am just sending a (yearly) wake-up call and this one is real.

140. Ames Gilbert - June 30, 2012

Someone (#121-139 or thereabouts),
thanks for your observations and your apparent regard for our welfare. I should point out that after you last visited in February this year (#118-17), several others and I asked you some questions (#27, http://tinyurl.com/6udwx94). You did not choose to reply. Nor have you in the intervening three months.
The questions remain . . .

141. brucelevy - July 1, 2012

139. Someone

“I have no offensive intentions…”

Intentions aside, you are genuinely offensive. Go away for another year please. Even with a year between posts, you’re bull shit is always the same..shallow, ignorant and useless. You have no idea who’s reading this blog, so please,,,bite me.

142. brucelevy - July 1, 2012

Yeah Ames, it didn’t seem like a year to me either. Every ten years is too often.

143. Shirley - July 1, 2012

139. Someone

“I have known some of you guys quite well…”

They might say the same about you if you were not anonymous. There are reasons many who post here choose to use pseudonyms, but it’s instances like these where it’s not a level playing field.

144. Shard_of_Oblivion - July 1, 2012

139. Someone

“…it makes me quite sad to see that you are failing to realize that unfortunately this battle against the FOF in this blog is totally futile.”

What you seem to do is assume firstly that the blog has a purpose, and secondly that you know what it is. And then you conclude it is failing in that purpose.

Well the blog can have a history, but composed as it is of many separate contributions from people who probably would not agree on what, if anything, it is for, the blog as such can hardly be said to have a purpose at all.

Here is another approach – we language possessing bipeds, finding ourselves on a rock in the solar system for a few years, like to amuse ourselves by chatting about shared experiences. The internet allows that to happen across long distances.

The blog is very often funny, and sometimes quite profound, why not just enjoy it for what it is?

That Burton though eh – what is he like?

145. Golden Veil - July 1, 2012

Is anyone aware of a 2012 apocalypse prediction by Robert Burton? Or, has he finally wised up to the fact that his numerous false prophecies have damaged his fabricated persona as a wise leader?

146. Joseph Nachumovitch - July 1, 2012

The most important thing, when you leave the school, is to not deny what you have learned.

147. nigel - July 1, 2012

…..just as a huge aside, I am so proud of my pub friend, Amy, a pure Solar, who has a month-old son, Kian Anthony, with her partner, Paul. She has taken to motherhood so naturally and has re-evoked this piece of poetry. How dare Burton ask for women to have abortions, just so he can have more attention and money from them…..Nigel.

“The White Cliffs” by Alice Duer Miller, poem XXXI (part)…..

Maternity is common, but not so
It seemed to me. Motherless, I did not know—
I was all unprepared to feel this glow,
Holy as a Madonna’s, and as crude
As any animal’s beatitude—
Crude as my own black cat’s, who used to bring
Her newest litter to me every spring,
And say, with green eyes shining in the sun:
‘Behold this miracle that I have done.’

148. nigel - July 1, 2012

146. Joseph Nachumovitch

If you are in for a ‘tussle’, count me out. I learnt that so-called ‘life-people’ are exactly that – people who are living their lives. I managed to pursue my trade, despite Burton’s demands, and, although I lost his precious ‘Old English Silver’ set, through my psychotic episode, which led to my being ‘released’ from the cult, I am now working with my own, dear students in the “Academy of Precious Metal Arts”, which I run with empathy and care for them…..Nigel.

149. Golden Veil - July 1, 2012

RE: 146. Joseph Nachumovitch

In other words…

45. Joseph Nachumovitch – February 17, 2012

“… I wanted to know whether there are other ex-students, like myself, who feel that corruption in the school or its teacher could not actually detract from what they gained in ways that matter to their evolution. Perhaps yet another way of asking would be whether or not they think they would have had more being now if they had not been in the school.”

Joseph, I met some really nice people in “The School” but my Centre Directors were / are severely deluded regarding “The Teacher.” That is no small thing. I cannot give any more reverence to what I gained from them than I would the persons that taught me the ujjiya breathing technique, or how to tie my shoes.

See my re-post above at 135 for further information.

150. Tim Campion - July 1, 2012

146. Joseph Nachumovitch

You must be “Someone’s” alter-ego, here with your “yearly” wake-up call. When you two appeared in February, Threshold offered some words of wisdom.

When you leave your so-called “school”, the most important thing you will learn is that you have made the wisest choice.

151. James Mclemore - July 2, 2012

146. Joseph Nachumovitch
“The most important thing, when you leave the school, is to not deny what you have learned.”

I agree with you Joseph. And if you learned something about yourself while you were there, or if you were able to use certain of the ideas you came into contact with as useful for starting your own investigations that is great. But I agree with Tim – the most important thing you can take from the FoF is in the true self-knowledge you can gain as you try to unravel just how in the hell you bought into some of the most outlandish ideas available while inside of a mind-numbing cult run by a sociopathic narcissistic con man.

A note to “someone”

I am pretty sure that most of the people who post here have already done that “unraveling” I spoke of above. Are you sure you have?

152. Mick Danger - July 2, 2012

Another note to someone (we know your type):
One thing you should have learned in your so-called “School” is never to lead off with an easily refuteable lie.

153. Toby - July 2, 2012

“… spilling thousands of words that almost no one will ever read.”

Translation:

“We can’t know for sure, but we’re afraid many people are reading.”

My take is that the page was picking up a little too much momentum and generating some posts that might resonate a little too much. For example, 135, where Golden Veil shared a beautiful old post by Traveler.

154. jomopinata - July 2, 2012

146/Joseph wrote:

“The most important thing, when you leave the school, is to not deny what you have learned.”

Beg your pardon, I definitely can’t sign on to this. Not as formulated.

Remember the ominous Ouspenskian shtick, Notes on the Decision to Work, that “if you agree [to work] and then go back, you will lose everything that you have acquired up to that time, and you will lose more really, because all that you acquired will turn into something wrong in you.”?

What do you think about that? I think it’s weirdly true: The toolbox that serves someone’s ability to remain in the cult (able to be characterized as “what you have learned”) continues to suck life out of you when you leave the cult. It is, in fact, something wrong in you. If you spent time in the cult, you learned lots of things that are just false, even though in you might have told yourself, and convinced yourself, that they felt true. If one tries to honor that learning, the product of perceptions engineered within a thought-reform environment, if one takes the view that having learned something previously, having come to a certain point of view, one needn’t, one oughtn’t, re-examine “what one has acquired,” then all future learning is constrained by that earlier “learning.”

In my view it is exactly necessary to be willing to question, to examine, and even to DISAVOW prior learning, having discovered that (for example)

• the learning was the product of an experience socially engineered to produce such a perception;

• the learning was the result of a natural illusion which people of a particular age, or a particular culture, or a particular station of life not uncommonly have;

• the learning was at best a partial truth which should be supplemented or even supplanted by later learning and experience, and possibly reopened or even discarded;

• the learning, when implemented, shut down future learning and led to more problems which in retrospect seemed unnecessary; and

• the feedback from friends and peers indicates that implementing the learning is affirmatively dysfunctional (I don’t mean “we don’t like it”; I mean, “you are behaving in a way which is seriously fucked up and damaging your relationships with others”).

“Denying”–disavowing–what one has learned is something everyone who leaves a cult should be open to doing. My experience is that the people who cling to the ominous, grave admonition “not to forget what you have acquired for yourself” tend to have a very superstitious relationship to ideas and experiences. Since when does one have to cling gravely to “what one has learned,” lest one “deny” it? It’s as though they are apprehensive that unless they admonish themselves to hold fast to “what they have learned for themselves,” those experiences are going to disappear into the ether, into some dissociated diaspora of things they once knew but can no longer remember.

I don’t think the psyche works that way. Experience does not disappear, but it definitely changes when called to memory through the lens of later experience. Later experience sheds light on earlier experience. We have to be open to disavowing conclusions reached on the basis of earlier experience if later experience suggests disavowal is the way to go.

155. silentpurr - July 2, 2012

The most important thing you learn must lead up to leaving.
If it hasn’t yet for you, then maybe you haven’t yet learned the ‘most important thing’.

156. jomopinata - July 2, 2012

139/Someone wrote:

it makes me quite sad to see that you are failing to realize that unfortunately this battle against the FOF in this blog is totally futile.

I picture that we are all sitting together around a fire, having a long conversation, eating watermelon, spitting pits into the fire, roasting marshmallows, having a good long talk. It continues for years. People come and people go, people we knew well and people we never met before. A few people just stay there, sometimes say something, sometimes say nothing. And every once and a while someone, or should I say Someone, shows up and tells us that our conversation is futile and that we are losing the battle, and then leaves again without talking to anybody. But from my perspective, he’s not talking to anybody in particular anyway; he’s just addressing some notion he has in his mind.

157. Shirley - July 3, 2012

156 jomopinata

Nice image, thank you.

Why must there be a sense of “success or failure” for this blog? Is the goal post supposed to be “bringing down Robert,” by which anything short of that equals failure? Who says so?

As an aside, perhaps we shouldn’t assume that all dues-paying FF members are deep-down emotional supporters of Robert or the FF.

Someone left the FF recently who said it took them years to do so. There are people who live around Oregon House whose lives are intricately bound up in a social and economic manner that causes them to depend on remaining, nominally, a FF member. To undo those dependencies may take some people longer than for others. It’s not exactly like O.H. is a major city where jobs and housing are aplenty. If we were 20, young and idealistic with no responsibilities or obligations, yes, easy to leave. But the impression I get is that the FF environment near Apollo is a bit like quicksand. Some individuals would like to leave, but it’s hard to haul oneself out.

I don’t think the blog is useless, and I don’t think we should be discouraged.

158. Golden Veil - July 3, 2012

I agree with Shirley. This is not a win or lose situation.

Some write here just to illuminate the other side of the gilded portrait that the Fellowship of Friends exhibits on their websites. Their aim is to assist prospective students and even students that have been around for awhile to get a fuller picture of the Fellowship of Friends. Others see the blog as a safe place to debrief themselves upon completion of their membership; to heal from what can be a very repressive environment where many needs were not met. These former students especially may need to comment upon and question the Fellowship of Friends. Some posters here were excommunicated ~ asked to leave the Fellowship of Friends ~ for asking questions while still students themselves. And sometimes it takes a lifetime to determine what to ask…

159. Mikey - July 3, 2012

♪ Sing around the campfire, ♫
Join the Campfire Girls! ♪♪
And now may the Great Scoutmaster of all great scouts be with us ‘till we meet again.

160. Ames Gilbert - July 3, 2012

Disavowing what one has learned in a cult . . .
perhaps another way of putting this might be, how does one deprogram oneself? I’d guess the answers are particular to each individual. I listed some things that helped me on page 7 of the blog (http://tinyurl.com/7ofmc3b), as did others round that time, and these pointers might be useful for anyone who needs a few ideas about how to get started.

But, that is after one has left.
If one is still in, one should start asking some questions . . .
Does your spiritual Guru or Prophesying Doomster resemble a cult? To satisfy your curiosity, it might be worth taking a simple test that will give you an idea whether what you thought was innocent objective altruistic spiritual advice and unbiased observations are actually something more nefarious that wants to control your mind, your life and/or your body, and empty your bank account.

1. Does Burton always make out like he’s right?
2. Does Burton paint a picture that ‘life’ people are always wrong?
3. Is there any exit from Burton’s philosophy without following the philosophy?
4. Does Burton’s group use its own special language or “cult-speak”?
5. Does “group-think” dominate, suppressing dissent and enforcing conformity of thinking?
6. Is Burton’s advice irrational at times, contradicting previous or other tenets of Burton’s advice?
7. Does Burton’s philosophy suppress disbelief?
8. Does Burton’s philosophy denigrate competing ideas, schools of thought, and other Guru’s?
9. Does Burton make personal attacks upon critics?
10. Does Burton believe non-followers need “fixing” or are “unfixable”, not worthy of “fixing” and so doomed?
11. Does Burton insist that his interpretation is the only correct way?
12. Do Burton and his disciples make you feel that by following him, you are “special”?
13. Is Burton’s philosophy an unquestionable dogma, sacred science, or infallible ideology?
14. Does Burton’s philosophy appeal to perceived unquestionable authorities?
15. Does following Burton confer a feeling of “instant community”?
16. Is Burton inconsistent and does he speak contradictory messages?
17. Does Burton use the thanks or personal testimonies of the success of earlier converts to validate advice?
18. Is Burton self-absorbed?
19. Are there potential or actual dual purposes, hidden agendas, or ulterior motives, in Burton’s advice?
20. Does Burton have difficulty admitting when he is wrong?
21. Does Burton undertake deceptive recruiting and/or aggressive promotion?
22. Do Burton’s ideas implant phobias and self-doubt into your psyche?
23. Are Burton and his disciples money grubbing?
24. Are you pressured to change your beliefs and adopt Burton’s beliefs?
25. Does Burton hold ideology and dogma higher than experience, probability and logic?
26. Does Burton ascribe unexplained or synchronous events to mystical manipulation?
27. Does Burton demand any of these: your faith, trust, money or body?
28. Does Burton use thought-stopping language and thought–terminating clichés and slogans?
29. Does Burton use affiliate front groups or websites, hidden promoters, or disguised propagandists?
30. Does Burton imply his belief equals truth?
31. Does Burton make use of double–binds?
32. Is Burton held accountable for his performance?
33. Is Burton a charismatic leader?
34. Does Burton prevent you from trusting you’re own mind?
35. Does Burton claim to have the panacea for personal problems or all problems?
36. Does Burton see the world through permanently tinted lenses?
37. Does Burton make you think you can’t make it without his advice or intercession?
38. Does Burton use unchallengeable sources of information?
39. Does Burton inflate his experience or make bombastic grandiose claims about performance?
40. Does Burton employ black and white thinking?

Score Key:
Add up your “yes” answers and compare to the table below.

1 to 8:
Probably Safe and reasonably selfless like Gandhi

9 to 17:
Heard of one Werner Erhard & EST? Self-improvement with a dark twist.

18 to 26:
Think of L. Ron & Scientology— Weird and unverifiable.

27 to 35:
Jonestown . . . plausible fringe idea gone horribly wrong. Watch what you drink . . .

36 to 40:
Put on your trainers and prepare for a ride on Hale-Bopp!

(Adapted, with thanks, from a post by “Cassandra” on a Japanese financial blog)

161. Golden Veil - July 3, 2012

~
The friend who inspired me to reflect more deeply upon the School said something like, “When do you graduate?”

162. nigel - July 3, 2012

Sorry to be so pathetically abashed, but I have so much pain/success to absorb with my friends…..

The spirit – electric body,
Cradled by soul,
Divine Feminine
Absorbes and thrusts through Fate
The Gross Body.

All we experienced
And all we experience Now
Is meant to be.

All my love…..Nigel.

163. Fee fi fo fum - July 3, 2012

146 Joseph

“The most important thing, when you leave the school, is to not deny what you have learned.”

This short, all-purpose statement has the tone of a Fellowship daily card: vague, general and tapping into one’s emotions, instead of the critical thinking part of one’s mind.

I would begin by questioning the expression, “the school,” where it was understood that the Fellowship was the manifestation of a true esoteric school, with a real teacher. Give them capital letters, School and Teacher, and voila, it all sounds weighty and special. Why not dismantle some of those hallowed expressions and stop calling it a School with a Teacher? It would be one small way to look at your experience more clearly.

If we keep carrying around in our minds and emotions vestiges of the Fellowship’s and Robert’s influence and “programming,” then it’s like physically leaving a prison, but carrying habits formed in that prison inside us. Then it’s like perpetuating mind control behavior inside you, but without paying the teaching payments. So you’ve saved the money, but you’re still in a self-prison in your mind and emotions. That’s one way that I understood what jomopinata said above in #121 / post 154 jomopinata:

“..The toolbox that serves someone’s ability to remain in the cult (able to be characterized as “what you have learned”) continues to suck life out of you when you leave the cult.”

164. WhaleRider - July 4, 2012

someone:
“I have known some of you guys quite well and it makes me quite sad to see that you are failing to realize that unfortunately this battle against the FOF in this blog is totally futile.”

Now i get what you mean.

It’s OK to feel sad, isn’t it?

You’re so right, someone!

What’s the point, really?

i feel quite sad now, too!

i am realizing how much time i have wasted saying and hearing basically the same message over and over again and still…years and years have gone by and nothing happens, nothing changes.

Sure, people come and go…some stay for whatever reason, but it’s still a futile struggle in the end.

i have learned nothing by being here, nothing at all from this experience, but how to make my life worse, not better!

i realize now I’ve wasted good years of my life pursuing a hopeless dream that my suffering could help a tiny part of the world be a better place and that my life could make a difference.

i wanted to matter, to lend a hand, to make another person smile.

i wanted to belong to something that was important, that had deeper meaning and ideals that are worth believing in.

i’ve even suggested others join in because, i guess, misery loves company.

Come to find out, it’s all just made-up bullshit by people pretending to be somebody they aren’t.

And you’re helping me realize that it really doesn’t matter, not one tiny bit!

What a fool i was! i must need help!

Well, might as well enjoy myself while i’m here, too.

Maybe by telling my truth here someone (not you) can empathize.

Please pass the relish, and throw another log on the fire!

165. Ames Gilbert - July 4, 2012

Someone (#121-139 or thereabouts),
thanks for stirring things up, there is a value to asking myself from time to time whether I am doing a worthwhile activity. But, no thanks for your lies, explicit and implicit. And, although I cannot prove you are insincere, your latest post, the (unfortunately usual for you) mix of lies and condescension, makes you suspect. You once said that you left for financial reasons; I don’t know if that was another lie, but that may explain why I have the feeling you never truly left, which makes you a shill for the Fellowship of Friends, either way. Certainly your invitation to “pass by on the other side” shows you are unacquainted with your conscience; you show no sympathy or compassion for victims of Burton’s betrayals–past, present or future.

Happy Independence Day, American readers. Nice to be relatively free, though I fear that in reality we have substituted one kind of tyranny for another.
Happy Dependence Day, members of the Fellowship of Friends, and members of any other similar organizations, in thrall to their leaders. Or should it be Happy Co-Dependence Day?
Have a good time at the picnic at Lake Nancy, or whatever it is nowadays. And by all means, take a few moments to think for yourselves. Here’s a possible subject: what is the difference between ‘revealed knowledge’ and something you have truly verified for yourself?
_______________________
The ideal tyranny is that which is ignorantly self-administered by its victims. The most perfect slaves are, therefore, those which blissfully and unawaredly enslave themselves.
Dresden James

166. jomopinata - July 5, 2012

WR/164
Great post. You want to flip that burger for me, if you wouldn’t mind? Oh, and don’t bogart that joint, my friend.

167. Fee fi fo fum - July 6, 2012

Summer is here. There was a time when students would be reminded via a Fellowship Vine that the summer heat was no excuse to be scantily clad. The first Vine, below, provoked a counter-Vine, or a counter-Something. You figure it out. Either way, those Gucci shoes and gold cufflinks were certainly no guarantee of saintly behavior.

“8 July, 1992

“With the approach of summer, it seems time to remind ourselves of the dress standards at Renaissance. In particular, except at the beach, the Teacher asks that men wear shirts and ladies, especially those with tramp features, wear bras. Such things as tank tops and sun dresses are also inappropriate for general wear; the best policy in this area (for both men and women) is to keep one’s shoulders covered.

“At the Lodge, skirts or shorts should be roughly the length of Bermuda shorts, that is, come within an inch or two of the knee… For dinner, the minimum standard for men is to wear clean, pressed shirts and trousers – something notably nicer than one would wear for work – and ladies are asked to wear skirts or dresses…

“Finally, there have been some rumours circulating regarding topless or nude swimming. Robert commented that although we may have this eventually, now is not the time…

“In thinking about these standards, please try not to react to them in terms of feminine dominance, for that would be the lower consuming the higher. Rather, try to use them in the spirit of work created for us by the School and our Teacher. In particular, these standards will help us to see that tramp and infra-sex are much more prevalent than most of us realize and they will show us much about our other features, attitudes and assumptions as well…”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“New Dress Standards at Renaissance”

“9 October, 1992

“Recent reminders of the dress standards at Renaissance seem not to have had the desired effect, and as a result tramp and Infra-Sex have increased at Renaissance. Accordingly, certain stringent new standards must be put into effect regarding the covering of bodily parts at Renaissance.

“There have been some rumours circulating regarding students not wearing underwear. While this behaviour may not be obvious on the surface, everything is visible in the electronic world. The non-wearing of underwear is an expression of tramp, and sends certain coarse messages to members of the opposing Sex. Such communication is not desirable on our Ark. This practice must be redressed, in particular at the Lodge. For men who find the modern sleek-cut “Jockey Short” to be too tight for comfort, the more traditional “Boxer Short” is an excellent alternative and may be purchased in a variety of natural fibers. For women, corsets and girdles are encouraged, and may be obtained from antique clothing shops nationwide. Furthermore, while most women have been abiding by the rules requiring that they wear bras, some bras still permit protrusions to be seen from the outside. Accordingly, such bras are to be avoided, in favour of the more traditional “padded” design. Students should wear their underwear on the outside, so that it can be verified.

“In addition, it seems to be time to reinstate the “Not-Looking” Exercise. Infra-Sexual attractions between members of the opposing Sexes it the work of World 96… When one finds oneself attracted by the bodily part of a member of another Sex, one should turn the other cheek and look away, using this as a reminder to reaffirm one’s commitment to the more noble and higher task at hand.

“In thinking about these new, rigorous standards, try not to react to them from feminine dominance, as this would simply reveal one’s lack of being and understanding. …”

168. nigel - July 6, 2012

167. Fee fi fo fum

Fucking stupid requests, really, when we all know sex has been rampant and arbtrary in the cult (especially by Burton) from the word ‘go’…..Nigel.

169. Moon Dweller - July 7, 2012

I have been wanting to write for awhile now. I am not in the FOF and never have been. I know someone who has been in this cult for a long time. Of course he does not for one moment believe it is a cult and must be mainlining the kool-aid to convince himself. Your blog has helped me understand so many behaviors I have experienced and wouldn’t have understood had I not stumbled on it through a link.A warm, brilliant, loving person has been molded into person who repeats all of the catch phrases, does not think for himself, question, or make his own decisions. Or when he does he chastises himself and becomes an even more devoted “student.” So many things I have read here from all of you I have seen in him. I have also seen glimpses of the person he was and could have been had he not chosen to stay. I still have hope that somehow he will leave one day as you have. So “someone” if you’re reading this you really don’t know who reads the blog, but I can tell you I am thankful that it’s here.
Moon Dweller

170. Ames Gilbert - July 7, 2012

Fee fi fo fum (#121-167 or thereabouts),
thank goodness for the sense of humor! I remember that one very well, and others, for example, a whole series of doctored “Daily Cards” that circulated.
I also remember the mixed feelings in myself; the laughter, of course, but also a sense of dread for whoever wrote and distributed these things, as police and informers got to work. And, simultaneously, I felt some kind of anger and exasperation at those who disturbed my sense of order, of what I, as a ‘serious student’ should be thinking or doing. I remember cheering inside when I overheard a vineyard worker telling Linda Rockwood (as she was then) to ‘just fuck off’ when in her (usually self-appointed) role of policeman, she questioned him about something. Yet, at the same time, I tried to avoid anything or anybody that smacked of rebellion, to ‘avoid losing my work’.

Humor was one safety valve to relieve the pressure of internal contradictions; there was another, alcohol. If followers were tipsy or drunk, there was an implicit permission to tell a greater amount of the truth, and such lapses were not reported. For sure, a large proportion of followers found refuge in wine; some became alcoholics. The final result of this turmoil was that I, and many fellow travelers, became more and more depressed, withdrawn and sometimes ill over the years.

171. Ames Gilbert - July 7, 2012

Jomo (#121-154 or thereabouts),
thank you very much for putting it so well. Persuading oneself that the utmost nonsense has validity and relevance is no mean feat, yet everyone who joined the Fellowship of Friends managed it in spades. Some more, some less, according to their reason and the season. Luckily, things can change, and sense can start to return in unexpected ways. Here is an example from my experience.
For one reason or another, I never did get to read any of Girard Haven’s books before I left, but I remember eagerly looking forward to the publication of Robert Earl Burton’s book, “Self-Remembering”. By that time, I was angry and confused about what I heard directly from Burton’s mouth, stuff like “I am a woman in a man’s body”, and “I am a 900 million year-old goddess”, and so on, but I was still stuck in the ‘crazy wisdom’ paradigm. I still believed the possibility of ‘C-Influence shaking the tree’ to get rid of weak students, and I was determined, willfully determined, to be one of the ones who would come to some higher understanding if I could hang on long enough. I ordered my copy like many others, even ordered an additional copy of the hardbound edition to be hand bound by a dedicated follower that I could relish on special occasions . . .
Finally it arrived. I took the day off, rested for several hours to prepare myself, and allowed my mind to become quieter. I started reading.
I can still remember my intense disappointment and despair. There were no answers here, only more questions about Burton’s sanity. The impression was of a deluxe collection of daily cards, a whole bunch of disconnected thoughts one or two sentences long, and some quotations, attributed and not. Certainly no instructions or insights into deepening self-remembering. I remember the disquiet as he literally claimed ownership of his students, and made quite clear to the most stupid (e.g., me) that he really did see himself as the necessary intermediary for any spiritual advancement. I read it from cover to cover, hoping that this was some highly elaborate joke and that there would be some revelation or dénouement before the end that would clarify his teaching and bring the heretofore irreconcilable bits and pieces together.
But, nothing. I had to face up to it, the book was exactly what it seemed, boring, repetitive, dull and above all, shallow, the product of an inferior mind, not the superior one so long advertised, the work of an imposter.
But I’m not going to jump into a professional critique, because someone more qualified, Peter den Harin, did a thorough and creditable job here:
http://tinyurl.com/crvhlxz and of course there are the Amazon reviews of the book, for and against, which are well worth reading before you invest your money and time.
___________________________

IMO, I think it is important to remember that the Fellowship of Friends was founded on lies by a corrupt charlatan, and this means that everything that followed, even if parts of it seemed good on their own terms, was subtly or not so subtly corrupted. Burton was fucking followers from the beginning, abusing their trust, and abusing his power over them. Right from the beginning, he was eying up the succulent morsels and planning their conquest and subjugation. Right from the beginning he was planning his parasitic existence, how he was going to live the rest of his life at their expense. Everything that was good came from his followers and their ideals and their efforts, not from him. He dishonored every one of those efforts and spread slime over everything. There was no ‘Golden Age’, he shitted on everything and everybody from day one. That is why one has to re-examine everything associated with one’s stay in the Fellowship from first principles; it was all “shit dressed in mink”.

172. nigel - July 7, 2012

170. Ames Gilbert

Thanks, Ames, for that link from “Peter den Harin”. Here is a part, copied and pasted, to show how incongruous and stupid is Burton’s ‘take’ on ‘The Teaching’…..Nigel.

“Concerning being, Burton says, “The highest dimension of being occurs when one’s self remembers to be.”(12) Again, which self? If he’s referring to self-remembering initiated by the organism, this is only the second plateau of self-remembering, certainly not its highest level. Gurdjieff persistently spoke of our sleep, our mechanicalness, our lack of real being. Oddly, Burton rarely mentions sleep or Gurdjieff’s many negations of our ordinary beliefs about ourselves, such as individuality, will, and the ability to do. Gurdjieff often made clear why this “negative” approach is necessary. It is not pleasant but it is fundamental to Fourth Way teaching. Burton presents instead a “feel good” approach which, interestingly, he buttresses by telling his students that he loves them.(13) This is totally antithetical to Gurdjieff’s teaching. And strangely, for all his proclamations of “love,” Burton’s prose gives the opposite impression. It is guarded, flat, and lacking not only in originality but in warmth and generosity.”

173. nigel - July 7, 2012

Upon having escaped Burton’s cult and experiencing life with all its wonder…..posted before, but worth repeating…..

“The Path of Love”, by Beth Neilsen Chapman…..

“Oh the path of love is deep with a thousand twists and turns
There are promises to keep, there are endless things to learn
Through the laughter and the tears sometimes lost, sometimes alone
Letting go is how you steer, and it always leads you home

Oh the path of love is free, it will never hold you back
Like the branches of a tree, reaching out till it’s lost track
And it opens wide each heart like the seed that breaks the stone
No matter where you are, it will always lead you home

Oh the path of love is true, and it only wants what’s best
There are doors it pulls us through as it puts us to the test
And there’s nothing to pretend, in our heart somehow we’ve known
The path of love won’t end, no it only leads us home
The path of love won’t end, it only leads us home”

Maybe Golden Veil will berate me for this but I am not living my life for her/him…..Nigel.

174. Arthur - July 7, 2012

Off the subject: Anyone seen the two hour long doctumentary/movie titled, “THRIVE: What On Earth Will It Take”, or visited the thrivemovement.com website?

It doesnt match anything the greatest light in 2,000 years has ever said. Does he know anything about the universe in terms of physics like Higgs Boson? What kind of teacher is this cad of the 70’s? Dapper Dan in spades. Snake Oil Salesman.

Watch the movie or go the web-site and compare intelligences.

175. fofblogmoderator - July 7, 2012

#169 is new

176. fofblogmoderator - July 7, 2012

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