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Us then and Us NOW; We're Healthy

I just re-read a piece from the "Guru Papers' toward the bottom of 'Prohetic Charisma' on the Lessons In Awareness site at http://home.comcast.net/~dkmuir/

From this material you can see why trainers cannot see what has happened to them, and why we are so blessed to be able to form new ways of relating in our lives. The dynamics of how we were enticed to surrender in the training are very obvious now, but nevertheless this experience can make trusting more difficult until we re-find our footing. We've learned so much.

I'll summarize these amazing dynamics with excerpts:

"The most enticing message to induce surrender is that only in this way can one achieve true spiritual advancement [e.g., "the only way to hear us properly and to make the needed personal changes is by `suspending judgment.'"].

"After the newness of conversion wears off, some doubt may return. To maintain allegiance, a support system that reinforces people's new identity is crucial. Power within the group is gained by deepening surrender to the guru, and members reward each other for making the group the priority. Deepening surrender does feel like letting go of ego and is defined by the guru as spiritual progress.

Secrecy and arousing desire are important parts of the seduction. The guru dangles carrots of esoteric knowledge that he will transmit when he deems the disciple `ready.' Waiting for each new piece of hidden knowledge not only keep devotees around, but receiving pieces of it (one never gets it all) confirms their worthiness and specialness. Now they, too, have knowledge that others do not."

"Any conflict disciples have about submitting to the guru's authority is defined pejoratively as resistance to a higher truth, the intrusion of ego, or a sign of unwillingness to give up attachments. Since surrender initially alleviates conflict and brings extremely good feelings, it is a powerful form of conditioning. If people end up feeling good and more open, they mistakenly conclude that whatever promoted it must also be true and good. Thus `feeling good' and opening boundaries are erroneously equated with truth. Conversely, anything that contradicts the guru's point of view is labeled `negativity'; so information that runs counter to accepted beliefs is repressed and punished. This ploy conveniently prevents negative feelings from being used as feedback that something might be amiss.

People whose power is based on the surrender of others develop a repertoire of techniques for deflecting and undermining anything that questions or challenges their status, behavior, or beliefs. They ridicule or try to confuse people who ask challenging questions. Throwing the question back at the questioner is a common, easy-to-use ploy. This is done by attempting to show how the question displays some lack in the questioner. . . . .

....there's no way logically to refute this system—that's why people who are ordinarily considered highly intelligent can become involved in believing, doing, and justifying just about anything.

... When magic lies at the base of authority, no matter how elevated the people appear, they are engaged in perhaps the oldest ploy of authoritarian mind control.

Whenever powers are utilized as credentials to disarm reason and make people blind followers, there is little wisdom there. The idea that wisdom is justified by magical ability is even questioned within traditional Eastern thought. Trying to cultivate or being enthralled with special powers (psychic phenomenon)is considered one of the great dangers of the spiritual path. Bottom line, those who use anything seemingly out of the ordinary to get others to bow down to them should be held suspect.

Thus gurus routinely take on images that people have been conditioned to associate with divinity: all-wise, all-good, all-powerful, or some approximation thereof. They all claim to be able to lead people to salvation, enlightenment, bliss, self-knowledge, immortality, peace, an end to sorrow, and ultimately being one with God. These states are conveniently as difficult to reach as they are compelling. Gurus also claim to bestow unconditional love [or at least "sorcerer's affection"] on those who surrender to them, while actually whatever emotional connection exists is conditional on surrender and obedience.

In short, gurus basically tell disciples what they want to hear, including how special and wise they are for surrendering to them. ...the guru is placed in a category beyond the knowledge and judgment of others. From here gurus can rationalize any contradictory behavior. The traditional idea that once enlightened, one can do anything is also attractive to disciples who secretly hope this is where their sacrifices will eventually lead them."

...Deflecting everything back to others' lacks is a simple, age-old ploy of anyone in a position of unchallengeability. Another related ploy is placing high value on detachment . . . . The message is`You can't become enlightened if you're stuck on the material plane with attachments. If a person buys this ideology, then detaching from possessions, relationships, and even one's identity can at first make one feel better because they are the usual sources of psychological pain.

Taking on beliefs because they alleviate conflict is part of the unconscious code underlying authoritarian control." Pp. 66-71. "Surrendering to a guru brings instant intimacy with all who share the same values. In a world where traditional values are crumbling, bringing brittle, hedonistic ways of relating, many feel alone and disconnected. Acceptance by and identification with the group induce a loosening of personal boundaries. This opening consequently increases the emotional content of one's life, bringing purpose, meaning, and hope.

It is no wonder that those who join such groups rave about how much better they feel than previously. But this quick, one-dimensional bonding is based solely upon a shared ideology. No matter how intense and secure it feels, should one leave the fold, it evaporates as quickly as it formed.

Surrender is the glue that binds guru and disciple. Being a disciple offers the closest approximation (outside of mental institutions) to the special configuration of infancy. Surrender is a route that enables disciples to experience again, at least partially, the conflict-free innocence that is the source of their atavistic longings. . . . .

This dependent state satisfies other longings that stem from infancy. Once again, one experiences being at the center of the universe—if not directly (the guru occupies that space), at least closer to the center than one could have thought possible. The guru also puts out the image of the totally accepting parent—the parent one never had but always wanted. So disciples believe they are loved unconditionally, even though this love is conditional on continued surrender.

Disciples in the throes of surrender feel they have given up their past, and do not, consciously at least, fear the future. In addition, they feel more powerful through believing that the guru and the group are destined to greatly influence the world. Feeling totally cared for and accepted, at the universe's center, powerful, and seemingly unafraid of the future are all achieved at the price of giving one's power to another, thus remaining essentially a child.

Surrendering to an authority who dictates what's right is a quick, mechanical route to feeling more virtuous. It is a fast track for taking on a moral system and to some extent following it. But more, that act of surrender itself can feel like giving up or at least diminishing one's ego, which is presented as a sign of spiritual progress. Conforming to programming can make one feel immediately better. Obedience itself can feel selfless. . .

Disciples usually become more attached to the psychological state that surrender brings than to the guru, whom they never really get to know as a person. Repudiation of the guru (or even doubt and questioning) means a return to earlier conflict, confusion, and meaninglessness. The deeper they surrender, and the more energy and commitment they put into the guru, the greater their emotional investment is. Disciples will thus put up with a great deal of contradictory and aberrant behavior on the guru's part, for doubting him literally means having their world fall apart.

This is why many who are involved in authoritarian surrender adamantly deny they are. Those who see the dissembling in other gurus or leaders can find countless ways to believe that their guru is different. It is not at all unusual to be in an authoritarian relationship and not know it. In fact, knowing it can interfere with surrender. Any of the following are strong indications of belonging to an authoritarian group:

1. No deviation from the party line is allowed. Anyone who has thoughts or feelings contrary to the accepted perspective is made to feel wrong or bad for having them. [E.g., the insincere suggestions that, "You really should drop your senseless anger and find another, different path with a heart."]

2. Whatever the authority does is regarded as perfect or right. Thus behaviors that would be questioned in others are made to seem different and proper.

3. One trusts the leader or others in the group to know what's best.

4. It is difficult to communicate with anyone not in the group.

5.One finds oneself defending actions of the leader (or other members) without having firsthand knowledge of what occurred. [E.g., one of the more thoughtful Tigre posters dismissed as irrelevant the Sustained Action information, claming that he would "follow Martin Bormann" if the deceased Nazi propagandist had come up with something as "useful" as Tensegrity.]

6. At times one is confused and fearful without knowing why. This is a sign that doubts are being repressed.

The age-old inquiry that asks `Who am I?' looks inside for self-discovery. The process of digging deeper into oneself reveals there are self-images constructed out of the past that are part of one's identity. The true meaning of spiritual surrender involves letting go of self-defining images that limit who one is and can be. Within this inner inquiry one also comes to realize that one is part of a larger context.

Surrendering to those who present themselves as a better or more real representative of that larger context perverts the true beauty and meaning of surrender. On the contrary, surrendering to another as the gateway to salvation keeps people dependent, childish, and living second-handedly. Surrender as an adult encompasses realizing that all of us are an interwoven part of a larger process that both creates and is created by its components. This involves being able both to control life and to surrender to what life offers. It does not involve giving up one's power or identity.

The only way any living system works well is to have information flowing freely between its parts and its environment. This is particularly essential with human beings, in order to counteract the inbuilt nature of subjectivity and the biasing filters of self-interest. The guru/disciple relationship, which is inherently authoritarian, cuts off the necessary flow of information for both, creating a feedback-proof system. If any degree of objectivity can ever be obtained, it is only through open minds that change with changing information.

The thoughts in this book could always be written off as unspiritual, egotistical, and coming from a lower plane of understanding. Ultimately there is no way to prove whose perspective is more accurate. What can be shown, however, is whether the process involved in establishing a given worldview is authoritarian, and what the implications of this process are. The tragedy that all authoritarian structures breed, particularly so-called spiritual ones, comes from giving absolute priority to another's viewpoint.

This involves mistakenly identifying as spiritual [or "sorceric"] the (usually temporary) conflict-free emotions and passions that come from surrendering to an authority. The tragedy is compounded in our times because our survival as a species depends upon adults coming to the fore who can break the shackles of old authority and tradition, creating new forms of relating to each other and to the planet we live on. In order to do this, we must use all we have: our bodies, our emotions, our minds, and all types of information from the world around us. Blind surrender to authority is an emotional indulgence and illusory security the species can no longer afford." Pp. 55-59.

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