Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cults and Programming

You "take a chance" when you disagree, however kindly, with an ex cult-member. For we who have emerged from cults into freedom have been thoroughly programmed to take all philosophic differences personally. It takes a while, and some experience, to move beyond this hang-up, and to realize that this is not within the parameters of normal psychological behavior.

It also takes a while to realize that each person has a full right to express her/his opinions. No one has to "lay down the Law," pretending that her voice is that of God. Like normal, happy, well-adjusted people, we simply learn to share views that often differ. Nature loves diversity, not sameness; there are ten thousand kinds of butterfly, rose, and star! But it takes a while for ultraconformists to learn the goodness of, and ultimately to celebrate, our diversity and variety! And, in time, we learn to respect the views of others, realizing that no one is expected to, or has to, "convert" others! No one has "all the answers," and that's okay! It is not a tragedy; and as we adjust to reality, we find the courage not to pretend to know everything. For that pretense betrays only terrible insecurity, not "superiority."

It is a very wise attitude to allow the views to "incubate" in the Unconscious before making any final decisions. Since each free person must design her guiding philosophy, and we do not have old men doing this for us, we must each select and choose wisdom from the entire "smorgasbord" of various spiritual ideas. Like you, I have also found Buddhism and Taoism, as well as sufism, gnosticism, and kabbalism to be very rich sources for creative, positive ideals.:)

Your honest sharing is very much appreciated. In a world with much duplicity, it is refreshing that you can admit to me, a friend, your initial feelings of defensiveness. Isn't that a real reflection of our shared past-programming? You are realizing by now that no "defense" is required, since no "attack" was presented. Questioning is not attacking, and each of us has an unlimited right to question anything and everything!:) And even if the "Abraham Hicks" material were even violently attacked, you would not have to defend it, for the attack would not be against you personally. Still, in the cult, we were programmed to assume that questioning ideas was an attack against our persons, and we always took questioning personally! (Try to explain that one to an unprogrammed person!:)

Also, with the baggage of our shared background, we might tend to look for "ultimate truth" in the form of someone else's ideas, and get bent out of shape when a friend disagrees, as she might be losing out on "eternal life." But relaxing into the full trust (faith) in interior Love, to guide each person, vaporizes this anxiety.

We, more than most, must be careful to separate a mere sharing of ideas from "presentations of universal truth," for there is a wide and important difference!

Yes, it was the selfishness and ego-importance of the "Abraham Hicks material" that alerted to the fact that it did not "feel right." And that is another tool which we must learn to use-- intuition. Of course, intuition is later validated by intellect, but we were taught to mistrust our feelings and intuitions. Remember the old text that was used to guide us to mistrust our own feelings? I think it was from Jeremiah, and said, "The heart is treacherous..." If you can get people to selfmistrust, then they are left without the interior gyroscope, the spiritual common sense, to guide and design their own independent spiritual paths. And this was right exactly where the cult wanted us!

Still, it is a delight to share hearts, in agreement, with people of openmindedness and wisdom. And you must cultivate both: For openmindedness without wisdom (discernment) will lead you into illusion and falsehood, which are real. I come to the same conclusion stated in your letter: "Old Abe" is not very spiritual!:)

Another cult-program against which we must act is that all bodies of ideas are "all good or all bad." Experience teaches us, to the contrary, that even stupid or ignorant people often express wise ideas. So, to question a part of what someone says is not to throw it all out, as useless trash. Even egomaniacs and mentally disturbed people are often capable of repeating great wisdom from other sources. So, for example, the cult has a tendency to say that, if a church has a false idea, or even a poor one, you can, and should, trash the whole church. Wise people learn that good and bad ideas are often mixed in the same bag, and that ideas and concepts must be discerned one at a time. So, yes, even old Abe has a few good things to say!:)

As ex-cult victims, it would be very easy for us to fall into paranoia. But this is an unhealthy extreme; it does only damage. Still, we must not toss away discernment or discrimination in the name of "non-judgment." For the same masters who tell us not to judge (render evaluations re the eternal value or destiny of a person) tell us never to lose the faculty of discrimination/discernment. For to abandon judgment
is not the same as abandoning the distinction between (or knowledge of) what is good, and what is truly evil. It is also not to desert reason and Love as guides. There is a real and substantial difference between becoming a Buddhist, or good person, and becoming a neonazi, or bad person!

But, using discernment, we must realize that the danger of cults is great. A cult cannot mislead you forever, and that is not the point. But it can waste your timenergy, as well as educate you. You can literally "spin your wheels" for years, without measurable spiritual growth, if you are caught in one. And microcults such as the "abraham community" represent real dangers to vulnerable minds.

What you call "bluntness," I see as honesty and clarity. In spirituality, it is necessary to call a spade a spade; this is a criterion for "truth" ("reality"). I do not believe in gobble-dy gook, gibberish, or evasive speech that vaporizes into mist on close analysis. We need to be as clear about spiritual truth as we try to be about scientific truth. We need to leave out all the "filler" that is so very common, for example, in channeling, and in much religious teaching. We should never take ten sentences to say something that can be clearly said in one. A succinct phrase is this: Some channelers never say clearly in ten words what they can say obscurely in a hundred.

But good words are not valued "by the pound." More words are not necessarily better.

And, as you point out so wisely, we do already have a vast body of wisdom-- in sufism, Buddhism, Taoism, gnosticism, kabbalism, and the other mystical paths that we need not waste timenergy on the "kindergarten" lessons provided by channelers. Examine their teachings, and you will find them to be selfish, naive, simplistic, and many, useless in a practical world.

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