A 55-year-old professional pulled into a cult. Wow! Perhaps it's finally time to give up that boyhood trust, but it's not something I really ever wanted to lose. I had been looking for something that I guess I had either lost or never truly found. Those easy, simple answers lured me in--like bait on a hook. It seems like there are a lot of fishermen out there these days.
It really started a long time ago. Maybe it was my Mom reading me "Gulliver's Travels." I loved to hear about such adventures and stare at the unbelievable pictures. And I was always interested in life's questions (Why?)--there are so many varied and often conflicting answers.
My wife and I tried TM (Transcendental Meditation) when it was first introduced in the 70's. My wife stopped meditating, but I continued for a few more years. Then running took its place and my weight went down--so did my smoking and other bad habits. This lasted for many years. I kept adding more such as "healing touch," "energy mastery" "Reiki" and "magnified healing"--until I became interested in Kaballah [Note: A controversial organization, which studies "Kaballah," is called the "Kaballah Centre"]. Our son is very cerebral and his Jewish background brought both of us into such mysticism--it was enlightening.
Later I was introduced and initiated into "Kriya Yoga"[see helpful guidelines for ethical yoga instruction]. This exercise/meditation was more intense and there was some sort of deeper realization they dangled in front of us. The Self-Realization Fellowship's lessons and services gave me a sense of belonging and being chosen--thats pretty cool! Then came "Sufism,"--it seemed endless.
A substantial amount of my friends were now Asian Indian. My wife was answering phone messages from people with strange sounding names. A home meditation center was designated and I was playing mostly eastern music. My spare time was becoming increasingly introspective. My professional practice and family was taking a second seat to my new "habit." I was developing guru relationships with more than one Paramahansas. Who was my guru? I learned that when I was ready he would appear--and I was sure ready and willing.
I heard about a certain "Buddhist" group that used "metatronic tools" and based their understanding of the soul and individual personality upon rays of light. Each ray was supposedly associated with certain distinct personalities. This appeared at first to be mystical and very cerebral--fitting within my previous studies and understanding of Kaballah. I met a so-called "Buddhist monk," ordered their books and signed up for a "darshan" (i.e. one-week intensive seminar) in the mountains of Mount Shasta, California.
Soon I was using the word "cool" again. And a new term "trippy" became part of my vocabulary--it was like the old jargon of my high school days. Everybody was asked to dress completely in white and bring a tape player. I traveled light--thinking that this was the guru I had been searching for.
The food at the "darshan" was wonderful. The women who prepared and served it were wonderful too. It had been a long time since I had been served with so much love and joy. People attending were carried away by all the attention and "honor" of being there. We quickly lost our sense of connection with the outside.
The leader "Buddha Maitreya" humbly introduced himself--there was no fanfare and he was simply dressed. This man certainly did not seem to live lavishly--his tennis shoes were worn. He was certainly "60's cool" with very deep, dark, penetrating eyes. I had never seen eyes like his--they would stop you. That is, stop your own thoughts! The person who told me about this "darshan" had been studying many energy related subjects--and it seemed that what they said was certainly right. This was a group that had the most tremendous focus and dedication I had ever experienced!
The "monks" worked 18 or more hours every day without complaints. Everyone was honored and grateful to be a part of the "ashram" or "Sangha House" as it was called--supervised by "Buddha Maitreya," ("His Holiness" or "H. H.").
"H.H.'s" lessons were given at unusual times throughout the day and sometimes very late into the night for eight to ten hours. They were filled with great stories, always about himself, and many clever "understandings." He told us that being separated "separateness" was the worst sin. Also, anyone who told you that they knew it all was--"dark lodge." And "guru" meant "G gee-U you-R are-U you." That sounded so "Right On."
Later, I would come to understand that everything he criticized, concerning incorrect behavior and thinking--were actually things he was doing. How he labeled it as wrong within others, but got away with it himself--was a piece of his brainwashing.
He wanted to separate us from everything but himself [see Milieu Control]. If we gave our individuality up and followed him we could remember our "pure soul" [see Demand for Purity] and find the many awesome answers we had all been looking for. How easy it seemed. Why not? We would be eating such wonderful, blessed food (from the same menu) and be with the "reincarnation of Buddha"--and later we learned, Jesus too.
Our instruction proceeded as we were fed one mouthful at a time--as we were filled we also emptied ourselves of what we had brought with us. And we didn't go home with much money either. Our money was spent for the "darshan," "tools" and books. Everything was blessed and there were very beautiful crystals in the "metatronic designs." All of "H.H.'s" designs were supposed to be telepathically sent to his "monks," so even though they manufactured them, this was an accomplishment they shared with "H.H." So very "trippy"! If something didn't seem right, went unexplained or was questioned, never mind--it was somehow related to the fact that we were processing and/or awaking "old soul" material [see Doctrine Over Person].
Coming back home was hard. Although now everything seemed to be in right relation--I was on a different plane than everyone else. I seemed to have answers for everything. Everything had a simple answer, but the answers were not mine. Actually, everything was not mine--I had become part of someone else. Someone else was giving directions now and I didn't have to worry. What a relief! My soul was being integrated.
I kept in communication with the other participants and we planned our next "darshan" on "H. H.'s" birthday--we were invited, chosen and special. Now it was time for intense "soul therapy." I bought a pyramid from the group, other "tools" and kept reading their books about the rays ("Tapestry of the Gods") and played their music. Mind stilling, hypnotic, subliminally suggestive music with drumming, chanting and "H.H."--continuously lecturing while the music played rhythmically in the background. He lectured about the rays and other beliefs. All the tapes and compact discs I purchased from the group were carefully put together by "H. H."
My friends and family were silent about what I had stepped into. If something had been said something to me--it probably would have fallen upon deaf ears. The people in my life listened politely. I told them about using the tools that seemed to posses some energy and the books that gave me the deeper understanding that I had always searched for. Of course "H.H. Buddha Maitreya" was becoming ever more present in my consciousness. I began giving him more and more credit for the positive changes in around me. But why?
After two more "darshans" that involved a close friend--we were invited to join the "Sangha "--an extended group that was closely aligned with a "worldwide ashram." Our "enlightenment" and "recapitulating" then would occur at an even faster pace. The clothes were ordered, but before they arrived someone said, "You might be part of a 'cult.'"
Whamo! Me in a cult? I tried to shake it off, but knew it was true and it blew my socks off. I had been betrayed, "spiritually raped" and I was mad. I had also brought a close friend into this. I now felt the embarrassment of sharing with friends and family the so-called "tools" and the pyramid at my office. Now I was apologizing for everything previously said. After making apologies I started to spread the news and contacted others involved. Looking back it is hard to believe that I entered such a trap under the influence of someone who now appears be a master con man. But before when people close to me said, "You are acting strange"--I just saw them as "the lost ones" [see Dispensing of Existence].
In the beginning I received so many calls from the ashram center either trying to sell me something, or arrange for another darshan. I should have known. The monks work long hours and risk injuring themselves and others by driving without sleep. I should have known. It should have been obvious too through the music (with "H.H.'s" droning voice offering his lessons), which played 24 hours a day--that we were being continuously programmed. We were not allowed to get away and there was no free time.
Several times the monks frankly stated "H.H." (a.k.a. Ronald L. Spencer) was tough, very tough and did not deal on the emotional level. Was Christ without compassion? During the three darshans I attended Ron told the same 'funny' tales. Maybe his stories were funny the first time, but it seems like the same anecdotes were often over used. Was Christ obsessed with talking about farts and turds?
Doubts came and went, but the music always seemed to be pulling me back and I wanted to believe. I ignored all the warning signs because it was so comforting belonging to and being part of such a special group of like-minded seekers.
I realize now that there was a widening gap of separation developing through my group experience, which was pulling me away from my personal roots and individual value system. This should have been my first clue. Anything that tends to pry you away from your family and values should at least be suspect. I had always been very trusting--especially regarding people who held positions of respect. Maybe this was naïve, but that was my early schooling. Sadly, it seems time for me move beyond those childhood ideals--gradually a balance is emerging.
Ron Spencer [a.k.a. "Buddha Maitreya"] appears to have an ugly background. Ron seems to be a common con man who exploits others. He has had several wives and left behind children. He may have been wanted once by the English authorities and is being watched more carefully here in the states. There have also been allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation between Ron and at least one former female follower.
When I started looking into various allegations regarding Ronald Spencer he responded by claiming I had "lost it" was emotionally unfit and trying to manipulate others. He was playing his mind games again. Subsequently I was excommunicated and designated within his category of "Dark Lodge" [a negative term used by the group--see "Loaded Language"]. The supposed "Dark Lodge" can be a pretty lonely place, but it was heaven compared to where I was once headed for.
Since being excommunicated I began to read a highly recommended book, "Captive Hearts, Captive Minds" by Tobias. After the first three chapters it became clear to me that I had been with a real Psychopath [sic]--someone without feelings, only out for their own gain, exploiting and power tripping over others. A very sick man. It made me sick to think that I had taken the bait and was so close to being reeled in.
But that sickness was the first part of healing for me and I worked through it and probed that discomfort to better understand the experience and myself. Thankfully, there were others willing to help in that process. Many issues and relationships seem clearer to me now. Maybe it sometimes takes shaking things up a bit --to get the dust off and clarify things through a new perspective.
Finally though, I concluded that "H. H. Buddha Maitreya" [Ron Spencer] had ironically given me an opportunity to grow and realize the importance of self-introspection. I find myself actually thanking him for that. And I would rather be thankful than resentful, which seems like a more positive attitude for my recovery and healing.
After all that I have experienced it seems to me--that when we feel lonely and isolated we should not go searching for something outside of ourselves. But look inside instead--for a deeper and more loving sense of who and what we are and hopefully a better understanding of our own individual self worth.
Copyright © Rick Ross