Madness or spiritual journey?

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maria

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Madness or spiritual journey?

Post19 Dec 2011

Madness or spiritual journey?

In the essay "Psychosis", Susan Mitchell and Glenn Roberts were engaged to study the psychological aspects surrounding the mystics of different faiths and their mystical experiences. It has been proven long ago that Mystics and Gurus have experiences similar to psychotic disorders. Does this invalidate the authenticity of mystical experiences? According to these authors, neither confirms nor invalidates their spiritual positions.

The DSM-IV includes in its section "Additional problems that may be subject to clinical attention" to the religious or spiritual problem, however this is a non-pathological category and is used only when the object of clinical attention is a religious problem solving or spiritual.

DSM-IV wrote:Religious or Spiritual Problem Z71.8 [V62.89]

This category can be used when the object of clinical attention is a religious or spiritual problem. Examples include the discomfort that involves the loss or questioning of faith. Other problems that may be of clinical care problems associated with conversion to a new faith, or questioning of spiritual values ​​that may or may not necessarily be related to an organized church or religious institution.

But the importance of resolving underlying question is whether induced or spiritual experiences are not for any pathology. Already in 1902, the psychologist and philosopher William James observed in "The Varieties of Religious Experience" that exclusive devotion to a religious life tends to return to any person exceptional and eccentric. W. James did not refer to the followers of conventional religions but the actors originally subjects of such experiences, which established patterns which were then usually followed by individuals who developed suggestible and imitative behavior. According to him, these experiences can only be found in individuals for whom religion exists not only as a moderate habit but rather as an acute fever. He also says that every religious leader has witnessed extraordinary visits or have been persons of an exalted emotional sensibility, not to seem to have any balance usually have obsessions and fixed ideas. And, rightly observes this author, on the ground of religious belief and mystical, it is not uncommon to find episodes of trance, hearing voices, visions and other features would appear to enter fully into the realm of the pathological , although these aspects have helped to clothe religious authority and influence.

Samantha Day and Emmanuelle Peters, in "The Incidence of schizotypy in new religious Movements" found that the experiences of some individuals, but are unmistakable symptoms of schizophrenia, does not prevent normal functioning in society. In the review to members of certain "New Religious Movements" was suffering from a greater number of disorders and diseases, for example were more likely to have schizoid personality disorder, and to suffer more from depression or anxiety.

The relevant question raised by Susan Mitchell and Glenn Roberts on whether or not there really any difference between the phenomenological voices and visions of the psychotic mísiticos and still seems far from being completely resolved. Dr. Greenberg in his book "Mysticism and psychosis" examines some of the apparently common in psychosis and mystical study. Apparently, it is absolutely impossible to differences mystical experiences of psychosis solely on phenomenological description. This is because both have equally paranoid hallucinations or delusions of grandeur.

In general, it recognizes the inadequacy of descriptive diagnostic criteria to distinguish non-pathological pathological psychotic experiences. However, some experts (Saver and Rabin, 1997, Greenberg et al., 1992, Jackson and Fulford, 1997, etc) Have established some key differences between the two. For example, genuinely spiritual experiences often lead to the individual to improve their adaptation to different aspects of everyday life. In contrast, psychosis leads inevitably to social and behavioral impoverishment.

Hermann Lenz, in "Belief and Delusion", aims to highlight differences by observing the way of life of the person who suffers these experiences. The author notes that:

1) Hope and doubt are present only in relation to authentic mystical experience, while in the delirium only find an unshakable belief.
2) Human freedom is increased in those who believe, which is absent in delusional subjects.
3) The belief allows interaction between the individual and society, while the delirious has no ability in social terms.

However, these aspects are also quite misleading at times because they can be subject to delusions that follow patterns that contradict these principles.

Perhaps more illuminating observations can be made by E. Peters in "Psychosis and Spirituality." This expert in clinical psychology devotes a section to figure out what differentiates a religious experience of a pathological delirium, concluding that delirium can be determined depending on how much thought and to what extent it interferes with personal life. Is having, for example, if an individual fully immersed in their religious concerns (for example by reading the Bible all day) and the potential emotional and behavioral consequences that could result in their belief (eg if extreme emotional stress can sense a departure from the divine, or the complete passivity before the almighty god), which returns to a pathological belief.

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maria

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Madness or spiritual journey?

Post19 Dec 2011

Paranoia and Messianism

Psychiatry professor Anthony Storr, in his book "Feet of clay", defined as a master guru who claims to be in possession of superior knowledge and therefore is entitled to tell others how they should live their lives. Storr also points out that systems of thought are brewing sectarian leaders in the development of psychotic disorders in order to make sense of their delusional perceptions, however, the system survives even after the disappearance of the disorder that caused it.

The subjects of paranoid personality, extremely suspicious and hostile, find their fulfillment in the creation of a group of followers who demands submission and moves progressively inducing the same paranoid behavior, causing a gradual deterioration of their mental health. In the words of psychologist José Miguel Cuevas, Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Malaga, the cult leader is usually characterized by being "narcissistic, paranoid and antisocial behavior with."

According to the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) subjects with paranoid personality disorder "may be viewed as" fanatics "and be part of groups of" cult "highly cohesive, along with others who share your system paranoid beliefs. " This definition may explain the origin of certain sectarian groups and religions. The delusions and hallucinations that these individuals make them prone to suffer from lead messianic movements in which the followers are in their delusions confirmatory signals on alleged legitimize him extraordinary powers in his role as "chosen by God."

This close link between this disorder and the establishment of religious or esoteric organizations had already been included in the DSM-III: "It seems reasonable that individuals with this disorder are well represented among the leaders of religions and mystical or esoteric and pseudo-groups quasi-political ". Dr. Pedro Cubero in "The Paranoid group" also notes that "this capacity for leadership is not limited to subjects with a personality disorder but could also distinguish some sick delusional individuals who, despite his madness, are capable of organizing and leading highly cohesive groups of followers. "

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Redstone

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Re: Madness or spiritual journey?

Post29 Mar 2016

My wife rejoined the BKs six months ago following prolonged anxiety, panic attacks and the death of her much loved Father. She had been in the BKs in the 1980s, before I knew her. Though I have much to say about the BKs, I'll limit it to the subject at hand.

I work in a Community Mental Health office (though I am not a practitioner). I initially regarded my wife's resort to BKs as a maladaptive response to her mental state. The meditation was helping her very much, as it would under any other auspices, and the shelter it provided was far more desirable to her than what her 'outside' world had been.

We had a very close relationship. I consulted a psychiatrist colleague and provided her with a detailed clinical summary of my wife's mental state, and her tendency to adopt new things in a manic way. The psychiatrist happened to be Indian and was aware of the BKs. As best as she could, without actually seeing my wife, she was quite clear in her assessment that my wife had an 'enclosed psychosis' brought about by trauma and anxiety.

She described how my wife would be able to function in the outside world normally (correct), continue her job (correct), that the meditation would help her (correct), that she will have no insight (correct), and that her psychosis is contained and sustained by the delusional beliefs and manipulative meditation techniques of the BKs.

As and aside - but not necessarily unrelated - I receive psychiatric inpatient records each morning - often we have observed the high representation of women around the mid-fifties age bracket, a figure not at odds, I understand, with BK adherents.
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Pink Panther

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Re: Madness or spiritual journey?

Post29 Mar 2016

Redstone, in my experience also and generally anecdotally, what you say is an accurate representation of a certain type of BK, a substantial proportion. And for many, if it’s not recent trauma, often it’s from past ones that haven’t been dealt with or integrated. BK meditation for those who use it this way is a strong form of symptom relief, and every time it wears off, another dose is sought.

One "famous" Western BK learnt BK meditation while dealing with her husband’s decline and later death from cancer. Her experience of witnessing that process was, inevitably, much informed by her BK practices and the new language and paradigm it gave her to deal with it all - hence it validated for her the "truth” of BKism.

She committed to it, having found a new community and vocation within the BKs, specialising in ‘women’s issues’ and a new-agey kind of pseudo-feminism, which is mostly rebadged and repackaged from others’ work then uses that to proselytise "the cause”.

Educated middle class professionals like her gave the BKs a new angle, a new impetus and image in the West. They are given high regard within the organisation, another ‘incentive' by which people are kept on the hook, and they use their talents to keep others impressed and on the same "symptom relief" medication - To Be Taken Until The World Changes.
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ex-l

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Re: Madness or spiritual journey?

Post29 Mar 2016

Excellent first posts, Redstone. Thank you very much for chipping in.

I am very interested in an informed and 'resistant' Indian view of BKism.

For the lack of open discussion, the BKs in the West are able to portray themselves as being refined paragons of Indian spirituality ... when in fact being a fairly rudimentary spiritualist cult that is not well respected in India. Much of the first impressions non-Indians have of them is mistaken ... it's a reflection of the BKs PR and marketing, much augmented by skilful Westerners, not the actual teachings nor the organization's level of activity.

If you or she is interested in understanding the BKs even more, I think the key lies in the mental health issues/breakdown of the founder and his initial adherents back in the Bhaidhun culture of 1930s Sind.

I appreciate that will appear fairly obscure and distant, but I see BKism as a kind of 'folie à plusieurs' attempting to make sense and being infected by the founder's own breakdown (he believed he was God for 20 years willing the Destruction of the world and they all set to go off to a Heaven on Earth as the 'chosen' aristocracy) whilst at the same time being entirely dependent on living off his wealth.
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Redstone

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Re: Madness or spiritual journey?

Post01 Apr 2016

When I first began investigating the BK founder, I couldn't help but see parallels to many of our Mental Health clients. As most of us know, 'visions' and 'voices' are strongly rooted in the prevailing culture, hence we have many who either hear God/Jesus. I continue to believe that Kirpilani had a psychotic mental illness, most likely schizo-affective.

The fact that he was also wealthy - and here I speculate - encouraged a kind of parasitical following of opportunistic devotees which has now mutated into today's BK hierarchy. None of this helps my current situation however.

My wife has three university degrees and outwardly seems very happy and at peace. We live in a remote area so she has to travel to far-away retreat centres, but she has nonetheless signed up to be on their graphics design team (one of her quals), and logs in daily to their Murlis and has enrolled in their 'university'. Despite outward appearances, she is now a smiling robot, starting her day at 4:00am to stare at the dot on the wall, and has openly said she wants to be a divine angel etc etc. I retain hopes, albeit diminishing, that she will snap out of it. I say to her I know that she knows the manipulation inherent in their meditation techniques, as well as their other dogmas. Each time she says she is following a spiritual path, I say no, you are following a dogmatic path, and dogma has nothing to do with spirituality.

I meant to add that my colleague, the psychiatrist from India, expressed the observation, along with some amused bewilderment, at the way in which many Western middle-class 'seekers' fall for so many spiritual 'scams' when they travel to India.
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ex-l

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Re: Madness or spiritual journey?

Post01 Apr 2016

If she's that deep in, the omens are not good. Funnily enough, not living in a centre and experiencing the reality of BK life might actually be a disadvantage as she was largely be in an unrealistic state of mind about it and them.

It might take as long as her discovering how humdrum and vain it all is before she snaps out of it.

She is basically self-hypnosising. Possibly putting herself under unknown psychic influences.

Yes, even in the orgs own teachings, the god spirits criticises parasitic followers, albeit it not in such obvious language.
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Redstone

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Re: Madness or spiritual journey?

Post02 Apr 2016

Thanks ex-l - I agree about the self-hypnosis, and as I mentioned, I know that she knows the techniques and manipulations involved. She has been to Cult HQ many years ago and described, in awe, her witnessing the mediumistic rantings of the 'Executive', but I couldn't help pointing out that there are many such side-shows traveling the carnival circuit.

Again, I know she knows how easy it is to stage such a performance, all the more so if you are primed and want to believe it's real.

My battle is that currently this comfort zone she is in is much better than her previous reality.
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ex-l

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Re: Madness or spiritual journey?

Post02 Apr 2016

I was not aware that the BKs put on trance medium shows in Australia ... or even that they had trance mediums in India.

I thought it was something that they played down these days, since it caused "too much Maya" in the past, e.g. spirit mediums putting their own spin, messages conflicting, subtle superiority complexes, partisan followings etc.

In the old days, every Thursday morning, and perhaps once a month as "world meditation days", they used to put a trance medium show where a Senior Sister would go into trance and, allegedly, travel up to another realm to receive a message from their "angelic" spirit guide.

In other cases, the mediums would claim to be possessed gods such as Krishna. And, of course, in Mount Abu, India "God" himself is suppose to come a few times a year to rally the troups and speak to an aircraft hanger sized audience.

I suppose you mean the latter? There are Youtube videos of it happen if you search under things like "BapDada milan" (meeting) etc.
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Re: Madness or spiritual journey?

Post03 Apr 2016

She was in the BKs in the 1980s and made many trips to Cult HQ - she was referring to those times. I am not aware of the dogma de-jour but she is planning another visit later in the year. Perhaps all the sheep can be asked to focus on a central point and invoke a 3D hologram of the 'God of the Day' - along with surround sound. Sorry if this sounds flippant, but to my mind, it is no more absurd than the infantile stupidity that currently goes on.
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ex-l

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Re: Madness or spiritual journey?

Post03 Apr 2016

Sadly, the programming she would have received at that time was that she was a "failure", perhaps even a "traitor" to Baba, that her spiritual status in the future heaven on earth will have been much reduced by indulging in lust, attachment and other worldly matters ... but that her return would be inevitable.

All souls, they say, have to surrender to the BKs' god spirit in order to receive their inheritance for the next Cycle of Time (Kalpa).

You can ask her whether she will be a Golden Age soul, or just a Silver Age soul now and what her status will be ... what the Murlis say is any BK who indulged in lust will be reborn as a cremator in the future world.

So you might, magically, make it into the first and highest birth of the Golden Age ... but still just be a body burner. Mind you, they argue, it's better to be a body burner in the more pure of pure worlds, than miss out on it and only have a second or third or Silver Age generation of first births.

See the lesson and teaching aid on "The Cycle" in the Encyclopaedia section to understand.

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