It was easy to see that many people in the various districts I was in were "outsiders" of varying kinds - once again, it's the Pincola-Estes theory on finding one's tribe, put into action. When you find a group that accepts you, approves of you, encourages you and professes to love you despite your self-perceived damage, they become your tribe; I don't think that anyone is immune to that.
Thats it, friends.
No one is immune to this.
The thing to do is just get into the habit of fact checking.
Especially fact check any required workshop, employee retreat, fact check inspirational literature or events, and beware of any good cause where the alleged hero is the center of attention and turns it into a charisma festival centered on him or herself.
Inspiration usually means getting people high, and that kills analytical thought.
Watch out for anything or anyone that equates "experience" or 'inspiration' with proof. It isnt. It just means your neurotranmitters have been massaged to high levels. Doesnt prove anything except someone out there knows how to diddle human beings. Thats a skill any scoundrel can learn and ecstacy and tribe bonding dont prove anything.
Remember, Hitler did this same thing.
Fact checking. It has to become a habit, like flossing one's teeth.
And what one must do take a stance used by disaster response specialists during practice drills. Imagine the worst. Thats why work places in large buildings do regular fire drills.
Fact checking is like a self directed fire drill.
Suppose you are looking into a nursing home, or a school for your child, you are a college student and some people are offering you instant intimacy.
Someone in your 12 step group violates the rules by urging you to read the latest inspirational book. (Ministers and foolish psychotherapists might turn peculiar and push this kind of stuff at you. A friend may with a coy giggle say she likes now and then to read books that are not necessarily endorsed by the church or that are not 12 step literature and urge you to go to some workshop or try the book.
Or someone is pushing at you to go to this inspirational workshop and (RED FLAG) refuses to tell you what will happen because knowing before hand will spoil it for you.
So imagine the possiblity of financial problems, sexual abuse, see if anyone else has mentioned the cult word. If someone gives workshops, see if they were involved with other workshops, because thats where these people learn how to herd people into rooms, keep them chanting and awake past bed time and milk their neuroreceptors.
And...one may not be recruitable by one type of cult, but be quite vulnerable to a different situation.
Edward Abbey wrote that where growth is the only goal, thats the ideology of cancer.
Trendy causes. Cults go for these. Right now yoga, veganism, being 'green' 'community gardening' are all big. So, look for opportunists. One shrewd observer said to us that if he wanted to create a cult, he'd open a chain of yoga studios.
Set ups where people cannot leave. Jails, nursing homes. Schools. Cults love to go after the kiddies.
Go after energetic idealistic people. That means college students.
Fear of death. Thats why the Hare Krisnhas used to solicit money at airports. Fear of death combined with not being able to leave. But..for all we know airports may still be a place where recruitment can happen.
Go for high value recruits. Massage therapists, psychotherapists. These all have client bases. And..even therapists get old and frightened of death like eveyrone else and may get suckered into inspirational groups and then recommend tripe to their clients.
Over on this thread discussants found that permaculture, a form of sustainable gardening, was being confused in peoples minds with biodynamic farming and gardening, based on the cultic beliefs of Rudolf Steiner, on whose work the Waldorf schools are based. Unlike permaculture, Steinerism is authoritarian and secretive, to boot. So to learn about permaculture, one has to run google searches in which one excludes 'steiner' and 'biodynamic'. Thats how far the confusion has gone.
These three posts by Graham S and Nick Nakorn
(scroll down to Corboy comment on June 23, 2010 01:01PM)
Many cults or aspiring inspiration peddlars rent rooms in famous universiites, medical centers, fancy hotels, seaside or beautiful wilderness retreat centers. This leads us to assume that the entity is endorsing them. No, it just means theyve rented a room. Everyone needs money these days, so room rental is one way to do it.
You're looking for a school for your child. You dont know that the school you select is run by a group that has features of a cult and has not told you the full details. (Waldorf. Their belief system is called Anthroposophy and even lower level workers at their school dont know this. Look up sites called Waldorf Watch, or punch anthroposophy into our search button and select "all dates"
Some persons are in situations and cannot easily leave. You're elderly in a nursing home and someone on staff is in a cult that recuits. There you are. You cannot just pick up and leave.
You're a detainee or convicted prisoner in a jail or prison. You want something positive inyour life. What if the only meditation class offered in your prison/jail is run by a cult?
You're in prison and cannot just check the internet.
Some groups have such sophisticated recruitment methods that someone will take months or years pretending to be your friend while waiting for you to have a misfortune. Then they recruit.
We may get under stress, our bodies may have chemical reactions that give us experiences that our family physican cannot make sense of. We may be told by someone that our experiences mark us as being on spiritual progress and fall into the hands of a dangerous quack.
* We are all assigned to human bodies and feel pain. So, if we get sick, have a financial misfortune, go to college and feel lost, lonely and utterly overwhelmed by the material we must learn--those are some situations right there.
We lose too many people we love to death, or they dump us, or we dump them.
So, to repeat what Meh said, none of us is immune.
Ive been recruited via a couple of intimate advisory relationships. Spiritual direction.
Silent meditation retreats are ideal for recruitment. Too many otherwise good Buddhist teachers are getting careless and mixing new age bullshit in with Buddhism. Fact check any teacher giving a silent retreat. Call me a snob but I am leery of any teacher who lists a variety of traditions that each take a lifetime to master. And, despite what the perennialists say, Advaita is not at its core, compatible with Buddhadharma. Advaita posits an Absolute, Buddhadharma goes from the premise that there is no-Self, no inherantly self existant Absolute, First Principle, no Essence, no God. So when Buddhist teachers add in stuff that does posit contradictory stuff, beware.
A silent meditation retreat should not trigger extreme emotions in too many people. You should not space out. You should not be encouraged to strain for certain kinds of experiences.
There should be little trouble transitioning from the retreat to home life.
And..in any situation, period, if you find you have obsessions or craving that are not usual for you, emotions that you want to cling to in an addictive manner -- watch out.