A friend of mine once said that the only way to get massive amounts of sexual access to women, with limited strings attached, is to start a cult.
I had to laugh, because in my experience, that’s exactly right.
I’ve known, worked with, and been friends with quite a few cult leaders over the years. Most of them don’t even realize they are cult leaders. All of them believe they are doing “God’s” work.
Perhaps the most dangerous of all the beliefs that cults operate from is
the belief in absolute truth – that because of their “spiritual evolution” (read how fucking amazing, enlightened, and attuned to God they are because of all the work they have done on themselves) they have special access to “God’s messages” for the rest of us unenlightened folk.
For some reason, this idea of special knowledge is very engaging to us. It has to do with the belief that there is secret knowledge of an unseen world, that only a few chosen people have access to. Think shaman, pope, psychic, leader, master.
The crafty variation of the shaman, pope, psychic, leader, master, and cult leader endlessly amazes me. However, when we break down the essential teachings of these cults, they all share the same kinds of ideas, symbols, and metaphors. Metaphors and symbols help carry the cult ideas and messages into the deep unconscious mind of the follower, because stories are irresistible to the listener.
The riveting stories that cult leaders tell blend and confuse reality, which allows the leader to slowly take control of mind and body of the follower – a kind of long term brain washing and extended hypnotic induction.
Sometimes the leaders have ulterior motives other times they are purely delusional.
All cults share one thing in common: they are all incorrect – wrong – about their stories and beliefs. Yes, I’m saying that shaman, popes, psychics, leaders, master teachers, cult leaders, religious leaders, and supposed enlightened teachers from our past and present are incorrect – even down right wrong – in their pronouncements.
Just to clarify, I’m not saying that they are wrong morally. What I’m saying is that they are all mistaken in their perception of god, reality, and the belief in ultimate truth. This mistaken perception that there is ultimate truth – when there is not – wreaks havoc in peoples lives everyday.
Here’s what I mean: regardless what we have been told by our world leaders, there is no ultimate truth in the universe. For some of us, the idea of no ultimate truth will be patently offensive, for others it’s down right scary. We human mammals seem to need to believe in ultimate truth – an idea set forth by early B.C. philosophers, who coined the idea of monism – the belief that everything comes from “the one.”
The idea of “the one” is a Category I mythology. A Category I mythology simply states: all things are of “the one”, aka God, so therefore we must say yes to everything that God brings us – good and bad. I call this the category of “just say yes” myths.
To me however, it is easy to demonstrate that ultimate truth is non-existent. If there was an ultimate truth, then we could all ultimately agree upon it. But there is no agreement about anything spiritual. Ask 100 people what god is and we will get 100 different answers. Ask 100 psychics what your problems stem from and you will get 100 different answers (unless they are reading from the same cold reading scripts).
As long as there are people – which is where all mythologies come from – there can never be ultimate truth. Each person feels and believes their version of the truth is the right version of the truth – otherwise they wouldn’t take it as “the truth.”
However, there are nearly 7 billion people on the planet. So who’s truth is the ultimate truth? And who would decide this anyway? How would we get everybody on the planet to agree on this ultimate truth without the violence, coercion, and force that we use now? And if there really was ultimate truth, wouldn’t it be part and parcel to simply being born – basic imprinted knowledge for the newborn?
But clearly it’s not. Right and wrong are taught – and are based completely on the tribe, culture, family, religion, or social structure we are born into.
If we ask enough people, we will come to the inescapable conclusion that truth, and ultimately God, is whatever we say, feel, and believe it is.
God is whatever we say it is. And this is exactly what religious wars are all about: who’s version of God is the right one, the absolute one, the true one.
Religions tend to fall into Category II mythologies. These are myths about the struggle of good over evil, right over wrong. The good are people who think, believe, and look like us – and of course the good people have been ordained by The One True God.
The evildoers are everyone else. “We are in a constant battle,” believers of Category II myths say, “of good over evil – in the fight for your mind, body, and soul.”
All four categories of mythologies are VTBI – Verbally Transmitted Belief Infections – mental disorders – transmitted person to person through close contact. Ideas like “the one” are current examples of the power of even the most ancient of VTBI’s. So many of the ideas that we currently believe and fight for were developed by early philosophers thousands of years ago – and yet, in spite of reality, technology, science, and massive amounts of updated knowledge – their infectious beliefs live on.
Culturally we have to believe in “ultimate truth”, karma, god, etc (all VTBI’s) in order to walk around feeling safe in the world and more importantly – certain about what we believe. We want to know that we will be extended entrance into heaven. This is how myths attain such power in our own lives. The stakes are high – save your soul or else suffer eternal damnation. If we “win the inner battle” of good over evil in our own lives (a standard Category II myth construction) by overcoming sex, attachment, desire, and fear, while purifying our bodies and minds, we can enter the gates of heaven and live in a world of light and good for eternity. It’s a cute story, but it’s still a story.
To understand how VTBI’s work and how they bypass our critical thinking – consider Pee Wee Herman. Is there anybody who can think about Pee Wee Herman without thinking about “what Pee Wee” did in that theater? No. We have been affected by a VTBI. If we use our critical mind, it’s easy to dismantle Paul Reubens’ crime; especially for those of us who are sex positive and more liberated in our sexual views. But the reality is that the mainstream cultural sexual shame, guilt, and abuse completely infected our feelings about Pee Wee. We accepted him to be a sex offender, as the news taught us, and we laughed in horror and delight as we witnessed Pee Wee’s big fall.
In reality, it was a massive invasion of privacy among consenting adults in a porno theater – at a time in our culture that was pre-unlimited porn-web access.
But that’s how these things work – below conscious awareness. VTBI’s psychologically, emotionally, and sexually damage us in an endless variety of ways.
Now let’s get back to the issue at hand. Gurus and sex cults.
Gurus believe that they have special, direct knowledge about truth. Their beliefs about how the universe operates are turned into VTBI’s – ideas that must be learned and accepted to attain sexual and psychological enlightenment.
Here’s where it gets ugly. A well intentioned female comes to said guru for sexual/spiritual help. She knows that, for example, her overwhelming feeling of shame around her sexuality is not good for her. She wants orgasms, more pleasure, freedom, less pain, less shame, etc.
The good cult leader, using his/her “ordained divination” to God, truth, and the still small voice within, guides the vulnerable student in her “spiritual evolution.” The problem is her spiritual evolution must be tied directly the cult leader’s beliefs.
In order to be taken in, she ultimately must become a member of the group, through dress, speech, and belief. She is told that she is respected for her bravery and wisdom of choosing “the right path” (a Category II myth construction), out of all the paths out there (this appeals to our vulnerability to compliments).
Furthermore, in order for her to move on, she must ultimately embody the secret knowledge of the cult leader. If it’s a sex cult leader, and she’s sexy, it may mean that the leader will even “selflessly” (read Jesus self-sacrifice) use his or her physical body to bless the student’s vagina, and her evolution with “God’s Cock”.
This is the crazy thing about us humans. We believe anybody’s bullshit, including the ridiculous idea of “God Cock.” God Cock is a Category II mythology. God Cock is the supposed intervention by the teacher on behalf of the student to “awaken” her body (which is really good and godly if she could only see from his perspective of ultimate truth) as a temple of the goddess that she truly is.
God Cock fills her body with goodness, “purifying” her with truth. Anytime we hear words like overcome, purify, purification, these fall under the Category II myths. As one cult leader boldly touts to his unquestioning believers – I don’t sleep with my students, “I awaken them.” Awakening is standard Category II mythology. As the cult leader points out – asleep we are in darkness, and awake we are in light. Awakening the feminine represents yet another form of the Category II myth – the battle of light over dark in the vagina.
I first realized the absurdity of all of this when I was 19 and living in Rome. Unfortunately, I became involved with Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s cult. I know it sounds unbelievable, but at 19, I had problems, sexual confusions, difficulties, and spiritual dilemmas – and Bhagwan had all the right answers – especially around sex.
The thing is “the seers” within Bhagwan’s cult would divine things in me – sexual-spiritual issues – that I myself was not evolved enough to see. The worst part of it all is that the cult was, of course, the only one who could treat my spiritual malady. “You are fortunate, swami, that you found us,” one older cult member told me, “because Bhagwan is the only way out for a person as advanced as you. Your problems are very deep, and you could have been trapped in your illusion for all eternity.”
Ego and illusion is the Eastern equivalent to the devil and hell.
The wiser elders convinced me that the only way I could evolve was to drop out of my life, (because nobody else understands the true nature of what’s happening to me) receive my spiritual name (the ultimate stripping away of one’s “evil ego” and past identity), drop out of college (because college was teaching me the wrong things, things of the mind not of the spirit), and devote my life to doing seva (free work to rid myself of my past karmic fuck ups) on the cult’s ashram, located at that time in Oregon.
Fortunately, my mom bitch slapped some sense into me. She said, “if all that stuff is so important, it can wait a year until you graduate college.” Great advice mom. Thank you.
So to simplify the above story: I came in with a problem and the cult – and only the cult – had the true answers for my healing. Furthermore, they defined problems that I didn’t even know I had – soul problems, spiritual problems, karmic problems. Then they told me that only they were the only ones who were evolved enough to discover the “true nature” of my problems, and that they were the only ones who could fix these problems. My problems were “not of this world” and so they would need to be corrected by people who were not of this world – like Bhagwan.
If I didn’t let them help me, they told me, I would be forced to reincarnate for a long, long time.
In spiritual speak – that’s short for “you’ll be fucked for eternity.”
We mammals really suck at determining causation. If somebody with supposed “ordained knowledge of the invisible” (aka God, Universe, The Mother, etc) tells us they have figured out our problem, we unquestioningly believe the diagnosis – because it is “beyond” our spiritual evolution and perceptual capabilities to determine the “true causes” of our problems ourselves (ie special hidden knowledge of the unseen, ultimate truth).
The cult ideology is simple: believe what we believe, or else suffer the consequences. This is what I call a Category III mythology – “it’s my way or the highway.” And by highway, I mean death, and eternal damnation – forever stuck on the wheel of life because you were too egotistical to see “the one” truth, god’s truth, as it stood there right before you – in the form of this “god infused, clear channel” of a teacher or book of god.
Back to our young woman knocking on the door of the cult, who has the feeling inside of her that there is more to life than sexual oppression that she has toiled under since birth.
The cult leader at first agrees with the validity of the student’s feelings and assures her that he has the keys to her freedom. The leader admonishes the student to have faith, trust, and work hard so the teacher sees her commitment – and will thereby begin her her process of true liberation. He calls her a goddess and honors her inner beauty, pretending not to notice her tits and ass. As with any relationship, in the beginning, with brain chemicals of attraction flowing, things between both parties are good.
The disturbing thing for me is that, over time, cult leaders tend to express more and more hate towards the student’s “ego/mind” – seeing it as the source of her pain (another form of a Category II myth – the struggle of the bad ego interfering with the light of the student’s true self) – something that must be overcome (as the teacher’s ego has, of course, obviously been overcome) to prevent the blocking of her true spiritual evolution. The longer the female student has been in the inner circle, the more ferocious the attacks in attempt to break her ego down in order to get at the light of her inner self, her god self, her truth, her goddess within.
One of the most common brainwashing techniques is to push a person beyond her limits, and then put her back together with the beliefs of the cult. In this sense, cults are a form of boot camp. I have regularly witnessed basic breaking-down techniques used in cult rituals and exercises – all intended to “liberate” the student, but in reality amount to nothing more than breaking a person’s old, supposedly “bad or dark” patterns of self and replacing them with the new “good, godly, light” beliefs of the cult.
Ego, questioning, lack of faith, emotions, are all seen as weaknesses and darkness. If the student questions the cult leader, “she is in her broken/wounded self”, “her inauthentic self”, or worse yet “her ego/mind.” She is out of touch with God.
Only the cult leader knows the divine truth – and the questioner is just “in her story.” The cult leader seldom if ever admits to mistakes, and is always shifting blame, turning things upside down, and just plain old making shit up to illustrate how it’s all about the other person’s shortcomings, limitations, lack of insight, light and consciousness – all problems of the wounded self – and not at all about the cult leader being wrong or behaving badly.
The inability to consider wrongness is what makes cult leaders so dangerous. In essence, to do something wrong is to cast doubt upon their supreme connection to divine provenience. Therefore the cult leaders rightness must be defended at all costs – and the blame and culpability must be place on somebody else.
In other words, if we agree with the cult leader, we are right, just, correct, and in tune with God too – like the leader is. If we disagree, then we are in our wounded selves, we lack integrity, or we are not coming from our authentic expression of self. We have “fallen from grace.” It’s a perfect closed loop – where the leader never has to face the reality of being wrong, delusional, or misguided.
Humorously, it’s always the cult leader who “knows” what the student’s experience really is, determining what expressions are “truly authentic”, and what is the expression of the student’s wounds.
I have watched women and men, over and over again, be horrifically psychologically abused in the name of god’s truth, in the name of “authentic expression”, in the name of the cult.
We put up with this abuse because we all want to feel “truly seen” by another human being. We want to feel special, unique, and honored. We want the feeling of sharing in the experience of living. Through truly feeling listened to and seen by another we feel more alive. This is captured in the idea of the cult of “living fully present in the moment.” Basically we want the unconditional love that we never received as children.
The role of the charismatic cult leader is to give us the feeling of unconditional love, acceptance, and the feeling of being truly seen in all of our vulnerability – that is as long as we agree with what they are teaching and believing.
All supposed “unconditional love” is actually quite conditional once you begin questioning or disagreeing – with God or the cult leader. When that happens you have inadvertently fallen under the “clutches of darkness” – the devil. Notice the familiar Category II myth construction here.
And here’s the dirty truth: if the cult leader, or god for that matter, really sees the real us so deeply, why does he or she behave so aggressively if we express emotion or dissent. If we are truly being felt and seen by them, there there really is no need for them to humiliate and abuse us further. The reason they do; however, is because they clearly don’t actually know our experience at all – they just feel and believe that they do. The belief that they know whats best for us spiritually is simply delusional. In this sense, we live alone in our experience – regardless of the protestations of the cult leader otherwise.
I feel, if a spiritual teacher truly sees me, (or even a god for that matter) then I never have to explain myself or justify my emotions. If you are truly “me” as you claim, then you know exactly why I am feeling the way I’m feeling – and using shame, blame, guilt, coercion, and the threat of eternal damnation to beat me into submitting to the “truth”, your truth, the truth of the cult is just another form of abuse that we humans heap on one another in the name of God.
I regularly see women in tantric cults beaten down emotionally when they have feelings about the cult leader’s sexual behavior. They are told they are just not “evolved” enough to want open relationships, polyamory, or group sex activities. Women are regularly humiliated for what they feel about all that – with total disregard for how difficult it is for any of us trying to emerge from mommy, daddy, and societies beliefs about sex.
One cult leader I knew “liberated” his female followers, turning them into strippers who travelled the world making as much cash as possible then had them faithfully return to him and pay him with their hard earned cash for his continued sexual liberation services.
He also regularly had sex with them. If they had any feelings – they were instantly shamed, put into their place, and told it was them with “problem” and lack of evolution. It had nothing to do with the master having sex with the student.
I used to call him “master spiritual pimp.” He condemned me to eternal damnation when I refused to buy his bullshit any longer. It was truly awful to witness his relentless psychological abuse of women.
Any dissent to the cult leader is considered to be coming from “the ego” or the “wounded self.” Condescendingly they say, “she is just in her pain”, lashing out at him from her “pain body,” unwilling to step up to the call to be in her truth, power, and (here it comes again) ultimate wisdom.
What makes this so difficult to defend as the student is that the cult leader proclaims his unbiased truth and knowledge that he “knows from the feeling inside” his body, that what he is teaching, saying, or reprimanding is correct, right, godly, and pure truth. He knows in his body, absolute truth. The dissenter is just not tuned in, lacks the ability to “see the truth of what’s really happening” as the cult leader can. In tantric circles, phrases like “my womb” tells me that this is true about you or “you just don’t yet see, you haven’t stepped into your power yet, ” abound.
The womb, the belly, “the feeling of truth”, or still small voice within of the cult leader is the ultimate arbiter of truth and justice in the cult.
For the pope, this “wisdom” feeling comes in hours of quiet contemplation. For president Bush, it came through wondering WWJD (what would Jesus do). This “feeling of being right” trumps all knowledge, experience, feedback, and most importantly — evidence to the complete contrary of the feeling.
The reality is that the cult leader is flying blind without realizing he or she is flying blind. Yet we are coerced to agree with the cult leader, the President, or the pope, regardless of what reality is telling us. And by doing so, we place ourselves firmly on the side of right, goodness, truth, and God.
To disagree is to face abuse and humiliation. To dissent is to face total isolation and ultimately – ex-communication. As one cult leader proclaimed to me as I was being forced out of his cult, “you have fallen off the one true path.” The idea of any “one true path” is by definition, a Category III mythology – it’s my way or the highway.
The ex-communication part has happened to me on so many occasions now, it’s just plain funny to me. Another cult leader told me, point blank, that I must accept his supreme authority over the group or leave.
It is human to no longer like or even want to associate with people who think differently from us, which is why the cult leaders want us out if we begin to think differently. Even though the cult will claim to encourage discussion – in fact, it is only encouraged it to a point.
The problem of the cult leader is that he or she is a psychologically closed system receiving his or her truth “from above”. Many of these leaders express to the students that the goal of the student is to be like the teacher and become a clear vessel, a channel of God.
The body count of people trapped within the cult will continue to mount, as cult leaders head deeper and deeper into their connection with their “inner God” of absolute truths, and further and further from shared reality. Sometimes this ends in tragedy, as it has on so many occations since the beginning of fanatical cult leaders and their unknowing cult followers.
One friend of mine recently contacted me weeping. She was devastated by the news that she had been dropped from the cult and was deeply concerned how she would ever evolve spiritually without the support of this leader. He shredded her self esteem so severely – in the name of her spiritual evolution – that I am sure it will be years and years before she is able to recover from the psychological abuse that was heaped upon her, as her feelings, pains and hurts were held up as evidence – absolute proof – of her lack of spiritual evolvement.
If you have been injured, raped, brainwashed, humiliated, or helped, healed, and empowered by a cult, I would love to hear your story.
Let me end by saying that if we believe in an absolute truth we will always be open to being taken advantage of by cult leaders – who claim to have ordained knowledge of absolute truth.
We all know when we “feel right” about something – regardless of reality – and often all the while being factually wrong. Yet the problem for us mammals is that we are very bad at knowing that we don’t know, of “knowing” that we’re wrong – which as it turns out – is quite often.
It’s time our cult leaders begin admitting that they don’t know what absolute truth is, and there is no absolute truth or knowledge. There is just a lot of folks making stuff up and pretending and a lot of folks going along for the ride.
My personal test for this is simple: if you are all that, cult leader – and so connected to all knowledge, the one, supposed absolute truth, and God, then tell me the answer to my most simple question: what is the number that I have written on a piece of paper in my desk. It’s been there for 10 years now, so don’t give me crap that it’s not yet in the Akashic record. I don’t want to hear that it’s difficult. It’s a few pencil scratches on a white piece of paper – certainly your all knowing God can read numbers. It’s a hell of a lot easier than discerning all about my energy body, my past lives, my soul, my integrity, what’s best for my spiritual path, etc.
It’s just a number.
If you’re that connected to God and knowledge and all the ins and out of what’s best for my soul, my cock, and my life, then tell me what the number is and I’ll listen to all your VTBI’s. Otherwise, shut the fuck up.
The only thing that I am absolutely certain of is that there is nothing absolutely certain.