- EckOrange and Rob from Canada,
Thank you both for your thoughtful posts. How I wish I had only taken what
I thought was good in Eckankar and felt free to discard what was bad; but I
do remember that every aspect of Eckankar was meant to "prove" that every
other aspect was valid.
Example: You're told to do a spiritual, meditative exercise
(Merriam-Webster calls meditation "a discourse intended to express its
author's reflections or to guide others in contemplation"), where you're
told what to do, how to do it, and what you'll experience. After you do it
a certain number of times, all of those things will happen. Woo-hoo! The
fact that you experienced what you experience is proof, you're told, that
you really were exploring the other spiritual planes. That your experience
followed the formula of Eck teachings is proof that those teachings rule
the other planes. (That you experienced what you experienced because you
were being suggestible at the time you did the spiritual exercises, as you
were instructed to be, doesn't quite compute. And if this occured to you,
this would be a doubt, which would impede your spiritual progress--and the
fact that you experienced what you experienced proves you are making
spiritual progress, right? This is actually circular thinking--nothing has
really been proven, but the Eckist is discouraged from thinking about the
holes in this scenario, because that would stop all spiritual progress,
which has obviously been made. The more you look into it, the more obvious
it appears that the reason you made spiritual progress is because Harold
Klemp, Paul Twitchell et all said so.
And so you meet Paul Twitchell and Harold Klemp on the inner planes. This
confirmes everything they said, and helps to prove that they really are who
they say they are--which, by inplication, proves that you're on the fastest
and most direct path to God. Of course, by implication that means if you
leave, you're leaving that Golden Road to God. You have already come to the
conclusion that all other paths are of the negative force, and everyone
needs a path (why? Because Klemp and Twitchell said so).
And as you continue and suppress your negative thoughts, they don't simply
go away, because they haven't been addressed. And the doubts will begin to
build with time, and you learn to further disassociate yourself form the
world, which you learn isn't as real as everyone else thinks it is--and the
inner planes are more real than everyone else thinks, which makes it easier
to suppress doubts. Either that, or you go crazy, being overwhelmed by
doubts, and not sure of yourself, even though you're becoming a superman, a
being of greater spiritual awareness than almost everyone else. (I think
that most, if not all, of the higher initiates in alt.religion.eckankar
have these problems, as shown by their actions and attitudes towards people
who criticize their group and its teachings.) But you're wholly dependant
on one source of truth, because everyone else is trapped. You actually are
trapped because you're ultimately subject to the whims of Harold Klemp, and
yet you think you're becoming a spiritual giant, perhaps already more
developed than Christ or the Buddha.
Do you see what's wrong with this picture?
EckOrange: It is indeed a very good thing that you never took the plunge
into becoming a full member. It will be much easier for you to take the
good things about it--and there were good things, or else we never would
have joined--and discard the bad, as you said. It is always difficult to
realize that you were very close to danger, and that you were naive about
the situtation. But you can draw from your experience as a strength, when
confronted by con-artists down the road (and there will be more of them).
Learn from your experience, be skeptical, but try not to be too cynical.
Rob from Canada: When I left Eck in 1993, I thought I had to join
something. This was actually how I felt when I joined Eckankar in 1989, and
look where it got me! <g>. I was in high school when I joined, and felt
alone and apart from everyone else. I didn't realize how desperate I was.
Over time after I left, I came to realize that I was fine where I was--it
was not necessary for me to find a path and join it, just like it makes no
sense to rush into romantic involvement with someone because you're
overcome with loneliness. I've learned to become more patient over the
years, and more content with who I am--while at the same time not being so
content that I don't try to improve myself or my situation.
I was a lowly second initiate--which, as I recall, still made me more
spiritually aware than Christ <BG>, and of course I looked up to higher
initiates, because they were supposed to be _so_ spiritually evolved. I
guess you weren't quite one, being a fourth initiate; but as I got further
away from Eckankar in both time and how I felt about it, I began to realize
how much brown-nosing took place among the "lower initiates" towards the
"higher initiates"--and I was not immune, either. I think that I might have
become one if I had managed to stay longer--except that I was overcome by
doubt, and I actually had the radical idea to step aside for a while and
explore my doubts, to see if I really had anything worth doubting about. I
wasn't really consciously aware of it at the time, but I think I was
somewhat aware that if I couldn't overcome my doubts, I would be
overwhelmed by them, and possibly go crazy. I was almost more emboldened to
do so because I had been talking with a former Scientologist--who wasn't
aware of what I was in--who told me about his experience in leaving
Scientology. I was interested in it after reading the 1991 Time issue on
Scientology, and I knew that Paul Twitchell was L. Ron Hubbard's press
secratery at one time, which Darwin Gross tried to deny, and still does to
this day, AFAIK. Frankly, if I hadn't read that article and talked with my
ex-Scientologist friend, I don't know if I'd still be involved in Eckankar
or not--I wonder what my life would be like today. In many aspects, those
two experiences may have saved my life.
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