Why I Gave Up Everything and Joined a New Age Cult
Renee Linnell - "The Burn Zone"
In June of 2006 near her home in Southern California, she walked into a meditation seminar expecting to hear the calming voice of an older woman wearing a white robe and sandals. Instead, the speaker was a young, striking woman dressed in an expensive black business suit paired with stilettos. Oozing confidence, Lakshmi introduced herself and kicked off the session with not spa music but a song from a fight scene in a Matrix movie. Renee felt a jolt of energy that blew her mind. In a flash, Renee was transported—and hooked.
In The Burn Zone, Renee Linnell shares the story of her quest for truth and peace, her nearly seven-year detour into hell at the hands of her spiritual teachers, and her ultimate awakening.
With honesty and courage, Renee recounts how she got sucked into the University of Mysticism and gave away her cherished possessions, tens of thousands of dollars, and all of her power. Entranced by the dynamic Lakshmi’s intense path to Enlightenment, Renee ignored her intuition, dismissed her better judgment, and fully embraced a twisted form of Tantric Buddhism.
Dominated and manipulated by Lakshmi and her business partner Vishnu, Renee cut ties with loved ones (including her twin brother) and obediently followed command after command. Under her gurus’ spell, she abruptly changed careers from dancing to computer science, moved from California to New York, got ordained as a Buddhist monk, and served as Vishnu’s housekeeper and sexual consort. Ordered by Lakshmi to earn her MBA and build a $10 million business, Renee moved to New York City and quickly got entangled in a romantic and business mess—and wound up losing over $500,000. While lying on the floor sobbing, Renee finally admitted to herself: “I am in a cult.” Then, she began the hard work of healing, forgiveness, and rediscovering and accepting herself.
Written as a work of catharsis and cautionary tale, The Burn Zone speaks directly to anyone who feels alone, lost, or worthless. Renee Linnell is raring to talk about:
• Red flags that a self-empowerment group may be a cult—a charismatic leader who demands unquestioning loyalty and money, harsh criticism dispensed as lessons, and isolation tactics among them.
• Vulnerabilities to mind control—for Renee, it was loss: the death of her beloved father at fifteen, followed by a complicated relationship with her mother, culminating in her late twenties when her mother went missing and Renee found her, days later, in a morgue.
• How to see the value in being different. “Embrace your skeletons in the closet,” Renee urges. “Pull them out and paint them pink. Celebrate them. Your skeletons are probably the most interesting part about you. Your difference is your destiny.”
• Why she believes that falling down and being broken apart comes with any spiritual path, and how she came to love her whole self—contradictions, flaws, and all—and found a profound connection with the Divine and true bliss.
The Burn Zone: A Memoir Paperback – October 9, 2018
by Renee Linnell (Author)
(Corboy note: these people telling Linnell to take up computer programming, make money, money, and more money, cut ties with friends and family, then scaring her with stories of negative energy -- this resembles how Frederick Lenz III (Rama) behaved toward his followers.)