Recently, I was conversing with fellow exiles and the topic turned to “school’s” “help”. One of my co-horts described it as The Unholy Trinity and I had to share.
“School” claims that its “help” is informed from “above”, i.e. “teachers” who have been “doing the work longer” and are therefore existing on a higher plane. Other options for help, such as therapy for example, come from the “level of life” – or those who aren’t in “school” and are still asleep. Therefore, “school” holds the patent on real “help”.
The Unholy Trinity works on the three-step model of receiving help, expressing gratitude and owing “school”. Let’s take a look at how this works, shall we?
Step 1) Receive “Help”
Let’s say I need more money. I state a “five-week aim” to get a job. With “sustainer” guidance, I crank out resumes, applications, cold calls and in-person visits to offices where I hand out resumes to people I’ve never met, fueled by the “school principle” of as long as you are working any job will do. Some times I run out of steam and ask for “help” in “class” and “teachers” suggest alternative approaches. By the end of the five weeks I have a job. After two years I hate the job, so I’m fucking it up and in addition, it never payed enough to cover my expenses to begin with, so I’m always stressed financially. I rinse and repeat the same employment-seeking formula and eventually, with “help”, I get a job that pays me more than I’ve ever earned. Suddenly I am financially independent. I still wind up hating this job — but more importantly — I’m making a lot more money.
Step 2) Express Gratitude:
I acknowledge in “class” that I couldn’t have found these jobs without “the work” and steady guidance from my “sustainer” and “teachers.” This job with its middle-class salary becomes the measure of my worth as an adult. I’ve become a “woman who can pay for her own arising”. I realize that I am more capable than I believe I am. I thank “school” for introducing me to “the work” and for the “help”. I look forward to having more money and being able to put my attention on other passions, most notably, music.
Step 3) Owe With Interest:
Over time, I realize that — like a credit card — “school’s” “help” comes with an undisclosed ever-expanding interest rate and hidden fees. At first “help” is part of the free introductory five-week experiment. Then “school” wraps it into the monthly “tuition”. At a certain point “school” directs its “students” into the “third line of work”, or new student recruitment. Those who wish to evolve, can’t do so without “giving back to school”, because evolution requires “3 lines of work”, work on yourself, helping others and working for “school”. Most “students” hate recruitment. But “school” will remind them that any good thing in their lives is due to the highly evolved “help” only available from “school”.
The longer you are in “school”, the more the exponentially-expanding “school” demands devour your time. My “only life things” and passions and pursuits were increasingly relegated into corners and spaces not being devoured by “school”. These corners and spaces shrunk in concert with my growing tenure.
Something else began to happen; an emptiness began to fill my heart as my psyche became more fragmented over time. This phenomenon is difficult to describe; I can only say the more demands “school” put on me — top secret orders that I could not reveal to friends or family — the more carved up and pulled apart my psychology felt. My desire to play music and write songs haunted me, but my ability to focus was more and more compromised, as was my ability to connect to my voice and express it in the written word. For the first time since I could pen words on paper, I found myself almost unable to write.
At the same time, and what made this process confusing, “school” offered “help” that helped. When my father became very ill and passed away, a “teacher” called me daily, offering support and prayers and helping me navigate my grief, as well as the family dysfunction that percolated up as we faced his death. I imagine that every student has a similar story of extraordinary and real help given by a “teacher”, or “sustainer”.
Other help, though, didn’t feel the same. We stood in class and revealed our innermost wishes, our deepest scars and our most powerful fears. Like an abusive relationship, “school” initially offered understanding and validation, but slowly, insidiously its “help” mutated into something humiliating, painful, and confusing with a focus on “your chief weakness”. The seeds of doubt about who you think you are took root and started growing.
We justified that the “teachers” must know something we don’t: after all s/he has been doing “the work” longer/is more evolved/is a “teacher”, etc. Teachers regularly emphasized that this special and “real” teaching ” says I don’t know myself; I am a “multiplicity” — I don’t have control over my thoughts, my feelings, or my actions. I am a woman who “cannot do”. I need “help” to become the evolved woman I wish to be.
The more faith we lost in ourselves, the more we needed guidance from “above”. The more guidance we needed, the more we owed. This bottomless debt structure is how “school” coerces some “students” into a life-long tenure, til death do they part.
Looking back on my cult experience, I’m amazed by the diabolical brilliance of “school’s” indoctrination. While *in* the cult, I was acutely aware of the brilliance, but most of the time I was unable to see the sinister coercion and when I did, I didn’t trust my perceptions; everything appeared to be so divinely orchestrated that when I received “help” that felt deliberately humiliating (for example being called out as a “princess” for deciding to quit a coffee shop job that I sucked at and only paid $9/hour) or witnessed another “student” receiving a verbal whipping, I dismissed the myriad of emotions and screaming inner voices that said, step away from the cult, ma’am. “I must not understand something that my more highly-evolved ‘teachers’ do,” I remember thinking. I now know that these “teachers” are simply holding true to The Unholy Trinity, playing out their roles in the three-step process of receive help, express gratitude and owe “school” with interest. You owe, you owe, so off to “school” you go.