Overnight conversion, addendum to my Open letter to Isaac Shapiro

(See also the previous and next blog)

Dearest Isaac,

I am so naive.

I seriously thought for a very long time that you were a faithful serial monogamist.
When I came back to you, (2001?), after over a year having hung out all over the world with Gopal, I expressed to you, during a walk and talk in the Oosterpark that I had trouble trusting teachers.
As a than for me actual example I mentioned the now late Alexander Smit.
People don’t stop complaining to me about this man, you uttered.
One way or the other you succeeded in convincing me that you yourself were to be trusted.
And so I did trust you, from a for me appropriate distance: basically I have been sitting for 15 years annually twice two weeks in your retreats, close to the exit. There were some exceptional waves upfront, but they were rather short.

So, all your playing around with females in satsang was kind of made acceptable (enough) to me.

As you have seen I got triggered by stories and especially by the story of Chiv, as mentioned in my blog A diabolical dillemma.

The reactions on it were mostly cliché, usually painful, some were encouraging. (I will archive them in a in between blog)

Your reactions were quite familiar. I saw them throughout my life often. Speaking the truth is not always appreciated.
And for sure not in spiri land, where the contrast between the continuous being busy with expressing the truth (“the truth”) and the confrontation with unwanted truth is maybe even more shocking than in other niches of society.

One of the subjects that are in the ‘discussion’ very unclear is the tension between all the good that is happening and the mentioning of a few things that are not so ‘good’.
Right away people consider this mentioning as a lack of respect, or a stepping over or a doing away with the gratitude for all the good that has been there.
(See the ‘discussion’)

You also used it, I just saw, as an argument: “and I should listen to you (SH) instead of the 1000’s of folks who say that are getting value from the meetings and love me to continue?”

It is absolutely not in question, nicht im Frage, that lots and lots of people are getting lots of value out of what you do.

The people that have the guts to ask you questions about and to confront you about your way of dealing with sex and students, are themselves also people that have gained immensely from being with you. That certainly applies to myself, as I have repeatedly said.

The last month, and especially also the last days, I have talked to quite some people about the subject.
Of course also in relation to you.
A few days ago I spoke to a friend who has been with you in the first four years that you gave satsang.
When I told her that I have had for long the idea that you were a faithfull serial monogamist, and thus safe for students, she laughed.
And she told me a few things.
To begin with that she left because there was something not okay anymore for her, not clear what it was.

She also said that for her from the beginning it was clear that you were into sex outside of your relation also then.

She said that for her it was in a way refreshing, for her you had clearly visibly written on your forehead: when you are interested in sex, I’m available. And one of her friends is one of those woman that are disappointed or frustrated about what happened in those days.

Just to illustrate how naive I am, was, have been.

She also quoted various other spiritual teachers, whose names I have forgotten at the moment.
But she said on behalf of one of them that it is striking to see how many of the people that came from Papaji have troubles with the famous traps money sex and power.

She also said that she used to invest worry and care in the subject of teachers and sex with students. But that now she is convinced that 90 % of them do this. And she let go of it, takes it for granted and not to be solved by her.

And yesterday another friend warily expressed again his not so popular view on this: those men do so much good. And yes, most of them can’t keep themselves from having sex with students. Why not just accept that as unavoidable collateral damage?

At the moment I am reading a book by a bishop, Richard Holloway, who left the church. When I read that, I got interested. I suspected him to be an erudite intellectual and yes, I love his book: A Little History of Religion.

The book starts nice and correct with Hinduism.

About 150 pages later it describes the start of the turn around in and of the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century, better known as the Reformation.
The Church then was the biggest institution on earth, it’s genius had been its resistance to division.
Then Martin Luther came by. (And in India in the same period of time Guru Nanak and his followers the Sikhs).

“The Big Split from Rome was followed by smaller splits among Protestants who disagreed with each other over what the new purified Church should look like. The genius of Protestantism was also its greatest weakness: its inability to compromise with anything it disapproved of.”
(Holloway, page 163).

About what happened to the Protestant Churches, Holloway says: “Protestantism soon multiplied into fleets of competing vessels, some of them not much bigger than a canoe.”

When I read that last night, I suddenly saw that after the emptying of the churches in the last century or so, the revival of the search for God, spirituality, the meaning of life, the need for more or less safe company, healing, trauma healing and what not, this whole revival of spirituality, often based on rather simple versions of Indian wisdom, has found a scale of practice that’s even smaller than a canoe.
I was reminded of Moses’ basket.
Womb-like one man or one woman practices.
Cozy, warm, hypnotic, happy, happy, happy.

And the satsang givers have a aura of untouchability.
Enlightened? Who knows?
So, single souls that may have seen a few things, (As you suggested to be the case for Alexander Smit, implying that you had seen it all, of course), practicing in the most warm and or cold function that you can imagine.
All the time susceptible to flattery, envy, jealousy, transference and countertransference, adoration, seduction, lack of knowledge and what not.
And all of this most often without any form of supervision, organisation and or other forms of structural support.

I can see that my habit to offer feedback comes from seeing this.
Most of the time triggered by my originally Protestant “inability to compromise with anything it disapproved of.”

Well, it dawned on me that I have done my fair share.
And still I am in trying to get you to communicate open about what I and quite some others observe as maybe something that needs some feedback and or supervision.

Overnight, especially after this already mentioned conversations with friends, I feel that it is time to go on.
Overnight I am converted to a more pragmatic protesting Protestant.
(Maybe, hopefully. As you can see under the diabolical dilemma blog, a friend let me know: “You fight wind(mills).
Typical dutch :-)))  Love u”. I wrote back to him: “I’d love to have a more mediterranean attitude to life.”).

I was still a bit stuck with the classical double bind between child and parent. When as a child you have to play a role that one of your parents should play, then it is not so strange that you expect your parent to praise you for that.

But that will not happen, because when the parent would fully function as a parent you would not had to have taken over to begin with.

Same between us: you have been my model for dealing truthfully with the truth.
And I see that there is niches in your life where that does not function optimally yet.
I did what I did, I di what I could.

I get it that you consider yourself not to be a teacher  and that from there you can say: I know that as a teacher you are not supposed to have sex with your students, but I am not a teacher.
I have let you know that I experienced this as being creative with language.
But maybe it is your genuine conviction that you are so different a teacher that normal rules do not apply to you.
Allowing you to have sexual relations with your students who of course from your point of view are not students to begin with.

I have experienced your behaviour around this subject as confusing, defensive and not clear.
(You admit to Chiv that you have sex with your students and to me you write that you are not interested in sex. Incoherent for the outsiders/newcomers. That the incrowd will defend you against critical remarks I find a bit scary)

Maybe you can take this last feedback in.
Your position on this is so orginal that it would be bold, gutsy, and maybe even more honest to mention your position on this subject on your website and flyers.
Truth or dare?

Yours,

hans

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4 Responses to Overnight conversion, addendum to my Open letter to Isaac Shapiro

  1. Dayle Lancaster says:

    Interesting discussion on what constitutes a teacher and therefore students. I look forward to seeing the results.

    • There will be no more discussion I’m afraid. I posted it in the “sangha” and soon thereafter the facebook group “Friends of Isaac and Meike” deleted me as a member and with that all I ever posted there including all the comments on it has vanished.

  2. JAN BAKKER says:

    Is hij deze energie die jij er in steekt wel waard Hans?

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