... And wasting some of the best years of my life, of course.
That is a recurring theme with exers. It was a great loss.
Others have mentioned Butler's apparent "mystical" powers and charisma and that his "senior" followers "know" things. But even if true (hak hak), the philosophy states that mystic powers are not perfection or even paticularly useful. But it seems to be one of the things that binds followers.
But I have not heard any stories that demonstrate that Butler had any particular powers beyond a con man's sleight of hand. A hysterical follower known for her hormonal mood swings who had been around since the Sai days used to tell a story of Siddha disappearing in thin air at a gathering. Now THAT is real evidence. LOL. Followers were always passing around stories like that. And chanting, dancing, and playing music does make you high. [Note: This is not to disparage the poor woman who suffered from manic-depression. I think followers are victims of the the cult and inadvertently propagate the myths.]
It seems whatever mystical experiences one might have had are very common in group cult practices. Whether they are real or self-generated or a psychiatric disorder, is not the topic of this forum. But if you study different cults, you will hear about almost identical experiences.
The bottom line for me is that it does not matter if the mystical or spiritual experiences are real or not. What is important is if people are being used, exploited, and harmed. There is a body of evidence that Butler is not innocent of stealing people's time, energy, money, and love for his own self-agrandizement and bank account. He is a Prabhufraud. Someone posted a great definition of evil -- "That which takes for oneself alone." Butler fits the bill.
It's not like you were not thinking. Critical thinking skills are the first that are attacked. Butler just did it in a very mellow and seductive way. Rick Ross is referring you to research that addresses how easy it is to manipulate even the most intelligent, especially if you are vulnerable or young and idealistic.