The Story of My (Continuing) Journey:
When I was 11 years old, one day, sitting and thinking in my room, I had an epiphany, namely that if I really understood the underlying reasons why a person did whatever they did, I could not be angry or upset with them. That sparked an interest and a passion for pursuing that line of enlightenment for myself, and for others.
Around that same time, I was on the first step of a spiritual journey, as a student in Hebrew School. In truth, Its only fair to say that in my Bar Mitzvah training, I merely skimmed the surface of the richness of religious Judaism, and while I felt (and still do feel) an attraction, and to some degree an identification with Jewish culture, what I read and observed raised more questions than I found answers for. It just didn’t ring true for me that such a loving God wanted us to fear and worship “him”- the whole “righteousness of being God-fearing” concept sounds more to me like a method for controlling and/or subjugating people than something an omnipotent God would have any use, need or desire for. It seems to me that a loving God would take great joy in his people’s exercising of their free wills, rather than in intimidating his own created sentient peoples into idolizing and/or fearing him. That last sounds much more to me like the thinking of an all too human mind, which projects its own tainted aspirations onto the image of “God” in an effort to find some sort of satisfaction.
One day I asked my father why, being that we were Jews, did we not live the full orthodox Jewish lifestyle? I found his answer most elegant; his words in answer to me: “I believe that, regardless of religion, if a person does good things and lives a good life, they will go to heaven”. That was a very freeing and enlightening exchange for me, a spiritual liberation. From that day forward, I would retain within me the spark of the idea that it is not necessary to adhere strictly within the proscribed confines of any philosophy or dogma, that enlightenment and spiritual ascension extended beyond the scope and boundaries of any person’s or group’s dictated set of principles or instructions.
Starting high school, at age 14, we were required to take an aptitude test, which ranked 100 or so potential career categories for the individual in order of natural ability and fitness. Interestingly, my number one and two scores were for “minister” and “psychiatrist”. At the time I thought very little about the test, but, considering the purposes of these fields, it could be said that those test results were a window into the future for me!
I did a fair amount of reading of material about the mind and the spirit, all of which I found intriguing and to some degree enlightening. Then there was a drug experience that profoundly affected me. As a young person, coming of age in the 1970’s, the drug culture was part of my experience, and I embraced the opportunity to experience other states of being. I’m not advocating or moralizing, and in time I did arrive at the conclusion that frequent or severe recreational drug use is damaging and dangerous, but at the same time, I would not impose regret, shame or denial over past choices, as disconnection or denial of any part of one’s life is a barrier to greater consciousness and enlightenment. There are much better and safer means to greater awareness-after all, this is what I facilitate with my practice, my actions as a counselor.
Nevertheless, after taking a hallucinogenic drug, I experienced the state of being an observer of the operations, the flows of thoughts and feelings, of my own mind, from an external viewpoint. I personally, subjectively experienced the difference, and separateness between self, or soul, and mind. This new state of awareness has been with me ever since, it was at once serene and exhilarating, and it made everything else occurring around me distant and irrelevant. It served to validate and confirm my spiritual interests and path, and as an impetus to move forward toward greater enlightenment for self and others. There is most definitely a sense of well being, and of reconnecting with self, but not just as an individual “self”, but a reconnecting with all, for lack of a better term, a “cosmic consciousness”. Even as I moved through the mundane experiences and situations of existence, this sense, this awareness has always been with me.
I next came across a spiritual subject called Theosophy, which I found intriguing. It included the idea of “the film of the Akasha”, akin to what in Scientology materials is known as “the time track”, the continuum of 3 dimensional holographic moving and changing images of past, present, and perhaps future experience. I read a book loaned to me by a friend which broadened my spiritual perspective.
In 1978, I was enjoying picking up the electric bass, learning and playing a bit with friends. On night I ran into a friend who had played keyboards with me in a bar, and I asked him what was happening in his life. He mentioned several things, including “taking courses on weekends” and I asked him what he could be taking courses on during weekends. He said it was Scientology, said very little more about it, and moved on to other subjects, but I wanted to know more about that. I knew almost nothing about Scientology, other than having seen an article in a magazine that showed pictures of people happily celebrating having “attained the ‘state of clear’ “, and that image had stuck in my mind. Shortly thereafter, I contacted him, asking to know more about Scientology, and he invited me to come along with him to find out about it for myself if I wanted to, which I did.
I signed on for and experienced an introductory Scientology processing technique, which took place over 2 days, Saturday and Sunday, in which people paired up to run the process on each other; this consisted of repeating a series of formulated suggestions, to “get the idea of” certain things. It was very interesting and engaging, I experienced a variety of feelings and changes, which culminated in a very real and life-changing epiphany about how I brought about the difficulties that existed between myself and the people around me, it wasn’t them, it was me, and that was a very positive and empowering realization! The others participating, or at least most of them, also experienced a similarly positive result.
This made so much sense to me, explained so much, made live brighter and more pleasant! I was hooked, and needed no prodding to involve myself further, in what would turn out to be, on successive levels, an eye-opening experience. I was fascinated with what these techniques could do, and I threw myself into it.
I spent my weekends studying and training as a Scientology counselor, what they call an “auditor”, coming from “audio”, the idea being that an auditor is one who listens, and hears. After course times, I spent additional hours poring over technical bulletins to absorb more and deeper understanding of the mechanics behind these techniques, and to learn the finer points to more effectively “run” the processes of Scientology.
After completing my initial “auditor” training, and seeking deeper involvement and progress on this path, I became a part of the local Scientology organization in New York City. At first, I was assigned a position in which my function was to interest the people who were new to the subject in introductory services. This was fun for awhile, but ultimately it involved experiencing the mundane challenges of working in any business corporation, rather than being directly involved in the processing sessions that were the magic of Scientology, and what I believed to be what all the work and activity centered around, and so I found my way into training to be a fully qualified professional “Scientology Auditor”.
Not long after I had signed and begun the required new 5-year contract for admission into the “Technical Training Corps” (Scientology organizations are run on a militaristic basis, apparently reflecting the influence on L. Ron Hubbard of his time in the U.S. Navy). That meant spending my working hours studying.
Just a couple of months into my training, great pressure was put on each local (“Class 4”) Scientology organization to comply with “orders from upper management” to send several auditor trainees to the designated “Continental Training Organization” for the east coast, which was in Miami, Florida.
This for me was a very exciting time. There were approximately 120 trainees, and enough supervisors and related personnel to accommodate all of us well, and we spent all day and into the evening, 6 days a week, training in the standard principles and techniques of Scientology auditing for each level of training, and I was thriving with the opportunity.
I was consistently ahead of all the other trainees, energetically absorbing the training material, and quickly moved onto the internship phase, wherein one delivers session after session until consistent competence is achieved and demonstrated. I excelled, and the case supervisors were having me take on and resolve the “tough cases” that their professional auditors were struggling with, and having me “repair” the cases that other students and interns had “messed up”. The intern supervisor shared with me that I was the top intern of the entire contingent, and I was particularly honored when the case supervisor actually violated the “ivory tower” rule to summon me into her office to ask my advice on programming a case or two- I’d never seen or heard of a case supervisor doing that. Several years later, when the Scientology Celebrity Center in New York contacted me to audit their public and staff, I was once again being asked into the case supervisor’s office to give advice on case programming.
Eventually I moved on and distanced myself from the increasingly self-serving and oppressive environment that is the Church of Scientology. There had been, over time, an accumulation of events that demonstrated that the overall push of the organization was not what it claimed to be or should have been, but if there was a particular “tipping point” for me, it was the complete disregard for, if not opposition to, my need to experience the love and joy of time spent with my children. For all there is to be said about enlightenment, spiritual liberation and the ability to be present in the here and now, love remains the greatest thing I know of, and there was no love to be experienced in that environment.
“Command Intention” to “stand shoulder to shoulder and take this planet”, giving no quarters to “dilettantes”, “counter-intention” and “other-intention”, and such enforced mantras were unforgiving toward the basic needs and desires that provide for the actual well-being of the individual. At a pay level, well below minimum wage, that equated to slavery, the organizations ran on imposed “noble self-sacrifice” that ground away on the self, even as we continued to be so heavily invested in buying into the party line about how we had “the best and most successful organizational policy on the planet”- the reason for any failures to meet steep statistical targets or receive good weekly pay always had to be due to “one’s own failure to apply policy”-and that itself was stated in the policies.
Eventually I became aware of the burgeoning grassroots movement of former C of S participants freely experiencing and delivering Scientology-related techniques, out from under the yoke of corporate Scientology, and after some initial apprehension, I made many new friends and reconnected with old friends who had taken the same path.
There is much of value to be culled from the huge catalog of techniques and principles I had come to know years earlier. I had taken so much satisfaction in successfully helping others to resolve personal issues and to make meaningful progress in their spiritual seeking.Ever since I found it necessary to disengage from that organization, although I’ve never doubted that I made the right decision,I also, deep inside, always knew that I’d strayed from a major life purpose of mine. I began to see a way to get back on track, free of the oppressive controls and influences of the Church of Scientology, free to do things the way that I knew in my heart to be right, with no “command structure” to impose orders that were not in the best interests of my clients, and thereby freeing me to do what I feel I’m meant to do in the way that is true to my own convictions.