Cults and Brainwashing
Indicators of manipulation for your Safety
Cults, brainwashing teachers & Gurus can easily be identified if you are willing to look and examine. Specific indicators keep you alert, safe and un-hypnotized. Law Zero is critical to keeping your self safe; self honesty and self responsibility. If you feel uncertain about anything then pillar No2 is important. All of you includes your gut feelings and reactions. The meme culture in spiritual groups is to say "just be Present and don't worry".
Once you Inquire and look for facts you'll then be able to decide if it's just a reaction from prior events in your life or if there is something else going on. Enlightenment is practical, not a theory or concept. The dismissive meme culture creates real danger. This kind of linguistically vague process is used in brainwashing situations so you don't dig deeper.
This meme is from an Eckhart Tolle Facebook group in April 2021. If Present and worry is happening that says take a look, not override with mindful agendas and suppress it. Vague is dangerous as it's the basis of hypnotherapy. So apply Law Zero and dig the evidence out. Then there is no need to worry as a choice will be faced, but faced with conscious awareness. As Presence allows you may have to sit and inquire and heal your inner discord, that is fine that's how your unconscious mind works. This Enlightenment framework if used will measurably show the results.
The Enlightenment framework pillar No2 of includes all of you says take a look and be certain. We have emotions for very good reason, they are our messenger that something needs to be addressed, not ignored. This is how your unconscious mind runs its prime directive of keeping you safe!
Check with others around you. If it's a banned topic or people don't want to discuss it then it's a cause for caution! If people excuse boundary violations or show signs of ignoring what is obvious, then look deeper. The hook that teachers and groups use is your inner calling and desire to be free of pain. The promise is made alluring and used to manipulate you to excuse what is NOT OK.
What is most ironic is academic research on cults shows that highly intelligent people, those that have tertiary qualifications, make a much higher percentage in cults and manipulative groups than in normal society. Perhaps the extra drive and thinking ability is used to make 'mind-filled' excuses so one justifies ignoring those other feelings that something isn't right? The mind is great at creating blind spots. Blind spots are the No8 pillar in this framework for very good reason.
What the experts look for
The indicators of manipulation and cults
Manipulative groups, Guru structures and immoral spiritual teachers that use brainwashing techniques have a number of indicators. I’d strongly suggest reading the book Cults Too Good to be True by Raphael Aaron. That will help anyone who has been, or is, involved with a cult like organisation or teacher. It will also help a concerned friends and family understand the hypnosis bind they are in. It will help you understand and de-construct how it is done and how to spot a cult or manipulative situation. This book makes it very clear as it is a continuum of degrees and indicators. The more cult indicators and the stronger they are certainly will help you be informed as to its severity.
It is then the choice of the individual to go in with their eyes open (Law Zero). But at least they know, thus have a personal choice before any energies and brainwashing happens. I have seen friends destroyed by cults. I’ve witnessed how teachers do it. I’ve had to undo personal damage done by a clever cult teacher. It’s just no fun and it taints the process of learning to be a better person or Awaken in life.
Presence has nothing to do with imposing personal desires (sexual or otherwise) or rules and protocol on another. As Presence you are the impersonal Nothingness, there is no personal will or sexual anything in that place – end of story. If there is then that says something about that teacher or organisation. Yes, standard rules of society apply so organisational standards and protocols apply. Products and services are exchanged for payment like any other business. Pillar No9 applies even to commerce and groups as it's common sense to function properly in society.
Living teachers Tolle and Adyashanti are safe bets. They only point to the Presence and the Nothingness, the pure Janana or wisdom path. They have very little in the way of cult indicators as defined by Raphael in his book. Here is Raphael's website http://www.cultconsulting.org/publications
Key questions to monitor
Your safety check list
Below is a safety list I compiled for a group when discussing cults and manipulation. This list will help you stay aware so you can make a decision regards your commitment and attendance. Pillar No6 is support, teachers and this includes the vibrational support of teachers to help you feel Presence. Sometimes the price is too high, and that is usually felt but ignored. Ignoring pillar No2, your emotions, instincts and mind that says "run" can easily be done if you have a stronger desire or blind spot!
I certainly cover this topic in the myth busting section in the Laws of Grace course. That's your call, depending on the situation to stay in a bad environment as the chords to get out are often significant. It can take years to heal the damage done by a manipulative teacher or group. Regardless of your Enlightenment level, you are still a human being, and your sense of trust and identity will be hit. You are a human so pillar No2 includes all of you is impacted by manipulation. Worry is a feeling you need to heed so you can triple check.
The key to cult type systems is the desire for an outcome is greater than the application of No9 common sense. People then ignore their basic psychological protective mechanisms. Often the manipulators work to actively make you deny and override what you know is wrong.
So if you go to such a group have a piece of paper in your pocket that says:
1. Does this action or process I’m being asked to do feel authentically true?
2. Does this open my heart and feel good?
3. Are people or myself being forced to perform and feel ‘pain’ that is not naturally accessible.
4. If I said no to any of the above they are attempting to brainwash me. Stay conscious and stay in my personal integrity.
5. Shall I leave? Just feel your tummy and listen to it.
In the Laws of Grace course I discuss the validation process for Awakenings and Initiations. As part of that I warn people to not make big decisions after an intense experience. As part of that I ask the student to check in with the three main brains or nerve plexuses of the mind, heart and gut and that they all be in alignment. This sound advice is especially important here.
You will feel if it is off. Your heart or gut will tell you. Worry which Eckhart Tolle in the above meme says has no purpose does have a critical purpose in this situation. The mind's desire to get something will override your common sense. Though in some situations the draw and feel of an energetic teacher may override this. That is easily seen in others who get that glazed love-struck look in their eyes. Often common sense flies out the window in that state of awe.
Spiritual Authority & Moral Compass
We are role models for those around us, teachers especially
Spiritual responsibility and having a moral /spiritual compass becomes an undeniable aspect as you Awaken. The pull of the unconscious mind's prime directive 11 to be a highly moral being will be felt. This can of course be blind spotted so it is suppressed. Thus the person's ego will mentally defend with reasoning why their behaviours are justified. Justification is always a red flag to look for blind spots. If the facts and evidence stack up correctly then moral ease within oneself will be restored, Law Zero.
To act, think or feel bad stuff towards another becomes like poison in your blood. Behaviours you once could get away with become untenable. This is a good sign of progress. These are false or traumatised aspects of your psychology rising to be healed and return to your true good nature (prime directive 11). This deepening as a person takes adjustment.
That is why each phase of the Awakening journey typically takes a number of years. That is why if someone just jumps a phase they run the risk of becoming dysfunctional. Pillar No2 includes all of you, so all of you grows up to meet the phase of Awakening you are in. An immature aspect of your psychology will act out in a mana personality fashion otherwise. Carl Jung had it right in my 3 decades of individual and group observations.
You are now on the escalator of responsibility if your deepening into Awakening is real. How do you walk your talk? This video covers some triggering topics, but by Grace, and the divinity of the Mellow Roos (Grey Kangaroos) these topics are covered with soft energy so you can examine what is right or wrong for you (your Law Zero).
You are a role model for others even if you don't want to be a spiritual teacher. If you are a parent you are a teacher and role model. Even if you are a recluse hermit, this will still impact you, so this video is to help you be aware of that.
This video continued for another 30 minutes and is in the Myth Busting section in the Laws of Grace course.
Some of you reading this feel the call to be a spiritual teacher. If so please heed these words and be very aware of the karma your soul will incur because of your actions to correctly guide or misguide others. Too many teachers abuse, manipulate and misguide people. Being self honest is critical. This is how you discern and be guided by your spiritual compass.
I meet many who want to teach, and they are the first to deny their blind spots. This is especially so as these individuals often in phase 1 Got it Lost it, and their bandwidth tends to confirm this. Bad teachers damage people. Too many famous spiritual teachers acted in a manner that people like Jacinda Ardern, Barak Obama and the Dali Lama would not! Catch my drift? The bandwidth of these teachers, while they may well be blazingly Enlightened it's tainted by their lack of honouring the other and their "good person" boundaries. But this video gently glances at this topic. The Laws of Grace course goes deeper into cult related videos to help people understand manipulation and the damage it does.
From the book “Cults too good to be true”
By Raphael Aron
From the book “Cults too good to be true” By Raphael Aron
Definition: A cult is a group or movement that, to a significant degree, (a) Exhibits great or excessive devotion or dedication to some idea or thing, (b) uses a thought reform program to persuade, control and socialize members. (i.e. to integrate them into the group’s unique pattern of relationships, beliefs, values and practices), (c) systematically induces states of psychological dependency in members, (d) exploits members to advance the leadership’s goals, and (e) causes psychological harm to members, their families and the community.
Eight Characteristics of a Cult
- Milieu Control: Refers to total control of communication in the groups; for example, no gossip or expression of doubt about the group. Members have to report peers who break any rules. Have limited or no contact with relatives and ignore anything in the media.
- Loading of the language: is the imposition of a language which is unique to the cult. The continued use of particular clichés and expressions creates a sense of camaraderie, which unites the members and sets them apart from the world, which, in some groups, is described as satanic, evil or unclean.
- A demand for purity: The cult is right, the world is wrong. Acts are either good or bad and people are viewed in black-and-white terms. Purity allows the cult to let the ends justify the means; deception and lying are acceptable if they serve the pure aim of the cult. Most apocalyptic cults spread the message that you are either a member of the group – and will survive, or you are not – and won’t survive. In order to save people and draw them into the group, you can lie, because those who are saved will ultimately appreciate your action.
- Confession: Refers to the process by which members admit everything about their past and present behavior. Although the members is told that the confession will set him free, in effect it binds him to the group. Later on, the information can be used against him. Leaving the cult becomes more difficult, as the member feels that he will have left behind an intimate part of himself.
- Mystical Manipulation: --- or planned spontaneity--- refers to a process whereby the members feel they have chosen to belong to the group; a belief is created that allegiance to the cult is a totally voluntary act. Events in the cult are planned to look spontaneous, when, in fact, they are carefully orchestrated by the leadership.
- Doctrine Over person: requires the member to interpret reality through the cult doctrine and to ignore personal experiences or reality. If the member’s experience is disregarded. Contradictions become associated with guilt; doubt indicates one’s own deficiency or evil.
- Sacred Science: refers to the leader’s claim to wisdom and the fact that his philosophy and belief system are relevant to all humankind. Anyone who disagrees is not only immoral but unscientific.
- Dispending of existence: means that those who have not seen the light are wedded to evil, tainted and lack the right to exist. Hence a cult member threatened with being cast into outer darkness may experience a fear of extinction or collapse. This is the final step in creating members’ dependence on the group.
Non-sex & “Business” group manipulation
If you want linguistic skills and safe change techniques I'd suggest you do a proper in-person NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Practitioner training. The NLP Practitioner training gives you a more flexible skillset, and you can also use this with others. NLP training can also lead to certification as a counsellor or coach (etc). Over the years I’ve seen many go through Landmark (and its variants). I have even watched some smart NLP practitioners fall victim. NLP is hype enough with some trainers, but Landmark is brainwashing. Its hardcore sell, sell, sell and uses guilt and all the emotional tactics to manipulate you. They use the this is for your own good excuse. They use peer group pressure and you are levered into unsafe mental/emotional situations (thus install trauma).
Landmark participants tend to lose their friends after as they act like religious fanatics. They try to convert the people around them. Notice if you enjoy being pressured. That is a signal to be very careful. Keep Raphael's indicators of a cult in mind when at the training.
If you can stay aware in these situations you may get a double benefit; you master brainwashing and grow at the same time. While this hype change system by Landmark isn’t a full cult it certainly has some of the indicators of a cult as detailed by Raphael. People report personal growth from these courses. This may be true and keep in mind that going to jail would spur deep personal growth as well. Awareness is critical, then choose to act as you so want. Apply Law Zero. Monitor your three brains (head, heart and gut) for full alignment. Watch any sell sell sell comments by participants and sense if it is balanced.
Getting out of your comfort zone is the reason given when imposing an agenda that is masked as being good for you. Ask yourself the question "Does this serve me and my integrity 100%?" is the key and tricky question. The selling hype with business development courses like Landmark is a blatant indicator of agendas, so be conscious and enjoy the ride if you decide to go.
Notice I often encourage the wild parrots in the videos. I don't force them unless I'm being cheeky and try to grab them. Depending on their comfort and behaviour I can tell if they are OK or not, if not I release them. If they stay after I free them it's a sign they were not violated (see the bottom video in pillar No9 page). Birds are quick to give the distress call, you will note they never do this with me.
The same applies to humans. Distress is a big NO when it comes to being OK about going outside your comfort zone. Safety is always primary - that is the core number one prime directive of your unconscious mind. The unconscious mind's communication system is feelings and emotions. To ignore the majority of yourself which is your unconscious mind is certainly not Awakening.
From what I have observed with Landmark and Avatar is it’s a persuasive mental-body cognitive type of therapy. It is shallow and its blatantly unauthentic techniques are not about serving you 100%. But that's exactly what they will say. Watch how they persuade you into altered states that are outside the norm. They will try to convince you they are trying to help you breakthrough your blocks to a better outcome.
Many religions, teacher n guru set-ups have cult indicators. Being aware of these and respecting oneself and drawing the line of commitment to that group or cause is my point. Sovereignty with integrity is the aim. Unfortunately, this sovereignty lesson is often hard-won.
Always note, I state this again as it is so important: The desire for an outcome can cause us to ignore common sense and also ignore our core protective psychological mechanisms. Again pillar No2 in this Enlightenment framework is it includes all of you. If something stinks, stop and take the time to investigate. Your ego and protection mechanisms are there for good reason. Triple check and heal them, so you are more aware and looking for pillar No3 Rules of Evidence as to the real reality of the situation. Can you understand the logic given here? The framework gives you a stable structure you can use to validate a group and your own practices.
Leaders & Gurus who Sex students
By all means go and enjoy the teaching of a Guru, but keep your eyes open and to quote Rumi "don't go back to sleep".
Imposition of personal will (or worse personal desire) on another is something to be very careful of.
Presence has nothing to do with someone else having access to the contents of your pants.
Be careful and aware.
Energetic abilities of some Awakened teachers can excite the sexual pull with a student. Some use this to embark in self-gratifying sex with their students. Tantra is a great excuse that is given. The theory around tantra will be used to manipulate and justify the sexual acts. Some teachers will possess the energetic ability to excite the student and trigger energetic sexual phenomena. Students go for this as they justify it in their mind as it is getting them something. This reasoning allows them to buy into that unfair manipulative hook. To put it bluntly, this is sexual grooming.
Tantric practices are just that; sex. When doubled up with teacher-ship of Awakening it is an unhealthy recipe for manipulation. It's your choice (No4 Law Zero). Just be really clear of what the outcome may be. Free sex groups or tantric workshops isn't to be considered an Awakening teaching so clear boundaries are delineated. Tantra is tantra, if that's what you want then fantastic, but it's not Awakening as defined in this website of Abiding Awakening.
Bliss is often hyped, but it's just a sign you are not fully integrated at that new level yet, so sexual bliss is likewise and it's not practical. Yes, there are advanced sexual practices, but that is outside the domain of this website and courses.
A well-known teacher called Adi Da Samraj (he had many names) was a cult leader and he created his own religion. He clearly met most of Raphael's cult indicators. His organisation is still going, even though he has is now dead. That man got up to all sorts of disgusting sexual acts with his female followers, married or not. I know directly of people whose marriages were broken by this. His brainwashed followers are ok with this and defend it as ok. Cultee's will excuse this sort of behaviour as acceptable.
Excusing immoral #MeToo behaviour is a real sign of a powerful cult. I've even had a bunch of Adi Da followers 100% agree it happened and they adamantly defended it as OK (re-read the cult indicators above). The typical excuses are used to justify. Real spiritual teaching has nothing to do with what happens in swingers clubs for the teacher's benefit. Gurudom isn't about serving one's own sexual antics. PERIOD!
Unfortunately, he isn't alone too many very well regarded teachers have done this. Osho was very rampant with four plus ladies a night, especially when he was living in the USA. I had a friend who was closely associated with his inner circle. Believe as you wish, but he did teach free love.
A moral compass is a sign of depth and spiritual authority. What they do in their private life is up to any individual, but if teaching those peoples' trust and integrity needs to be respected. Once you see a teacher violating another in this manner it taints and creates doubt.