The Fallout after Leaving the Cult

                                                                       Wisdom Warrior

I gave everything I had to this center. I gave my heart, my love, my spirit, my devotion, my time, my energy and my power. I put my whole being into trusting this place and the teachers and everything that came out of their mouths.

When I left, I lost my faith, my center, my love, my teachers, my friends at the center, my practice and serenity I had gained. I had no one left. I have heard it said that when you leave a cultish group it is like 4 or 5 divorces occurring simultaneously. I can honestly say that is true from my experience.

Everything in me was tied to this group. I believed in all their jargon until I couldn’t anymore. I left feeling shamed, betrayed, wrong and no one was around who understood me or could help me. It was a hopeless situation for me. I had cut off from my family as well because my therapist at the time had suggested it. I was alone. My friends outside the group disappeared and my musical groups fell apart and I descended into a quagmire of muddy despair and hopelessness as my sleep deprived nights piled up one after another.

I couldn’t go back and I couldn’t go forward. It was just shock and anger and sobbing and an inability to function anymore.I had no idea what I was dealing with. It was a death but the teachers were still alive and the center went on without me.

When you give so much to a place it also takes something from you although you don’t realize it at the time. I lost my perspective and there was no one to help me to get it back. Everything coming in from the outside triggered me. The disillusionment with the “church” of Buddhism and the teachers led me straight to re-experiencing the trauma from my childhood in the present. There was no me then and no me in the present. I was so fragile that if anyone even spoke and had an opinion I was triggered deeply.

I felt spiritually raped and my faith was invaded so to speak so I had nothing to sustain me during this tumultuous time. My people pleasing survival skills from childhood led me straight to the this center and I think I stayed as long as I did because I was trying to please them. I was competitive and wanted to be the teachers pet and the best yogi there. That was my stuff.

Spritual Betrayal: My Experience with the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center Part 2

Wisdom Warrior


They appeared to be open and accepting but once you were really involved and a member you were somehow converted to Buddhism through repetition, deception, confusing mixed messages, manipulation and “interviews”. I didn’t even know it was happening. It was so subtle and while I was meditating those messages got into the cells and core of my body and I didn’t even question anything.

They claimed their pedestals. That was not my imagination.These teachers were arrogant and narrow-minded and quite controlling.They had the power to be so convincing that this was the path. They were running their own agenda.They should have been called the Cambridge Buddhist Purist Center. That’s what it boiled down to.

They were hypocrites not practicing what they preached. Where was the compassion and right speech and right action? They clung to their precious egos and didn’t care that someone right in front of them was in extreme pain and spiritual crisis. Boy was Narayan detached and cold and she was the one preaching and practicing loving kindness to all beings? What about the suffering person in front of her? Where was the love and compassion then? Where was the right speech? Why was she so angry and defensive? What did I do?

The feeling of being spiritually raped is common in most ex-cult members That is what these teachers did through these two and a half years. Larry and Narayan would just assume they knew what was happening internally with me before really finding out where I was coming from and they didn’t know. How dare anyone try to tell someone how they should experience their inner sacred experiences? That is spiritual rape. They were caught in their blind attachment to detachment.

They didn’t know how to just listen. A good teacher listens and tries to get where someone is coming from before reacting and blurting out damaging crap that has everything to do with their baggage and not mine. My practice somehow became their practice and I felt completely blocked by both the teachers as if a strait jacket had been put on me.

No one I tried to reach out to could validate what happened at the CIMC. No one thought this benign center could be anything related to a cult. I heard from various therapists along the way that others had been harmed there but due to client patient confidentiality I never got to talk to any of them. We were just lone floaters with not even the umbrella of being an official cult to help us heal. We were left holding the bag with no ex- member to heal with and feeling all the shame and fear and being alone with our trauma essentially.

It is hard to have closure and move forward without someone to have closure with or someone to validate my cultish  or soft cult experience. It turns out after finally finding someone who had counseled ex-members of this group that this was a power cult. Both teachers abused their power, of that I am sure. I didn’t imagine that. I spoke to someone someone who had left TM and said that I sounded just like her when she left her group.

To this day I still struggle with my faith. It’s certainly come a long way but it’s not the unwavering faith I once had. I have reclaimed my own way of meditating which varies and is best for me. My relationship with my higher power is much stronger. I stay away from spiritual communities and try to live life to the fullest and I have certainly moved forward. It took many years to get unstuck from this devastating experience and cult. I did eventually have some good help along the way. I own my part in this situation. I wish the teachers would have or could have owned their part and just been human and get off their pedestals to help a sincere person who was suffering greatly.

I have since learned  the term “soft cult” which I will be defining in other entries. I wanted to start this blog with my story to open the door for other survivors to share their spiritual trauma stories where they fell between the tracks so to speak. This a safe place for others to share their experience, hope and healing from spiritual wounds. I want to hear from you!