Deeper Perception Made Practical

Cult Exiting and Deprogramming, How Rosetree Energy Spirituality (RES) Can Help


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 Twitchell’s 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.


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  1. 1

    Here’s a link to a post on “Cult Recognition Quiz” from a couple of years ago:

    This follow up post supplies some answers to help a person recognize cults:

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Jnana says:

    I am shocked that an enlightened guru lied! Mantras are definitely not playthings and certainly not meaningless utterances.
    The world gets wackier now because (looks like) even when dealing with an enlightened person, one still has to be on full alert.

  4. 4
    Jnana says:

    I have to add that mantras can move a person forward but it seems that in TM, those who initiate people with mantras are not quite qualified to do this.

  5. 5

    JNANA, here’s the irony. Maharishi prepared his initiators meticulously and we really learned how to do a superb job of teaching the Transcendental Meditation technique.

    We were totally qualified to teach. We produced great results in our students. Personally, I taught many hundreds. Accidentally, back in the day, I did loads of unskilled empath merges while I worked with TMers. So (apart from the icky problems for me, personally), I gained plenty of insight about how effective the TM technique was for people at different levels of consciousness.

    Why? Because in consciousness I followed where my initiates went before, during, and after doing TM.

    Also, thanks to those involuntary unskilled empath merges, I would track the experiences of every single TM meditator every time I did the official “Checking procedure.” Whether TM meditators initiated by me or by others.

    So I can assure you, Transcendental Meditation really did/does take people into the transcendent.

    Even years later, researching chakra databanks, I continue to be impressed at the power of TM for moving people into contact with Spiritual Source. I haven’t researched any other technique that takes people so far out.

    For instance, consider another fine system that turned into a pretty intense cult, Kundalini Yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan. Many meditation techniques there — and the ones I have researched doing myself (also, what I would find when researching the teacher during a yoga class) would never take people nearly as far.

    However that tiny bit of spiritual opening through a Kundalini Yoga technique could be more quickly integrated, which was a distinct advantage.

    Results of meditation techiques are really fascinating to investigate with Stage Three Energetic Literacy. 😉 Anyway…

    Transcendental Meditation, as a technique is too powerful if anything… in the sense that doing TM for 10 minutes twice a day might be easy to integrate if this 20 minutes were done maybe once every six months.

    More than that and, these days, a TM-er usually moves into spiritual addiction. It doesn’t take much. Because 20 minutes of TM twice daily NOW is way more powerful than the same thing in 1969. (Just like the marijuana. LOL.)

  6. 6

    I would like to go on record also saying that TM is not just getting a mantra. It is a nuanced, distinctive technique. The use of the mantra is the key to TM as much as the mantra itself; the sequence of instruction, including the initiation ceremony, are all required in order for the results to be received.

    Checking of TM, on a regular basis, by trained meditation checkers, is also needed for years… just to keep the students on the right track for correct practice.

    And, again, it would be a mistake to assume that Maharishi’s hard-working initiators do not have the chops to deliver good instruction.

    On the whole, TM initiators do a great job. They are lied to about things like “A mantra is a meaningless sound” and “TM is for householders.” Afterwards, unwittingly, TM teachers pass the lies along.

    Even worse, for many who learn, TM is NOT, as promised, just 20 min. twice daily. It becomes a way of life, a commitment.

    Folks go to “Advanced Lectures” and “Residence Courses.” Before long, the TMer becomes part of a cult organization and suffers the ill effects of mind control.

  7. 7
    Mike says:

    There is a scene in the film “David wants to fly”, where David is attending an intro talk in Germany. He is sat there in front of the “bubble” diagram and is told that a mantra is a meaningless word (watching that scene objectively, the lie now appears so powerful and profoundly wrong).
    He then asks innocently, how the mantras are chosen. But he is shut down immediately.
    I suspect that in defence of many TM teachers they really believe that the mantras are meaningless.
    I know a really lovely Irish TM teacher, her smile lights up a room. She has been in the game for 35 years, a teacher for 30. I accidentally, recently mentioned the above topic as a passing comment. She was very surprised, saying “no they have no meaning”, and she really believed that.

    In my work as a Forensic Police Doctor I came across a case in which a man had “conned” ten women (in different locations around the UK and US). He had convinced them that he was a real life James Bond and that when he finished his latest mission against the IRA he would sweep them away to the Carribbean and get married. In the meantime they had to dye their hair, change their name, cut off all links with family and friends. Oh and give him all their money! He sequestered them in “hovels” and their living conditions were awful. He sometimes would not see them for a year. But they continued to wait for him. Some of these women were professionals, ie a US lawyer and most of them were under his “spell” for TEN years!, until he was finally arrested.
    I sat with one of the victims to break the news to her about him and observed her as she woke up from a ten year nightmare.

    I now realise this was “life”, showing me how I was in a similar scenario.

    Bottom line is, we can be “under a spell” for a very long time. It may be barn door obvious to our friends and family, but we are usually the last to see it. Largely because one so desperately wants what you have found to be true.

  8. 8
    Michael Porter says:

    I’m not sure what you define as a cult. It seems under your rubric, all religions and spiritual paths are cults. Maybe you can better define what is a cult and what is not. I have joined groups and left groups and they all have a point of view, but a cult for me implies coercion and I don’t think TM or Eckankar coerces you to stay.

  9. 9

    MICHAEL PORTER, you are right that it is important to define what is a cult and what is not.

    Yesterday I meant to supply a link to a post about this in Comment 2, but inserted the wrong link by mistake. This has just been corrected. So I would recommend going back to Comment 2 for that quiz. Obvious forms of coercion are not included, but plenty else is.

  10. 10

    Further in response to your question, MICHAEL, cult mind control doees not mean obvious coercion.

    That is one reason why folks make such a fuss, calling Scientology a cult, rather than publicly discussing so many other cults that meet every real standard for cult mind control, just lacking obvious drama.

    Scientology is notorious for compelling members to stay, evidently documeted quite thoroughly in the new book by Lawrence Wright, “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.”

    Here’s a link to that powerful new book, BTW:

    Scientology is an exception. Cults usually just pull on folks from the inside of the subconscious mind, which is why there is a common term “Cult mind control” rather than “Cult whips” or “Cult handcuffs.”

    But if you are interested in drama galore about physical control, you might want to supplement Lawrence Wright’s book by reading “My Billion Year Contract” by Nancy Many, a former Scientologist:

  11. 11

    With all the snow falling in the Northeast in America, I send a warm hug to all you Blog-Buddies living there.

    Stay warm and well.

  12. 12

    MIKE, thank you for your Comment 8. Wow!

  13. 13
    Mike says:

    Unlike the example of the conman in comment 8, where the victim is fleeced materially and emotionally with nothing in return, the TM type scenario is more subtle as you are given something very tangible in return, and thus the Ponzi scheme model becomes more relevant.
    ie on my TM Siddhi” two week flying course, I experienced an immense amount of bliss and spent the two weeks constantly laughing. On one occasion as I was about to start the flying sutra an inner voice asked “Are you sure you are ready for this?”.
    Why wouldn’t I be?
    I wanted to know and experience “the truth” so I replied “Flip the switch”. Immediately it felt like etheric hands inside my brain massaging it in a most delicious way. Then light as intense and bright as the sun, wave after wave of bliss (at the time I described it as a “cosmic orgasm”). Not surprising that after that you feel you have signed up with the “real deal”.
    However back in real life it took my physical body well over a year to recover from that experience. I really was energetically drained, a zombie. I was not able to do 30 mins gentle activity without then needing a rest or a long sleep.
    I then lived and worked in a TM community in the North of England, called the Ideal Village (nick named the “Idle Village” ) where I cooked in the kitchens, but I was actually paying the movement for the “privilege” of doing this, rather than them paying me for my services. Which is a common experience among devoted TMers.

  14. 14
    Mike says:

    Other untruths that rolled effortlessly of TM teachers tongues were/are:

    You do not have to change your lifestyle. How come so many TMers were living a Vedic lifestyle, listening to Indian music, wearing saris, eating Indina food (but it is delicious) consulting Ayurvedic Drs etc.

    It is not a religion. Well it turns out that it is a shoe in for Hinduism. Most people I knew had pictures of Hindu deities up on their walls within a couple of years of practicing TM

  15. 15
    Amanda says:

    Hi Mike,

    I found your comment 14 very interesting.

    I had very similar bright light experiences too, over the course of several months – ‘cosmic orgasm’ being a wonderful description! Unbelievable, pure and quite extraordinary, though I wouldn’t want to go back there.

    Mine though were outside the TM paradigm and in fact in the middle of my ‘normal’ life (though it didn’t feel very normal at that point 🙂 ). I did however, agree to them just like you did.

    It sounds to me like a spiritual awakening, which dredges up everything at the deepest subconscious levels but at the same time puts you in charge.

    It does take its toll on the physical body. One tai chi teacher described it perfectly to me as ‘like plugging a hairdryer into the National Grid.’ You’re not the same person for ever afterwards but it takes serious integration – luckily, however, like all the best things, it comes with its own built-in compass for that to happen.

    So I don’t think it’s entity-related, TM-related or even forced from the outside. Like you said, you say ‘yes, I am ready’ – and then things get a little hectic but retrospectively make more and more sense at the deepest levels.

    Profound, pure and wow forevermore – I wouldn’t change it for the world, though as I said things got a little hairy and it’s something I would never be able to explain to the majority of people.

    I wanted to share that in case you were confusing what happened with the context in which it happened – and also to offer you my congratulations. 🙂


  16. 16
    Mike says:

    I think Mulder in the X-Files sums it (cult mentality) up very well:

    “The best way to disguise a lie, is to sandwich it between two truths”.

  17. 17

    MIKE, thank you for these from-the-heart shares. And AMANDA, so well put. Thank you, too.

  18. 18
    Mike says:

    Thanks Amanda, it does help to hear your experience.

  19. 19
    Jnana says:

    Re: Comments 6, 7
    Fine explanation, Rose.

  20. 20
    Jnana says:

    I have been reading what the (late) enlightened Grandmaster Choa Kok Sui has written about truth.
    ‘Truth is dynamic. It is not static. Not only are there different levels of truth, but there are also different ways of looking at truth. Truth is like a jewel, it is multi-faceted. At each level of truth there are at least seven ways of looking at truth.
    Truth is beyond correct information. It is being able to see different facets and levels of a certain event or object and to act accordingly, properly and if possible, kindly. Accurate perception must always be balanced.’

    When the chakras were revealed in ancient times to a limited number of people they were told there were 7 chakras (first level of truth). As time progressed, and humanity evolved, more chakras were revealed so it became 9 then 11 then 12 chakras (2nd, 3rd and 4th levels of truth)

    So perhaps when TMers were told mantras were without meaning, they were being given the first level of truth???

    (From Grandmaster) ‘We should only believe something when the writing, doctrine or saying is corroborated by our own reason and consciousness’. (The self-authority you’re so insistent on, Rose.)

    Looks like at the end of the day self-authority is key. The inner messages must be heeded.

  21. 21

    You raise an interesting point here, JNANA. Is it okay for a spiritual teacher to lie to the students?
    I’m curious to hear from more of you Blog-Buddies about this.

    Personally I consider integrity and truthfulness to be extremely important in every role a person might play in life.

    As for discoveries about chakras, I wouldn’t consider it a lie to know less at one time and later to know more.

    However I would consider it a lie to tell students “A mantra is a meaningless sound” when the teacher knows full well that the mantra is the name of a Hindu god.

    I would consider it a lie to teach an initiator how to choose mantras for initiates, as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi did with me, sitting across a little table in Mallorca, Spain. He personally looked me in the eye, explained how this was done, wrote notes for me with his felt-tipped pen.

    Never did he mention that I would be assigning a Hindu god to each student. Nor did Maharishi mention what common sense would tell anyone famiiiar with how a TM mantra is used in the the technique of Transcendental Meditation.

    In TM, initiate is, in effect, inwardly chanting the name of that assigned god. This could be considered a form of prayer. Certainly it is an intimate act of consciousness.

    To direct this towards the goddess Kali, for instance, is a pretty serious breach of trust. It seems to me, anyway.

  22. 22

    Back at the question, “Is it okay for a spiritual teacher to lie to students?”

    It’s also interesting to consider the requirements you might have, Blog-Buddies, for a spiritual teacher.

    Does it need to be someone who seems calm and always walks slowly?

    Would it help if the person is a renunciate and wears a special costume?

    What about attractiveness? I wonder if the big publishing empire within New Age, Hay House, has a culture (Or maybe even a policy?) dictating that female authors need to use cosmetic surgery if they are over the age of 40.

    Besides requirements, are there deal breakers for you, in a spiritual teacher, something that automatically disqualifies the person?

  23. 23
    Michael Porter says:

    I looked a the list and would like to comment. That’s from MICHAEL.

    Hi, everyone, it’s Rose. Blog-Buddies, MICHAEL PORTER’s comment continues with such a detailed and interesting sequence of comments, it is being made into a guest post. Check it out here:

  24. 24
    Mike says:

    Re TM mantras. Maharishi himself explained that the benefit of using a mantra without meaning was that the mind would not get caught up in “thinking” about its meaning. Thinking about the meaning would then be contemplation and would result in staying on the surface levels of the mind. The “meaningless” word enabled deeper and deeper transcendence.
    Maybe Maharishi justified (to himself at least) that by telling us there was in fact a meaning would make the technique much less effective…maybe he felt it was a “justifiable ” deception? We will never know now…unless someone like his close disciple Nandkishore speaks out. Which he might. In the film “David wants to fly” he is obviously now unhappy with “The Movement”.

    Having said that I am reasonably OK with Saraswati, but like you Rose I would have been horrified to be invoking Kali!

  25. 25
    Mike says:

    Harold Klemp generally comes across as a regular person. Comes across as humble and not vane. He has not aged well and went back to wearing glasses after a few years with contacts. He is often open about his foibles, so he bucks the trend for most of the points in comment 23.
    In Eckankar you have the responsibility to find/discover your own personal mantra through spiritual exercises or the dream state. Although a lot of Eckists use HU….which does seem to be more of a meaningless word…and is not just the domain of Eckankar as it is beloved by Sufis, Druids etc

  26. 26
    Jill Erin says:

    I am finding all of this discussion fascinating. I had always longed for a personal teacher/guru, but found my SELF constantly being steered away from any attachment to any person or organization after my break from the Christian church I had been raised in. I was fortunate in that my mother, while being very devote herself, always taught us self authority and made it very clear to us that she would never be “disappointed” in us if we decided to not believe as she did. She was the perfect example of unconditional love. She had her personal problems and STUFF, but she demonstrated that unconditional love, and love of truth, above all else at all junctures in her life.

    So, I guess I had my personal guru in my mother, and just didn’t realize it until she was gone. I am very fortunate, indeed.

  27. 27
    Primmie says:

    Thank you for this post and all the comments. I find it so interesting. I’ve never had a spiritual guru so I don’t know anything about that kind of world. My closest association with any kind of spiritual organisation had been with 12 step and there are no leaders, purposely, in the recovery movement.

    Jill, I am very happy for you that your mother was such a wonderful role model for you. Strangely, I think in a similar way my father modeled self authority for me. He and I didn’t speak for a few years and when we reconciled I told him that the courage he’d shown as a young man by standing up to his family and chasing his own path, was the reason I had the courage to stand up to him and chose my own. I am blessed to have had very brave people in my family.

    I don’t mean to suggest that people who enter cults are weak, I might have ended up in one myself if there’d been a cult for angry atheists 🙂

  28. 28
    Amanda says:

    Is it OK for a spiritual teacher to lie to his or her students?

    No. It just isn’t.

    It’s also not OK to turn the intimate spiritual journey into a hierarchical and limited set of progressions – this restrictive and controlling approach ignores the organic intelligence of the spiritual process, which in a healthy situation is actually led by the student.

    My experience of good teaching vs. bad teaching has come from tai chi – I have been lucky to have teachers who accept that we all breathe at different rates and are all individuals. They teach each person to own their practice and use it as they see fit according to what they need each day. Rather like Donna Eden, they give you tools and let you play, it’s life affirming and you progress quickly because you’re exploring and experimenting in a relaxed environment.

    These teachers were open, authentic and human in their warmth. They didn’t lie.

    I also had experience with a tai chi style which was rigid, hierarchical, offered ‘gradings’, and operated on a basis of secretiveness and guardedness. The teachers demanded a military uniformity from classes, expected the form to be done in a set amount of time and did not promote the freedom or individuality of the bodies under their care.

    Basically, the first lot were brilliant and inspiring, and the second lot were unlikeable, over-controlling and no fun whatsoever.

    I do think liking someone – or liking a group feeling – matters a great deal. If I find myself ‘trying to like’ someone that says a lot in itself.

    Hierarchical behaviour in a teacher who gathers ‘followers’ rather than fellow adventurers also sets my warning bells clanging these days.

    Three cheers for the myriads of good teachers out there. They get my money! 🙂


  29. 29
    Jnana says:

    Is it okay for a spiritual teacher to lie? No, no and no!!
    I hope my comment(21)didn’t imply that but it seems to have come out that way. Only TMers will know for sure what the deal with the Maharishi was.

    (PS I find glamour a big turn off in a spiritual teacher.)

  30. 30
    Elaine says:

    Like Jill Erin, I also find this a fascinating topic. My entire adult life I’ve had little to no interest in zestfully following or joining any type of organization whether it’s religious, spiritual, career, a new movement or whatever it might be. For me, it just does not present any spark of interest.

    I was raised Catholic and broke with that when I moved away from home at 18. It just felt too contrived and too strict. This TM world is something I am not familiar with at all.

  31. 31

    All these wonderful comments. Thanks so much, everyone.

    Let’s take this exploration a bit further, if you’re interested.

    For those of you who believe it is not okay for a spiritual teacher or healer to lie, has any skill of energetic literacy helped you?

    By energetic literacy, I mean skills of aura reading, Skilled Empath Merge, face reading (especially the part about how faces change meaningfully over time, as might be interesting to explore how Sri Harold Klemp’s face has changed over time.

    Hmmm. Anyone interested in that one, BTW? Our current face reading contest is open until February 25, 2013, you know:

    In a

  32. 32

    Oh yes, I’m also curious if any of you Blog-Buddies have stories about having guidance from psychic readings, angel readings, etc. help you to discern if a teacher or healer was lying.

    Personally, I’m very curious about that form of discernment or guidance in the context of helping people avoid cults.

    Why? Just remember (or read for the first time) the blog posts here about Astral Level Ponzi Schemes and Advanced Energetic Ponzi Schemes.

    Relevant links?


  33. 33

    For discernment about who might be lying, with teaching or healing or other aspects of life, I personally prefer energetic literacy skills because they are clear, just plain literacy, like your reading this screen with Gutenberg literacy.

    Wonderful though readings by guides and angels can be, I believe they can be hooked into/compromised by astral-level STUFF, bringing people ever-deeper into the cult.

    However, some of you Blog-Buddies may have had some very different experiences. Do share!

    Let’s all learn together.

  34. 34
    Sylvia says:

    [Blog-Buddy SYLVIA just began a comment here,
    and I took the blog exec liberty of moving it over here instead, so it and the response would be easier for everyone to find. Here she goes.]

    How fascinating, Rose. This post is serving as a wonderful reminder of self-authority. It also brings up a lot of compassion for myself and others — how deeply we all desire to belong!

    I’m confused about one thing, though. You write that “the Church of Latter-Day Saints can be a cult for many members.” Does that mean it is the member who determines whether the organization is a cult for him or her? Given the mind control in cults, this doesn’t make sense to me.

  35. 35

    First off, SYLVIA, I want to clarify the obvious. I do not know everything about cults, not by a long shot. I have just helped some people, and feel that I have a theory base (bolstered by personal experience) that gives me the standing to at least discuss this confusing topic in public.

    And second, of course, thanks for your fascinating question.

    Cults have one way of getting hooks into people who are idealistic or really try hard to follow the teachings.

    There can always be people involved in the same organization who skim the surface, just do the minimum, don’t take it seriously.

    Although it is a cult, that is an easier version of participating without having the collateral damage from cult experience. Make sense?

  36. 36
    Jim Curry says:

    As a practicing Catholic of long standing, I have come to mistrust aspects of every organization, even those which appear to be at the highest integrity. Insofar as our religious institutions fail to uphold the core integrity to which they are called, they become cult-like or cultish. Insofar as their teaching and practice brings people more into line with the true Divine, they are valid. Insofar as they bring people out of alignment, they are cult-like.

    So, we have to monitor ourselves and our beliefs even if we are part of a church that might not qualify as an outright, flim flam cult. In the end, we are responsible for our spiritual path, and we have to keep it proper.

    The notion of “original sin” was never clear to me, but an old priest told me that sins of origin come from not knowing the difference between the teachings that are absolutely true and those that are not true. When we have confusion, when we mistake a very bad idea for a very good one, we make a mistake right at the start—a sin at the origin.

    In all our churches, we have to be careful of this, and deprogramming is the work of a lifetime.

  37. 37
    Sylvia says:

    Yes, Rose that makes sense to me. Thank you for clarifying!

  38. 38
    Mike says:

    Jim (37). Well put.
    I have been in two cults. What intrigues me is that whilst immersed in a particular path (cult), it is oh so easy to see everyone else being duped. Their belief’s are so “barn door” obviously weird, dodgey (English term) or just plain mad.
    But all along, the joke is on me. ie Scientologists…how could they sign up to a Billion year contract? and then there is all that Thetan stuff, clearly science fiction. Lucky for me I am on a true, bone fide path namely Eckankar. One of my Eck Masters is from the city of Retz, Venus.
    So tiring to hear Christians banging on about Christ being the ONLY way to God, when everyone who is an Eckist “knows” it is the Mahanta!

  39. 39
    Amanda says:

    Mike, that really made me giggle!

    My ex-husband was Jewish and loathed the organisation Jews for Jesus for wanting to convert him – but he and his family made every effort to convert me.

    Then once I’d got out of that situation I thought he was rude for trying to convert me because obviously being a meditator was better.

    What it is to be human 😀


  40. 40

    AMANDA, great example. We all have them, don’t we?

    MIKE, I also giggled over, “But all along, the joke is on me. ie Scientologists…how could they sign up to a Billion year contract? and then there is all that Thetan stuff, clearly science fiction. Lucky for me I am on a true, bone fide path namely Eckankar. One of my Eck Masters is from the city of Retz, Venus.”

  41. 41
    Mike says:

    Thanks Rose and Amanda.
    For me, when I am more or less in balance I have a humorous perspective, which prevents me from falling too far into victimhood. When my mind takes over I get way too serious.
    I saw a Catholic based website yesterday. Their headline was Scientology can be summed up in one word “Abuse”. Hmm I wonder which other religion that word could apply to? (people in glass houses and all that).

    But you are so right Amanda our human aspect means we ALL fall foul of this stuff and it usually gets increasingly subtle.

  42. 42
    Mike says:

    There seems to be a strong proclivity in humans (at a certain point in our evolution), that it is not enough that we ourselves have discovered something worthwhile, but then we have to convert everybody else to our point of view. Starting with our families! It is particularly strong in the early years when we are often in a zealot phase.

    I have had to eat a lot of humble pie recently. When I got into TM my parents were very concerned for their 19 year old son and expressed their concerns that I was getting into a cult and I could become zombiefied. I felt sorry for them at the time, with their limited materialistic views. Turns out their instincts were spot on.

    Interestingly although I have been an Eckist since 1987, I have not been able to talk anyone friend, family or stranger about joining Eckankar, since about 1995. At the time I thought I must be a poor Eckist, not committed fully etc. Now I see it was a subconscious form of protection for me and others, for which I am most grateful.

  43. 43
    Essence ia Within says:

    I don’t know if this page is still read a lot, but I think it makes sense. At first, what helped me spiritually to open up, became more and more of a tight ascension box where your face is always about to crack if/when you smile, or if you do this or that you should feel bad and need to cleanse your chakras 25 times per day, or your entourage and family are from the dark side because they are uncleansed and so on,how is that for a path that is supposed to bring you to enlightenment (and/or any versions of the 5th,6th,8th or something dimensions and so on), when (even what I am about to say I cannot verify if it is not cultic: at the basis it was not supposed to become spending 50 incarnations in a cave!) someone like the Buddha told that we all have already the Buddha nature within! I once had an opening in which I really felt the non-duality of the Whole, it was beyond any othrr subdivided realms or beliefs I have ever felt because I went there openly and flexibly at that time, but still I could never really objectively confirm any of it. I am rambling now I am sorry, but one quote I like, from someone who just took the best of everything and discarded the rest, Bruce Lee:All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability and pliability.the truth is outside of all fixed patterns. To me this feels very much like how one should explore consciousness/our nature, otherwise, you box in parts of you…I have fallen for the traps of many cults, some who are focused on ascension, not that all is bad, but you start by compassion and gradually end up connecting to beyond the hologram in the very real levels of this or that substrate of creation and end up fasting most of the week, not interacting with uncleansed beings because you will shift soon and so on, hows thwt for freedom? Feels more like torture..Last ingeneous thing I was involved in was even more sneaky: it was about clearing all the manipulation in the subtle that all paths ever done because they ended up trapping us (so the same hook to people who want to so good and free humanity, YET, ut is imposing things to others,…now I know better, I’ll first free myself and live a better life in fearlessness rather than any secret paths and shits like this) involves a reality shift because undoable here and the traditionnal bla bla, AND curiously, I feel interfered more and more by non-physical beings modifying me into shittier and shittier states as supposed to be eventually cleared because it happened in some real outside to the real I…anyways, I have learned many things the hard way, and right now I feel wrecked and very not good energetically, YET, there is an unshakeable Will inside to rebecome the already good being I always was and am at my core, sigh, how about that for exploring and ending up in cultic organizations….so for me, it will be Bruce Lee style explorations, but for now I feel drained, wrecked, modified and still controlled, even directly from within as if I got something other than me in me..

  44. 44

    Dear Essence, thank you for reaching out. However, your situation is clearly very difficult. This blog does not exist to help with very personal problems like yours.

    I would encourage you to seek help from an expert, not improvising your own “Bruce Lee-style explorations.”

    RES wouldn’t be where to start, either. I would recommend a professional mental health expert, especially one who specializes in cult exiting. Good luck!

  45. 45
    Essence is Within says:

    Thanks for the answer Rose, I was wondering if some sessions could be helping me in clearing things, energies, cords, etc? Because, apart from the weird manifestations at the moment, it seems I can still think clear (when I do not give in to fears around my issues) so I was wondering if you think some things could be done, because I already quit some while ago, but the energy effects are there still, yet I really want to live a good live, reopen my heart as deeply as possible,and clear the energetic mess, etc

  46. 46

    You know, ESSENCE IS WITHIN, I have definitely helped people to exit from cults, and the lovely part is that all this is part of your personal path to Enlightenment.

    Not just some horrible accident that had nothing to do with your personal evolution.

    For me personally, that was certainly the case. And some of my clients who used to be involved in cults made super-rapid progress.

  47. 47

    But before making that first appointment for an RES session, be in pretty good shape.

    * Have a normal routine.
    * Hold a job.
    * It might be good to dress in a manner that blends with a somewhat mainstream social group, and not a really far-out group.
    * No marijuana or alcohol or other recreational substances to get you through every day.

  48. 48

    For this, some help from a professional may be needed, as noted in Comment 45.

    Your friend the Internet may help you find reputable assistance.

    It can be reasonable, financially. For instance, many social workers work on a sliding scale.

  49. 49

    Thenk when you are ready to make an appointment for RES, please know that you just bring a human intention. Or let me help you to find one, as we discuss briefly.

    An intention like:

    * A stronger sense of self. OR…

    * Live more in the present.

  50. 50

    Then it is the job of the RES professional to figure out which healing centerpiece will be most helpful for you right now.

    That doesn’t have to be your job. 🙂

    For inspiration, there have been some guest posts about leaving cults here at the blog. I’ll have a look now and see if I can find you some links.

  51. 51

    Okay, here’s what I’ll do in your honor, ESSENCE IS EVERYTHING.

    I’ll put together a Top 10 Post with a load of links to articles. Aiming to make it live tomorrow. Ooh, make that Saturday. Tomorrow is Face Reading Obama Part Three, Conclusion.

    Again, thanks for reaching out.

  52. 52
    Essence is within says:

    Hi Rose, I am very grateful, thanks a lot :), I will see to all of these, for now I am quite ok on most of these points and I will check if someone in my area can help in terms of social work/mental health.

    As for the intention, it would probably be to retrieve all my sensitivity/empathy, joy and spontaneity and heart as well as to be able to clear all the negative energetic phenomenons which feel not of me and retrieve mine, for now I will ponder on all you wrote :).

    Thanks as well for comment 47, I agree, although I feel guilty of having done big spiritual and energetic mistakes out of anger and good intention to help, I feel that it may have been what was needed as well to know what I do not want to become, etc..

  53. 53
    Emily says:

    Wow Essence that’s a lot for just one session!

    Sensitivity, empathy, joy, spontaneity and heart all in one session.

  54. 54
    Emily says:

    Mind you I have also asked for multiple things to be part of my intentions in the past.

    Rose has always helped me to be more specific, and choose something related to my human life.

    For example, my last intention was “to trust marriage as a good possibility for myself”.

  55. 55
    Emily says:

    The one before that was for “a stronger sense of self”.

    And the one before that was “to have a better quality of life”.

    And… the one before that “to be more comfortable using my empath skills”.

  56. 56
    Emily says:

    I think also, having a specific and human life related intention helps us to be able to notice the improvements we see in our lives and to recognise our progress.

  57. 57
    Emily says:

    And these were all separate sessions by the way. 🙂

  58. 58
    Emily says:

    Rose, do you think it would be helpful for blog buddies to post different intentions they’ve had for sessions?

    I have sometimes struggled with coming up for an intention, sometimes deliberating on a few different ones. Although I always trusted that you’d help me narrow it down and ensure it’s effective 🙂

  59. 59

    EMILY, what a superb contribution. You’ve inspired a blog post. Look for it in the near future.

    Meanwhile, big thanks to you. And thanks also to persistent ESSENCE IS WITHIN. See what you’ve started!

  60. 60

    Here we go, ESSENCE IS WITHIN. In your honor, a new Top 10 Posts. (The kind you find by clicking on the link for HOT TOPICS.)

  61. 61
    Essence is within says:

    Thanks a lot to you all, I will take it one step at a time and read well focused 🙂

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