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Leaving the Cult

Breaking out of ego, breaking away from all the stories and chatter that ego has insisted is truth can be compared to leaving a cult or an abusive family dynamic. There exists a tension between the part of you that knows what is right and good for you and your higher truth, and another part - the egoic mind - that says it is very dangerous to think for yourself, to disbelieve the fear, or to say no and not do what everyone else is doing. When we challenge an ego pattern, our nervous system is flooded with anxiety and doubt as you face the tension between love and ego. Because ego will tell you love is dangerous. When we attempt to leave an oppressive situation, love within says I am entitled to live without fear, without shame, without aggression, and without violence. Ego says you will not survive without these people telling you what is right and wrong, good and bad. You will screw it up. You are not strong enough, wise enough, good enough. It is the tribe, the group, the leader, that keeps you alive. You are not able to live if you do not have their approval and their support. You cannot survive their rejection. If you walk away, you will be alone forever. If you say no, you will be alone forever.” And you can feel the part of you believing the tribal story and legacy even though a deeper part, and an increasingly vocal part of you has recently been saying something doesn’t feel quite right. Shouldn’t love feel different? Better? Easier?”

Often we go back to the cult, the family, the partner, after we have walked away once, twice, three times. While away, we may crave validation from the family or cult leader. The feeling of aloneness is too intolerable. Upon return you soon remember, wow, this actually hurts. When we are back in we feel the rage and remember why we left. We remember - this isn’t love. We know this. Why are we here again? And then you make another exit, and you take a little longer trek away from the tribe, finding yourself a little more, getting a little more clarity, but most likely missing your family/partner/cult leader, even though they hurt you, betrayed you, told you lies about yourself, told you you weren’t good enough, that you were a disappointment, that there is something wrong with you. And in our frailer moments we might think But they are still familiar, I know them. Better the devil you know, right?

When you finally accept that you are entitled to, and want to live by, a different reality than the tribe, there's elation and pride. Wow! Freedom! I did it! We take big, genuine steps away, we detach, we create space and distance. But then the grief surfaces. Letting go, over and over, of the old crippling beliefs, the limitations, the abuse; beliefs of what you thought made sense, was right and trustworthy. Letting go of what you thought love was. What you were taught love was. Sometimes this feels like a grief that will never end.

And then the journey of peeling back the reality instilled upon you, installed within you, by the abusive family/cult/partner, that’s just as confronting. All those things I thought were true??! And going about the arduous task of finding who you really are and then testing and creating your own reality. Phew! Hard work. Finding out what your reality is underneath the stories you inherited; the beliefs you have been carrying around. You find out what it is that works for you, suits you, expresses you.

In letting go of our pain infrastructure, our ego, we are going into all parts of our beings that tell us we are alone, always alone and need the fear and shame and rage to survive. We are seeing all parts within that say that we are not good enough on our own, that we are not strong enough, worthy enough, and smart enough to know what we are doing. Ego says you will not survive without the fear and shame and rage to protect you. You will be too vulnerable, exposed. You will die without your core beliefs and your identities and personalities to shield you. Ego says you will crumble under the weight of your isolation when you don’t have it to tell you how to fix it, fight it, or flee from it. Ego tells us that you will die if you don’t believe in the threat of rejection, and the devastation of betrayal. But, interestingly enough, when we continue to zoom out, we discover that we don’t die. Sometimes it can feel like it. But we don’t. Instead, we find life. We find wisdom. We find something else flowing underneath all the fear. There is so much life beneath all of that pain, and only by not believing it can we begin to see it. Sometimes we access it gradually, often not easily. But it is there. And then we get a peak at the light. The expanse. The liberation. And now there is no turning back.


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