The word “conspirituality” came to me by happen-chance. I was perusing through a list of podcasts to listen to and discovered the word as a podcast title. I was intrigued by this title, so naturally, I decided to listen to the show. To my amazement, I was immediately gifted with a rare look at reality.
These days, to claim that you have an idea of what reality is, you will certainly be met with resistance. After all, reality is subjective or objective, right? The human experience is either influenced by feelings or by taking stock in specific facts present in people’s environment. Or, most people utilize both feelings and facts to make sense of experience. So why is there currently so much contention surrounding what reality is?
Sensemaking on a personal level
This article has the potential of going down a deep rabbit hole. This could potentially dilute the point of writing it. Therefore, I’m going to keep it personal. Hopefully, some readers might be going through similar realizations. Or maybe some of you have not yet discovered what I’m about to open up about. I want to share how I’ve recently discovered a personal truth about how I have been interpreting reality. I believe that I have allowed myself to be influenced by a cult system.
Now, before I explain what I’m talking about, I want to address the issue of victimization. In no way am I going to write about how “the system” or “they” or the “boogeyman” is out there. However, I write about how there’s a propensity to get caught up in “the conspiracy.” This is especially true when your personality and vulnerability create an open door. Past traumas can indeed make a person more prone to believe in conspiracies or be drawn into cults. For me, the multi-billion dollar self-help industry is where the slippery slope into cult-like influences began to take hold. Here’s how it all started.
The Self-Help Trap
When I was 11 years old, my mother died of breast cancer. I’m the youngest of two, and to be honest; I was a bit of a MaMa’s boy. Losing my mother at such an early age was devastating, to say the least. To make matters more difficult, I come from a broken family rife with addiction, poverty, loss, abuse, hyper-religiosity, and trauma.
A legacy of pain is deeply embedded in my family history, and the residues from all of it have certainly made a lasting impression upon me. So much so, I had concluded at the age of 27; my life was a mess. After a failed marriage, I decided; there must be something wrong with me. I began a personal quest to “heal” and fix myself. This strong emotional belief is what led me to the self-help trap. I had to find out why I was so fucked up. Little did I know, there was a whole universe of entities ready to “help.”
Self-help for me began with reading a book called “On Family, A Revolutionary Way of Self Discovery” by John Bradshaw. For many, John Bradshaw was the “father of self-help” during the 70s and 80s. His books and PBS special helped thousands of people suffering from various addictions. When I read On Family, my life suddenly began to make sense. I experienced an enormous feeling of relief that was accompanied by the comfort of knowing that, “I wasn’t alone.” I believe it was these powerful feelings of relief and comfort that led me to dive in deeper.
The need to go even further into myself, with the expectation that I will be rewarded with relief from my pain, became addictive unto itself. Self-inquiry became an obsession, and all the while, I was not aware of the subtle changes in the way I viewed life, my family, my job, and most of my relationships. The “hook” was set! The hook that began to morph from legitimate recovering and healing, into becoming “enlightened consciousness”. The path towards so-called “ascension” from 3D reality to 5D reality became an obsession.
From Self-Help to Cult Fascination
There are many legitimate and positive takeaways anyone can take from John Bradshaw’s writings and teachings. One of the most potent subjects that Bradshaw spoke in-depth about is something he called “mystification.” I bring up this concept because it fits well with the point I’m going to drive home in this article: humanity quite possibly lives in and around a system of cults driven by an ever-changing persistent fairytale. (Hence, mystification)
At least maybe, through no fault of our own, we are subjected to cult activities or influenced through our consumer culture. Perhaps these ideas are more insidious than we realize! Then again, I seem to contradict myself by again, believing something out there is trying to get us. With that said, I have come to believe there’s a distinct difference between paranoia and intuition. Quite simply, when our personal value systems are feeling as though they are being infringed upon, we must set healthy boundaries. Back to the self-help trap.
Again, there are good and vital avenues of self-help available out there. However, the disconnect and the risk of finding yourself on the fringes of a cult or directly involved with one is greatly dependent upon unrealized gateways. These ‘initiations” come in subtle manipulations, loaded code words, and psychological setups. The indoctrinations embedded in society are mostly benign and serve a useful purpose. However, there’s a dark side to these rituals because of how powerful they are to the human experience. By nature, we are creatures of habit, and we like to gravitate towards a sense of order in the chaos of nature. We create elaborate “programs” and routines to cope with the audacity of being alive.
Susceptibility to cult “programming” depends on one’s identity, self-actualization, or the lack there-of. Or, if a person indeed has a strong sense of self, he or she may find themselves in a situation where charismatic people are manipulative enough to get them to abandon their personal boundaries. This is known as the “breakdown” period of cult programming. Some of us may recall this phenomenon in military basic training. This is when one’s schematic of the world view is shattered, so a psychological blank slate is created. This is a critical point where “insertion” begins. There are environmental aspects to consider, as well. For example, whether people are under stress or experiencing trauma. All of the above dynamics can make people highly vulnerable to cult initiation.
I Must Be Crazy!
Believing or being convinced that “I must be crazy” was an easy imbed for me because of my family history, personality, and belief that I was broken. Had my life become unmanageable and sloppy? Yes! Was I or am I completely broken to the point that I needed/need to give all my power away for someone or something else to fix me? Defiantly not!
Therein lies the self-help trap: I’m broken, and I need to spend shitloads of money on books, tapes, retreats, and workshops to “get better.” It doesn’t end here. There’s more; there is always another level of “consciousness” to reach. The “onion skin” metaphor is used where the indoctrination begins to deepen where the initiate is convinced they must become “more vulnerable” to “get it.” Get what? I’m Broke? I’m Empty? I have become isolated from family and friends? I’m now alienated from the world as it really is, in hopes that an “awakening” will deliver me to a 5D reality? All the while, Rome burns. Does this madness sound familiar?
The Promise of a new reality or world.
The promise of a new reality or, even more dramatically, an entirely new world within the spiritual context is not a new concept. (The Book of Revelation is all about this!) It’s only human to desire a better world, but when this desire is derailed by the notion that you’re the one who is creating your reality, that’s when it becomes manipulation. That’s when the path to self-rejection begins to take hold to the extent that some people actually believe they don’t exist!!! UGH!
Do we have the power to shape our experiences by the way we react to the world? Sure! (Even with devout practice, this idea can be challenging.) Do we actually bend reality with our thoughts and intentions? Or, more commonly, do we create a terrible reality because of our “brokenness”? “As within, so it is above.” Pure rubbish, and this is a dangerous imbed because we human beings are inherently messy! People pay thousands of dollars to chase their own tails based upon this little gem belief. All the while, life passes by, and whole swathes of society no longer participate in the community! We end up in a delusional self-help bubble.
I actually believed the latter and convinced myself that I was the reason I was suffering due to my lack of being deeply spiritual. I was “taught” at one point, that “I wasn’t clear” and therefore, my money issues, as an example, were not in balance. Again, these ideas had begun to take shape in my personal life in the spiritual context. It’s the spiritual context that had me paying a lot of time and money towards getting “fixed.” I must get to this internal state of “wellness” so that Shangri-La will miraculously begin to manifest in my life. What a bunch of hooey!
“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”
― Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
The Collective Cult
The podcast “Conspirituality” has helped me to become more aware of how prevalent the cult system exists in many facets of society. The informative discussions are spoken within a first-hand experience. Here is one of their webpages to help identify cult behavior and influences. The page is titled “Cult Dynamics 101″
In closing, the current climate in our country and perhaps around the entire globe is one of denial. Too many people argue over what is real or not, and there’s a palpable existential void that I sense is being driven by conspiracy theories and cults. Society is tearing itself apart by extremist views on many fronts.
Personally, I have come to a potent place in my life where I now FEEL, make empowered choices for myself, and for the people I love and care about. I clearly know the differences between kindness and cruelty, at least for me. I’m willing to face the world we live in head-on and not place blame on the past, my family, my “brokenness.” I’m ready to make positive choices for the betterment of the people who are closest to me. I’m learning to accept people around me regardless of their interpretation of the world. I’m finally off the merry-go-round of self-help, so-called 5D ascension, superstitions, and ridiculous conspiracies.
A special note with regard to the banner ad I have on this page. Beware of the “dark side” of the “mindfulness movement”. Read more here.