The True Lineage of the New American Wing
Of all the secrets kept by the teachers, the origin of our school was perhaps the best kept secret of all. Of course, new students would often ask about our teachers, Jim and Carolyn Kuziak (aka "J&C"). Newcomers would pose questions about the teachers' past, where they came from, how they acquired their knowledge, and other simple questions.
However, we quickly learned not to ask those kinds of questions, because they were rarely answered directly and they usually resulted in a subtle ad hominem attack on the person asking the question. By far, the most common response was, "that is gossip", or "that is a formatory question". The word "formatory" was a label for a kind of automatic thinking that involved no intention. The whole aim of our involvement in the school was to bring conscious intent and awareness to our behavior, and so such a critique was taken very seriously, generally resulting in submissive silence. Basically, instead of answering the question, the older student would make the person feel bad for even asking it in the first place.
Thus, most of us in the school did not know much at all about the schoolís origin. Over time, when we had become the older students and new recruits asked us these same questions, we repeated the same justifications that were given to us years before. Partially, this is because we had accepted these excuses and had come to believe them. Indeed, I truly didnít care about the schoolís origins after a while. However, I distinctly remember the feeling of authority that would be generated with those prefabricated answers. Part of me wanted to protect my status as an older student, and I also didnít want to reveal my own ignorance in the matter.
My Own Question
One day, after being in the group for only a couple of months, I asked the school's original member the following questions: "Where did our teachers study? Where is their teacher now?"
She thought about it for a moment, and responded with a carefully worded reply. "Their teacher is in seclusion, trying to become a Man #7 ."
A Man #7! Now that was something to think about. That meant that he was already a Man #6, and therefore had powers of insight far exceeding ordinary people. If he was trying to become a Man #7, that meant he was close to attaining the ultimate level of enlightenment possible for a human!
The older student probably noticed my silence, and she became defensive. "My teachers gave up everything to start this school, and I know that if they were ever trying to become Sevens, I would do everything in my power to help them." The suggestion was that our teachers were somehow helping their teacher, perhaps by sending money or some other assistance. Think of the implications! Unbeknownst to ordinary humanity, there was a secret network of conscious people struggling to escape this planet!
Despite my curiousity and interest in the new information, something struck me about her response. I must have subconsciously understood her defensiveness, because I clearly remember the next thought that came into my head: "prison". For a brief moment, I suspected that she was actually covering up the fact that J&Cís teacher was in prison. However, I had no clear reason to mistrust her, and very soon forgot about the incident -- at least, I forgot about it until I left the school three years later.
Seclusion Behind Bars, That Is
As I learned later, their teacher was indeed in prison. My intuition had been correct.
J&C studied under a man named James Vincent Randazzo, who ran a Fourth Way school called "The Spiral of Friends". Randazzo, in turn, learned about The System from Robert Burton and his international "Fellowship of Friends".
Randazzo's legal troubles are well documented. In 1985, he was fined for poaching, and several automatic weapons were removed from his home by police. In 1989, Randazzo and his wife Colleen were convicted of sexually abusing and exploiting children. Four teenagers (two boys and two girls) were given cocaine and videotaped having sex with the couple. The Randazzos claimed the sex was done in the children's own good, as treatment for depression and to boost their self-esteem. The court found otherwise. James was sentenced to seventeen and a half years in prison, and Colleen received ninety days in jail followed by a period of probation. In 1994, the Colorado courts refused Randazzoís bid for an appeal.
Before these run-ins with the police, Jim and Carolyn were students of Randazzo in Grand Junction, Colorado. At some point in the mid 80's, they left the group to start their own school. Randazzo told his remaining followers that the Kuziaks had stolen money from him, and that they would not get any endorsement from him.
The details are not entirely clear, as Randazzo has been described as a "Sicilian wheeler-dealer", an excellent salesman skilled at manipulating people. In fact, during his trouble with the law, he never told his followers that he had to pay any fines, and he boasted "they could never pin anything on him".
Coincidentally, Randazzo himself left his teacher's school in much the same way that J&C apparently left Randazzo. Randazzo had run away from the Fellowship of Friends (FOF), stealing ranch donations and other funds. The leader of the FOF, Robert Burton, then denounced him as a criminal. Randazzo had left behind a single pair of pants with a broken zipper, and Burton (always interpreting events as if they symbolized some higher truth) believed this was proof that Randazzo was "damaged in that area" (ie, he had sexual problems).
This tradition of animosity between schools can even be traced back to Ouspensky, who made a very public split with Gurdjieff in order to start his own groups. However strange it may seem, this trend is actually very common among gurus in general, because in order to maintain a captive body of recruits they must present themselves as the purest source of truth available. Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad do a good job of describing this in their book, The Guru Papers:
Nor can gurus have any real connection with other supposed "super-humans" (other gurus) because of the inherent competition among them. Years ago, when we first became interested in gurus and Eastern concepts such as enlightenment, it initially seemed an oddity that all these supposedly enlightened beings did not seek out each otherís company. With each other they presumably could find deep and real understanding, and respite from always having to deal with minds at a lower level. But since disciples view their guru as a vehicle for their own salvation, they must believe that he can do the best for them. Consequently, the meeting of gurus, when it occurs (it rarely does), is always laden with heavy meaning, as the disciples watch very carefully to see who comes out best. Even the simplest acts (who goes to see whom) have implications of dominance. The fact is that gurus do not "hang out" together because the structure of the role makes it nigh impossible. (page 110)
It now seems clear to me that intense secrecy is an indication of probable corruption. When I asked about the NAWís lineage, I was told a lie, because the true answer would have brought up questions about the legimacy of the school and its teachers. There are plenty of meditation groups who are quite public and open with their operations, and the crucial difference is not that they are "for beginners" -- as other secretive cults would have us believe -- but rather that they simply have nothing to hide.