Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Spiritual Pathology

Jim Baker's spiritual commandment 'harm not one of your body parts either by neglect, food, drink or knife' sounded like good advice' back in 1970, but isn't denying yourself or your children (especially infants) surgery or medical treatment of any kind doing harm?  Jim Baker's commandment to 'not harm one of your body parts by knife' was meant to deter people from circumcision or having any vital organ surgically removed from the body.  But, Jim Baker took that commandment of his to the extreme when he decided that no one in his Source Family should seek or use outside medical treatment or medicine of any kind; especially that no one should ever undergo a blood transfusion---because it went against the magical thinking that he held that your blood should never be replaced with someone else's blood (even in a life or death situation) that might interfere with your soul viewing it's 'river of life' upon death for the soul to learn it's 'life lessons' and be reincarnated.

In my mind, the adherence to many 'new age' spiritual beliefs has become almost pathological among many who believe that things such as modern medicine and medical treatment of any kind should be avoided, especially if it goes against a commandment by their 'earthly spiritual father', as was the case in The Source Family.  I suspect that even today; there are a few zealous former members who would allow themselves or their own children to die rather than submit to a blood transfusion, in what I see as a kind of spiritual or 'new age' extremism.  I think that it's harmless to believe that crystals have magical powers, but harmful if you believe they alone will cure cancer.  The reality was that had Jim Baker received medical treatment for the injuries that he sustained, after crash-landing on a beach, instead of following his own deluded magical thinking and belief not to seek or use medical treatment---he would probably still be around to have watched the babies he sired grow up.  Instead, he allowed himself to lay there and die surrounded by his enabling followers.

When people place their lives in the hands of a designated 'spiritual' or 'religious' teacher adhering to whatever 'magical' thinking or belief system that teacher prescribes; it can become fertile ground for an abuse of power, by those spiritual teachers and leaders, because their followers believe they're imbued with 'divine' or 'magical powers'.  So, followers never question their spiritual teacher's motives or doubt any of their actions or behaviors, and as we've all seen happen in cults and churches over and over again; the devoted followers become enablers in the misconduct of their spiritual teacher or leader----that is the dark side of spirituality that many people have fallen victim, since the 'new age' movement began----where people surrender and subjugate themselves to the whims, desires and sexual inclinations of their supposedly 'divine' spiritual leader and is exactly what happened in The Source Family; especially what was sexual abuse disguised as a spiritual teaching.

"At some later point the man, who was increasingly presenting himself as a so-called Lama, wearing exotic robes and the regalia of a yogi, came to visit us. I was shocked and hurt one day when he came to me and said that he was going to sleep with my girlfriend and that I should allow it as it was good for my practice of generosity. If I should object it would show that my practice of Bodhicitta, the aspiration to always work for the welfare of others, was hopeless. I was sufficiently young, naive and feeble to take all this seriously and found I had no grounds to question the validity of what he was saying. Whatever pain I was in was entirely because of my attachment. He tried to convince me it was best for my practice and that his love of my partner was so pure and what they were doing was right. I tell this story because it is typical of the kind of delusion we can conjure around our self-beliefs sufficient to create the conviction that we are entirely right in what we are doing. The grandiosity, for example, of this man made him utterly blind to the delusion he was caught in and the consequence of his actions."  http://zencaroline.blogspot.com/2009/03/spiritual-pathology.html.

Jim Baker, in his role as 'earthly spiritual father' behaved in the same way as described in the paragraph above when he began to have sex with multiple women within The Source Family, whether or not those women were married or already had a partner and in a relationship---if Father Yod/Yahowha ordered a woman (like he did) to leave her husband or partner to go 'serve'/be with another son; then that woman was expected to do so and obey his directive.  When people were being sent to Maui, one young woman who went there was in a happy relationship with one of the 'sons', when Father Yod/Yahowha sent for her to return to Los Angeles to be impregnated by him---convincing all around him that it was a sacred honor for the young woman to be inseminated by him, and a test of non-attachment for the 'son' she'd chosen to be with----proclaiming in a similar way, as stated above, 'that his love of my partner was so pure and what they were doing was right'.  Because some saw it as a great honor to be chosen by Father Yod/Yahowha to have his child, and any personal, conflicted feelings of any Source Family member was seen as attachment and Piscean (belonging to the past), and so everything that Jim Baker wanted to do in his role as the 'earthly spiritual father' was enabled and fulfilled by his followers' belief in his omnipotence. 

By simply attaching some esoteric or spiritual meaning and significance to every one of Father Yod's directives and supposed 'teachings', Source Family members never had to question anything, instead suspending any doubts they may have had to just follow and obey the man, because nobody wanted to question the 'word of god' being channeled through their chosen 'earthly spiritual father'.  Everyone was given a headshot of Jim Baker when they joined The Source Family so they could stare at, or rather meditate on his photo where some believed (some still do) that it would transfer his 'energy and power' to them----a practice that Jim Baker adopted from Yogi Bhajan.

I believe that people need to use critical thinking and discernment when pursuing a spiritual path especially when adopting the beliefs of someone proclaiming to be a spiritual teacher, and not be afraid to look at any questionable practice or moral behavior of that spiritual teacher.  Just because someone claims to be a spiritual guide or teacher who has been 'enlightened' or 'illuminated' doesn't mean they have infallible moral character.  I've seen it become imperative in some people who have pursued a spiritual path to present or portray themselves as being 'illuminated' or 'enlightened' where their egos grew to enormous proportions puffed up by their perception of their own spiritual greatness believing they had defeated all darkness within themselves, to where they lost the ability for honest self-reflection or introspection choosing to believe they had attained a great spiritual height and a moral perfection and were incapable of doing anything wrong or behaving in a way that wasn't morally superior and aligned with 'light and love'----a delusional state that I feel many spiritual 'new age' seekers have succumbed in what the article I've linked below calls 'solar spirituality' that excludes the inevitable darkness of human experience where people bask 'in the light of happy-faced, huggy, saccharine spirituality."

Everything that Jim Baker did or said in his role as the 'earthly spiritual father' when he adopted the names Father Yod and Yahowha was to be seen as having been 'channeled by God', and therefore his followers believed he could do no harm and that everything he did or said was considered to be 'wisdom'.  My feeling is that any former Source Family member who continues to defend and excuse the sexual misconduct and abuses that went on, who refuse to acknowledge the deviant sexual practice that Jim Baker imposed on his entire group of followers was unhealthy and an abuse of his power where everyone who followed the man contributed to enabling his behavior over forty years ago----are continuing to enable that kind of behavior by promoting an idealized mythos around Jim Baker and hiding and covering up anything they know the public would find disturbing.  A few former diehard members vehemently defend the sexual misconduct of their 'divine' spiritual leader, Father Yod/Yahowha and the sexual grooming of young women that went on in The Source Family saying, "people wouldn't understand, because they weren't there.".  A few former diehard members vehemently either deny or just ignore there was any wrongdoing on the part of their beloved 'earthly spiritual father' when his spiritual directive was against anyone seeking medical help for their babies or small children, which resulted in the deaths of some infants---instead portraying it as something that 'just happened', during the normal course of life giving no explanation why those babies never received any kind of medical treatment that might have saved their lives.  A couple of former members have done a very good job in presenting a carefully sanitized and idealized narrative omitting anything they feel the general public should never know about, in order to gather/gain their own followers by presenting an idealized portrayal of life in The Source Family---which helps a few former members who still maintain their 'aquarian' persona to continue feeling 'special and chosen' for their loyalty and obedience to Jim Baker.

Something else that I see as spiritual pathology is how people have become obsessed with becoming 'enlightened' or 'illuminated' claiming to have 'gone into the light' just as Buddha and Jesus were to have done.  In The Source Family, it was always an enviable place for anyone to claim their 'kundalini had risen' and they had 'gone into the light'----something that has become an obsession with some people seeking a profound spiritual experience.  But, the search for spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment has resulted in people often following unhealthy, abusive and dangerous practices such as completely shunning the use of modern medicine or medical treatment and relying on only chanting, visualization, affirmations and crystals.

The quotes below are from a wonderful and insightful article written by Carolyn Baker (ha ha, of all last names) that I just found that basically confirms and substantiates what I also believe to be true of the 'new age', spiritual movement that has been taking place since the late sixties/early seventies.

"After many years of immersion in New Age spirituality, at the age of 40 my life fell apart as a result of my shadow blind spots. I subsequently entered Jungian depth therapy, and as I persevered in it, I quickly came to understand the extent to which my reliance on New Age spirituality had served to mask my pain and obscure the deep childhood wounds I needed to attend to in order to experience the wholeness for which I longed. My obsession with positive thinking and attempting to manifest a pain-free life had fostered within me an ego-inflation that was rapidly de-flated as I became more familiar with the ugly, obnoxious aspects of my shadow." (excerpt from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/carolyn-baker/in-the-shadow-of-new-age-_1_b_9032460.html).

"I soon realized that solar spirituality, focused primarily on the light, offered a dubious peace of mind at the expense of familiarity with my deepest humanity and the human condition at large. In fact, I came to understand that addiction to positive thinking precariously ignores the dark side of humanity and in doing so, conceals the shadow of manipulation, abuse of power, self-righteous arrogance, and compulsive control that lurk beneath the still waters of “living in the light.” 

".....that authentic spirituality requires consciously accepting and relating properly to the shadow as opposed to repressing, projecting, acting out and remaining naively unconscious of its repudiated, denied, disavowed contents, a sort of precarious pseudo-spirituality." 

"Thus engaging in meticulous and astringent shadow work is a moral and spiritual imperative. Moreover, in situations of ghastly abuse as we witness in the sordid saga of Marc Gafni, a host of enablers always encircle the perpetrator. He would not have been able to continue his devastating sexual behavior without the likes of Ken Wilber and Sally Kempton fluffing pillows and making tea for him. The Gafni scandal reveals nothing if not the grotesque head and monstrous appendages of the human shadow writ large across the entire New Age movement, intoxicated with the Kool Aid of solar spirituality. Overwhelmingly, the New Age movement and the spiritual guru system is in abject denial of the shadow, and until it confronts its shadow, we can expect to see lives and communities ravaged by the darkness ignored while spiritual celebrities bask in the light of happy-faced, huggy, saccharine spirituality." 

"....the full truth of this situation needs to be surfaced, witnessed and addressed, not just for the sake of those involved but for the sake of our whole movement so that we may do collective shadow work and face the abuse of power that too often happens under the guise of spiritual teaching.”

"In any event, until individuals on a spiritual path have done deep shadow work, they are highly susceptible to being blinded to it by solar spirituality, making themselves vulnerable to taking advantage of others or being taken advantage by them. One of the risks and liabilities of solar spirituality is that it makes us prey to exploitation and abuse and also increases our own potential for becoming a perpetrator of abuse."