Thursday, November 26, 2015

Affectations and Magical Thinking

I thought that I would write about the 'magical thinking' that defined life in The Source Family, and the many affectations that 'family' members adopted beginning with the way that Jim Baker would often speak with the affectation of 'a guru from India.'  Perhaps by affecting the speech of his own 'spiritual' master, Yogi Bhajan; Jim Baker thought that he'd be perceived as being a 'spiritual master' himself.  Who knows, but I always thought it sounded very pretentious, whenever he began speaking in that way.  It seemed that Jim Baker would adopt an Indian guru speech affectation whenever there were 'outsiders' present, or non-family members whom he wanted to impress.  Because, Jim Baker was all about putting on a good show.  So much of life in The Source Family was about 'putting on a show' or presentation and attracting attention.  I often found Father Yod to be extremely embarrassing, with his speech affectations and his incessant 'teaching' or proselytizing and lecturing often in a loud and bombastic way.

Given Father Yod's presentation, it's no wonder that other family members soon adopted their own 'spiritual' affectations and behaviors, in wanting to copy or emulate their spiritual 'teacher', and to give the appearance of having attained a higher consciousness or some kind of enlightened, spiritual superiority which seemed to be the expression of many in The Source Family.  Those who became convinced by Father Yod that they were the 'saints' and 'sages' and 'saviors' of the world dressed all in white following an older man around sporting a beard and long hair doing a good impression of Moses was a heady mix for some who were willing and eager to adopt their own 'spiritual' persona; who also wanted to be seen as being wise and 'enlightened' or 'chosen' to be in God's army leading the way for mankind----that was the climate that anyone joining The Brotherhood of The Source would have found themselves in.

Initially, what Jim Baker was offering did sound wonderful and appealing.  But, soon like many older men of his generation; Jim Baker succumbed to the allure or enticement of having women prostrate themselves in front of him and soon saw how accessible they were sexually, especially in his new role of 'earthly spiritual father'----the same allure that many other gurus, swamis and spiritual leaders succumbed to and had become all too common.

If Jim Baker had been able to 'keep it in his pants', perhaps The Brotherhood of The Source might have taken another direction rather than the one that it did.  If Jim Baker had been able to remain committed and loyal to his new bride, Robin Baker, rather than 'the family' becoming a cult where the practice of 'sex magic' took precedence, perhaps something healthy and sustainable might have been created.  But, Jim Baker was a victim of his own sexual desires and inclinations, and his own desire or need to garner attention to himself, by gathering his own group of adoring followers just as Yogi Bhajan had done.

Unfortunately, Jim Baker decided that it was his role to impregnate as many women as he possibly could, in order to create a super race of what he considered 'conscious' Aquarian children and so he began grooming one of the first young women to join his 'family' who was all of fourteen, but who soon decided to leave the group after realizing that she had not joined to break up a marriage or procreate with a man whom she saw as her 'spiritual father.'  But, the die was cast and Jim Baker continued his acquisition of more and more women who joined his family, while expounding and espousing on 'spirit' and about attaining a 'higher consciousness' in order to lead humanity out of the darkness and into the 'new age'.

Adopting 'magical thinking' became the norm within The Source Family, from believing that rain water called 'tahuti water' contained magical properties, or that an 'elemental kingdom' existed where elemental spirits inhabited fire, water, air and earth, to imbuing inanimate objects with talismanic properties, or attaching numen to the places wherever 'the family' resided (like Lanikai Beach on the windward side of Oahu), or how a special 'soma' drink was prepared during a full moon to be used in ceremonial magic (the only drink that contained alcohol), where exhaling aggressively through your nostrils was seen as a way of expelling 'negative' thoughts.  Yes, welcome to the whacky, weird world of the 'magical thinking' that prevailed in The Source Family, and the affectations that would define the entire experience.  Where staring unblinking into the sun at sunrise and sunset was practiced on a regular basis, along with sending imaginary waves from the pineal gland in your brain down through your body into the earth as a way to cleanse your 'ethereal' body.

Life in The Source Family was centered around the belief and practices of 'new age' and occult magic, along with seeing 'signs' in everything.  There was also a large degree of idleness within The Source Family.  There was a lot of 'hanging out' and just doing nothing, especially among the women, since Jim Baker would only allow the men or 'sons' to conduct 'outside' business enterprises or work in the restaurant, due to Father Yod's belief that women were not emotionally equipped to deal with the outside world, and therefore should be protected from it.  There were a few exceptions like allowing women to work in The Source Restaurant, since his 'sons' were nearby, if protection was needed.  A few women were allowed to conduct 'family' business on the 'outside' on occasion, but overall the majority of women spent the day doing all of the menial, household chores such as cleaning, laundry and childcare.  For being an 'aquarian' family, I found the roles of men and women in The Source Family outdated and sexist resembling that in biblical times, especially eschewing the use of doctors and modern medicine.

One of the things that many of us did after being on 'the outside' upon returning to the 'circumvent force' (a kundalini yoga term that Jim Baker adopted) or 'magical boundary' of the family, was to take a cold shower or go into the ocean (when in Hawaii) to wash off the 'bad vibes' that may have attached themselves while being out in the 'maya'....invisible cooties if you will.  So, Father Yod prescribed several 'psychic cleansing' actions to cleanse away any psychic negativity that may have attached to 'family' members who spent time 'outside' in the world. There was quite a lot of magical thinking in The Source Family; like the belief that an adept (an accomplished master of the spiritual realms) just showed up one day at The Father House and presented Father Yod with the Mystic Road (a series of repetitive mental exercises to increase concentration) that has become a fulcrum, by some of Father Yod's 'teachings'; only to have this adept leave never to be seen or heard from again!  Magic!  One of the most common and overused of psychic protections was to aggressively exhale through your nostrils to expel any negative thoughts, or verbally eructing the word "Tau!" as another way to drive out unwanted thoughts, which also became one of the most adopted idiosyncrasies that everyone did in response to something they found unpleasant.....using "tau!" was the equivalent of saying "No More!" or "Enough!."

Jim Baker was also really into 'testing' members of his flock, in order to determine their 'spiritual' resolve or commitment to him, and so he would often either kick people out of 'the family', or instruct them to carry out certain tasks as 'a test', because Father Yod believed that having his 'children' overcome challenges or adversity would 'test their mettle.'  Although, I observed that these 'tests' never seemed to extend to those whom Father Yod favored, which is also why it's easy to see why some former family members have only happy memories of their time spent in The Source Family.  A few people were pampered and coddled and given 'special treatment and dispensation' simply for being 'favorites' of Father Yod.  That is how it worked in The Source Family.  It meant that if you were one of his 'favorites' than you were at the receiving end of having money, travel or tools/equipment at your disposal, or if you were one of 'his women', it meant having access to nicer dresses and/or jewelry, as well as the first and best selection of foods set aside for Father Yod which is why a few of the women who chose to become one of Father Yod's 'women' saw it as an opportunity to gain status and access to more within 'the family.'

I was in The Source Family for six years and never had one piece of jewelry.  My lack of nice dresses and jewelry of any kind spoke volumes about my own status within the family.  But, then seeking favor or supplicating myself before Jim Baker was not something that I was interested in doing.  I guess that's how it was supposed to work in this 'new age', aquarian family---only those who were the most favored, or devoted or the most appealing or pleasing to Father Yod were given preferential treatment.

Another form of testing imposed by Jim Baker was placing women within 'the family' with one of his 'sons', or instructing one of his 'sons' to accept certain women as their 'angel', even if it meant a woman leaving her spouse or husband to go 'be with' or serve another man (son) in the family.  If someone got a staph infection, it was also seen as 'a test.'  Absolutely everything within the group was seen as some kind of 'spiritual' test.  The prevailing belief of Father Yod was that 'spirit' was guiding his words and actions----a delusional belief that a few devoted followers still purport as being true.

Since Jim Baker was viewed as being a great, spiritual teacher by his followers and in possession of ancient, esoteric and occult knowledge; a kind of dependent, childlike behavior ensued where Source Family members would ask his advice or counsel on absolutely everything.  When your entire life is reduced to following the beliefs and edicts of one man, who is seen as being a great spiritual leader; it does not leave much room for individual or autonomous decision-making.  Everyone's actions and speech were scrutinized continually and you either adopted the groupspeak and affectations of everyone else in The Source Family or you left, or were kicked out.

Magical thinking permeated every aspect of daily life in The Source Family, and is also what lead to or contributed to some of its more tragic outcomes by believing that 'spirit' guided and directed everything to such an extent that normal emotions or reactions of individuals became anaesthetized.  A perfect example was when Jim Baker crash-landed on the beach and lay there surrounded by a group of his followers who were unsure what to do, because of the indoctrination and groupthink that prevailed that 'Yahowha' was still in control and that 'spirit' would decide his fate.

There were other examples of how healthy, individual emotional responses and behaviors were muted, subdued or lacking due to the indoctrination and supplicant behavior by the individual's who comprised The Source Family, to where individual autonomy and decision-making were supplanted with the will of Father Yod and/or 'his women.'  I believe that it was because of the childlike dependence of 'family' members on Father Yod, that the ability for people to act independently was lost----where individuals were unable to respond appropriately afraid of going against the prevailing groupthink.

Loss of personal autonomy is one of the signature features found in cults----an inability to respond or act accordingly to what is best for the individual, in fear of going against the group.  By only doing what was sanctioned and approved by Father Yod, people became disempowered and enervated.

Although, it is embarrassing to write about being in The Source Family, because most nowadays will read this and say, "what the hell, why would anyone subject themselves to any of that?", which is why the majority of men and women who shared the same experience of being in The Source Family have chosen to remain silent out of embarrassment for having subjected themselves to the roles and occult practices expected of them.