I know, I know
Here I am, having just finished Cults I have known, and insulting others, then saying, no, I didn't start one myself.
The fact is I'm a solitary being, and much more amenable to living in a cave with a few necessities (and my books of course)
So here I am, a teen, knowing my purpose was to serve. I wasn't shy, quite the opposite, but I was reserved. But when it came to talking, to helping people, I was a gabby one.
Spirit suggested I study Palmistry and Astrology to understand my visions. I did, then was a counselor at age 16. Not fortune telling, but, discussing future possibilities with my friends in college and University. And I was struck by how lonely people were, and would be.
At age 20, I was teaching meditation, and what we had was not a group, or a cult, but a healing community. Most were ex-followers of Guru Maharaji, funnily enough. But there were people from the Process, and Hare Krishna. Seeing the damage done to these spiritual seekers was a confirmation of what I had already observed first hand at their gatherings, and was where I said I wouldn't follow that path. I'm glad too that I didn't. One thing I knew from my parents, from myself: don't misuse your gifts, you can do great good, or great evil.
So I followed the spiritual path in the 70's, put it on hiatus in the 80's as I worked on health and spiritual crisis issues: how much could I tell people what I saw about them and the future? Even in trying to help them could I not do harm? Answer: keep your mouth shut.
Then it was time to change again and I quit my job in the 90's and started full time healing and counselling, and the first thing people asked, was when would I start teaching? And it seemed so natural, and I started with what I knew about the chakras, except, they were also doorways into the void, a pathway to God. And yes it seemed natural I should once again teach meditation. I call it Living Meditation. It's not something one does, it's the space one is in. A space one can always be inside.
Many asked, did this mean they should divorce their husbands and move in with me? And I said No! Yet it seemed they were asking about community, and so, I started one. I think we were all feeling our way through this but it was a wonderful experience, nevertheless.
So I asked a group of my students if they would like to start a spiritual community with me. We would share a large home, and I would teach them to heal, and hold regular meditations. There were 4 women and three men in the end, including me. As soon as I said, this isn't going to be a sex cult, the two men left. They said I was too controlling! :)
The women, it turned out later, had drawn lots to see which nights they would spend with me, but I was already committed to Chloe. Sorry, ladies.
It was a large house in Toronto, with a huge meditation space, and up to 50 people were coming regularly every week on Thursdays for Meditation Night. We ALL took turns washing the bathroom and floors, and cooking as well, though it turned out Chloe and I were more, er, domestic.
Over the course of a year we became quite well known in Toronto, and several thousand people came to our healings, meditations and workshops (We all had our space to do our thing)
Aruna was born in that house, and it was, for one perfect year, a vibrant community, where miracles took place.
It was in this house that the idea of discipleship came to me. The step after being a student was to be a disciple. It was a choice, and it was a test, for me and them. I know I made it difficult, but the fact is, it was difficult for me too. I didn't want people who weren't ready. Then, as soon as the center was successful, I shut it down, to go on A Spiritual Journey to the United States
where I went from one city to another, and saw many times more people than I had in Canada.
Truly, they were in great need of healing, and even more so today, but not, until one person shows me the faith I ask for.
I came back to Canada, gathered the disciples again, then moved to Europe for several months. While there, there was a split within the group, and when I came back, had to start again. I reflected on that, and want to share with you.
I know I'm not an easy person to be with. That I can read what's inside you is not easy, for you or for me. If I test you, I test myself even more. And above all I ask, if I acted with integrity and truth. That we split, was neither your fault nor mine. But in the end, I gave you the choice of freedom, and thank you, all of you, my absent friends, for what you did for me and my family. I may have given much, but, I also received much.
So on the one hand, I was free to follow my own direction than worry about my responsibility to them. On the other hand, I didn't have the support system any more. But oh the freedom!
One early morning, in Hungary 1996. I am in a valley watching hundreds of men, women, and children walk down to us from villages all around, to see the healer from afar, and I was filled with love for our common humanity. We went to 10 different countries in four months, and again, I helped thousands. We saw real models of community living, in European villages, than I ever created in the hothouse atmosphere of a spiritual group. But the fact is, both models are valid.
We arrived back in Canada with 5 dollars in our pocket. I started again, and learned how to ask for help, much as I didn't know how. From 2000 on, I gathered many more students and disciples. They helped me, and I them. I travelled all over again, and met so many more, and this was the most exciting time of my life. And what I learned, I share with you. But I will not lose sight...
I know my goal. I will help you with yours. But I will tell you what I expect, instead of leaving it to whim. I have now reached millions of people through my websites and writing. My community is the people I met, my followers the ones I helped, and the ones who helped me. Neither temple nor ashram shall be my home...