Putting Art of Living in the ‘Hot Seat’
The following comment was made recently by @freeagaiin:
i forgot to add, this blog page is akin to AOL being in the hot seat..see how they handle the hot seat…not very well obviously! Can they deal with criticism..could they open their minds to the possibility that they could handle things better – NOPE…
This is such a profound observation that it deserves a post of its own, especially in light of current events.
For those of you who are unaware, or rather are fortunate enough not to have undergone this exercise, during both DSN and TTC there is a process which all participants need to undertake known as the Hot Seat exercise. During the exercise, each participant in the group takes it in turns to “sit in the Hot Seat”, and whilst in the Hot Seat, all other members of the group take it in turns to criticize that person. The person isn’t allowed to say anything, to react in any way to this whatsoever, they just have to sit there and allow the criticism to come and accept it.
Many of us here have been through the Hot Seat exercise and were able to follow it as we were told to, accepting all the criticism and not defending ourselves in the process. And the following knowledge points taught by AoL actually came in handy here:
- Accept people and situations as they are
- Don’t be a football of other people’s opinions
- Avoid defensive consciousness
- Avoid victim consciousness
So right now, the dynamic created between this blog and AoL really is the same as AoL being put on the Hot Seat. Only with one key difference: AoL don’t seem to be taking this exercise very well at all!
Why can’t AoL themselves actually follow any of these points which they preach to their followers? Doesn’t this show that they lack any integrity whatsoever when they preach one thing and do the exact opposite instead? Isn’t this setting a very bad example to their followers, who surely must be confused by this action? And isn’t it hypocrtical of AoL to act in this way?
Why can’t they handle any amount of criticism levied at devotees, the organization or Sri Sri Ravi Shankar? Why are they instead being highly abusive towards those who have made these criticims against them, taking extreme measures such as singling out individuals whom they believe to be behind these blogs and not only defaming them and revealing details of personal medical history, which in itself is highly deplorable, but even going as far as to take legal action against these individuals?
Yesterday as I was reading the Wiki page on Denial I came across the conecpt of DARVO which I want to share with you here:
DARVO is an acronym to describe a common strategy of abusers: Deny the abuse, then Attack the victim for attempting to make them accountable for their offense, thereby Reversing Victim and Offender.
Psychologist Jennifer Freyd writes:
“…I have observed that actual abusers threaten, bully and make a nightmare for anyone who holds them accountable or asks them to change their abusive behavior. This attack, intended to chill and terrify, typically includes threats of law suits, overt and covert attacks on the whistle-blower’s credibility, and so on. The attack will often take the form of focusing on ridiculing the person who attempts to hold the offender accountable. […] [T]he offender rapidly creates the impression that the abuser is the wronged one, while the victim or concerned observer is the offender. Figure and ground are completely reversed. […] The offender is on the offense and the person attempting to hold the offender accountable is put on the defense.”
Does this in any way sound familiar? I will state outright that this is EXACTLY what Art of Living are doing here. Of all that we have experienced between us and shared on these blogs, the one thing which keeps coming up over and over again is the culture of abuse which is prevalent throughout AoL. And here we have AoL denying these abuses, attacking us for trying to make AoL accountable for these offenses, and by their actions in both Swami Sadyojatha’s attacks and the latest law suit, trying to make themselves look like the victims and us look like the offenders.
Somehow, in AoL it seems that in actual fact spirituality and abusiveness are the things that have been reversed. The more abusive someone is, the more spiritual they are believed to be. And we have seen som much evidence from our experiences with AoL and also from the reactions of AoL followers on this blog.
One has to wonder then, given all these things, is AoL really a spiritual organization if they cannot handle criticism, cannot follow their own knowledge points, and outright attack and try to silence anyone who speaks out against them? Or are they something else far more sinister?