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May. 23rd, 2014 | 12:48 pm

In the article on Avatar that I linked to previous my entry, this was the paragraph that stood out most for me:

The Masters Course, at a cost of $3,000 US, involves the process of “discreation” of negative beliefs, visualized in trance as thought-forms or “bubbles.” After one vanishes, the vacuum in mental space can be replaced with a better belief. After the course, most students experience a strong euphoria that may last for weeks. Once the high wears off, some say they have experienced anxiety, obsessive thoughts, or deep depression resembling the downside of bipolar disorder. If they ask teachers for advice, they are told to repeat the course and experience deeper levels.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the cycles of euphoria followed by "crashing" that characterized my experience in the Amma org now appear to me to have been potentially pathological. I think that, if any of my therapists had been more astute, we would have started working immediately on why I found involvement in the Amma org to be a temporary coping strategy for the multiple stresses I was under at the time, and of why the powerfully fluctuating cycles that that kind of environment can induce may have been complicating my situation further. This is not about validating or invalidating spirituality per se, but about timing and setting and context and motivation.

There was clearly something spontaneous about my introduction to X and to Amma, but it was the efforts to sustain and to regain the quality of those initial experiences that probably resulted in more difficulty than was necessary.

My first therapist did reference the story of the post-Transfiguration walk down the mountain, but in my inflamed state I saw that mainly as a way of trying to "relate" to my experience by containing it within a familiar theological package. Where this therapist really failed was in taking X as a client and then, evidently, falling under the spell of X's manipulations. If this therapist really knew anything about personality disorders (as he claimed he did), he should have seen a mile away that X likely had one (or more) of them, and he should have refused to take him on as a client, even if I were codependently "trying to do the right thing" for my friend. But he didn't, and he therefore became the inheritor of that part of the story. Indirectly, this forced me to make a decisive break with X and to then proceed to find my way forward without him.

The next thing that shouldn't have happened was that I shouldn't have done hypnotherapy, given the already inflamed state in which I was at that time. I think that there is a conflict of interest in that most therapists are looking for more clients so, rather than assessing up front that a particular approach is not appropriate at a given time for a given client, they should take the lead in referring them to a more appropriate therapist. The quote above reminds of the time that I said to the hypnotherapist (whose approach, involving prescribed affirmations, seems related to what is described above): "If I find myself struggling with something, spiritual practitioners always seem to say that the solution is more spiritual practice, while therapists always seem to say that the solution is more therapy." In retrospect, I think that these kinds of pat determinations are signs of being caught in an ideology rather than functioning freely enough to be able to consider a variety of alternatives, including the necessity of continuing to struggle until a decision begins to take shape.



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