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The unconquerable virus of cult

As I already mentioned in my post The Murky Waters of Asymmetric Relationships, I was a member of two different cult systems in my early twenties, and then later on ended up working as a psychotherapist, helping many people to liberate themselves from various spiritual cult systems. So, I learned about cult systems both from inside and from the outside, and after decades I still keep being surprised how easily will groups and organisations, even those with the most noble visions, slide into cult-like swamps. It almost seems that the reasons that brought people together is irrelevant; whether it is…

 

When messengers of a possible world depart

The first time it happened to me was in 2001, when I read in the morning newspaper (yes, back in those times) that George Harrison had died. I remember being suddenly overwhelmed by emotions and ended up sobbing over my morning mug of tea. Later I was pondering what happened. Yes, I did like the Beatles and I did like George Harrison among them best, but the extent and intensity of sadness was puzzling. As I was staying with the emotions for the next couple of days, I started to realize that this world suddenly felt a lonelier place to be.…

 

Facing my Whiteness

For most of my adult years I firmly believed I had nothing to do with racism, white supremacy, white privilege and similar concepts. I was peacefully sure that they did not apply to me whatsoever, and that, if anything at all, I could only be labelled as an anti-racist or something alike. And I had very solid reasons for that belief. You see, I grew up in Yugoslavia, which was one of the initiating countries of the Non-Alignment Movement that focused on fighting racism, imperialism, colonialism and, during the cold war, posing as a third way, between NATO and Warsaw…

 

Inspired by meeting a Greek god

Sometimes life provides inspiring moments that are better than what I could come up with in my fantasy. For example, several years ago I landed, together with my then-wife on Crete, to start our one-week vacation. As it had been agreed beforehand, there was somebody waiting for us in the arrival hall, with our names on a piece of paper, to hand us the car we rented for that week. And, it was not just somebody. It was a Greek god embodied! A tall and muscular young man in his late twenties, as handsome as a man can ever get,…

 

How can Nonviolent Communication be helpful in these transformative times? – by Roxy Manning

This is a blog post by my dear trainer colleague Roxy Manning that I found very touching and meaningful. I am grateful to Roxy for having allowed me to re-post it here: Even in the midst of all that is moving in the world, three experiences left me particularly shaken today. Each gave clarity about what NVC can offer in the midst of these times, and where we need to be vigilant. Here are the three events that shaped my day. I awoke this morning to a post by a white friend to an NVC listserv. She asked that white…

 

When we find ourselves in times of trouble…

We found ourselves in the moment on this planet in which we are witnessing and actively participating in very turbulent and unpredictable movements. And this can be very disturbing to our peace of mind. Unpredictability is something our dear minds have a huge difficulty with, as they are designed to neutralise it. Namely, our minds do everything they can – and they certainly can do a lot – to keep creating an illusion of stability, predictability… They work hard on keeping us sane in this experience of life, making it all appear simple enough, manageable, predictable… And so they keep…

 

The beautiful swamp of duality

I recently reconnected with an old friend, with whom we spent, about three decades ago, a few years of intensive spiritual explorations together, mostly on Enlightenment Intensives. As we were remembering old times and catching up on everything that happened since in our lives, he asked me: “Robert, in all your explorations in your life, all your travels, have you ever met a fully enlightened, a fully liberated person?” This question hit me like meeting a long-forgotten world. Of course, back than it was all about the spiritual duality: enlightened vs non-enlightened, liberated vs caught in ego, spiritual vs non-spiritual,…

 

Authenticity and riding a bicycle

While I was working as a psychotherapist, a long long time ago, (feels like) in a galaxy far, far away…, I used to read questions to house psychologists in some magazines, to see what answers these experts would provide. In order for me to get inspired. Yet I mostly got upset. Namely, very often the questions were asked by psychologically or physically abused people. There was much pain, despair in their questions, yet the answers almost always seemed to have an undertone of: “Well, you need to understand that your father/husband/aunt/boyfriend… must have had a hard childhood too, and are…

 

The murky waters of asymmetric relationships

Lately there has been, in our global trainers’ community, a conversation about how to deal with instances of trainers having sex with participants, at the trainings or immediately after. And many questions started to be presented into the field, some of them made me shook my head in puzzlement. One of the most typical questions I hear is: “Why singling out sex as something dirty, wrong, almost like some religious organisations do? Isn’t sex something beautiful, manifestation of love and magic and flow between people, an embodiment of a spiritual meeting of two souls that occurs in a certain moment?”…

 

Witnessing the Ultimate Art

As I was sitting and observing participants of the Awakening to Life Intensive retreat that Robert Gonzales and myself were co-facilitating in Virginia, US a couple of months ago, it suddenly felt like sitting in an art gallery. Namely, I realised I was surrounded by various works of art as each individual in the room had been shaped into the present form by the great artist, The Flow of Life. True, It was all still work in progress, yet already full of incredible art pieces in this art gallery of life itself. Indeed, we all are works of art. This…

 

Awakening to the fulness of self-connection

(I wrote this short article for a German NVC magazine and then thought that it might be of interest also for English speakers, so here it is...) --- Similarly to all other aspects of life that NVC is exploring, self-empathy/self-connection is also, for me at least, an ongoing research, an ongoing journey of discovery. It stretches from very practical questions of how to do it, when to do it, how to know whether I am self-connected, to very existential ones of what self is at all, who is connecting to what, what it all actually is in its essence… Key…

 

The Tunnel of Delusions

The other morning I experienced yet another of these enlightening, and at the same time embarrassing moments. It was just before the sunrise in the morning, and as I was very slowly waking up I noticed Noa, my beloved, quietly sliding out of the bed and leaving the bedroom. Five minutes later I, while sleepily walking to the bathroom, glanced across the living room and saw Noa standing outside, on the terrace, with her phone in her hand. I stopped and was staring at her for a few seconds; what is going on here? What could be such a secret…

 

Relativity of Heroism

When our newly born Dorian was two weeks old, Noa developed some blood poisoning and had to go to a hospital and stay there for three days. There was a possibility for Dorian to stay with her, but we both had a very clear sense that being in a hospital atmosphere and energy would likely not be as nourishing for him in this tender time as what our wooden little house in the nature provides, so we decided he would stay at home with me. I was deeply touched by all the support I was receiving during these days from…

 

Getting rid of negative people… Seriously?

In the last couple of years I have been seeing, in social media, quite regularly one of those quick-fix wisdom statements, that goes something like this: “The key to happiness is in getting rid of negative people in your life, as they are sucking your energy, etc etc etc…” Now, first thing: isn’t the above a rather negative statement in itself? You know, labeling other people as negative and then trying to get rid of them… So, should I now label a person that just made this statement as negative and try to get rid of them. And then they…

 

The lonely trainer

Even before I turned twenty, I became a member of a spiritual cult group. There was an incredible amount of deep spiritual companionship present, belonging, love, beauty, and loads of spiritual experiences, expansions. And, at the same time, there was lack of transparency, lack of honesty, manipulation, strong hierarchy, abuse of power, sex and money, primarily by the spiritual leader himself… So, I eventually left, with a torn heart. Only to dive straight into the next spiritual cult group, where the story continued with very similar patterns, with another spiritual leader, even more charismatics. This time I got out a…

 

Beyond the tyranny of hard work

The other day I was going through my calendar in the past ten years, searching for some things, and the more I browsed through it, the more shocked I felt, with memories rushing in. Namely, I used to work so much. I would give four to five training-days per week, with squeezing all the meetings, preparations, mediations, writing articles and handouts into the remaining time. I basically did not live – I worked, fed myself and I slept. Consequentially I was completely knocked-out in illness twice a year for a week, of course always during national holidays, when there was…

 

What are we intending to change with the social change?

Sitting on the train from San Francisco to Seattle, I am still digesting the amount of despair and hopelessness that I was witnessing on the streets of San Francisco during the last few days, while passing by truly immense numbers of homeless, poor, devastated people and observing what seemed to me like signs of a collapsing society. It all seemed pretty post-apocalyptic at times. And it reinforced my impression of the urgency of radical social change, otherwise there soon might not be any society left to change. And, when thinking of the urgency of a radical transformation of a paradigm…

 

Trusting the field

So, an old story says that, long, long time ago, there was a man (sic!) out there, on a long journey that took him through many unknown lands. He was following, on his horse, a barely recognizable path through a thick forest, which was getting darker and darker and he found himself entrapped by the darkest night, not being able to see an inch in front of his nose, let alone to follow the path. Feeling hopeless and in despair, he got off his horse and started tiptoeing around… Suddenly it seemed to him that he saw a dim light…

 

Longing for the company of not-knowers

The last two days I spent on airports, planes and in similar social settings, on my way to co-facilitating a retreat in Virginia, US. And, as I often do in such situations, I spent certain amount of time sitting and observing people, hearing their conversations… And again I had this sense that somehow most of the conversations seem to be about proving to each other how right we are. As if the main impulse underneath most of our behavior and self-expression in social environments is about showing to ourselves and to others a certain image of ourselves, which I could…

 

The Issue of Ownership

As I had been on a long road journey through Portugal this summer, exploring areas and properties to perhaps start an intentional community there, I was also learning much about the land. Walking around with friends and sometimes with extraordinary permaculture experts, I was learning more and more about the devastating impact human species have had on this planet for thousands of years, with its peak in the last century. One day it suddenly hit me that perhaps the original sin to it all started many thousands of years ago with the concept of ownership. With the idea that the…