open letter to future and former RSE folks
Cults like religions are not bad or good as such. Both terms are neutral designations. One way to look at this is by picking any living entity as a class.
Cats and mushrooms will do as examples.
Some people have an aversion to any cat and would not marry anyone that owns one. Atheists tend to have this attitude toward devotion in any form in religion or a cult. There are others that have such an open and relativistic stance that all "spirituality" is true and good "if it is true and good for you."
Same with mushrooms. there are entire cultures that are fungophiles (mycophilia) and others that are fungophobes (mycophobia).
What I have been teaching clients all these years is to get past the phobe and phile attitudes, learn that each cat must be taken on its own merits and its context. same with mushrooms.
There are beneficial and aberrant cats and there are nutritious and toxic mushrooms.
It helps to look at THE cat and not depend on generalizations.
Emerging from RSE orbits and its attractions can take years even after a "student" decides to defect. No one just "drops out" or walks away easily.
It can take some time for former members to re-acquire, or in the case of second generation cult members to acquire a healthy taste and appreciation for "cats" or for "mushrooms" after having a bad experience with one. And in some cases, folks can become "cult hoppers" meaning metaphorically that they keep trying a different entheogen (trippy fungus) hoping for a different result. In other cases, all cats and shrooms are off-limits for a long long time.
Or they trade in their tiger for a lion and hope that this time the "cat" won't eat their dog or their child.
I have no final answers or certain definitions. What I have gathered after all these years is a struggle to improve my taste and to try to apply an adult way of discerning. That means living with uncertainties. If you want absolutes, join a cult.
RSE like most oddball New Age sects is attractive because it offers a way to certain "gnosis." Insecure adults looking for a way to express what they feel is that deep gnosis hidden within will "take a chance" and take the plunge into a workshop, a training, a meditation session, or an intensive. Once down the rabbit hole, the adventure begins and it is hard to not go through with it despite the raging Queen you meet after years of effort. It is hard to wake up because now everything outside the cult theater seems like a dream as well.
Gnosis is the most primitive and enduring epistemological expression of a human being, the other two being faith and reason which developed much later in human evolution. Gnosis is easy to tap by aberrant cult leaders who will quickly guide the seeker to abandon a faith structure and healthy expressions of reason.
Do not let the monkey mind get between you and God.....a common concept in harmful New Age and Bible cults (which call that monkey 'the devil').
In the end, that monkey is what will bring you back to sanity after you wake up. Neurologists locate that creative, discerning critter in the pre-frontal cortex which generally gets bypassed during cultic rituals and "workshops."
I wish you all well.