Hello Good People,
37 years ago, I escaped the spiritual cult of James Swartz. Swartz called himself Rama (now he is Ramji). In the 70’s and 80’s and currently, Ramji created his cult based on his observations of presentations of authentic Hindu Swamis and Vedanta teachers in India.
See my full story on another thread, “James Swartz—my original written account”.
After decades of surviving his spiritual and sexual abuse, I am still faced with what feels like an existential crisis.
I wrote my account of his abuse starting in 2017. The effects of his undue influence have affected me all these years, until recently, when I truly integrated the trauma of his abuse.
For years I had a spiritual practice that I thought was my own. Only recently I have come to question IT ALL.
I’ve had a way of meditating and praying that was deeply tied to his “teachings”, and his spiritual and sexual abuse. I’ve been locked into a trauma-bond with this man. I had ideas about my personal karma that are untrue (he put those ideas in my head). While in meditation, I dissociated and “checked out” instead of checking in—I was doing the very opposite of mindful meditation (but I thought it was mindful). I had experiences of my trauma from his abuse that my system was offloading…and I believed I was having a spiritual experience. I saw his eyes around every corner. He still had control over me after all these long years.Recently I've begun to seriously question my spiritual practice. How much of my practice is truly my own inquiry and devotion, and how much is the aftereffects of his abuse and control?Is my spiritual experience an addictive, biochemical event in my brain--like a drug?What would predispose me to this kind of influence and experience???
I got to wondering about what happens in the brain when one has a spiritual experience. I got to wondering what happens in the brain when one feels they’ve arrived at “the truth”.
I wondered how this man controlled me from the moment I met him.
I’m in the process of researching the biochemical processes of spiritual or religious experiences in humans.
I’m beginning to get an idea about how spiritual experiences can be like a drug. In some cases, when a person is in a spiritual state, the brain undergoes chemical changes like what happens when a heroin addict takes a hit, or an alcoholic takes a drink.
I remember when he hypnotized me, when he love-bombed me, when he traumatized me, and even after the assaults I came back for more.
I’m in the process of researching all this.
I want to put a shout out to anyone who has survived a spiritual cult. I want to know what it’s like for you now. Are you like me? Are you having (or have you been having) an existential crisis, wherein you are unable to know how to relate to God or Source?
Here is an interesting video:
Dr. Gabor Mate is an expert in addiction. He talks about spiritual seeking and addiction. In this video he mentions certain spiritual teachers he likes. I do not know who these teachers are, or if they have credibility. However, the conversation & information is valuable.
Gabor talks about possible addictive behaviour between a Guru and a Devotee. I think this is very interesting. Timestamp:18:35
I would very much like to know what other people are experiencing, after having survived a cult, then or now.
Please share your experiences and insights.