I used to have all the answers. Not just for me, but for other people too! The arrogance. That brought me a dangerous level of certainty.
I don’t think we are meant to have all the answers. We certainly weren’t meant to be given all the answers, that’s like cheating on a test!
I think one of the amazing processes of life is working the answers out for yourself. The starting point for all of that? Uncertainty.
I used to be scarily certain. That this was the right path, the only true path. This was me, my identity, my group. We were all on the same spiritual path and would suppprt each other on it, I thought forever.
I was so certain I couldn’t see a day when I wouldn’t be in the group, when I wouldn’t depend on the teachings. I thought I would be lost without them (this is of course a very worrying and highly dependent mental state to be in).
But, that day came. I woke up.
When I was preparing to leave the cult, there was an overwhelming feeling of uncertainty. I was ready to give up that certainty I’d clung onto with all my mind, body, even with my identity. For me, there was no other option. Yet, it was terrifying.
By this stage I didn’t live with the cult, work for them full time anymore, or even hang out with them that much. So I can only imagine what it’s like for people deeper into these organisations.
Still, when I left, I questioned, deconstructed and re-evaluated almost everything I’d believed. It was one of the most painful and vulnerable processes I’d ever been through.
I felt I’d been lied to, manipulated. My personality and thinking had been moulded into a construct that, for me, was untrue, and had led me to believe, and do, dangerous things.
I felt that my faith, something so intimate, and the most important thing in the world to me, had been co-opted for someone else’s purposes.
It was a loss of spiritual innocence. When someone gets inside not just your head, but starts to dictate your beliefs, and then you wake up to the fact that this is what happened, it shakes you to the core.
Many people who wake up from cults have cptsd, religious ptsd other diagnoses and never return to having a spiritual community, faith or practice.
For months, I couldn’t have anything to do with any spiritual groups or teachers.
I couldn’t even scroll social media or open up YouTube without getting triggered.
I saw so much darkness, selfishness, bypassing and just straight up bs in the spiritual community.
One of the appealing things about cults is that they have an answer for everything.
You don’t have to seek it out yourself anymore; ask them, they’ll tell you. And they’ll make you believe that you are special and superior to other people just for now ‘knowing’.
A less appealing thing about cults is that they discourage questioning and doubt. They have to, or they wouldn’t have become a cult. In my cult, they called it ‘demonic doubts’ just to really bring the point home. The absolute trust they cultivate creates a dependency and shuts down critical thinking.
You have a shared Lexus, understanding and many shared goals. You have a cohesive community. Often, a secret club with your own code speak and occult activities. It’s like being in a secret society, which is appealing to our inner child especially.
Of course, at the time, you don’t realise that it’s so cohesive, that there’s so much certainty, because everyone is acting and thinking the same, because they’ve been conditioned
We can have beliefs, goals and other things in common. We are individuals, acting, thinking and believing the same is not normal or natural.
And yes, sometimes I miss that certainty of having a shared understanding. Of not having to explain myself, or feeling that very human comfort of ‘fitting in’, all being part of something.
But, through the ensuing uncertainty, I found that you don’t have to have everything in common in order to be part of a community. And that having to explain ourselves to, and understand, each other is a good thing!
In fact, there’s more freedom, unconditional love and acceptance when you’re in community with people who are very different from you.
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