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The Day Love Comes Calling

The Day Love Comes Calling

 

Most of the time we wander through life in a sleepwalk of sorts, bouncing from person to person, desire to desire and our personal addictions, the places of relief where we can get our ego batteries recharged. Shockingly the spiritual or religious among us aren’t really that different. Please let me explain.

The one who has a vested interest in our sleeping state is of course our wounded self or ego. Sworn to protect us from further pain and rejection ego often chooses the sedation of sleep to keep us from the risk of facing our inner pain and its authentic solution. Like zombies we bounce off others without much true feeling, the goal being to conserve our sanity at all costs. Of course, if we belong to a zombie tribe we enjoy the buzz of fellow travellers, the reinforcement of our sleeping state through the camaraderie of our fellow snoozers. We are masters at communal dreams, those roller coaster visions of  Divine moves just around the corner. These dreams make us think we  are bang in the centre of the Divine Will, soldiers in a religious-spiritual army that will soon bring the Kingdom to earth. Yet all is done in a state of sleep with ego smiling benignly on our nocturnal fantasies.

Of course, the depth of sleep is heightened by our subliminal absorption of the desires of others. Infused by the psychic energies of others we foolishly perceive ourselves to be filled with the Divine Spirit, that enthusiasm that drives our personal and communal adventures. Without this constant top up by external desires, we might lie down in a heap and eventually awaken, so ego makes sure we jump straight into the cauldron of our in crowd, those who provide our desire juice. Much religious and spiritual community involvement is the setting for such desire transfers. Our sleep identity within the group is established by the desires of others and if they are happy then so are we. Yet, shockingly desire transfer is the unconscious sleeping pill that keeps us locked into psychic slumbers.

When absorbed desires reach a certain level we are possessed by them. In the sleeping state there is no space between them and our felt identity. We are that desire. It has been incarnated in our psychic skin. This is the stage of addiction, ego’s final and most effective psycho-spiritual tool for keeping us under. As I sit here in my local coffee shop, watching the outside world pass by I see the face of addiction in the obese and smoking folk who stroll by oblivious to their condition. I see a street preacher, ranting and raving at those who quickly run by, avoiding eye contact with the tract distributing zealot. Another addiction, one that ego well and truly trusts to keep us in the hypnotic depths of sleep. These and the vast array of potential addictions just do enough to dull our psychic pain and keep us from awakening to Reality.

Sounds like we are well and truly trapped by the perceived reality around us, one that lulls us into the continual highs and lows of ego-scripted dreams. We are fast asleep and, it would appear, unable to waken ourselves from ego’s seductive sedation. What or perhaps more pertinently, who can awaken us? Well, let me make a somewhat bold assertion. Whilst self-help strategies and other religion-spiritual techniques are useful, I believe that they are only of benefit after a dramatic encounter with Love. In other words they belong to the realm of our post-operative care. No, I believe that Divine Love has an appointment for all of us – a day when it comes calling, whether we like it or not. Having politely knocked at the door of our pained psyche, it will use stronger measures if necessary, all flowing from the nature of its own Being. Many of us have had our psychic doors kicked in, before being hauled off into the Light. A Divine hijacking of sorts!

Initially this crisis event that pulls the mattress from under our sleeping frame is unwanted and perceived as a dark place. Yet, this shadow valley through which we are carried is a necessary stage in our Awakening. For in this place of fear and despair, ego is flushed out and dethroned from its place of control. Often in such a state we believe ourselves to be dying or losing our sanity. The reflex action of ego programmes want us to run or fight, yet we are powerless in the embrace of Divine Love. Like a caring counsellor walking an addict through cold turkey, Presence will be there, though we can’t sense it. Our day has come. We are on our way to a new psycho-spiritual place – a place of freedom and adjustment. A place of health and Self Awareness, the table spread before us in the midst of our psychic fragmentation.

Divine Love has been at this rescue game since time immemorial. It loves nothing as much as going after the ego lamb that has left the security of its flock. Re-centred around the spirit fire of our inner Self, we can rest easy without falling back into the delusions of our sleeping days. Once awakened we know things have changed. We’ve been through the hell of leaving addictive delusion, only to find a Silence in our inner Self, the meeting place of Source and man.

http://amzn.to/NCDf3k

 

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Free Will?

Free Will?

Let me go ahead and say it!

Nothing can ultimately keep us from Divine Love – how can it?

‘Well, for starters,’ you may reply, ‘what about free will?’

Well, I agree that will appears to be an extremely potent weapon in resisting the Irresistible. Like some scurrying, little mouse it imagines its escape to be final before turning a corner to find its unfriendly, feline hunter one step ahead of it. Please let me explain.

Free will may not be that free after all. I appear to be free to choose what kind of coffee I’ll order when sitting here in this Lincolnshire, coffee shop. Shall I go for a latte or a soya cappuccino? No I think that I’ll go for an Americano with a little skimmed milk! Decision made. But is it that simple? Have I really made a decision or has the devious subliminal advertising of my surroundings influenced me. Has the choice of my coffee-drinking companion unknowingly influenced my own, preferred caffeine-fueled fix

Of course, apart from cash issues, such hidden influences don’t really matter in the overall scheme of things but with Divine Love it’s a totally different story. Either we are free to finally say NO to the Divine Presence or we can’t. Let me humbly suggest that we can’t.

Now of course it’s at this point that I will upset many of my Evangelical Christian friends for their whole raison d’etre is choice and free choice at that. Jesus died for our sins and we have a choice whether to accept God’s forgiveness or not! If not, well I wouldn’t like to be in your hell-bound shoes!

The reasoning behind this goes something like this. The Divine has granted us the power of free will, one that can refuse the very advances of the Love that gave it in the first place. Now there is something a bit off about this. If Divine Love, knew that the gift of free will would cause some of his beloved creatures to walk away from its very essence, straight into a godless eternity then would its granting constitute an act

Free Will?

Free Will?

of love? Rather, would it not be a somewhat, sadistic, ticking time bomb that would ultimately get rid of the apples of the Divine Eye?

I used to believe the free-will narrative on things but after my own rollercoaster life experiences, no longer.

No, will is, I believe, an illusion of sorts, one that helps us skip merrily through life believing that we are our own boss and that nobody tells us what to do. Yet, it lies, for within the human community, we are all influenced by the pull of the skewed, imitative desire of those around us. Pulled this way and that, we individually believe that the desires which regularly bubble up from our psyche-soul have their origins within, in other words, they stem from Me. Bouncing around the bouncy castle of life we’re oblivious to the frustrations and turmoil that haunt us from beneath – the controlling puppet strings of another’s passion and psychological needs. Their object of desire becomes ours and the subconscious battle for supremacy commences.

So, all a bit depressing you say! Well yes, if those around us are the only ones drawing us into their somewhat crazy desire fields. Thankfully there is a way of escape though, and that is to be drawn by the mimetic pull of Divine Love. Desire was birthed in the Source of All. It is the desire expert, the past master of its healthy default settings, the settings that tune us into liberty and life. This realignment with the One of our beginnings is the path of true freedom. Exchanging the hooks of contagious acquisitive desire, we involuntarily lay everything down, as we’re finally drawn into the Divine Embrace, like a prize salmon that’s had its final fling.

Some will be drawn into this awakening experience during their space-time sojourn, others will discover it post the illusion of death, or perhaps, as some Eastern philosophies suggest, on the space-time merry-go-round of a future life. Yet none will be cast out or expelled. To believe otherwise is to crown Free Will as the god of space-time and beyond.

In the Divine Presence, will, whether free or not, shall melt away, unnecessary in the Ocean of Divine Love. A homecoming where two have become One. The mystic catches glimpses of it and yearns for more, no longer interested in the matrix of desire.

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The Gift

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The Terrible Twos

The Terrible Twos

Let me first make it clear that I love twins! My dad was one, although his brother died at childbirth. So I’ve a soft spot for them, these little reflections of creativity. In today’s post I wish to look at the rivalry that stalks us in our search for peace, attempting to shed a little more light on its origins.

Someone once said that we usually hate the folk who remind us of ourselves. Sounding ridiculous at first there may be a little more truth in the statement than first meets our eyes.

Let’s start with desire!

Desire is the psycho-spiritual fuel that propels us towards having something or someone. Where does it come from? Most of us reckon that it is generated in the human heart, born in the inner core of our being. I believe not. let me explain.

Desire is, I believe, a virus of sorts that we are infected by, a bug that is transmitted from another. If we had eyes to see beyond the appearances of human relationships we could perceive the desire lines that permanently flow between individuals; a complex network of pushes and pulls that never switch off  but constantly operate under the radar of the conscious mind.

I desire an object because someone else is desiring it; I do not desire it in a social vacuum. All desire is hence triangular at its most basic. Out of the corner of my eye I have absorbed the desire of the other, the opposite base corner of the desire triangle. as I attempt to reach the desired apex object common to us both. The race is on with one eye on the prize and the other on our new opponent in the dash for acquisition.

As we both push toward the desired goal, the race becomes all, the object rapidly disappearing into the mists of illusory happiness. At this stage both sets of eyes are firmly set on one another, the desire for victory having become the new race prize.

It’s at this stage that we have become the terrible twos, mirror images of one another, twins determined to kill of the mutual challenge of our psychic sibling. Such an engagement with our brother or sister is a function of our skewed or warped ego, that desire transmitter-receiver that scans the psycho-spiritual airways for the latest ‘must-have’ object and the one chasing it down.

This human dynamic was widely understood in many ancient cultures where twins were taboo and symbols of a potential violent struggle within the tribe or social grouping. Some societies even exiled one of the twins to defuse any future outbreaks of violent contagion.

Throughout the Judaeo Scriptures we regularly come across this warring brother syndrome, one included for our warning and enlightenment. Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob, Joseph and his brothers, the two house sharing prostitutes who brought their baby for Solomon’s ownership judgement,  are  brutally honest exposés of familial rivalry, ones that result in violence, whether potential or actual. We are being shown how those in close relationship often end up fighting each other for metaphysical dominance.; the victor somehow absorbing the being of the vanquished when the fight is over; a conflict initially triggered by a mutual desire transfer.

When such a dynamic occurs within a faith or spirituality community it is extra specially tragic. The initial object is usually a desire to know God, or to be close to someome who claims to. Such a desire can easily morph into the subliminal driving force of a hidden struggle for victory over a fellow believer or devotee. May I suggest that under the charade of brotherly or sisterly love that the terrible twos is endemic within most metaphysical groups. Ego finds it extremely easy to justify its armed struggle stance regarding an other within the sacred setting, with God or Scriptures often press-ganged onto the side of the righteous.

Warring twin relationships often start out well with a level of mutual respect but often transform themselves as the level of desire is increased by either or both parties. The spiral of relational breakdown often takes folk by surprise. How can two who were once so close, now be at each others spiritual throats, a battle for Divine authentication and approval. Is it any wonder that so many so-called expressions of faith or spirituality exist within the psycho-spiritual marketplace? Is it any wonder that many defeated twins or shattered mirror images have walked away from the hidden but intense desire battles that pervade many religious or New Age groups. Of course not. Survival is a great motivator.

As we engage with others, either face to face, or dare I say it on social media sites, let us be aware of the desire dangers lurking within our fractured psyche-souls. Being mindful of our tendency to absorb the passion of another is half the battle; the other half being our own connection to the One outside Desire. The Spirit of the Nazarene, knows nothing of desire  except that all-pervasive energy known as the Will or Passion of God. Now that’s what we need to absorb, a liberating infection that will help us fly high over the battlefields of the Terrible Twos.

http://www.amazon.com/author/dylanmorrison

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The Door

The Door

I am the Door of the sheep.

All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep do not hear them.

I am the Door.

Through Me if anyone should be entering, he shall be saved

And shall be entering and coming out and will be finding pasture.

The thief is only coming so that he should be stealing and sacrificing and destroying.

I came that they may have aeonian life and have it superabundantly.

After tackling the dominance of Pauline teaching in the day to day life of traditional Christianity I’ve decided to return to the somewhat quizzical sayings of Yeshua as found in John’s narrative of the Nazarene’s final weeks on earth.

The above saying is lifted from Yeshua’s discourse with the Jewish leadership team that hung out in the Temple court area looking for heretics to put straight.

I am the Door of the sheep.

All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep do not hear them.

The Nazarene outsider is clearly using metaphorical language here in his engagement with his theological adversaries. He’s been talking about sheep, sheepfolds, authentic and false shepherds in his discussions with his learned opponents. So what do such symbols mean?

Sheep

This somewhat humbling term refers to those folk who belong to God; in the immediate context of his discussions, Yeshua is talking about the Jewish race but in light of subsequent sayings he is clearly referring to all mankind, those who have come from and will return to Divine Source.

Door

This is the entrance into the sheepfold, the sacred place of belonging where true community is to be found. Is this sheepfold, a racial group or religious belief system? I believe not. It’s the place of Divine Presence, the very Cosmos itself and indeed, beyond. The realm of  Divine awakening and awareness. Yeshua sees himself as One through whom his followers pass into such an altered state. He’s suggesting that following or tuning into him is the key to a spiritual awakening. From a mimetic or imitative desire perspective Yeshua is claiming that those who are drawn into his Desire field will find themselves emerging into a new state of consciousness, the same consciousness that he himself experienced during his space-time sojourn.

Thieves and robbers

Yeshua uses this term for the mosaic of spiritual teachers whose motives are purely for self gain; those who see folk as a means to an end. The religious and spiritual world is full of such peddlers of metaphysical wares, but the Nazarene sees through their shepherd masks to the lurking ego violence within. The perceptive seer was clearly referring to the established teachers of the Law centring around the Jerusalem Temple cult of his day but such religious teachers are found the world over no matter what their cultural or temporal context.

Yeshua clearly states that we sheep will not stick with such religious or spiritual experts for long. Eventually the realisation dawns on us that the Divine Voice is not being heard through them; something in the ground of their being just doesn’t resonate with our inner vibration of spiritual authenticity.

I am the Door.

Through Me if anyone should be entering, he shall be saved

Here the Nazarene connects the idea of entering through him into the place of Divine Awareness to the common but often misunderstood concept of salvation. May I suggest, contrary to much theological thought, that this salvation primarily refers to a continual state of psycho-spiritual freedom, one in which we’re delivered from the effects of skewed desire and its resulting Model Obstacle relationships. In other words, not a future escape from wrathful Divine Judgement but a here and now state of well-being and psychic wholeness, one that we will carry with us into death and beyond!

And shall be entering and coming out and will be finding pasture.

 Here Yeshua promises a free-flowing life, one that links both our inner and outer worlds. At times we’ll focus on the mysterious immanence of Divine Presence; at others we’ll be engaged with the manifestations of Spirit Breath in our outer day-to-day encounters. One thing is promised though. Pasture or spiritual nurture will be ours, a constant provision for those of us free from the inner and outer tensions of desire rivalry and competition. In the letting go of our squealing ego needs we’ll discover a surprising new level of Divine provision, one required to maintain our newly acquired mimetic state.

The thief is only coming so that he should be stealing and sacrificing and destroying.

The Galilean prophet goes straight to the heart of all inauthentic religious and spiritual experts.

Seeing beyond the pietistic surface Yeshua reveals three aspects of psycho-spiritual malpractice.

1) Stealing

The ego driven teacher helps themself to something that belongs to both the Divine and the individual spiritual seeker.

From the Divine the rogue guru steals the worship or worthship due to the limitless Source of All.

From the ardent seeker the master robber subtly steals the gift of Will, the individual’s God-given ability to choose which Path to follow. The somewhat subliminal, hypnotic powers of the spiritual expert can lead the unsuspecting sheep into a cage  of  psycho-spiritual codependency.

2)  Sacrificing

This interesting choice of word reveals the hidden nature of much psycho-spiritual thought and practice. The  false religious teacher  will always require sacrifice of some sort from those who follow them. The shedding of much blood, sweat and tears in order to keep the guru’s god happy usually  lurks within the spiritual teaching of the believable spiritual thief . A little tip from my personal observations and experience. Beware of spiritual or religious leaders who subliminally or openly push self-sacrifice in their missional manifestos.

3) Destroying

The fruit of all false spirituality is eventual death. Often behind the impressive mesmeric powers of the religious or spiritual salesman lies a fragmented heart of violence and control, cleverly camouflaged by a great big beatific smile. Many are the unsuspecting victims of such false teachers. Great piles of spiritual corpses lie on the smouldering fires of religious disillusionment. How many burnt out believers hide away in dark sacred corners, nursing their wounded psyches, those damaged by the skewed mimetic game of zealous master-disciple relationships?

I came that they may have aeonian life and have it superabundantly.

Here Yeshua states that his mission was to restore a vigorous sense of life to those confused and damaged by the religious status quo. His followers weren’t to be characterised by puritanical piety and spiritual hoop jumping but by the very essence of Divine Source, viz. Life. Not the mere existence of those caught up in the skewed desire battles of human culture but the very Life of the Queendom to come, the Life of the new Jerusalem, a one to One Union with Ultimate Reality.

Now that’s what I call superabundant spirituality; the crazy Cosmic Dance through the Divine Door that was incarnated in Yeshua.

Dylan’s Author page ~ https://www.amazon.com/author/dylanmorrison

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Bread Of Life And All That!

Bread Of Life And All That!

I AM the Bread of life.

He coming toward me should under no circumstances be hungering,

And he believing into me will under no circumstances be thirsting……..

Everyone that the Father is giving to me shall be arriving toward me,

And those coming toward me I should under no circumstances be casting out,

That’s why I descended from the heavens,

Not that I should be doing my will but the Will of him sending me.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

In today’s post I wish to look at a mysterious saying of Yeshua that many of his present day followers find difficult to understand. I believe that many  Christian interpretations have missed the key to grasping the practical lessons embedded within this esoteric gem from the Nazarene. The key that I will use to reveal the hands-on applications that lie within this supposed mystical discourse is the recently discovered psycho-spiritual tool known as mimetic theory. Let me explain.

Yeshua has just fed the multitude with a multiplied sardine bread combo that satisfied their natural hunger. Having just discovered a new miracle worker in their midst the grasping crowd are now chasing him down for more of his mystical magic. However, the Galilean prophet isn’t carried away by the adulation of the throng as he engages them in discussion; a revealing heart to heart about their founding fathers’ eating habits on the way to the promised land. Back then, their starving ancestors were just glad to get their bellies filled with miraculous daily manna, a gift from their Deliverer God, YHWH. The Nazarene holy man hints that the Hebrew travellers had missed the whole point of their manna diet, just like his present audience, those baying for more Messianic thrills. This is where we encounter the above declaration from Yeshua.

I AM the Bread of life.

Most Christian comment claims that Yeshua is here declaring his divine nature, claiming that he too came from the Divine realm, like the supernatural manna of the wilderness. I have no problem with that but we can, if we wish, read it slightly differently, seeing YHWH, the I AM THAT I AM, as the Bread of life. Most interpretations perceive this life to be eternal in nature, the life of post death experience, yet surely this life is in the here and now, our day-to-day space-time adventure as lived through our soul-psyche. In the Eternal Now of Divine perspective perhaps both these forms of life are one and the same.

He, coming toward me, should under no circumstances be hungering,

 

Here Yeshua unpacks a great mystery, one with earthly applications. The Galilean realises that all human relationships are mimetic or imitative in nature. We find our perceptions of Self in the other, being drawn to the apparent metaphysical solidity of their personhood. The Self image that we currently hold is a collage of all that we have admired in others to date. No-one is truly their own man. The autonomy of the psyche-soul is a delusion, one that brings in its wake much psychological suffering and pain.

Understanding this, Yeshua reveals himself as an object of human desire. For those drawn into the sphere of his Being, those attached by a gut-felt, metaphysical desire, will not be disappointed. All human relationships of Model and follower eventually end in tears of separation and rivalry. Expulsion and broken relationship is the norm in the world of skewed desire. However, Yeshua claims that ultimately it won’t happen to those attracted to him. Ultimately, because it often happens to the most zealous of disciples along the Way. Simon Peter is a classic example of one who entered the dangerous role of Monstrous Double or Adversary, one who rivaled with his Master Model in attempting to stop him going up to Jerusalem to die. Yet, even such a head strong follower as the Galilean fisherman, finally got it, albeit after his Model’s future demise and unexpected comeback.

The reason that we can desire what Yeshua desires and come into his freedom, is because the Nazarene will never rival back. He will never become a Monstrous Double, one fighting us for a share of Being, for all Being resides within him, the incarnated Tao-Logos. When we understand this newly revealed gravitational dynamic and its accompanying realignment process, we are free to move into a world of desire that is ‘vertical’ rather than remain in the horizontal version where rivalry and ultimate violence prevail.

And he believing into me will under no circumstances be thirsting……..

At first glance this little nugget only seems to echo the radical message of the previous hungering statement, yet there resides here a subtle but important further unpacking of the whole mimetic or imitative process. In this declaration Yeshua replaces coming to with believing into. Modern day Yeshua followers are frankly obsessed with belief. Doctrine and dogma have become the battle fields upon which much spilt spiritual energy and blood lies crying out from holy ground, like the blood of the mythic Abel, the victim of the Founding murder. For many of us intellectually believe the right things concerning the Nazarene has replaced the believing into of this poignant statement.

So what’s the difference?

Well, intellectual belief is always operates in the sphere of the psyche-soul, our interface with this space-time realm. Hence it always contains the potential to be a weapon of our defensive and often counter-attacking ego. In ancient Middle Eastern spirituality belief was a process of trust or letting go, a lying back into the object believed into. Yeshua’s words reflect such a release, with its resulting movement into the very essence of his Being. Like Han’s Solo’s Millenium Falcon being drawn into the hold of the giant Death Star, only flipped from the Dark Side!

I would suggest that such a believing into Yeshua releases something fresh and altogether other within our weary psyches; an unlimited watering from Divine Source itself, a thirst quenching drink of Holy Breath that heals our psychic pains.

Everyone that the Father is giving to me shall be arriving toward me,

Here Yeshua suggests that the mimetic process at work in his followers doesn’t originate with him; rather, all those drawn into his desire field have somehow been placed there by his God, the Father or ‘Abba’ with whom he himself was in mimesis. Once touched by Yeshua’s all-consuming desire matrix the only way to go seems to be towards him. Perhaps this gives a Divine slant on the whole free-will ~ destiny debate that continues to confuse those of a theological bent!

And those coming toward me I should under no circumstances be casting out,

 

This little phrase has been hijacked by many Christian interpreters to build a case for eternal salvation, the great escape from the dreaded fires of hell. Such a fundamentalist  fire insurance  take on Yeshua’s words  is, I believe, extremely wide of his original meaning. Here is what I believe he is saying.

‘Those who are realigned into my desire field and grow into my likeness through desire exchange will never have to worry about me turning on them. Even though they become like me, I will never expel them or do them violence, unlike human Models. I will never become your Model Obstacle, the one to scapegoat you out of my Presence and Being.’

In other words, the desire link up with Yeshua is the only truly safe relationship that we can have during our space-time journey.

That’s why I descended from the heavens,

Yeshua claims here that, like the miracle manna, his Being is sourced in the Divine. The psycho-spiritual freedom that he enjoys has its origins in his Divine connection with the Transcendent Father, the One who, being Being itself, doesn’t need to rival with anyone for a sense of Self. Such a Divinity has no need to measure itself against the creatures that it has birthed. It is supremely Self-defining, yet wishing to share this freedom with its mirror images. For such a mission was the Nazarene sent – an awakening to the possibility of a rivalry free communion with our Source Spirit.

Not that I should be doing my will but the Will of him sending me. 

In taking on this task Yeshua reveals the secret of his commissioning; he has voluntarily been absorbed by the mimetic desire or will of the transcendent Other, the very passion that holds the Cosmos together. In other words, Yeshua the man, demonstrated that once a desire connection is established with Divine Love, and the skewed desire of ego set aside, we can all return to the freedom of the sons and daughters of God. Realigned with Holy Breath, the Divine essence in space-time we can run through life, free from Model Obstacle and Monstrous Double relational constraints, loosed from the gravitational pull of others who vie for psychic clones. Now if that isn’t life abundantly then I don’t know what is!

Dylan’s Author page ~ https://www.amazon.com/author/dylanmorrison

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Dysfunctional Religious Attachments

Dysfunctional Religious Attachments

Recovering from abuse experienced within a spiritual or religious setting is a long and painful process. While the level of abuse can vary along a given spectrum there are some characteristics common to all cases.

In the same way that an alcoholic denies that he/she has a drink problem or a battered wife’s denies that her husband is an abuser, so too with victims of religious or spiritual abuse. Deep within the abused will be a feeling that something isn’t quite right and yet a strong emotional attachment still locks the victim, for that’s what they are, into a mind-control matrix. The first step to freedom is to admit that one may be imprisoned in such a complex system.

There are a number of phenomena linked to subliminal abuse and control that might suggest you’re suffering a level of abuse.

1) The elevation of the abusive group above all other faith groups.

A clear danger sign is the exclusive nature of such a religious group. The ‘God has chosen us to be special syndrome’ is a symptom of a control mentality.

2) Broken or distrustful relationships with previous friends, family or outsiders.

An ‘us and them’ mental stronghold leads to emotional fractures with those previously close to the victim.

When my wife and I left our Shepherding group, an elder’s wife publically asked the pastor if  she could discuss ‘family business’ with us if she met us on the high street. Thankfully and to my great surprise she was told to be as open as she wanted. Yet the question revealed an ‘us and them’ mentality that was prevalent.

3) A level of ‘committment’ to the group that eats up time, money and emotional energy that’s often to the detriment of normal family life.

Often commitment to God is interpreted as commitment to the group. In my experience this is a real sign of near cultic tendencies within faith groups.

4) A strong charismatic leader with an elevated view of his own position and service.

In my own experience I was drawn to the charisma of my leader through mimetic or imitative desire – I wanted to be as close to God as he appeared to be. Like me, such ‘followers’  can greatly inflate a leaders view of his own importance leading to religious delusions and tight control.

5) A one-man-band leader who insists on doing all the public service of the church.

Variety is a strong characteristic of creation and should be reflected in the life of a faith community. It’s not just the ‘Joe Blogg’s Show’

6) A dismissal of genuine concerns by the leader or leadership.

If the leadership of your faith group are constantly ignoring or belittling your and others feelings of unease then it usually suggests a superiority attitude within the group’s leadership team.

7) God has appointed us as leaders and we always will be  – we perceive any disagreement with us as a lack of  ‘faith’ on your part.

In my own experience my ‘Shepherd’ had a great technique whereby I left private meetings with him with the impression that the ‘problem’ only lay within me. It was a brilliant psychological trick skillfully played on all dissenters!

8) A secrecy regarding the financial expenditure of the group, especially regarding the leader’s salary.

We had a great technique in our fellowship for hiding details of expenditure. The salaries of all our workers were grouped together at the AGM giving the impression of an equality within the salary structure. The opposite was the case – if your group is secretive about detailed expenditure beware. You are under a form of financial control that is contrary to basic integrity.

9) A regular feeling of guilt regarding your ‘service’ to God via the group.

Guilt has nothing to do with being a follower of Yeshua. If this guilt lands on you after attending a faith group then you are being abused.

10) A special ‘in’ language that outsiders can’t understand.

A new language that innocently conveys the ‘hidden agenda’ of  the abusers. In my own case such phrases as ‘being under authority’ and ‘ having covering’ were falsely revered as spiritual correctness.

11) A lack of vulnerability on behalf of the leader or teacher.

Most abusive leaders are locked into a denial of their own flaws and weaknesses, appearing strong to their followers. At the same time a level of vulnerability and openness is often required from followers by such a leader. Such a degree of openness keeps the follower locked into the abusive matrix. Remember knowledge is power and especially in abusive pastoral situations.

Potentially, all of us are vulnerable to such abuse when we seek to serve the Divine within the close confines of a faith or esoteric group. Yet, there is another way. My own wee tale of religious puppetry and eventual escape, fleshes out the above pitfalls, while giving hope to those still hungry for the Love that flows from above. Here’s a helpful  link to ‘The Prodigal Prophet’ if you’d like to read more of the often unspoken issues raised here.

http://amzn.to/2b7xBrm

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