Naropa’s Graduate Psychology Department Has “Invisible lines and expectations you absolutely will cross”


Naropa (Photo credit: flowercat)

Currently, I am sitting on a developing story of widespread psychological abuse in the graduate psychology department at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, but today, I was given the green light to share this quip from the Naropa survivor:

The grad psychology school is a whole different shabang…. total mindfuck, and catch22… with invisible lines and expectations you absolutely will cross, and any questions for more information, trying to explain yourself or heaven forbid, correcting them, is met with anger and threat of dismissal.

This is a truly disturbing account, and it is only the tip of the iceberg with this poor man’s involvement. It should give you pause to enter the graduate psychology programs at Naropa University. I will stay on the story and I hope to get you the story as soon as possible, but I have an obligation of confidentiality to those who share their stories with me and I respect that obligation totally.


Not just an anger issue, it’s a justice issue

I get some pretty interesting e-mails from this site. Some ask me for more information on Naropa’s programs (already working on a detailed discussion of their programs), some share heartbreaking stories of fraud and abuse from Naropa, and some tell me that I must have something wrong with me for wanting to see justice done. This next e-mail I am about to share comes from someone from that third category. Bob writes,

You have a lot of anger. Let it go and move onwith [sic] your life. This blog cant [sic] be spiritually healthy for you.

And he does have a point. I do have anger. When I see someone being abused, I get angry. When I see some con artist lying to people to make a buck off of people who don’t know better, I first work to inform the people and then to see to it that the con artist is punished. This is what I believe in. It is this thing called empathy and I know that when you go to a “school” where instructors and students would sit around in a circle talking about how a woman seizing in class makes them feel, while the woman is still seizing, your empathy is compromised so I understand that you are shocked by my anger.

The thing is, I could just move on with my life and for the last year, I did just that. I have been in therapy and at my last session on Monday, we talked about my negative attitude and my upset with things and there are some things that I am upset about that I need not be upset about. Naropa University’s continued abuse of students was not one of those things. I have an objective reason to be upset with Naropa and I have to speak out and say that it is not right to abuse people like this. I could move on, but I couldn’t like with myself if I did, which is why despite the legal threats and the whole debacle with my previous site, I still persist in working to hold Naropa accountable for it’s fraud and abuses. Naropa needs to stop abusing people.

As for my “spiritual health”, Naropa was bad for my spiritual health. It made me feel worse, not better, and it’s cheap spirituality comes at a high price, your empathy. Chogyam Trungpa didn’t give a shit about the people he hurt and he justified his anti-social behaviour under the guise of “crazy wisdom”. That is the tradition and legacy of Trungpa, and I believe that a positive way of interacting with that legacy is to educate and inform people. I choose anger over apathy because I care. The better question is why don’t you care, Bob?

UPDATE: The e-mail address Bob provided does not work. Why am I not surprised by this?

On the Issue of Objectivity

Hello, readers. I haven’t posted in a while but I figured that I would kick things off with a letter I recently received. Jigme writes:

“No, I am not. You are correct, but I never claimed to be objective. I would rather stick with the facts and live a honest life instead of posting things that I do not agree with.” I am just wondering how one can stick to the facts while at the same time not be objective. Also, i would love to know why someone would attend Naropa without researching its founder, its history, and its vision before spending enough money to go to Harvard, literally go to Harvard. Naropa University was in Trungpa’s own words a “one hundred year project.” If its good enough for Allen Ginsberg, certainly its good enough for you, me, and anyone else who is not yet the voice of a generation. Excuse me, for not being objective, i was being subjective. You are right about one thing, Naropa University is lacking in admittance standards. Wait i’m sorry, you didn’t complain about that clearly and the school you chose after Naropa, is less challenging so you should do very well. People who don’t understand Chogyam Trungpa’s intentions don’t need to be there; so, i thank you for clarifying that people should never pay thousands of dollars to go to a school that they haven’t thoroughly researched. Unfortunately those same people would have to actually do some research to find your blog. But i would like to thank you on behalf of all Buddhist practitioners, because without folks like you, we would have no one to practice patience and compassion with.

So, the first thing the author asks is how I can present the facts and still not be objective? Simple, I am a human being, warts and all, and I have my own opinions, thoughts and feelings. I feel that it is an important duty to expose fraud and abuse so other people will not continue to be abused. I also feel that an important mechanism to do this is to present the evidence and I do my best to get the evidence out there, citing my sources so that you can go and read up on Naropa’s abuses yourself. I have my own opinions, but they are backed with documentation.

As for the research, it is actually quite difficult for people to do the research when Naropa University sics it’s attorneys upon people who dare to speak out online. I know this is true because this is how my previous site on the subject, the Naropa Biz, was taken down.

You know, some people have said that Tom Cruise is the face of a generation. Does that absolve Scientology of it’s fraud and abuses? No? Then how come using celebrities like Allen Ginsberg to shift the attention off of the abuses that Naropa perpetuates against it’s own students?

If it wasn’t for Naropa, I wouldn’t get e-mails every so often from people like yourself who take issue with the evidence that Naropa is actively harming people and misrepresenting it’s programs. I know that Naropa is a fairly young institution and I don’t hold that against them. What I do hold against them, however, is having an anatomy class where the lab requirements are negligible when compared to schools that you denigrate as “less challenging” at best and includes lectures on chakras, meridian lines and the five elements. I hold this against them because this was, and still is, a science class to Naropa under their core curriculum requirements.

You know who I also get e-mails from? I get e-mails from people interested in one of Naropa’s programs but want to hear both sides. I get e-mails from people who are escaping Naropa after realising what they got themselves into. These e-mails encourage me to continue to post an alternative view to Naropa’s glossy brochures and cult-like recruitment tactics. Normally, when someone sends me their personal story, in a gesture of empathy and compassion, I am more interested in figuring out how to help the person escape and heal from their experiences than slapping their story on the Internet and some people flat out refuse to share their story. This is okay, I want people to know that they are not alone. At the same time, however, it would be nice if I had other people’s experiences to add to the objective data that while Naropa has a Harvard like bill, it delivers a sub-community college level of higher education in terms of helping to educate, equip and empower it’s students to face the real world, in whatever way that means for them. Which is why it is so fortunate that I have recently received a story that I have been given the green light to share with my readers here.

Tomorrow, the story will be posted and I am going to start being a lot more active in making Naropa accountable. You can practice patience all you want with me, I will be over here – helping to expose the fraud and abuses of Naropa University and providing people with the necessary information to make a clear decision about whether they should attend Naropa or not.