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But the myth of the totally enlightened being has proven to be extraordinarily persistent.Susan Blackmore and James Austin, as hard-nosed and skeptical as they are, believe in total enlightenment, and I still feel the myths allure myself now and then.Shortly thereafter, when Andrew was sixteen, he was talking to his mother late one night when he was suddenly overcome with sensations of love, awe, and wonder.He "knew without any doubt that there was no such thing as death and that life itself had no beginning and no end," he recalled in his book Autobiography of an Awakening.In the mid-1970s, I spent a year living in Philadelphia, and while there I took classes in Kundalini yoga.The classes convened at a house, or ashram, inhabited by male and female Kundalini devotees, all of them Americans.Not just a glimpse of heaven but permanent habitation of it.
I mention this episode only to show that for at least one evening decades ago I believed in the myth of the totally enlightened guru.
I cannot recall what Yogi Bhajan said, but I remember being entranced.
He exuded an intelligence and self-assurance that seemed superhuman.
Curious about Cohen, I did some research and found that his history teems with conflicts and contradictions.
Born in 1955, he was a self-described neurotic adolescent raised in New York City by unhappily married parents.