Spiritual Freedom

Wisdom Warrior
Looking back has enabled be to go forward but there comes a point where it is important to know when it’s time to just put the boat in gear and move forward. To do something completely out of character for me could be the biggest freeing thing ever. I wonder and brainstorm about the possibilities that seemed impossible before but don’t seem so far-fetched now. That’s mental freedom. I think I’m getting ready to take leaps!

 
I don’t think there’s a better word on the planet than “free”. That’s it. Freedom is such a word to relish and savor. So many seek to imprison people with words and judgments and beliefs and rigidity. Maybe they are afraid to allow freedom when they don’t feel it themselves.
To see someone else who is a free spirit can be very threatening to those people who cling to their old ways of thinking and believing about “truths” that don’t even apply to now and certainly not to every single person.

 
When I told Narayan, my “teacher” that I was a free spirit it made her angry. She didn’t want to hear my protest against what they were saying. It would have made her have to see her own lack of freedom. That’s when she spewed out, “It’s a certain path which leads to happiness and freedom!” What a childish response. I was feeling happy and free before I talked to her. These people were very ignorant and emotionally immature. That why they meditated so much. That’s why I meditated.

 
There is an emotional immaturity that can happen if all you do is observe the passage of feelings in meditation and life itself. There is something so important that is missing with meditation practice. Creative artists like me use feelings to guide their art and music. Feelings aren’t merely observed. They are expressed into a work of beauty and/or pain. I see where spirituality can truly get in someone’s way of being a human and some teachers are too blind to see it.

 
We are all humans from the day we were born till the day we die. There is no nobility to rising above what makes us who we are. That idea seems utterly crazy and total nonsense. It’s not right to assume we need or want to be programmed this way. We are not all Mr. Spock as much as we may envy him. There are so many so called spiritual people who are clueless and trying to herd a bunch of sheep into a trap of their ignorance.

 
So called “spiritual” Narayan detested my feelings. What does it say about her? What does her anger and defensiveness say about her? Certainly it isn’t compassion and the willingness to look at her stuff. She wanted to be in the seat of power. That’s how she saw herself and that’s how she behaved. It was very reckless of her to talk to me the way she did in her condescending and judgmental way. It was very toxic and there was a lot of rage in her judgment of my feelings.

 

How was I supposed to react to someone who had been on a pedestal for so long in my eyes and to someone who enjoyed and perpetuated the teacher/student pedestal image?

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!