Meditation

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
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Meditation

Postby Guest » Fri Mar 12, 2004 11:51 pm

MEditation is one of the highlights of the SES. Have you ever tired it? Do you think it is good that such a 'cult' does meditation?? What are your views on the Meditation in the SES?

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bella
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Postby bella » Fri Mar 12, 2004 11:58 pm

Replying in the same spirit with which the question was asked:

Yeah, it's good.

Misty

Postby Misty » Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:13 am

Good in what sense? Would you recomend other people to try it?

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bella
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Postby bella » Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:30 am

Do you think it is good that such a 'cult' does meditation??

That seemed a fairly loaded question, so I was reluctant to speak more on the topic. It reads as either a challenge to those calling the SES a cult, or a challenge to those who practice meditation within the SES-prescribed system. Neither option seemed like a useful place to start a discussion, so perhaps you could clarify your own views on the topic, and I might have more to go on. :)

Guest

Postby Guest » Sun Mar 14, 2004 10:34 pm

well, Mike's website looks upon the SES as a cult. A cult is a religious group,whoes beliefs are considered extreme or strange by other people (dictionary definition).
From what I know, people within the SES have their own religions -Hindusim, Christian, Catholic.

A religious group is where they all belive and worship as one.

Perhaps people think that meditation is strange and so that makes them a cult. However meditation has come from other religions, perhaps giving it a link to other religions makes them a cult?

Guest

Postby Guest » Mon Mar 15, 2004 1:27 am

Anonymous wrote:well, Mike's website looks upon the SES as a cult. A cult is a religious group,whoes beliefs are considered extreme or strange by other people (dictionary definition).


Dictionary difenitions vary, and are often behind the times in word usage.

This from a UK cult info centre http://www.cultinformation.org.uk/faq.html

Every cult can be defined as a group having all of the following five characteristics:
1.
It uses psychological coercion to recruit, indoctrinate and retain its members

2.
It forms an elitist totalitarian society.

3.
Its founder leader is self-appointed, dogmatic, messianic, not accountable and has charisma.

4.
It believes 'the end justifies the means' in order to solicit funds recruit people.

5.
Its wealth does not benefit its members or society.

The SES does seem to fit this description.

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Postby mgormez » Mon Mar 15, 2004 2:08 am

Anonymous wrote:well, Mike's website looks upon the SES as a cult. A cult is a religious group,whoes beliefs are considered extreme or strange by other people


I have a broader view of that word. A cult can also be a political movement and some describe Amway Corporation as one. In my view a cult is a group which at the very least does not disclose upfront what the true goals and doctrine entail, therby robbing people of an informed choice.
Mike Gormez

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bella
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Postby bella » Mon Mar 15, 2004 3:24 am

I can certainly see how the SES could be seen to satisfy 1 through 3 on that list of points, but I have no experience whatsoever of 4 or 5.

Perhaps things are currently different in other countries, but our head of school has said that an appropriate attitude to cultivate in relation to people enrolling for the courses is "couldn't care less". It seems any sort of over-zealous endorsement or 'pushing' is actively disencouraged.

As for the 'wealth' not benefiting members or society...what money there is goes toward rental costs for the building, and other mundane administrative costs. Schools that own their primary buildings spend money on upkeep as well as admin. Every so often there are residential weeks at other schools around the country and overseas, and if members are unable to afford the fares or meal levy, the school pays for it upfront. There are also generous donations made if costs are down and revenue is up. Again, this may well be different in other places, but the schools I've seen in Australia don't operate at a personal profit for anyone.

a different guest

Postby a different guest » Mon Mar 15, 2004 7:33 am

bella wrote:I can certainly see how the SES could be seen to satisfy 1 through 3 on that list of points, but I have no experience whatsoever of 4 or 5.

I would disagree. for 4, the ads for their introductory courses are certainly misleading in Australia (as they are elsewhere). And despite your teachers casual attitude, I've also been told by Australians who have attended the courses that they have been told (but in much flowery and roundabout language than this) that some people are "not good enough/wise enough whatever" people to be able to continue the course of study.

As for 5 - certainly the one thing that can be said about the SES is that they don't fleece people for money to the extent other cults do - but still, where is all the money going that IS paid to them. The SES own some very expensive property - the money is going to the benefit of the SES, not to the membership generally or society as a whole.

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bella
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Postby bella » Mon Mar 15, 2004 1:36 pm

I've also been told by Australians who have attended the courses that they have been told (but in much flowery and roundabout language than this) that some people are "not good enough/wise enough whatever" people to be able to continue the course of study.

Guest, what can I say? That's unfortunate. Of course, it would help if you could relate first-hand what was actually said and by whom, and it's sometimes easy to forget that both tutors and students are human, with their own interpretations and frailties about what is being taught. People will have ego issues wherever you go, and I suppose I am lucky in that the head of the school that I attend seems to have fairly open, sensible and altruistic motivations.

As for misleading advertising, I'm wondering which parts you find misleading? The ads mention Eastern and Western philosophies applied in a practical context, which is, as far as I can tell, what is offered. As I mentioned elsewhere, the introductory lecture currently speaks of meditation being a component of the teaching at a later time, as well as mentioning various Eastern and Western scripture. The introductory lecture is free, and if people don't like what they hear, they don't come back. As I also mentioned, this a relatively recent development in the school here, implemented for the reasons I suspect you think it should be: increased clarity about the school's origins and aims. I suppose I may be assuming some degree of intelligence and critical thinking ability on the part of people who attend the intro lecture - that's not meant to be facetious; it's a genuine acknowledgement that some people simply haven't learned to distinguish for themselves whether something is suitable for them, based on rational criteria. Some folks do tend to "go with the flow", and end up some place they really don't want to be.

Finally, as far as money goes - I'm satisfied that the school isn't personally benefiting any individual or individuals. That's pretty much all I need to satisfy me that it's better than, say, the Catholic Church in that regard. Believe me, I'd be the first to run screaming if I noticed tutors or heads of school suddenly buying new homes or purchasing luxury vehicles. I've also witnessed donations to charitable causes. Really, the financial side is the least of my concerns (and you may be surprised to learn that yes, I do have some. This just doesn't seem like the place to bring them up thus far.)
Last edited by bella on Wed Mar 31, 2004 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Guest

Postby Guest » Mon Mar 15, 2004 7:13 pm

So does meditation make the SES seem a cult?

a different guest

Postby a different guest » Tue Mar 16, 2004 7:29 am

bella wrote: . Really, the financial side is the least of my concerns (and you may be surprised to learn that yes, I do have some. This just doesn't seem like the place to bring them up thus far.)


Why not Bella? Seems to me people's "concerns" about the SES is what this forum is all about.

And just on the advertising - last time I saw the ads (few months ago now) they very much implied that the course was about general philosophy. Also I don't recall seeing the first lecture as being advertised as "free". The offer was a series of lectures and that there was flexibility regarding days of attendence. The SES claim they are not a religion, but it sounds very religious to me.

a different guest

Postby a different guest » Tue Mar 16, 2004 7:33 am

in fact, reading this you would have NO idea what it is all about. This from the au branch website.

"The School began in London in 1936 when a small group of people came together to study economics; seeking an understanding of the universal laws which govern the relations between people in society. They hoped to discover principles which would help to eliminate the social ills prevailing at that time.
In this climate of social and economic uncertainty, a School was established on the firm premise that truth and justice exist, and so could be discovered, and having been discovered, could be practiced and taught.

The discovery, practice and teaching proceeded hand in hand, until in the early 1950s it became obvious that the key to the understanding of people in society was the study of Man himself.

Thus began the first courses in Philosophy. The School's approach to the study of philosophy has been practical from the beginning, and has proceeded on the principles that what is learnt is for the benefit of others, and that the teacher never ceases being a student. The first courses were offered in Australia in 1967."

and this about the course

"Week 1: Philosophy means ?love of wisdom?. The reasons for studying philosophy: to consider the fundamental questions of human life, to gain understanding of some of the ideas that have shaped our world and to open out greater possibilities for our lives. How does a wise man or woman act? The Exercise: a simple technique to bring us to an inner poise and stillness from which actions may emerge.
Week 2: The actions of a wise man or woman are governed by lasting principles. The principle of self-knowledge. The importance of observation in verifying knowledge. The principle of neither accepting nor rejecting but putting into practice.

Week 3: The difference between knowledge and information. The levels of awareness. An introduction to Socrates. The spirit of enquiry.

Week 4: The levels of awareness. The full manifestation of potential. The nature of justice and injustice. Transcending fear.

Week 5: The nature of reason. The use of reason to aid justice and remove injustice. The need to experience deeper levels of being through stillness.

Week 6: The experience of higher consciousness. The nature of beauty. Absolute beauty: a description from Plato?s dialogue The Symposium.

Week 7: The question ?What am I?? The nature of the physical body, the mind and heart. The full use of the power of attention.

Week 8: The three fundamental forces of nature. Freedom from pleasure and pain.

Week 9: The three fundamental forces of nature (continued). The Self beyond the forces of nature. Attention in its free and bound states.

Week 10: The nature of truth. The history of the School. The way ahead.

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bella
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Postby bella » Tue Mar 16, 2004 11:05 am

From the homepage:

This course of 10 weekly sessions offers an effective and novel approach to the great questions of life. It examines how the master philosophies of East and West can be put to immediate use.

Through discussion, practice and observation, participants explore such questions as: Who am I? What am I doing here? What am I meant to be doing?

The course shows how these deep questions are not of passing theoretical interest, but give a practical guide to life showing how it can be lived to the full.

The result is happiness and freedom from the small and binding circles
of habitual existence.


I'm sorry guys, but I certainly wasn't expecting discussions on Kant and Russell - especially after the negation of passing theoretical interest in the topics. I actually think this reasonably describes what's on offer.

Also from the homepage:

There will be a free lecture on Wednesday 28th of January at 7pm,
outlining the Course and the background of the School


That's the introductory lecture I mentioned.

Guest (I wish you had names) - I say it doesn't seem like the right place to voice my concerns thus far, because what I've seen is mainly second-hand and knee-jerk reactions. The students at the English school raise some valid concerns, but I haven't seen any of them say they spent much time at the SES itself. I would very much like to speak with someone who has attended the school for some length of time themselves, and who is not completely embittered by the whole experience. I haven't had much luck on the web to date - people either want to proselytise or criticise.

the annoyed

Postby the annoyed » Tue Mar 16, 2004 9:38 pm

:fist: :fist: :fist: shoo shooo shoo right out of here with ur theory on whether it is a cult or not! Make up another god damn thread if you want!

We're here to discuss meditation here! :agrue:

I like meditation, it's peaceful and reaxing. This is going to sound so sad.. but within a couple of minutes of meditation I feel so warm, the feeling you get when your mum hugs you, or when ur under ur blankets: protected, known, strong, fearless, centered, deep.... I canlt find the exact word to describe it to you......

anyone else find it similar? Or just utterly pointless???


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