How have you been keeping in the last few weeks since we last heard from you?
You mentioned about time commitment, which is a theme everyone familiar with SES can relate to. I once looked at it in comparison to religious observance. In my observation it is standard for SES members to meditate 7 hours per week, attend 3 classes as tutor or student for at least 2 hours each totaling 6 hours, plus at least 3 hours travelling to get there. Additionally there is homework and planning of at least 1 hour per week. That's a baseline total of 17 hours per week - to which study days, weekend retreats and week-long retreats are added, plus Art in Action and any personal or professional favors SES may ask for. Annually that averages at the very least to 20 hours per week of time commitment. As far as I'm aware a practicing Christian, Hindu, Muslim or another other person who considers themselves religious would attend their place of worship once per week and pray for about half an hour per day at most, for a total of around 6 hours per week. That might of course come up to an average of about 10 hours per week if the person does religious charity work or help look after the place of worship. So one way of looking at it is that SES has double the time commitment of a religion and about the same as a part-time job
. That is compelling fact in itself, which begs further questions: why does a spiritual organization which says it is not a religion expect double the time commitment of a religion? What impact does the time commitment have on members careers, families and stress levels? Does busyness enable clarity of thought? Does it enable autonomous decision making? Does it enable people to know themselves? Or could it result in a form of intoxication masquerading as awareness, in which people do quite the opposite and in fact lose themselves?
Obviously, this time arrangement has been established thanks to the choices made by the leadership of SES. I think it is worth considering who these individual personalities are, because it might offer an indication of what has motivated them to design the organization in this way. I have always found it conspicuous that (i) Maclaren was a politician, (ii) Sinclair was in advertising, (iii) Lambie was a barrister and (iv) Boddy was in public relations. All four professions are dedicated to the art of persuading a group of people to chose to do what they want them to do; (i) voting for your party, (ii) buying your product and (iii) accepting your case and (iv) believing in your client's virtue. In all four cases, this can involve indoctrination and other forms of social and psychological influence. It entails establishing a form of power over people's minds. It is important to think about this, if we want to understand what is driving the individuals who created this organization.
You said that you found some of the literature I mentioned very interesting. It would be useful for all of us to know which texts you have been reading and what was interesting about them to you. What resonated in particular? It would be great if you could provide a few quotations.
You also said that you began to question the nearly 30 years of your life that have been given over to something that you are now uncertain about. You talked us through your contemplation of leaving, and then of you becoming aware that so much of your time is given over to it, and that there was a shocking sense of being addicted. Fear ensued, and then a sense of the person that you were so many years ago - you referred to it as your "real person" but that you had become very different from that by degrees.
These are profound experiences for anyone to go through, very reminiscent of a transformation of the self. Please could you talk through these experiences some more? I'm certain that it is very important.
Who was that person 30 years ago? In what way were they different to who you are now? Is that person still inside you? How did that person leave you? If you were not that person for much of those thirty years, then what were you?
And if people around you watched that person of 30 years ago change by degrees, what was it like for them to lose that person? If you have children, did they go through a feeling of losing you as your "real person" at that time, feelings of loss which you might not have gone through at the time yourself?
And where had that person of 30 years ago come from? Did they come from a place where they felt loved, where they could express their thoughts and emotions, where these were heard, and understood? Did they come from a place where they were given guidance about how to go forward into the world with strength and independence? What where they looking to find? And, if the person you are today could go back in a time machine to the person of 30 years ago, what would you tell them?
Also, could you go into a little more detail about the sense of fear that you felt when considering these experiences? Were you afraid of losing something you have? Or is it fear of what you might find? And if so, please talk us through the various possibilities of what you might find, that are going through your mind.
StillatSES wrote:Dear AT,
My apologies for the delay - but I was looking into some of the literature which you kindly pointed me towards. And I have found it very interesting. I must say that many of things you said in your post a few days ago, set me thinking in a new way. I even began to question that nearly 30 years of my life have been given to something which I cannot say with certainty has given me back the sort of realisation which Dr. Alan has mentioned.
You may be interested - but I have even introduced the thought into my own mind of leaving SES, only to find out what effect it had on me. To my shock and surprise I began to get a sense of the addiction which you mentioned in your post. It seemed an almost impossible thing to consider leaving, as so much of the time in my life is given to the school at present. I began to wonder what I would do with my life. Maybe you and some others can describe to me what it actually felt like after you left SES. Especially if anyone had been there for many years.
On realising the fear of what it might be to leave SES , I then began to get a sense of the real person that I was so many years ago, and that I had become very different from that by degrees - as you had said. For me at this stage it would take courage to make the break. But I am sure that there are many on this forum who may be able to help me if I do decide to leave. I guess I will have to change stillatSES to another tag then.