A friend and I were talking last night about how really whip-smart people can get into cultish behaviour and start sipping the Kool-Aid (a reference to the Jonestown mass suicide where 918 people died).
I’m sure I don’t have to explain a cult to you, you’re whip-smart.
How do we know when we’re in a cult?
If we’re alive, we’re in a cult (ture). We all pin our flag to something, be it a religion, a system, a company, a political party, a personality, idea, ideal or a movement.
A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves.Edward R. Murrow
The trick, of course is not to get so caught up in the thing that we lose all our rational thought. If we find ourselves agreeing with everything in our cult, we are close to sipping the Kool-Aid and losing ourselves totally.
One of the challenges is that whip-smart people can rationalise whatever it is to suit them. Intellectually we can argue for or against something with 100% conviction and defend our narrow view of the world. As a consequence we can get up to the most unbelievable mischief.
When we follow blindly, we can run into deep shit.
Make yourself sheep and the wolves will eat you.Benjamin Franklin
I don’t have the answer to stop us from drinking the Kool-Aid, only some thoughts that have occurred to me and may be helpful to you.
- I need to be less in my head and more in my heart. When I feel things, that’s when I’m truly connected. Every time my heart/intuition has picked up a red flag and my head overrode it, it’s gone badly for me. I’ve learned to listen to my heart a lot more, and things flow beautifully as a consequence.
- I need to choose inclusion over isolation. If I only get one view of the world, it is absolutely limiting, and dangerous.
- Know that every cult (ture) has a shadow side. Let your heart guide you to what is right for your highest good and that of your fellow travellers on this rock.
- Blindly following someone and subordinating your free will to them is not an answer to your problems. It could very well be the start of your problems … leading to you losing yourself, your heart, your soul and your life. And, of course, destroying others in the process too. I wrote a small piece about this here.
- Know when to leave. If an acorn falls too close to the tree it will rot. The only way for us to grow is to get out of the shade of the guru tree and find our own path.
- Take the best of everything you’ve learned in your cult (ture). If you don’t know what that is, here’s a clue: it is benevolent to your higher good and that of humanity. Add to the best and make it better and become a beacon of light and hope.
The most important lesson I’ve learned, however, is that we actually don’t need to get answers from our cult (ture). We don’t need to learn anything new when it comes to our soul journey. We already know everything, we just need to open our heart so that we can remember. We already have the illumination we are seeking within us.
That takes a lot of inner work, meditation and self-reflection. If we get that right, we’ll find the illumination within us and we don’t have to rely on our cult (ture) to lead us. When we’re in our head we get led, when we’re in our heart we get fed (with exactly the right answer for our situation).
You have everything needed for the extravagant journey that is your life.Carlos Castaneda
I love you, Jacques.