That Marlowe Sand has had the courage to write this book with no blame apportioned to anyone who was involved in the story is remarkable. What else is remarkable is that she has been able to come through this devastating experience and rebuild her life; returning to a place of acceptance within that has allowed her to look back and forgive her quest for perfection and the problems both to herself and her loved ones, her quest had created.
When, as a young mother and wife, Marlowe began to look for another interest in in her life, to fill what she considered a gap, she found she was attracted to a new meditation group forming not far from her home. Attending the first class with a good dose of scepticism, she discovered that what teacher Andrew Cohen was preaching was reaching out to her needs.
She felt fulfilled, relaxed and in her opinion able to manage the daily stress of family life better.
Sadly, this was to be the beginning of slow and seductive slide into a lifestyle that was to see her sacrifice all she believed in, all her fundamental values in life, all her passion, love and strength.
It also caused her to become submissive to a cult, to a self-styled Guru who set out on the right pathway to enlightenment but somehow, along the way become a megalomaniac, demanding total and submissive obedience to his wishes and desires from all his followers.
Leaving her husband and taking her two young daughters to America was the first step in a serious dedication to Cult lifestyle, to becoming a member of a commune, surviving on the faint hope that what she did would appeal to Guru Andrew Cohen; that he would bless her for her efforts, was to become an essential part of her very existence.
But she was to eventually discover this guru did indeed have feet of clay, when her desire to fulfil a punishment, along with several other women, almost caused the death of one of the other followers. Some of the punishments meted out certainly destroyed a number of cult members mental and physical health.
She was also beginning to question the damage she had caused in her daughter lives with her constant obsession with Andre Cohen and the cults incredibly excessive and damaging demands.
In her final chapter she reflects that the cult, headed by Andrew Cohen, was overall incredibly destructive but that there were ‘also elements of grace and healing that ran simultaneously through his work’.
This is a work that is a must read for anyone who is thinking of setting out on a pathway to enlightenment with a Guru, in a practice or ‘religion’ that they do not fully understand.
After standing down as the leader of this cult, Andrew Cohen admitted to one of his ex-students ‘that most of the time he was ‘teaching’ he made a lot of mistakes and had not known what he was doing’ is warning in itself that, although some good can and does come out of this style of ‘cult religion’, a good deal of destruction seems to be more apparent.
That Marlowe is able to write this book is a tribute to her inner strength as a person, that she has shared her experience with the world in remarkable, that her words of warning should go unheated is unthinkable.