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Thursday, 19 May 2016

A year later

I haven’t written about my centre experience for a year. Since I stopped working on this blog. I wrote 41 articles in a month and a half and that was exhausting. Haven’t got the energy to write about it again since. Plus now I am writing in French and it is way easier for me. Someone was asking for articles on an ex-disciple Facebook group. I thought, ‘Oh yes, I should give a story. Maybe I can find one on my blog. ’So I went through my blog and then, ‘Oh God, it is all quite negative and intense. Let’s see if I can write a positive story.' Nothing came, so I wrote this.

About one and a half months ago, someone who was a famous criminal in the 70’s and then spent twenty years in jail asked me to write a theatre play about his life. I was so happy to get this opportunity. I have been dreaming of going back to theatre for 15 years, when we did the Buddha play for three weeks in Paris.

Writing the play is very interesting. It’s a kind of therapy work: revisiting the person's life, unveiling layer after layer. But the most interesting thing is that it is echoing so much my Centre life. I did not expect that.

This person became a kind of monk in prison. He studied the philosopher Spinoza for eight years. He was working on himself and his spiritual work, and discipline was everything for him.

When we started writing the play, it was quite hard for me to understand and to write about his prison years. I could not really understand his message. It was something like, ‘Prison is horrible, awful, I was not in jail, I was free inside, my imagination was keeping me out of the jail.' Then, about a week ago we talked again about his jail years. This time I could feel the bliss he was feeling inside himself while in prison. I could feel it in my body. It was totally real to me. I realised it was the feeling I had so often when I was in the Centre. And I realized that was my Centre life. So much bliss inside, such a jail outside. Something in me said, ‘God, I enjoyed this life so much.'

When I joined the Centre, I got quite fast into the intense game. I started working on the opening of my restaurant a few months after I became a disciple. The restaurant opened when I had been a disciple for a year. CFG came to Paris three weeks after the opening. As I was organizing the hotel for CFG and the court, I became aware of the Centre politics. I got a briefing from the main French girl about how ‘girl’ #1 should not be on the same floor as ‘girl’#2 at the hotel.

Haridas, the centre leader for France, was a good friend of mine. He was regularly telling me about all the power games in the inner circle. I have never liked big group activities, whether before, during, of after the Centre. I could enjoy to some extent the Paris Centre as long as Haridas was the leader, but I could hardly take it after Haridas was gone. I had some fun with my restaurant, but most of the time I was drained by the intensity of running such a business with seven to ten mostly non professional employees. There was always so much pressure and discomfort for me. The insane manifestation projects in which I had at least to pretend to be a bit involved. The hundreds of disciples in New York during celebrations. Taking breakfast with hundreds of disciples around on the Christmas Trip. The silly evening functions with one performance out of ten that I could be interested in. The fights for attention from the guru. The endless political games. It was like I had managed to put myself in an environment that was everything I did not like in life.

How had this been possible ? Well, I just felt in love with the guy. The first time I meditated on a Chimney photo was the day after the first class I went. It was a tiny photo on the back of a book I bought at the meditation class. I got a powerful inner experience. Something like he recognized me and I recognized him. We had known each other for ages. We had other incarnations together.

That was it. I was trapped. For the next fifteen years, even a little more as it took me a while to deprogram myself and to see the true face of the bastard. Even when I read the sexual abuse testimonies on the yahoo group, on the evening of April 12th, 2009 (the day I left for good), I did not get it. I thought the guru was giving other kinds of experiences to some chosen girl disciples. Celia finally showed me the true face of the guy (and of my spiritual madness) when I met her in Paris in July 2011. Love you Celia (and Evie, Anne, Sundari, and the others who wrote a testimony on the sexual abuses I haven’t met in person).

I recently spent a whole year studying hypnosis. Now that I know the power of autosuggestion I have a different take on my spiritual experiences with Chimney. I had read a lot about gurus and incarnations before this first time I meditated on the photo and I now believe that something in me created those experiences. What people call the unconscious (I don’t like this word) has the power to create all kind of experiences if one really wants to get them.

So I was in love with Chimney. He was my all, he was my God. I never questioned that, even at the time I left the Centre, as far as I remember. I think I never could have left when he was alive. But when he died, a big part of the magic was gone. Plus I was trapped in Paris with my new restaurant. Pushed by Chimney, I sold my old restaurant and bought a new one with a better location. The bastard died when we were doing a few weeks construction before the opening. The new place opened in Octobre 2007, just before the crisis hit in 2008 and 2009. It was struggling right from the beginning. I could not spend time anymore with my disciple friends all over the world. I was trapped in Paris. I hated the Centre there. I was burned out. Drained. So exhausted. I was getting bad physically. After a first attempt that lasted only a week, I managed my way out six months later.

How did I manage to stay for fifteen years in this environment that was not far from everything I hate ? One thing is that I had so much bliss inside. Not all the time of course, it hadits ups and downs. But bliss was there. Everyday at my 6am meditation. Many times at meditation with guru. Often at Centre meditation. I believe that when one is in such an undesirable situation outside, it helps to go inside. No choice. Only way to survive. So much ugliness outside, so much beauty inside.

Do I have beautiful memories from the Centre? Of course I do. There were many beautiful moments. Many nice people around. I always managed to have good friends who also had the capacity to manage to have wonderful moments out of the madness of the Centre. Unfortunately, many of them are still inside, and many others are out of the Centre but I am kind of blacklisted, especially since I did my blog: very likely too ‘hostile’ for them. Is it a problem? No, it is not. I have had those wonderful times in the Centre. They are part of me. It is still the same in my life. I keep having wonderful moments with people, especially from September 2012 to March 2015 when I was mostly living in India and Thailand, having so much opportunities to meet people. A little less since I moved again to Paris a year ago. But I know it will come back.

Life goes on today. With its good and bad. Just really missing the inner intensity I had in the Centre. Wondering if this intense bliss I enjoyed so much can only happen in such a hell. Wondering if it will ever come back in my life. If the only way is to experiment with such a environment again, the answer is no.


  1. There's a very accessible way to this inner state of bliss you experienced: psychedelic substances. Having had various confrontations with these, I consider them to be of great healing value. Many others also report meditative, mind-expanding and live-changing experiences. Feel encouraged to do your own research.
    There are a couple of Dutch smartshops that will ship magic mushrooms (or rather magic truffles, these days) abroad. Given a bit of luck, you'll also be able to find them in a local woods or meadow. Even more convenient for indulgence is the (in much of Europe still) legal LSD-derivative 1P-LSD. I've had great success treating my ADHD with it, c.f. erowid.org/experiences/exp.php?ID=108666 .
    Go easy on these powerful substances. Start small, be considerate with every use. Do never use psychedelics after drinking alcohol.
    Psychedelics are non-addictive. On the contrary, they can be used as remedies against alcohol or opiate addiction (a friend of mine confirmed even micro-dosing, i.e. 5-10µg, resolves alcohol craving, on the very same day).
    Best of luck : )

  2. I have just read this blog though it is from two years ago, Guillaume.
    You use a telling phrase:
    'I had so much bliss inside.'
    Bliss can be likened to the soma state induced by 'psychedelic' drugs as in the comment above.
    The other experience of bliss is from love, Eros or agape.
    Like hundreds of disciples you experienced it, or thought you did, with Chinmoy:
    'He was my all, he was my God.'
    This is agape, but it was entirely misplaced, since as we both agree, Chinmoy Ghose was neither godly nor good.
    Chinmoy carried around with himself a sense of destiny.
    It is doubtful whether he impressed many people in India, but he certainly cut quite a figure in the West.
    Chinmoy was endowed with physical presence, and like many sociopaths he knew how to use his presence to get what he wanted.
    There was something about him that I found creepy, perhaps in the way he rolled back his eyes, or in the way he kept changing the pitch and tone of his voice.
    He knew how to work the room, whether he was flattering people in the music industry or shmoozing with Gorbachev and Mandella.
    But getting back to bliss.
    The experience of falling in love has been likened to the bliss we have as infants when we are the focus of our parents' devotion.
    There was some of this in your need for Chinmoy's approval.
    How he managed to convince so many people of his 'God consciousness' is a puzzle.
    Max Weber has written of the charismatic nature of religious leaders, and there is much written about shamans.
    The real task is to find out how Chinmoy's system of mind control worked.
    The structure of his meditation groups is one key.
    He used the team leaders as his controllers.
    I mean within his groups in New York.
    His New York groups worked on a system of fear, surveillance and isolation.
    Kathleen Taylor is a psychologist of some standing in the academic world.
    Her new book, 'Brainwashing', is published by Oxford University Press.
    She has much to say on the 'cognitive landscape' of our compulsions and needs.
    You can see her on YouTube.
    The first time I saw Chinmoy was when he came to see us in the Glasgow group.
    We were allowed to use a room in the Episcopal Chaplaincy of Glasgow University for meditation.
    We were all sitting cross-legged on the floor when Chinmoy entered in his golden robes.
    It was a sunny day and I remember that the light created a nimbus around his noble looking head.
    He rolled his eyes as he led us in meditation.
    He used his voice in an obviously hypnotic way.
    On the second occasion he was speaking in the Roman Catholic Chaplaincy.
    The chaplain at that time was Father Gerard W Hughes, a kindly man.
    After Chinmoy's vague and woolly talk there were questions from the audience.
    Father Hughes asked Chinmoy if it wasn't dangerous having his disciples obey him in every aspect of their lives.
    Chinmoy lost his temper.
    He said that his disciples came to him freely.
    'I didn't ask them to come,' he said angrily.
    I am ashamed to say that I joined the Chinmoy chorus that evening for the closing hymn.
    It was some nonsense, 'Supreme, to thee I bow.'
    I shall always be grateful to the Church of Scotland Bookshop in Glasgow.
    I walked into the shop one Saturday in 1973 and purchased two books which led me out of the Chinmoy ghetto.
    One was 'The God Who is There' by Francis Schaeffer.
    The other was 'The Dust of Death' by Os Guinness.
    In Christian churches I met men and women of good character, but all of them said they were just sinners who were under the Gospel of Grace.
    Never again would I come under the control of a deluded charlatan.
    If only the other Chinmoy zombies had been as fortunate.
    I pray for them often.

    John Haggerty