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NYC School of Practical Philosophy

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:09 pm
by Mikew
Attending the NYC branch for several years now and every once in a while look at forums for what people are saying about the school of practical philosophy and it seems the UK branch even to this day is so different from the NYC branch.

There was a recent article in the NY Times about the school and the woman writing the article found the school mostly boring and if it was a cult an unsuccessful one.

I haven't had any bad experiences there and have taken brakes from class and come back. Don't do much service usually attend the weekends which are generally a good time.

Does anyone have experiences from the NYC branch they found worrisome?


Re: NYC School of Practical Philosophy

Posted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:18 pm
by Daffy
Welcome to the forum, Mikew. In answer to your email to me, there are plenty of posts relating to the New York School. Go to the main forum page and enter 'NYC' or 'New York' in the search box.

If you search while you are in a thread, it will only search that thread.

Re: NYC School of Practical Philosophy

Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:37 am
by Free Thinker
Hi Mike,

I was raised in that school and attended as an "adult" member from 14 to 19. Then I got the hell out of there and have been dealing with the ramifications of my upbringing ever since, mostly successfully, but with a lot of hard work on my part.

I would guess that you are in the power majority there - a heterosexual man who chose to attend as an adult, probably white. (If not, feel free to let me know.) The experiences of woman, and other minorities in the school are vastly different from those of the men, particularly if they were raised in it as a child. I've found a lot of experiences in common with those raised in the UK school or who attended St. James and St. Vedast as children. I also found that I had a very common experience to quite a few of my peers who have since left the school no matter what our gender, sexual orientation, etc.

You can read a lot about my experience there on the forums and feel free to ask any questions you like.


Re: NYC School of Practical Philosophy

Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:11 am
by joeblogs
I found the article... it's the nicest one I've seen, and sums up one of the many reasons I left... it's dead bloody boring! ... ritic.html

Re: NYC School of Practical Philosophy

Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:21 pm
by Mikew
Yes Free Thinker if you have some examples that would be great just some high lights.
Yes I'm a white guy who came in as an adult and perhaps you're right the experience would be different for me and my wife is uninterested in attending.
It's funny in one of my last groups the men were the ones who didn't do service or go on the weekend trips much. I guess we were considered slackers. The group was split up and most of the women were grouped together.
None the less I've had positive experiences there.
I was expecting to hear horror stories about the NYC school especially after reading what goes on in the UK schools but there doesn’t seem too much.
I do have a friend who is a long time member of the school in the UK who has had a mostly positive experience however has scaled back his participation to one night a week because he has a daughter.

Re: NYC School of Practical Philosophy

Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:18 pm
by woodgreen
Hi Mikew and welcome. Could I ask if you have been through the initiation ceremony and if so what are your thoughts on it. I too attended as an adult and since leaving the school the whole business of the initiation has bothered me.


Re: NYC School of Practical Philosophy

Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:41 pm
by Mikew
woodgreen - Yes went through the initiation and had no idea what to expect. As it unfolded I thought some of it was weird and strange and I reminded myself that this only happens once in one's life unless you want to be initiated multiple times so enjoy what's happening. It was tough.
I thought too what the F did I get myself into?
I also read some things about mantra based meditation and how people are initiated how they pay for it and all that and the school of practical philosophy's initiation wasn't much different from what I read.
Did I think parts were weird and a bit strange? yes
My philosophy has been
take what I like and leave the rest
. So the initiation had some parts I didn't like but overall the meditation has been very helpful and I like the effects: discipline, I don't get sick nearly as much as my wife does and really like that one or two seconds when my thoughts come to a stop.
Do I think they should change anything? no I don't see why they should
let me know if that answers your question.
What made you stop going?
Every once in a while I’ll check to see what people are saying about the school because I like being sure this is a good place for me.
Since being in the school I haven’t had reason to leave. Have I heard some challenging things? Sure but nothing that made me leave.

Re: NYC School of Practical Philosophy

Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:29 pm
by woodgreen
Thanks for your honest reply Mikew. At the time of the initiation I had some similar thoughts - one was " I don't think I should be doing this and I don't think it is what I signed up for". But it was only after leaving the school it became a real problem because it was tied up with the secretive nature of the organisation. I couldn't work out what the SES were actually all about. I think this started whilst I was in the School - I left quite suddenly and from what I found on the net the process of "snapping" had begun. It is when your mind starts to say no, I'm not getting/having this. In the group the tutor ( a new one for the term) seemed to be starting to pick on me. She ignored me during the booking of tutorials and then said "anyone not booked in? "Duh! Began to see some darker facets of the place too.I was a divorcee and on my own and I suspect I was fair game for them - but like many on here I met some good people in my group and we were socially very friendly for a while. Often wonder how many carried on - most of my initial group left bit by bit so I think the hardcore remain!
Anyhow don't let me put you off - maybe it is horses for courses and if you feel ok carry on. NYC is a bit different from a regional school in the UK and you can probably stick up for yourself. But there are a few too many casualties, includingthe people who started this forum, and people who like myself have developed problems because of the School,for me to agree with you that the SES should not change. They need to be much more upfront about their organisation and its links, and what they and the initiation are all about.

take care


Re: NYC School of Practical Philosophy

Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:09 pm
by Mikew
woodgreen - Thanks appreciate the reply. One thing I'll say as a correction I didn't say the school didn't have to change. Just the initiation I thought was weird but OK and didn't have to change because it isn't a great departure from any mantra based meditation initiation.
The school on the other hand has some things to change and the NYC school is changing.
NYC school is re-writing their material.
I think the NYC school is a bit different from the UK schools which is why I'm curious to hear from people in the NYC area who have had a bad time since this forum is about uncovering a secret cult.
People in my class speak up often challenge the tutors and ask a lot of questions myself included.
I've never seen anyone pressured into accepting anything.
So I look forward to hearing from people who have experiences at the NYC branch but feel like not many want to share them.
If you're not comfortable sharing I understand but what were some of the specific problems you experienced from attending the school woodgreen?
What would you consider some of the SES's links and things they are hiding?

Re: NYC School of Practical Philosophy

Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:38 pm
by woodgreen
Hi Mikew - I do hope some of your NYC colleagues will respond. Free Thinker has explained that there are NYC members/family who have been affected negatively and pointed to the wealth of personal experiences on the forum.Read them if you have time.I have put some of mine on.
I'm willing to share lots of my thoughts about the effect of attending the SES. This takes time and is not easy.I do not particularly want to nit pick about how they got it wrong with me and others. They did, but as you will have noticed from the Forum they will never admit it. That is children, teenagers, and adults. Would be nice to hear from some of the real older folk who they got it wrong with, but they probably have no access to the internet and thus this forum.

If the SES want to be an accepted organisation they need to do the work themselves and not use the likes of you and me to suggest where they are going wrong. They have been doing this for many years - they just about managed to clean up the children's schools when the pupils on this forum had them banged to rights and they are trying to do it again with the main SES. Not on my back thanks.

Lots of nice people in the SES including yourself I think Mikew - but be careful they don't use you and your niceness. They are good at it and as you said yourself they ease off on traditional males.As to the initiation - here's the hard bit - I do not believe that some eastern (plus westerners) give me a once in a lifetime opportunity to be initiated and thus according to them the chance not to be reincarnated.If it is what you believe then good luck, but it obviously wasn't for me.

god bless (america but not the SES! No wonder I left!)


Re: NYC School of Practical Philosophy

Posted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:29 pm
by Mikew
Thank you for your reply

Looking forward to posts from people who have experience in the NYC schools.

See that a lot of people have looked this post over but haven't posted anything. Not sure why.

Re: NYC School of Practical Philosophy

Posted: Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:55 pm
by bluegreen
Perhaps none of them were NYC members

Re: NYC School of Practical Philosophy

Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:12 am
by Free Thinker
Hi Mikew,

Here is the first thread I started once I came out of lurking on this forum: There are several off topic posts but read through the whole thing for some specific examples.


You can search through my posts if you like by clicking on my username and then there's an option in my profile to see my posts. I've already posted about a lot of the problems I have had as a result of my upbringing involving self-esteem, being dominated by men, being unable to make simple decisions because they were always made for me, Them trying to take my personality away under the guise of "removing" the ego, arguments and tons of attention paid to stupid minutia like clothing, hairstyles, etc. pretension and patronage, lots of attention paid to the "natural difference" between men and women usually resulting in woman doing "women's work" and men doing "men's work" and the women serving the men, etc and so forth.

So please take a look through the forums - you can do a search for NYC and then search even further within the results.

Then if you have some specific questions, I'd be glad to answer them. I just don't want to retype my experiences when I've already done it several times on the forums. I will say that I have found that my experience was almost identical to those raised in the St. James school, even though I didn't go to any of the primary/secondary schools run by the SoPP. Especially the effects on our emotional health and ability to deal with anger and sadness in a productive and cathartic way. Most of us left emotionally crippled, unable to handle stress or get angry, unable to talk about problems, and with the upbringing that it is bad to be sick and therefore we'd have to pretend that we weren't and smile and go about our day anyway. Basically, the school's way of teaching us to deal with negative emotions was to ignore them and go about our business. This effected children in the UK and US schools in the same way, probably because the material was never meant to be presented to children, who do not have the same problems that adults might come to the school for.

Re: NYC School of Practical Philosophy

Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:26 pm
by See you in court
Dear Mikew,

Your candid messages on this forum are very admirable.

I suggest take note of all the occasions when warning lights switch on in your mind, even the occasion you have told us about. There will be more such occasions. With time, that warning light will shine less brightly. As with narcotics, of course it all feels good at the start. And of course, there are horror stories.

You could ask the people who love you, such as your wife, to tell you if they notice any change in your behaviour, and to keep vigilant. I recommend you be as candid with them about the concerns raised in this forum. Those people who love you will keep you safe.

At first, they may say you are more relaxed and more considerate. Later, they may say that they don't recognise you any more and it is beginning to give them the creeps. By then, you will be hooked. One day, your loved ones may feel as though they have lost you completely. If they love you, they'll get sad or angry or both - and the School will be on hand to tell you those emotions are to be ignored.

Look out for when the School tries to convince you that your family's feelings are an illusion, but you leaving one-quarter of your will to the School is not an illusion. That is the kicker.

Please take good care of yourself, and please don't stop being as honest as you are today.

Re: NYC School of Practical Philosophy

Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:46 pm
by Mikew
see you in court - thanks for the reply
was your experience in NYC or the UK?
my wife is reading the forum and keeping an eye on me she hasn't seen anything as of yet that would alarm her
can you tell me more about your final comment about leaving more to the school?