The picture above sums up how I’m feeling right now.
Here’s why: I’ve just left a steady paycheck and jumped into the world of self-employment. That in itself isn’t the issue—in fact, I’m loving it. No problems there.
The issue is this: A few days ago I spent some time away from home, in a lovely B&B in the local artist community of Mount Dora. I went by myself, to reflect on my life and relax before jumping into my full-time writing.
One of the things I wanted to accomplish while I was there was to flesh out a business plan. As I sat down to write, it all came flooding back: Strategy, Plan, Program, Vital Targets, Operational Targets, blah blah blah… all the administrative stuff I learned when I was in management in the sea org. It’s all part of l. ron hubbard’s administrative “technology”, or admin tech: There is a precise way to get anything done, and it involves writing strategies, plans, and programs.
Admin tech is different from “tech” tech, meaning the stuff that you do in scientology to move a person up the levels to higher spiritual states (barf). But it’s taught the exact same way and you have to learn it perfectly, without questioning it. The whole purpose of learning admin tech is so you can do your job more efficiently and get more people into scientology.
The problem isn’t with the admin tech. Some of it is actually pretty workable, and it’s not like there’s no information anywhere else in the world on how to write a plan or a program to get something done! The problem is this: If I write a program using what I’ve learned when in a cult, does that mean I’m going to fall back into the abyss?
Frankly, it scares the crap out of me. I was talking to Tom this morning about it. “What if, by writing this program, I start thinking more in scientology terms again?” He didn’t quite understand what I was talking about, thank goodness, but it freaked me out. I mean, I started remembering l ron hubbard quotes while I was in the shower, MY SACRED THOUGHT PLACE!!! That’s NOT okay with me, man!!!!
I mean, I thought I was completely free of that mindset.
Then I remembered something that I read in a book called “Cults in our Midst” by Margaret Thaler Singer, a renowned psychologist and mind control expert. She wrote about things that happen when a person leaves a cult, including having to deal with the cognitive inefficiencies that result from mind control:
“Cult practices can cause members’ mental skills to falter and become inefficient. Since all cult members learn that reflective thought gets them in trouble, it’s no wonder that they emerge with some mental constrictions. Many ex-members experience difficulty concentrating, an inability to focus and maintain attention, and impaired memory, especially short-term memory. It is reassuring for them to know that these aftereffects will pass.”
Well, of course! I experienced ALL of this over the past few years, particularly the inability to focus and impaired short-term memory. More importantly, as the years have passed, these inefficiencies have become less and less apparent. In fact, this past week I read two books from start to finish—something I hadn’t been able to do in years!
I mean, I’m a writer, for God’s sake, and I’ve always LOVED to read. I was reading novels when I was four years old. But when I got out of scientology, I’d pick up a book and start reading, only to put it down after a few paragraphs and turn on the TV. It broke my heart to see my friends and family members talking about the last book they read, and knowing that I wouldn’t be able to get through it. It made me so frustrated and so angry with myself.
Now, after 12 years out of Scientology, that joy is finally back. I’m reading books again, and loving every minute of it.
So maybe I don’t have to worry so much about falling back into the abyss. Maybe just the act of thinking about this and writing it here is proof that I’m out of that mindset. I mean, if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have the ability to reflect on it, right?
Well, that’s a relief.