|Date: April 9, 1999|
|Itís strange trying to write this. 25 years believing something while trying to get on and live a normal life canít
be written down. Iím still trying to make sense of it all, and also trying to remember my beliefs and feelings
back then when I started this trip. Well, I guess I need to put some words down and see what they look like.
I was 20 when I received Knowledge. I was very immature, very introverted, and very lonely. Looking back, the loneliness really kicked in after puberty. I didnít have much understanding of sex and relationships, and in fact I had only one sexual partner before I received Knowledge. Also, I had read a book on yoga which said that a yogi could do all these amazing things. After years of reading Superman comics, I had this dream of having superpowers. These eastern religions seemed to include practical methods for reaching these amazing states.
Anyway, my girlfriend had been to satsang, and had almost received Knowledge, but a branch of a tree falling on her head on the way to the session convinced her it wasnít the right thing to do, and she turned back. I was doing a lot of acid around this time, not for pleasure, but to try to rip my mind open so that I could sort out my hang-ups. I went to buy some acid in Leeds, UK, but the man wasnít going to be there for another hour.
I wandered around and saw these pictures of M outside a hall. So I went in, and sat at the back. I thought the bowing down to the pictures of M really weird, but I listened anyway. I canít remember anything that was said making any impact on me. I left and bought the acid, and had an excellent night. I took more and more acid to try to understand myself, but it got to the point where it wasnít working any more.
A few things happened that convinced me that I should check out M again. So I went to the ashram in Leeds in November 1973 (many of the ashram premies were in Houston), and attended satsang. Unfortunately, no one explained what satsang was, so after chatting in the kitchen, we went to the satsang room, and I continued to chat. After a while, the famous Billy Graham (actually not the American evangelist, but the British premie) told me to shut up, as satsang could only be given by people with Knowledge. So, I became hooked, I longed for this magical thing, this step to the divine, to get those superpowers.
After 6 weeks, I received Knowledge in London from Mahatma Gitanand. It was Mís birthday in 1973. I felt honoured. I felt scared, and I experienced nothing. That night I did experience something strange in meditation, but it didnít feel like anything divine.
It was clear to me that the correct way to practice was to live in an ashram, so I moved in to Brighton ashram in January 1974 and lived there for a year. In that time I became friends with some premies, and didnít have a hard time particularly with any. I saw M in the Palace of Peace in June 1974, and went to Copenhagen and had darshan in July.
I see now that I treated darshan like an acid trip, and really wanted something amazing to happen as I kissed those chubby feet. I requested to see a mahatma to talk about not experiencing anything. I was allowed to see this little fat mahatma whose name escapes me. He was useless. I donít think he understood anything.
I did have one experience in the ashram that convinced me that Knowledge was true. After a day when I meditated for several hours, I experienced the music technique. Suddenly, this sound appeared to my right, and moved through me to my left. When I say through me, I mean it was like something invading the most intimate part of me. And the sound - it was beautiful, like a guitar, perfectly tuned, with a billion strings. This happened to me, and it mattered. I was summoned for dinner, and when I walked into the dining room, another premie asked if everyone was remembering holy name as the vibe was so high. I couldnít say anything. The only other time when I really experienced anything that I felt was really important was about twenty years later.
I left the ashram after a year. Iím not sure why, but I had an independent streak. I moved back to Leeds, but moved into Leeds ashram after 5 months. I only stayed 2 months, as my brother, who had also received Knowledge, and had lived in Oldham ashram, developed schizophrenia. The ashram secretary wouldnít allow me to visit him in hospital, so I left again. Looking back, I think I didnít really believe that the ashram system reflected Mís wishes, so it was OK to go against the ashrams when I thought they were wrong.
My brother remained ill for the next 21 years and took his life in 1996.
After leaving the ashram for the second time, I moved in with the housemother at Leeds ashram. She moved out of the ashram because she was treated callously after burning her arms after dropping a pan of hot beans. I took her to hospital and looked after her when the ashram premies just called her stupid for dropping the pan. We married the next year and lived together for 14 years. She died in 1996 from a diabetes related illness a few years after we separated, and 8 weeks after my brother had died.
During these years I continued to believe that M was the incarnation of God on this planet. I didnít always practice but I made the effort to see him, and I always gave money to help his work. I remember when M changed all the rules in the early 80ís, and someone asked him at a program in Brighton about propagation. He answered that this is his job, and he didnít want us to do it. I felt so relieved, because I really felt embarrassed about talking about him. I can only remember one time where I told someone else about M after that.
The other memorable meditation experience was after a Knowledge review in Brighton in the early nineties. Practising the third technique, I experienced something where afterwards I understood the zen koan about one hand clapping. I canít describe it any more, but the feeling was that this is what I really wanted.
The Long Beach event in 1996 was memorable. My brother and my wife had recently died, and I needed support. One premie did give me a lot of care, and I am very grateful to him for that. I was also very pleased that the devotional stuff was brought back with Arti being played (instrumental only). I didnít question the secrecy of what was being implied.
I became an ex after discovering this site in January 1999. I had already allowed my mind to study other philosophies during the years of little devotion, and Mís importance in my life had reduced to a feeling I should keep in touch, and give money to EV. My link to M was little more than a thread which was easily cut. However, the feelings that come with escaping are surprisingly strong. I think I will write a follow-up when I understand these feelings a little more.
I still meditate occasionally, but as others have said, itís hard to separate meditation from M. My reasons for rejecting M are that he is a poor meditation teacher, almost certainly in it for the ego and the money. I cannot remember anything meaningful he has said in 25 years of listening. I listened carefully to some of his tapes after discovering this site. He really does say very little.
I once had an argument with a premie about M saying he didnít like Coca Cola. I interpreted this as M saying that the thirst quenching quality of Coca Cola was because of the water, in the same way that the happiness experienced from worldly things was due to something within (like water) instead of the things themselves. The premie interpreted it as M hating big corporations. Maybe M could settle this argument.
My estimate of my donations to DLM, EV, and M over the years is $30,000. Thereís so much more I could say. I know my emotional development was stunted by membership of the cult. My career clearly suffered. However, itís possible I would have done something crazy instead of joining DLM so maybe M saved my life. Did membership of the cult damage my brother? I donít know, but I do know he deserved a better life. I am lucky in that I now have a close loving relationship with my parents. I know I hurt them with my cult membership.
The future? I still believe, from my experiences, that something valuable can be learnt when thoughts are stilled. I also believe that reading, thinking, and talking can also contribute to learning. I also still long for, and value, love and affection.
Thank you all for being here, and thank you for caring enough to give me this opportunity to express this part of my life.