Predators as Part of Nature
Predators are part of nature and are everywhere on every level of society. In the field of meditation, the predators have been having a field day because their prey are not on guard. When we go to the doctor, we do not necessarily expect them to withdraw blood from our body and drink it, or inject us with drugs that will weaken our immune system, and make us dependent upon getting more injections.
Vampires are a type of predator that specialize in sucking blood. In this case, I do not mean literally, as in biting someone, but on the level of energy. There are people who know how to absorb the vitality of others, feed off their life force. In yoga and meditation there are many people with lots of vitality, doing practices that open up their energy fields and dissolve boundaries.
In every environment you are in, it is useful to be alert to the presence of predators, as part of your everyday awareness. To be alert, you have to learn to recognize the strange sensations you have on your skin, in your belly, on the back of your neck, when you are being hunted. These sensations are a form of physical intuition, and everyone’s radar works differently. You want to have very relaxed alertness, and learn to detect the signals.
It’s painful to lose the idealized awareness that we used to have – like the fantasy of the 50's, when a mother or father could trust that if you send your child to kindergarten, they are safe; if you send your child to church, they are being taught spirituality; and when you send your child off to join the army, that they will fight in righteous wars. We know now that there are sexual, spiritual and financial predators in every school, church, boy scout troop, and military organization. It is painful and disillusioning to know these things. But it is more painful to be stung by a vampire and not even know what just happened.
Meditation, yoga, and alternative health practices are now part of mainstream America, and so vampires, who like to be in positions of authority and respect, have been migrating into positions as gurus, yoga teachers, and acupuncturists. What great environments to drink blood! Predators are always very aware of camouflage, and what better situation than to be a guru, acupuncturist, or yoga teacher? Meditation is so beneficial that people are distracted by this wonderful thing, and do not know how to notice when they are being vamped on.
Note: The following discussion concerns what seem to be unconscious
vampires – people who do not consciously identify as such and would never admit it, but have fallen into this ancient archetype out of desperation, loneliness, emotional damage, and chthonic
This is not
about people who identify as vampires, and not about psychic vampires in general, or people who consciously seek to be in the presence of vampires because they are attracted to them and want to become prey. Also, I am only talking about three cases I happen to have observed at close range and perhaps a dozen situations I have observed, but not closely enough to have all the details. A real mapping of this phenomenon would take dozens of people perceiving and making notes over many years. I am sure that somewhere, in some bar or internet discussion group, people are way ahead of me in terms of describing what is going on in the vampire/prey universe.
Vampires are often the most entertaining, hypnotic, and alluring spiritual teachers and Christian preachers. They are playing a more complex game than just what they are doing on the surface. They are using their position to cruise for victims, simultaneously just daring you to catch them, and continually refining their mastery of the game. The Sufis have a saying, “Predators put out bait they know their prey likes.”
There are lots of people who want to have their blood sucked, and become submissive to a Dominant. Vampires are dead inside, but because of this they become exquisitely skilled at manipulating other people's vitality. A vampire's charisma actually does not come from within – it comes from the fervor of their devotees and followers, who are in a state of delicious submission to the Master, Preacher, Teacher, guru.
If you do spot a vampire, never let on that you are seeing. Just go your way. If a vampire senses that you are onto her tricks, she or he may start to set up ways to destroy you. And never get into a fight with a vampire – there is no way you can match the fury with which they will defend their turf. Only a mother defending her child can match a vampire for fury.
The blood-sucking nature of vampires is not their most dangerous trait. When feeding, they mostly want to steal your extra vitality and your money. Secondarily they want to wield power over you. You can recover from being drained, and make more money.
Types of Venom
Sometimes the most dangerous aspect of "predators who use fangs" is their venom – it's what they inject into you. Venom is of several types: to paralyze, as in a neurotoxin, so that you are immobilized; to predigest you, so they can devour you, and toxic waste. People who are oriented to feeding off others also shit into them. Gurus and spiritual leaders and others in the position of teacher build up toxic shame and guilt, which they have to get rid of by excreting into
their followers or students. They select people to take a dump on, and they make this process look like "busting the person's ego," or "teaching them a lesson." At worst, it can take up to a year to recover from being drained, if the vampire drinks deeply. You can recover, and the worst thing is all the time you wasted. But if you are one of the people the vampire/guru/teacher has selected to excrete her waste products into, it can be a seven-to-ten year process to recover. For the past 30 years, I have worked with a lot of meditators who are "leaving their guru," or have just left an ashram. The people who have gotten dumped on have a much harder road to recovery than the people who were just drained of vitality and money.
I recommend developing a relaxed alertness to the presence of predators. Hypervigilance and cynicism are tiresome. Walk through the forest and enjoy yourself, and train yourself to listen to your instincts and be observant.
Interview with the Vampire
It was a brilliant insight on the part of Anne Rice to have the vampires in her novels be radiant and sexy. Although undead, when they kill someone they shimmer with the life-force of the person whose blood they just drank. An amount of life-force enough to keep someone alive for 80 years, a vampire will burn off in a couple of days, glowing all the while with superhuman vitality. Vampires are like black holes - you can't see the black hole, you just see the light coming off of the matter they are eating.
Brad Pitt in the ecstasy of being drained
Many performers, politicians, evangelical preachers, priests, gurus, psychologists, and workshop leaders are as if dead inside. Or, even more bewitching, they are, as if, dying and need you desperately. This underlying desperation adds an irresistible ingredient to the spell, because overtly they are dominant, and covertly they are submissive and dependent upon you for life force. In this way, they feed on the life force of the projections coming at them from the audience. The charisma they seem to have is made up of a complex mixture of their desperation - their need to feed - and the energy people are projecting at them. Vampires can make great art of these projections.
The Vampire-like Nature of Gurus One reason gurus seem to glow is that they are absorbing the projections of everyone around them, feeding on the energy of the devotion, love and surrender coming their way. The guru sits on his throne (sometimes her throne) and accepts the adoration, money, attention, service, fealty of the people whose good karma it is to be able to kiss his feet. From there things get weird, usually.
By absorbing the life force of dozens, hundreds, or thousands of worshippers, Gurus can glow with supernatural vitality, and then when they look at someone, they can shock and thrill them with the power of their gaze. Actors, rock bands, and performers of all types know how to do this, let the audience give them energy, and they accept it and then channel it back in a magic co-creation. This is part of the mystery of live performance. When it is done well, the audience is pouring their love and attention onto the rock band, singer, performers, actors, who welcome it, transform it, and feed it back. It’s an ecstatic energy exchange and everyone wins. Everyone is nourished and cleansed.
Over time, performers can lose track of who they are. The power of projection overwhelms the quiet voice of their own soul, and the performer becomes lost, and begins to die inside. This is one way that a lively person can become Undead.
In spirituality, both Western and Eastern, there is so much anti-life teaching that it is actually hard to avoid internalizing some self-hatred. Meditation and yoga are full of it. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali begins by defining yoga as “the suppression of the fluctuations of mindstuff.” Often this is described as a forcible repression of thought and emotion. Each person makes up a different inner technique for suppressing their thoughts and feelings, but with some, this struggle to repress can result in an inner deadness. So over a period of years someone slowly becomes a vampire, because they have cut themselves off from their own sources of vitality.
The Guru The Guru is someone who never steps off the stage, who takes it as his job to be the center of the universe. And it's a lot of work to pretend to be perfect, the living embodiment of the Divine, the Lord of the Universe in human form, 24/7. Gurus can go slightly insane from the pressure, I think, and from being continually tempted by money, power, fame, sex, and master/slave games.
The group around a Guru is called an ashram, and ashramic groups are as Machiavellian, sadistic, ruthless, money-obsessed and power-addicted as the court around a king or emperor. The Guru is the ultimate Godfather – imagine a man walking down the street who has the charisma of Brad Pitt, the cunning of a Mafia boss, and who is defined as being greater than Jesus, greater than God. If a guru even hints, "Mr. Smith is causing me grief," that person will get hate mail, anonomyous death threats, and maybe visits from henchmen. Most gurus have henchmen or thugs waiting in the wings to take care of business.
The Guru archetype is ancient and part of the rich cultural traditions of Asia. We don't have anything like it in the West. The Hindu scriptures define the Guru as greater than God, because he is the intermediary, he is the one who shows you God. Kabir wrote, "Guru and God both appear before me. To whom should I prostrate? I bow before Guru who introduced God to me."
It is highly unfortunate that gurus are associated with meditation. Meditation is usually so miniscule a part of what a guru teaches. If a modern Westerner wants to learn about meditation from a guru-centered organization, there are so many obstacles in the way, it is like asking a Catholic priest to teach you about sex.
The Ashram as HospitalHealing centers attract the wounded. Then predators are attracted to the presence of so many vulnerable, wounded people. This is just the nature of things. Wolves and lions watch the herd carefully, and pick out anyone who is limping, and wait for an opportunity to pounce.
In a doctor's office, there will be some sick and wounded people. Same thing with a hospital. In meditation-land, the population consists of people who are for some reason not comfortable with their lives – they want to improve themselves, be better, evolve. And often they want to heal and the other things they tried – Western medicine, psychotherapy, did not work.
Imagine that you are walking into a hospital to get a check-up. As you walk down the hallway, all the people in the offices come to their doors and stare at you as you go by. The first person gets an immediate estimate of how much money she will be able to get you to donate to the organization, and starts working on scenarios to bend you to her will. The next person starts working on a way to have you "diagnosed" with something so they can harvest your organs and sell them on the black market. Further along, someone is visualizing how to prep you to become a sex slave to one of the powers around the throne. Someone else is seeing you as competition and plotting how to destroy you. Yet another person sees you as a co-conspiritor to overthrow the others. Years later you walk out of the hospital, minus a kidney, or some eggs, and a lot of blood. And you never got a real check-up, you only got scammed by people with hidden agendas who told you something was wrong with you for the power over you, the leverage this gave them. This is what happens to many people who go to gurus, workshops, enlightenment intensives, spiritual teachers of all kinds. Word does not get around because the survivors are too exhausted, broke, and defeated to talk about it. They just want to move on with their life. I only know about this because when I left the TM movement in 1975, I became known as a meditation teacher to whom you could tell your story, and I would listen for hours without judgment, and help the meditator or yogi sort things out.
I myself have never had a bad experience with a guru. Like most people, I was able to be in the situation without being harmed by the dynamics. What I am reporting here is based on the last couple decades of working with people who have left gurus, ashrams, meditation movements, and workshop-oriented cults.
My experience with gurus, the couple I have been with, has been incredibly positive – I totally enjoy the presence of the gurus I have been around, the sense of play and multiplicity of levels of awareness. I am glad they are here in America and Europe, as well as in Asia, doing their thing. But what some gurus do has very little to do with meditation, and a lot to do with cult dynamics as they pertain to founding a religion based on the worship of a living human being as God.
Gurus attract crowds of people, and each person in that crowd can have a completely different experience, and furthermore, that individual's experience can change radically from one moment to the next. This makes it impossible to ever know who a guru truly IS. Even if 10 people swear they had sex with the guru, you will never know unless there is videotape. The Guru is an invisible friend, flying around on the inner level, omnipresent, so some people imagine they are having sex with the Guru. Why not? My personal impression is that gurus are often having sex with their disciples, but not necessarily the ones that are talking about it and claiming the guru abused them.
How any one person interacts with the guru archetype is as complex as predicting how any one individual will respond to a bottle of rum or series of morphine injections. Culture, beliefs, early childhood experiences, psychic wounds, belief systems, religion. My impression is that the guru system works a lot better in India than it does in the United States. The problems of gurus in the West are many, but among them is this troubling sense that so many Westerners do not get their energy back from the guru. It's like loving someone who does not reciprocate – it just sucks the life out of you. For every person I know who is radiant because they love their guru, I know three or four for whom the guru is like a bad marriage, something that steals years off your life and leaves you broke, broken and bitter. Years wasted doing the wrong path.
The Art of Seduction
by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers
Greene cheerfully talks about history's great seducers and how they do it.
*In alternative health, it is very difficult if not impossible to know if the practitioner is giving you treatments that weaken you in order to keep you coming back for more. It's hard enough even in scientifically-based Western medicine to assess what really works and not be harmed by iatrogenic effects.
*There is a phrase that was apparently in use by drill sergeants in the military, when training new recruits. “I am going to rip your head off and shit down your throat.” On a physical level this does not make any sense, but metaphorically it does. As odd as that expression sounds, there are workshop leaders and spiritual guides who do this on an energy level. Anytime the teacher or leader is using “ego-busting” techniques to attack your defensive structure, the teacher may fall into this energy dynamic.
* Be aware that spiritual groups change from day to day, month to month, as people come and go. It’s all continually changing. There are invisible power struggles going on behind the scenes that you will never fully suss out.