Ex-NKT: Past or Present?

Guest Post by LifeGoesOn

It’s now a few years since I left NKT. Recently I’ve been talking to a counsellor for various issues, and inevitably my NKT experiences have been part of that. My counsellor is highly qualified, and the first person I’ve met in the statutory mental health services (ie. NHS and social services) who is a spiritual person herself and happy to use her own experience to understand spiritual issues of her clients.

I’ve talked with her about spirituality in general and NKT issues specifically, especially having been ordained with them and lived in their communities, and she does understand the seriousness of spiritual abuses at some level. She doesn’t set herself up as a spiritual advisor, it’s just helpful that generally she understands things many counsellors etc don’t have a clue on and will listen to but struggle to feed back on.

But recently she asked a question that I can’t comprehensively answer, so I’ve asked Tenzin to post this on one of his blogs to see what other ex-members of NKT and other cults have to say on it. The question is simply: why, years after having left, do so many of us still feel the need to read and discuss NKT/ex-NKT issues (or those of “your” specific cult) online? This is perhaps in the knowledge that sometimes this reading and discussion can be a trigger for difficult feelings and thoughts of how we were confused and exploited within NKT (or other cult).

My sense in feeling towards an answer (not that I think there is only one) is that we have had intense experiences that only other ex-cult members can truly understand.

But then I wonder, are we drawn back into the discussions through an addiction to that kind of intensity of memory and identification more than anything else? In other words, in doing this, trying to clarify our experiences, and share where we’ve got to, inform others etc, are we helping ourselves and each other, or keeping ourselves stuck in our history? And, can or even should, we try to leave that history behind? Whatever I am now, it matters to me that I was a nun, and before that a very dedicated lay Buddhist, even if badly misled by NKT.

I’m not in a miserable life now, or anything like that, but having the opportunity to talk with a counsellor who has a broad spiritual take on things when necessary, it seems a good time to ask questions that might clarify things for both her and myself, and perhaps others who come across these discussions.

I look forward to your thoughts

Please note: I’m not looking for personal advice – my life is about as OK as it gets – but for general discussion on the issue of ex-cult members continuing to discuss the cult for years after leaving. So please no personal comments and especially no personally critical remarks – of me or anyone else. Thanks!