at least do not expect gratitude right away.
If you warn people that a cult recruiter is operating in their area, do not expect straightforward gratitude. People are complex.
Make certain you're clear you are doing the right thing and provide information that can be fact checked. Because your efforts to educate the public will cause a surprising number of people to get mad at you.
No matter how much damage their group or guru inflicts, they'll ignore that negativity and berate you for being negative. If sophisticated, they may declare that your presentation of the evidence is 'more about the writer than the guru.'
Its called denial-New Age style.
An especially fascinating variation is from persons who have linked their hope and peace of mind to the guru ideal, but have carefully avoided ever living under the authority of a particular guru. They'll accuse you of being cynical, unevolved, etc. if you suggest that people fact-check the background of a spiritual teacher before getting emotionally involved.
Your information gives them pain they want to stop the pain. That means assuming that YOU, not their guru (or group), are what's hurting them.
If you get flamed, treat it as a back-handed compliment.
I often see posts on my favorite computer bulletin board advertising groups or teachers who have been listed by RR.com and other sites as being harmful.
A friend of mine was hurt by a psychopath who was a practitioner of alternative medicine. Her health suffered. Her abuser fled the country and now prowls the New Age circuit in various countries, trolling for new victims. X's efforts to warn people about this man have met with resentment and she has been accused of cynicism.
We have both posted warnings providing information so that people could make informed decisions before joining these groups--or warn their friends.
Much to our suprise, we were screamed at. Oddly enough, warnings about unethical credit card services and moving van firms were greatly appreciated on Craigslist. But warnings about leaders and groups known to be dangerous--such warnings were met with screams of outrage.
The minute you become a spiritual teacher, you become free from ordinary accountability and people not even your followers will leap forward to defend you.
As my friend put it, 'Why is it spiritual to put blinders on, refuse to do fact checking and set yourself up to be burned by a smooth talking psychopath?'
Wilful naivete is regression, not spirituality. But it seems many of us are taught to equate it with spirituality.
Genuine spirituality includes adult discernment, street smarts, and the willingness to fact check everything and assume nothing.
This is plain common sense. In Las Vegas, casinos take precautions to ensure that no one deals from marked decks. Spiritual seekers could learn a thing or two from the casinos.
Accepting 50-50 odds is gambling--a form of honest play.
But as soon as someone covertly brings in a marked deck, its no longer gambling--it is robbery.
The spiritual scene is haunted by crooks who do the psychological equivalent of playing poker with marked decks. Learn who they are and warn your friends to stay away.
First stay anonymous. Omit your name or where you live.
Two, think carefully before you respond to correspondance. You may encounter vicious responses to your posts and be tempted to respond to anyone who thanks you. Think twice. You do not want to divulge your name to someone who is in a cult and trying to identify you.
If you live in certain 'New Age' parts of the US, you could be in for trouble if you are known to be against a particular guru or cult, with many members in your area. If you apply for a job, or a training program, your boss or an admissions officer could be disciples of a guru you've been warning the public about. Ouch!
Expect to be called 'judgemental' 'cynical' 'closeminded','negative' or 'unevolved.' You get the idea.
When you've linked your inner coherance and deepest hopes to believing an abusive guru is really a loving guru, you'll panic when confronted with evidence that your guru is harmful.
Your inner world is being shaken to its foundations. You will not like it when your guru is about to visit your city and someone broadcasts a ton of adverse publicity, disrupting your own PR/recruitment efforts. (And you may risk being yelled at by the guru and his minions if he discovers your PR is backfiring and eliciting bad publicity for him!)
According to Dr Arthur Deikman, in his article [i:e2f413311f]Evaluating Spiritual and Utopian Groups[/i:e2f413311f]: 'Confused with intimations of the spiritual are longings and impulses derived from childhood. Thus, although a person may wish to find meaning and certainty, to serve God and humanity, he or she may also want to be taken care of, to find a home, to be praised and admired, protected and loved. These latter yearnings are seldom acknowledged because adults are not supposed to be motivated by them. Nevertheless, in seeking to gratify those wishes we are drawn to join groups that seem to be new families and to accept leaders as surrogate parents. Covertly, the "bliss" that is sought and frequently experienced is that of children who have been rescued from uncertainty and responsibilities, who have found a home.'
People in this mindset HATE being told that predators do prowl the spiritual circuit. Part of the bliss of childhood is oblivousness to danger--which is precisely why tiny children need parents.
As adults we must parent our inner children and make sure only honest kind persons get access to our inner children.
So, while there are many who are glad to get warnings that a cult is operating in their area, others may furiously resent your offer of information. It is very possible that the ones who resent your efforts do so because your reminder that danger exists has disrupted their
plunge into the blissful regression to childish thinking.
This craving for childish regression is PRECISELY what a counterfeit spiritual teacher/group exploits.
A genuine spiritual teacher wakes you up from spiritual childhood--he or she will never trap you in spiritual childhood--and will not molest your inner child.
Len Oakes, author of [i:e2f413311f]Prophetic Charisma [/i:e2f413311f]has this to add:
'A striking thing about the (cult) followers is how little they seek to know about the leader's background. Few ever ask searching questions and critically evaluate the answers. They prefer to let the leader's daily example (often enhanced through carefully scripted social settings, the support of an entourage-my note) serve as the testimony of his truth, and hence as a vehicle for their great work (that is, the followers' deepest hopes for their own transformation). TO QUESTION TOO CLOSELY wold be to disrupt the pleasant flow of here-and-now fusion.' (Oakes, p 129)
There is also a subgroup of people who have been badly hurt by spiritual teachers. They can only deal with thier pain by convincing themselves that thier suffering was unavoidable, was ncessary, and was good for them. They will aggressively insist that 'The spiritual path is never risk free' and often they may argue that gurus are infallible, are exempt from normal standards of ethics (and even exempt from good manners) and that 'there is no external platform' from which to judge the morality of a guru's behavior. This subgroup cannot allow themselves to feel the full sadness of how they were violated and exploited, how uttely vulnerable they were. So instead, they invoke the 'crazy wisdom' argument, identify with their abuser, and insist that the hell they endured made them better people, and that anyone who wishes to warn the public about cults and bogus gurus cannot accept the risks of the 'spiritual path.'
If you are unfamiliar with the crazy wisdom argument, its easy to be disoriented and taken in by this line of irrational 'reasoning.' But it is not a commitment to enlightenment, but a flight from the full painful realization of how the sufferer was violated.
It should be noted that true practitioners of crazy wisdom suffered hardship themselves--they did NOT live in luxury while inflicting hardship on their disciples!
So, be prepared. People who already have some commitment to critical thinking and who want to safeguard and further develop their adult spirituality are the ones who will thank you. You've enabled them to avoid a person or situation where they could have lost their capacity for critical thinking, lost valuable time and resources that couldve been better spent elsewhere.
But those who crave regression and equate regression with spirituality may resent your warnings, because any appeal to adult thought disrupts their attempt to adulthood and regress in bliss to childhood. Belatedly, when they resume adult functioning, they may appreciate your warnings.
So, just be aware that as you educate the general public, you will encounter gratitude and irrational fury.
If people hate you, be kind. They've linked their deepest and tenderest hopes to a false guru. They are vulnerable. To face that their guru is false confronts them with agonizing existential terror.
To question a bogus guru and leave him means walking into and through existential terror--a heroic act. Not everyone is ready to do it when they read your post. But later, if they do leave the abusive guru, what you have written may come back to them--and help them.
So, good friends, if you notice anyone peddling brain-poison on your favorite website, counterpost with information that people can use to make an informed decision whether or not to join
For those who say it is bad to be 'judgemental' Dr Deikman says this:
'We make judgments of groups all the time, whether we wish to or not.
'We decide whether to join or not to join, whether to support or to discourage, and it is necessary that we do so, both for ourselves and for others who look to us for guidance in these matters. As I discussed earlier, the unsatisfied hunger for spiritual fulfilment may take highly inappropriate forms and lead people to embrace organizations and leaders whose destructive activities can be extreme. In the case of less pernicious groups, precious time and resources are squandered and the person may be left with a barren and cynical outlook. For this reason alone it is necessary that we judge the legitimacy of a group and its leader.' (Same URL as above)
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