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Fellowship Of Friends/Fourth Way School/Living Presence Discussion – Page 164 November 15, 2018

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

Here, you can share your thoughts, your stories, your own experiences as a former member of the FOF.  If you are considering becoming a member, you are invited to read the discussion to better know the organization you are considering joining; we welcome your questions. Participants in the discussion may post under their own name, or anonymously.

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1. Artemis44 - November 15, 2018

I’m reposting 129 — I think this information is relevant if somebody is considering joining the Fellowship of Friends.


Robert Burton – Founder of the Fellowship of Friends and the leader of the organization for 47 years, self-proclaimed “conscious” and “a man number 7”

Girard Haven – The highest member of the organization at the moment, self-proclaimed “conscious” and “a man number 5”

Dorian Matei – Robert Burton’s right hand and his appointed successor

Mihai Algiu – A high rank ex-member of the organization, used to be very close to Robert Burton

Post 129:

Here are some bits of information about the Fellowship of Friends that I happen to know as a recent former-member that may be useful for somebody considering joining then organization:

• The real reason Robert Burton can’t travel to Europe is that there is an arrest warrant in the European Community for him, not that the long plane flight can be detrimental to his health, as current members are told.

• A close friend of mine that fixed Girard Haven’s laptop computer found in the browser’s history that he had visited several porn sites depicting girls that looked underage – this was also reported here on this blog several years ago by Clara Haven, his wife at the time, when she mentioned that Girard “was addicted to child pornography”. I saw the links to the sites on Girard’s computer myself, so this is not a rumor or a conjecture.

• There was a situation involving Dorian Matei and Mihai Algiu several years ago: While Robert was away in one of his travels, Dorian and Mihai invited several women to the Galleria (Robert Burton’s home) for a “higher state”, which turned out to be an euphemism for “threesome”. Three women went to the Galleria and experienced the “higher state”, including Carmina Nica, Dorian’s current wife and the mother of his two children. When one woman that refused to participate in the ménage à trois told her husband, he called Robert and when he was back from his trip he kept Dorian and Mihai in seclusion for 10 days but eventually let them out when the dust had settled. Dorian was rehabilitated and regained his position as the “éminence grise” of the FoF; Mihai was expelled several months later when he started a “meditation group” (another “play of crime”) and today is a marriage and family therapist in Grass Valley.

Paraphrasing Shakespeare, to say that “something is rotten in the Fellowship of Friends” would be a gross understatement.

2. ton2u - November 16, 2018

I finally found time to look at the video clips from the previous page… thanks to cult survivor(s) for a reminder of what I’ve been missing all these years since leaving the Followship of Fools… and I have to thank any “lucky star” or providence, or fate, kismet, common sense, or guardian angels that may have helped me to escape what would have been years wasted in this ridiculous cult-trap.

I say I only got ’round to looking at the video clips – really I did only look… the old saying is true about a picture being worth much more than words… I trust my eyes to tell me more than all the words of the hypnotized and the hypnotizers, the dissemblers, prevaricators, prisoners, poisoners, rationalizers, liars and bullshitters – in other words I didn’t bother wasting time trying to “absorb” or “unpack” any of the verbalized bullshit, I try to avoid it, you know, walk around it – even if it tempts a sort of morbid curiosity on my part.

I went through enough – too many – of these little gatherings called ‘meetings’ with the same tired forms – the pro forma ‘formal attire,’ the group of “leaders” elevated in a ‘superior position’ on the dais above and staring down at the small flock gathered together in the name of…… the topics, the words, even the talking heads may change but the subjects remain the same…. the subjects being the ‘laity’ itself – whether they know it or not, they are the subjects of this project.

The social matrix of the FOF, from the earliest days, has always been based on subjugation and exploitation… adherence of laity to a belief system, thereby aiding, abetting, supporting their own exploitation, complying with their own subjugation…. all hidden behind notions of ‘refinery’ – ‘fine dining,’ ‘good manners,’ ‘nice’ clothing, – while utilizing mental /emotional chains in place of metal chains.

I only needed a brief look at the video clips – and even without listening to the bullshit issuing from mouths, the body language speaks volumes about a very grim state of affairs indeed.

3. brucelevy - November 16, 2018

2. ton2u

Yup. I got through about one minute until I was too nauseated to continue. All the same fake humility acts and bullshit as was there in the 1970’s.

4. Cult Survivor - November 17, 2018

1. Artemis44

Wow, you did open like 3 cans of worms there my friend!

I was thinking that this could make a great movie… Has anybody approached somebody from the entertainment industry? I tell you, this stuff would make a great “cult movie” (pun intended).

5. brucelevy - November 17, 2018

4. Cult Survivor

My friend, this is not entertainment. This is psychopathology.

6. Insider - November 17, 2018

I’m beginning to sense a bait-and-switch from Cult Survivor.

7. Cult Survivor - November 18, 2018

6. Insider

You are so smart — I’m not a former member of the Fellowship of Friends, I’m a screenwriter and I’m collecting material for my next screenplay: “Breaking News in Yuba County”.


Actually… Not. I was a member of the FOF from 1988 to 2016 and because of that my mind is as fucked up as yours.

8. Ames Gilbert - November 18, 2018

Latest news update:
Today, our Beloved President toured the sites of the huge fires in southern and northern California. Asked afterwards to rate his presidency, our Great Leader awarded himself an A+. “Can’t do better than that!”, he tweeted.

Knowing that he had landed at nearby Beale Air Force Base, and travelled in a modest motorcade several miles long to within just a few miles of Oregon House, I tweeted him thusly:

#TheRealDonaldChump: turn back, you are passing the once–in–several–lifetimes opportunity to meet #ActualRobertEarlBurton, the brightest light in 14 billion years™. And, he is willing to introduce you to his good buddy, #AbsoluteTheGenuineArticle! Do not pass up this opportunity to evolve to A++! And make #Armageddon great again!

So far, no reply.

9. Ames Gilbert - November 18, 2018

Well, Bruce (#3), I got further than you, but that is only because I had sixteen years of training in the Fellowship of Friends to fall back on. Still, I couldn’t force myself to listen to them all the way through either, so I can only report on the beginning of each and some random samples.

Dear readers, I have made the supreme sacrifice and downloaded the Dorian meeting and the Sasha meeting videos provided by Cult Survivor (see previous page for links). Herewith my reviews:

Enter Dorian…
The screen shows two people looking at the so–called ‘Goethe Oak’ in the so–called Shakespeare Meadow at the western edge of the property; a large branch that has broken off the tree lies on the ground.

I paraphrase:
Something big happens about every ten years in the FoF.
So, a large branch falls off an old oak the day before Robert’s birthday. (Note by Ames: aura of extreme significance attached to this. Dorian repeats this a couple of times to make sure the audience get it). Dorian felt at that time that it was a signal from Influence–C that something was going to happen, that often I–C does this to prepare those who are around and ‘present’, warns them of some significant change to come. Though, since he is able to control his mentation, he is able to prevent an actual thought about this actually manifesting. 5 ½ months afterwards comes the ‘play of crime’. “However, we are not here to talk about the broken branch, or even the great tree. We are here to talk about the blue sky, the blue sky above the great tree. And everything below it loses relevance very quickly.”

The rest of the monolog is about this level. Word salad, as far as I can tell, from just fast forwarding and sampling five–second sound bites from time to time. It is instructive to fast forward without the sound. The lack of animation of the props (I call them that because I can’t think of any practical use they might have) on either side becomes very apparent.

The ‘Dorian word salad’ is a jumble of random thoughts, with keywords like ‘presence’ and ‘C–Influence’ dotted here and there to give verisimilitude and alert the audience that something esoteric is going on, even if it doesn’t make any sense. I would find it hard to believe that anyone listening to this garble would be able to put a handle on just what Dorian was spouting a minute after the ‘meeting’ ended, let alone the next day.

Enter Sasha…

Lots more word salad, but with wilted ingredients and a much smaller selection of keywords. Plus I personally can’t get through the heavy accent. Anyway, fast forward to the end:

Up on the screen:
Without the assistance of the Divine Being,
I cannot succeed.
With that assistance, I cannot fail

“He’s a great man, isn’t he? Lincoln? And he is saying very simple words, and they are so simple and so true, it’s hard to believe in it. You know, it is like, oh yes, I’ve heard that. But remember that, once you’ve made your teaching payment, you’ve actually made a contract, divine assistance, and it is not a joke, in a way that’s what’s happening, that suddenly you are in a much bigger play…”

The movie stops right there. Whether this is because the operator fell asleep and knocked the camera over, or the audience stormed the stage, gagged Sasha and carried him off to the dungeon below the Galleria is not clear; either is possible.

10. Phutatorius - November 19, 2018

8. Ames: So sad, this missed opportunity for an historic encounter between these two great men!

11. Pyewacket - November 19, 2018

Yesterday, the 18th November was the 40th Anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana in which over 900 people died in a mass suicide by drinking Cyanide laced Kool-Aid, including over 300 children who were effectively murdered by their parents, apparently, the adults were instructed to give the poisoned drink to their kids first, a neat trick on the part of the organisers, ensuring that the parents would follow suit, and readily comply.

Last night, I caught the tail end of a tv documentary about the tragic incident, in large part; recounted by surviving former members, including Jones’ son, tape recordings and film footage from the time. What made this documentary different from another that I watched recently, was that it mainly focussed on the culpability of four women who made up the deranged leader’s “inner circle”. By all accounts, towards the end, Jones wasn’t capable of doing much at all, apart from making, long, rambling, often slurred sermons, all the while being kept going by regular injections of drugs, administered by his nurse/carer.

It was these four women who actually orchestrated the final act of human destruction. It was they that procured the Cyanide,s and calculated the dilution quantities, and even the amount of sugar to add to ensure its palatability. They even tested it on pigs.

In the end, Jones didn’t drink the mixture, but was shot by his right hand woman, before she killed herself. One strong point that was made regarded the mutually reinforcing relationship between a cult leader and his inner circle, in a kind of perverse feedback-loop, whereby they constantly revere and espouse the leaders god-like status and his infallibility, whilst he does the same by reinforcing their critical importance in the successful completion of his mission or life task. Such relationships based on this kind of deranged premise, can only end in disaster for all concerned. or involved in such an enterprise.

Gave me food for thought anyway. Are there similarities with the FoF? I certainly think so, in that it does appear to contain the poisoned relationship between a rambling and demented leader and a devoted inner circle, plus a totally compliant and submissive congregation.

12. ton2u - November 19, 2018

10 Pyewacket

“…the mutually reinforcing relationship between a cult leader and his inner circle…”

you might take a look at Wild Wild Country… an interesting study in more of the same type of cult dynamics… seems to be a common thread amongst cults in general… enablers become indistinguishable from and essential to the ‘enabled’:


13. Ames Gilbert - November 19, 2018

Yes, Pyewacket, the Jonestown suicide pact bears thinking about. A bunch of us were discussing the BBC article yesterday, by e–mail, and my wife and I are still talking about it. Since we were all ‘old–timers’, the ‘no media exercise’ was in force for us at that time, forty years ago. Nevertheless, I heard rumors. One reaction I do remember clearly when anyone hesitantly posited that there might be similarities was, “But we are not a cult!”. And at the time, I believed that.

Myself, I had no idea of the whole Jonestown setup, especially the murder of the congressman, until years later. I didn’t start perusing the media until 1985! And I still don’t have TV…

I can say with complete certainty that if the order had come down to commit suicide or assist others to ‘join Robert in Paradise’ or some other malarkey, I would have refused, and the majority would have refused. And, I would have immediately called the sheriff. I think that would still be true for the majority of followers today. But also I think there were and are a minority who would have obeyed without hesitation. Obviously, if someone had laced the water supply with some poison or toxin unbeknownst to the flock, there would have been no recourse.

These recent videos have some bearing on this, I think. I’m pretty sure Burton believes his shtick, but I’m not so sure about Dorian or Sasha. I felt that they might be going through the motions at some level; after all, their incomes and their plush life styles depend on it! Did anyone else get that feeling? It is hard for me to imagine even the most fervent head–nodder in the audience obeying instructions from either of them to commit suicide, but hey, what do I know? I’m not there, and I left 24 years ago.

One big (and IMO important) difference is that Jonestown was very, very remote, meaning the belief bubble was much less prone to being pricked. Oregon House is remote, but nothing like that, and there is regular interaction with ‘Life’, even if it is just going to one’s daily job, and that makes the situation healthier, IMHO, and rather less prone to go off the rails. Hopefully, this is not more wishful thinking.

14. Ames Gilbert - November 19, 2018

Alert readers have informed me that I did Pyewacket (previous page, #90) a grave injustice when I gently chided him for being out of date with the number of angels recruited to look over the shoulders of the followers of the God–Emperor of Oregon House, Robert Earl Burton, and keep them in line.

My hubris has inevitably led to a fall, splat! into a puddle of something smelly. So, I sincerely apologize. It is I who was way, way out of date. Actually, it was both of us, and how!
Imagine my surprise and consternation when I was sent a sample of a six–minute long video, titled “Men Who Became Angels”, produced by the Fellowship spinmeisters, which instructs the laity as to who has made the grade.

I’ll cut to the chase:
>>>>>>>>!!!! There are actually thirty–seven more ‘men who became angels’ in that video, for a total of eighty–one!!!!<<<<<<<<<

For those anxious to know more, here they are, in chronological order:
Joseph, Moses, Amenemope, Solomon, Homer, Solon, Ezekiel, Lao-Tzu, , Gautama Buddha, Confucius, Pindar, Sophocles, Phidias, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Lysippos, Cicero, Virgil, Horace, Jesus Christ, Paul the Apostle, Peter the Apostle, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, St. Augustine, Muhammad, Omar Khayyam, Al Ghazali, Bernard of Clairvaux, Maimonides, Ibn Arabi, Bahauddin, Rumi, Dante, Giotto di Bordone, Simone Martini, Petrarch, Hafiz, Chaucer, Andrei Rublev, Jan van Eyck, Fra Angelico, Kabir, Petrus Christus, Leonardo da Vinci, Guru Nanak, Titian, Dosso Dossi, Jacopo Pontormo, Veronese, Montaigne, Queen Elizabeth I, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Rubens, Velazquez, Rembrandt, Milton, Vivaldi, Bach, Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, Franklin, Houdon, Goya, Goethe, Blake, Wordsworth, Hans C. Andersen, Lincoln, Whitman, Jean-Leon Gerome, Lewis Carroll, Gurdjieff, Silouan the Athonite, Rilke, Ouspensky, Meher Baba, Rodney Collin, Alex Horn, and of course, lastly but mostly, Robert Earl Burton.

All male, except for Queen Elizabeth I …
[One of those awful second–class lower cosmos beings marring the otherwise perfect list of self–evidently superior males? What to do, what to do? The answer: Burton can claim that she was actually a male trapped in a woman’s body. Since he made the fortuitous discovery three decades ago that he is a goddess trapped in a man’s body, then why not? Ta–da, problem solved!]

• Congratulations to the Fellowship of Friends Research Octave™ for investing the countless hours necessary to come up with this list! But I think you left out Liberace…
• Congratulations to the denizens of the enclave who wish to name their residences after ‘conscious beings’; there are now many more choices!
• Congratulations to the new faces in the roster of ‘angels’, you must be as surprised as I am that your reputations and histories and creative output have just been kidnapped! And for such ends…
• Congratulations to Burton, who has once more misappropriated the works and legacies of innocent* folks who are so conveniently unable to protest their misuse.

*except Alex Horn—I expect they do a lot of snickering together in the dark as they compare notes and techniques.

15. Ames Gilbert - November 19, 2018

Ton (#11),
thanks, do you happen to know of any way to view this series apart from Netflix? There is no possible way to stream this on our slow, slow internet connection.

BTW, to pique other readers interest, this is an eight–part TV mini–series about the Rajneesh/Osho organization, and how they ended up trying to take over their corner of Oregon, and the methods they used. Total of six hours 45 minutes.

Same as Jonestown, I personally I had little idea this was happening at the time; this also occurred during the ‘no media’ period.

16. Tim Campion - November 19, 2018

The San Francisco Chronicle’s excellent April 20, 1981 report on The Fellowship of Friends stated:

And of Jones and his suicide colony in Guyana, Burton says confidently: “Mr. Jones was close to the gates of hell. We would hope we are close to the gates of heaven.”

Echoing Ames’ comment #12 above, we in the Fellowship could simultaneously express sympathy for, and dismiss, those poor deluded souls who became entrapped in groups such as The People’s Temple, the Hare Krishnas, Rajneeshpuram, and Scientology. After all, we knew the Fellowship was not a cult.

A few months after the Chronicle article was published, I wrote to my “life family”:

“The Fellowship has been receiving a bit of attention lately after appearing in an article on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle recently. It seems that a few former members found that they could capitalize on suspicions that have been cast upon “cults” in the last two years or so. Now we find certain people and some of the media referring to us as a cult, and immediately there are the preconceived notions and the fears that are directed towards such groups. I think though that it will be the people who know us, the merchants, the local citizens that will prove to be our strongest support. As for the rest, they will imagine what they wish- there is not much we can do for that, except maybe try to explain our goals to those who are willing to listen.”

17. Cult Survivor - November 19, 2018

16. Tim Campion

That proves that Robert Earl Burton is one of the best cult leaders in history. As I said on the previous page (post #116):

>”This shows that Robert is a cult leader par excellence — he has been coning people for almost half a century, and that would make amateurs like Jim Jones, Marshall Applewhite, Shoko Asahara, and David Koresh blush.”

18. Cult Survivor - November 19, 2018

13. Ames Gilbert

IMHO thinking that the Fellowship of Friends will not commit a mass suicide is not wishful thinking, it’s common sense. I personally don’t believe that Robert Earl Burton “believes his shtick”, using your words –- on the contrary –- and that may be one of the main differences between him and other doomsday cult leaders like Jim Jones and Marshall Applewhite, so the possibility of a “mass suicide” in the Fellowship of Friends is very slim. Robert Earl Burton will continue his life of luxury and promiscuity (yes, he is still having sex at 79) until he dies or is too crippled to function. Similarly to Jim Jones and Osho, Robert Earl Burton has his “inner circle” (Dorian Matei, Sasha Shalapanov, Rowena Taylor and Steven Dambeck) that is slowly taking over; I know those four individuals far too well to believe they will ask the retirement community in Oregon House to drink the Kool-Aid.

19. brucelevy - November 19, 2018

Burton’s life revolves, and has always revolved around two aspects of sex life. There’s his SEX sex, and the sex where every time he opens his mouth and spouts his bullshit he’s just jerking off on all his moronic followers. It’s a perfectly symbiotic relationship. A parasite and his hosts.

20. Pyewacket - November 20, 2018


Here’s another more alarming angle on the events in Guyana, that I’ve just come across on the Globalresearch site. The main element about Jonestown starts at 49 minutes in. Basically, this documentary implies that rather than being a mass suicide, what actually occurred was mass murder. The whole shebang being a CIA MKULTRA mind control operation, and that Jones himself was a long term CIA asset.

I did find the video somewhat persuasive, but guess we’ll never really know.

21. Pyewacket - November 20, 2018

#14 Ames. No offence taken Ames, and I was happy to be reminded that I’d forgotten to include the luminaries Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius and Rilke from the literary pantheon of guiding lights, amongst others. Hahaha…..so now there are 81, whoopee fucking doo, it must be a right old Tower of Babel over there at Renaissance or whatever it’s called these days. All those Guardian Angels must be falling over each other trying to get a word in edgeways and clamouring for the attention the deserve. Btw, do you think they might all speak English or does BJ Bobby have a Babel fish earpiece like out of Douglas Adams; Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe

22. WhaleRider - November 20, 2018


Consciousness Goes On Sale This Friday

Orgone House, CA-Robert E Burton, Inc. your one and only source of enlightenment, except when it’s not, has just announced the details of yet another “End-of-the-World-Didn’t-Happen-Again” Sale of higher consciousness for his followers who are lagging behind in their mandatory membership donations due to overspending on apocalypse supplies and guns.

This Friday only, the price for 20 minutes of the third state of consciousness will be slashed by an incredible 15% if the lucky follower brings his or her consciousness account back to zero, reimbursing the company for all the past higher states they have gracefully been bestowed upon on credit by the 81 angels hovering over the table. Payment is the principle the group survives upon; mental slavery doesn’t come cheap.

Followers all agree: 20 minutes of self consciousness seems like an eternity, especially when being force-fed yak poop during meetings.

But wait…there’s more! If you act now, like right now this instant, in that moment that just passed never to return, the fourth state of consciousness will be reduced by a whopping 50%, down from a lifetime of fruitless efforts to a one time lump sum of just $4,999 for five whole minutes! All major credit cards are accepted.

That’s right folks, five minutes of eternal blissful ignorance for less than five grand in which you get to leave all this insanity behind and kiss the imaginary feet of the Absolute, an event that you will use to impress your so-called friends and undoubtedly cherish for the rest of your impoverished, meaningless life in the cult.

Robert reminds us in this season of giving that it’s not what you give others or yourself that opens up the smoldering gates of Paradise unless it’s a blowjob (which obviously you can’t give yourself), it’s only what you give Apollo and him that matters.

Oh, and that conscious blowjob he just gave you or your husband, that doesn’t matter at all, even though you might remember it for the rest of your life, don’t worry, he won’t tell anyone about it, he’s got dementia and has already forgotten your name, dear.

So do burton a special favor on the biggest shopping day of the year. Not that kind of favor guys…pay up!! Why shop for anything or anyone else? Who needs more crap? Let him go shopping instead! He will be thankful and you will, too. Remember ladies, when burton is out shopping…your husband is off duty!

23. ton2u - November 20, 2018

Ames @ 15

Try getting it delivered on dvd from Netflix… they have free promotional periods to get people to join… I stream but still use their dvd delivery for some titles.


24. Ames Gilbert - November 20, 2018

Thanks, Ton, I already found a new DVD edition of the series on eBay, and it’s on the way…

25. lark ascending - November 21, 2018

Ames so who is your favorite conscious being? I know that this is blog is aimed at Fellowship/REB bashing, What are thoughts and attitudes of people on this blog towards the 4th way?

26. Insider - November 21, 2018

25. Lark
Shining a light on and through Robert Burton is not REB bashing. It’s waking up. It’s becoming Real.

27. Insider - November 21, 2018

25. Lark

Questions for you:

–Are you still dreaming the Fellowship dream (you know, the one about being a conscious being and on your way to Paradise)?

–Do you know that everything you believe about gods and angels and “men who became angels” was invented by Alex Horn and Robert Burton? (Not to say there have not been thousands of distinguished and influential men and women throughout the ages.)

–Do you know that Burton is no more of a “conscious being” than you or me?

–Do you know that Burton left the spiritual path a very long time ago, and has been functioning on habits, memories, and a crystallized public act ever since? (Do you still believe the act?)

–Have you observed yet that everyone in the Fellowship learns how to act out their imaginary idea of what a “conscious being” is like, with Burton leading the way? (Can you not see through Linda, Dorian, Marcus, and all the rest?)

–Can you see that the Fellowship, whatever it once was, or could have been, has been reduced to a religious cult for the benefit and pleasure of Robert Earl Burton?

–Do you know that Burton never took seriously the idea of “creating a new civilization” that would far outlast the Fellowship? Are you aware that Burton’s intimates know that he is only making plans to get himself comfortably and securely to the end of his own life (and the rest of you are on your own)?

28. Ames Gilbert - November 21, 2018

Lark Ascending (what a nice name!), thanks for the question, but IMHO to have a productive conversation, you would first have to tell me what you mean by ‘conscious’ and then what you mean by a ‘conscious being’. I would imagine it would be quite hard to avoid getting into a circular discussion; for example, by naming some ‘conscious being’ and then pointing at him or her and saying that person epitomizes or models ‘consciousness’ by word or action. But, by all means, go ahead if you like!

Myself, I have no idea, so I certainly can’t tell you my favorite! But I can say that my thinking is more along the lines of folks like Sri Nisargadatta (“I am That”) than anyone on the original FoF list. Right now, I don’t have the time or inclination to explore the added 37…

As far as bashing Burton and the FoF, I plead guilty. All I can say in my defense is that when I started this phase on the blog a month ago, I had abstained for a year or so. And I do try to inject some humor into what is a tragic situation—from my POV.

The ‘Fourth Way’? Well, I got thoroughly conditioned into a bastardized form during my visit to the Burton/FoF bubble, so I’ve tried, not entirely successfully, to dump that version. AFAIK, one would have to find a real ‘teacher’ for it to have any chance of being viable, and I have already proven to myself I don’t have the discrimination to recognize a real ‘teacher’, haven’t I? But I had some fun times intellectually for a while, there are some neat ideas to explore. Yet, IMHO, what is available really are just some ‘fragments of an unknown teaching’, just like the book says, and I’m not expecting anyone to find the missing parts and present the whole—if that were even possible.

29. Ames Gilbert - November 21, 2018

…and from over there at BePeriod,

Introductory Workshop hosted by Asaf Braverman:  
The Seven Steps of Self-Development

What are the steps on the path of self-development? Join us for an introductory workshop that will explore the 7 steps of psychological evolution. We will superimpose these steps onto the Biblical Kings of Israel, drawing a parallel between their legendary movement from anarchy to government, to the psychological practice of freeing oneself from habit and attaining self-mastery. 25 NOVEMBER 2018 | 4pm UTC

So many suppositions packed into one short paragraph!
Such as:
• Everyone is lacking something vitally important, implying that they are inherently faulty
• There is a ‘path’
• and that Asaf knows it
• For a lucky few, Asaf will reveal that ‘path’,
• and how to overcome your lack
• That there are ‘steps’
• and that there are seven steps, no more, no less
That’s seven ‘givens’ or suppositions, just to start.

When you press the “Register” button on the web page, you have already put yourself at a disadvantage: you have accepted these premises, at least to some extent.

Also, when you click that button, you have already committed to an investment of your time, even though this first seminar is ‘free’ monetarily. Hence, you later might feel reluctant to throw away this investment.

Next, that you are going to receive new (and presumably, ‘esoteric’) knowledge. Asaf is going to make the connections between the ‘Biblical Kings of Israel’ and a method of ‘freeing yourself from habit and attaining self–mastery’. Sounds good, but the moment you accept that Asaf is more knowledgeable and qualified, you have just given away another degree of independence, that is, you are starting on the road of dependence on Asaf. And this means that you have also accepted that you are his inferior and he is your superior in some way, however benign it may seem to start with. Moreover, you are accepting a whole bunch of things, even provisionally, such as:
• the existence of the Biblical Kings in reality/history at all
• that an appearance itself in the Bible somehow confers authority on the claim, whether primary or secondary (claims of authority asserted by the characters themselves in the story or by other supporting characters in the tale)
• that they or their history is somehow relevant to you at this time
• that the interpretation of their history by Asaf is correct,
• and has significance to you and your wellbeing
• that Asaf’s definition of what is a habit is correct
• that Asaf’s suggestions about what are harmful habits is correct (even those elucidated from you, if he uses the Socratic method)
• that it is possible, to ‘free oneself from habit’
• that it is beneficial to ‘free oneself from habit’
• that Asaf knows what self–mastery is
• and how to get there
• plus several other, more subliminal, second–order assertions…
Note that most of these are untestable and unprovable even if Asaf were to eventually help you ‘master yourself’. That is, you would only have his word and your modified psychology and worldview that you had done so. And even if you accept them provisionally, you have allowed these thought–forms to establish themselves in your world view.

Maybe more later, but this is surely enough for an aspiring ‘seeker’ to be getting on with.

Look back in this blog if you want to know more about what Ames thinks of Asaf Braverman’s qualifications to teach anything about the Fourth Way, per se.
Question everything, especially your assumptions, down to the bedrock, it’s a wild and woolly and sometimes dangerous metaphysical world out there!

30. brucelevy - November 22, 2018

Unfortunately Ames, and I know you know this, there will always be flocks that are attracted to confident sociopaths and malignant narcissists. That’s how the dynamic works. That’s how cults perpetuate themselves. There’s a sucker born every minute. Take a very tiny bit of readily available truth and surround it with a lot of pseudo-esoteric bullshit and fluff and there you have it. A diseased turd cake that will be lapped up by the morons…like flies on shit. It’s always been there. It’s what organized religion counts on. It’s what the mini-gurus do. They have a pathological need to wave their limp, impotent dicks in the air at anyone who’ll stop to watch.

31. Cult Survivor - November 22, 2018

29. Ames Gilbert

I have a friend that was in Asaf Braverman’s “school” and he told me how his “BE Community” works. Members pay 50 US Dollars a month for a weekly “online workshop” with Asaf Braverman, participation in a WhatsApp “discussion group” and a subscription to the BePeriod.com website with a repository of 20+ “video tutorials” by Asaf Braverman on topics like “Consciousness”, “Identification”, “The Four Lower Centers”, etc. My friend also told me that when he left there were approximately 100 members in the “Be Community”, so that would be 5,000 USD per month. Not bad, isn’t it? Wait, there is more… A number of members (my friend estimated between 15 and 20) do a private Skype session with Asaf Braverman every month for 100 USD, so that’s another 1,500 to 2,000 USD per month going to Asaf Braverman’s pocket. And here comes the juicy information: Asaf Braverman organizes two “worldwide gatherings” plus a couple of “regional gatherings” per year at the cost of 2,000 USD per person. That cost includes visits to museums and historical places and accommodation in a cheap Airbnb apartment (airfare and food are not included). I estimate that the Airbnb will cost around 300 USD per person for the 5 days that the events usually last and my friend estimates that 15-20 people go to those events (the same that do the private sessions), so we are talking 102,000 to 136,000 USD per year or 8,500 to 11,300 USD per month going to Asaf Braverman bank account.

So here is the final amount that Asaf is pocketing every month (are you ready?):

Membership: 5,000 USD
Private sessions: 1,500 to 2,000 USD
Events: 8,500 to 11,300 USD
TOTAL: 15,000 to 18,300 USD PER MONTH

Not bad, right? As the membership grows, so will Asaf Braverman’s “salary”. We can see how the 18 years that Asaf Braverman spent with Robert Earl Burton trained him very well on how to organize groups and take peoples’ money, but I’ll dare to say that Asaf Braverman took the whole concept to another level.

32. Ames Gilbert - November 22, 2018

Well, in honor of Girard Haven, who once wrote about the importance of verification in a Fourth Way school on page 576 of his book, “Creating a Soul” in these terms:

In particular, if he [Robert Earl Burton] knows what he is doing and we don’t, we have no basis for judging or doubting him. Instead, we simply have to trust him, as a child trusts his parents, or dog trusts its master. If he asks us to do things which seem to have no connection to awakening–or even to be ‘wrong’—we have no choice but to do them anyway.

… I’m posting this very pertinent recording, made with cunningly hidden cameras, of Thanksgiving Dinner with Burton in the Wordsworth Room, November 22, 2018.
It shows what happens when followers take Girard’s dog analogy as seriously as he and Burton do:


I’m sure alert readers will be able to recognize Burton himself, and those followers who were able to purchase tickets to dine with him.

Have a great Thanksgiving, all! I am especially grateful that I escaped relatively unscathed, and I hope healing and benediction attend all those less fortunate, those who have escaped and those yet to escape.

33. Jess - November 22, 2018

Personally as the video shows dogs have more brains than Girard Haven and certainly do not follow blindly and lick the ass of a narcissistic psychopath. There are tools and there are other tools.

34. lark ascending - November 22, 2018

Ames I have been reading ‘I am That’ of and on for few years, I find it elevating in ‘down times’ but it lucks instructions or methods.
Did not Sri Nisargadatta or Meher Baba had human faults, that were not recorded by their followers?
What about Gurdjieff we know that he created animosity within his followers, only now he is been put on a pedestal, but he created or found methods, you might agree or disagree with.
As for a teacher, How can anyone find a teacher and know that he is the right teacher, don’t you have to take a ‘chance’ and then hope for the best?
Happy thanksgiving

35. Jess - November 23, 2018

“You or I might think that at least one would show courage and put up a fight. But neither you nor I have suffered as they,and even we have born witness in silence to lesser ills under less dire threat. Yet;in the face or evil,to sit silent is an even greater evil. Complacency is ever the enabler of darkest deeds.” Robert Fanney

36. Insider - November 24, 2018

35. Jess

In the fairy tale bubble mind of the typical Fellowship member, the immutable law of cause-and-effect, Karma, or whatever other name it goes by, is suspended as long as the member has not “lost” Robert Burton, the Fellowship, or “Influence C.” One no longer has to worry about nuisances like taking responsibility for one’s actions, or failures to act. “The play is written,” endlessly intones Burton and his enablers. Thus a member in good standing never has to face the consequences of anything they do or think (as the rest of humanity does), because after all, “Influence C wanted me to do this.”

37. Jess - November 24, 2018

It took some time into the night to meander through tacit and presumed ideas on consciousness and who may possess it to any degree and I defer to Ames inasmuch as there is no concrete standard by which to discern higher states. Some have done it with drugs some in battle or yet others by stresses of life itself. We all know when we are there but incomprehensible to others as Meher Baba spoke. Yet the Fellowship. What a bunch of mutually preening morons. What group think. As Insider inferred all under the non thinking parasol of course influence.

38. Ames Gilbert - November 24, 2018

Lark Ascending,
My only care is to try to get ‘seekers’ to think before they make a commitment. If they decide that they can’t continue without a teacher, I’m inviting them to sincerely ask themselves, what went into that decision? And if they do go for it, what kind of questions should they ask of this prospective teacher.

I made a list of possible questions on page 156, #96. Have a look if you’re interested:

…and I ended the list with this comment:
…a lot of questions to be sure, but you are putting your time, money, effort, body and even your life on the line, so why not try to make the right decision? You cannot have too much information in these circumstances.
From someone who’s Been There and Done That

In the meantime, based on my direct experience, I recommend that any seeker stay well clear of Burton and the Fellowship of Friends. And from my indirect knowledge based on reports I trust and my own logic, I say be mighty careful of any offshoots of Burton and the Fellowship of Friends.

Does this make sense to you?

In those questions above, you’ll notice I don’t provide any answers. That’s up to you. But I can tell you that for me, big, red flags would be: anything remotely hinting of coercion (exploitation of the disparity of power between seeker and teacher), especially sexual, and, leader living off his/her students. But, that’s just me.

And BTW, Gurdjieff certainly wouldn’t have made the grade, and neither would Ouspensky in the latter part of his life, and of course, certainly not Horn. Or Meher Baba.
All this, IMHO.

As you say, you do have to ‘take a chance’ at some point, if you choose that path. But why not at least increase the odds of success, try to winnow out the obvious frauds, why not ask those who ‘have been there and done that’? Why not take precautions (like the one I mentioned, about having a ‘buddy’ who does NOT join, who stays in contact to remind you of what your aims were before you took the plunge)? And, for goodness’ sake, jettison any magical thinking!

P.S., if you can think of more, or better questions, please post them here. I’ll add them to the collection!

39. Ames Gilbert - November 24, 2018

Cult Survivor, thanks for educating us about the financial realities of Asaf Braverman’s group. $216k per year and probably growing!

Fuck, fuck, fucking fuck! Even though I knew that scammers have made fortunes and reputations preying on gullible seekers ever since the spiritual impulse arose in man, for some reason I was still surprised. As Bruce points out above, it’s a phenomenon we humans can’t seem to escape.
Well, Asaf has indeed learned at the feet of a master.

When I first read your post, an image of Shelob, the disgusting spider featured in Lord of the Rings cycle, came to mind. A repellent, loathsome creature blocking the way forward. And now the revolting spiderlings she has produced and nurtured have left the cesspool where they were raised and nurtured, and are weaving their own webs on other paths, and catching their own prey in turn and fattening up.

These parasites are all over the place, on different scales, from ripping off pensioners by the millions in religious fantasy/horror TV shows like the “700 Club”, to these backyard cults, which, though small, still make a great income for their founders.

When I was shown the official financial books for the Fellowship of Friends in 1995, income was running at about $4.5 million per year. No doubt the unofficial income made the total much, much higher.
But, at that time there were also considerable expenses, subsidizing the losses in the vineyard, salaries, etc., apart from the shopping and travelling. So Asaf may have a way to go, but his expenses are low, and he’s made a great start. If only he had access to millions of internet users…

If your friend would be willing to tell why he joined Asaf’s group, and as importantly, why he left, I for one would welcome his observations. He/she could tell their story via you, or just grab a name and post anonymously here.

40. ton2u - November 24, 2018

Ames to Lark @ 38:

“…As you say, you do have to ‘take a chance’ at some point, if you choose that path….”

The “if” of choice here is of the essence… “IF you choose that path…”

Why does one feel compelled to “take a chance” ? and why does one choose a particular path? There are many to choose from in today’s “spiritual supermarket.” What exactly is one looking for ? One must have something in mind when considering the many choices available? Or is it simply based on impulse buying ? conditioning imprinted by living in a materialistic milieu…

If one doesn’t have an idea of what one’s own individual inner choice is about – that is, what is motivating one’s impulses in this regard, then I would say regardless of the “path” chosen, one likely starting off on “the wrong foot” – or at best the footing is uncertain. But you live and learn and we learn from “mistakes” – I suppose that’s what life is about anyway.

I can speculate somewhat here on a general answer to my own question, since once upon a time I was at a place in life where I felt an overriding urge or impulse “to take a chance” – to choose a path…

It seems a basic human impulse to explore, to search, to ‘seek’ – as an impulse this can assume many forms… acting upon an impulse without the restraint of self-reflection may mean one is controlled by a compulsion… a sort of “unconscious” – or at least an irresistible impulse which has not been penetrated by reason and rationality.

Some introspection might go a long way in avoiding the pitfalls of a compulsion – a pause for self-reflection, to ask oneself what it is one hopes to achieve, what one hopes to find in embarking on a “path”… whatever the path.

At best the journey along any path reveals various aspects of the self Ironic isn’t it, you begin with the self, it’s your self that makes the choice – and then you arrive at the self. Realization of this simple fact might save a lot of unnecessary toil and grief – it may even save a life. With this realization one’s already arrived at the destination… you see, we are our own teacher, our own student, our own ‘savior’ :

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T. S. Eliot

41. ton2u - November 24, 2018

Reasons for Waiting:

42. lark ascending - November 26, 2018

Hi Ames, I looked at 156/96 thank you for providing questions to ask as requirements for a legitimate teacher.
However it would help if you provide examples of past teachers you heard of or know and who have met all the requirements you posted, just so I will know if there is even a chance of finding or being a teacher.
My understanding is that right now the only teacher that ‘made it’ is Sri Nisaragatta (you mentioned him) and even Jesus did not make it.
Many student who left the Fellowship seek/found other spiritual teachers or like Rupert Spira, Adyashanti and other teachers of Non Duality, and many still believe that Gurdjieff was/is a real teacher.
As for myself the main question I will ask is can I learn something of value from a teacher or any other person, then I meet teachers every day in the train and in my office.
I understand your concern for ‘purity’, safety and exploitation of ‘innocence’ which is a major concern, but Is it not part of the learning of being alive, with or without a teacher?
The last point I will make is that the reason we are now talking with similar understanding (more or less) is because we share similar knowledge that we came across in the past, you can call it esoteric, the 4th way or something else.

43. ton2u - November 26, 2018

…some folks need a daddy to tell them what to do, how to think, what to believe.

44. jess - November 27, 2018

Starts scmaltzy and personal, but go deeper…

45. Cult Survivor - November 27, 2018

39. Ames Gilbert

Per your request, I asked my friend how she found Asaf Braverman’s “school” and she told me that she searched on Google for the word “Gurdjieff” because a friend that is also a “seeker” told her that she should “check that guy”. She told me that Asaf Braverman’s site came up on top, along with Wikipedia and the Gurdjieff Foundation. I did a search on Google and couldn’t see Asaf Braverman’s site on the first page, so I asked her about that and she said that there is a site on the first page that redirects visitors to Asaf Braverman’s main site at beperiod.com. I went to back to Google and found that site (ggurdjieff.com) right at the top, and then I saw what she meant: that site is just a “gateway” to beperiod.com and is designed to rank on the top of the searches for the term “Gurdjieff”. We can see how “professional” Asaf Braverman is — he certainly hired people that are specialists in what is called “search engine optimization” in order to rank high on Google and attract thousands of visitors, snce when they reach beperiod.com, people can watch Asaf Braverman’s 20+ “tutorial videos” on Fourth Way topics (very professional looking, by the way) and participate in a “free introductory workshop”, so they are “in” so to speak. As you can see, a highly sophisticated marketing process that is only used for big gurus with deep pockets like Eckhart Tolle and not by small groups like Asaf Braverman’s. Where did the money come from? Can it be from Asaf Braverman’s family that is known to be wealthy? Did Asaf Braverman use Fellowship of Friend’s resources during the two years that he developed his “school” inside the Fellowship of Friends? Probably a combination of both. At any rate, compare Asaf Braverman’s marketing techniques with Robert Burton’s “bookmarking octave” and you can see why I say that Asaf Braverman took Robert Burton’s recruiting process to a whole new level.

Finally, I asked my friend why she left Asaf Braverman’s group and she said that she found the weekly workshops “too intellectual and monotonous” (Asaf Braverman does most of the talking with rare interventions of the participants, sounds familiar?) and the WhatsApp discussion group was “too unstructured and chaotic and on top of that there were some weird people” (there is no filter — anybody can join Asaf Braverman’s “school” online just going to beperiod.com and choosing the level of membership they want: $50 for online workshops, beperiod.com site and WhatsApp discussion groups or $150 for all the above plus an additional monthly private session with Asaf Braverman, automatic debit via PayPal, of course).

She said that the straw that broke the camel’s back was when she met with her friend that recommended Gurdjieff and he asked her what was going on with her spiritual life and she told him about Asaf Braverman. Her friend said “What? You joined that guy’s group? Just google his name together with Robert Burton and see how much crap there is about them online”. She left the same day.

46. Ames Gilbert - November 28, 2018

Lark Ascending,
what Ton said!

Hey, I just made up a bunch of questions, which I based on my experiences and what I wish I had asked. So you, being independent and clear–headed, can make up your own questions. If you ask and do get answers, you can rely on your own judgement about what makes sense and what jives with your own ‘code of conduct’. And don’t discount your ‘gut feeling’. If you are a relatively normal and decent human being, that ‘gut feeling’ is a great gift and will keep you out of unnecessary trouble if you listen to it. I didn’t, and had to find out the hard way.

Nevertheless, I’m not trying to sell you the idea that you can choose some safe existence without risk. Risk is an essential part of our experiences, and I would say gives meaning and gravitas to our choices. Otherwise, we would be robots cruising along our pre–ordained paths, as Robert Burton preaches. So, go out there joyfully, squeeze the juice out of every experience, love it all and give thanks for it all …

47. Ames Gilbert - November 28, 2018

Cult Survivor,
thank you very much for taking the time to ask your friend those questions and transcribing and posting her replies. And please thank your friend for her frank and open answers, they are valuable to any seeker.

I am not surprised at the format of Asaf Braverman’s ‘teaching’, it is a result of both his weaknesses/strengths and his years of training. Which means, he is trapped. He needs a bunch of followers, hanging on his every word, and if he is not already addicted to the income stream, he likely soon will be, IMO.

Being a slave to one’s desires was normalized for him in the Fellowship of Friends.

An outside observer can see Burton’s abject slavery quite clearly. It is beyond ironic that close–up, followers can persuade themselves that the opposite is true; for them, he is the exemplar of perfect freedom. That is, they believe he can do as he pleases in every second of every day, since he is ‘conscious’.
Yet, in actual fact, he spends his days in perfect thrall to his desires, greed, and ambition to dominate the world within his bubble. He spends his days worshipping dick and planning how to get more—he is helpless against these urges. He spends his days micromanaging the lives of his followers—these impulses govern him. He spends his days planning and going on shopping expeditions, how to raise more money, or dressing his harem to mimic his tastes—he cannot do otherwise. And, decade after decade, he has shown he simply cannot control the need to vocalize his unconsidered opinion about, well, anything and everything.

Behold, this is Asaf Braverman’s teacher…

So, if he does not recognize the chains he is busy building for himself and throw them off while he can, this is Asaf’s future as well, differing only in detail.

48. Mick - November 29, 2018

Dear Ames:
I would like to hear your opinion/answer to Lark’s question about naming some person(s) who “make the grade” and/or why the people you mention do not meet your requirements.
Thanking you in advance,

49. Ames Gilbert - November 29, 2018

Mike (#48),

But seriously, this:

Megalopta genalis, M, face, panama, barocolorado_2014-09-19-16.49.39 ZS PMax

There are eight pages. I’m enjoying one a day…

50. Golden Veil - November 29, 2018

42. lark ascending

“As for myself the main question I will ask is can I learn something of value from a teacher or any other person, then I meet teachers every day in the train and in my office.
I understand your concern for ‘purity’, safety and exploitation of ‘innocence’ which is a major concern, but Is it not part of the learning of being alive, with or without a teacher?
The last point I will make is that the reason we are now talking with similar understanding (more or less) is because we share similar knowledge that we came across in the past, you can call it esoteric, the 4th way or something else.”

Dear lark ascending,

Did you mean to say in your first sentence: “As for myself, the main question I will ask is, if I can learn something of value from a teacher or any other person, then I meet teachers every day on the train and in my office.”?

I hope that you don’t mind my chiming in on your question to Ames, but I don’t believe in teachers who say that they are the reincarnated Christ or a divinity of one kind or another; they are all human beings. But, I do believe that by being attentive we can learn from strangers on a train or colleagues at the office.

As for your statement, “I understand your concern for ‘purity’, safety and exploitation of ‘innocence’ which is a major concern, but Is it not part of the learning of being alive, with or without a teacher?”

I don’t agree. You might want to take your exploitation with a grain of salt. Being sexual assaulted by a teacher, taken for a financial ride and asked to donate your life savings, working your fingers to the bone and not for the greater good, but to line a cult leader’s silken pockets with gold and provide him with a perpetually rotating harem of orgy participants – are not necessary to “learning to be alive.”

And, I think that what most of us share is that at one time we bought in to a Fourth Way derivative Robert Burton fantasy knowledge and are more or less all cult survivors.

51. ton2u - November 29, 2018

Jess @ 44 – thanks for that !

52. jess - November 29, 2018

51. ton2u

I had problems with Brand (probably type-wise still do) because he ‘stole’ the 12 steps from AA literature to boost sales of his book “Recovery – Freedom from our Addictions”. But I admire his guts from shrinking from LA stardom and becoming a media-followed guru (GURU means ‘one who dispels shadows’).

The best interview was with the Canadian p[sychologist, Jordan B Peterson – much talk of ‘the shadow self’ – the FP in new talk but actually how we can allow evil within ourselves and others.

Brand is undertaking a degree course in ‘religion and other studies’ and, although he is more theorist than pragmatist in debate and conversation, he does much to alleviate inequality and a whole host of -isms.

Bless his Mercurial heart.

53. ton2u - November 29, 2018

Jess…ya I’m conflicted about Brand – there’s something of a narcissistic self-promoter about him… but I appreciated Marrianne W. point of view. I listened to another short podcast a while back – Gabor Mate’s message on the topic applies here to the malignant narcissism of a Burton – had to get past the fact that Brand is providing the vehicle for a worthwhile discussion…. imo:

54. jess - November 30, 2018

There is a great word – PERPETUITY – and I suggest you look up its meaning. With regard to post 53 (ton2u) and the contents of the dialogue, the main thing that struck me can be summed up in a question…..

“If Trump/Burton/Blair have all been and still are traumatized individuals, acting out greater trauma upon others in their lives, should we not look at ourselves and of what we have been and could be capable, instead of standing on the ‘holy victim’ platform, complaining that ‘daddy spanked our ass’ all the time?”

Something attracted us to this non-communal (community is circular and requires mature individuals offering their gifts to a central harmonizing theme) pyramidal, heirachical artifice and, although we may be physically away from it, I would suggest that pathological traits still run deep within us all.

The big JC said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”

On a majestic, healing note and paraphrasing Dr Peterson –

“It is only when we bring together the the fight between good and evil in ourselves that the interface between order and chaos can be bravely stepped into” (as I said – a paraphrase).

55. Ames Gilbert - November 30, 2018

I agree, Ton, Russel Brand inserts his own persona too much into his interviews, that is, a sort of preening.

Looking at the second example (#53), when he asks Gabor Maté a question. He indulges in one long rambling monolog that incorporates a dozen different questions, each one inserted as if he has a list and is impelled to check them off one by one. Fortunately for us, Maté picks on just the one and proceeds to answer it, clearly and on point!

Contrast this to the technique used in this interview with Dr. Gabor Maté, Spiritual seeking, Addiction and the Search for Truth:

…whereby one question at a time appears on the screen, plain and simple, and then Maté answers, plainly and simply. Maté is obviously responding to a live person off screen, so he is not some ‘talking head’, but the producer and interviewer have chosen to completely eliminate all distractions from both question and answer, even down to the neutral background behind him. For me, this is the perfect interview, both in presentation and substance, and very worthwhile watching.

Dr. Maté is unpretentious to the core. Just like John Wheeler.

Nevertheless, I did learn from #44 and #53, so thanks very much to Jess and Ton.

56. John Harmer - December 1, 2018

#55 I didn’t find myself warming to Dr Mate in that interview. He struck me as a guru who has a good spiritual act which involves showing how humble and unpretentious he is. I hope he is clean, and doesn’t exploit his followers, for what it’s worth he sounded sincere. But I detected a rather inflated opinion of himself and his ability to see the truth about things, which contrasts with the way that some scientists behave, where they are aware that they’re work is closely dependent on the work of many others, and could be found to be mistaken by others in the future. It reminded me of the spiritual acts I encountered when a member of the FoF. As a for instance of his uncritical attitude to his own theories I would cite his throw away remark that there was no addiction to alcohol in Ancient Greece, which I find unlikely, and certainly would need plenty of evidence to support it, to be taken seriously.

57. brucelevy - December 1, 2018

56. John Harmer

Malignant “Teachers” often pull invented facts out of their asses and present them with certainty. And the sheep immediately swallow that shit and ask for more. The more certain they are the more you can be sure they’re full of shit. That and the phony act of being humble.

58. brucelevy - December 1, 2018

I’ve said this before. IMHO If there are actually beings who have their spiritual shit together, at this present stage of the the world and society, they are and will remain invisible and have no desire to attract acolytes from a damaged society. If they want to “teach” in public, they’re 99% sure to be sociopaths, narcissists, phonies and sexual and financial predators. Our humanity isn’t worth saving at this point. We’re the fucking fools of the farce. The planet would be far better off without the disease of humanity.

59. Ames Gilbert - December 1, 2018

John and Bruce, I don’t want to come over all defensive, but it simply hadn’t occurred to me that Maté is a spiritual ‘guru’. I had thought he was a retired MD with some great insights in his areas of expertise (but also on life in general) based on vast experience.

From the intro to his Wikipedia page:
Gabor Maté (born January 6, 1944) is a Hungarian-born Canadian physician with a background in family practice and a special interest in childhood development and trauma, and in their potential lifelong impacts on physical and mental health, including on autoimmune disease, cancer, ADHD, addictions and a wide range of other conditions.

Dr. Maté’s approach to addiction focuses on the trauma his patients have suffered and looks to address this in their recovery, with special regard to indigenous populations around the world. His book In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts, close encounters with addiction, Dr. Maté discusses the types of trauma suffered by addicts and how this affects their decision making in later life.
He has authored four books exploring topics including attention deficit disorder, stress, developmental psychology and addiction.

And much more along those lines…
I’d say he has lived a life of unselfish service, unstintingly.

• Still, if he came across to you guys as a manipulative ‘guru’, that is of course your prerogative, and I accept that.

60. brucelevy - December 1, 2018

Actually I didn’t watch the clip. I went by the comments made here about it.

61. jess - December 1, 2018

It is what a person can give in this world, not what they take, that matters.

62. Ames Gilbert - December 1, 2018

Well, Bruce, this is just my understanding, but in the interview I posted, Gabor Maté is trying to explain why people seek gurus at all, and what they are trying to escape when they do so.

Hundreds of his patients were homeless and imprisoned members of the Canadian indigenous population, and this is what set off his side interest into the psychology of indigenous peoples around the world, and by extension, all peoples before ‘modern civilization’ spread from Europe and infected, as you infer, the rest of the globe.
Hence the references to the differences between using alcohol, tobacco, ayahuasca, etc., for limited ceremonial/sacred purposes and, as we mostly do nowadays wholesale, to mask the pain of our reality.

P.S. sorry for the cock–up in HTML formatting above, wish there was an edit function!

63. brucelevy - December 1, 2018

I was mostly commenting on “there was no addiction to alcohol in Ancient Greece, which I find unlikely, and certainly would need plenty of evidence to support it, to be taken seriously.” Which clearly is a incredibly stupid thing to say. Plucked right out of his ass.

64. brucelevy - December 1, 2018

I’m referring to Mate.

65. jess - December 1, 2018

Ames…..deep into the night, I watch the Mate video you posted. I have no idea of his background, but find his expressing of ‘la condition humaine’ quite concise and impelling.

I am not sure how many ‘seekers’ (scientists/artists/spirit followers?) become famous, ‘guru’ themselves into fame AND fortune and are of no use to the general milieu.

We have every right to surmise, scrutinize and apply on this site.

66. jess - December 1, 2018

Words of songs, if listened to, can mean more than platitudinous discourse by a narcissistic psychopath (i.e. some words go to the heart; others preen the feathers of the ‘faithful’ – or bounce off)…..

67. ton2u - December 1, 2018

“[W]hen one tries desperately to be good and wonderful and perfect, then all the more the shadow develops a definite will to be black and evil and destructive. People cannot see that; they are always striving to be marvelous, and then they discover that terrible destructive things happen which they cannot understand, and they either deny that such facts have anything to do with them, or if they admit them, they take them for natural afflictions, or they try to minimize them and to shift the responsibility elsewhere. The fact is that if one tries beyond one’s capacity to be perfect, the shadow descends into hell and becomes the devil.” (Carl Jung, Visions: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1930–1934)

I agree with Ames… Mate’ speaks from a perspective and expertise gained through years of clinical experience… I don’t take him as a “guru” at all, that is, he may be a “dispeller of darkness” but I don’t think he’s out there trying to recruit “chelas” to follow him. Based on his experience and understanding he’s attempting to shift thinking around social and psychological issues.

I think post FOF there may be a tendency to view things with a certain kind of jaded bias, that’s understandable, but not always helpful. So an expert in his field is seen as just another self-serving “guru” out to attract followers for his own narcissistic ends. Mate’s presentation may be off-putting to some, I get that, and obviously he’s not infallible, he is after all only human – but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some valuable insights to share. (Being freed of the mental and emotional confines of a cult means one is free to educate oneself based on ‘elective affinities’… sifting and discriminating between what one views as the “good” and the “bad” and to create whatever it is that “floats yer boat”).

To borrow from the Jungian lexicon – withdrawing projections, recognizing one’s own ‘shadow’ projected out there onto “the other” is an aspect of beginning to heal trauma, “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” – but the process of recognizing and withdrawing projection does not negate the impact and consequences of something that is experienced as ‘traumatic.’ If mommy spanked yer ass it left a soul mark, the experience went into shaping who you are… while a spanking may be relatively mild on the trauma spectrum, and life in the FOF was not Dachau, nevertheless the experience marks the soul. I think it’s important to process experience, to understand an experience from many different facets of reflection… this takes time and an ongoing turning of the compost of experience… so that something may grow from it. This process goes into recognizing and withdrawing projection, creating another level of self awareness which may mean the difference between deeper understanding, or simply perpetuating a traumatic experience unawares and “unconsciously” perpetrating it on others. (What Mate’ talks about in the first clip @ 53).

Playing the role of “holy” or “innocent” victim is a circular trap – if trapped in such a mindset, it indicates that one never fully escaped or “properly processed” the experience. As reflective, self-aware beings, it’s necessary to understand experience – it’s part of being human, what we do as human beings… the trick is not to get stuck in the process… this is how learning and moving on occurs, leading to new levels of awareness. Part of the process means understanding and taking responsibility for one’s own culpability in the matter, otherwise there’s no real escape from the circular trap (from a cult in this case).

The “guru” – in a word, what’s the opposite of ‘dispeller of darkness’ ? “hasnamuss” maybe? – whatever, the “guru” in this case needed followers to follow him, to support him in a certain inflated lifestyle… for my part, I was young and naive, in a phase of life where I was searching for something, a cause, a purpose in life, a person who embodied an idea – my projection – someone to follow… and maybe equally important to me at the time, in the FOF there was an experience of community, an extended family related by beliefs, feeling at once supported and part of something greater than my little self…. but as it turns out all of this had a faulty foundation… partly the fault was in me but it was not entirely me… yes, to the extent that I had projected my own ideas and notions about what it was, but the fact is that the FOF was/ is set up specifically to attract (and fleece) those with certain kinds of ‘vulnerabilities’.

Jung has some interesting things to say about projection and the “shadow” – worth a study in this regard:

“Not that these others are wholly without blame, for even the worst projection is at least hung on a hook, perhaps a very small one, but still a hook offered by the other person.” (Carl Jung, On Psychic Energy)

68. jess - December 1, 2018

67 (the age of Beethoven’s ending of role) – ton2u

This was a wonderful experience, the reading of your post. Maybe your writing is attuned – maybe my hearing of deep, worthwhile discourse waiting for a ‘dislodging of falsifications, fallacious attitudes of my own – or a whole synchronicitous event.

Every word – every sentence – steeped in meaning.

Thank you.

69. jess - December 1, 2018


IMHO…forget the fact I cannot master algorhisms.

70. John Harmer - December 1, 2018

#59 Ames, I have looked a little further into the work of Dr Gabor Mate after reading your response. I accept he doesn’t appear to be trying to play the role of guru, and my response probably laid that label on him without justification. I do happen to agree with some of his major points, certainly providing addicts with clean needles seems obviously helpful, and also sometimes someone might find ayahuasca helps them get a new perspective on their lives. However my further reading does confirm that he is a maverick in terms of his scientific research, and believes his own theories in the face of strong evidence that they may not be complete. The interview you posted was from an outfit calling themselves “science and non duality”, and their questioning had the atmosphere of asking a wise man for his wise views, which I felt he enjoyed the way people who think they are wise tend to. Here is a link where someone, who also admires Mate in some respects, has doubts about his scientific work on the causes of addiction: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/addiction-in-society/201112/the-seductive-dangerous-allure-gabor-mat

71. ton2u - December 2, 2018

John @ 70

The PT article by Stanton Peele ends on this note:

“Too, too true — it’s all the people who think he’s a guru who are confused.”

72. jess - December 2, 2018

Basically, this is heavy, although stated in terms for ‘laiety cognisance’.

I would suggest going past the first 10 minutes and sit back and listen about responsibility, among other things…..

73. crossroads - December 3, 2018

I was wondering if any of the fellowshipers offered help
– like adopting a family – for any of the victims of the Paradise Lost.

After all, The Fellowship of Friends is a 501 Church – isn’t it Dear?

But wait, church of Satan you mean… oh i see –

only way is
having the victim playing along the game

Paradise Lost

74. snuffleupagus - December 4, 2018

Artemis44 (or anyone else who knows): your comments are very unsettling. I’m wondering: have the authorities been made aware of the pornography involving apparently-underage children?

75. jess - December 4, 2018

A son of Brooklyn, sings to the heart, of what can pull ALL OF US FROM THIS EXCREMENT OF TORTURE…

Your friend in the journey, with the words…..

76. crossroads - December 4, 2018

How is it that “teaching payments”
are required to be a member of a 501c?

Or to work in exchange of “teaching payments”
And the “vouchers” in exchange for heavy labor
in trade for “teaching events” – (parties).

Funny, is it not?

It is not the case of a “voluntary donation”
it is an “enforced payment” -or else…

77. Insider - December 6, 2018

73. Crossroads
Other than for its “omen value,” to “prove” the intelligence of “the gods” to write such a perfect play, Robert Burton does not have an gram of compassion or desire to help “life people.” Remember, had the predicted catastrophe happened as predicted on October 21, members were advised that they would not be welcome to come to Apollo. The only people that would be allowed on the property would be members of RB’s harem, people needed to serve RB, like cooks and housekeepers, and a few people living in the renewed “Court of the Caravans.” Other than that, Apollo was scheduled to be totally inaccessible, enforced by armed guards at all possible entry points.

78. Insider - December 7, 2018

1. Artemis44.

“A close friend of mine that fixed Girard Haven’s laptop computer found in the browser’s history that he had visited several porn sites depicting girls that looked underage – this was also reported here on this blog several years ago by Clara Haven, his wife at the time, when she mentioned that Girard “was addicted to child pornography”. I saw the links to the sites on Girard’s computer myself, so this is not a rumor or a conjecture.”

Artemis: Did it ever occur to you how unethical your “close friend” was by (1) examining Girard’s browsing history when he/she was hired to fix his computer, and (2) actually inviting you to look at Girard’s computer and browsing history? Are all your “close friends” this lacking in integrity? And why didn’t you say to your “close friend” that Girard’s computer is no business of yours, and that you would rather not look at it? Where are your ethics?

Now I’m no friend of Girard, and have zero reason or desire to defend him. But your “close friend” is not exactly a model of decent human behavior, and clearly cannot be trusted with anything slightly confidential. Can we also say the same about you?

79. brucelevy - December 8, 2018

78. Insider

You are one sick mf’er. Pat yourself on the back. If I came across such psychopathic illegal activity I’d have his ass locked up immediately. Integrity. You don’t know what the word fucking means.

80. brucelevy - December 8, 2018

78. Insider

Or let me put it this way. What if one of the children on the photos was your daughter or son? You really are a greasy little obsequious prick.

81. Insider - December 8, 2018

Bruce, having a link to a porn site is not illegal. And Artemis44 only said that the girls “looked” underage. It’s not like Girard kept them in his basement. My point was that Artemis44 could/should have refused to even look, as it was a confidential matter between the repair person and Girard. Again, I’m not trying to defend Girard, no matter what you prefer to believe. And what’s the comment about sons and daughters all about? If my daughter has photos on a porn site, would that be the viewer’s fault? Should the viewer be “locked up?” Did Girard take the pictures and post them? And btw, your name calling is getting really, really boring.

82. brucelevy - December 8, 2018

Elena also said they were underage. And you can go fuck yourself. You’re slime.

83. jess - December 8, 2018

The ‘big picture’ is we all know both the possession of UNDERAGE PORN and its discovery is ongoing. The big JC (or at least the Bible says) through the Beatles…..

“Nothing you can know that can’t be known”

If the Jimmy Savilles (whose body was exhumed, which is recompense enough for some) and the Rolf Harrises of this world are ONE WAY OR ANOTHER found out and prosecuted/shamed/imprisoned, then I feel that whoever finds out the ‘facts behind the crime’ is doing the world service and justice.

84. jess - December 8, 2018

I.E. No smoke without fire.

85. crossroads - December 8, 2018

Clara Elena stated clearly about Girard’s porno addiction.
Therefore, 74. snuffleupagus’s question after 1. Artemis44 make sense.

“• A close friend of mine that fixed Girard Haven’s laptop computer found in the browser’s history that he had visited several porn sites depicting girls that looked underage – this was also reported here on this blog several years ago by Clara Haven, his wife at the time, when she mentioned that Girard “was addicted to child pornography”. I saw the links to the sites on Girard’s computer myself, so this is not a rumor or a conjecture.

Now, I got a question,
Is Girard board member of the Yesca school in Oregon House?


77 Insider – this sounds totally like an “Inside job” like the one in 911.

86. jess - December 8, 2018

85 crossroads

Are we assuming that it was a matter of “worthy scrutiny” that anyone saw/reported Girard’s ‘pictures of delictation of the minor variety’? I would assume that one thing leading to another might MAKE IT NECESSARY that any spying (if you call it that) would prevent adverse actions in the ‘real world’ occuring (85 – second to last paragraph).

As a generalization, police and other surveillance organizations involved with the watching of pornography involviing minors, are given ‘carte blanche’ when it comes to prevention of ASSAULT AGAINST MINORS (either gender).

The overt and covert threat are equally powerful.

87. crossroads - December 9, 2018

Ames, the “web guru” for Asaf is Martio Fant*oni who was already being taken to court for bad business practices involving fof members, so, he literally got a good chance to escape!
Mario was already working steadily for years on search optimization and ranking for the FOF tackling the scrutiny of “life adversaries” so he was working with Asaf already. He just got a nice way out tagging along… and now they can reap the harvest together. Nice deal right?

88. jess - December 9, 2018

87 crossroads

O.K. Let’s try another subject, as is indicated…BUT STILL SCRUTINY.

The main fact is that no one in the FOF tells the truth, or if they do they last a very little time. I am not even sure that Miles Barth drew much on his ‘own inner self’ when sub-teaching (if you can call it that phrase) and I remember his answering my ‘burning questions’ I had stored for him, especially, with “do not identify” or “you will have more chance for working against feminine dominance”…very like the old Zen qusetion of “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

The point of the FOF is to confuse, obfuscate (I do like that word, folks) and subjugate followers…there is no Liberation of The Self…The Self is hardly given rein.

The FOF is a lying, cheating, perverted, tax-evading, corrupt and defeatist heirarchical corporate body…not a School and certainly not spiritual. I will ‘stick my neck out’ in saying that all the notable figures who ‘left The School in a Play of Crime’ were bound to assimilate the same corrupt elements as Robert Earl Burton.

89. Ames Gilbert - December 9, 2018

Anyone coming here because they have followed links connecting with these websites:
“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”
—You have arrived at a place that will provide some answers and some background for you.

And especially if you are interested in Asaf Braverman and his ‘online school’, BePeriod.com.
If you clicked on “Gurdjieff” or related interest, you are likely to have found “ggurdjieff.com”, and thence been automatically re–directed to the BePeriod website. Now why is that? Why would Asaf want to hide behind a more famous name? Three guesses…


Today, a special opportunity at BePeriod:

9 DECEMBER 2018 | 6pm GMT
Online workshop hosted by Asaf Braverman
Meditation was originally a practice of harnessing the three primary brains of the micro-cosmos – mind, body, and heart – to a single aim. In this second December workshop, we will explore the practice of using single-syllable commands through a string of breaths to prolong self-remembering. From the Upanishads: “Let your body be the lower fire-stick; let the mantra be the upper. Rub them against each other in meditation.”

“Single syllable commands”…
Sounds like this could very well be a recycling or reincarnation of The Sequence, co–invented by Asaf Braverman with Robert Earl Burton.

More mental activity (though indeed a mantra can be useful for certain kinds of meditation under the guidance of someone knowledgeable). The question is, does Asaf know the difference, and if so, where in his past would he have learned that? Certainly not at Burton’s knees, for sure! Burton merely demonstrates associative thinking at its most mechanical, IMO, ditto Asaf and Dorian and Sasha. Just look at their videos linked earlier on. They are just training their followers to make the associations most conducive to groupthink, and hence to increasing their hold over said followers.

Burton sends followers to sleep. Braverman, trained by Burton, also sends followers to sleep. How can he do otherwise, he was trained to do so, his teacher normalized that. Maybe his ‘school of mental activities’ is all well and good for a brief period, but after that, it will also send his followers to sleep. So, why take the risk? You can study the basics of the Fourth Way in books. It might cost you maybe $30 at used book stores.

If you join either the Fellowship of Friends or BePeriod, you can only learn what they teach and what they model. Lack of conscience or even decent humanity and regard for the miracles of creation around them. Depraved beings.

Remember, Burton proudly declaims that:

“Conscience is just a collection of I’s. Anyone accumulating too much should leave the school”.

… and that is what he teaches his followers, by word and example. This is what he taught Asaf Braverman for two decades!
Why take the risk?

90. crossroads - December 9, 2018

88. jess – Good point.

“…that all the notable (and not so notable as well) figures who ‘left The School in a Play of Crime’ were bound to assimilate the same corrupt elements as Robert Earl Burton.”

91. crossroads - December 9, 2018

88. jess – “there is no Liberation of The Self…The Self is hardly given rein.”
Correction: There is actually a lot of emphasis in “The Lower Self”…

92. Ames Gilbert - December 10, 2018

Cult Survivor,
If your friend is still willing to answer questions about her experience in Asaf’s BePeriod ‘school’, would you mind asking her what was her take on the whole ‘teacher’ thing? What did she feel was the source of Asaf’s authority, what made him more legitimate in her eyes rather than just reading stuff in a book?

This leads into, does Asaf claim to be ‘conscious’, either explicitly or implicitly? Did she or any other student ask him directly? Did anyone ask him about his past history and claims of lineage, à la Fourth Way (apart from the single reference I can find on the asafbraverman.com website, where he acknowledges joining the Fellowship of Friends and Burton as his teacher)?

Does Asaf claim to have an overarching purpose for his school (like Burton claims the FoF will ‘bridge civilizations’)?

One final question (for now!), is there a way for ‘students’ to interact with each other directly and independently (that is, not under the purview or supervision of Asaf himself)?

Thanks very much!

93. crossroads - December 11, 2018

87. crossroads ~ C o r r e c t i o n

Someone just informed me that Mario and Asaf had a split and they ended up not quite friendly to each other. Oh, poor boy. I wonder if he is reading here…

94. crossroads - December 11, 2018

44. jess

Oh yea… That course in miracles…

>>>> “A Course in Miracles was written as a collaborative venture between Schucman and William (‘Bill’) Thetford.

Dr. William Thetford, headed the CIA’s “Mind Control” MK-ULTRA SubProject 130: Personality Theory, while at Columbia University between 1971-1978.”

In 1958 Schucman began her professional career at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City as Thetford’s research associate. In the spring of 1965, at a time when their weekly office meetings had become so contentious that they both dreaded them, Thetford suggested to Schucman that “[t]here must be another way”. Schucman believed that this interaction acted as a stimulus, triggering a series of inner experiences that were understood by her as visions, dreams, and heightened imagery, along with an “inner voice” which she identified as Jesus. She said that on October 21, 1965, an “inner voice” told her: “This is a Course in Miracles, please take notes.”

“Dr. Thetford’s Professional Bio, also available on the A Course in Miracles web site, makes reference to his involvement in a Personality Theory Research Project while Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University, but the information does not specifically cite this as a CIA MK- ULTRA SubProject.”

“The agenda, according to those interested in this sphere of investigation, is to inflitrate and dilute the American left with New Age ideas and inward-focussed, anti-rational religious movements.”

95. jess - December 11, 2018

posted on Medium Digest, by C. Hogan…

“Why Creatives Should Quit Hustling

First off, hustle is not hard work. Let’s get that out of the way. Hard work isn’t optional for creatives. Neither is hustle a commitment to being our best selves or realizing our biggest dreams. In fact, I think hustle stands in the way of both of those goals. That’s because hustle comes from a place of ego and at its core is really the endless pursuit of external signs of achievement and approval.

Let me clarify. I’m not saying that hustling can’t serve a purpose. There is a season for everything, and maybe you’re in a season where you need to hustle for a while. I’ve been there. I’ve been a freelance writer since 2002, and I have often needed to hustle to find work. I’ve noticed though that while hustle may make me feel productive it does not necessarily equal satisfaction or actual progress toward reaching a dream or goal if there isn’t also some awareness associated with it. But more on that later.

Maybe though hustle is where most of us need to start. In his book Falling Upward Franciscan monk and author Richard Rohr talks about the first and second halves of life. In the first half of life, we are mostly building our ego, our identity, says Rohr. We are focused on questions like “How will I survive?” and “Where do I belong?” We are building families and careers, necessary work that often takes a bit of hustling to sustain.

In the second half of life though, we can start to move beyond hustling for survival and start to ask deeper questions. As poet Mary Oliver says, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” You will never be able to find the answer to that kind of question by hustling for it.”

96. crossroads - December 11, 2018

Hey jess, share more of your experience with the psychos in the FOF… Did you love Robert?

97. jess - December 11, 2018

Actually, I thought I was paying, in every way and means (except sex) to receive A Teaching…what I gained and still continue, NOT ALL GAINED and I need just as much to be discerning…becoming a teacher for myself…to learn, reflect, analyze and act equitably.

Maybe you were just asking a crass question…to end…I thought ROBERT OWED ME SOMETHING so I STOLE the POSITIVE!

98. jess - December 12, 2018

from Calvin Harri,s on Medium Digest

“When people are given a menu of choices, they rarely ask:

“what’s not on the menu?”
“why am I being given these options and not others?”
“do I know the menu provider’s goals?”
“is this menu empowering for my original need, or are the choices actually a distraction?” (e.g. an overwhelmingly array of toothpastes)

How empowering is this menu of choices for the need, “I ran out of toothpaste”?
For example, imagine you’re out with friends on a Tuesday night and want to keep the conversation going. You open Yelp to find nearby recommendations and see a list of bars. The group turns into a huddle of faces staring down at their phones comparing bars. They scrutinize the photos of each, comparing cocktail drinks. Is this menu still relevant to the original desire of the group?

It’s not that bars aren’t a good choice, it’s that Yelp substituted the group’s original question (“where can we go to keep talking?”) with a different question (“what’s a bar with good photos of cocktails?”) all by shaping the menu.”

99. crossroads - December 12, 2018

Did you love Robert?

100. jess - December 12, 2018

I was enfatuated, yet fearful of his presence. Love is just a four-letter word. Can we change the subject? I am sure others are bored.

101. jess - December 13, 2018

Crossroads…if that is where you are in your life…I would say that some came to the FOF to awaken…awaken possibilities within themselves…I can name “ton2u” as one who has gone forward into that realm…I would also say that there are many posting as employees of “Bitch & Moan Ltd” who wanted to be handed their (yes) Higher Possibilities on a plate…grow up!

102. crossroads - December 14, 2018

Welcome to blogging!

103. jess - December 14, 2018

“Some dance to remember; some dance to forget” – The Lobster Quadrille, orchestrated by Girard Haven (Master of Machinations/FOF|)

104. crossroads - December 14, 2018

“The Devil is in the details” Jordan Peterson

105. jess - December 14, 2018

Some religious texts talk of the Redemption of Satan. Whitman writes “…salvation universal; Is it a dream; Nay, or else all Life’s lesson a dream”.

106. crossroads - December 15, 2018

Ok, Mercy Street…

“Making of a Narcissist, Psychopathic Societies, Curing Narcissism”

“Narcissism Misunderstood, Reframed, Healed”

Four misconceptions about pathological narcissism:

a. It is not only regression to an earlier childhood developmental phase b. It is not merely a psychological defense
c. It is not simply an organizing principle or a schema
d. It is not a personality disorder It is a post-traumatic condition, amenable to trauma therapies.

“It is not an adult disorder but an attachment dysfunction coupled with arrested development, amenable to techniques borrowed from child psychology. It is also not a disorder of the self, but an interpersonal disorder.”

107. Cult Survivor - December 15, 2018

92. Ames Gilbert

I sent my friend an email with Ames’ questions and I’m posting her answers below.

Q. What was your take on the whole ‘teacher’ thing?
A. While I was a member of BePeriod Asaf never claimed to be a “teacher”, but his posture clearly indicated that he was in a higher level than the students. For example, he claimed that the “12 Labors of the Month” that are depicted on the stained-glass windows of the Chartres Cathedral represent the inner work a Fourth Way student needs to execute each month (January is dedicated to setting aims, June is the time to work on the intellectual center, September is the work on the emotional center, etc.) because once he was standing infront of a church in Germany looking at a clock on the bell tower with the 12 labors and had a “revelation”. Asaf also gives “exercises” and “tasks” to his followers, such as “speak less”, “stop smoking”, “move less during online workshops”, etc. Once at an event I attended he stated that our higher centers chose this life and when somebody asked him how did he verified that since in the Fourth Way everything has to be verified he said that when he was asked to leave the Fellowship of Friends his higher centers told him that that they chose this life and what was happening was the best that could happen.

Q. What did you feel was the source of Asaf’s authority, what made him more legitimate in her eyes rather than just reading stuff in a book?
A. Asaf teaching is extremely intellectual (I heard him saying that an Israeli medium told her sister that he is the reincarnation of Peter Ouspensky and that is the reason he is so intellectual), and he frequently introduced a new “theory”, sometimes contradicting a previous one. For example, when I joined Asaf’s “school”, the parts of centers were represented by the cards of the common deck, but when I left they were represented by the analogy of the chariot, the driver and the horses that Gurdjieff used, so a student that was “centered in the Queen of Clubs” when I joined was “centered in the horses and the chariot” when I left. This was very confusing and was one of the reasons I left – it seemed that Asaf Braverman was experimenting with us. Another example is when he tried to introduce the “Be Prayer” (Be-Still-Theme-Be-Theme-Be + 4 wordless breaths) and then suddenly stopped talking about it. On one occasion, when somebody asked him what was the source of his knowledge he said “I went to the top of the mountain and came back” (an analogy to Moses going to the top of Mount Sinai and then coming back). I have no idea what that means.

Q. Does Asaf claim to be ‘conscious’, either explicitly or implicitly? Did you or any other student ask him directly?
A. I never asked and I don’t know anybody who did. As I said before, his attitude implies that he is in a higher level than his students and I heard some people saying that he is a “Man Number 5”, but he never stated that directly.

Q. Did anyone ask him about his past history and claims of lineage, à la Fourth Way (apart from the single reference I can find on the asafbraverman.com website, where he acknowledges joining the Fellowship of Friends and Burton as his teacher)?
A. I never asked him about that, but several students asked that to him and told me that he always avoided to talk about his lineage or his experience in the Fellowship of Friends. One of them told me that when he asked him about his previous school and Robert Burton he replied “if somebody had a happy marriage for 20 years that didn’t end well it’s not good taste to ask that person about that marriage”.

Q. Does Asaf claim to have an overarching purpose for his school (like Burton claims the FoF will ‘bridge civilizations’)?
A. Yes, he mentions often that Fourth Way schools only appear on Earth when there is a “mission” to be accomplished, and that the mission of BePeriod is to build an ark. When students make the donations to BePeriod using PayPal the name of the business is not BePeriod but “Ark in Time”.

Q. Is there a way for ‘students’ to interact with each other directly and independently (that is, not under the purview or supervision of Asaf himself)?
A. Is not possible to have direct interactions outside of “Slack”, a collaboration software that everybody uses. He monitors every exchange between students, and when they are in a foreign language, he uses Google Translator to understand what is being said and then makes comments. I found it very strange that he has the time and energy to do that, and it made me feel being watched all the time. That was another reason I decided to leave.

108. Ames Gilbert - December 15, 2018

Cult Survivor,
Again, many many thanks to your friend for her detailed and open answers, and to you, for taking the trouble to transcribe her words and post them here.
These are invaluable observations for anyone who wants to find out consequential facts about Asaf Braverman and his BePeriod organization.

I think it is important to highlight that Braverman is indeed like a spider in his web, monitoring all communications between his followers and commenting on them. That is truly creepy!
There were plenty of busybodies in the Fellowship in my day, anxious to ingratiate themselves with the authorities, so one had to be careful, but certainly one could have some privacy and discuss matters with those one trusted.

You mentioned above (#7) that you were a member of the Fellowship of Friends from 1988 to 2016. I hope you don’t mind me asking you some questions on the same subject.
Can you remember when you first heard about Asaf forming the Ark-In-Time network/BePeriod organization? Did you have the impression (or better still, some direct knowledge!) that Burton knew about this effort from the beginning?

I know things changed considerably from the time I left in 1994, but it is hard to imagine that there were not still plenty of busybodies anxious to keep Burton appraised of anything going on. And certainly in this case, I’d say, a rather serious development. It just seems so unlikely that Braverman could keep something like this a secret for a week, let alone years.

109. Cult Survivor - December 16, 2018

108. Ames Gilbert

Back in 2011 Robert started to prepare the transfer of power to the “triumvirate”: Asaf was going to be in charge of attracting new members, the teaching and the organization of the school, Dorian was going to be responsible for Apollo and Sasha was supposed to be taking care of the arts. I heard that when Asaf told Robert that he wanted to create a web site to attract new students because the times had changed and people were finding groups in the Internet, Robert said “I’m fine with that but make sure that you don’t use my name or the name of the Fellowship of Friends when attracting new students because they are ‘radioactive’ in the Internet”. Robert also told Asaf to use the Fourth Way and images of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky to attract students (even if he abandoned the Fourth Way back in 2006 when “the Sequence” was introduced — I remember him saying “only the lower self would read Fourth Way literature now when we have something much higher: the Sequence”) because “it was a better hook”.

Asaf then created a web site (that would be ggurdjieff.com as I discovered recently) and started collecting email addresses of visitors asking them to submit their information in order to receive a weekly newsletter. The ggurdjieff.com site was not very efficient so after 4 years or so collecting email addresses and writing weekly newsletters Asaf decided to change the approach and created BePeriod.com, a more dynamic site with social media capabilities à la Facebook, and started producing weekly video tutorials on Fourth Way topics. At this point Asaf started to recruit students for his project since he needed a lot of help with web design, video editing, search engine optimization, translations (each video tutorial needed the translation of the sub-titles into 6 or 7 languages), etc. Asaf used around 60-70 students for that and never compensated any of them for their efforts, even when Robert was distributing “vouchers” for the so called “third line octaves” like serving, landscaping, washing dishes, etc. I personally know several people that spent countless hours helping Asaf because they thought that he was going to replace Robert as “the Teacher” (as the videos that I posted here show, the meetings lead by Dorian were totally incomprehensible and Sasha was not supposed to lead meetings due to his poor command of the English language and his lack of intellectual brilliance). Imagine how surprised were those people when Asaf was asked to leave the Fellowship…

My personal opinion is that Asaf was trying to rejuvenate the Fellowship in order to attract younger people and not to be the leader of a retirement home but he committed the big mistake of not being open regarding his project so several hard-lined older students close to Robert were convinced that he was creating a “school inside the school” and that gave Dorian, Rowena Taylor and Steven Dambeck the opportunity to execute a coup d’état and get rid of Asaf.

I mentioned here that Asaf learned a lot from Robert regarding how to attract new students and take money from people, but his expulsion of the Fellowship shows that he is an apprentice regarding politics, an area where Robert excels.

110. fofblogmoderator - December 16, 2018

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