This week we have a guest post by Brielle Love Eden. She posted it in a Facebook group called Grounded Spirituality a discussion group for Jeff Brown’s new book of the same name, and she allowed me to republish it here. Given the behaviour we’ve seen in our Tibetan Buddhist cults, I thought you’d find it interesting. Perhaps some of you have come, or are coming to the same kind of conclusion. Please share what you think of this view in the comments.

DEAR FRIENDS- Because I want you to be completely free of the undeserved suffering you have been struggling with your whole life, I am about to say something which is both “spiritually incorrect” and essential to reclaiming your birthright of happiness.

Despite the bland and comforting saying about the wide array of religions and spiritual paths- that they are all equally liberating and therefore “all roads lead to the same place”- the honest truth is that they actually don’t!

Or, you might say that they do all lead to a common destination….

Which is a dead end.

Because none of them are grounded in, and sharply focussed upon, what will really heal your pain and set you free.

Allow me to explain why this is so!

In my years as a Core/Bioenergetic Psychotherapist and teacher of unconditional self-love, I have had the honor of working with many brave people- true spiritual warriors- who had invested decades of their lives into their religious and spiritual beliefs.

Many of them were brilliant and accomplished teachers of these paths.

They ranged from Buddhist meditation masters to world traveling yoga teachers, from devout Christians to devotees of various gurus or modern teachings like the Law of Attraction or A Course in Miracles.

What did they all have in common? Just this- they had put their faith and trust and every drop of effort they had into these worldviews and disciplines.

And yet they were still burdened by inner conflicts and relationship struggles, recurrent frustration and lingering unhappiness.

Most of these people were desperately struggling with anxiety and depression and haunting self-doubt. They felt far from being truly free.

Sounds familiar?

Their unresolved conflicts- which were primarily with their own honest feelings and Real Selves- had not been reached and released by the ways they had been taught to look at and work with themselves.

Certainly they had made valuable gains from their years of inner work and from the partial truths contained in the paths they had followed.

But they had not gotten to the bottom of their problems, and thoroughly broken the inner chains that bound them.

Each of them was wise, and desperate, enough to realize that they were never going to be free if they stayed strictly on the road they were on and kept on doing what wasn’t really getting them “unstuck”.

So here is what I helped them to wake up and see. And what I taught them to do to finally claim the grail of happiness they had struggled so long and hard to reach.

First of all they had to recognize- regardless of what they had been told by their traditions and teachers- that their anxiety and depression, their lack of fulfillment and genuine joy had its true origins in the dysfunctional treatment and negative conditioning they had suffered DURING THEIR CHILDHOOD.

For example it wasn’t their (non-existent) “Original Sin”, their “karma from past lives” or their Buddhist “ego” which was causing them to suffer.

And that to finally be free they needed to break through their emotional blocks and numbness, and thoroughly express/release the stored-up childhood sorrow and anger, pain and self-defeating attitudes (fear, guilt, shame, self-doubt) that were keeping them bound.

There is no substitute for this heroic and infinitely self-compassionate work.

To avoid becoming fully conscious of the impact of your childhood keeps you forever trapped in the darkness you are afraid to face.

The other essential healing task they needed to whole-heartedly embrace was to unconditionally love and accept themselves.

Learning to warmly understand and validate everything inside you- and see your own unique beauty and perfection through the eyes of love- enables a person to be at peace with Life and at one with their Real Self.

And in the end that loving relationship with YOU is the ONLY THING that leads to lasting fulfillment!

So if you are a practitioner of any religion or spiritual discipline I urge you to wake up now and realize that none of these can possibly get you all the way to where you need to go.

Why? Because they don’t keep you completely focussed on the real problem- your buried and unredeemed childhood suffering and the shame and guilt, fear and self-doubt you so undeservedly carry from the dysfunctional treatment of your developing infant, child and adolescent self.

And on the real hope- which lay in accepting/expressing/releasing every last drop of your stored-up anger and fear, hurt and grief.

All of this as you learn to unconditionally see, love and validate the Beautiful and Authentic You.

It’s time to open your eyes and realize that “you can’t get there from here”!

But if you seek with all your body and spirit and heart and soul to love and liberate the Real You, I guarantee that you will find your way home to the unchained aliveness and blessed life of happiness you have always deserved! LOTS OF LOVE- BRIELLE

P.S. I have developed a rich array of practices and meditations designed to help you face and release your stored-up emotional pain (especially from your childhood) and awaken the grace of your Unconditional Self-Love. These are available for your study and use in the Notes section of my Timeline and on my Psychotherapy page.

Be brave, move forward, work hard- and set yourself free! YOU CAN DO IT!

What do you think of Brielle’s point of view? Does it ring true to you or relate to your experience in any way?

If you’d like a more private place to chat about your ongoing spiritual path after you’ve left an abusive community, you can join the Beyond the Temple Facebook group. This group is for people who don’t want to talk about abuse, but want to keep in touch and share their discoveries, inspiration and challenges as they move on with their lives.

If you want to talk about abuse, then Rigpa or ex-Rigpa students can join the secret What Now? groupApply via the contact form here, telling us about yourself and why you want to join the group. 

Students from other Vajrayana communities who need somewhere where they can talk about abuse and find survivor support can join the Survivors of Vajrayana Abuse and their Allies group.  

Note that you will not be added to these groups if you don’t answer the questions.

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  1. Little too certain and self assured while saying essentially what many religions say but on different terms. Some clarity but some spurious logic. “You can’t get there from here” is an ignorant thing to say. There is always a path … mostly I renounce people who have the answers as the religious ones.

    1. Yes. I see what you mean. It’s all too easy to criticise what we have and then come up with other ideas of how people should approach their spiritual lives and end up just proscribing another ‘system’ or ‘answer’

    1. Good point. To evlauate anything, we have to look at who wrote it and what their underlying motives may be. But of course a psychotherapist would believe that psychotherapy is something everyone needs.

  2. Good insight. I recommend Feeding Your Demons by Lama Tsultrim Allione. Based on Shamanic/ Buddhist practice Chod.

      1. Yes, it’s the spiritual bypassing that’s the issue, or ‘issue bypassing’ might be a better term for it. But meditation and other aspects of Buddhism, though they can be used to bypass, are like any tool in that it’s not the tool itself but how it’s used that is the problem. I don’t think the teachings themselves teach bypassing if they’re understood correctly – and Tsoknyi R teaches in a way that avoids it – but with teachers who aren’t aware of the tendancy of people to bypass and the reasons why just pushing away our problems in the name of ‘letting them go’ is not healthy, then ‘issue’ bypassing is an easy thing to fall into. We’d much rather supress our issues than deal with them, and Buddhism gives us the tools to do that if we want to use them that way. It also, however, gives us the tools to examine ourselves deeply if we want to use contemplation skills for that purpose.

        1. Spiritual or Issue Bypassing is a crucial potential problem with any spiritual path and it should be the Teacher who is able to point out the pitfalls in this direction. But too often they themselves are falling into the pit as we have seen in Tibetan Buddhist circles. Until this can be addressed and fully understood, it is inevitable that students and teachers will reach a “dead end”. The work of John Wellwood should be required reading in all Dharma Centres and classes explaining Spiritual Bypassing placed on the curriculum. I was reading my favourite “Bible” today, Longchenpa’s Choying Dzod. To my mind it is peerless and faultless in revealing hidden insights of an awakened nature but also there are other areas of my mind I am only too well aware of that need to be addressed honestly and as wisely as I am able that are still subject to confusion and cannot be ignored simply because I know there is a higher truth. I think our lives encompass both enlightenment and confusion, two sides of the same coin of Wisdom that teaches us many many lessons on the journey to full enlightenment.

  3. I agree that to love and accept yourself is crucial. Metta meditation could help. Maybe additional psychological support or methods as taught by Brielle or Jeff Brown could also help. Mindfulness Self-Compassion (MSC) could help too. Or as Mary suggests, methods by Lama Tsultrim Allione.

    What I find a bit suspicious is the taste behind the announcement as if she or Jeff have the key for all these problems. This reminds me a bit of the cult leaders.

    For those who didn’t receive enough love, a key is of course to learn to accept and love yourself or at least to find a person who truly loves you or both. There are different ways to achieve to find love and piece with yourself but the announcement sounds more like only Brielle and those who follow that path – Jeff Brown etc. – know the way, isn’t it? Maybe I got something wrong? Let me know.

    1. Ha ha, it should read „to find peace with yourself“

      Maybe alternatively, to find peace with your pieces of your self(s) 😉

    2. I don’t think she represents Jeff, but I totally get what you’re saying. The danger is that when people reject one ‘path’ or ‘belief system’ or world view, that they then create another ‘belief system’ that they think everyone should follow, but I think what we should be doing is empowering people to find their own path, to recognise their own needs and find whatever they need to help them at any particular time, and then move on once they’ve learned what they wanted or solved their issue or whatever.

      I love that you guys are really thinking critically about this.

  4. I think this self love is very important. I’ve always suspected the “kill your ego” philosophy. One reason is that I attempt to follow the Golden Rule, which is based on self-knowledge. You can only practice true kindness towards others when you understand your own needs. Treat others as you would have them treat you – this requires understanding yourself.

    1. Understanding your own needs is vital for general wellbeing and also for taking responsibility for directing ones own spiritual journey; the question then becomes ‘How can people learn what their own needs are?’ I presume that psychotherapy can do that, but I don’t think everyone needs psychotherapy. Surely, for most of us, some kind of directed self-examination is probably all we need. Maybe what we need are a series of pertinent questions that will lead us to discover what we need to know about ourself. I don’t know what those questions are, but I could pose the question to our Beyond the Temple group and see if we can come up with some key questions for self-examination together.

  5. It is a very old theory often used in cort. The non grasping to problems of the past is ignored which is a helpfull tool to live in the present and not in the past. And helpfull in forgiven which is letting the past not influence the present and future. I believe the four noble truth more than Jeff Brown.

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