• Modern Mysticism

An Apology

I’m fifty-seven years old and currently find myself facing the biggest challenge of my life. I’ve been a teacher of spiritual enlightenment for twenty-seven years. Enlightenment has always been and always will be about transcending the ego. Over the last several years, some of my closest students have tried to make it apparent to me that in spite of the depth of my awakening, my ego is still alive and well.

I’ve understood this simple truth—that we all have egos no matter how enlightened we may be—and even taught it to thousands of people all over the world throughout my career. But when I was being asked to face my own ego by those who were nearest and dearest to me, I resisted. And I often made their lives difficult as a result.

I’m aware that many of my students over the years have also been affected by my lack of awareness of this part of myself. And for those of you who are reading this, I apologize. As time passes I intend to reach out and engage in a process of dialogue with those of you who would like to.

In light of all this, for the sake of my own integrity as a spiritual teacher and as a human being, I’ve decided that I need to take some time off so I can make the effort to develop in many of the ways that I’ve asked other people to. Starting this fall, once I’ve fulfilled some prior commitments, I’m going to embark upon a sabbatical for an extended period of time. During this hiatus, I will be stepping down from the leadership of my organization, I won’t be publishing anything here on my blog, and will not be doing any public teaching. My intention is to become a better teacher, and more importantly, a better man.

One of the most beautiful fruits of my work over the years has been the international network of people who have studied, collaborated, and trained with me for so long. They are all examples of Evolutionary Enlightenment in their own right, and I couldn’t imagine a greater community of people to carry forward this movement. I’m looking forward to working with them in a very different way in the future.

To learn more about this network, you can visit www.enlightennext.org.


Image courtesy of jootix.com by Benefactor


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Re: Apology

Dear Andrew If 'Enlightenment has always been and always will be about transcending the ego', and it's become clear to you that you have not transcended yours, does that also mean you are questioning your enlightenment?

Thank you

Dear Andrew, I am incredibly grateful for having had the opportunity to study with you. I think your teaching and the experience you give people of the next potential for humanity is profound beyond measure, and one day people will have more of an understanding and appreciation for this. Love, Jan


This is it? It this the kind of apology that should wipe out everything, all the karma? Is this the kind of apology you would accept from your students? I would say it's a very, very small beginning. Maybe. Maybe.

"My intention is to become a better teacher"

I'll never forget something you said, Andrew, when we heard that Amrit Desai, who had fallen from grace and left his community at Kripalu Center in ruins, renewed his activity as a teacher in Florida: "He should have stayed in Kripalu to clean the toilets and make the rooms of his students," you said, "and if he were the great soul he's supposed to be, over time his greatness would show - in a different way than he or we can imagine." I suggest that you take your own advice and give up the idea of continuing, at some point in the future, to be a teacher. The way I see it, when you started as a teacher, you knew that the "guru function" that was awakened in you was not your personality. That gave you humility and surrender. Over time, however, you (your ego) became so identified with that function, that you could no longer make the distinction - and that's when things started going really bad. It would seem to me that in order to "become a better man", you'd have to completely untie the knot between your identity (your ego) and being a teacher. If you do that, whatever greatness there is in you (and I don't doubt there is) will shine through and find its expression - maybe in the form of a jazz drummer, maybe simply as a decent and humble human being. But I cannot imagine it happening any other way. Love, Amir

Awesome and touching

Dude, that was beautiful. I think you might be surprised how well things can progress from here. My tip - for what it's worth - is to check out the enneagram. I suspect your ego is type 1 with a 2 wing. If you can separate that contamination from pure simple heartfelt reality, your work will improve enormously. Also, perhaps you could consider the possibility that while the ego can look ugly, it actually has a purpose - to defend life. And the solution might not be for each of us to struggle with ourselves. Instead, we could work together to create an environment (culture) that supports our positives rather than triggering our negatives. I wish you well in your new exploration.

Is this for real?

Too Little - Too Late. This casual apology doesn't even begin to address the trail of carnage and devastation left in your wake. What happened to the Unknown? If you truly face yourself you can have no idea where that will lead you - if it is already your intention to continue as a teacher after a brief time of quiet reflection then you already know everything and haven't faced a thing. Face Everything, Avoid Nothing leaves you with Nothing in your hand every time. Read your own teaching - it's all there. I can pretty much bet that this doesn't get posted - but I hope that at least you read it and give it at least a moment's consideration before adding it to the pile of other reflections that bounce off your ever so perfect reflection of yourself. I'm really hoping (but not holding my breath) that you can begin to face the enormous karma you have created and if you do who knows.... (ain't that the point!!?) Peter

Underwhelmed and insulted

I can't believe the insincerity of this statement. As a former student, if I had given a letter like this to Andrew in the context of stepping down as a student I would have suffered the wrath of his megalomania. I'm shocked. This isn't going to cut it Andrew, your ego is still very much alive and well.

What a pathetic apology

We, Andrew's multitude of ex-students, are the professor and Andrew is the student. This apology is his first draft. It is totally inadequate and not even worthy of a grade. His apology should be at least as long as his "Declaration of Integrity" which ran over 6 pages, and it should be expressed with at least the same amount of force. The paper is rejected, he needs to write again. Sorry Andrew, we know you're a much better writer than this.

An Apology

Andrew, after all the passion you showed in your teaching and in hammering us for so many years, I simply can't believe how sterile, cold and lacking in heart this apology is. It goes so far as to be insulting. Nonetheless I know this is a massive step for you to apologise and three cheers for that, but really, you need to think again - for your own sake apart from anything else, because otherwise you will never be free from the massive burden of the karma you have created.


Caveat: I had never heard of you before someone posted a link to this apology on facebook. I sincerely hope your sabbatical is, er, "enlightening." And I mean that in a way that may be utterly foreign to you. :) I actually recoil whenever I see anyone using the word "enlightenment" as some kind of static achievement. May your identity as "enlightened" dissolve, and free you .

Thank you !!

Dear Andrew. Thank you so much for your teaching. It broaden my understanding of the purpose of my being, and of what life is all about. I am now a better ( and improved :) participant in the creation of the future. It is beautiful to see that you too are not staying at the same place and you too keep on growing... That means much more exciting teaching in the future from an even greater teacher! A lot of love to you. Eagle

Blown away

Love for life and change. Deeply shared. By us. The many. When you are a pioneer, responsibility lies so heavily on your shoulders. The world looks at you, watching every step, waiting that you make a mistake. How brave to still go on the forefront of change and revolution. How brave and graceful to face the many and your own ego. How much respect I have for you and for these beautiful people that are your closest students. In my view, they could become these brave and awake and graceful people through your absolute teaching. Now they seem to be what you always wanted them (us) to be: real partners rather than followers. Not many teachers can accomplish this task. It is big. Through your being the best example of transparency and authenticity and deep trust, they (we) could do this step. I am endlessly grateful to call you my teacher. I love you, Andrew.

Love and kudos to you

Thankyou. Andrew, I have known you closely for over 25 years. Your personal challenge right now only further confirms my trust in your own commitment to Absolute Freedom. Those who strive to fly higher risk greater heat from the sun.

you might consider MKP

My life and work have been transformed through the work I've done with the ManKind Project. I believe that you might find something fruitful there. www.mkp.org or feel free to call me: 419.699.6100 Blessings...


Andrew after all these years, and everything that has happened, I was very happy to hear that you are beginning to look at the truth within yourself, albeit with some 'pressure' from your current students. However, I am disappointed that you didn't care enough either to head up your letter - maybe 'Dear former students' or, even more importantly, to sign it at the end so that we really know you wrote it yourself! Many of us have done much facing ourselves since we left your community, and have had to go very deep to face into and acknowledge the Truth - I pray that you will have the courage and the desire to do the same - completely and unconditionally. Ali (Mac) (your student from 1992 - 2001)

Sabbath time

We love you Andrew and we will miss your inspirational comments and teachings no matter how short a time you choose to step down. But your motive for doing so is clear and pure as water,and I wish you all the benefits of your retreat. Love Poul

An Apology

Wow! I call this courage and integrity! It has always been my point, that the ego in some way has to be there, even after any enlightenment, same as the body will be there, unless of cause one dies. But most enlightened people do not want to admit, that the work has to go on in them too. So Andrew admitting this is one of a kind! And i respect that highly! Tanks and all my energetic support. Take care, jaya

Andrew´s Ego

Hello Andrew, what a surprise to read your statement. I am glad you say something publicly even if it is just a small first step . I know you don´t have much practice apologising to people, therefore I say it is good that you try... This said, I wish you would be able to drop all agendas, all clinging to your experience, to your teachings and the creations which followed, I wish you could be radical now and drop your position, your future, and your past and let your realisation of Ego in ........ when you do that - you´ll be consumed by all that you are trying to feel you will see through the pride and then, feeling truly sorry, will be your natural state and you will recognise, that it allways was part of you, but that you were afraid of that and finally your demons will be dancing to the rythm of your heartbeat in the bright light of the Truth and Love will overwhelm you in such a profound way that you may be brought to your knees yet again before the perfect rainbow colored reality and glory of being Andrew Cohen yet again... Love Ingo

An Apology

Dear Andrew: My wife, Laury,and I are new students of teachings your the last 2 yrs so this is a bit surprising! We never felt you weren't facing everything. Of course we're not that close to you. Your teachings of Evolutionary Enlightenment as taught by you and your senior teachers have assisted in transforming us as nothing else has previously. For this we are eternally grateful. Can we approach you about this at Tuscany retreat? With love and respect, David

integrity, honesty, Realization, ego

you have always been a Burning FIre of inspiration to me, regarding Freedom relative to the perceived human condition, and our Real State. i only hold you in highest regard, and very much appreciate your communication to everyone, here -- even if to once again notice the effects of inspiration felt within. in my own experience, retreat is an authentic and powerful process to allow the human faculties to become transparent to their Source. people have used it since ancient time, and i wish you the best of everything during your own. much love to you, andrew.

Response to the "apology"

Dear Andrew - One of the many things I've done in life that has been valuable is learn how to write English for a Masters thesis. I also taught English for some time, and that helped too. So I have a few comments on your first attempt to write this so-called apology. 1. Saying how old you are is irrelevant. 2. You might want to reference a few other time-tested teachers who define Enlightenment. 3. As this is theoretically an apology, it's good to be truthful. Saying that you made your students' lives "difficult" is beyond a lie. You pathologically enjoyed torturing us. 4. There is a flaw in saying that you apologize only to those who read this so-called apology. If you are truly engaged in the work you say you are, you need to rethink this statement. 5. Oxymoron alert! There is no integrity in continuing to teach at the same time as you step down because you realize your ego is still getting in your and your students' ways. 6. You're actually "looking forward" to working with some of the students who have born the brunt of your being "difficult"??? From a comprehension point of view, this defies comprehension. Better luck on your next draft.

Andrew Cohen

it is good to see he is starting to awaken. Hopefully he will one day fully apologise for the damage he has done to many human beings. If he has the ability to truly see it, it will be surprising, for it is hard for a being to truly face such facts about himself. If he half-way succeeds I'll take off my hat for him.

We love you Andrew

Dear Andrew, I am impressed. That cannot have been easy for you to face. Remember that we love you! You will come out of this a new man. It will be very interesting to see where you will go from here. I will be very interested to see what happens to you. We all need to become pure in this time of great acceleration, You go! Lots of Love and thank you for Everything! You awakened my Heart and Opened my mind to the Absolute dimension of reality. I will love you forever for that. Åsa from Sweden

Your Apology.

I think that is brave and true and humble. Personally although I went through some very dark times and left abandoned I would also say it was a culture inside the organisation not just you Andrew. We all followed like sheep...anything or anyone that was in vogue was fascinating and worthy of attention and respect and then one word from you Andrew and that would all change people were shunned and disrespected. It was very obvious from my position outside the community and I was by this time not really so caught up in it all and was no longer looking for my salvation from you. When I met you you opened up a perspective which there afterwards could never be recreated despite your and my best efforts and I do believe that you were honestly trying to teach us as best you could. The problem is that human beings have charges emotional weak spots which is what I would call Ego and it is not a monster that is to be feared according to your teachings. It is the unhealed part of us all that maybe was looking to you for healing......once that charge which is unconscious and so difficult to grapple with is released there is no ego there is just a happy person that will create a happy world. To do this we need divine intervention we cannot do it ourselves. Your way of dealing with these weak spots was to make the person so terrified they would never find the trust to experience the charge and therefore became more and more terrified and frozen until they had to run away or you kicked them out. We are the same age and I have made so many mistakes hurt so many people disregarded my family etc and I have faced some very ugly aspects of myself maybe not completely but consistently over time. You wrote to me once saying Jacqui you must do whatever you need to do to be happy and to be free. And that is what I have done. I apreciated those words that signified the end of our formal/non serious relationship and I feel grateful for it and what it taught me. I wish you the very best on your continuing journey With love Jacqui

for sure, take your time dear

for sure, take your time dear Andrew, rest, and integrate all the process happening. enlightenment is about humility compassion, and that is what you are showing here. we should never be blind with light, or create an idea of what enlightenment is, for then we start playing roles, and it becomes stressful to keep playing the role. so enlightenment is bringing light to everything, even the most delicate parts, and thus we enlighten what was blcoking us in reality that we didnt want to see. sometimes the ego is necessary to defend ourselves, or to have a sort of cleavage to our path in the material world so we can also have a little structure to our journey, so i think accepting the ego is part of the enlightenmt and also accepting all emotions. tears and laughter are the release, the same healing, they are sacred, and tears can be a way to go deeper, much deeper, and the deeper we go the higher we will fly. may our tears be of redemption, may they be deep prayers of surrendering to life. and may our periods of rest bring us much needed integration, and a re-sync of our organic rhythms to nature and existance*****

Much Love!

Andrew, I wanted to honor your decision and I also wanted to honor your words, your passion and dedication to Spirit. You brought Mind, Soul and Spirit to a much more dynamic expression in my life. I feel so filled with Grace because I have been so fortunate to find you at some point in my Life. Your expression in "all" its dimension have taught me a great deal. Thank you so much!!! Much Love on Your Way. ~Y*

Re: Apology

HI Andrew Cohen - it is a delight to hear your apology and decision to take some time out for reflection. I did a workshop with you in Australia years ago and was rather horrified at (what seemed to me) your unashamed misogyny and disregard of womens voices. Even though I have appreciated a lot of your writings, I found meeting you in person to be less than satisfactory and felt once again a deep disappointment that so-called spiritual leaders can't seem to get the basics of equality, and actually live it in their lives. So yes I applaud your humility and willingness to truly go within.... Blessings to you, Frances Amaroux

homework :-)

dearest andrew, with deep respect to you and your journey, and with deep respect to your acknowledgement to the fact that you need to do some homework.... I feel to point out to you that the moment " you" stop " wanting to be a better teacher and man", you will be right back on track and out of the joke of the ego trying to improve on itself :-) much love, ruth ..... a sister in crime :-)

True hope

It is a good thing to acknowledge that the true hope for the world does not come from the ego. More leaders and people in the public eye should do so. Thank you for being a brave man.


Dear Andrew, I am glad that you are beginning to understand yourself in a new way. The outcome of this challenge is unknown. It is not helpful for you to make any assumptions about what may or may not happen in the future. With respect, Sarah Measures

Judgment, Condemnation, Forgiveness, and Resolution

The other day I heard something I liked: it is better not to think of oneself (or one's civilization or society or religion or workplace, for that matter) as evolved but rather as evolving, no matter how evolved one may be. It makes sense to me that a worthy spiritual teacher would adopt this stance as a foundation for recognizing mistakes and apologizing for them. I read a comment elsewhere that Cohen's apology doesn't go the full distance. Maybe so. Maybe Cohen isn't worthy. I don't know the whole story. But there is something that I do know. I know that Andrew Cohen was the first to make clear to me that in choosing what to do with my life, both small choices and big, I can peg my compass to that which I might become but have not yet reached. Before that, the best I could imagine was to compare myself to who I was yesterday, the stance that replaced an even older framework of comparing myself to others to decide who to be. I'm grateful to him for that, and I hope he and others involved in these apologies heed his call for living in a state of constant resolution. To me, judgment simply is telling the difference between better and worse. It is not the same as pronouncing the person who made a worse choice as bad: this the distinction between "you made a mistake" and "you are a mistake." I think condemnation can sit apart from judgment, however difficult that may be when truly and deeply wronged. And I also think that setting aside condemnation does not imply releasing the offender from accountability for damage done. But I think it is interesting to note that forgiving someone actually requires passing judgment: that's why I think you would find it ridiculous to forgive someone for wishing you well. We don't forgive when something that we judge as nice happens to us. I don't think people who Cohen has hurt should (or even really can) forgive unless forgiveness naturally bubbles up. But my hope is that whatever has happened, things get sorted out with clear judgment of what was better, clear judgment of what was worse, and an eye toward becoming something and someone better yet.

Only love

Dear precious Andrew, Whatever grace you have bestowed upon me and my spiritual development I lovingly offer back to you with extra affection. Even though I was never really part of your community, you remain a root guru, someone who declared (and is declaring) an unequivocal relationship to life. Your apology is breaking my heart, for somehow I feel myself freed from hiding, open to my own shadow and humbly kneeling before God. May your emergence into this next dimension of your work unfold gracefully and with as little discomfort as possible. So many blessings from Upstate New York, Seamus Kennedy (formerly James Sealander)

Andrew Cohen

I support you in this process, Andrew, and look forward to seeing what emerges as a result of your willingness. I do this this as epic -- that someone who has been seen and related to as a guru is willing to take this deeply honest and transformational step. This has deeply meaningful implications.

Dearest Andrew

Wow.. what can I say. I never thought you where unaware of being yourself, whether we call that conglomeration enlightened self or selfish ego. We all gave you the benefit of doubt since we all shared the same predicament. Personally I have no need of apologies even though it's always nice to be approached. Your stand has been uncompromising and the result is self evident. You can't please everyone all the time. Yet by that I do not say not to question ones actions and what you are telling above sounds heartfelt and genuine. Nevertheless, to your own self be true. Redemption lies within, not without. Maybe it's time for a change now, but what came before can never be dismissed nor undone. We all knew your young American side, with your preferences and attitudes. Some where attracted by it, others not so, but what carried you is what we all love you for, your uncompromising stand in what you believed to be true and your ability to transmit your spirit and passion and vision. This can never be understated and your legacy will be remembered by your victories and not by your losses. Hold your head high, you deserve it.


Dear Andrew, It sounds like a beautiful opportunity for honest mutual reflection. I would definitely like to meet with you again. Since you will probably need to be getting back to your teaching responsibilities after not too long, we should make it as soon as possible.

Thank you

Dear Andrew, Thank you for your post. I would like to leave a link to a great inspiration that can be of use http://www.amazon.com/Awaken-Infinite-Breath-Consciousness-ebook/dp/B00CXABRXO/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1 Thank you for your consideration. Love, Wahido


Dear Andrew, though we've only met in passing we share many close friends. I've never publicly offered a view on you, your teachings or the reports of hurt that others have lain, in some regard, at your feet. So this is a first for me. I want to extend my appreciation and respect for the courage of your decision. No matter what the various interpretations people might make of this, I like men who have the balls to take full responsibility for where they've been and where they're going. That is genuine spiritual leadership, and this world needs more of it. Much love, Robb Smith Co-Founder & Chairman, Integral Life

What role has the personality?

Brave and probably much needed overdue step. I never liked Cohen's model in which all ego seemed bad. I see it more as a tool. A tool as destructive as a running lawnmower without somebody at the wheel. I see many fighting their ego and get stuck or lost or having a very smart ego role play humble servitude. I also had a few moments in which having blown my own ego up to the max its openly full shining became a channel for collective fun and entertainment. That was a rare and strange experience. I made me wonder whether we can have an ego that is supportive and part of enlightenment? I tend to say, as long as it is a serving tool and it is used with light, grace and self relativity. A painter needs a brush with character if it wants a painting with character. And most often it is our healed or healing parts of our personality that makes us the best teachers we know at certain wounds connected to our hurts. This is what consciousness should aim for, not for being without ego at all.

Apologies and Amends

There has been a lot of discussion in various blogs (ie WhatEnlightenment) and books (Mother of God, American Guru, Enlightenment Blues) about your failures as a spiritual teacher through the years. And there has been a lot of effort made, by you and by others on your behalf, to silence or dismiss these painful discussions. A general apology like this is a beginning. It is necessary, but it is certainly not sufficient. I recommend that you study the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and follow their blueprint for taking a "searching and fearless moral inventory", and then "making a list of all those you have harmed", and then being "willing to make amends to them all". In your case, those amends would have to include financial restitution, based on what people have written about how they were bullied and manipulated into giving you vast sums of money. If you won't follow up on your apology by truly making amends, there's really no reason anybody should look to you as a spiritual teacher in the future. As the old saying goes, "Money talks...bullshit walks".

Dearest Andrew

Wow, Andrew, though I have no need personally of an apology your confession sounds heartfelt and true and as such is very welcomed. Thank you. Not to worry, you can hold your head high. Redemption comes from within, not from outside, and we can't please all the people all the time. Yet having said that, there are genuine concerns that needs to be addressed and it seems like you're about to. I never thought you where unaware of your own self, whether we call that the enlightened self or the selfish ego, as we others always were keenly aware of it; your young New York brash American way with your tastes and preferences, your personality, your likes and dislikes. But we all gave you the benefit of doubt, since after all, you were trailblazing a new and unprecedented spiritual revolution among us. Some people where attracted by your personality, others not so, but what made us come was your uncompromising stand in your own conviction, which made it so powerful. The power of the absolute standard of truth, always foremost in your mind, has changed countless lives over the years and for that we are eternally grateful and we love you for it. Much love and appreciation, Bjorn

an apology

I lay my head on my pillow soon to sleep and what a gift as I drift off. Thank you Andrew Cohen for your post. My Being and my cells delight in your willingness to acknowledge your fragility. May the choice you made to publicly admit this fragility bring more of us to this self honesty and transparency. Loving warmth, Rita Martino

Your apology

Hello Andrew, we last spoke in London in July 1995. I told you then that I had issues about your control and that you cannot put a face on God, i.e. your own. I now ask you again to consider sending a sincere message of apology to your ex students for the heartbreak and injury you caused them. Then you can get on with being a better man and perhaps like David or Solomon rise up from the ashes. The teachings were never about you, you were the vehicle, that's all. I ask you to dig deep into the bowels of your being to see what is at stake here, and then we can all get on with the job at hand. With respect. Keith