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Re: Westernized Sufi and Theosophical Groups
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 23, 2020 09:32PM

(Corboy aside)In sophisticated groups you learn how to impersonate being smilingly serene and above it all, when challenged by an outsider or by outside information. After years of behaving this way, you risk becoming a performance instead of being a person.)

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Re: Westernized Sufi and Theosophical Groups
Posted by: Resilient ()
Date: December 15, 2020 09:40PM

The cult I was indoctrinated into was very eclectic, and aside from the Guru's books, CDs and videos, there was mandatory reading from Theosophical Texts. There was strong encouragement to stick to the prescribed reading list, lol. There was a prescribed regimen - an esoteric mashup - of Qigong exercises/breathing/meditation, Yogic breathing/meditation/healing, watered down (and very selective) Buddhist teachings (including Tibetan), rosicrucian/occult rituals, New Age thought (working with crystals & angels - although they denied it was New Age) and theosophical/mystery school teachings. The Hierarchical Structure of the Occult and Ascended Masters was never fully explained, and the Guru's image was always shown in the hierarchical structure along with the Ascended Masters. We chanted Sanskrit mantras as well as the Lord's Prayer and the Great Invocation. We adhered to the Theosophical school's full moon rituals.

There were a lot of secrets, doled out carefully, and the organization is also hierarchical, so there was always a carrot dangling to entice you to work towards the next "level". Some things simply required the cost of admission, others required some sort of secretly-qualified permission to advance, or both. There was a lot of waiting, and this was mentioned in a previous post, where a person of means, education and influence is not accustomed to waiting for advancement when all of the boxes have seemingly been "checked". The problem here is that they've capped the "level" you could possibly attain, making it clear that you could never reach the level of mastery as The Masters in the organization. Built-in humility via glass ceiling, bound by hierarchical trickle-down.

This group attracted many intelligent, lovely, successful professionals. If you had a network of influence, you were a catch. Love-bombing and the whole shebang. If you brought people into the group, you were rewarded. Some people had their whole family involved - moms, aunts, cousins...As long as you were in your immediate supervisor's "good book" with your free service and other efforts to support the Guru's vision, you were encouraged to "hang around", which meant to increase the numbers of the group and contribute financially and energetically.

This group creates fear of leaving in a very interesting way. They've cherry-picked some pretty powerful practices that have positive effects on your body and mind in certain ways - and you are made to believe that this is an all-or-nothing path, where if you leave the group/quit the practices/think badly of the group or Guru - you will "deflate like a balloon" and lose all of the power and protection bestowed upon you. Basically, if your life has been made better by the Guru, it can also be made very much worse. Also, they made a point of both creating ego inflation (focus on power) relative to "ordinary people" and working on sublimating the ego in relation to the group's hierarchy. It was not the only conflicting practice, which created confusion when studying the group's teachings closely.

Emotional detachment is a hallmark of Theosophy, in my opinion, and I made it clear to my teacher that I would not engage in any practice or activity that might create conflict within my marriage. My spouse was respectful with me, but monitored my attitudes, words, spending and behaviours in relation to this "school". He told me later that there were some red flags, but he knows me well and we have a great relationship, and he said he was confident I would figure it out on my own, although not without a little harm done. I am fortunate to have him in my life for so long - many people involved in such groups have no one they can trust to reflect honestly and gently with, in what can be a painful recovery process.

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"At times it feels more like Hollywood"
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 06, 2021 01:29AM

Pay very close attention to the matter of who gets special treatment.

Someone wrote this about a Hindu group. But - it applies to other traditions as well.


When it comes to helping other devotees, the priority always goes to the ones that are very well established in the group.

If anything happens to the so called “advanced” teachers, I am sure that money will flow as well as 100 servants to the rescue.

And not to forget the kids of the so called advanced devotees. They get special treatment and even they break all regulative principles, they are still welcomed.

Just because they are the kids of those close Butler associates.
Not only they are untouchables so are their kids, people married to their kids...

Let us not forget that the cult of personality does not only apply to Butler but also to the so called advanced devotees.

It is so sad to see so much partiality in a spiritual group.
After the special advanced devotees, the ones that everybody look up to are those who are the most surrendered, talented, useful...

Meaning those who work day and night on projects.

It is not so much a spiritual community. At times it feels more like Hollywood.

Those kind of connections and who is who is more a show business mentality.

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Re: Westernized Sufi and Theosophical Groups
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 01, 2021 02:17AM

This was contributed by a former devotee of a Hindu group, but can apply to situations that might arise in theosophical lodges as well

One thing that is extremely dangerous in that groups is how abuse is so easily accepted.
In Bhakti Yoga, “chastisement” is seen as a mercy. It is supposed to make one more humble and turn them closer to God.
This is why the Guru and so many angry, manipulative disciples get away with “abuse”.
I understand that in a group we need discipline.
I don’t mind either the times I was justly and correctly disciplined.
Most times chastisement came from a place of anger and control.
Would damage the person rather than help them.
I personally don’t like to blame the path for the actions and spiritual blindness of most so called “devotees”.
I myself have been under that toxic spell and get how others fall into that hole.
We always live in the fear of doing something wrong that will have us expelled or as some affectionately state (to be in the dog house).
So basically it seems as though we are being trained to be mindless, obedient robots. Not so much lovers of God.
The more you want to “serve” and the more you will have to abide by the rules and be under the control of the so called “disciples”.
The spiritual happiness is very often tinged with the fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. It is extremely taxing on the psyche too.
The more you give, the more you will be accepted usually and somehow “admired”.
With time, we get lost in that fake sense of spiritual security.
It quickly becomes a game of who is doing more. It all becomes and “admired”, “respected”.... Just like being a member of the popular crowd in high school.
Those who cannot perform as much are still accepted of course. However the value of those who serve 24/7 is truly higher.
I cannot say that I have just bad experiences. I am grateful for the positive experiences. I must very honestly say that I am grateful for what I got out of it.
I will always miss and respect the good friends and teachers I associated with.
I must also recognize the destruction and damages that being part of that group has caused in my life.
I try to take responsibility for putting up with the non sense for so many years.
But like many other people, I was afraid to lose the security of having a so called spiritual community.
The usual “Beggars can’t be chosers”.
Many people do very well in that community.
The “surrendered” old time disciples and their kids (as well as those who marry into the SOI royalty) have a totally different experience.
Admired and respected no matter where they go. They have immunity from other “devotees”....
If you even walk in the shadow of a so called advanced devotee, you have some protection.
And those who are so “surrendered” that they will never question anything.
Those people also do quite well.
I never thought in a million years that I would be posting in such forums.
I lived with the fear of going to spiritual hell for many years.
“Bhakti” is supposed to be a path of love and devotion.
However it seems as though as fear, emotional/spiritual abuse, ego trips are much more present that the essence of the process.
Many things that go on in that group is not acceptable on a spiritual level.
Some will never see it. Some see it and are afraid to speak up.
If they do speak up, they will be banned forever or for a few years.
As I said it, many do super well in that process. They will never question or feel unhappy.
However I hope that those who know in their hearts that something is way off, find the courage to honor the inner voice.
I know that we will always be a minority as it is very hard to leave a cultish situation. Especially covert ones that are not as bad as a Jim Jones type.
Spiritual, emotional (even physical as many lose sleep and overwork their bodies)abuse is still going on even if SOI is not as bad as such and such organization.
We must do our best to expose it so that it can be somehow rectified or improved

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