TTC -Ending Up Soulless
The Art of Living teacher training course (TTC). A huge leap in one’s spiritual growth or ending up hollow and empty – Soulless.
Those of us who went to TTC will never forget the experience. Having done all the preparatory steps to be accepted, help organizing courses, watching the Ashtavakra knowledge series, Bhakti sutras and much more. Then finding out one is accepted to TTC and having this feeling of “the master thinks I am worthy”.
There is great anticipation of going on this great adventure, to be infused with knowledge and become a custodian of the Prampara (the holy traditions of teachers). To be able to help the unfortunate ones.
All of this should have raised red flags. By implementing the requirements to be accepted to TTC the AOL corporation is able to rake in lots of funds (revenue) by selling all their DVD’s and knowledge books, but at this point one is naïve and is too excited and starts to feel special.
Indeed an experience not to be forgotten. AOL points out that expectations reduce joy, well it sure did and many others can testify to this. It is nothing more than a mixture of a brainwash session and marketing seminar. And the techniques used are very similar to those used in breaking down prisoners or criminals in interrogations.
One is constantly sleeping at irregular hours, thus sleep deprivation sets in. A classical technique used to keep people off balance and on edge, but we willingly did it because it was all for our own good or so we were led to believe. Since the master had designed the program and was watching over us it could do us no harm right. Wrong, sleep deprivation causes one to become dissociated with reality, bad for the devotee good for the master and what is to come.
Sleep deprivation can have serious effects on your health in the form of physical and mental impairments. Inadequate rest impairs our ability to think, handle stress, maintain a healthy immune system and moderate our emotions.
The harassing started soon in the course, people were told to share their feelings and traumas and were criticized and belittled in front of the whole group, worse yet students in the group were asked to participate as well. This showed the TTC trainer who would become blind followers, who would do as they were told to do.
Waking up in the morning not knowing what to expect. The TTC trainer to walk in, they would walk with a smile, so you relax and then out of nowhere they go into this furious anger spell and everyone just stresses out wondering what did we do wrong. It kept everyone on edge and wondering what to expect or who is next. You start to make internal strategies of what to do to please the TTC trainer in order not to receive all this vile special attention.
This constant stressful oscillation between high and lows breaks down one’s self esteem and confidence. Soon you lost it, your mind is mush but you think or are led to believe that you are finally not in your head anymore you are not with your small mind. What truly had happened is that now you are at the mercy of the TTC trainer just as the program is designed for.
One is also constantly reminded to give your 100 percent, participate fully or fail. And along the way you keep remembering the sentence “being accepted on TTC and going through the program does not mean one automatically becomes a teacher” in other words you might not get THE TAPE. This creates another internal trap, very subtle but very effective.
I always wondered why they mention this, were there any lawsuits ???
There are processes (as they were called) which one needs to do and participate in (giving your 100%). If you felt uncomfortable or did not want to do them you were placed in front of the group and verbally dissected and criticized, and then told well it is always your own decision not to participate and the same sentence they tell you maybe you’re not ready to receive the masters grace or to become his exponent in the form of a teacher.
This creates an internal dilemma between your own principles and values and those of the master or TTC trainer. One has to make a choice. So slowly you lose sense of yourself with all the guru stories and mood making knowledge (very superficial) you begin to form this new reality in your mind. The brainwash is starting to take hold.
The knowledge aspect presented along the way is always in light of how wonderful and giving the master is and how we should be so indebted to him. Not much time given to the actual nuts and bolts, pranayama, bastrika etc. For this you get a manual which will explain everything.
But you are drilled on the format to give intro talks what to say and how to say it. Sales techniques really I would call it marketing 101. When people asked what do we say when they ask about the money (the wrong question to ask) we were told stick to the script, and just have this attitude that they are paying for a course and what they are getting is so much more valuable than the few dollars they are spending. See it as an transaction like buying something in a store, they pay for something and get a service or a product. It is none of their concern where the money goes to, because they got some thing in return.
I like to reword it as follows…Keep the focus on the product and the need of the person you are selling it too.
Looking back it is interesting and I have heard this observation from many that it all seemed like a game to the TTC trainers, they would lash out their frustrations on the group at their will. They would be aggravated and just dump it on the group so they could actually feel better at our expense. Some of them gave up their dreams to be with the master and found out what a big joke it all is and became bitter about it. And as they say……. flows down stream.
And then the moment of truth as the course is ending (TTC II now there is just one TTC) you get to hear if you’re going home with the TAPE. Your are so far gone at this point that the tape has become the magical key to happiness. The key that will make you become one of us, a teacher, who will always have the master watching over you and who will protect you at all times.
Of course not everyone got the tape. Those that did not were devastated, they thought that the master did not think they were worthy (being fully brainwashed at this stage). Little did they know that it was at the discretion of the TTC trainer to make them a teacher or not (more games). Now why would you not make someone a teacher:
A. The person still has so much ego (actually still thinks for him or her self), read does not believe it all thus will become a pain along the way.
B. They were fairly sure that the person would repeat TTC thus you can charge them twice.
C. They were not strong (organizers), fluent in the material (intro talks) and charismatic enough to get people to sign up for courses. Read could not sell and thus of no use.
Of course these reasons were not given to those who did not get the tape. What was said was you still need to grow some more be with the knowledge and let sink in deeper ask the guru for guidance. Get some more experience with organizing and help the teachers in your area. This will get you ready to fully receive the knowledge and grace of the master. And they would go and do all that was asked and retake TTC.
A big win –win for the AOL company.
A highlight of TTC is you get to meet very nice people, the downside is you see them change including yourself in a very short time. And in the end it becomes a road back to recovering yourself who you were before you started this seemingly wonderful adventure.
So buyer (and parents) be aware, there is no warning label (like those on dangerous materials), consider this post and this blog to be it.
The little giant has awakened.