Solea wrote of her own guru:
'She was very sweet and benevolent to out of town visitors. She was very disciplining and strict with those of us beside her on a daily basis. "
This is classic. Its like families that, in private and behind closed doors, are nasty to their children, but thrill adult visitors with lovely parties, charm, haute cuisine.
My mother was delightful with her adult friends but nasty to me. I could never get her best friend to understand that Mom treated me very differently from the way she treated her friends.
Her pal kept thinking I had an excessively gloomy viewpoint. She couldnt understand that Mom gave me quite a different 'data set' from what she had given her pal.
Later, much later, I discovered my mother's friend had done the same thing--utterly charming to friends and visitors, threw kick ass parties that people remembered years later, did a lot of good in the community.
But at home, her family life was Trauma City. She and my mother were similar--one face to the world, a darker face behind closed doors. No wonder they were best buds.
And both, by default lied and kept things secret, rather than tell the truth. (Its similar to how addicts can find each other almost by radar.)
My hunch is that many abusive bosses (whether they run 'spiritual/human potential' businesses or just secular businesses) often split thier personalities in two--a sunny, charming personality that is revealed to the public (and especially to major donors) and the darker, angrier, tantrum tossing cruel child personal that is kept hidden and vented in private upon the entourage/inner circle members.
If you can con the entourage into believing this abuse is a privilige or a means of purification, all the better. The entourage are given the task of enabling/parenting, concealing the abusive bosses shadow persona.
And because the public never get to see the abuse, they have zero frame of reference for it. If any entourage member tried to tell the truth, the public who need the guru's public persona, who have linked their ideals and hopes to idealizing the guru's charming public persona will hate the entourage member who dares to disrupt this projection by revealing that the public persona is just a performance and not the whole truth.
Its all the more complicated because those who only see the public persona may actually get some personal benefit from what the guru teaches in public--never knowing that their bliss is generated off the misery and suffering of the entourage who huddle behind closed doors and conceal their bruises underneath nice make up.
Worst of all, too many members of the public who benefit from the 'sunny side up' persona of a secretly abusive guru refuse to face the moral implications of getting their bliss from the sacrifices and degradation inflicted on the entourage.
They will bleat, 'But that wasnt my experience.'
Of course it was not. You got only part of the picture, just the part the abuser wanted you to see.
What price bliss if its made possible by the misery of a guru's entourage? That bliss will be dirty.
And if someone says the entourage members corrupt the guru--that is baloney. It appears in many cases that abusive bosses and gurus carefully hand pick entourage members from those persons pre-formatted to parent abusive people and in an ashram its easy to find that out---because people in ashrams tend to trust the environment and will freely disclose thier upbringing and traumas.
Sometimes you'll be tested to see whether you dislike cruel behavior or if you quickly rationalize it.
I would hazard a guess that those who end up in entourages may well be persons who were pre-formatted by enacting a similar role as young children, before being old enough and conscious enough to be in any way capable of consent or even being able to reflect upon what they are doing.
One can keep secrets without even being told 'Keep this a secret'--if you're well trained enough in a secretive, crazy family, you'll learn to cover up and do your own personal Watergate without anyone even telling you to do it--little kids learn pre-verbally.
Solea, if you want to learn more on how this works, Marta Szabo, who spent 10 years in Syda yoga has a most remarkable blog, entitled The Guru Looked Good.
This generated a remarkable outpouring of comments as people contributed their perspectives and many began to comprehend how this recruitment into the entourage functioned--and the difference between how the entourage was treated and how outside visitors and especially the wealthy were treated...
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/24/2008 02:51AM by corboy.