If this doesn’t capture the “school” experience, I don’t know what does …
If this doesn’t capture the “school” experience, I don’t know what does …
By now we disgruntled ex-“students” know that “school” morphs when exposed. Recently some sources have shared transmutations present and past.
Present morph: I have been told that Boston’s satellite branch started a “younger class” this winter. My sources said that it consists of three women, four men, a revolving door of recruits who don’t return, and “older students” who pop in to make the class feel and look more authentic. Sources also tell me that it …
Stay tuned for past fabrications that have morphed into “secret esoteric teachings”.
Last night, while stuck in an I-95 construction zone, I found myself mulling over sustainers. Recently a contributor confirmed something I have now heard from “disgruntled ex-students”, near and far, past and present. It deserves the spotlight, because it’s such an egregious lie, such a contrived “school”-perpetrated deception. It is also ridiculous, so I can’t wait to make fun of it in that future musical.
Here’s the comment, gleaned from a much longer story that you can read here: “I realized that school was a fake. I had seen sustainer reports by accident, so I knew how teachers knew supposedly secret information. Now I knew that none of them had any kind of advanced insight or knowledge or ‘secret powers’. I used this to temper my life in school the last three years so I could survive.”
Yes folks, it appears that your “private” relationship, those “confidential” conversations, were reported back to the “leadership”. I guess “school” kept a notebook — a dossier if you will — on each and every attendee. Our sustainers, fellow “disgruntled(s), were responsible for keeping us compliant, attending and contributing financially.
Part of retaining membership included reporting on our “progress”. Teachers would then, cleverly and insincerely, bring up private matters in class at key moments — as though psychic, as though they could see and know more because of their “efforts”; because they had been “doing the work longer”.
It brought back a scene in “class”: a “student” was asking for “help”. I can’t remember the context; I do remember that her inquiry was not related to relationships. After careful contemplation the “teacher” offering her guidance tipped his head to one side as though thinking, paused dramatically, then announced, “I sense that you are lonely.” His presentation was so tender, so empathic, that I was suitably impressed.
“Wow! How could M be so tuned in?” I recall thinking. “I consider myself an empathic person and I didn’t pick up on her loneliness!”
Obviously, this moment stayed with me. Perhaps my memory imprinted it because I had briefly experienced transcendence through this higher being. Or I sensed the deceit in his presentation. Maybe some cell in my psyche woke up briefly, allowing awareness of that gnawing feeling that all “school” attendees get — that sense of “something doesn’t feel right about this.” Most of us dismissed our perceptions, deferring to those “wiser, more evolved teachers.” For many of us had come to believe and repeat this phrase: “The more evolved ‘teacher’ must understand something that I don’t”
In the past, I have put out a call for any former sustainer to write a guest post about his/her experience. Perhaps it’s too hard to dreg this up, but if anyone whose been a sustainer could contribute some insight here, I would appreciate it. Perhaps a current “student” will find this blog and recognize the con job. Or perhaps your insight will provide peace to a former student who is still wondering if s/he has left “the source”. Either way, your truth would help to pull back the curtain, expose the wizard, and be of great service to those either seeking information and/or affirmation.
When I first left “school”, I believed that each “student” had made a personal choice about “joining” and “staying”. I left because I finally saw how my participation was damaging my marriage, but I was still unable to consider that the group, itself, was destructive. Even as I realized that Robert’s claim of “school” as “the source” was delusional, at best, I vowed to keep the silence out of respect for my colleagues; but when I started uncovering “school’s” seedy past and deceptive recruitment and retainment practices, I formulated my new life policy: No More Secrets.
I “broke the rule” of “no internet research”, mostly because my silence and the accompanying isolation were starting to make me insane. The strange, confusing and intense experience I had recently left was playing out in my mind like a movie. I saw myself giving my power away, surrendering my voice and my perceptions over to those who were “more highly evolved”. I saw myself allowing the institution to micromanage personal decisions to my detriment, usurping five precious years of my “only life”, hurting my marriage and other essential relationships through the practice of “clever insincerity”, steering me away from my passions, squashing my true nature and voice– ironically my essence — and painting me into the prescribed cult identity of helpless, entitled and unemployable Jewish American Princess.
Even though I was no longer in “school”, its “don’t leak the experience” rule had locked me into a strange and invisible cage, still isolating me from the “un-schooled” — i.e. everyone else. Contact with the “schooled” was also “against the rules”, unless it was via a “school”-sanctioned teacher conversation. Essentially, I had no outlet or resource to process and heal from this bizarre experience. I was strangely and invisibly alienated from everyone, locked into this secret.
My first month out of the cult, and several hundred miles of travel made me realize that I needed to speak out to save my mental health and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. The blog — i.e. breaking the rule of silence — freed me from the damaging psychological, cognitive and emotional prison. The end result is that I have emancipated myself in every way — I have never felt stronger, clearer and more self assured. Every day reminds me that I am free and I live in a state of gratitude, because I can refer back to my “school” days and contrast them to today. The stark difference between life “in school” and life without “the source” begs the question: source of what?
My No More Secrets policy is the key to my emancipation. I posted my story in cyberspace for this reason. With nothing to hide, I am free to tell it to whomever, whenever I feel it best and right. Secrets lock you into an invisible prison. “School” counts on secrecy on all levels. Secrets fuel the operation and keep it going. I have found healing in telling my story, letting go of that burden, and so can you.
You don’t have to take your story to your grave. You don’t have to blast it out to cyberspace either. But tell it to someone; even one trusted person will give you some relief. No more secrets. Secrets are cancerous. They will eat you up inside. Let them go. Know that when you give voice to your experience, you reclaim your truth and your true identity. Know that the more people who are telling their stories, pulling the curtain on the Wizard, the more exposed this cult will be and less able to perpetrate its twisted version of “evolution”, also known as life long and dependent “students” who will pay $350 every month.
I imagine most of my readership lives in America, although, I have noted visits from various countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and even Asia, which is very cool. Regardless of your location, those of us who lived the “school” experience can practice our Freedom of Speech. In the land of the free and home of the brave we have civil rights and we can speak out against that which has proven odious and harmful.
Recently I discovered that the formatting on the original posting of School & Marriage got messed up, making it difficult to read. I thought it was worth re-posting. As a student, your marriage is soon be considered an “only life thing”. Therefore it is at risk of being victimized and sabotaged by “school-style evolution”:
I want to talk about “school’s” impact on your significant “unschooled” relationships. I am focusing on marriage primarily because my husband is the person closest to me. I have to come to terms with how my “school” involvement hurt him; but you could really insert any important relationship in to this scenario.
School spins a special brand of “school-induced” denial. Our illustrious leader likens “school” to the “French Revolution”. A revolutionary does not blow off the mission due to laziness, or aimlessness — an “I don’t feel like going tonight to the super, secret strategy meeting.” or “I’d rather curl up on the couch with my spouse and watch West Wing than discuss ‘universal truths.’” Come hell or high water, a revolutionary with “sufficient valuation” shows up for this exclusive, mission-critical calling.
Attend long enough and you buy into the “I am WORKING on MYSELF!” “I am a soul AWAKENING, in the world of sleep walking men and women!” programming. It translates into: My awakening, due to “school”, benefits my family, my friends, my co-workers, my dog, my fish, my neighbors, their fish, Barack Obama, the Police Department, the cashier at the nearby convenient store, all the customers standing in line with me, etc, etc, etc, because I am radiating fineness! I am a walking light casting shadows on the walls of the cave of darkness! Simply my presence as a woman who is ‘GROWING HER BEING’ will benefit all who come into contact with me.
You find yourself – even when every cell in you would rather stay home watching West Wing and snuggling with your spouse – justifying school’s need for your stellar attendance record and absolute silence and compliance.
I may be exaggerating somewhat (or not), but it happened to me, and my vanity glossed over the holes in the French Revolution argument; after all I was a spiritual revolutionary, a soldier marching off to war with my comrades! Really, I was driving in rush hour traffic to an old, restored, mill in Billerica, to attend “class”. The French Revolution is over. There are no enemies hiding behind corners waiting to ambush the heretic seeking enlightenment – thus there is no legitimate reason for the urgent attend-every-class-at-all-costs requirement, high security and secretiveness (illegitimate reasons, a plenty, but that’s another chapter).
As a “school” student, your presence at home will decrease exponentially in correspondence with the increasing, exponentially growing, super-secret, mission-critical school demands. Of course the number of secrets required also expands exponentially; for if you make certain “efforts” for “school” (i.e. recruiting new students) you cannot discuss them with those in your “only life”. School calls these efforts “third line of work” and touts them essential to “awaken”, to “grow a soul”, to “evolve”. So not only is your physical presence limited, school cleverly hijacks your emotional and psychological presence.
Gradually, the “secrets” required of you will insert and wedge between you and your spouse. The wedge wiggles back and forth, widening the gap with each new demand. You are emotionally and spiritually distracted, physically taxed and sleep deprived; therefore absent even when your body is home.
So, let’s step back further to get some more perspective. One of the first things Robert tells new students is that “sleeping humanity” has a skewed relationship to time. Everyone is “so busy.” He scoffs at this and says, “If you tell me you don’t have time to do this or that, I won’t believe you.” Thus the seeds of “school” can dismiss the time you need for your insignificant “only life things” are planted early.
So let’s outline school’s evolving time requirements: as a new “younger student” you disappear on Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 6:30-9 or so. When deemed “ready”, you join with the “older class” which extends to say 9:45, 10:00, sometimes 10:30, 11:00 – after which you “observe the required one hour of silence” to “seal off leaks”. I don’t know about you, but if I were to go home and “observe an hour of silence” there, my husband would find it odd. Tack on another hour. Often times during that hour I would enlighten my spirit at the McDonald’s drive through, because I’d rushed from work to “class” without dinner.
After being in school between three to six months, you graduate from “youngest student” to the “been here long enough” phase. One day while sitting in reverent silence awaiting the day’s lesson, a “teacher” will announce, “ I need to see these people.” S/he will read a list of names, including yours. The anointed will file into another room in silent anticipation and dread. Once there the teacher will say one of three things:
1) “We’re going to have a party.”
2) “Robert needs our help to grow the school. You have been chosen to embark on a very special ‘third line of work’ (congratulations!) And it only requires you to go out and make new friends.”
3) “We’re going to present a lecture/presentation and we need you to ‘invite people’.”
These three items need their own sections to flesh out the amount of “effort” and “work” required to throw a “school party”, or go out and “make new essence friends” without revealing your last name, work, home town, whether you have kids or not, own a dog, floss your teeth daily, etc., or invite friends to a “presentation” that has no title, topic, date or location. Suffice to say that you can expect to see your spouse, and or kids, or your “life” friends far less than you presently do. And guess what – they notice your absence. They feel your absence. And they feel something else — insincerity. You tell a white lie, like I’m going to meet a particular friend for coffee, when in fact you are meeting a potential new recruit, or going to a “school” meeting that falls on a Wednesday. If you know that you are telling a half-truth, or a seemingly innocuous lie, or omitting information, they feel it. The gap between you and your loved one widens some more.
For those readers “not in school”, I can hear the thought, “No shit, Sherlock”. But those of us in (or who were in) need rude awakenings to get this message. Often times we would set “aims” to do something special for our beloved. Does the quality time make up for the quantity of time missed? We begin to believe that we can control our spouse’s disappointment with a special dinner, or trip, or gift. We can’t. When the special gift or event doesn’t work and we ask our “sustainers” or “teachers” why not? We are told that if our “beings were stronger, more evolved,” if our “efforts were more sufficient” then we would soothe the savage beast. We must “work harder on ourselves”. Of course, no body states the obvious: these special and “aim-full” events don’t bring back lost time and don’t sooth the loneliness and worry. The loneliness, the worry and your absence will only increase with each passing year.
Alarms may sound but it often takes screeching sirens to shake us out of our hypnotism-induced stupors. Someone is fired. Someone’s spouse, or sibling, or friend, or children confronts them – “What is this thing you are going to every Tuesday and Thursday night. Are you in some kind of a cult?”
Someone loses his/her marriage.
So let me dial back to the marriages. Guess what, no matter what line you’ve been fed, your spouse is not benefiting, unless you’ve chosen to share some of the real and fine ideas that school does indeed expose one to, albeit in a rather twisted presentation. Of course, you break the code of silence when talking about these “secret ideas” outside of school, unless sanctioned by school – which certainly would never be the case unless you are specifically recruiting a new sheep into the fold. I’ve yet to meet a colleague who recruited a spouse.
I left school in August, and it is now February. Just shy of seven months and several hundred miles later (my husband and I drove from Massachusetts to South Carolina this August and the miles between provided a number of “Oh my God” moments) I can only conclude that school “aims” to break up marriages. Of course my post-leaving discovery that many students in the “older class” are married to each other, or married to teachers highlights this conclusion. And the further discovery that Queen Sharon – the New York branches leader and Robert’s “teacher” – arranges these marriages and breaks them up at her whim further confirms it.
When I decided to leave school, I didn’t know about “school marriages”. I knew that my marriage, my relationship to my soul mate – which had survived several significant losses already including parents, grandparents, jobs and homes – would not survive school. I knew I was not willing to trade him in for this institution. This realization fell on me, followed by an avalanche of others, the most important one being this:
Robert did me a huge favor when he passed on the instruction TELL YOUR HUSBAND TO MIND HIS OWN BUSINESS (insert Wizard of Oz voice here). It shook me out of my stupor. I thought, “But this is his business. If I have to tell him to ‘mind his own business’ in order to be in school, I can’t be in school.”
Later I discovered that Robert is (of course) married to another teacher and I kept hearing echoes of him saying, “I am trying to put myself in your husband’s shoes.” When I quit school, we talked on the phone. His voice heavy with disappointment he said, “It’s a terrible thing your husband has done to you.” All theater. It is easy to be “in school” when married to another attendee; you don’t have to explain the unexplainable. There are no lies to tell.
As with so many other ironies that exist behind the hallowed halls, suddenly being available to my marriage made me awaken to it. For the last seven months, simply being home to write grocery lists with him without being exhausted or distracted took on new meaning. My gratitude for the man, our union, and the life we work towards together has only grown deeper, along side the love we have for each other.
A healthy marriage needs time and trust. School strips its students of both. Your time becomes its time. Your voice morphs into a font of school propaganda, allowing it to continue its super, secret, critical mission to keep Sharon and Robert rich, at the expense of your “only life things”. Not only are you “paying for your arising” at $350/month, the interest rate increases exponentially with each passing day. So my hope, dear reader, is that, if nothing else, you come away from this post knowing this:
Nothing can make up for the time lost, except for time together. Nothing can restore trust but voicing the truth. This time, your time, is far too precious to squander away in “school”. Your truth, told in your voice will ring true, thus restoring trust and providing healing.