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A few further thoughts

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Mar. 15th, 2011 | 11:12 am

As I continued to ask myself what may have been different about last November's cycle of dealing with memories of my mother's final illness and death, it occurred to me that I traveled to visit her gravesite last September. This is something I hadn't done since her funeral a couple of years before. Somehow I had a sense, over last summer, that it was time to consider doing that. Also, in preparation for that, I consulted with a flower essence practitioner who is also an astrologer. Whether that preparation was only symbolic, placebo, or whatever, I felt that it was a useful step at that time.

So, basically, I was following a sense of inner timing regarding some aspects of achieving closure around my mother's death, although I was only vaguely aware of its significance at that time.

Another facet of the experience with the flower essences is that I had a very vivid dream of myself performing salat, which I then followed up on (unlike previous dreams about salat, which didn't result in a resumption of the practice itself). I also felt motivated to retrieve my tesbih and my Jerrahi medallion from the place where I had stored them. I remember the first time that I experimented with doing zikr instead of (or in addition to) japa and how I felt that I was re-establishing contact with a part of myself that I had laid aside in my attempt to focus my attention within the Amma tradition.

Among the things that I have read regarding recovery from cult experiences is that it is common for people to re-examine beliefs and practices with which they identified prior to joining the cult. It is also typical, of course, for people to feel a need to avoid group involvements or intense interpersonal relationships for a while during their recovery process.

Another facet of closure that may be significant is that R appears no longer to be employed at the school next door to my campus. I recently checked the website for that school and he is not listed among the faculty. Perhaps he has taken up permanent (or semi-permanent) residence in India.

I don't intend to claim that the Amma organization is (necessarily) a cult, but I am finding it useful in tracking my progress toward healing to consider those aspects of my personal experience that appear to have been cult-like, especially the damaging aspects of my friendships with R, J, and others I've encountered along the way. There is more about the therapists I was working with that I think is relevant here, too, but I'll stop for now with a link to a document by someone whose work I may want to look into further: http://www.outofthecocoon.net/PDF/Repairing_the_Soul_After_a_Cult_Experience_by_Janja_Lalich.pdf



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