THis article is about an entirely different group, with a different set of behaviors than at Monte Sahaja.
However,much of it may seem familiar. The author was a high level member of this group (The New Tantra) and she tried to persuade the teacher to reform the group and eradicate the abuses. Ne marche pas. It did not work.
She writes of persons like herself who become interested in something wonderful and vibrant.
"If you are not aware of your addicted personality you will confuse intensity with intimacy."
This article is detailed, dense and repays careful reading.
Behind the scenes in The New Tantra.
A story of the manipulation, lies and control at the core of one of the worlds biggest tantra schools.
Here is a section that applies to most exploitative relationships and those of us who have lived in them - lived in the belly of the beast,
Alex even had a “cult police” appointed in TNT. He gave the title to a male student who was a professor at the University of Copenhagen. A smart guy that people trusted. -He will check us, Alex said. That created a false sense of safety. When I look back at it now it seems kind of absurd to appoint someone from within the cult to convince the cult members that they are not in a cult.
The appointed cult police even held and recorded a lecture where he tried to prove TNT was not a cult by using Robert Kegan's theory of adult development. Instead, he tried to show that the students were to blame for the accusations of TNT being a cult. Being the ones creating a cult structure around Alex. The recording was posted on youtube and spread within TNT.
What he did not do was compare TNT with Roy Wallis seven signs of a movement being a cult. In my opinion, TNT qualifies on most of them. He did not either explain how the dynamics of co-dependency are played out in an immature dysfunctional organization, creating a cult structure. To think that the leader himself has no responsibility for creating the structure is absurd and sounds like complete denial.
By the way, the cult police are now the head teacher in the TNT cult.
I recommend you to read a book about cults if you are interested to learn more about cult dynamics. Or watch the movie Holy Hell. That will enlight you on the subject.
And by the way, you do not need to be stupid to enter a cult. Everyone can become a victim of a narcissistic person. A cult structure is such a strong dynamic and almost impossible to see when you are in it. The reason for this is what is called the denial and normalization process. I will give you an example.
When I first joined the team I was in shock over what I saw. I had never seen anything like this before. So many crazy things and abuse happened behind the scenes. I actually went into freeze mode (a trauma reaction) several times my first weeks with the team. The “lower assistants” then worked as a bridge to get me into the system. Unconsciously starting the normalization process. Showing me how to behave in an environment like this by saying things like;
- This is how it is to be around a Spiritual leader.
- You better do this or that, or he will become angry.
- You should be happy you are one of the chosen ones.
- This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
- You just don’t get it, dumb fuck.
Actually, no one gets this in the beginning… It does not make sense, in any way. Not before you have spent some time in the system and the gaslighting- and the normalization process has started to blind you.
After a while, you get so used to the system that you start to protect it. A new team member comes in and you are now the one getting them into the normalization process. They, like you, start to do things that go against their core values. Over time their adaptation and co-dependency get stronger, and sooner than they know, they are in it as well. Blinded by the longing to be wanted, special, necessary, important and significant.
This system is used by everyone involved. It is played out in the co-dependent “one up” or “one down” / better than or less than thinking. Cult dynamics are “Hard-Core” Co-dependency (read this article for more info). Everyone familiar with Stephen Karpman’s Drama Triangle of co-dependency will recognize the top-to-bottom hierarchy of relatively more powerful dominators and less powerful submittors; each dominator being submissive to the dominators on the level above. The “guru” stands at the top of a dysfunctional pyramid of increasing dominance from bottom to top and increasing submission from top to bottom. A dysfunctional leader always creates a dysfunctional group.
Or as Alex himself said it many times, you are just marionettes in my show. But we, in the team at that time, just laughed. This is very embarrassing but we could sit together and joke about people who criticized TNT for being a cult. We were so arrogant and naive that we even said; They do not have a clue of what a cult is…as if we knew, we were laughing our arrogant asses off from the very core of an extremely strong cult dynamic. Got to laugh at that now!
Remember, it is almost impossible to see that you are in a cult dynamic when you are a part of it. It can just been seen from the outside. To think anything else just makes you very naive.
Been there, done that! Even got the t-shirt.
A closed energy system
Dysfunctional relationships, like the one created in TNT with an excessive neediness and demands on others for emotional or sexual salvation, can be can be compared to a closed energy system. A “closed system” is one in which there is no energy exchanged with the environment outside the system. You get “everything” inside the system. This is especially relevant for schools that build big communities. In a community like TNT, all individuals (who are really non-individuals) relies on TNT to be the source of happiness, belonging, friendship, personal identity, life-purpose and meaning. You may even have all your money coming from the system as I had for example. The people in the system often become dependent on the community for their sense of openness and happiness.
When someone from the inside or the outside threatens this energy system it is like threatening the source of life, the “savior” itself. When a “threat” comes everyone gets even closer together and start to defend the system. You attack what is attacking you.
The teachings vs the teacher
This dynamic affects everyone involved. The closer you get to the core of the relationship (the team) the more affected you become. But, even if you are “just a student” you get affected, because everything, also the teachings is filtered through this dysfunctional system and an addictive personality. You cannot just go in and take the good parts, like many think.
Alex often said, focus on the teachings, not the teacher. Yes, there were some incredible teachings. BUT it is always colored by the giver of the teachings, the Teacher. Especially if the teacher does not embody some of the teachings himself. Anything else is impossible. Especially when they are given person to person like in workshops or living close the teacher.