Saturday, January 2, 2010

Walk like a king and be a perfect doormat

BY KLIM

I was young when I joined the organization. I was vulnerable, full of hopes, naïve, gullible, enthusiastic, influentiable, impressionable. I had that adolescent arrogance that made me believe we could change the world. My psyque was probably not even strongly developed yet. I believed in helping others, wished for a better world and loved knowledge. I was the perfect target.

My family was all along against me being part of the organization, and worse, giving my life to it. SSRS said to me once, “Have compassion for them, pray for them”, as if they were loosers who missed out the chance of being on the path. AoL adults would then remind me how lucky I was for serving a guru at such a young age (though curiously, they would not encourage their own children to follow my steps). Thus, I disregarded every warning my family gave me because they were "not in the knowledge". Instead, I listened to the guru and my fellow senior teachers/friends.

Even when I write this, I laugh at myself. I actually listened to “adults” who obviously have serious psychological problems and who, in different ways and reasons, stopped growing at some early point in life because of some dysfunctional story, or fled from “the world”, relying on spirituality as an ego booster. Time passing by is not an indication one grows. I have met 40 year olds going into 14 and 65 year olds going into 17. I once looked up to those people and thought that, as my seniors, in age and spiritual experience, they knew better. The fool leading the fool.

Few years after joining the organization, I lived enough unethical situations that affected me personally and made me want to leave. I struggled with the devotion and commitment I felt for him, and the respect and conviction I had for my values. Senior teachers would then corner me with the “should and should not” script.

Basically, it was all just a sign of low prana, lack of faith we all go through, to make us strong, get rid of our egos. “The path is only for the brave ones”, “the amount of doubt you have equals the amount of faith you have, so when you have doubts, realize how much faith you have”. If I was angry, I should not be angry, “anger is not good for you, observe the sensation, sit for hollow and empties, bow down, surrender to the Guru, chant.” If I thought SSRS did something wrong, “he is doing it for your growth, he is a satguru, he is showing you the way by creating that situation, he wants the best for you, he is taking you to the next step.” If I wanted to say anything about it, “you are being vindictive, observe your violence.”

One could never win nor validate oneself. The one abused was turned into the aggressor. Therefore, what was extended and deepened instead was the condition for abuse until one finally regarded it as normal, acceptable, spiritual. SSRS talked about surrender but he really wanted us to succumb.

I can almost hear my basic course teacher if she found out about this blog: “revenge is not good.” Revenge is so not part of my personality and not at all the goal of this blog. And if I was once angry, so what? It is part of the process of recovery and healing. I am real: bones and flesh real. She is also a victim of abuse and has made abuse into something spiritual. Realizing the contrary would be too much to handle. Actually, recognizing and admitting one belonged to a cult is a big load that comes with shame and appears to disqualify everything one did for so long.

If I had the chance to talk with her today, I’d tell her how much she helped me, and how much she deeply screwed me. Sadly, I see that everything she did was for herself. She actually hid in the spiritual path to feel superior, to hide her feelings of insecurity, failures and inadequacy. As long as she had someone to save, she was somebody. She had the best of all intentions but could not see she was blind. Someone who had removed herself from the world for so many decades and who has difficulties surviving without belonging to a "spiritual cult", was a senior teacher who trained and led young people. All her advises only prepared us for more abuse. She taught me that if I was slapped, I should be grateful. Though I see the beauty of that knowledge I am sure it does not mean, “Walk like a king and be a perfect doormat" (as in Ravishankar's "Walk like a king and be a perfect servant").

Loving oneself, learning to respect oneself, learning to stand up for oneself and be respected are crucial in growing up strong and healthy (You see, my basic course teacher and some swami would say that was my ego speaking).

I know my teacher meant well. Today I recon she is emotionally, psychologically and spiritually crippled. She influenced many young people like me. We all looked up to her. More than one felt guilty about something after being with her because she had so many concepts, shoulds and should nots.

Being in a spiritual path does not make one better than others nor does it mean one truly works on oneself. One thing I know about AoL is noone really works on him/herself. We thought we did. The spiritual arrogance one acquires is such that AoLers believe doing kriya and kissing the guru’s feet automatically puts one above everyone and everything else.

I am today allergic to any unsolicited advise, specially in a condescending way. Often people in spiritual paths have the bad habit of thinking they know better. They think they know what advise you need, what you are really feeling that you are not aware of, what you still have not done. The obnoxious “I know for your better good.” Needless to mention, often the advises go around the leitmotif “be forgiving, be compassionate, do not be angry, let go, move on, etc.” Whereas there is truth in it, one cannot deny the abuse and the array of feelings that come with it. Imagine what a rape victim would feel if you tell him/her right after the attack, “forgive, be compassionate, don’t be angry, it was your karma, you must have done something bad some other life time, let go.” Just imagine!

I do not need to do anything but feel what I feel and be myself. That is the only thing I must do. Being angry is just as part of life as anything else. It does not make me worse. It is what it is at that moment and time takes care of it. After all, aren’t opposite values complimentary? Suppressing negative emotions is the emptiest spiritual mood making I know that turns people into arrogant robots. Being in a spiritual path does not mean you don’t feel negative emotions anymore. A spiritual education should teach you negative emotions are part of life and how to handle them, not that you should not feel them, or that feeling them is not OK, or that by meditating you will never have them again.

I also once oscillated from being a victim of abuse to being an abusive arrogant robot in the name of spirituality. Sadly, in AoL we thought spirituality was enrolling people to the course, creating devotion in people for SSRS and faking a smile at all times – “fake it until you make it.” Meditating, breathing, having a guru, chanting mantras, doing yoga, being vegetarian, doing “seva” are not signs of spirituality. Spirituality is not about the activities you do but about how you act and where the action stems from. Spirituality is not about not feeling any negative emotions. Spirituality is not in the shoulds and should nots, it is about how real you are to yourself, in life and to the world.

I dropped the habit of telling anyone what and how they should feel and do, or thinking I know what the other feels and should do. More importantly, I also dropped the habit of telling myself what I should or should not. Where there is a “should”, I learned, I lose my authenticity and my freedom.

I no longer want to be a doormat.

32 comments:

Chuck II said...

You really shouldn't be writing this sort of thing...

Anonymous said...

KLIM, beautifully written. Chuck II..your point? Are you afraid of the truth, Chuck II? My experience with AoL was psychologically abusive. I told ALL of my non-AoL friends about my experiences and they agreed the organization had problems. I told my AoL friends about the treatment and they said the problem was me. They problem would have been me if I stayed with that group. KLIM..I am such a fan and trust all will be well with you.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Thank you, Klim, for writing this. And especially for suggesting I read this.

I am so inspired by your fearlessness -- and your ability to "go there."

The sheer numbers of your readers tells me that you are touching so many lives.

If this is what anger brings, bring it! Jai Anger!

J.

Anonymous said...

"I dropped the habit of telling anyone what and how they should feel and do, or thinking I know what the other feels and should do."

In AOL context or Not this is a valid statement..

KLIM said...

"I told ALL of my non-AoL friends about my experiences and they agreed the organization had problems. I told my AoL friends about the treatment and they said the problem was me."

Anon makes a very good point here. This is such an important reference for all of us ex members and those in doubt. The problem is when you get so involved you no longer have non-AoL friends to relate to, or when you have been convinced whatever non-AoL people have to say is not out of knowledge, thus, they are wrong. I wished I had this wisdom and self-confidence back then. Yet it's never too late! :-) Bravo to you!

John, thank you. Jai to life, freedom and truth!

Anon 9:32 PM: you are so right!

Chuck II: hahaaa, got your joke. :-)

CHUCK said...

I don't know this here Chuck II. I declare myself to be the one and only true Chuck! All other Chucks are hereby impostitators! I have secureed for myself the top Chuck spot and it is mighty lonely up in here! Fact is yours truly is so alone on the mountain of Chuck that even I ain't here!

Keep up yore good work, KLIM my friend!

Pooja said...

Thanks Klim for this nice blog. The instinctive reaction of AOL people on any criticism is to label the critics as stressed and low prana. I was travelling with a senior AOL teacher once and showed him an article which did not talk kindly of AOLs seva and called it sham. The teacher's immediate reaction was that the author of the article is leading a pathetic life filled with sadness, his family life is screwed up and so on. I heard this same kind of thing from other AOL teachers. It was obvious thay these people have been very badly brainwashed. They are quick to judge and pounce on people with their same cliched response. The holier than thou attitude have messed these people very badly. They seriously need some theraphy. I hope this website will help AOLers to understand themselves and live life freely.

Anonymous said...

Your blog makes me wonder how much agitation,frustation u have deep inside..
Wrote 25 posts in a single month..
Shows how restless u r now :)
Restless to show to the world that it is a fraud org
But tell me,u urself were a hard core follower few years back..
In that state of mind,would these words affect U???
No na :)
U have nice writing skills..write something beautiful...
Watever happened with u had an intense impression on U.. that one can easily make out :)
U said that U wasted so many years working with the organisation..
then why do u want to waste anthr so many years talking about it??

Lots of love n care
:) :) n smiles too :)
U r a Guruholic n i feel u'll always be :)

Anonymous said...

U said that if even one person fled away from the org,ur purpose wud be served :)
But U knw,js luk deep inside..din u learn nethng wn u were wrkin there..
U learnt smthn n loved that, that is why u devoted ur life for the cause..
If it was so,trust me the purpose of the Guru is also complete n fulfilled..
U knw better :)
For u r a Guruholic n am still on my way ;)Trying to be a Guruholic :)
Guru is for our own sake not for HIM...
Love n Care :)
Byeee...
Nice blog waise :)
Wonder why u still call him SRI SRI n not just Ravishankar??
Still there's a lot of love n respect deep inside :) ;)
Jus a guess........... :)

Anonymous said...

Kept thinking about wat I read in ur blog :)
Lot of sattva (positive energy) u have got, u alng with ur thoughts kept cmin in my thoughts :)...can figure out that u did a lot of meditation :)
After reading ur blog, felt that a part of me which is lil repentful about what happened has written the blog..
U must have heard from Him so many times that everybody is a part of U..
Jus different names and forms :)
I had heard this before many-a-times, read it in the holy books.. but experienced it only after joining AOL..
If we keep Sri Sri aside, AOL courses teach us about meditation..
which is worth..
Sudarshan Kriya as I read in this blog or dont know which blog is a nicely packaged pranayama or watever..But isnt it amazing why we people cant js close our eyes (as Sri Sri did) n come up with another stronger n beautiful breathing technique??
A technique which makes people lighter, happier n chnges their perspective of looking at things as soon as they open their eyes, awakens their humanity, makes thm aware of the divinity within n around (Jus lyk sudarshan kriya or even better :) )
Devising a technique like this requires awareness of the consciousness..which I can see in Him only in our case :)
SERVICE, this also I learnt there only..Hw one can be useful for others selflessly :)
SATSANG makes u so free n makes u just let go of everything u are holding on to...
A much better n beautiful substitutes for discotheques :)
I feel if anyone js takes this much also from the course..no need of any Guru or anyone else.. :)
For there is no difference between Guru,God n Self.. Guru is just a third person taking us from second person (God) to First person(Self)..
He's not at all required if u are aware of the divinity dwelling within u..
I feel that u left AOL because of some broken expectations..
Expectations about how a Guru should be.. how he should behave or watever :)
If we keep the Guru thng aside even u wud agree that the courses are gud n bring about a gud transformation if done sincerely :)
In this world when we charge money for everything...why not for this?
A bachelor's degree which does no gud to U takes about $5000 then why not this??
Its far far better n interesting than any other professional course...
Jus because this is spiritual :)
Spiritual things shudnt involve monetary things..Right ???
U learnt a lot of things out there that I cud sense n feel while I was reading ur blog :)
It was jus the same energy but directed other ways round :)
N believe me, u have a lot of devotion.. for whom??
Dat U guess :)
came to know about ur blog through an AOL blog where u had commented to display the link... :)
N so lovingly they displayed ur comment for U belong to them, to me n to this World :)
Loved talking to U..loved reading ur blog :)
Wud like to read the next post
Felt like one part of my existence was talking to the another.. :)
Feel so connected to U..
Happy n Joyful Living :)
TC :)

KLIM said...

Anon 4/1 7:08 AM
Dear, haha! NO. The fact I posted them in the course of 2, 3 months, does not mean I wrote them all then. I've been writing for a long long time, and, if you were not so restless, you would have realized it is the contribution of a few people, not just mine. Suggestion from a guruholic? Stop reading this blog. Your guru does not like undivided attention.

Anonymous said...

You seem to know a lot more about my Guru than me....
Impressions are real deep :)
My Guru doesnot crib for attention :)
There are millions out there to attend him....
N thanks for calling me ha ha ha....
:) :)
Loads of love....n smiles :)
N I wouldnt stop reading for m already in love with ur blog :)
N intelligence is to continue doing watever u love...my Present n ur Ex-Guru says :)
Happy n Joyful Living KLIM :)

Prairie Princess said...

Anonymous of Jan4,if you want to see restless, feverish behavior just look at the "seva" of AoL, whether for courses or for something purportedly outside the organization. People run around like they are doing meth, and for what purpose? Many of these so-called seva activities are done more thoroughly by other organizations that do not want to co-opt people into the AoL way of thinking. And, speaking of senior teachers, most of them are so psychologically unhealthy Ravi is doing the world a favor by keeping them off the streets. What a collection of egotistical losers.
KLIM, bless you. You are telling the unvarnished truth and helping people heal from a sick. sick cult.
Anon Jan4, when you grow out of illusion and wish to heal, this group will be here for you. In the meantime, good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

AOL and Yes+ is yet another large group awareness training program/self help organization. It does have cultish tendencies, with commonly used phrases like "i belong to you," or "Yes+ is your family."

I've had experience with the yes+ basic course, and in my unbiased opinion, it was alot of fun, taught some useful tools such as mindful meditation, breathing and yoga practices.

However, a number of pseudo-scientific claims are made. KLIM, was your experience in India, and does the AOL course experience very from country to country. I would not suggest this course to others.

Anonymous said...

Do read... :)
Lots of love..
Ha ha ha :)

1. Loving oneself, learning to respect oneself, learning to stand up for oneself and be respected are crucial in growing up strong and healthy (You see, my basic course teacher and some swami would say that was my ego speaking).

This is what I learnt here..This is what they teach... :)

2. Sadly, I see that everything she (His Basic course Teacher) did was for herself.She is also a victim of abuse and has made abuse into something spiritual. She actually hid in the spiritual path to feel superior, to hide her feelings of insecurity, failures and inadequacy. As long as she had someone to save, she was somebody.

Which is again not true...I ve met so many teachers till date n everybody without exception has joined the org to do something for the world n for their Guru and not to feel superior or supreme..
U already strt feeling that....way befre becmin a teacher...Becmin a teacher r js after-effects of that feeling :)

3. I know my teacher meant well. Today I recon she is emotionally, psychologically and spiritually crippled. She influenced many young people like me. We all looked up to her. More than one felt guilty about something after being with her because she had so many concepts, shoulds and should nots.

Here the stress is on young people being influenced..Crippled people cant bring transformations..N u start realising that there is some prob with the teacher only after u start finding prob in the Guru, in the org, in everybdy else...
May be the Guru can be wrng bt ppl like this fellow are only attached with the purpose..Writing this simply means that there is some prob in the whole org right frm volunteers,teachers to the Guru himself :)

4. Being in a spiritual path does not make one better than others nor does it mean one truly works on oneself. One thing I know about AoL is noone really works on him/herself. We thought we did. The spiritual arrogance one acquires is such that AoLers believe doing kriya and kissing the guru’s feet automatically puts one above everyone and everything else.

They never teach u to be better than others..being on a spiritual path means everybdy is equal,neither more nor less...
N u dont need to work on urself,u r nt a machine... :)
They jus tell u to go back to the source...that Love which u r :)
N I dont knw he is talkin about whch AOLites..People kiss Guru's feet out of gratefulness n again not to be superior..
Kriya they do bcz its make them feel gd..
I ve many friends who dont believe in Guruji but who love to be regular in Kriya js bcz they feel so calm n relaxed afterwards..

5. Often people in spiritual paths have the bad habit of thinking they know better. They think they know what advise you need, what you are really feeling that you are not aware of, what you still have not done. The obnoxious “I know for your better good.” Needless to mention, often the advises go around the leitmotif “be forgiving, be compassionate, do not be angry, let go, move on, etc.” Whereas there is truth in it, one cannot deny the abuse and the array of feelings that come with it. Imagine what a rape victim would feel if you tell him/her right after the attack, “forgive, be compassionate, don’t be angry, it was your karma, you must have done something bad some other life time, let go.”

These lines made me realise that U for sure never worked with AOL... :)
In AOL,everybody is there to share even if he thnks he knws mre :)They nvr gve u sch advises as mentioned...They nvr tell u to hide ur feelings,ur anger...They tell u to be 100% in watever u do for opposite values are complimentary :)
The example of the rape victim given here is so senseless..It just looks like that he has put some words used by Sri sri at the wrng plce :)

Anonymous said...

6. I do not need to do anything but feel what I feel and be myself. That is the only thing I must do. Being angry is just as part of life as anything else. It does not make me worse. It is what it is at that moment and time takes care of it. After all, aren’t opposite values complimentary? Suppressing negative emotions is the emptiest spiritual mood making I know that turns people into arrogant robots. Being in a spiritual path does not mean you don’t feel negative emotions anymore. A spiritual education should teach you negative emotions are part of life and how to handle them, not that you should not feel them, or that feeling them is not OK, or that by meditating you will never have them again.

This is absolutely wrong...Meditating brings u back to the moment n there is no worries,nothing in the moment.. So u can do nothing except for being happy n blissful :)
They never tell u to supress ur negative emotions..They say 'The more u resist it persists..So dont resist anything' :)
Being on the spiritual path doesnot mean that u'll not feel any negative emotions or u shudnt feel negativity..I jus about being aware of what is goin inside n outside n being 100% with urself :)

7.Spirituality is not about the activities you do but about how you act and where the action stems from. Spirituality is not about not feeling any negative emotions. Spirituality is not in the shoulds and should nots, it is about how real you are to yourself, in life and to the world.

Dear this is what they teach there...make u aware of (if netime u managed to keep urself awake for I feel that ur mind ws cmpletely sleeping when u were there,making ur own concepts..making ur own FREE Art of Living js lyk the name of ur blog :) )

8. I dropped the habit of telling anyone what and how they should feel and do, or thinking I know what the other feels and should do. More importantly, I also dropped the habit of telling myself what I should or should not. Where there is a “should”, I learned, I lose my authenticity and my freedom.

Nobody can tell u hw u shud feel...wat u shud do :)
In the courses they tell u about the general tendencies of a mind and ways to handle them if ur mind is creating a nuisance :)
N nt hw u shud feel....
M havin a lot of doubt whether u did the crse also???


After reading ur blog...for a moment,my faith shivered but ultimately Truth is something which u can never hide:)
Thanks for making my devotion grow exponentially...
Thanks for rejecting the previous comment for nw I knw what the Truth is.... :)
Another GURUHOLIC :)

Happy n Joyful Living :)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Milinda said...

Anonymous on Jan 4th

My experience in AOL has been that they are very poor teachers and practioners of meditation. Their lack of maturity, proper psychological insights, herd behaviour and feverishness is proof of it. There are several great meditation teachers who are far more clear, succint, unconditioned and provides amazing insights and results in meditation teaching. I can even quote instances where your teachers including your great guru have openly plagiarized even personal instances from many of these meditation teachers. Nothing quite original and too Coffee bookish stuff.AOL is just too artificial for my taste.
The AOL organization tries to mystify simple practices and attaches a price on it. They make false claims of social work and hedge funds into personal enterprises. Your Guru is addicted to publicity and spends a great deal of his and his chelas energies for the sake of it. If you are not able to notice it, I am sorry for your poor comprehension and awareness. AOL teaching and business model is also copied from the same business model of Maharishi's TM mantra japa, yogic flying which is bumping off cushions and Landmark Forum. Your words are quite similar to people who attend these courses especially Landmark Forum. Wernhard Erhard's blueprint is running in your head. I see less of meditative people in AOL and more programmed Robots and You are a wonderful example.

Anonymous said...

Hey Klim,

Have you read Javad Aktar's speech, the one he made in front of Ravi Shankar:

http://www.javedakhtar.com/itc.htm

also some interesting comments here:

http://js-kit.com/api/static/pop_comments?ref=http%3A%2F%2Ftmfree.blogspot.com&path=%2F9116567465099917652

Feliciano said...

Actually, Klim, you don't really state in specific terms what bad things they DID to you. I am not an AoL member, but in you post, you just keep complaining about the fact that an organization YOU YOURSELF decided to join told you what to do, based on their own values. You had the right, and the free will choice, to leave at any time. Correct?

Telling you what's right and what's wrong is what would have happened (and what happens on an immense scale) with all religious organizations - Christian, Muslim, etc.

The fact that you decide which comments to approve and which not to include says a lot - ie. you wish everyone to think that all the readers support your opinion. How is this better than what AoL teachers do? I challenge you to post my comment on your blog!

KLIM said...

Feliciano, it's funny people like you, who claim not to know what this is about, will take the time to read it and then judge it in a very self-righteous tone. Anyway, I publish ALL comments (except in 3 occasions: 1. a burlesque sexual comment that did not add nor substract and I know its author would not be offended if I did not publish it; 2. protecting the commentator; 3. one that said, "this is great!"), btw, and if you are seeing a deleted piece, it is bc it did not belong to this article and it was extremely long, I did not want to overwhelm the readers following this particular threat. I decided to forward it to its author instead. If you would have carefully read all comments of all previous articles and all previous articles, 1. you would have a clear understanding of things; 2. I am not using this blog to be against anything, but rather, as a means for healing, so if you don't get it, it is also OK, many others who have been subject of abuse in this organization have found relief.

Anonymous said...

Feliciano your are the primeexample of a facist prick!
You attack the victim of abuse, and tries to question his character. And what is your contribution to this debate, absolutely nothing!!! Your only argument is that, it is Klims own fault that he was abused by the cult of Art of Living, and the only purpose of your comment is to shut his voice down. You are a mindless drone, an enabler of sadist cult leaders like Ravi Shankar, in fact you for sure must be one of his henchmen. Keep giving him head looser!!!

Feliciano said...

Firstly, KLIM, thanks for posting my comment.

Actually, I DON'T know what it's about, since I was never a member of AoL. I have some friends who studied there or were a part of AoL and they are all very happy with what they got.

I am NOT judging you in a self-righteous tone, nor am I judging you in any tone. This is entirely your interpretation, as it was not my intention to judge you. I was only pointing out things that are facts. Show me one thing in my post that isn't a fact.

The fact that you say I'm judging you self-righteously, (even though it was never even on my mind) might give you some insight into why you thought the AoL people were judging you. Please don't take this the wrong way,but it seems this is how you interpret life. First you judged your family members for thinking you were wrong, and then you judged yourself and the AoL members.

I was myself into something similar to a cult. When I got the information & knowledge I needed from them, and saw that these guys were no good for me, I simply left. Simple as that. This is why I'm telling you, that you always had free choice to go there, and free choice to leave (proved by the fact that you left, didn't you?). But you just didn't seem to realize that back then.

Hundreds of millions of faithful Muslims, Xians, Jews, Hindus etc. get their brains washed every day through religion - and believe me, it's worse than AoL or practically any cult you can think of. And still, people can choose to ignore these teachings too if they so wish. I also was deep into religion, but it caused me lots of stress, guilt and suffering. So I left that too. It's easy when you lose the fear.

I never went about complaining how I was a 'victim' of cults, religions, etc. although I can practically assure you I suffered more than you did. This is because we are NOT victims, we own our own lives, we only have to WAKE UP to the fact that we do.

My comment on your post was simply an indication that you didn't post anything concrete in terms of abuse - they didn't hit you, or sexually abuse you, or force you into believing things through threats or violence. They were just trying to make you believe what they believed, because they knew no better themselves.

But we always have the choice as to what to believe.

So I'm sorry if my post offended you - this was not my intention by a long shot. I'm not protecting AoL, but I'm also not protecting your viewpoint.

In my experience, (and please don't take this as a criticism), complaining about 'negative' things means you keep perpetuating them, since you keep thinking about them. Sorry to be so blunt, but the fact that you get pats on the back from people on the blog is gratifying for a while, but it's not REALLY healing. Healing is when you just drop the whole story in your head, and all your emotional reactivity and trauma related to it.

One other thing that I got from the whole religion and cult experience is a new-found sense of strength, freedom, independence, and a better intuitive sense of what's right and what's wrong FOR ME. Because I, like yourself, can't judge other people's paths. Maybe being an AoL member/Jew/Muslim/whatever is actually good for someone, and maybe they would get a very positive and uplifting experience from it. Who are we to 'warn' them that it's not good for THEM, when we barely even know what's good for US? Now that's being self-righteous, isn't it?

If your intention is truly to heal, then I wish you all the best. But it will take much more than typing on a blog. A suggestion for dropping emotional trauma (if you accept suggestions) would be to try either the Sedona Method or the Release Technique (and no, they're not cults, and you can do the courses in the privacy of your own room :)

Best of luck!

Feliciano said...

Anonymous, it seems YOU are the one attacking me and insulting me, without even knowing me!

Where in my post did I attack the victim of abuse? And where did I question his character? I did no such thing, nor did I intend such a thing, and furthermore, I believe KLIM's story, so I'm not questioning hs character.

My purpose is NOT to shut his voice down (how could I, even if I wanted to? It's a blog, for God's sake!)

You seem to be very hateful, and you misinterpreted my post ENTIRELY. You are imagining negative things which I never said. Which says something about you.

Firstly, I was ever in AoL. And I never took their courses. This was your first mistake.

That being said, let's be fair and objective - if you look beyond the scope of this blog, and beyond personal issues, many people in many countries have received great benefits, both health and otherwise, from them. And they do lots of charity work in poor countries.

Does that mean that EVERY person's experience with AoL is good? No. Does it mean that EVERY person's experience is bad? No. Every experience is different, and we each view it through our own 'glasses' of different understanding, background, age, and life circumstances.

Now logically this blog, by its very nature, attracts people who dislike AoL, or who have had painful experiences there. But this doesn't mean that there aren't thousands of people out there with good and positive experiences.

VERY IMPORTANT - I never said it was KLIM's 'fault' for anything. I said it was his CHOICE to leave or to stay.

Was I wrong for trying to express a different opinion to the others? Or was I wrong for asking for clarification? It seems, judging by your violent anger, that YOU'RE the one trying to shut people up!

As for contributions, well, many of the posts on this blog can't exactly be called 'contributions' (including yours, which also contains a lewd sexual comment at the end.)

But I sent another post just before this one, that I hope will contribute.

Please read posts carefully next time, before you start attacking and insulting people you don't know, just because they have an opinion different to yours.

KLIM said...

"Feliciano", thanks for such a long explanatory reply. Maybe you should read your first comment and try to understand how you got the two later responses. Whereas you don't seem to find a lot of facts, some others do. We are not trying to prove anything. We are only sharing what I can without exposing myself to more of their threats and harassments. There is a reason why many prefer to use other identities. Have some respect for people's situations. Someone would never come out to say one was abused just to create drama. But of course, you are above it all. And if you are really not even a member, then why waste your time and even demand for facts, etc.?

Feliciano said...

Well, KLIM, I asked for facts because I was interested. Doesn't matter if I wasn't in AoL - many groups have similar dynamics, and the way people react to them is very varied and interesting.

And I do have respect for other people's situations, precisely because I was in similar situations. That is why I was interested in details about yours.

Secondly, the reason some people didn't like my comments was becaue I write very literally, and the people misinterpreted my post because they were trying to read between the lines and guessing that I'm blaming or attacking, when in fact my wish was just to state something factual.

(My comment on your moderating the replies, however, was very subjective, unfair, and, in retrospect, out of line. I thought that the fact there was a screening function was because you screened out comments you didn't like, and kept the ones you did. I apologize about that.)

However, I never said I was 'above it all'. In fact if you read my post carefully, I said I suffered, and in fact suffered the worst years of my life due to religions, and other cult-like belief systems.

But later on, I got above it all because I just decided to. I dropped those ways of thinking. For some reason, and I don't know why, it came easily to me. Maybe God just decided that those chapters of my life were over, and that I should go on. This is difficult for me to believe even now, because religions especially have an incredibly strong grip on you due to guilt, fear, threat of punishment in the afterlife, etc.

I realise now how stupid I was, and if I could go back I'd never repeat those things again, and would live life free and happy.

I can't go back and get those years back. But there's also no use for me to complain now. Also, warning people about how bad religions and cults are doesn't help, because those who believe in such stuff won't be persuaded. Even though such beliefs now seem laughable to me, they were VERY real to me back in the day.

All religions and ideologies, however 'bad' they may seem, teach us some good things. (I can't believe I'm writing this right now.) They also help us to become freer by pushing us into a situation of EXTREME fear and dependency, so when we can't take it any more, we get out of there and search for true freedom like there's no tomorrow.

And we have much more discernment and discrimination than before. Right now, I realise fully that those belief systems caused me so much pain and suffering, not because of the cult members themselves, but because I MYSELF decided to believe them.

But we also have to drop our judgements about the religions and cults (and this, to me, is probably the hardest part.)

So please don't think I don't sympathise with your situation. But my point is, if you've been out of AoL for a long time now, and you're still suffering the trauma of it, then maybe you need a different approach to healing the issue. Just my two cents.

KLIM said...

F, thanks for your reply. Whereas I agree with everything you wrote, I also think it is important to respect everyone's recovery process, experiences and needs. You seem to reach conclusions without knowing the person nor the situation for real. That comes out as arrogant and condescending, though I understand you don't mean it this way. The abuses and lies of every toxic group are different. We cannot blame nor complain, but we also cannot deny the abuses happened. We are responsible for sucking into it, but you see, back then, noone ever told me there was a different side of the story. In fact, I was not allowed to think there was. Thinking anything like that was a sign of negativity. One is constantly in a catch 22 in a structure like that. This blog is not here to put AoL in evidence. However, my experience and that of many others, does finally have that effect. Although it is not the intention of the blog, it may also be good that the many AoL followers also have the other vision, which is very much hidden in the organization. As to how we manage our recovery, it is a very personal choice based on history and needs. I respect yours, pl. respect ours. Thank you truly for your words and your concern. I now understand where you are coming from.

Feliciano said...

Thank you KLIM. Of course, I respect everyone's path, healing process, etc. I know very well it is of no use to force any ideas on another.

My post was merely a suggestion, nothing more - everyone is free to take or leave such suggestions as they please, so please don't be offended by the fact that I sent one.

Personally I've found that I needed to look at many different healing methods to heal my different problems in life - which, over time, led me to better and better methods (of which I mentioned two.) Of course, your path might be totally different, or similar in some respects, or whatever.

I know no-one asked me for my advice, and, knowing what people are like, I'm normally quiet and never suggest anything except when they ask me - but I involved myself in the thread, and, since people misunderstood me, I felt I had to explain myself.

Again, apologies for any misunderstanding. I wish you all the best on your path, and, above all, freedom.

KLIM said...

Thank you. All the best to you too.

Peaceful Warrior said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. Seeing oneself as a victim only causes pain. Whether you realize it or not - all the years you spent in AOL did bring about growth.

However, I do feel that the knowledge has value only if it makes you a better person in the real world...going away from real world is not the answer. One of the biggest lessons I learnt was that surrender is all about being non-judgemental. Applied correctly it makes you free in the real world. However AOL teachers are hypocrites - they all are so self-righteous, but want you to be non-judgemental.

The teaching come from tradition - it is pure and valid..even though the teacher may be a human being. It is just time to move on in life. You don't need it anymore.

Wish you good luck...and thank you for the blog...you are doing an excellent job :)

Anonymous said...

Hi KLIM!

I must say extraordinary! Obviously I can't be quite sure of what you write here. Anybody can say, "such things happened to me" and "i can't reveal more because i value my life". Excellent way of avoiding the need for details.

Having said that, to write such a huge blog (still haven't read it all), with this much detail, you're either someone who has been truly hurt or someone with extraordinary info gathering and publishing skills. And I believe there is a much higher chance of you being the former (not to say, you can't have the other skills i mentioned).

I am and will be in AoL, in the sense that, the practices have helped me immensely. They've literally brought me out of being a breathless cripple. I do continue to recommend people to do the course because of this.

Honestly, I think the course is way way way more expensive in the US than here in India. And for the price here, I think it is well worth it. And for the trouble I was in, I wouldn't mind even the US price. (In my case, not for all). I do continue to spend a little time, helping out during the courses. But beyond that, when I'm forced to do anything that I find unethical, in my own experience, I simply draw the line. In fact I've argued with a few teachers, logically and forced them to submit, that they really have no idea of what they are doing. I try to analyze everything in the light of science and explain it to them. And I continue to encourage, new participants to be rational and to use their common sense, rather than blindly follow what the teachers told them to do.

I remember reading something about reforms. I believe I am a part of that. I know a lot of the aspects in AoL stink. I hope more like minded people from AoL come up, who are not afraid to question, who are aware at a very early stage of the nonsense that is happening (no offense) and those who are willing to step up in protest.

I wish you the very best in your efforts to get healed and heal and educate. My sincere prayers to you KLIM and to every individual who has ever been hurt in any way because of AOL.

I would like to finish my blah blah with a small note about the hamsa. A beautiful bird that most non-indians know as the swan. Hamsa also means (for those who don't know) "I am That". Although the bird would probably strongly react to this, the mythology goes that, a hamsa can separate a mixture of milk and water and draw just the milk, leaving the water out. Milk probably means knowledge and water probably means everything that dilutes true understanding.

My prayers again for everyone to be like the hamsa. There is always something good to be learned from even the worst situations and behaviour. It is up to us to draw out the good and leave out the garbage. Even the most pious of saints, if they do something wrong, have no choice but to pay for it.

Lehmann108 said...

Klim, I'm sorry you had bad experiences, but at times I wish you would be more specific. What I can't figure out is that you describe an organization and its members that are very, very different than what I experience. Sure, there are "psychological cripples" in every spiritual organizations, I've met plenty of them. But there are also many very psychological healthy, mature individuals. I think one reason you struggle with AOL is because you did get so involved at a young age. You were vulnerable to the unconscious agendas of teachers who, apparently, had plenty of their own issues to workout! I think, in any organization, the key is balance. You have to trust your own experience and judgment, but still be open to other understanding. Whenever someone denies your experience, that's when the problems start. And at a young age, such balance is difficult.

What bothers me about your blog is the wholesale trashing of AOL and SSRS. Wasn't there anything of value for you in the AOL and your contact with SSRS? To paint an "all good" or "all bad" picture of AOL and SSRS is grossly oversimplifying the situation. Every organization, spiritual or not, will have a level of dysfunction. This doesn't mean you throwout the whole thing. I truly feel you make a huge mistake when you trash AOL and SSRS with as much enthusiasm as you once embraced it. When you do such a thing you gain no value from your experience. It seems like when you were involved in the AOL you were supressing and denying your authentic experience (i.e., your doubts, your conflicts, etc.) and now you are doing the same thing regarding any good from your AOL involvement. Did you gain anything of value from AOL? How could you not? Your black and white thinking confuses me.