COMMENTS & RESPONSES
Received 2 Apr:
I would like to contribute my "experiences" to the site, if it will help anyone understand the process of suggestion.
Like I said, I didn't personally experience abuse, but I feel sympathetic towards those who did. I do have a friend, the first person I'd met who was a devotee (and the second place where I had seen Gurumayi's photo), who had lived in SF and was harshly criticized when she asked to have her seva hours reduced. This, I learned after I shared with her that I had become a devotee. She never prosceletized to me. She was in transition at the time I shared an office with her. But she had a photo on her desk and I asked her many, many questions. I was fascinated by the idea of a woman guru. I had seen the same photo on a friend's shelf along with Sai Baba, Yemaya, Jesus and other luminous saints and prophets. But I thought it was a picture of a young boy until I learned otherwise. I'd gone out and bought "Kindle My Heart", which is what happened to me. I was in love. Then I had a third encounter when a friend who I hadn't seen in a long time asked me to accompany her to buy a book on our way to lunch. The "bookstore" was the Manhattan Ashram. I was thrilled and amazed at the "shakti" that had taken me there. (More in between).
So like, what's the deal with the seating? One thing that drove me crazy in the beginning was, no matter where I sat, if I did it by my own volition, someone official always would come and ask me to move to a specific spot. This happened maybe three times, until I learned to wait for a hall monitor to extend an open hand towards a specific spot. I came to take pride in the poise and self-control I'd achieved by doing so. And would even smirk when new people went through that same meshugash. When I mentioned this to my boyfriend of the time, who had gone through the est trip, he said that was a common practice in cult organizations to make you doubt yourself from the beginning. My response was, "No, it's a way to break from conditioned behavior: the "first come first served" we're accustomed to. That way we learn to act consciously." I think he just rolled his eyes and turned on a basketball game. He was my perpetual, self-appointed de-programmer. The irony was that, since I'd met him the day after a sublime darshan, I assumed he had been sent to me by the guru and for that reason, I stayed with him way past deadline. I assumed that our union was shakti, and that he'd been sent to me so I could learn to practice unconditional love. :)
Anyway, Pendragon, I'm seeing a "self-esteem counselor" now who is helping me seek my own spirituality inside myself. She said that finding your site was a bridge to my own inner guru. I took that to heart and am trying to reconnect with my inner wisdom, taking walks on the beach writing, and other pleasures.
Warm regards, Naomi
You raise some interesting points. You mention that you did not experience any abuse directly. Yet, you heard about difficult situations from others. Indirectly, therefore, you were exposed to abusive behavior and peoples reactions to abuse as well. It's similar to growing up in a family where the one child is the scapegoat and the other is the clown. The scapegoat gets it directly, the clown avoids it - but sees the sib getting it.
Your situation of being "brought in" by a friend is quite common. SY uses personal relationships (they even tutor people on how to do it) to bring people in more than mainstream advertising.
I very happy to here that you are learning about yourself, and become inner dependent rather than outer.