--- In
FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, "tomandcindytraynoratfairfieldlis"
> From my 12 year experience in Alanon 12 step it would appear to me
> that virtualy all of us were attracted to the movement because of
> our abusive backgrounds. Not only were most of us that way but it
> would appear from my 7 year residency here that the unhealthiest
> of us ended up moving to FF to get to the bottom of our issues.
> It would never fly as research on campus but you don't have to
> talk to very many people to realize that we all came with a heavy
> load of karma. My own research in helping those around me says
> that everyone you scratch has a load of that stuff and most of it
> has been papered over as in we can transcent our way through it.
> My experience is the only way through it is out through the
> bottom. One has to hit bottom to move on. Basic story for all
> addicts, hit bottom to get beyond it. We were addicted to the
> idea that we could transcend our way over it or around it. Not
> so. Bottom or nothing. That is my personal opinion. Tom
> PS the statistics given in the book When Society Becomes an Addict
> by Ann Marie Wilson Schief says that 98% of us have serious abuse
> issues.

Just following up because I think it's an interesting
subject, I think that the key to the above point of
view is in the last sentence. That is, one tends to
view the world in terms of one's own experience. The
author in question had problems with addiction; there-
fore she sees 98% of the people around her as having
had problems with addiction, a point of view that is
so obviously distorted it barely deserves comment.

One *can* structure a world view around that level of
projection, but it isn't necessarily a valid world
view. "The world is as we are" is true, but only true
1) as long as one gives in to past samskaras and
stays in the same old tired state of attention and
interprets one's experiences in the same old tired
way that they appear from that state of attention,
and 2) as long as there is a 'we' *to* interpret things.

There *is* a demonstrable likelihood in spiritual commun-
ities to see people who are coming from a this-life
history of abuse, either at the hands of other people
or from within. But that's just one segment of the
people who wind up attracted to spiritual communities.
Others are there for completely different reasons, and
carry with them an entirely different set of karmas.

In my case, addiction has never been much of a problem
(knock wood). I was always able to pretty much take any
of the substances I dabbled with or leave them. In the
end I mainly left them. But in my case there was a
sense of *familiarity* with the "better days" of the
TMO as a spiritual community that felt "right" to me
at the time. With time, it became evident that -- from
my perspective -- it was a spiritual community that
was missing the most important component of a spiritual
community -- compassion and caring for the other members
of the community -- and that as such it just wasn't the
place for me. But for others it provides as close as
they think they're going to get in this incarnation,
and as such is a fertile field for the kind of growth
they wish to undertake.

Also, one facet of the ongoing mystery of spiritual
communities that I think a lot of people ignore is
how much baggage the students bring *with* them when
they flock to a spiritual teacher. With a strong teacher,
one who is experienced in dealing with students, the
less-than-positive baggage is discouraged, or not
tolerated, and doesn't proliferate through the organ-
ization as it grows. However, with a less-than-experienced
teacher (and *do* remember that Guru Dev *discouraged*
Maharishi from being a teacher, setting him instead on
a path of silence and reclusivity), the baggage that
the students carry with them can and does proliferate
within the community. As a result you often see strong
hierarchical power games start to emerge as people who
are used to fighting or toadying their way to the top
do so within yet another organization, or you see
people who have a tendency to dominate other people
using the spiritual organization as a mechanism for
doing that all over again. When such behavior is
tolerated within a spiritual community, well duh...of
course it can be interpreted as an integral *part* of
a spiritual community, and that is not necessarily
true; I have encountered communities in which none
of that stuff is present. It isn't present because
it would never be tolerated. And yet in other spiritual
communities, it seems to define them.

It's a real puzzle, and one of the reasons I still hang
out here, and on other spiritual forums representing
traditions I've never been part of. The more things
seem different, the more they stay the same, across the
board. You see the same kinds of issues that people
talk about here with regard to TM and the TMO crop up
in almost *all* forums dealing with spiritual commun-
ities. Each one of them deals with the same kinds of

Some of them deal with these issues gracefully IMO,
and others do not. But I don't think that addiction
is the only metaphor one can apply to the reappearance
of the same trends in all of them. Addiction to light,
perhaps, as we all follow the "path" we fool ourselves
into thinking will lead us to where we already are :-),
but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

In other words, after nearly 40 years on a spiritual
path, I really don't believe that the only way one can
get past one's samskaras is to "bottom out" on them.
One can also transcend them, or have them fall away
and be left behind as effortlessly as a snake leaves
behind last season's skin. The process is probably
different for every seeker, and probably has been
different for every seeker ever born in human

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