Saturday, 10 May 2008

Prostates and gurus

As I mentioned in my previous blog, my latest bout of illness has given me the opportunity to spend some time each morning in a form of relaxed focusing. Since my illness is caused, as I understand it, by a malfunctioning prostate gland it is small wonder that prostates and their meaning and purpose have arisen regularly in my musings.

The prostate is at the heart of a man’s manhood. It is full of nerves and sensors that activate male arousal. It also delivers, via the miracle of ejaculation, the package of sperm and other nutrients into the awaiting female vagina. In my experience there is some kind of subtle communication between the prostate and the vagina that human attraction relies on to get the job of procreation and enjoyable, not to say ecstatic, coupling done.

What an organ! How wonderful and amazing it is!

And yet, when it goes wrong it is as destructive as it is creative when functioning well. The medical answer to its malfunction is to chop it out or remove its lifeblood, testosterone. That approach alarms me. There must be other ways of sorting out the malfunction that don’t destroy such a wonderful organ in the process.

At any rate, be that as it may, my ponderings on prostates led me to remember an encounter I had some years ago with a guru called Barry Long. He was known as the guru of sex and spent a great deal of time explaining to his doting followers how to do it properly. I’ll post what I wrote about that encounter once I’ve finished this entry as it contains what I feel are some valid clues as to what may be behind some prostate trouble, including my own. It is worth noting that Barry died from prostate cancer a short while ago.

But that isn’t where my musings stopped. I was wondering why gurus so often end up in conflict with some of their most loyal followers and why guru led cults often collapse in chaos, recrimination and sometimes actual gunfire.

The big question is, what’s in it for the guru?
From the ones I’ve had dealings with and those I’ve read about, it seems that a common thread is that the guru needs something and that something usually turns out to be love and devotion. This is not to say that love and devotion is what he or she really needs, but it’s what they end up with. People who attach to gurus seem to have a tendency to leave discernment and insight at the door with their shoes when they sit at the feet of the guru. Those who don't rarely have the strength to take on the boss and simply get up and leave. What you are left with is the blind believers, a dangerous following for the well being of the main man.

A common pattern at gatherings is for the devotee to present a problem, which the guru proceeds to resolve. It isn’t welcome if someone questions the solution or basic tenets of the guru. Barry Long used to throw dissenters out and he certainly gave me a thorough examination of my motives. Andrew Cohen is another one who has ended up emotionally and physically abusing some of his loyal followers. The story of Rajneesh and the chaos that resulted at his compound in Oregon also comes to mind.

How does this come about? It has occurred to me that the guru definitely needs something but it really isn’t blind devotion. As children many of us find it hard to be seen or truly appreciated by our parents. It’s our birthright but it just doesn’t happen. So we seek ways to earn that appreciation when what we really need is just to be seen and enjoyed for who we simply are. In childhood we learn to put on an act that wins approval. The longer that act remains in place and the bluff isn’t called, the worse the explosion when it finally is. It is this act that becomes the apparent self of the guru. It is not the true self. That remains hidden and guarded in some cases with angry force. The more brilliant the insights of the guru, the greater the inflation of the apparent self and the bigger the bang if or when the bubble bursts.

It may well be that the hidden part of the guru is crying out to be heard but its cry is blocked by the protective force of the blind adoration of the devotees. Could this be why some gurus cannot help but allow the hurt inside to come out as an attack on or humiliation of their devotees?

The guru is unconsciously crying out to be unmasked. And yet anyone who tries to draw attention to or see the hurt and highly vulnerable child behind the mask is met with a hail of abuse from the devotees and, most probably a scathing attack from the guru too. The former do not wish to be awoken from their comfortable childhood dream of safety and the guru is terrified of the hurt child within that has become nothing short of a monster having been blocked and ignored for so long.

Having said all that I’ll post the piece I wrote on Barry Long.

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