Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Discussion of the SES' satellite schools in Australia and New Zealand.
Ahamty2
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:03 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ahamty2 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:54 am

We have to remember that words like ‘being asleep’ is a term used by Gurdjieff and Ouspensky to their followers and which the SES has capitalized on day one of part one of the philosophy course. It a conditioning term to convince you that while even in the waking state, you are in fact asleep and ignorant. This is part of the conditioning process to cultivate a collective thinking, the first dose of opiate (the opium of the mind to which Hegel and Marx alludes in their writings). We saw the physical manifestation of this in the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 in St Petersburg under Lenin and the National Socialist Party in Germany under its Leader (Fuhrer). Both these events show the collective thinking process made manifest.
Tootsie, Mrs Mavro would not welcome you to the House unless she could sense a vulnerable aspect of your personality that she could work on to get you to return to the SOP. You are right, you have no real friends in these organizations; your only relationship is the collective thinking between you. The only time SOP’ers came to me was when they wanted to leave and how to go about it then you never hear from them again once that happens.
There is no place for the individuality concept in the SES/SOP/SOPP/SFSK type of organizations. The individual does not exist here, the leader decides everything for you; you have surrendered yourself to them. You must be punished if you disobey the collective.
But who are these so called leaders? They are human beings with their own personalities exactly like you and I, they are no different from any of us nor are they wiser or better than any of us. They are as bound and just as helpless by their own egos and sanskaras as everyone else!

Tootsie
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:37 pm

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Tootsie » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:36 am

I would agree that Nina Mavro and Donald Lambie are dancing to the same tune. You only have to read the posts in this forum to see it is true. What I would like to know is who is the puppet-master that is pulling their strings? Maybe spiritual organizations should have mission statements showing their reason for existing so people in them could know if they are being lead up the garden path.

MOTS can I ask you if you knew the history behind the SFSK and were you reading this forum while you were still in school? As you obviously don't see eye-to-eye with Mrs M would you ever consider joining another organization or has the experience put you off for life?

Middle Way
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:46 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Middle Way » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:30 am

MOTS is quite correct in saying The School = Mrs Mavro is the equation. However, Tootsie's earlier post caused me to reflect again on whether we have been a bit too harsh on poor Mrs M. After all, when MOTS first posted I did think his assessment of her was too negative. But he subsequently told me quite a few things both through the open postings and in personal communications. These seriously led me to question whether my assessment of her was too positive.

And it's also true that despite repeated invitations for her closest supporters to defend her and point out where we are too biased negatively and why we are not telling the full truth, they refuse to do so. I'm not sure that's the sort of "support" I'd want if I had "followers", but I understand that's fear-based, or coming from some misguided notion that it is just two troublemakers' fallible egos talking so we will stay aloof from that. Or just maybe there is no defence because what we say is actually true?

But in the spirit of love, the necessity of which Tootsie correctly reminds us, I have reflected on the quality of all the interactions I have had with Mrs M over 8 years where she initiated contact with me. I made a list and will record it here: it's not long.

First was 3 or so years ago when she called me aside at a refreshment break and ordered me to ensure that another student in my class did not attend a forthcoming residential weekend because "they weren't ready". I blinked back surprise, then anger and suppressed the urge to say "have the guts to tell them yourself". Gutlessly myself I agreed. Because ordering people to do things is her style not mine, I had a quiet chat with the other student, but that person decided to attend. First black mark against me I now realise, in fact one strike and you're out is really the rule it seems.

Second was after I had the temerity to try out one Powerpoint slide in my 2nd go at tutoring a part 1 course. (I had been asked to tutor part 1 by the then head of the Canberra SFSK arm who thought I had some qualities in that area). She called me aside and ordered me to stop using the Powerpoint slide and to keep clear of any electronic aids. That's all she said. No enquiries about how I was going or how the students found the slide, or whether I had any questions about tutoring or was there anything she could help me with. After my third term at tutoring, she sacked me (and another tutor) without talking to us at all.

With hand on heart, that's all there is. No other contact initiated by her. Only 2 instructions to act in a negative manner, and no positive interactions at all. So much for concern for my "spiritual path". I don't feel upset or damaged by this. I was quite happy to steer clear of her at breaks and at residentials actually, unless I had to ask her something and I was pleased she kept away from me. I now see so much more clearly why.

Tootsie – just one question for you. In a May 28 posting you described Mr Mavro as being an "egotistical and ruthless dictator". So I'm wondering why you went over to his house after leaving SOP. Did you avoid him and only talk to Mrs M?

MW

Ahamty2
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:03 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ahamty2 » Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:31 am

The puppet-master who is pulling their strings is none other than desire which causes the ego to seek one thing only Absolute Power.

Tootsie
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:37 pm

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Tootsie » Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:17 am

Hi MW, I would have to agree with others that Mr Mavro would only see you if he thought you were useful in some way for whatever plans he had. So if you wanted to survive in the SOP you would have to play along. With Nina I actually liked her mainly because she knew most of the time I was playing the school game but refused to surrender my will to anybody (Putting school first) When she told me off for anything my conscience knew she was mostly right so I didn't have to react like some naughty little boy who had been caught out.

I remember listening to one of the girls in my group, so it must have been early on in school before we were all segregated saying how Mrs M had come up to her and told her that single ladies in school do not co-habit with single gentlemen. She was quite affronted by this and left at the end of team. I wonder if this attitude still persists today or do things change with the times.

ManOnTheStreet
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:32 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:11 pm

@Ahamty:

Ahamty2 wrote:But who are these so called leaders? They are human beings with their own personalities exactly like you and I, they are no different from any of us nor are they wiser or better than any of us. They are as bound and just as helpless by their own egos and sanskaras as everyone else!


Exactly right. It is a fallacy to assume that Mrs M is somehow more 'advanced' or 'higher up on the spiritual ladder'. The moment you look at her actions objectively (i.e. divorced from notions about her position as leader of the School) she becomes a fallible and egotistical human being. Given this, there is no reason to believe what she says just because she says it.

You have to view her actions independently of her position as leader of the School because that position is an attribute she possesses. Clearly, attributes don't have knowledge; only people do. Therefore, if you are inclined to impute 'special knowledge' to Mrs M, the evidence for this must come from her actions, not her attributes.

What is also very important to remember is that Mrs M is supposed to be the 'spiritual guide' for the members of the School. That is, they are supposed to take their cue from her when it comes to 'spiritual' matters. However, if Mrs M is hypocritical in her application of School 'principles' it is very difficult to fathom how on earth anyone is supposed to take spiritual guidance from her. Surely a significant prerequisite for being a spiritual leader is that you practice what you preach. It is quite astounding that anyone in their right mind would want to take spiritual guidance from someone who gossips about them behind their backs. If she isn't even honest on a basic level, how can Mrs M be trusted to provide guidance on any other level?

It's common to hear something like "well, yes we acknowledge Mrs M has some faults, but she's genuine nonetheless and that's all that matters really". I would say that a lack of honesty is a pretty serious fault. Moreover, this is not a fault she possesses in spite of herself. Rather it is a deliberately cultivated aspect of her personality. I would think that it's more than clear that a dishonest person cannot be called genuine.

In any case, since when was a person''s 'genuineness' a reason to follow them? We don't go around following all those people who claim to be Jesus do we? They're very genuine. In fact, they're probably a lot more genuine than Mrs M. However, there's obviously more to following someone than whether or not you perceive them to be 'genuine'. We don't follow the Jesus-claimers because there is simply no evidence to back-up their claims. Why is it that School members don't apply the same reasoning to Mrs M? The moment you do, she ends up having about as much credibility as those Jesus-claimers.

@MW:

Have we been too harsh? I don't think so. Truth is neither harsh nor kind. What can be confronting is the fact that Mrs M's actions really were that bad. Coming to that realisation is not a pleasant experience, but I believe nevertheless that it is a cathartic one, and to that extent it is valuable.

@Tootsie:

1. Did I know the history of the SFSK while I was in the School?
Yes. I was lucky to have known some people who had been members of the SOP prior to the Mavros being kicked out (and who had subsequently followed them to the SFSK). They gave me a no-frills version of the School's history.

2. Did I read this forum while I was in the School?
No, although I knew of its existence.

3. Would I ever consider joining another organisation?
I would not. This is for two reasons:
i) I no longer think that Vedanta/Advait Vedanta represents the Truth in any way. Nor do I think any of the other religions represent it either. So I'm unlikely to join any organisation based on any religious principles. (Yes, Advait-Vedanta can probably be classified as a philosophy, but Vedanta is assuredly a religion. Either way, they're both fundamentally flawed systems of thought).
ii) I think that any organisation promoting a particular conception of Truth has to say at some point that it knows best what that Truth is. (Organisations are by their very nature exclusive to some degree.) Given that no one has any idea what the Truth is, it's rather arrogant to say "we have all the answers you need right here - there's no need for further inquiry." That's what all these organisations do: they limit Truth by compartmentalising it and giving it all sorts of qualities and attributes that it doesn't necessarily have. I think that real inquiry does not arise in a mind fettered by notions of what it 'ought' to be thinking in a given situation. However, that is exactly what ends up happening to people who join these kinds of organisations. There is no free inquiry; only predetermined conclusions.
Free inquiry always has its foundation in the exercise of reason. Reason is a tool in every person's kit. In fact, I would go so far as to say that reason is the only valid tool we have for discerning the Truth. In any case, you don't need to join an organisation to use your reason. There's no evidence to suggest that joining some organisation will lead to you exercising your reason any better than you would have had you not joined that organisation. In fact, the opposite is probably true. School people love to talk about the Platonic academy and the Western 'tradition' of schools of philosophy, however - Plato was not part of any school, and neither was Socrates. Aristotle left the Academy, and there were few other notable students of that school. Ditto Ficcino's Academy. Major developments in philosophy have almost always come from individuals, not 'schools'.

The question to ask is: As a seeker of Truth, how do I help anyone by joining an 'organisation' that tells me I have to give up my reason and common sense in order to find the Truth as they have defined it?

There are also issues regarding hierarchies and power play. These are inevitable in any organisation, and I don't think that has anything whatsoever to do with seeking the Truth. The moment you have someone telling you to believe something just because they're telling you it's true, you've got a problem. Propositions that you wouldn't ordinarily touch with a barge-pole suddenly become 'plausible' in the context of a group of people all nodding their heads. This is a terrible situation. Reason should be exercised independently, and this can't happen in an organisation.

MOTS

Tootsie
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:37 pm

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Tootsie » Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:13 am

A lot of people who have left the SFSK seem to see themselves as victims, blaming Mrs M for just about all their problems and take no responsibility for their own actions. Do we know what's best to do in every situation or believe we are always right? No we are all human beings with all our frailties and that includes Mrs M.

Jesus refused to criticize or condemn anyone except the scribes and Pharisees who had put themselves above the common people. Thinking that one is better than others because one prays or meditates, or is vegetarian, or is the leader of a philosophy school is a mistake on the spiritual path. We ARE ALL EQUAL. We are neither superior nor inferior to any other being. If Mrs M thinks she is like a scribe or Pharisee the answer is simple, leave her school.

I left the SOP years ago and have forgiven the Mavro's and hopefully they have forgiven me. Simply let go and move on or if this is not possible see someone who understands the working of the subconscious mind.

Ahamty2
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:03 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ahamty2 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:27 am

Tootsie,
I take it that this is the same Jesus who was not so forgiving and docile about those people who had turned the Temple of God into a den of thieves and violently drove them out of the house of God!

woodgreen
Posts: 219
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby woodgreen » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:36 am

Hi Tootsie and Ahamty

Yes, the very same Jesus wasn't it? He was a pretty tough guy was Jesus. But he was not violent in the physical sense. He was very strong in his attitude and told the scribes and pharas to "xxxx" off , (did not swear as we do -mea culpa) and he told them to stop using his temple for their own ends ( money, and business wasn't it?) and wanted them to give the temple back to God. Didn't Krishna and Buddha take on their then societies in the same way. (?)
I feel an analogy with the SES coming on - when will they stop using other people's temples for their own ends. And whatever religion we come from or not, are we temples, or are we dancers, as the song goes.!!

best wishes

woodgreen
Ex-SES Member. (Member for 3 years in late nineties).

Middle Way
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:46 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Middle Way » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:43 am

Jesus was pretty tough on his disciple Peter too. For example, in Matthew 16:18, Jesus describes Peter as "upon this rock I will be build my church" yet just 5 verses later, after Peter questions why Jesus says he is to be crucified, Jesus tells him "Get thee behind me Satan, thou art an offense unto me". He also rebuked Peter pretty sharply after Peter cut off the high priest's servant's ear.

He also wasn't too forgiving of false prophets "...which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves".

MW

Ella.M.C.
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 6:12 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ella.M.C. » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:04 am

ManOnTheStreet wrote:
What is also very important to remember is that Mrs M is supposed to be the 'spiritual guide'
for the members of the School.

That is, they are supposed to take their cue from her when it comes to 'spiritual' matters.

However, if Mrs M is hypocritical in her application of School 'principles' ...
it is very difficult to fathom how on earth anyone is supposed to take spiritual guidance from her.

Surely a significant prerequisite for being a spiritual leader is that you practice what you preach.

It is quite astounding
that anyone in their right mind would want to take spiritual guidance from someone
who gossips about them behind their backs.

If she isn't even honest on a basic level, how can Mrs M be trusted to provide guidance on any other level?

It's common to hear something like "well, yes we acknowledge Mrs M has some faults, but she's genuine
nonetheless and that's all that matters really".

I would say that a lack of honesty is a pretty serious fault.

Moreover, this is not a fault she possesses in spite of herself.
Rather it is a deliberately cultivated aspect of her personality.
I would think that it's more than clear that a dishonest person cannot be called genuine.

In any case, since when was a person''s 'genuineness' a reason to follow them?
We don't go around following all those people who claim to be Jesus do we?

We don't follow the Jesus-claimers because there is simply no evidence to back-up their claims.
Why is it that School members don't apply the same reasoning to Mrs M?

The moment you do, she ends up having about as much credibility as those Jesus-claimers.

MOTS


I am just catching up on many new postings here, thank you to all .. there is much to consider.

MOTS,
These words of yours above, caught my attention as being fundamental common sense.
Thank you ...

Lack of honesty is a serious offence ..
And especially from a spiritual leader/teacher who should teach by example.
This would then show that they have "practised what they preached".
It would show also that the teacher had faith in the system/teaching.
If the teacher shows no such qualities .. surely they are not fit to teach!
I believe that Nina Mavro teaches from her vast intellectual book learning knowledge ..
And that is certainly not true teaching in the spiritual sense.
One might as well just read masses of books oneself ...
And then what ? .. You could talk and discuss for decades, (just like school) but be no wiser!

I also find it astounding that we, including myself, just accepted what MM and NM said as gospel truth ..
without checking on their credentials as leaders/teachers for this important aspect of our lives.
Ella.M.C.

ManOnTheStreet
Posts: 137
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:32 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby ManOnTheStreet » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:09 am

Tootsie, I think the sentiment you expressed is indicative of the thinking of quite a few current and ex-members of the School/s. However, there are a couple of points I would like to address:

1. Victims/Blame

We are not blaming Mrs M for all the problems in our lives; that would be clearly unjustified. We are holding her responsible for those problems in our lives directly caused by the fact of our involvement in the School. That is, those problems in our lives that exist by virtue of the fact that we were students in the School. The kind of fear and crippling self-doubt so prevalent among members of the School are not qualities that you would expect to find in most ordinary people.

2. Mistake/Moving on

There is an underlying assumption in your post that Mrs M simply 'made a mistake' when she led us all down the garden path. This is a fallacious assumption. I have posted before (in this thread) regarding my reasons for thinking this is the case, and I would invite you to consider those reasons. It is my view that Mrs M (and Mr M before her) deliberately misled us and abused our desire for truth to further their own egotistical ambitions. This was conscious and pre-meditated. Thus, in no way could it be a mere 'mistake' attributable to ordinary human 'frailties'.

There is a further point here: The fact that your experience may have been such that you find it within yourself to forgive Mrs M is in no way a justification for her actions. It also assumes (perhaps unconsciously) that everyone's experience in the School was more or less the same (allowing for obvious but minor differences). This is also a fallacious assumption. For quite a few of us, our lives were profoundly affected (for the worse) through our association with Mrs M. You need only to look through some of the other threads on this forum to see what kind of effect the School has had on its students. To simply say "move on" is to ignore the great psychological damage done by this woman to so many innocent people during the course of their involvement with the School.

This whole forum exists because some of us decided not to just "move on" and ignore the suffering of others. I think that any attitude that seeks to minimise this damage in respect of vague assumptions that Mrs M must necessarily be a good person just because we can't imagine her to be otherwise is simply apathetic. I believe it is our duty to those members of the School still 'under the spell' to inform them of their true situation, just as we were so informed. Not to do this is analogous to seeing someone in great pain and not doing anything to help them. It's morally repugnant.

We are victims of psychological abuse. It's simply part of the definition of 'victim' that the person so described is not responsible for the damage done to them. We are no more responsible for the damage done to us than an abused child is responsible for abuse perpetrated upon them by an adult.

MOTS

Middle Way
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:46 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Middle Way » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:19 am

Exactly right. Mrs M currently instructs her classes to read a book called the Yoga Vasistha, and in the class I left there is a little discussion of it before the main act (either Mrs M herself or a senior tutor) appears. It's not much of a discussion because very few bother to read it, which perhaps is sensible. I did, and still do and have come across the following words, none of which will ever be brought to Mrs M's attention for "discussion" nor will she ever raise them, for reasons which will become apparent when you've read them:

From YV vol 2:
14 March: "Cudala is the foremost among the knowers of the self and there is no contradiction between her words and her deeds. Whatever she says is true and is worth putting into practice."

1 August: "Surely he who does not deal with a subject when requested to do so is not a worthy teacher."

7 August: "Wise men...do not agitate people nor are they agitated by them."

MW

Ella.M.C.
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 6:12 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ella.M.C. » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:25 am

Tootsie wrote:I remember listening to one of the girls in my group, so it must have been early on in school before we were all segregated saying how Mrs M had come up to her and told her that single ladies in school do not co-habit with single gentlemen. She was quite affronted by this and left at the end of team. I wonder if this attitude still persists today or do things change with the times.


Hi Tootsie,

I believe this attitude (along with many others) still persists today, it is just done more 'discreetly' ..

Not so long ago, Mrs M questioned me about another student who was living with her long term partner
to see if I had any ideas on why things were this way.
Was it her or her partners intention not to commit to marriage, plus other questions the aim being for her
to get the picture of the situation.
No doubt I was not the only student NM approached to find out why this student was in such a 'situation'.
She eventually approached the student who was told she should marry the partner ..
This has not happened as yet.
The same attitude would be looked upon as 'not appropriate' ..
if one was just flat sharing with the opposite sex.

Ella.M.C.
Posts: 86
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 6:12 am

Re: Sydney School for Self Knowledge

Postby Ella.M.C. » Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:48 am

Middle Way wrote: The main requirement to be an SFSK tutor is to read out written material and if a curly question is asked repeat what you just read out, or ask “well what do you think is the answer?” and when those fail either say “who’s asking?” or “you need to be aware that’s your ego asking that, up to its usual tricks”, and the danger passes.

MW


I read this and smiled to myself in recognition, but it is ..
So sad and so true ...


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