As Aside to the “School” Monitor/Commentor Challenge

In April, *someone* sent in a comment that I chose not to post; s/he challenged me to write about specific and private family issues. These details could only be known by either, a personal friend, or a particular *teacher*. And a friend would not have written this comment. Here is my response:

To the Commenter who challenged me to speak about my family:

Given the tone of your message, you must be the “teacher” tasked to monitor this blog. Given what you know about my family situation,  you sound like Carol. I could feel the venom spewing out from your “comment” — i.e. thinly disguised empty threat.

It may interest you to know that my post-“school” new “life” policy is this: no more secrets. Secrets suck your energy and time away from you, do they not. I have been and will continue to speak about “school” whenever and to whomever I wish. And I obviously am not trying to hide my identity.  At the same time, I decide what to share in this public forum. I no longer have to ask you for permission to breathe and wipe my ass. That’s what happens when you leave school — you stop abdicating responsibility to “teachers”.

You have a son and understand that some topics are off limits. But  I finally recognize your “comment” as a “school” tactic: ask an off-topic, rhetorical question that “aims” for your target’s vulnerabilities. It takes the focus off the truth, confuses the recipient and shuts them up. There was a time when that tactic really worked. As you can see, it no longer does. You have no power to stop me from publicizing my “school” (i.e. cult) experience. Because, as you are living, you have to keep everything secret, veiled.

Imagine if you were free to simply live a normal life. Imagine if you didn’t have to scramble around covering up a strange web of lies told and proliferated by “school’s evolved leadership”. Secrets are their own prisons, are they not. I imagine you’ve been imprisoned for decades. Imagine a life in which you decide things like when to take a vacation, to breathe, to sneeze, change a job, keep a journal, etc. A life in which no one is lording over you and holding you responsible to control that which – ultimately – cannot be controlled: a roomful of adults, some of whom will soon begin to ache for a return to their free will. And will return to it of their own accord.

I imagine the leadership raked you over the coals after the January exodus. In truth, the students who left, left because “school,” at its core, is a farce, a con job. They left before it claimed their lives further by dictating normal life choices: what to do for work, who to marry, when to have children, when to give up children, how much money to make and where to invest it … or give to Sharon, etc. They have lives, friends, family, passions, jobs, spouses, children. They chose to keep their lives and not allow “school” to dictate these things, as it dictates your choices.

“School” can never be the “esoteric” institution in pursuit of truth it claims to be. Maybe in the beginning, it had that potential. It certainly offers powerful ideas that are not widely known (although, very available as I discovered once out of “school”). Too bad school twists and mishandles these ideas. One former member did tell me that Alex Horn originally “aimed” to start a cult. But I have not been soured enough to believe that you, or all the other “teachers”, are simply sociopaths-in-training following his lead —  you must believe  in “school” an as institution of higher calling and that’s why you are willing to “do whatever it takes” to keep it going.

Alas, we have all been deceived. You know that at some level. But I imagine that after a number of decades, it would be painful and difficult for you to leave. It is not impossible to reclaim your life, though; others have left after several decades — even teachers. So you could leave as well.

At the end of your days, when the curtains are closing, do you really want to look back on your entire adult life and see that you gave it away, in service to a deceptive cult?

Think about it.

49 thoughts on “As Aside to the “School” Monitor/Commentor Challenge

  1. I Will Thrive says:

    Wouldn’t change a word.

  2. moishe3rd says:

    Oh well… I thought I’d just let it sit but, I’m too fond of interjecting my unwanted opinions to do so…
    “how very Republican party of you?”????
    I find that a peculiar and somewhat creepy comment.
    Why would you believe that “Republicans” “take the focus off the truth;” confuse people and shut them up?
    I suspect that you would not accept other silly bigotry and stereotypes about miscellaneous groups of people.
    Why Republicans?
    It just seems so odd…

    • Hi Moishe,

      In this case, I’d have to say you’re right, the comment was not appropriate or relevant and I apologize that I let my bias and anger get the better of me. I happen to know that this aside was aimed at someone who worked very hard to get Obama elected. It was an unnecessary barb, so I removed it.

      It also introduces a political debate and that is not really the point of this site.

  3. Not The Donald, Either says:

    A little humor goes a long way. Substitute the name of Sharon, Robert, or even the junior “teachers” like Carol here. This is a 12-second clip of Donald Trump saying, “You’re fired!” Maybe you can’t take back all the cash they’ve conned out of you, but you can take back your life.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1Bm0cWN2h4

  4. anon says:

    Poor Carol, hypnotized by all the “school influences” – she thinks she’s an evolving being, but she is really fast asleep.

    When I was in the group I sometimes wondered if anyone ever graduated, but now I think that the true graduates are the ones who woke up and had the courage to leave.

    Congratulations to all new and old Graduates! Living in truth instead of all the lying is gratifying and full of many more possibilities. Carol, you should try it sometime.

  5. When I was in the group, and realized to my horror, that some people had been attending for decades, it was a real slap in the face. It was one of those moments where some part of me popped above the school bubble and said, “What the f* am I doing?”

    So, I agree, the graduates are the people who ultimately take the teachings, reclaim their lives, keeping what really works and letting go of the rest. Ironically, I have come to believe that leaving is the only way to begin understanding this concept called “freedom”. There’s nothing like a moment when you’ve got nowhere to turn but inwards for an answer to a burning question.

    That moment is the one in which you will find freedom.

  6. Someone Who Still Cares, No Strings Attached says:

    Dear Carol, if it is you: You are loved. Out here. You don’t have to lose sleep to the point of exhaustion, you don’t have to “earn it,” and you don’t have to be that craven dog analogy. You don’t “owe.” So take a nap, give your body the love and TLC it needs, and stop emotionally flagellating yourself. We get it. You are worthy, and you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Go lay on a beach in Florida for a week or three. Big hug,

  7. Thank you SWCs,NSA, for contributing the voice of compassion that I couldn’t muster. I appreciate your expression of empathy, for we all need more of it. It’s probably safe to say that those still in – especially “teachers” — need the empathy most of all. I recognize that as well as my limitations therein. I’m appreciative of the important and gentle voice … after all, this blog did originate as the Gentle Soul’s Revolution and you have just proven the power of the gentle touch.

    Thanks again.

  8. (Jeremiah and Ashieta Shiemash were a) Bullfrog says:

    I think this is a good example of doing 6th line of work with Carol. I haven’t worked it out completely, but here’s what I’ve got so far:

    4th line of work: the line of work of leaving school. Also known as Go-away Retreat or GR.
    5th line of work: the line of work of communicating with others who have left school. Particularly important here is the line of work of respecting the essence of others like yourself, or Not-working on People.
    6th line of work: the work of helping others leave school and back to lives of meaning and significance. The meetings for 6th line of work are remarkable for their lack of judgment and retribution. See 5th line of work.

  9. Hello Bullfrog –
    I’ve read through this comment a number of times … not getting it. Perhaps you could clarify once you’ve worked it out.

    • Bullfrog says:

      Let me give it another shot. We are all familiar with Ouspensky’s and Gurdjieff’s explanation of the 3 lines of work, and how they are manifested in the case of the Ganscult. It would seem that additional lines of work are necessary to undo the harmful effects of the Boston/NYC groups. So, I’m hypothesizing lines of work numbered 4 through 6.

      While the intent was largely whimsical, I would say there is a fairly serious element, at least as far as what I see myself going through. First, it was necessary to leave school. And, to a large part digest that experience. Second, it became necessary to communicate with others about their experiences. An effort which I am only dipping my big toe into thus far. Finally, I believe it will be necessary to help others leave school.

      Does that make sense? If not, no worries.

      • Hi Bullfrog:
        Thanks, this is much clearer:

        “We are all familiar with Ouspensky’s and Gurdjieff’s explanation of the 3 lines of work, and how they are manifested in the case of the Ganscult. It would seem that additional lines of work are necessary to undo the harmful effects of the Boston/NYC groups. So, I’m hypothesizing lines of work numbered 4 through 6.”

        I would like to hear more about Ouspensky’s and Gurdjieff’s explanation for 3 lines of work, in contrast to the Boston branch’s interpretation. I haven’t read the explanations and imagine what I was told was twisted into the “what’s advantageous for the leadership” version.

        “While the intent was largely whimsical, I would say there is a fairly serious element, at least as far as what I see myself going through. First, it was necessary to leave school. And, to a large part digest that experience. Second, it became necessary to communicate with others about their experiences. An effort which I am only dipping my big toe into thus far. Finally, I believe it will be necessary to help others leave school.”

        I can only say that, for me, it was — and is– necessary to communicate with others. “School” became such a large portion of my life (for we all know it devours lives exponentially over time) and I felt isolated and estranged until I did begin to reach out. And I struggle with whether it is necessary for me to help others leave — as my decision was so deeply personal — but I do feel compelled to try to connect with the students I felt closest to and get them information.

        I’d love to hear other people comment on these points ….

        Thanks, again, for clarifying.

  10. Odysseus says:

    Well, I have to correct myself. I stated previously that the three lines of work are found in “In Search of the Miraculous”. That was incorrect. I have searched in vain through the whole book without finding it.

    It can be found in “The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution”, and “The Fourth Way”. We read the “Psychology…” several times during my time in the cult, but The Fourth Way was frowned upon as being less reliable.

    The following is from “The Psychology…”

    Once at a lecture a question was asked: Do people who study his system work only for themselves or do they work for other people? Now I will also answer this question.

    The first line is study of oneself and study of the system, or the ‘language.’ Working on this line one certainly works for oneself.

    The second line is work with other people in the school and working with them, one works not only with them but for them. So in the second line one learns to work with people and for
    people. This is why the second line is particularly difficult for some people.

    In the third line, one works for the school. In order to work for the school, one must first understand the work of the school, understand its aims and needs. nd this requires time unless one is really well prepared, because some people can begin with the third line, or in any case find it very easily.

    In the first line, one works chiefly on the study of the system or self-study and on self-observation, and one must manifest in one’s work a certain amount of initiative in relation to oneself.

    In the second line one works in connection with certain organised work and one must only do what one is told. No initiative is required or admitted in the second line and the chief point in this is discipline and following exactly what one is told, without bringing in any of one’s own ideas even if they appear better than those that have been given.

    In the third line again one can manifest more initiative, but one must always verify oneself and not let oneself make decisions against rules and principles, or against what one has been told.

    Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution 3rd Lecture

  11. Odysseus says:

    One of the passages I found while looking for the three lines of work”

    “There is an Eastern tale which speaks about a very rich magician who had a great many sheep. But at the same time this magician was very mean. He did not want to hire shepherds, nor did he want to erect a fence about the pasture where his sheep were grazing. The sheep consequently often wandered into the forest, fell into ravines, and
    so on, and above all they ran away, for they knew that the magician wanted their flesh and skins and this they did not like.
    “At last the magician found a remedy. He hypnotized his sheep and suggested to them first of all that they were immortal and that no harm was being done to them when they were skinned, that, on the contrary, it would be very good for them and even plea sant; secondly he suggested that the magician was a good master who loved his flock so much that he was ready to do anything in the world for them; and in the
    third place he suggested to them that if anything at all were going to happen to them it was not going to happen just then, at any rate not that day, and therefore they had no need to think about it. Further the magician suggested to his sheep that they were not sheep at all; to some of them he suggested that they were lions, to others that they
    were eagles, to others that they weremen, and to others that they were magicians.
    “And after this all his cares and worries about the sheep came to an end. They never ran away again but quietly awaited the time when the magician would require their flesh and skins.

    ISOM Chapter 11, page 219

    Looking back, this resonates perfectly with the current state of that supposed “school of higher knowledge”. It’s chilling to find this in the texts we studied. I wonder when Sharon will “require their flesh and skins”.

  12. Odysseus says:

    Bullfrog’s idea of the 4th, 5th and 6th lines of work seem to lay out pretty well as a “higher level” of the 3 lines of work. Kind of like the 6 cosmic processes that consisted of antagonistic pairs.

    I think it is very useful to think in these terms, that I can work for myself in understanding my experience and how it has affected me. That I can work for others, by reaching out to help others, both fellow escapees and those still inside. And that I can work against “school” by helping others to leave. Taken together, these 3 lines of work seem to come under the heading of Healing and Regeneration.

    • Hi Odysseus –

      Thank you so much for searching for the info and posting it here.

      Some responses …

      “In order to work for the school, one must first understand the work of the school, understand its aims and needs.”

      In my memory, no one ever explained “school’s” aims and needs … in fact its aims and needs were treated as sacred esoteric knowledge and only the sufficiently evolved were privy to this knowledge. Anyone have a different experience?

      “In the third line again one can manifest more initiative, but one must always verify oneself and not let oneself make decisions against rules and principles, or against what one has been told.”

      If I understand this correctly, it means that the initiative to do “third line” work must manifest from within and be verified from within — opinions? In my experience, “teachers” dictated who would do “third line” of work (i.e. recruitment and party planning/creating) and presented it as a privilege.

      “There is an Eastern tale which speaks about a very rich magician who had a great many sheep … ”

      Very early in my “school” days, Robert told us this tale, among the others he presented as though talking about our lives. I now recognize that he was telling us exactly what to expect from “school” — much like when we read Anderson’s The Shadow.

      In Chapter 2, How to Stay in a Cult, I wrote this:

      “On the other hand, a more awake and savvy seeker might see school telling the new student exactly what it is up to: yep, we are molding and preparing you to hand over your time, energy, talents and money to school.”

      (http://cultconfessions.com/2012/03/14/chapter-4-how-to-stay-in-a-cult/)

      Last thought, I really like your assessment of Bullfrog’s 4th, 5th and 6th lines of work … especially the heading of Healing and Regeneration. Lately, I am constantly grateful for the healing and regeneration that has followed since my departure and I recognize that I have gained something from this experience that I needed deeply. But this something could only come from leaving school – if I were still “in”, I’d still be waiting for healing never to come. But more on that in a future blog. Meanwhile, the thoughts offered by both you and Bullfrog provide some context for the need to continue to reach out to our friends still “in”.

  13. To YNTBOM:

    I tried to respond to your comment offline, but the email server sent a message that the address no longer exists. I would like to correspond directly. How can I reach you?

  14. Odysseus says:

    Hi GSR,

    I think it’s clear that when you come right down to it that “the work of the school … its aims and needs…” consist solely of perpetuating itself and bringing in revenue for Sharon. Anything else is merely window dressing. That is why it was never discussed. To do so would be to point out the lack of clothing on the emperor.

    I can remember at various points thinking about what the work of school might be, imagining historic legacies like the Gothic Cathedrals and the plays of Shakespeare. Further imagining the role I might play in this work. What a crock! At this point in time, the only legacy this “school” has to leave is one fraudulent film, a sizable real estate portfolio and hundreds of damaged lives.

    Any benefit that anyone might actually have gotten from their experience is due to their own efforts and more despite the teachers than because of them.

    btw, It’s amazing how many ways they found to thumb their noses at us while taking us to the cleaners. The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Shadow, The Magician and the Sheep, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Sharon’s $5 a month retirement fund – all ways of demonstrating that they had us brainwashed and could even tell us what they were doing while they were doing it!

  15. Hi Odysseus –

    “At this point in time, the only legacy this “school” has to leave is one fraudulent film, a sizable real estate portfolio and hundreds of damaged lives.”

    Recently, I hit a new point of rage about the betrayal. It is so sinister when you get a glimpse of the workings behind the curtain.

    “btw, It’s amazing how many ways they found to thumb their noses at us while taking us to the cleaners. The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Shadow, The Magician and the Sheep, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Sharon’s $5 a month retirement fund – all ways of demonstrating that they had us brainwashed and could even tell us what they were doing while they were doing it!”

    Speaking of sinister! Yes, I remember putting that together shortly after I’d left … in fact, I think it was during a road trip to South Carolina, the week after Robert and I spoke and I told him I couldn’t come back. There was something about that unoccupied time of staring out at the highway and it all fell together. I feel very lucky I didn’t stay any longer than I did. I was poised to become another damaged life, but left before my school stupor took its toll.

    I am curious as to how long you were in school and when did you realize that nothing real was happening?

  16. Bullfrog says:

    “I am curious as to how long you were in school and when did you realize that nothing real was happening?”

    I’ve got a couple of stories on this account. And, my use of the word “account” is not entirely accidental.

    I was in the Ganscult for 13 years. I left right after the terrorist attacks in 2001. I left for a variety of reasons, but the control over my dating life is the issue I’d like to focus on here.

    A couple of years before I left I told Robert in private that I wanted to leave, and one of the reasons was that the only thing keeping me there was women in the class that I was attracted to. His answer was: “nothing wrong with that.” He went on to say that for him, too, there were times that women he was attracted to was his only basis for being there. That puzzled me a bit, as I really thought “school” was about one’s purpose in life. As Robert himself put it once in class, “school” was not a lonely hearts club.

    When I went on the Egypt trip, this would be January, 2001, there was someone I became quite fond of, and brought this up to Robert after class one night. He said without a pause that he didn’t think this was a good idea. In the past when I asked about women I was interested in he would typically say that he would speak to Sharon. I have to guess that this had already been asked and answered, so to speak. Which suggested to me that the woman in question may have been interested in me as well.

    A few months later, and this would be just before I left, we had a men’s and women’s meeting at CR. Robert was present. I recalled the story about the woman I had expressed an interest in, and that I had been told that this was not a good idea. Robert replied that I should assume that anyone I was attracted to would be wrong for me. I responded that, on that basis, I didn’t see any path to a successful relationship with a woman. He laughed (his laughter often confused me) and said, that’s why I should continue to ask the question.

    So, what I came to see by these experiences is that school had me by the short and curlies. Since I had already been through an unsuccessful marriage, one for which Robert had been a strong advocate, I knew that Robert and Sharon didn’t have some secret understanding of what would make things click between two people.

    No one should be in the position of playing god in other people’s lives. Particularly in the arena of sex and marriage. That wasn’t exactly the final straw for me, but it was the next to the last straw.

  17. Odysseus says:

    “I am curious as to how long you were in school and when did you realize that nothing real was happening?”

    I was in the cult for about 17 years. During that time, I had my doubts, but always managed to suppress them, essentially deciding to “see no evil” for the sake of what I perceived to be the good. The real turning point for me was the disaster Christmas Party of 2003, although I didn’t leave until 2007. The experiences around that event made it very clear that there was “something rotten in Denmark”.

    My reason for staying in was similar to Bullfrog’s – there was a fellow student I was interested in and I stayed in for that possibility. I wound up dating her for 2 1/2 years, before realizing that my hopes of getting her to leave with me were not going to happen. I further realized that if I stayed in and married her, that the rest of my life would become a constant scramble for every last dime I could lay my hands on. I just couldn’t face that, even for her sake, so I left.

    I agree with Bullfrog’s assessment that neither Sharon nor Robert had some special knowledge about sex and marriage. Not surprising when you consider the record – three failed marriages for Robert (all arranged “school” marriages), and Sharon’s seriously messed up marriage to Alex.

    I think that the real driving force behind “school marriages” is to benefit the cult by tying people more closely to the cult. If Sharon does not see how that purpose is served, or if she just gets more pleasure out of preventing people from getting what they want, then the answer is “no”.

    I have said before and will keep on saying it, that in my humble opinion, Sharon is a sociopath. That being the case, she thrives on manipulating others according to whims we can only dimly understand.

  18. Thanks Bullfrog and Odysseus. Having had never been part of “school’s” arranged-marriage machine, these stories make my skin crawl. It’s so sinister. And I’m – again – grateful to my husband and the other invisible messengers that were whispered to me to get out before “school help” helped my marriage right into the ground! It seems that “school” uses the most basic of human needs as tools of control – for me, it was the need for money; for the two of you, it was the need for love.

    In regard to the need for love (as I said in a previous post) I was furious when I learned that I was getting a great deal of crap about my husband and his complaints from someone who had never been married outside the cult; on the other hand, I am talking about a man who has never chosen his own wife as far as I can see. Three marriages, three divorces, all contrived. Decades of unions seeded in deception.

    That’s a pretty sad life. Here’s to your freedom!

  19. Odysseus says:

    Hi GSR,

    To be fair, I don’t know that Robert has “never chosen his own wife”. He may well have asked Sharon for permission in each case. Of course that’s weird in its own right.

    And in each case he pursued and married women who were in a subordinate position to him. Gee, isn’t that the definition of sexual abuse?

    So, he is hardly qualified to know how a healthy relationship works.

    Here’s to freedom for all of us – those who are out and those who are yet to become free!

  20. Bullfrog says:

    “The real turning point for me was the disaster Christmas Party of 2003, although I didn’t leave until 2007.”

    What happened at the Christmas Party?

  21. charlie chaplin says:

    One of these days, all of us who were present for the 2003 disaster party need to compare notes and come up with a more or less comprehensive description. As an overview, this was a time when Robert was out for many weeks (maybe months), and Paul and Michael were more or less running the show in Belmont. They informed us “younger” students that we would be responsible for putting on the Christmas party that year, under the guidance of the “older” students in Billerica. Speaking for myself, it was daunting but also felt like an opportunity. We worked very hard. At one point, the party was postponed, we were told due to Sharon being ill, though everyone suspected that word had gone up the chain that we were unprepared and needed more time. The party itself was not awful in my memory. Sharon & Robert seemed more distant than was usual for a party, so that cast a cloud, and some of the performances had legitimate issues. For example, an older student played piano and messed up partway through. She requested to start over and Sharon told her to just continue from where she had left off. At any rate, the next day we had our “impressions” class. Robert asked the question: what was our aim for the party and did we feel we achieved it? A few people spoke, some positively, some more ambivalent. Robert then made it known how disappointed he and Sharon were, and in general basically said that while claiming to be attempting to give a gift, we had really just celebrated our own self-love. Again speaking for myself, it was a pretty horrible smackdown. Having experienced a few prior “impressions” classes, I came in expecting something more like the mutual admiration sessions they typically turned out to be. I remember walking out with a sense of dread and shame, which felt shared by my classmates, and calling in sick to work for the next few days. I also remember that everything we had done had been okayed by the “older” students, adding to the feeling of being blindsided with withering criticism, and the sense that maybe we couldn’t trust the older students after all. Please, others who were present, add your memories (or correct mine)!

  22. Thanks, Charlie.

    That Christmas party does get quite a bit of mention. I’d be interested to hear other people’s experiences.

  23. Odysseus says:

    I was one of the Billerica group assigned to “guide” the Belmont crew in preparing the party. The rationale that was given for Robert’s absence from the preparations was that he needed a rest. Well, apparently so did everyone else who had actual experience of leading a line of work like the Christmas Party, or its’ subdivisions, because the 10 or 12 of us who were selected were all people without that experience. Of course, it was presented as an opportunity to reach up to a higher level.

    From talking to others after the fact, I have come to the conclusion that we were intentionally set up to fail, for the purpose of demonstrating to Robert how badly he was needed. Robert seems to have been flagging in his devotion to “school”, as evidenced by his frequent absences, and it seems this was Sharon’s way of setting the hook deeper.

    Charlie Chaplin talked about the “Impressions Class” instead being a smack-down. I have to say that it sounds as though they had it easy compared to us older folks. We got to wait in the stairwell for 2 hours after our appointed time to arrive, then went in to a communal verbal flogging, in which every one of us, without exception, had to confess to our role in producing the disaster. Absolutely no-one, however peripherally involved, got off unscathed.

    Looking back in hind-sight, as Charlie said, it was not that bad of a party. Most of the presentations were of much lower standard than previous parties, although there was one which I thought was wonderful, a music/dance number performed by two of the Belmont group. Robert chose this one for special castigation, saying that it was full of self-love. This was so obviously not true (in my perception) that it left me convinced that Robert had an axe to grind. The two Belmont students left the group shortly after, apparently having married against Robert and Sharon’s instructions (I may have the sequence wrong, but it all happened in very short order). I can only conclude that Robert’s vituperation was caused mostly by these two and their disobedience.

    The other major difference in the party was that the decision was made to forgo the traditional sit-down dinner in favor of a constant sequence of appetizers, tapas-style. This decision was made in class, but looking back I believe it came from the Junior Teachers, who presumably were acting under Sharon’s instructions to screw things up. One of the consequences, which we might have realized had we thought about it, was that there was then no structure to the evening whereby Sharon would be the center of attention. Obviously, this did not sit well with Sharon.

    My reaction to the response from Robert was that it was just plain vicious, equivalent to flaying alive an un-house-trained puppy for soiling the carpet. Totally out of proportion to any mistakes that were made (and there were some), and actually counter-productive in both the short and long term. While the party was not at the level we had all come to expect, this was NOT from a lack of effort from those most involved. Indeed, the greater blame should be laid at the doorstep of those who decided that those who knew how to do this work should not be involved.

    I believe that many people left the group as a direct result of that night. My departure, while delayed for a while is certainly most attributable to this experience of the underlying pathology of the cult.

    I hope Sharon is happy about keeping Robert on his leash, because she paid dearly for it in reduced revenues!

  24. Bullfrog says:

    Wow. I can’t help but think of Kafka’s novellas, particularly The Trial. Not something we studied in “school,” but worthwhile as a study of the brutality of people who have power. One can imagine a Kafka story called The Christmas Party, and it would have all the ingredients you described.

    This is, after all, the celebration of the birth of Christ, not an excuse to torture people. I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t have a Good Friday party.

    I think this all relates back to the question of what exactly was the “work” of this “school.” It’s not an easy question to answer.

    Anyway, I hope you have some distance from this. Some day I’ll tell you about my public flogging, or maybe you were there for that?

  25. Odysseus says:

    I don’t recall your flogging. Was it before the fusion of the “younger” and “older” Woburn groups? I was originally in the “younger” group.

    Most of us have been in the hot seat at one time or another. I believe this is intentional. It is consistent with the behavior of spousal abusers – a pattern of abuse followed by affection, which leaves the abusee holding tighter to the good times as a buffer against the bad ones.

    As far as the work of the “school”, as I said before, I think it consists solely in generating revenue for Sharon. She probably thought that “Artists and Orphans” would be the start of something, but seems to have given up that idea after the uproar over Rosie O’Donnell’s involvement. Other than Alex’s extremely odd plays from the San Francisco days, there is nothing that will last beyond the lives of those who encountered the group. And, I think that is a good thing, as “by their fruits ye shall know them”. This particular tree yields bitter fruit.

  26. Groucho's Mother says:

    Hi Bullfrog. Did the public emotional flogging have something to do with stating you were unidentified from some acting event, and it really set She Who Can Not Be Named off? If that was you, I remember feeling so awful for you, and at the same time assuming there was just not something I was not understanding, that She Who Can Not be Named could see, being so much more advanced than a mere mortal such as myself. I am sorry.

  27. Bullfrog says:

    Ah, it was just before the fusion of the Woburn groups. I miss that space in Woburn, by the way. Of the 3 spaces I was part of, Somerville, Woburn, and Billerica, the Woburn space was my favorite.

    What you say about the pattern of spousal abusers fits. Right on the money.

    The short version of my flogging was that I fell asleep when Sharon showed up for class. Most of the rest of that class was my “friends” testifying to various deficiencies in my character. The only one I recall who defended me was Dana, IIRC.

    I walked around in a daze for weeks after that. I really didn’t know who were my friends, and who weren’t. Part of my new understanding with school was that I would need to make a substantial donation to a new project, probably the house in New Ipswich I would guess in retrospect.

  28. moishe3rd says:

    I love reading about what was/is happening in this current peculiar thing called “School.” And, I thank you all much for that.
    Nonetheless – I think you are giving Bob and Sharon and whomever, way too much credit.
    Once upon a time, way back 30 some odd years ago – I learned in “School” that Evil is basically stupid. Alex’s plays were all about, when it comes down to the bottom line, Evil is short sighted; stupid; and unable to perform…
    Based on reading y’all’s narratives, here, and over at Esoteric Freedom, Bob and Sharon, et al, are very “crystallized” (is that still a concept in “the Work?” If not, it’s a great idea which deserves explanation.) in Who They Think They Are; In Who They Believe Themselves To Be; In Their Imagination…
    Yet, you all are giving them “Crafty Manipulation”: Credit.
    It ain’t so.
    Based on reports here and elsewhere, Sharon is a besotted drug addict who has very little grasp on reality. She is not capable of planning the Evil Manipulations that you seem to be implying.
    And, Bob… Bob is tired. Bob believes in Sharon and “the Work.” Bob believes he is doing what “the Work” says he must do. Bob has been doing this his whole adult life. There is nothing else for him.
    I don’t believe that these are the Machiavellian characters that you all believe them to be.
    They are simply “sleeping humanity,” along with the rest of us, who are doomed to play their parts until (see “Adam King”) they are dragged screaming into Hell.
    They are more to be pitied than censured.

    Now, admittedly, I am basing this all on what this blog and Esoteric Freedom has revealed. However, based on all that – there is no way that Sharon and Bob, et al, could have all of these “ulterior motives” and clever machinations that you all seem to believe they are performing.
    They are simply playing the roles they believe in. It is sad. It is not necessarily insanely evil.

    • Odysseus says:

      Hi Moishe,

      You make some good points about Sharon and Bob. I agree that at this point Sharon is essentially crystallized as what she is. I hold out some hope that Bob may still have some shreds of conscience left. But, they have a long history of sociopathic behavior. And I have learned that sociopaths, while not college educated in that, are nevertheless very long in street-smarts. Because she cannot empathize with other people, the sociopath studies them to learn what makes them tick. This knowledge is necessary if the sociopath is to be successful in her activities of manipulating others. The Machiavellian part is what they learned while becoming sociopaths, and it is now ingrained patterns of behavior. Sharon and Bob have a long history of this and I would argue that THIS is what has crystallized in them. You don’t have to be a conscious being to do great harm to others.

      Yes, at this point in time, Sharon may have no choice but to act as she does, but those actions consist of manipulating others according to her own set of priorities. It is certainly not conscious evil, but it is evil. As far as that evil being short-sighted and stupid, I think that this is why things are now unraveling. If they were smart, they would take their ill-gotten gains and spend their declining years on a beach, instead of hanging on the way they are.

      Another thing we were told from time to time is “Never fear to hate that which is odious.” What Sharon, Bob and so many others have become and have done is odious, and we should not hesitate to name it thus. We can, however, say a prayer that they find it in themselves to repent, and that God might have mercy on their souls.

      And we can be grateful that we did not become as they are.

      • Moshe Murray says:

        I am not disagreeing with you.
        But, I think I over complicated my simple point.
        I don’t think that Sharon or Bob were “deliberately” doing anything regarding the Christmas party described. They are just doing what they do as the mood strikes them, as does everybody else.
        They have simply “Crystallized” into their niche in Life, as do we all.
        I really don’t think they have the ill will and evil intentions that are being ascribed to them.
        We all think that we are “doing good.” Their particular rote repetition of what they consider “good” is the result of 50 odd years of their own beliefs.
        And, as I often remark, that’s sad.
        They are locked into a path which damages people and themselves.

      • moishe3rd says:

        I am not disagreeing with you.
        But, I think I over complicated my simple point.
        I don’t think that Sharon or Bob were “deliberately” doing anything regarding the Christmas party described. They are just doing what they do as the mood strikes them, as does everybody else.
        They have simply “Crystallized” into their niche in Life, as do we all.
        I really don’t think they have the ill will and evil intentions that are being ascribed to them.
        We all think that we are “doing good.” Their particular rote repetition of what they consider “good” is the result of 50 odd years of their own beliefs.
        And, as I often remark, that’s sad.
        They are locked into a path which apparfently damages people and themselves.

  29. moishe3rd says:

    Whoa! Sorry to double post but, I tried to go to Esoteric Freedom blog and it’s Gone! Damn!
    Well…. What goes around, comes around….
    This is Emes….

  30. Hi YNTBOM –
    Let me know if you email me. I don’t check that account on a regular basis. If I’ve misunderstood something, I want to know. Thanks.

  31. Groucho's Mother says:

    I doubt that we’ve seen the last of the courageous hearts at the Esoteric Freedom blog.

  32. Here, here, Groucho’s Mother! Something must be cookin’ there.

  33. I Will Thrive says:

    I guess I should consider myself lucky that I was so depressed and exhausted that I slept through that “impressions” class, unaware of what day it was when my sustainer called me the next day to ask me why I wasn’t there. All she said was that it was “tough.” Later on when I was piecing together the snippets I’d heard about the “smackdown,” I asked her why she hadn’t told me the details, she said she was afraid it would have sent me further down the spiral of depression.

    Why I was depressed and exhausted had to do with a combination of things — most related to “school.” I was deeply, deeply struggling with a personal issue for which I was getting lousy “help” and no support. A typical “school” situation – pushing people to make major waves in their lives, then leaving them dog paddling and exhausted in deep water while “teachers” watch from shore trying to convince that they are offering help, “why are we drowning?” During all this, I was contributing the required time to prep for this “party of conflicting direction.”

    True, it wasn’t at the level of previous levels — why should it be? it was a new, inexperience level of leaders who were in charge! But it certainly was a beautiful night with many, many wonderful qualities. I honestly thought we’d get the parental smiles of approval for the obvious efforts to give the best gift we could. Do you criticize a child’s drawing because it’s not of the level of an adult? Of course not, you recognize the heart and effort and LOVE with which they earnestly offer it to you. I really walked away after the party prepared for constructive criticism, yet pleased with the gift we had so sincerely given, and hoping we had warmed Sharon and Robert’s hearts with our efforts.

    It was my only ray of sunshine in months of darkness. My sustainer was right — had she told me the dirty details of what their actual response was, it would have sent me into a tailspin. Had I been there that night and gotten slammed in person, I may have had to check myself into a hospital. I was THAT raw and vulnerable. Funny, all along I thought they were so evolved that they would know this just by looking at me. Considering the ensuing months, when the pain and depression would get worse before it got better, I should have seen the flapping red flags…the screaming warnings that they didn’t care a whit beyond themselves. No, I remained for multiple years after that.

    It’s only with some distance and lots of healing that I can be merely mind-boggled that so many loving, smart, talented, hard-working people could be blown away by a such nasty, fucked-up person as Sharon. Without this distance and healing, it would (and has) made me physically ill that people such as Sharon and Robert, Inc. dedicate their lives to stealing souls.

    Let me add that I’ve recalled those long absences of Robert’s and feel quite strongly that the reason behind them was a tortured soul he could no longer mask. I was there the night he yelped in pain and stood up to walk across the room to the men’s room. He blathered on about some “moment of awakening and separation” that struck him like lightning. I first wondered if he’d had some sort of a back spasm, but it gnawed at me as “not quite it” — it wasn’t a cry of physical pain — it was more emotional than that. Robert didn’t return for months after that class. I believe he was losing the battle with his demons as he looked out upon “his students” – faces earnest with longing for the answers he purported to have.

    I don’t have to wish that his soul be damned to H*ll for what he’s done because I believe he already walks in H*ll. Sharon’s only protection from daily misery may be her madness.

    • Odysseus says:

      Hi I Will Thrive,

      I am glad for you that you missed the Impressions Class. It was a nasty, nasty experience. Nothing good came of it other than people deciding to leave the group.

      When you say “Funny, all along I thought they were so evolved that they would know this just by looking at me.”, I think that this is the clearest indication there is that things are completely wrong. A conscious teacher SHOULD be able to see what a student needs, and respond approriately to that need. In fact they were pursuing an agenda which has nothing to do with the welfare of their students, much less the healing of the world.

      And I agree, they do walk in H*ll.

      I’m glad you’re out and healing.

  34. Bullfrog says:

    Groucho’s Mother: Sharon’s statements to me set me into a state I can only call: “who knows what I said.” But, yes, what you say sounds about right.

    Thanks for what you said. It was definitely a big deal at the time, and I remember Heidi saying to me much later that she thought Sharon was trying to elicit an invocation of affirmation on my part. That was also very helpful.

    Every so often that interaction with Sharon came up when we were discussing things in CR. I understand that others didn’t really know what to say at the time. I didn’t know what to say either.

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