Monday, November 17, 2008

Life after Mahikari

Today I want to tell you a little of my own "after Mahikari" story.

Most of my blog posts over the last few years have focused on my search for hard facts about Mahikari – for factual information that can be used to free former kumite from the after-effects of Mahikari's manipulation of beliefs, thoughts, emotions and actions. I've not written any new posts recently simply because I've not recently found any more hard provable facts, but if I find out any further information I will certainly pass it on. For me personally, the search for this information has been extremely liberating. Each new fact, each new bit of evidence of deception, and each new understanding of Mahikari's manipulation mechanisms has broken more chains and given me greater freedom. Getting the "real me" back has been, and continues to be, the most exhilirating process of my life. I didn't know life could be so much fun!

In some ways my earlier posts are a bit like a diary of my "journey" away from Mahikari (perhaps I would express some things differently if I were to go back and rewrite everything now). However, I had already left Mahikari long before I started finding out factual information about Mahikari and long before I started this blog. Today I want to go back to the beginning of my "after Mahikari" story. I'm not going to sugar-coat the story – a lot of it was hell – but every moment of the process was ultimately worth it for the freedom it made possible.

When I first decided to leave Mahikari, I had no idea which was true: the Mahikari version of reality, in which Su God and spiritual laws control cause and effect, or the "commonsense" version of reality in which ordinary human things and natural forces control cause and effect. At that point I still thought that the Mahikari version of reality could well be true, in which case Su God would probably bop me on the head sometime soon for turning my back on him, but the only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted out (even if it was the wrong choice). At that point I was a mass of fear and confusion, and could see no way of knowing anything for sure. Mahikari teachings go round in circles, and I knew I would drive myself crazy if I tried to think my way out of the quagmire. I therefore did all I could to NOT think about Mahikari, or life, or anything.

I guess I also went into an emotional shut-down – my way of "dealing with" the fear of Su God's retribution and the feeling that I was being disloyal and "letting down" my kumite friends and the kanbu who had believed in me. I was like a zombie for months – paralyzed in time with no way out. Mahikari had taught me to ignore self and be obedient, so there was very little of "me" left. Perhaps the hardest part was feeling like I was a blank slate – there was nothing I knew for sure, and I had no idea what I thought or felt about anything. My one "lifeline" was that I had decided that I wanted to pursue a particular career. I was not sure if that was a valid lifeline, but I nevertheless focused entirely on the required study regime, then later on building that career.

Over the years I gradually became less zombie-like. I started to smile occasionally, my career aims started to be fulfilled, I made a few new friends (none of whom knew anything about my time in Mahikari – I refused to ever mention that despite the awkward gap in my life's CV). Needless to say, Su God never did retaliate. In fact, I still had a surprising number of good things happen for me that once upon a time I would have interpreted as being "divine arrangements". I still refused to face up to the question of whether or not Mahikari teachings were true. I succeeded in avoiding thinking about Mahikari at all except for the odd occasions when a bad dream would bring it all back to me.

Eventually the best "divine arrangement" [grin] of all came along. [Just to avoid misunderstanding, I obviously no longer think "divine arrangements" come from Okada's Su God, but I still think they happen.....unless of course it is just chance!] Through various circumstances beyond my control, I one day found myself with a large amount of free time, and no opportunity to do the things I'd normally use free time for, and I'd just had yet another bad dream about Mahikari. I decided it was time I faced my demons.

I did an Internet search on Mahikari and read everything I could find. I managed to get in contact with a former kumite who "held my hand" via emails as I reeled under the shock of discovering that the Mahikari organization had apparently deliberately been hiding some information from us and providing false information about other things. By then I had already come around to thinking that most if not all Okada's teachings were probably incorrect, but I clung to the notion that he was merely misguided or deluded, and that he had acted in complete sincerity. I could not believe that I, and all the wonderfully altruistic, dedicated, and obviously sincere kumite I had known, could have been victims of deliberate deception, and remained deceived for so many years.

My friend urged me to read some books on mind control, but I certainly did not want to do that. Mind control, or brainwashing, must be the ultimate horror, the ultimate assault on free will and freedom, and almost the ultimate crime of one human against another. The suggestion that I might have been under such control was simply too much to contemplate. Even so, I eventually read those books. They discussed the mind control practiced by other groups that I could happily consider to be cults. Since I did not have any subconscious "information" or emotions controlling me concerning those groups, I could easily see how they trapped members by controlling their access to information, their thoughts and emotions, and their behaviour. The really surprising thing was that these obviously cultish groups sounded so much like Mahikari! I could see heaps of similarities in their doctrine, culture, and even their teaching methods.

Suddenly, it was blindingly obvious to me that Mahikari is just as much of a mind-controlling cult as all those other groups. I had got sucked into a cult and manipulated by them for years!! How could I have done that? How could I have been so-oo stupid? This is the sort of stuff that only happens to other people...isn't it? If you've never been there you won't understand, and if you have been there you already understand perfectly how painful that moment was. Let's just say the bottom fell out of my world, and I could not imagine how I would survive feeling so disgusted with myself. I was also outraged that someone had done that to me, but mostly I was disgusted with myself for "wasting" so many years of my life (not just the years spent in Mahikari, but also the years afterwards when I was operating at half-potential due to the lingering mind control effects).

The biggest surprise though was that I quickly left that sense of horror behind. It was a turning point. Within a few days I was buzzing with excitement over starting to get the "real me" back. Now that I recognized I had been manipulated, I could almost hear the links in the chains snapping. I could think clearly, see clearly, and feel clearly for the first time in years. One by one I was able to recognize the subconscious beliefs that Mahikari had planted in me, bring them to the surface where I could analyze them consciously, and reject them. There are some examples of that in some of the earlier posts I wrote for this blog. It did take time, and effort, but each step of the way was an exhilarating step toward freedom.

Later I became obsessed with trying to find out whether Okada deliberately tricked us, or whether he himself was a victim of mind control and acting in sincerity. Later blog posts tell the story of that search. Perhaps we'll never know for sure, and ultimately it is irrelevant – the important thing is leaving the manipulation behind and discovering truth for oneself. The one thing I did learn very clearly through all this is that trusting anyone else's version of "spiritual truth" is a big mistake, however sincere and knowledgeable they may seem to be. To me, not knowing is better than thinking you "know" something when you don't.

I should mention that many other former kumite appear to have dealt with their Mahikari past much more quickly and easily than I did. These days there is a lot of information available on the Internet to help kumite and former kumite make sense of their experiences. There are also growing personal networks of former kumite in some places to provide mutual support. Believe me, it is a huge help to be able to discuss things with the only other people who can understand what one goes through. And, as always, I am happy to exchange emails with any former kumite who might want to talk to me.

For me perhaps the biggest casualty of my Mahikari years was trust in myself – trust in my ability to recognize the truth. To be honest, I still struggle with that at times. When I first joined Mahikari, I was attracted to the parts of it that, to me, "felt true", and the parts I thought I had proved on the basis of my own experience. I then made the mistake of assuming all the rest of it was also true. When I eventually realized how badly I had been conned, I basically decided that ALL of Okada's teachings were false, and beat myself up considerably over my "stupidity". But perhaps that too was a mistake. Perhaps a little of what Okada taught just happens to be the truth – and perhaps those parts are what attracted many fine, caring, intelligent people in the first place, and put them within range of Mahikari's mind control.

Regardless, after my experience of Mahikari, I feel I have no option but to trust myself – trust myself rather than any guru, and pursue what I see as the truth. If I "get it wrong", then so be it. (I no longer consider my Mahikari years to be a "waste". I learnt so much from that "mistake".) At least if I trust my own Truth, any mistakes will be me making my own mistakes rather than someone else's mistakes, and I trust I will again learn from those mistakes and move on. Surely that is what freedom is all about.