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The Evolution of Consciousness: The Subtle Body & How It Evolves – Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, Kamlesh D. Patel described the three main bodies that together, form the base of life forms on earth. In this second article of the series, he explores one of these in depth; the subtle body, and how it evolves.

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In Part 1 of this series, Kamlesh D. Patel described the three main bodies that together, form the base of life forms on earth. In this second article of the series, he explores one of these in depth; the subtle body, and how it evolves.

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THE SCIENCE OF SPIRITUALITY


Which body evolves?

Understanding that we have these three bodies – physical, subtle, and causal – we can then ask, which of these bodies is evolving?

The soul is immutable. It is pure, absolute and unchangeable, and so the causal body does not evolve.

The physical body cannot change much. Its structure is fixed, although some minor changes can occur in weight, posture and fitness etc., but we cannot grow extra arms, wings to fly, or a tail in this lifetime.

It is the subtle body that can evolve, so that we can design our destiny. It changes according to how we purify and simplify it, so that the joy of the soul shines and radiates from within, and through this process we find the evolution of consciousness.

The Subtle Body

The subtle body is a vibrational field; the heart-mind field. Depending on how we manage this field, it can either be turbulent and complex, like a roaring ocean during a storm, or, at the other extreme, it can be like a still pond where even a feather landing on the surface creates ripples. This is where a spiritual practice has a vital role to play, as it gives us the techniques to regulate, purify, and simplify this field, bringing clarity, stillness, and peace.

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In yogic philosophy the heart is known as the field of action for the mind. This is a vast topic. Let’s start to explore what this means.

There are four main functions of the subtle body within this vibrational field – consciousness (chit), thinking and feeling (manas), intellect (buddhi) and ego (ahankar). They work in an interactive way together to make up what we know as the mind.

Of these four, consciousness is our focus here. The other three have their existence in consciousness. Consciousness is as good as a canvas to a painter, and within consciousness the play of the other three bodies is orchestrated daily.

How do we actively allow our consciousness to expand and evolve? It is not enough just to wish it so. We need to understand how a spiritual practice contributes towards this evolution by creating the conditions for stilling the mind progressively at deeper and deeper levels, and opening up the inner universe.

At a physical level, when I want to strengthen my body muscles I have to exercise my body. Similarly, for the mind to evolve so that consciousness can expand, I must use what belongs to that subtle plane of existence. First, it is important to understand that the evolution of consciousness has nothing to do with the acquisition of knowledge. Second, consciousness in itself will not expand or evolve without the help of buddhimanas and ahankar to free it. Intellect has to evolve to help expand consciousness and ego must evolve, contributing to the evolution of consciousness.


Unless and until we meditate properly, and unless and until we regulate
our minds properly, our consciousness will not evolve.

Meditation

What does meditation have to do with this? We meditate to regulate our minds. An unregulated mind is pulled by wishes and desires, fears and habits, in many different directions. The mind becomes weak as it scatters in many different channels. In contrast, a regulated mind brings focus, and promotes well- being. Unless and until we meditate properly, and unless and until we regulate our minds properly, our consciousness will not evolve.

Manasbuddhi and ahankar are all refined and developed through meditation, especially manas as we learn to simplify our thinking process from many channels to one channel, then deepen it to feeling. Thus the habit of ‘feeling’ is slowly cultivated from ‘thinking’.

Developing the Meditative State Further

Holding and nurturing the condition received in meditation throughout the day is a byproduct of good meditation, and helps us regulate and deepen the mind to an even higher level. When we are in this state of constant awareness or remembrance of the inner state, we do not allow our canvas to be spoilt, so consciousness remains afresh. The canvas remains clean and is not destroyed by the multifarious impressions we form.

Imagine the heart-mind vibrational field having a spectrum of consciousness spanning the subconscious, conscious, and superconscious states. Swami Vivekananda once said, “Consciousness is a mere film between two oceans, the subconscious and the superconscious.” Or you can imagine the subconscious as being like the ocean, consciousness like the surface of the land, and superconsciousness like the sky going out into the universe. As we evolve, our consciousness expands into both the subconscious and superconscious realms, traveling through the vast infinity of the human potential. Another way of saying this is that we go deeper and deeper into the vastness of the heart, from our starting point at the surface.


Wisdom is to utilize all our faculties at their best.
Wisdom is to have the maximum output with the minimum input.

Buddhi and Prayer

In this process of diving deeper, the intellect, buddhi, becomes more and more heart-based. Intuition and inspiration develop, and buddhi becomes fine-tuned, like a sensitive antenna picking up the signals of the heart. Intellect evolves into a state of wisdom. Often we think of a wise person as someone who makes wise choices, but here we go further into a different dimension where choice is no longer required, as the heart’s wisdom is pure and correct.

There is a big difference between an intellectual person and a wise person, and here the spiritual practice of prayer helps us to move from mere intellect to wisdom. Prayer takes us into the heart, connecting us to the Source, where we are able to let go of any mistakes we have made, deciding not to make the same mistakes again. Is this not wisdom? Whereas if we succumb to making foolish mistakes day after day, hour after hour, we are not becoming wiser. We become wiser when we wish to change from the bottom of our hearts and ask for help to do so. When we live with this attitude every moment, wisdom flourishes.

Wisdom is to utilise all our faculties at their best. Wisdom is to have the maximum output with the minimum input. With minimum action we have the maximum result. Only with a meditative mind, only through meditative acts in our day-to-day life, can we expect to have such good results.

Purifying and Simplifying the Subtle Body Through Cleaning

For this to happen, the heart-mind field has to be purified, otherwise it is like expecting to see the bottom of a lake through muddy, turbulent water. There is no clarity in a turbulent mind. The spiritual practice of cleaning past impressions is therefore also necessary for consciousness to evolve.

Ahankar

The third aspect of the subtle body is ego, ahankar. Ego plays a vital role in whether or not expansion or evolution of consciousness occurs. Ego is often seen as the bad guy by spiritual practitioners of all traditions, but ego is also essential for our evolution. It is the active function of the mind – the doing, thinking function – and we need it in every aspect of daily life, even to have the craving to evolve. It gives us our identity. It is the activating or initiating force. If it is used wisely, it serves us well, like any other resource, but it is often misused, and this is what we commonly refer to as being egotistical. When ego is used for selfish purpose, we become arrogant and self-important, whereas if we constantly refine the ego, consciousness develops very rapidly.

What does it mean to refine the ego? The more humility we have, the less the egotistical proliferations. All great spiritual teachers have given so much importance to this aspect of character formation. They have valued this quality so highly that humility at any cost must be maintained, whether towards a child, a poor person, or a stranger. The philosophy here is that there is nothing wrong in thinking yourself to be great, but always think the other person in front of you is greater.

Ego can be like a black hole. It can have the greatest gravitational pull upon our consciousness. It will not allow consciousness to expand. Just as the earth’s gravitational pull does not allow us to fall into infinite space, likewise our ego can hold consciousness to its core. An example of this is a very narcissistic person, who is undergoing a devolutionary process where consciousness contracts in on itself to its core, and can become like a stone. In contrast, by transcending the relationship with the ego by refining it, becoming more and more humble, consciousness can expand infinitely.

Ego manifests in many ways. For example, in a music concert, when I am happily playing my flute as a performer, it gives so much joy and the audience reciprocates accordingly. But as an artist, I will not be happy unless I surpass my previous performances all the time. The manifested ego makes me perform well. But to think that no one can play the flute better than myself is not a welcome manifestation of ego. Ego can be our best friend in helping us outperform our own past records.


Ego can be like a black hole.
It can have the greatest gravitational pull upon our consciousness.
It will not allow consciousness to expand.

Manas

The fourth function of the subtle body is manas, which is the function of contemplation. During meditation, the first step is to bring the mind from many and varied thoughts to one thought, for example in Heartfulness it is the source of Divine Light in the heart. But it is not necessary that all throughout the meditation this thought should haunt us. The thought should leave at some point so that the object of thought can be felt in the heart.

If all you do is think this one thought throughout the meditation, you will have a headache and consciousness will not expand. This initial thought is just the springboard, to take us deeper so that we dissolve in the feeling of the presence of the Divine Light. You have to feel that presence and while you are feeling that presence slowly you disappear, and even feeling is gone. The ego is gone; you are not even there to experience it.

So as manas evolves through a meditation practice, feeling develops, and eventually we go beyond feeling to a state of being, then to a state of becoming, and finally unbecoming to merge into the Absolute state of existence.

Chit

So buddhimanas and ahankar evolve through spiritual practice, and with this the subtle body becomes lighter, purer and simpler, like the still pond with minimal ripples. With this, consciousness is able to expand and evolve.

What do we then do with this expanded consciousness we receive? Let’s say I have a particular state of mind, and I am aware that the condition is so good. After meditation, I go off to work. It is not enough just to hold that condition; I must be able to radiate that condition wilfully, consciously, and with the confidence that wherever I go it will spread its fragrance on its own.

So after meditation think for a while that, “The condition which is within me is also outside me. Everything around me is absorbed in a similar state. When I look at people, or talk to them, or listen to them, or I am silent, let that condition spread everywhere.” Let consciousness expand wherever it can go.

To be continued…


Article by KAMLESH D. PATEL

About Kamlesh D. Patel

Kamlesh Patel is the world teacher of Heartfulness, and the fourth spiritual Guide in the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga. He oversees Heartfulness centers and ashrams in over 150 countries, and guides the thousands of certified Heartfulness trainers who are permitted to impart Yogic Transmission under his care. Known to many as Daaji, he is also an innovator and researcher, equally at home in the inner world of spirituality and the outer world of science, blending the two into transcendental research on the evolution of consciousness. Building on the insights of his first Guide, Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur, he is expanding our understanding of the purpose of human existence to a new level, so necessary at this pivotal time in human history.

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Alternative News

Marianne Williamson Admits “The System Is More Corrupt Than I Knew”

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Marianne Williamson stated in an interview on Fox and Friends that she did not realize the political system was as corrupt as it is.

  • Reflect On:

    This is an important revelation of how leaders often don't quite see the full truth of our system at hand. Through them and their experience, we can learn a lot about what is truly going on. Is it time to let go of the systems we have?

About a week ago Marianne Williamson told the New Yorker, I know this sounds naïve, but I didn’t think the left was so mean. I didn’t think the left lied like this.” In a segment I did on CETV, I discussed the fact that Williamson is doing a great job of bringing a bit more of a conscious conversation into the mix here, which is very important, but seems to not quite understand what politics is really about and how things function in our world.

In my article about this statement I stated:

Some have suggested that Marianne already knows these truths, and she may, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she is only uncovering these things now. I say this as I belong to a group that communicates regularly that contains many high profile conscious industry leaders like Williamson and other big authors, speakers etc. Many of them are great with spirituality but seem to struggle to see how politics truly functions. I have witnessed this first hand and this is why I’m so passionate about what I do as I feel bringing together both personal transformation and hard truth is imperative.

Some felt that my analysis was off and that Williamson is just ‘playing naive,’ but to me, this did not feel true nor did it seem to be the case. While some might view this as an unimportant detail, it’s very important as for society to truly begin to shift we must not only personally transform but also realize the true nature of the world we live in.

As outlined in the CE Protocol, the formula I built to help awaken and shift the masses, the very first step is Breaking The Illusion about our programmed reality and understand what’s truly going on. From there, personal transformation becomes key.

Williamson Admits She Was Unaware

Here we are a week later and Williamson has stated what I observed in my previous segment, she did not quite realize how corrupt our political system truly is. In an interview on Fox and Friends Williamson stated:

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“I would say that I feel that I’ve learned that the system is even more corrupt than I knew and people are even more wonderful than I hoped,

I want to state this isn’t about picking on anyone as much as it is about understanding the importance behind seeing the full picture of the change that needs to take place here. For 10 years now I have built CE to include both personal transformation and truth seeking for the reason that either one of those topics on their own doesn’t create the change we all know is possible in our hearts.

I’ve seen many ‘spiritual leaders’ still deeply support the dysfunctional nature of our systems because they believe there is truth to them when in reality they belong to a consciousness we are shifting away from.

Our political system is built and exists within a system designed for a very limited state of consciousness, some call this 3D consciousness. The goal isn’t to shift our political system, it’s to let it go. Collectively we are shifting and the new state of consciousness emerging doesn’t support the political system at hand. Hence why the chaos around it is increasing, because it’s acting as a mirror for us to see how it doesn’t resonate with our emerging consciousness.

It’s like trying to install Windows on a Mac or vice versa, the systems aren’t designed for the operating system. Humanity is faced with a challenge of ‘letting go of the old,’ not trying to fix the old.

In a brand new segment of The CE Show I did on YouTube and CETV, I discuss Marianne’s latest comments and what I feel we all must realize as we move forward in this journey of shifting ourselves and our world.

The CE Show airs multiple times per week on CETV. Membership proceeds from CETV go towards supporting our journalism and future broadcasts. You can start a free 7 day trial here.

The Takeaway

I feel that we have become addicted to the systems of a state of consciousness that we are moving away from. The choice is up to us, we stop resisting and holding onto things of the old, move through the process of watching these old systems fall away, or we continue to fight tooth and nail under the belief that we must hold up the old systems, and suffer along the way.

Ask yourself within, do you truly feel that this is about changing our current political system to be more open and evolved? Or is it about letting go of the rigidity of our current systems and creating new ones that are birthed from a  new state of consciousness, not one that is centuries old…

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Consciousness

Full Moon In Pisces: Navigating Ideals

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We are having a Full Moon in Pisces which will be exact at 4:33am Universal Time on September 14th 2019. It will appear the fullest on the night of the 13th for most of the world and on the night of the 14th for the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand.

This is the peak of the Lunar cycle which began two weeks prior with a New Moon in Virgo. The energies of it build up as the Moon increases its light and are strongest in the days before and after. However, it will still be a part of the backdrop over the following two weeks.

Full Moon’s are a period in which we feel a push-pull between two opposing signs, in this case being the Moon in Pisces and Sun in Virgo. It can reflect either a conflict or integration of both signs. We can feel this opposition happening individually within us and/or we can also experience it play out around us with some people (or circumstances) expressing the Virgo side and others expressing the Pisces side.

Pisces is associated with sensitivity, compassion, creativity, and oneness. It is spiritually conductive, mystical, energy oriented, dreamy, flowy, imaginative, idealistic, and empathic. Negatively, it can be delusional, lazy, intoxicated, deceptive, confused/confusing, elusive, flaky, and lack critical thinking. Pisces energy is the least compatible with the mundane world and is associated with escapism in its many forms.

Virgo is about productivity, duties, service, physical health, cleanliness, and purity. It is organized, conscientious, skillful, diligent, efficient, analytical, detailed, and practical. Negatively, Virgo energy can also be overly critical, too cautious, fault-finding, irritable, discriminating, and overly perfectionist.

Full Moon Aligned with Neptune in T-Square with Jupiter and Mars

This Full Moon is close to Neptune which has many of the same qualities of Pisces that were mentioned above. It is viewed as a modern ruler of that sign and it amplifies its energies even more so during this period. Neptune is also associated with glamour, romance, and addiction. It has a dissolving, flooding, and watery energy that doesn’t comprehend boundaries.

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Neptune is completing its last of three squares with Jupiter in Sagittarius which will be exact on September 21st and will be strong into the following week. It began last January and peaked again this past June. At best, this can be an expansive period in a spiritual, creative, or compassionate way.

However, it can also be a time of confusion or lack of discernment around beliefs, ideologies, education, and teachers. It can also be a time in which we become aware of us being like that previously. We can be more excessive when it comes to how we express Piscean/Neptunian energies mentioned above.

At the time of the Full Moon, Mars in Virgo is also involved in this configuration along with the opposition of the Sun and Moon, forming a T-square aspect. This can be good for asserting ourselves towards our ideals or with a different Jupiter-Neptune approach (mentioned above). However this can also make our actions scattered, less assertive/direct, and make it harder to apply ourselves with practicality.

Full Moon Sextile Pluto Near Saturn and South Node, Saturn Going Direct

This Full Moon is in a tight sextile with Pluto which is near Saturn and the South Node. This could trigger some of the themes of the previous Lunar Eclipse (that is still reflecting this period) in a more harmonious way. Purging aspects of our past that are getting in the way of us moving forward. This can help to facilitate empowerment through some sort of release or transformation.

Saturn will be finishing its retrograde on September 18th and will move towards its final conjunction with the South Node which will peak at the end of the month and early October. This energy was also strong in mid Spring and part of it in early Summer.

Saturnian themes get amplified and we can be dealing with limitations, obstacles, restrictions, or perhaps issues around boundaries. We may feel a need to make changes around responsibilities, commitments, career, and structures in our lives. Similarly to the last Lunar Eclipse, there can be a sort of ending playing out around how an area of our lives is being expressed.

Full Moon Opposing Mercury and Venus Conjunction As They Change Signs

At the time of this Full Moon, Mercury and Venus are in a conjunction at the very end of Virgo, (Mercury’s sign). They will then be moving into Libra (Venus’ sign) in the hours following with the Full Moon triggering after it begins to wane.

This can be a time of heightened interactions, catching up with friends and other relationships. While it is in Virgo it could lean more towards its themes connected to work, service, fault finding, etc. For some people there can be a feeling of some sort of urgency.

After this conjunction moves into Libra, especially a day after the Full Moon,  it becomes more pleasant, social, and creative. Our interactions can be more harmonious, diplomatic, and less critical. We can more easily see both sides to something, find balance, and a great time to discuss relationship matters.

As a result of both of these planets transitioning near the same time, some people may experience some sort of significant shift in other areas of their lives within a few days following the Full Moon.

Things To Consider During This Period

How can you better balance the mundane aspects of life with your ideals, creativity, or spirituality? How have your beliefs been impacted this year and what is the conclusion to your experiences? Is it possible that you may have been confused about some aspects of newly or previously acquired perspectives?

What themes are coming up for you now that have been playing out since last April? What do you need to release? What changes do you need to make when it comes to your work, responsibilities, commitments, structures, or boundaries?
These are just some examples of what could come up during this period; however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out. If you wish to do any sort of intentional release connected to what has come up at this Full Moon, it is best to do so anytime after the peak of the Full Moon when it begins to wane until the next New Moon in two weeks. The exact moment of this Full Moon is on September 14th at 4:33am Universal Time. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE for more astrology related content.

astrology, astrology readings, carmen di luccio

Looking for astrological insight into what is going on in your life? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order. 

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Consciousness

Marie Palmer Recounts Her Escape From The ‘Children Of God’ Sex Cult In New Book

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Marie Palmer recounts her escape from the 'Children of God' cult and the long journey of healing she went through afterwards in her book 'The Gift of Will.'

  • Reflect On:

    Can we see that one of the keys to our own liberation from the past is forgiveness?

Marie Palmer did not choose to be part of the ‘Children of God’ cult that was founded in California in 1968 by a former Christian pastor named David Brant Berg. She was born into it. And as such, her entire worldview was founded on the inexorable indoctrination and brainwashing that was used. In itself this is even more tragic than the plight of those hippies like her father that had joined the movement as adults, and who believed, ironically, that they had found a path of greater liberation and truth.

Marie was brought up as a child in an environment that on the one hand promoted an unhealthy lack of boundaries, but in other ways was dangerously restrictive. The toxic and twisted principles that emerged from the mind of founder David Berg were laced with enough pseudo-validation from Christian scripture to convince many lost and downtrodden souls that they were actually on the right path to God and salvation–in fact the ONLY true path, for many of its devotees.

What has emerged over time, marked by the testimony of ex-members like actress Rose McGowan and the tragic murder-suicide of Ricky Rodriguez, whom Berg dubbed ‘Davidito’ and was grooming as the heir-apparent to his throne, is that the psychological and emotional disorientation and trauma brought upon children born into this cult was so extreme that it was difficult or impossible for many of them to survive in the world, let alone establish a normal life.

Marie Palmer has written a book entitled ‘The Gift of Will,’ which explores the impact of the brainwashing of the ‘Children of God’ cult on her personally, her escape from the cult, and the long and difficult journey she has been on to overcome the trauma and confusion she had been beset with. It was after reading this book that I felt it would be worthwhile for CE to go down to Oregon to talk to Marie in person so that we could provide a full 4-part interview of her story for our members on CETV. You can watch it when you sign up for a free 7-day trial HERE.

The ‘Children Of God’ Cult

Marie was able to escape from the cult as a teen, out of an intense and very real fear of getting pregnant, and an inner rebelliousness that she didn’t really understand or get a handle on until much later. Having now been out of the cult for decades, Marie has been able to see in retrospect how the emergence and rapid popularity of the cult was likely a product of the times founded on some positive intentions, at least initially:

“Maybe it started as a sincere desire to help the lost hippie generation. Maybe it was his obsession with the Bible and his evangelical background that gave him a platform from which to easily build upon. Maybe it was timing. He believed he could create a new type of hippie culture that still held itself true to the ideals of freedom and free love but in the context of following the representation of Jesus in the Bible. He wanted the security of knowing his ideas were based on something real and true. Free love for the sake of free love was fun but flighty. Free love in the name of Jesus Christ–there was everlasting power in that.”

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“I can see how that era created opportunity for its youth to find peace and solace in the form of spirituality. I can see how being considered an outcast could be enticing, especially one that had purpose, was following the creator. They could be dropouts and still feel a sense of comradery, family, have a place to call home. Mo provided a way for these lonely youth to be crazy, wild and revolutionary, to burn their old ideas along with their bras, to be free from drugs and street life but hold true to their inner rebel against what they called “the system” and he created this utopia in the name of Jesus.”–The Gift of Will, pp 56–57

However, it seems clear that the basic principles that the ‘Children of God’ cult was founded on morphed over time to accommodate greater control and the sexual predispositions of founder David Berg and his inner circle. One particularly effective vehicle for indoctrination was the famed ‘Mo letters,’ (‘Mo’ being short for Berg’s moniker ‘Moses David’) which often used vivid cartoon graphics portraying sexuality to draw one’s attention and drive the message home.

The way in which sexuality was portrayed certainly had a lot of appeal to adult members of the hippie movement who were convinced that their freedom in relation to sexuality was bringing them closer to God and to their community. In the early years, the technique of ‘Flirty Fishing,’ where women would go out and recruit men into the organization through openly inviting them to have sex, was highly successful, bringing hundreds of thousands of men into them movement. The justification for this, as seen in the Mo Letter illustration below, was that the ends justified the means, and the end was supposedly to bring more people in to experience the ‘Love of God.’

Fear And Wrath

Ultimately, though, power is the name of the game, and David Berg’s personal motivations were far from ‘unselfish, pure sacrificial love.’ As the cult grew, more and more emphasis was put on the need for people to stay in the cult, and that meant using fear and the wrath of God to dissuade people from considering leaving the organization, with quotations cherry-picked from the Bible to garner legitimacy.

One method of control was the systematic suppression of worldly knowledge. In fact, a general tenet of the cult was that anything ‘worldly’ was evil. In this clip from our interview, Marie Palmer explains how as a child she really got no formal education, and had no idea about how the outer world worked. She was only ‘schooled’ in the cult’s indoctrination, which preached that children should trust and obey their elders and not ask questions:

Watch the full 4-part interview of Marie’s story on CETV by starting a free 7 day trial HERE.

As she mentions, young girls in the cult were expected to share themselves with older men who pursued them, as well as providing for those ‘in need’ of intimacy and comfort, under the guise that the whole community was ‘in this together’ and sex should have no boundaries. It wasn’t as though they were violently forced to have sex within the cult, but the psychological pressures, amid efforts to normalize sex between children and adults, led to countless sexual encounters that were undoubtedly traumatic and a source of complete disorientation for the young members:

I know that kids experiment with their sexuality when they are young, usually it’s with kids their own age. There are no words to explain how confusing it is when you are a child that’s expected to experiment sexually with adults. They are your role models. They have all the power. The power to shame you. To discipline you. To give you grace. To provide for you. To give you direction. Every child has the innate desire to please those who rule over them. Disappointing our parents and guardians is a hard thing to face. This makes children ideal victims for abusers.” —The Gift of Will, (p. 65)

Perhaps David Berg did not initially set out to create an organization that actively and openly practiced pedophilia. But the reactions of young members such as Davidito stand as a sobering testament to the volatile and damaging impact of such practices. Davidito had a burning rage against the nannies who were both his guardians and his sexual partners, a rage that was immortalized in this confessional video he made just before his murder/suicide that lays bare his deep resentment and hopelessness.

If there is any debate remaining as to whether it is healthy for children to have any kind of sexual relationships with adults, which some powerful forces have slowly tried to normalize in society, it is laid to rest with the testimony of brave survivors who were brought up in the ‘Children of God’ cult like Marie Palmer.

Healing

What is remarkable and also most important about Marie Palmer’s story is that she has found a way to heal herself from her past. Going through a long stretch after escaping from the cult in which she had absolutely no sense of self or understanding about how to deal with the rage, confusion, depression or sorrow that followed her around constantly, she eventually developed a great hunger for knowledge and for learning. What was especially exciting for her was to learn about spirituality and the Divine in ways that were liberating rather than restrictive. In this way, she could come to grips with the flaws in the Berg philosophy and let go of its influence. Further, she learned forgiveness as the only true way to reconcile the past:

Many religions, especially patriarchal ones, teach that we are either good or evil. And, they teach us further that if we aren’t submissive to this strand of teaching – the cross, the blood, and outside source bringing redemption – we are fatally flawed, crippled from the cradle to the grave.

By understanding and practicing Buddhism, I’ve been able to detach myself from the concept of good versus evil. I’ve been able to study the mechanisms that make my soul tick. I’ve been able to accept that as a human being, I experience light and shadow and it’s all OK.

Sometimes the light may blind me. Sometimes the shadow may darken my horizon. Regardless I am comprised of both; we all are. So, for me, there is no redemption by blood. There is no sense of retaliation or shame projected onto us by any God. Just as there is no need for retaliation for my experiences as a child. I was a victim of the shadows. But, I was graced with the ability to find and choose the light. —The Gift of Will, (p. 142)

The Takeaway

Marie’s journey reminds all of us that only through forgiveness is there liberation from the past. What she has accomplished is inspiring, because she has so much more to forgive than most of us. And she sees that once we are willing to forgive those who had the most power over us, those who caused us the most suffering, something opens up that can change our overall perception forever.

Once I decided to forgive my parents, I could see clearly to forgive just about everyone in the world. I began to see the world through the eyes of compassion, mercy, and Grace. I was also able to forgive myself for not being a better sister to my brother, and all the other naïve and ignorant things I have done to others and myself. I was able to begin the journey of loving myself. To have the upmost compassion for myself and respect for my own identity.” —The Gift of Will, (pp. 155-156)

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