Hi.. first time poster, but i'll be brief as I can.
You see.. she used to be extremely.. lets say.. "loose". She would sleep with anyone, thinking it was the price that she had to pay for the human contact, the afterglow, which she desired more than anything, as she was hurt very badly.
Although diashto and I haven't met in person, we both know the lady in question, and I am looking forward to meeting him in the future. I was at the L1 and L2 with her, and I'd completely agree with him here.
I can only imagine where it would go in a private (read: Not in a hotel conference room) after that, where clothing is optional. I'm reasonably certian it wouldn't stop with neck and arms. While the touch may not be strictly sexual, it certianly was suggested several times that it would be sensual, but never specifically said an outright turn-on.
Well, it goes as far as the two participants want it to go.
If you tell me that you have no boundaries, and I'm also ok with it, then what's the problem? We are talking about two adults, freely choosing to participate. I have held back when given permission to touch someone with no boundaries, because I wasn't comfortable with it. I've also respected the boundaries of others. That's part of what you're supposed to be learning. And it's ok for boundaries to change, but it's important that you know that only YOU can move your boundaries, you should never let someone else push you into it. I would take that sort of pushing very negatively, and stop working with that person.
During the closing of the intro, Felicia pointed a few comments specifically at me, saying "... and if you chose not to participate.." knowing full well that my girl and I were the only ones not to participate in the first exercise, and such a comment was patently unnecessary, except as a subtle push to participate "next time", for fear of being singled out again.
I wasn't at this event, which I really wanted to attend, but couldn't for personal reasons. I do remember at the level 1 and level 2 workshops, as part of the earliest exersizes a question was asked, but I can't remember the exact wording, something like "If you chose not to, how was that for you". The intent I got from it was that you could look at those feelings, and see what was happening.
Luckily, being as I was looking for such subtle pushes, I didnt fall prey to them. If you check the facilitators page
you can see that there are no less than 3 certified hypnotherapists as facilitators.
AFAIK, it's pretty common for therapists and counsellors to work with hypnosis, so it dosen't surprise me that they list this. Interestingly, if they had some dark purpose, why would they list it? Wouldn't that be something that they would rather leave off the resume?
I don't know where you draw the line between a relaxing and quiet atmosphere with no distractions, to "subtle hypnotic techniques". I didn't see anything in this domain that would have been out of place in a yoga class, or even in church, for that matter.
I'm no expert on hypnosis, my only experience with it was in college. If it's actually being used in hai workshops, then I think it needs to be done with explicit consent.
Overall, the experience I've had personally with HAI has been ... enlightening. It DOES make a difference in many people's lives.. it can be extremely good for some people - the people who shy away from all contact because they've been hurt in the past, or the people that, like my girl, dont value themselves because they've always been told they're worthless.
Complete agreement here, I didn't know her before L1, but she spoke very frankly about her life prior, and how things were for her. I see a very different lady in her now, and I don't know anyone that knows her who disapproves of the changes.
However, some of the other things that I've heard about Level 2 seriously deterr me from reccomending it as a full path. While I can't share these things (there's a verbal non-disclosure agreement, "What happens at HAI stays at HAI") for fear of reprocussions,
Woah.. Let's be crystal clear here. I don't think you got any different talk on this than I did. They do require confidentiality, for obvious reasons that I completely agree with, having to do with the discussions that you are going to have with people who may be telling you things that they've never told another human being before, and the harm that could come to THEM if you were to betray that trust. You voluntarily accepted that trust, and you are on your honor not to betray it. There were no reprocussions pointed at YOU, no threats made, veiled or otherwise.
Another reason for the "what happens here, stays here" policy is that the exersizes are designed to teach you some things that won't happen if you know what's coming. Without violating confidentiality myself, you choose a partner for an exersise, having no idea what that exersize will be. If you knew beforehand, you might "chicken out" (whatever that means to you) and make a "safer", less challenging choice. Another thing that you come to realize, is that you can indeed partner with anyone, and get a lot of good out of it. Even that scary looking guy over there!
What you said above could be misinterpreted to mean that you were threatened with some sort of reprocussions, and while I wasn't there at your event, I'd lay large money that this is not the case.
suffice it to say that any time you get mostly-naked people in a room touching, caressing, stroking, bathing, watching, and even inspecting each other's parts, with no apparent moral boundaries
"moral boundaries"? Ok, 'splain me something. If I ask you if you'd like to share a shower with me, and you say "sure", what moral boundaries were crossed? If you feel uncomfortable with that, or you have some religious problem with it, then by all means you should refuse, and I would always respect that refusal.
Now I've shared here my experience, which I have every right to do. (link in previous post) As I wrote, up to L1 the only person I had EVER been comfortable with in a shower was my wife. I quit high school over the idea of having to deal with the locker room thing. Without realizing it, I had some severe issues in this area. Post HAI, I can use a urinal, a common shower, and I have no fear of bathing another person, because I know that there never was any need to fear that. Now such activity CAN lead to sex certainly, but it does not have to. It can just be a nice thing all on it's own. Does that make me gay? No, I don't think so. I'm no longer uncomfortable in the slightest when around gay men, but I'm just more secure in myself.
then going so far as to connect with each other on that deep, spiritual level, there's gonna be tendancies towards polyamory and/or swinging. So much so that many of the participant's blog and IM profiles show interests in group sex, polyamory, etc.. something that my girlfriend is mortified by.
Surprisingly, we are in agreement here. :)
Swinging.. Ok. HAI does teach that there can be recreational sex that is simply that, and has no deeper meaning than that. If you don't have religious prohibitions that you need to observe, then where's the problem?
Again, this is consenting adults, and they also are very strong on safe sex, and knowing your prospective partner's history and taking appropriate precautions.
The P word is an interesting one. One thing I've learned is that if you have N people in a room discussing it, then you'll find at least N different definitions of it. For some people it essentially means swinging, just an open relationship with meaningless sex. For others, it means the mormon thing, which I personally find disgusting for many reasons, at least as far as I understand it. For others it means a deeply committed relationship between equals, and that's where my head is at.
Yes, I have discovered that I am a polyamorist! (OMG!)
Actually, I was introduced to the idea many years ago, in things like "The Harrad Experiment", "Stranger in a Strange Land" and "Time Enough for Love". I just didn't think that it was something that was "real". So this isn't an idea that HAI "hypnotized me into", it's something that was there for many years, dormant.
Evil scum of the earth that I am, I am capable of really loving multiple people. Wether the relationship is sexual or not makes no difference at all, at least to me. I love the woman that we were talking about earlier.
I am VERY glad that the two of you have gotten together, and that things seem to be working out. I told her once that I would gladly dance at your wedding. (or at least make an attempt at something that could vaguely be interpreted as dance, if you're drunk enough)
Now someone who didn't appreciate what I mean here might misinterpret this, so let me be clear here. I care deeply about this woman. We connect on levels that constantly surprise me. We had a rather special moment there at L1, and I would be very surprised if she hadn't told you about it, but I won't detail here, becuase that would be breaking my agreement. It's up to her who she shares that with.
My wife made a pretty strong connection to a fellow at our L2 workshop.
This bothers me exactly not at all. Why should it? If it makes her happy, and dosen't take away from our relationship, then where is the problem?
When you think about it, the standard marriage vows look a lot like a contract of ownership. If you interpret them strictly, then if the husband starts beating the wife with a baseball bat, she has no recourse whatsoever. "Till death do you part". It also engourages a mindset that once you're married, you've achieved that goal, and you can stop trying.
I don't say this is what happens all the time, but just that it encourages that sort of thought. A more interesting model IMHO, is the one where you are together because you choose to be, and you work on the relationship daily. You earn the relationship every day.
Now I am aware that the lady we spoke of is deeply opposed to polyamory, and that's PERFECTLY OK. Nobody is going to try to change her mind, or coerce her into anything. Each person is different, and what works for her, dosen't work for someone else, but neither of them is "broken", as long as they are open and honest about what they are doing.
And the simple fact that Level 4 is titled "Integrating Spirituality and Sexuality" is VERY unnerving. Isn't the "Free Love" movement what got everyone in trouble in the 60s? Seems to me that they're preaching an extremely similar message, although with no drugs (at least, not at the workshops).
They are very clear about that. They want you absolutely to continue any medications that you are on prescription for, and to not do any "recreational" drugs, both for yourself, and out of respect to the people you are working with. It's important that you are able to be fully "there" when you're there.
As far as the "free love" thing goes, I would agree with you up to this point: I think what they are teaching is that YOU should make your own concious informed decisions about what you do in your relationships, and who you do it with. You will pay whatever costs or penalties are involved whichever way you go. I have a similar rule when I write software. I don't copy others code, because I would also copy their mistakes. I write my own.
I had actually made the comparison to a cult not long after me and my girl started seeing each other. She had the knee-jerk protest reaction of "No it's not!" But on further digging.. it's become incredibly difficult to find anything truly negative about the organization. Nobody seems to have any doubts, or any protests, or even any criticisms, that we've been able to find, and participants are PARTICULARLY tight-lipped about what goes on in the later levels.
I agree, this does seem "creepy". It's one of the things that hit me when I first started to look at HAI. The lack of criticism has at least two possible interpretations.
1: Hai's fluffy-bunny exterior conceals a secret hit squat in rainbow helicopters that is FAR more effective that Scientology's GO and Sea org ever was. (i am highly doubtful on this idea)
2: It really is a good thing.
Occams razor suggests #2
I find it difficult to believe that she's the first to have a negative impression of the organization as a whole, based on what she's experienced during the workshops and with the people that attended them, however there's no shortage of people singing their praises.
Well, I know that you are aware of one web page that's pretty critical, but I think you may have come to the same conclusion I did when I read it, that this guy has a problem with pretty much everything and everyone.
As you know, I am still looking for critical opinions, and I'm glad to finally hear yours first person. We share some of the same concerns, but not all, and I don't agree with the conclusions you've drawn, but that's ok.
Indeed, many groupsex, nudist, and polyamory sites have links to HAI
and suggest going to their workshops. HAI doesn't outright encourage doing things of a sexual nature with more than one person at a time, but they certainly do not have a problem with it.
You're right, they leave that choice up to you, which IMHO is exactly where it shoud be.
So much for a short post, but I hope it helps someone out there.
Same here. I am looking further afield, for any input on wether there is really a "hidden dark side" to this organization. That was one reason for coming here. I knew of Rick from my active anti-scientology days. My wife and I have discussed becoming interns for HAI, and I certainly don't want to do that if in the end, it's harming people. I specifically asked NOT to have anyone tell me anything that would only serve to spoil the surprise, since I have so far enjoyed that surprise and challenge.
Hai has been out there for about 30 years, and it's pretty hard to imagine that they have managed to conceal a deep dark secret that long.
In my opinion, and you can take it for what it's worth, you went into it looking for problems (you said as much above) and you read more into what happened than you should have. I think you're right to hold the facilitators to a high standard, but they are also people, and can be guilty of simple overenthusiasm. It would have been better if you'd called them on it right then and there, but that's unfortunately not what happened.
I agree mistakes were made, but I don't see evil intent behind them.