A Letter of Concern
By Ann Godwin
I just happened on your site as I was looking for some research.
I am a trained specialist, licensed therapist, on treating PTSD. I am also an AOL Teacher, internationally.
No guts, (no “balls” definitely a derogatory reference, and query as to why sexual? ) , hmmmm.
I went and set up Courses in Kosovo for the young AOL Teacher who came from Croatia, (risking her life also, as she could be seen as a Serb by the local people) and stayed doing this until we had enough Courses there that she could go and live there full-time, and help the people. A local disabled KLA Vet began helping and the Program went through the entire medical system there and the jails and prisons, as well as the remote villages where people were not easily getting medical and psychological treatment.
We did not live in luxurious living places, by any means, nor did we teach in luxurious surroundings. Most of the time we fund our own living and activities for teaching these techniques. We have seen, used, many mud holes for toilets.
Then I went to Kabul and surrounds for 3 and 1/2 years and trained war victims and helping professionals there, for free, on what I had and on some contributions from a few AOL “family members”. I came up into Pakistan to teach some refugees and to train teams after the earthquake who went to the camps and helped the victims there. During this time some of my AOL colleagues risked their lives by travelling to Iraq during the height of the war and trained many people there. On observing the results, the Iraqi government paid to have some 50 citizens trained in being AOL Teachers to help the people. There are 3 Centers in Iraq now and I have been told that AOL had the longest standing medical unit there, Ayurveda. This is all in what is termed dangerous times and conditions, hmmmm?
Myself and local colleagues have been training Internally Displaced Persons who have lost everything and seen awful things, like beheadings. We also trained local teams how to teach some of the techniques to help others. Our lives were threatened in one camp by Taliban there and so in another area, local people arranged for me to go incognito in a veil and teach, in 100+ degree heat.
One time I was Editor of a magazine for AOL and I could not get people to respond and tell us about all the volunteer activities they were accomplishing for people who need it because they WERE TOO BUSY TO RESPOND. They had energy from INSPIRATION.
I look at all the work AOL has done to help people in disaster areas around the world, in prisons, etc., and I am astonished. Others are toiling day after day at the Centers where we teach to make nice places for people to come and heal and rejuvenate.
I tell you, it takes a lot of courage to stand up and do the right thing for people, usually not getting credit, you just do it because the people need help and you have these tools you can teach them that positively and dramatically improve their lives, and many times, saving lives. You have reviewed the research right? We did not wait for the research to validate it, we saw what it did to help others and just went out and gave it.
Sometimes people with pain and anger from other wounds in their lives will attack you. This is part of it. So you keep on doing it and having the happiness the stress reduction of these brings when you do them yourself, and the happiness of passing this on to others who need it and seeing the results. Having some tortured person who came in horrible pain relax and be able to laugh is priceless.
And yes, it needs Teachers, people who are trained adequately not just in teaching techniques, but also to have the courage to withstand the obstacles externally and internally to pass the wisdom on to others.
And it has been seen that without the Teachers, the techniques do not work the same, so the knowledge has been protected to be able to ensure the quality to help people. Now if people see this and try it and it does not work so well to help them, they may not give any value to taking the Courses and learning the wisdom and techniques in a manner that will help them. And they may pass on the lack of respect to others and this very valuable work will be hindered from reaching many who may beed it. Congratulations. This is definitely not a money making organization in spite of what some people think.
What on earth have you seen and what has happened to you that you want to fully attack a positive, helpful movement and people who are wanting sincerely to help others? This is certainly a time in history where effective help is needed. Right?
Brainwashed? I am a 64 year old highly educated, trained and experienced mental health professional. No, I am not brainwashed, Maybe you are, in a negative manner from painful experiences that cause you to see so much negative.
God Bless you and protect you and help you heal. Is this gutless? Or is this the higher qualities of humanity?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar works day and night, day and night, helping people – I have seen so many times where he was working tirelessly and on and on……..and the so criticized Senior Teachers. And it is not done preaching some dogma or anything else, just teaching the people these things that help them overcome misery, anxiety, fear, depression, eradicate PTSD symptoms, etc.
What is the bottom line agenda you want to achieve from all this? Think about it and be sure you have an accurate target. This may not be the target you really want to get some satisfaction from.
If you read this, will you publish it or paraphrase, manipulate it? I hope you get some relief from whatever is bothering you, not only for your self, but for other people you are giving trouble to and others you are hurting indirectly. Is this the only thing you are doing that you think is helping other people?
Oh, I do not have balls, I have ovaries. And a heart. Wow, at you and your actions. If you had Teacher Training, the principles it is meant to instill did not get in. You did not ask for helpful ideas, so I do hope something is helpful from this and you have less pain, and cease things that can hurt others.
Reply from Skywalker
thank you for your e-mail. It is different from the normal hate-mails I usually get, that is why I chose to post it here, with my reply. I even met you in person once, and I remember you as energetic, intelligent, balanced and with a good sense of humor. I also remember you bending the rules, when they seemed pointless to you. At the time, as a good devotee, this shocked me. Were we not supposed to follow the Guru’s every word, to the letter? This was certainly a big point on TTC.
Reading now about the work you have done, I have no doubt that you have made a tremendous difference in the lives of a lot of people traumatized by war. I believe that as individuals, we all have this power to make a difference. Coupled with skills and resources, this power increases drastically. Why then, I wonder, did you not get more funds from the organisation that you represent? Imagine what you could have done with just 100.000 $, and a committed team of 20 teachers. Why was this not offered to you? The money certainly seems to be there. Why did you have to spend your own money? What if you hadn’t had any, who would have done your important work then? Is it fair to people who devote their life and personal assets to a cause, to have them use mudholes for toilet?
You seem to think that some internal obstacle drains me from the courage to “pass the wisdom on to others”. That is certainly one interpretation, logical from your point of view, where the Guru is still infallible, the knowledge Divine Truth and the sadhana the only way to healing and enlightenment. Well, I have seen the Guru’s facade crack. The knowledge is good sometimes, sometimes just banalities and at other times knowledge is misused to control and manipulate people into worshipping the Guru and enslaving their minds. And the sadhana -I actually have very good personal experiences with it. Regardless of that, the efficiency of AOL sadhana is routinely exaggerated, to the point where some claim it can heal even AIDS and what not. As a psychologist you should know that rarely are people cured by a technique. They are cured by relationships. And close, intimate relationships seem far apart in AOL teacher’s circles, where true intimacy is hindered by the dogma in the organisation, preventing you from giving voice to your doubts and dark sides. The happy cult gobbles you up.
You say: “This is certainly a time in history where effective help is needed. Right?” Well, Ann, why this intense sense of urgency? Have you ever wondered where it came from, and why? First, some facts: Fewer people (in percentage of the total population) have died violent deaths in the time from the end of world war 1 to now, than at any other time in history. A smaller percentage of people starve today, than at any other time. So, with fewer wars and violent deaths, and less starvation, than EVER before, where is the urgency? I am not telling you that we should not help people in need, of course we should. I am merely stating the fact that as a species, we humans are actually doing pretty good. But that image does not support RS’s claims that this is Kali Yuga, we are on the brink of extinction and something must be done NOW! RS puposefully instills this sense of urgency in people. Why? Why make people even more stressed than they already are (and this is certatinly what happens, so much stress in the teacher’s group)? Well, maybe to be able to control us better? It is classic cult indoctrination, even to the point of prophezising The End Of The World. 2012? Any other dates?
“It has been seen that without the Teachers, the techniques do not work the same, so the knowledge has been protected to be able to ensure the quality to help people.” No, Ann. That has not been seen. The reason why the knowledge is “protected” is a different one having to do with money. Now, I respect that, anyone has the right to make a good business. But when that same knowledge is abused to mislead and lobotomize people, then I see it as my duty to make it public. Just as the secret scriptures of Scientology, when publicized, showed the world that it was all a hoax.
“What is the bottom line agenda you want to achieve from all this?”
I want freedom of speech. I didn’t have it in AOL, and it was painful for me to have been cut off from a vital part of my intellect. I want the same for everyone, including people still in AOL. I want to expose authoritarian power structures that prey on the gullible minds of good people who want to do good.
“If you had Teacher Training, the principles it is meant to instill did not get in.”
Well, unfortunately they did, but luckily it wasn’t permanent. It took me 10 years to come to my senses, and start trusting my own judgement again, over my Guru’s words. As it turned out, he was not worthy of my trust. That was a lesson learned.
Dear Ann, you are a good person. Remember that, if suddenly the AOL going gets tough. And please, please, please read this book: The Guru Papers by Kramer and Alstad. It describes in acute detail the mechanisms of authoritarian power abuse so prevalent in religion, cults and abusive relationships.
All the best,