Journeys: Marion Kelt

Date: December 17, 2012

I was never a premie but I married one in 1982. This site has helped to explain what happened to me. Thanks.

My husband was called robot (Robert Spreadborough). I was(am) a hippie, running my own craft business and buying a derelict cottage in Shepton Mallet (UK, near Glastonbury). I met a lot of ex-premies; they all said the meditation was good, but little else. I was involved in yoga and meditation, studied with Buddhist groups, I believed I was marrying someone who also had a spiritual life. I wanted that. I went to see m in ’82, and the only impressive thing was the size of the crowd (Albert Hall). I found the talk lacking in content, embarrassing the way devotees howled with laughter at feeble observations or weak jokes. As we left, robot asked me what I thought. He was wearing a certain soppy daft grin that was reserved for m. The best I could think of was ‘I didn’t disagree with anything he said’. I couldn’t actually remember any points worth discussion. I had no idea this was a personality cult, there were a lot of gurus being exported at that time, and plenty of meditation options; I just thought M was one of those, pictures of him around the house were reminders to meditate. Robot went to darshan the following day, telling me it was very kind of M to allow foot kissing because it made his feet sore. I had no idea money offerings were expected. I went to satsang about 4 times and found it boring. There was constant repetition of the same thing; I wanted debate or intelligent discussion. One time a premie said he was glad he had been brainwashed because his brain was dirty and needed it. I squirmed. Premies helped with our wedding and were friendly so I felt supported by them.

A few days after we married, robot went silent. I had no idea what about, I had never seen this in the year we had lived together. I kept busy, asking him what was the matter did no good. After 2 days I tried to embrace him; he pushed me away, punched me in the guts, and said:’ it’s your fault because you won’t take knowledge’. He had never said he wanted that, I was terrified, confused and distraught. I talked to a premie woman I liked and she sided with robot, saying that it was difficult for him because I ‘didn’t understand’. None of the premies thought it was wrong that I was hit, they all encouraged me to get k as the remedy, and arranged for me to see an initiator. i thought it was only a meditation I had to learn, that I could do that if it was so important to my new husband, I really had no idea it was a whole package, because in Buddhist thought you can pick and mix, you can use any or all teachings and practices that help you, because everything is always changing.

I asked to speak to the initiator privately, tearfully I asked for k. She asked what was wrong and I told her. She said I couldn’t have k out of fear, I had to want it for my self. She advised me to leave robot and forget all about it. In the minibus on the way home there were 6 or 7 premies. I told them what had happened and ended with ‘ I feel terrible, I want to die’. Nobody offered me a kind word or any comfort or explanation. I was gutted. It compounded feelings that I was not-good-enough imprinted in me from my mother. I tore up a picture of m and wailed that I would not have his picture in the house any more because it upset me.

We went on a 6 months honeymoon to Australia and India. In India we bought a small motorcycle and toured the south. It was brilliant. We stayed in a beach town waiting for my dad to send money. I went to a yoga school nearby. On the second day I took my first tantric initiation. I experienced a strong physical tingly sensation, and bursts of joy as the guru touched my spine, which lasted for weeks. It became very easy to meditate (and still is). I had already seen light while practicing yoga years before, now I was seeing swirly colours and sparkly flashes, sometimes a silvery glow on everything. I now understand that I was very fortunate to have the karma to meet a genuine kundalini master, (rare, even in India). I went twice a day for 3 weeks, he taught in Tamil and English, usually to about 6 people at a time, questions, discussion and meditation. I sometimes took small gifts like incense, fruit or flowers, he did not like extravagant offerings. He died the following year so I never saw him again; I have huge gratitude and pleasure when I think of him. He would travel (by local bus) to teach his students in Madras and visit his family about once a month. I wrongly imagined that robot would be pleased I had received initiation from a guru. I naively thought we could meditate together and it would repair our relationship. I had lost interest in smoking weed, enjoying an occasional spliff at bedtime. robot was smoking bongs before breakfast; working his way thru a kilo. When we got to Haridwar, I suggested that robot would like to visit m’s birthplace (unaware of the family squabble), and was startled at the rude response. It was there that he lost his wedding ring while rubbing up hash at the side of the road. I wanted to go back and look for it but he refused. I asked questions about m and robot told me that ‘it is like jesus being here’. I was baffled. I asked about m’s stance on karma and robot told me that it didn’t apply to him, so long as he remembered ‘holy name’ at the time of death he would go ‘straight to heaven’. For me ethics and spirituality are not separable: to be happy I have to behave responsibly and practice kindness. I knew then why nothing about m attracted me. I would never have given up on my marriage once the honeymoon was over, but looking at it now, I should have. That initiator was right. But I was still in love and believed I could find a way to fix things.

On returning to the UK, robot announced he was going back to London. I still don’t know why. I was left alone in a semi derelict cottage, visited at weekends. He refused me any of his money, I battled to feed myself, revive my business and grow food. If I attempted to talk about problems, he had outbursts of temper or went silent. Once some premies asked for money for new fuel tanks on m’s plane. I was flabberghasted when robot handed over 10 pounds. He was so mean to me. This was ’83, I was told that premies were persisting with satsang despite m’s ending of it, but I no longer spoke to robot about it, he didn’t like me ‘wasting time’ on yoga and said negative things about my Indian guru. I saw him meditate only twice in the 5 years I was with him. Years later, I learned that my neighbour was also bullied into taking k by her premie husband; she told me ‘it was nothing’, they split soon after.

The main thing I have noticed by visiting is that my ex was very like his guru; narcissistic, insensitive to the needs and feelings of others, self obsessed, and addictive. It was all about him and I was unimportant. I didn’t feel loved. That he could support his obscenely wealthy guru yet provide nothing for me still hurts. From my side, I did whatever he wanted, paid the bills, provided homes and vehicles, hid my hurt and bravely soldiered on, eventually leaving when I felt my life was in danger. I do not blame m for my ex’s disgraceful behaviour, but I do think that a very bad example was set, by him to vulnerable and conflicted young people. I also think that the teaching on ‘being in your mind’ and ‘service’ discouraged healthy functional relationship skills, promoted uncritical subservience, and distorted a sense of community.

For those apologists that excuse m’s behaviour because of his unusual childhood, I point to the Dalai Lama (lama means guru in Tibetan). Recognised as a tot, enthroned soon after, people prostrate to him in their thousands, demonstrate extraordinary devotion, walking the highest mountains to see him. In Sydney in ’96, an organiser announced that $750,000 too much had been donated. They gave it to DL: he gave it back. Unable to accept (being a temporary tour committee) they gave it back to DL, who donated it: $100,000 each to red cross, medecins sans frontiers, care australia etc. When he won the nobel peace prize he gave the money to refugee charities. In Brisbane last year, a woman asked advice for her feelings of isolation following brain surgery. DL invited her onto the stage and hugged her, advising her to smile at her billions of brothers and sisters. Many lamas and gurus have bizarre life stories but have not become exploitive or disconnected. Quite the opposite. That m is still going, wasting millions of $, doing little for the poor world, or the environment, or global cohesion, is still addicted to luxury vehicle after luxury vehicle after luxury vehicle is downright scandalous and sickening. m has no right to market meditation. Back along when it was exotic and mysterious, it is understandable that some people were sucked in by the spin. But now, with donation-only meditation classes everywhere, breathing and relaxation exercises being taught for pain, depression etc, therapy and church groups learning to meditate, (here in oz, at least) how come this ugly fat selfish bastard is still deluding people??

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