For years, one of my quiet specialties has been helping folks to fully exit from cults. Energy Spirituality and Energetic Literacy can, each, help to heal cult involvement.
Leaving a cult is good. What is more important for long-term relief, and protection against further cult involvement? Don’t settle for anything less than true exiting of the cult. Plus effective deprogramming at a subconscious level.
This matters because otherwise a person fleeing one cult is very likely to join a different cult. Not unlike the high risk after gastric bypass surgery of developing alcoholism.
The topic of cults is delicate, as each spiritual path is sacred. Recently, I read the aura of Swami Nithyananda. Early on, I warned his followers not to read unless they were prepared for a different point of view.
Not surprisingly, this blog has received many comments from devout followers of Swami Nithyananda. I do applaud the culture within his group. Their relentless positivity is easier to read than outright attacking. There has been a very vigorous defense of this guru, for sure.
Well, MIKE just inspired a new thread about cult involvement with Comments 1047 and 1048 today at the Enlightenment Life List. His heartfelt words, below, were excerpted from one of these comments. I thought they deserved an equally personal and detailed response. So here goes. First, though….
Warning. Do not read today’s post if you are deeply involved in either Transcendental Meditation (TM) or Eckankar. I have no desire to interfere with a path that is sacred to you.
Cult experiences with TM and Eckankar
Blog-Buddy MIKE has supplied the following background on his interest in researching two of the great Eckankar masters.
It follows, with small edits for clarity from the English major.
To give a little background. I, like you, went down the TM route in the 1970?s, only to extract myself after a 10-year period.
I think I have processed away any anger I had, but find that there is a certain irony that embarking on a search for truth the first thing I encountered was a lie. In TM, new initiates are promised that the mantra selected as a tool in Transcendental Meditation is a meaningless word.
Strange then that after two years of using the mantra given to me during my initiation in Transcendental Meditation, I had the goddess Saraswati dancing before me during meditation.
Only later did I learn that my mantra was a seed syllable of the name Saraswati.
Reading information from Sri Aurobino has healed this. He eloquently points out that the Vedic Gods and Goddesses are personifications of universal energies. For instance Saraswati energetically represents inspiration and creativity. So I feel OK with this now.
However I am worried that I keep on falling down the same hole in the street, even though I have walked down this street many times.
After leaving TM, I fell down the hole and for the last 27 years have been in Eckankar. I am currently stepping back and dissociating myself as I can see a similar pattern Paul Twitchells plagiarism etc. So the next step on the search for truth started with a lie!
“Doh!” as Homer Simpson would say.
My personal perspective on TM
“Doh!” is so unkind, MIKE. Millions of smart, dedicated spiritual seekers are attracted to cults. Many of my clients in Energy Spirituality have aimed to exit and deprogram from cults. I have been able to help them.
Not one of these clients was stupid or gullible. They were vulnerable or idealistic, or both.
Unfortunately, all cults lie.
Before going further, I want to confirm MIKE’s point about lying and Transcendental Meditation, with lying about mantras being just one of many deceptions built into Transcendental Meditation as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
TM is becoming popular again in some circles, with Oprah Winfrey famously initiated into TM, plus Candy Crowley who moderated the second Presidential Debate in the last election, plus others on this list of celebrity TM meditators. (Assuming that the TMers list is accurate, which I do not know for sure.)
Dr. Elaine Aron, praised in yesterday’s blog post, is a staunch TM-er. Plus there’s Tom Cruise, of course.
Joke about Tom!
What about my own personal background? As MIKE surmised, I do have some personal history here.
Overall I am very grateful to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for many things resulting from my long association with him that started with my TM initiation in January 1969.
He became my guru, the most deeply personal relationship relationship within Hinduism. This began when I met Maharishi, started writing him poetry, and started reading him poetry that he inspired in 1970. Over a year of my life has been spent in Maharishi’s presence altogether.
One of my dearest friends, JOE, became a godfather to my son Matt. JOE lives the highest ideals of TM, on Purusha since it began. Though I personally consider TM a cult, I don’t discuss that with JOE because TM is his life. Also, my definition of cult is none of his business. JOE is a shining example of being a renunciate within Maharishi’s program for monks. JOE is also a fabulous godfather, BTW.
Back at Rose Rosetree, teaching TM was my whole life too from 1970 until 1986. I didn’t personally stop doing Transcendental Meditation until 1991. Yes, it wasn’t until 1991 that I consciously learned that the mantras used in the technique were not “Meaningless sounds,” but names of Hindu gods.
Only then did I understand the meaning of “cult” and that TM is one of many cults. None of them labelled with a large marquee, theater style: “Cult Entrance, No Easy Exit.”
I went onto a website called “TM-Ex” and saw a list of what the TM mantras meant. I looked first at the mantra I gave my Dad, the “meaningless sound” for use with his technique, when I initiated him into Transcendental Meditation.
You feel weird, MIKE, that you were hooked up with Saraswati without your knowledge or consent? Imagine my horror when I learned that I connected my loving father to Kali.
Is it okay that TM mantras are names of Hindu gods?
Unlike you, MIKE, I do not believe it is “okay” on any level to trick a person into connecting energetically with a Hindu god.
To choose a God connection with the TM initiate having zero knowledge, zero consent, zero choice, okay? How, exactly?
Even in Hinduism, it is customary for the devotee of God to select a chosen ideal. Nothing sneaky, no lies. Chosen ideal. You can read more about the concept of chosen ideal under the heading “Sadhana: Spiritual Practices” in this link to Hinduism basics.
Having exited the TM cult and deprogrammed from it as well, I have received a valuable kind of innoculation against getting involved in cults ever again.
In retrospect, as a spiritual teacher and healer, I was trained by Maharishi in some things to do and also some things to not do. High in my value system is “Do not lie to those who place their trust in you.”
TM culture involves many lies. Not just that “A mantra used in Transcendental Meditation is a meaningless sound.”
Blog-Buddies, whatever your background with organized groups that turned out to be cults — and hopefully you never did get involved in a cult — let’s think ethics. Ethically, what does that mean, to take the sacred trust of a TM initiate (or provide teacher training for follower of Maharishi who believes him to be a perfect master) and flat-out lie about something so basic as a chosen ideal that will be dealt out during the initiation ceremony?
Leaving a cult vs. exiting and deprogramming
What is the difference between simply leaving a cult versus exiting and deprogramming? A world of difference.
As you experience, MIKE, you moved straight into another cult.
Ex-members of a cult usually do exactly that unless they do more than heal.
It isn’t enough to heal emotionally and stop doing cult practices. This is all good. But exiting and deprogramming are needed to complete the process of truly being released from a cult. As I define it:
- Exiting a cult means that a person recognizes that “The Movement” was, indeed, a cult. It was not just a sacred organization. It really was a cult.
- Deprogramming from a cult means that a person moves out subconscious linkage to the guru, The Movement, and the particular version of cult mind control that was ongoing.
- My view of healing with Energy Spirituality is different from mainstream ideas that exiting a cult needs to be done through exit counseling and that deprogramming must be violent.
Quicker recognition and avoidance after cult deprogramming
Many advantages result from properly exiting and deprogramming. If you want to clean up from a cult, please use your smarts as a New Age Consumer, because many exit counselors for former cult members are pretty darned weird. (Of course, to many people Energy Spirituality and aura reading seem plenty weird, too. 😉 ) So bring on your self-authority!
After deprogramming, a former cult member can recognize cults faster, until that individual never has the slightest inclination to join one any more.
So many good resources are available for exiting and deprogamming from a cult. Personally, here is what helped me:
- I used techniques of Energy Spirituality to cut my cords of attachment to people from my involvement in TM, including Maharishi himself. I filled up with more self-knowledge.
- Deeper healing with Energy Spirituality allowed me to appreciate some of the problems that caused me to be vulnerable to cult mind control. More development of self-authority came along with using techniques in “Use Your Power of Command for Spiritual Cleansing and Protection.”
- I use techniques of Stage Three Energetic Literacy to research people who might be teachers, healers, or other professional resources.
Many of you Blog-Buddies have seen me read auras at the Enlightenment Life List. Mostly I do this during Aura Reading Research Sessions for clients. That way, I can go into more detail than at this blog, answer questions… and also use stronger language than I generally do here at this blog.
Of course, it’s great to do things on your own because you have skills that really work. Which is why I offer workshops and have published books like “Read People Deeper.” Plain old literacy, Blog-Buddies, just like Gutenberg literacy only for aura reading, drilling down all the way to chakra databanks! Of course you can do this!
And of course you can learn to “Cut Cords of Attachment for Self-Healing.” My new ebook on cord-cutting makes it easier than ever.
If you find other resources you prefer to help you do cord-cutting or read auras in depth and detail, go for it. Your self-authority, your life, your personal path to Enlightenment… that is what I wish to support.
I mean that from the bottom of my heart. A heart that knows a lot about steering clear of manipulation and lying courtesy of that personal education, back in the day, into cult mind control.
What does it mean to heal from cult mind control?
I agree with you, MIKE, that healing anger can be an important aspect of exiting a cult. For the full impact of deprogramming, however, it can be helpful to receive Energy Spirituality healing, one session at a time, in order to move out subconscious and astral STUFF that will otherwise continue for the rest of a person’s life.
Some of my clients have been able to completely, fully exit and deprogram from cults. Quite a variety of cults, actually.
Sometimes the healing also included moving out STUFF related to problems with substances, eating disorder, lack of personal power, etc.
The thing to remember, Blog-Buddies, is that whatever method you find that really works for you, STUFF can always, always, always be healed. That is required for true deprogramming for ex-members of cults.
Well, let’s turn to your comments, Blog-Buddies, one per comment please, in case you have stories to share or questions to ask, about cult exiting and deprogramming.