May 27, 2012

New Video: John Friend at the height of Anusara success.


With thanks for the tip to Michelle, via Yogadork, who first discovered this newly-uploaded video.

Update: a final major departure from Anusara Yoga.

This comes via an ex-Anusara teacher, who viewed this on Yogadork, where they detail John Friend (disgraced former Yoga Tycoon, featured on cover of Sunday New York Times just one year ago) talking about “$500,000 just for flowers we’ll plant and give out all over Encinitas!” and “100-300,000 just for our sign!” and wonder if he’s high.

What I see here, frankly, is less sinister than, well, yet again just what I and many other “not in the club” outsiders saw in Anusara back in its heyday: happy, naive, nearly-embarrassing child-like enthusiasm for life. Also, I see the off-record (though, videoed!) musings of an entrepreneur—the happy dreams of a charismatic at the top of this game. All entrepreneurs muse and dream this way—that’s what gives fire to our hard work.

Perhaps I’ll come under fire, yet again, for “defending” John. As someone who’s hosted a site that’s published 100s of letters and op-eds criticizing John, hopefully fairly, that’s not a criticism I am guilty of. What I am guilty of is trying, with our many writers and ex-Anusara (after Desiree, there’s just about no one left) teacher friends, of trying to report the rise and fall of a human being with critical “prajna,” but without hate. As I’ve said from the beginning, it’s not our job to hang John with our rope. It’s our job to let John hang himself with his own rope. And don’t worry, no one’s actually hanging, the rope here is karma, cause and effect.

The facts of the situation are what’s important—and while anger and disappointment are real and relevant, there’s a sadness, a disappointment, a raw sense of loss that will, above all else, help us all, it is to be hoped, avoid buying into future “theistic” cults of personality.

This isn’t just about John, and his failings. It’s about the willingness of a large group of people to buy into a cult of personality, into theism. And yet no one is blaming themselves.

The fact is, wisdom and goodness are inherent. There’s no need to seek a cool club out there. Joy is never external. If it is, it’s not “integrous,” as John would put it.

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