This posting makes broad reference to psychological issues in the Bk's in general and ADHD specifically. This is something I have been wanting to bring up on this forum for some time. It is a delicate issue in that no one ever wants the label ADHD or dysfunctional or disordered or psychologically challenged etc etc. Instead we consider ourselves normal, but with problems or difficulties. And then we tend to externalise these as health, financial, social or stress related etc etc. But my experience is that 5 years after leaving Gyan one of the most defining moments in my life was finding out that I am ADHD. No doubt this content will be interpreted in a variety of ways, so I am putting on my seat belt and hanging on ...
I brought this subject up on xbkchat but just haven't had the time to put anything together about the subject for BKs. And the reason I want to is because I have become aware of just how many BKs/ex-BKs are also ADHD. But they don't know it. It is my feeling that if they were also to understand it they would enjoy the same benefits that I have.
More so I think this explanation will also help in understanding others who are having difficulty after leaving the BKs. Whilst you might not find this information directly applicable to you, it may help to explain others who are having trouble moving on.
Before I continue I would like to dispel 4 popular errors of concept about ADHD:
- 1) ADHD is not a conduct disorder. It is too common, even amongst professionals, to think that a child behaves badly because they are ADHD. Children behave badly because they are at odds with their parents and environment. ADHD is not a prerequisite for this type of scenario.
2) There is no such thing as ADHD specific behaviours. It is impossible to say that because a person displays a certain type of behaviour that they are ADHD. Ultimately ADHD is a temperament, a mind set, a particular map of the world and life. It has nothing to do with being angry or destructive or whatever negative behaviour people are trying to explain.
3) ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is simply a label. In itself it is very distracting as it distorts the true picture of what we are really talking about - although I will run with the label keep in mind "ADHD" is a term invented by white coated Americans with horn rimmed glasses funded by big pharmaceuticals in the 1940's - and a lot has changed in our understanding and perception since then.
4) ADHD is often clouded by the psychological consequences of a dysfunctional environment, such as depression, anger, conduct disorders, anti social behaviour or social ineptitude. But keep in mind that none of these dysfunctions are innate or intrinsic to ADHD. Unrecognised ADHD can lead to dysfunctional environments and therein lay the concept of 'disorder'.
"The subject of psychological issues affecting BKs is quite broad. At the very least the psychology of dysfunction needs to be considered given that every person who becomes a BK is at their 'most impure', i.e.: they are having 'problems' or have 'issues', i.e.: they are discontent. Whilst a person may not have any neurobiological basis to their emotional or personality issues, simply coming from dysfunctional or unhappy environments will have a disordering effect on a persons psychology, even if temporarily.
A disordering effect results in what is unfortunately referred to as a psychological disorder. The term itself is enough to send most people into denial - who wants to be identified as having a disorder? No, I am just unhappy because…..... I am a victim? Well, over many years I've seen many people become enthusiastic BKs, and none of them became BKs because they were happy. Yes, we aspire to the dharna and the environment of respect and certain values like purity etc. But realistically this is only because they are the solution to our misery. And misery is, denial aside, the product of psychological disorder. (Or call it dysfunction - or, to coin the BKs, "impurity").
So what is the definition of disorder? In simple terms it is when a person does not fit with the contemporary definition of normal. By normal I mean typical, or most common, or even the lowest common denominator. So being normal may not be the best thing!
It may come as a surprise to discover that most people are actually quite okay. They have their ups and downs but basically life is satisfactory at least. Research has shown that about 2/3 rd's of parents instinctively 'get it right'. The other 1/3 rd were our parents! Good parenting is the basis of a normal life which is why most people have a reasonable time of it.
However, as BKs were taught and believed that the whole world is one of misery and that we were the shining stars that would take them all away from this. (Funny how they resisted, is not it?) But really we have interpreted the world from the perspective of our own unhappiness and so we see the whole world as unhappy. Our unhappy (negative/angry/depressed/etc) energy has drawn us to similar people, we base our views on negative media, and we have come to what is effectively a disordered world view.
So the net effect is that the BK institution / family is packed to the rafters with disordered individuals. This cannot be ignored or denied with an argument based on a simplified and reductionist theory that puts it all down to sanskars being pure and impure. Yes, human beings are surprisingly predictable because we all function to a pattern but science would argue that unhappiness and dysfunction are the result of more complex causes than simply sanskars.
The field of psychology studies normal people. From this research what is not normal i.e.: different, begins to become apparent. This difference may be psychological, that is, it is in the way a person thinks, or it may be neurobiological, meaning it has it's basis in the brain, in which case it is considered psychiatric. Examples of psychiatric conditions include genetic conditions such as schizophrenia, temporary conditions such as psychosis brought on by drug abuse or oxygen deprivation (as experienced by mountain climbers) or age related such as Alzheimer's.
Psychiatric disorders are when brain chemistry is non-typical. Psychological problems are the result of the disordering effect of a dysfunctional upbringing, verbal or sexual abuse or one of a range of other 'environmental insults'. And worst case scenarios are when psychiatric disorders lead to dysfunctional environments that add psychological disorders to the psychiatric ones.
A significant effort has been made to research and understand how humans think and how they function psychologically. And we have come a long way since Sigmund Freud started it all over 100 years ago. There is now a vast body of knowledge that is growing exponentially, most notably since the mapping of the human genome and the first blueprint of a human being was created.
As the BKs effectively offer a solution to a persons psychological problems such as anger, greed, attachment, sorrow (depression) etc these issues need to be understood from the perspective of fact. In the real world a person must do a 6 year degree in psychology, or a 10 year degree in psychiatry, before they can offer any kind of consultation. The BK's consider psychology an inferior area of knowledge to Gyan. This is genuinely putting some people at risk.
(Just a note: There are some BKs who pass as psychologists and support the BK philosophy. The most famous of them was Heidi Fitkau. If you remember, she was last seen on an island with a small group of people attempting a group suicide).
Unfortunately few people see the benefit of consulting a qualified psychologist to rationalise their dysfunction (unhappiness or discontent) and would prefer to access some form of self help and work it out themselves. People are actively seeking a solution to their discontent but are reluctant to consider an underlying psychological factor. This seems to be largely due to a general lack of knowledge about things psychological, if not fear and contempt. Subsequently, someone who does not understand their ADHD will arrive at a BK centre seeking 'the answer' and get a woefully reductionist theory about sanskars that is pleasing in its simplicity.
However this leads me to the critical issue of this discussion: for someone who is ADHD it is very easy to mistakenly accept the BK philosophy as an explanation for their ADHD. This is mainly because ADHD is by default a relatively polarised personality and emotional state, sometimes high function, sometimes dysfunctional and sometimes unpredictable. With ADHD there is a strong tendency towards both sides of the emotional spectrum, for example compassion and anger.
This fits too easily with the concept of pure and impure sanskars and the burden of karma at the end of the cycle. ADHD people who are undiagnosed will generally be confused, unhappy and at odds with the world, especially in their social dealings. The idea of being a deity soul that was once the highest of all 'explains' their sense of alienation whilst also satisfying the inner feeling that ' I am better than this, better than the world sees me'.
The motivation to live the philosophy comes from, in part, the fact that ADHD is genetic and inherited and therefore one or other parent is also undiagnosed - which means that the family is often going to be dysfunctional as a result. To grow up in a dysfunctional environment is an 'environmental insult' that will have definitive effects on a persons psychological make up. To then find both an explanation that fits ones ADHD, and their dysfunction, and the promise of a high function life as well as heaven and earth is very appealing. And as it is human nature to believe whatever one needs to in order to survive, "faith" becomes more than viable.
I would like to mention that people who are ADHD and have come from dysfunctional backgrounds still have very high function capacities. ADHD people are unusually intelligent, creative and lateral thinkers, have original ideas, are very practical and can be very focussed. Famous people who are/were ADHD include Albert Einstein (a genius who was also a control freak ), Richard Branson (a famous English billionaire who is dyslexic and left school at 15 and has lead a very risk based life ), Thomas Edison (the great inventor), Isaac Newton (who was obsessive compulsive but gave us the modern theory of light and gravity), and Leonardo Da Vinci. So do not assume that a person with a 'disorder' is either 'retarded' or easily picked. ADHD adults especially have learned compensatory behaviours for their 'disorder' and therefore it can be very difficult to pick as a result.
As an ADHD person I find it relatively easy to observe in others now - ADHD is a particular temperament with a sublimely different subconscious pattern - it is a different way of thinking with a different focus, and it is universal to those who are ADHD. My experience tells me that we (ADHDers) are very much alike, and I analogise ADHD as a subculture.
From my personal experience I have also come to tell people that you are only ADHD when you don't know it. An ADHD person is only 'disordered' because they do not have an explanation for themselves and because they try to apply other explanations that seem relevant to everyone else. Thus, when the explanation of ADHD is understood one can adjust and overcome the disordering effect. This has certainly been the case for me. I am in a more natural and functional state than I have ever been in my life just two years after discovering my ADHD. I understand why I felt angry, frustrated, at odds - why I felt the way I did. I understood why I was impulsive, restless and couldn't settle, why socialising is not 'natural' to me. I've been able to make plans, settle and commit, and reap the benefits of that. I understand why I feel a constant need to be engaged and active and have been able to keep myself constructively involved rather than frustrated and wanting to destroy instead. My world has changed for the better in a major way.
Okay, the neuroscience and psychology of ADHD gets quite complex - as science is empirically based it is hard to make statements about what causes what in the brain, however after much research I can offer something of an explanation:
ADHD has a neurobiological basis with consequent psychological elements. It is considered by some to be a psychiatric disorder. There is a very significant pressure to maintain this view as profits to Pharmaceutical companies is in the multi billions of dollars per year. (Americans consume several million TONS of Ritalin per year).
There is a very strong argument against this perspective held by people who do not profit from ADHD as a disorder. Recent research has shown that 95 % of children prescribed Ritalin or Dexamphetamine reacted negatively to the drugs and were recognised as misdiagnosed. In my books, this effectively discredits the 'experts' as they cannot distinguish between conduct disorders and ADHD.
The counter argument to the research funded by big pharmaceuticals is that ADHD is a neurobiological difference with an evolutionary purpose. It has a disordering effect only because that evolutionary purpose is no longer necessary, and because of social ignorance and subsequent negative reactions. ( re: http://www.thomhartmann.com ).
Neuro biologically it is agreed by all parties that the basis of "ADHD" is a difference in dopamine levels. This is a significant neurotransmitter in the brain and is central to human experience. It is central to our feeling of well being. Human behaviour is greatly influenced by our need to feel well and subconsciously we behave in ways that stimulate dopamine.
For example, it is a typical behaviour for a person to seek to belong to the group because that is how we, as individuals and as a species, survive. As survival is the foremost purpose in life the 'reward centre' (an element of brain function) will release dopamine when the individual is successful in integrating into the group. This gives the individual a feeling of well being as a reward and so humans develop the habit of forming groups and trying to belong.
Whilst humans live for a dopamine 'high', there is always a natural level of dopamine and this is a major factor in a persons day to day feeling of well being. Whilst dopamine is part of every humans experience, there is a difference with ADHD - the natural level of dopamine is lower and therefore the chemical balance of the brain is slightly different. The result of this is a subtle difference in their world view.
Sociologists describe reality - how we see the world - as a social construction. Reality is something we construct based on the chemical balance of the brain. For example, when a person is depressed or happy, they will have shifted between two different constructions - or realities. People can consume chemicals to change the balance of their brain and subsequently shift realities. This is the purpose of anti depressants (which effect serotonin levels). Other chemicals such as opiates (like heroin) alter the chemical balance of the brain effectively changing the users reality. As our reality changes, so does our experience.
Every person has a marginal difference in their brains chemical bias and thus every person has a sublimely different sense of reality and experience of life. Whilst there may be similarities, there will always be a difference. Add to this a persons environmental experience (family, culture etc) and we find ourselves in a world of individuals associated by similarity of constructed realities.
With ADHD the chemical balance is biased away from dopamine with a somewhat adrenal effect. Therefore there will be a subliminal difference in the reality and experience of those who are ADHD to those who are not i.e.: the 'normal' people. This difference generally leads to a disordering effect as these two collective realities are prone to collide.
Okay, here I will attempt to describe the effect of this chemical difference by attributes:
High energy levels: ADHD people are capable of a high work rate, have high endurance levels and don't always need much sleep. (Ironically, ADHD children are very heavy sleepers, possibly because they are so active during the day).
This 'hyperactivity' aspect of ADHD has its downside - one is easily bored, restless and distracted - thus we have 'attention deficit'. In children this aspect creates a lot of chaos and is the main reason they are medicated (they cannot focus in a classroom). In adults impulse controls are more developed but still the restlessness and boredom feeds feelings of discontentment and frustration. (My life experience was one of almost perpetual feelings of frustration, which meant that it was very easy for me to get impatient or angry).
Whilst the aspect of 'easily distracted' is one of the hallmarks of ADHD there is a substantial twist to this - ADHD people have a significant ability to concentrate, known as 'hyper focus'. Given the black and white nature of ADHD this means that ADHD people are generally either distracted or focussed.
Hyper focus: this also has an upside and a downside. Its great if one wants to meditate. I had good meditation for most of my BK life. But when I wasn't deliberately focussing by way of meditation, trying to keep a grip on my thoughts was difficult to say the least. It required supreme effort to remain focussed and to not be distracted. Whilst it is readily claimed that this is applicable to any BK, I would suggest that for ADHD people the effort is significantly greater.
Task oriented: One of the main methods for overcoming a bored and distracted mind is to engage in a task. This indicates one of the more significant differences between ADHD and 'normal' people - that ADHD people are generally task oriented whilst others are typically group/socially oriented. ADHD people are 'doers' as an expression of their higher energy levels and love tasks because it is productive and, significantly albeit unconsciously, because it creates structure and structure provides order.
Order is the basis of functionality. Consequently the potential and psychological resources of ADHD are most effectively used when engaged in a task. The nature of ADHD actually provides a greater degree of potential for achievement, however, if that potential is underutilised it will be expressed in other ways. This may lead to dysfunction and compensatory behaviours like alcohol and drugs and may also express itself as aggression and violence.
High practical intelligence: one important thing that I discovered whilst studying psychology is that intelligence is not a single thing, but that there are at least seven basic intelligences. Verbal intelligence is what is historically considered as intelligence, but then there is practical intelligence, spatial intelligence, musical intelligence, social intelligence etc. ADHD people generally display a high level of practical intelligence. This is aligned with being task oriented.
Having high practical intelligence also has an upside and downside. Whilst it enables the effective accomplishment of any task it also leads to a feeling of "why is everyone else so stupid / incapable / useless? " People forget that because they can do something doesn't mean that everyone else can or that they are less because of it. Everyone has their own area of specialty. To have a naturally high level of practical intelligence can lead to impatience and intolerance of other people who are not - which is almost everybody else. Subsequently ADHD are notoriously critical if not downright cynical. I think that this is part of the reason ADHD people may appear arrogant.
Interestingly it seems that many ADHD people generally dislike reading. This may be because of one of the more recognised symptoms of ADHD - difficulty if not contempt for any detail that is considered unnecessary. This is one of the principle causes of difficulty for ADHD children - intelligent and quick witted, they may feel that detail (letters on a page) is tedious and frustrating and conclude it pointless. (Kerry Packer - whom I have no doubt was ADHD - was Australia's richest man when he died. He could barely read and write. Richard Branson is not much different). However, generally they have no problem reading a book that they perceive as genuinely useful. (Note: there is a significant correlation between ADHD and Dyslexia).
Lateral thinkers: as mentioned earlier, Albert Einstein was ADHD. He never attended university. He was regularly thrown out of class in school. Yet he had a genius for thinking differently. As the ADHD brain IS different, this is not surprising.
Lateral thinking develops because there is a relationship between intelligence and survival. ADHD children are generally excluded from the group simply because they are different. As mentioned earlier, it is a primal, biological function to belong to the group as a principle dimension of human survival. Subsequently there is a conflict that has to be resolved - a basic process of survival may not be available to an ADHD child due to this exclusion. The attempt to overcome this requires thought, analysis, rationalising - all the qualities of higher intelligence that are typical of ADHD. (It may also be why ADHD people are readily described as 'up in their heads').
Highly creative: I cannot explain this but possibly it is a product of lateral thinking and practicality, but ADHD people are very creative. So much so that I would not consider someone ADHD if they did not display this trait. This creativity may be expressed in the form of visual or performing arts, inventiveness, originality or problem solving. Plus any other form of creativity you can mention - including crime! As socially dysfunctional or messed up as they may be, they will this creative ability.
High risk: ADHD (males especially) are noted risk takers. This risk may be in the form of extreme sports or pastimes, thrill seeking generally (how I survived my teens I have absolutely no idea - although not a lot has changed as I think about it), drug taking, crime, risky sex - and lots of it, etc.
This tendency to take chances also leads to some becoming very successful in business. According to Fortune 500 magazine ADHD people are 300% more likely to have their own business. A very good autobiography of ADHD is Richard Branson's autobiography "Losing my Virginity". If you want a good example of high function ADHD then this is essential reading.
Social aspects: Rejected by the group because they are different and simultaneously rejecting the group because of the pain of lifelong rejection a 'cycle of rejection' develops. Always feeling on the outside, the square peg in a round hole, creates its own unique impact on our psychology. The social ramifications of ADHD are significant and I think one of the easiest aspects to identify with on an experiential level for people wanting to understand if they are ADHD or not.
As I understand it, it works like this: as children reach about 3 years old they begin to develop theory of mind. Theory of mind is an understanding that other people think differently and an assessment of what they may be thinking, especially as a result of what one may do or say. Importantly, theory of mind is developed in the peer group. Research has also shown that the earlier a child develops theory of mind the more socially competent and successful the child will be as an adult. However, an ADHD child is excluded from the peer group, they think differently anyway, and the basis of experience is different also - 'adrenalin' vs. dopamine. So theory of mind develops later and differently to most children.
Importantly, with theory of mind a child develops a sense of 'code' - the invisible and intuitively understood code that enables successful social interaction. This struggle for this invisible social code that is apparently understood by everyone else has a real impact on personality. As a result ADHD adults may be very effective in their tasks whilst being rather hopeless socially. Always second guessing the code, ADHD people easily say the wrong thing at the wrong time, say things that don't make sense to anyone else, and act or behave inappropriately to the social setting or climate. As ADHD people generally express themselves differently anyway, add to this the probability of being raised in dysfunctional settings, then it is easy to see why social environments are not an ADHD persons favourite place to be.
However as humans are social creatures and live in a social world the inescapable pressure is to be socially successful or at least competent. ADHD people have a dual problem, they are bad at it and ultimately reluctant anyway. The only resolution is to analyse social behaviour in order to 'crack the code' and then to discipline oneself to make it work. Thus ADHD people can often have the appearance of a contrived persona . And as it is so hard to come by this code they tend to entrench themselves in it (as they understand it) and, ironically, tend to be intolerant of people who don't follow it. All the aforementioned feeds into the general perception of ADHD people as being arrogant, insensitive, abrupt, opinionated, rigid and aggressive. ADHD people would just describe themselves as honest and straightforward. Which is a problem because ADHD people are hyperactive and may talk a lot or dominate a situation.
All of this is exacerbated by insecurity in social life which can create anxiety. Whilst an ADHD person has very high levels of competence in any task they choose to take on, are intelligent, curious and often well informed, they may become insecure in social environments and this leads to discomfort or even anxiety - which is related to lower levels of dopamine in the first place.
This is where the difference between male and female ADHD may become more obvious. Historically, if not biologically, there is a much greater drive to socialise in women than men. Women have been historically more dependent on social skills than men in order to survive. Thus social alienation has a deeper effect on women and therefore higher levels of anxiety may arise. These social interactions are not limited to purely social settings and would also include the workplace etc. This does not mean that men do not suffer anxiety in social settings, but ADHD women that I know would rather do anything than socialise - banal conversation is tedious and the 'group thing' is boring. And anxiety is just plain unpleasant.
This leads us to a significant reason an ADHD person will be attracted to the BK life and probably do very well at least for some time, especially in service. With mariadas, Shrimat and constant reminders in the form of Murli and class, the 'code' becomes crystal clear. What is appropriate, right, correct and proper is spelled out to the letter, and to everyone else who is a BK. How to think, what to think, how to speak, what to say, appropriate behaviours and actions, and then the 'unlimited task' of service. This is going to appeal to at least some ADHD people who will then become BKs. Once the code is made clear then the confusion of social dilemmas and self-doubt is reduced to the point that, significantly, the ADHD person is able to operate in their high function state. This fits with their new and exciting sense of identity - a deity soul. This can make them very successful in service and within the BK group. Thus a significant proportion of BK 'Seniors' are ADHD.
Additionally, because of the intense nature of ADHD, ADHD people sway towards fundamentalism. Their all or nothing nature means that they will be very serious about being a BK and be hyper sensitive to any mistake they may make. And because they are creative, capable, fearless and adventurous they are the ones more likely to go to far flung places and start service.
It is also interesting to compare this to what fields of employment ADHD people are drawn to. Research shows that ADHD people are most inclined to sales, training, design and the military. Briefly, my Father, being ADHD, was socially incompetent, he verbally abused his family, had no friends even amongst his brothers and sisters. Yet he was so successful as a salesman it actually defies description. In short, in a business environment the code is clear, you don't need to second guess. Social codes are too abstract. So as soon as he got the code he hit his high function zone and did very well. The military is something similar - a heavily coded and structured environment that facilitates the adrenal and aggressive nature of ADHD.
This relates to the order aspect of ADHD. Order is the ultimate state that all species aspire to, and that nature 'seeks' always because order is the peak state of survival. Chaos is a threat because that is when we or nature become vulnerable. Order provides predictability, a possibility to have confidence in the future. ADHD people are almost notorious for their addiction to order, and are often 'clean freaks' as a result. When a person is described as 'disordered' as in ADHD it must seem paradoxical that ADHD people are so ordered. But it could be simply because ADHD is not a disorder in the sense that there is plainly something wrong with someone - but that it is simply a difference that has a disordering effect because ADHD people do not fit with the majority. If the majority of people were ADHD and the remainder not, who would be labelled disordered then?
Providers: The nature of ADHD people to provide is also a strong one. This could well be where the innate drive for service comes from. I know many ADHD people and not a single one is dependent on other people to put food on the table. Quite the opposite. Socially insecure, insecure as a result of the self doubt that stems from being a social failure, ADHD people often form bad relationships. Women are attracted to men for sometimes bizarre but common reasons - one being the 'dangerous' nature of a man. Maybe because it is exciting, maybe because 'dangerous men' also offer an appearance of strength. But it may also be linked to primal instinct - dangerous men are the hunters, the ones who in historical times tracked down and killed the food, often at great personal risk. There is subconscious and primal link between men being dangerous and there being food on the table!
The 'hunter/farmer' theory is gaining credibility scientifically. According to this theory ADHD people are the hunters, whilst the normal/majority of people are the farmers. Fearless, lateral thinkers, highly practical and aggressive they bring the meat back to the cave/village. It fits with the accepted nature of ADHD and my experience of duality - anger and compassion, contempt and service, cynicism and charity. It doesn't fit with idea that we are descended from deities, but it certainly fits with evolutionary psychology. Its just that now the world doesn't need hunters. So this group, who genetic purpose is suddenly (in evolutionary terms) no longer required are displaced and disconnected. But certainly I had the question 'why do I care when I don't like them nor them me?' I couldn't reconcile my drive to help, to serve, to make the world a better place against the contempt I felt or angst that I faced.
Up til now I've talked about ADHD people with a potential to get their act together and reach high function. There are many, many who don't. Their upbringing has been so chaotic, they have been abused psychologically, physically, or sexually, they are exposed to alcoholism and drug addiction and ultimately their life is a tragedy. Others are blessed with intelligent and competent parents who have embodied values that allow the ADHD child to be high function, even if different. Either way, I believe social success will always be difficult. They will rely on intellectual perceptions of social reality rather than be able to feel it the way dopamine allows.
My experience as an ADHD BK was intense. I was drawn to the clarity provided by mariadas and Shrimat, I was attracted to the respect that I got from the Family, I had a purpose - a task, - and I could make a difference. I went at it as hard as I could, because that is my ADHD nature. Within a year of being a BK I had started major service.
However, emotionally I was never far from frustration. It would undermine my sense of spiritual growth again and again. Impatience and intolerance took most of my energy to deal with. In terms of personal effort it was a case of constant intense effort or face disaster. I couldn't relax for a second or my hyperactive mind could launch in any direction. Overall, it was very, very hard for little joy. I was driven by the values and the task. With regard to celibacy, adrenalin is virtually an aphrodisiac. ADHD people are very highly sexed. To be ADHD and celibate takes an effort you cannot imagine.
So whilst I was given a code and a purpose, the adrenal nature of ADHD is totally at odds with being a BK. But I did it, with great effort I lived the BK life and created very successful service. But in the end I just couldn't do it any more. I was exhausted. But where to from there? Now what?
The problems I faced when leaving the BK's included the loss of code. I no longer had a code for myself or the new social reality I lived in. I no longer had an explanation for myself or the world. I was completely lost. Also, I had no way of earning a living or supporting myself, I had no friends or network - in short I was left with nothing. It was like being 13 in a 40 year old body with no place in the world. I don't think I am alone in this experience.
In the field of psychology it is recognised that a person will not evolve into an emotionally mature state until they have developed a clear sense of identity. Thus adolescence is only completed with the successful establishment of a personal identity. Thus one can easily be a 25 or even a 50 year old adolescent. When one comes across the BKs the first thing you are taught is 'who are you?' For someone who innately thinks differently and is searching for an identity and an explanation for the world (and their conflict with it), the explanation of soul and drama fits very well. One is able to adopt a 'pre-packaged identity' and will reap the benefits of that. However, when that person leaves the BKs, they then are stripped of their identity and explanation of the world and so are effectively returned to their adolescence. This is very confusing for that person. The effect and extent of that confusion will also relate to how much and for how long they remain influenced by that BK sense of identity. It appears that some BKs at least continue to be affected for years, if in fact they get over it at all, and I think this is why.
It was only when I found out that I am ADHD that things began to become clear. I had an explanation for myself and how I related to the world. My family, my family history all become clear to me. I had an explanation that joined the dots and there has been a steady improvement in my life ever since. I am no longer confused or self doubting. I know how and why I have difficulty socially and I have been able to change both my emphasis and my ways and there has been notable benefits. Now you could explain it thus: that according to my fortune and my part in the drama my intellect has changed - apparently it is now body conscious and gross. So now that I cannot experience the purity of self and God I have sought out a worldly explanation and have satisfied myself with that. Actors have their part and it is my karma. Well I would describe that rationale as uninformed , reductionist and convenient.
So here we come to the crunch - in the first instance the existence of ADHD in the BK family is very real. This would also indicate that there is more going on than ADHD - other issues are also quite possible too. There does not appear to have been any consideration of this possibility or strategy for it.
Additionally we have to take into account the psychology of dysfunction. When someone becomes a BK it is with the attitude that they are in their most impure state - consciousness is impure, karma is impure, and the burden of karma is upon the soul. This fits perfectly with being a dysfunctional person with a miserable life all of which is purely psychological. Clinical disorders aside, the BK's and their philosophy are a magnet for any person who is psychologically disordered and is looking for an alternative solution and has failed to recognise that it is their own psychological make up that is the source of their problems.
So now my position is this: It is not about karma, drama, and fortune. It is about duty of care. And this duty of care extends beyond current BKs and is especially important for those who leave. Any person who has engaged with the BK philosophy has a potential to be affected according to their own individual psychological makeup. Anyone who has engaged for a period of time will have had their explanation of themselves and life affected. Those who have adopted the faith have absorbed certain beliefs, attitudes and perceptions that will affect them for possibly several years after they leave. This will have a significant impact on their lives. It would seem reasonable to assume that the BKs would or should be concerned for the well being of people so affected by them.
I am advocating that the BK's address what are effectively two principle concerns. One is to address the reality of psychological issues within the BK family. The other is to provide a system of qualified support for BKs who leave - an exit strategy. That support should be unconditional - some people may need it, others may not. But it needs to be open to use. By this I mean that as an "ex BK" many may feel that they gave in good faith and they don't want to take it back. Or they may feel too awkward about making use of a "support program" for "failed BK's". I think that there would likely be a significant percentage of ex BK's who wouldn't accept the support offered, but not for the right reasons. This would need to be addressed. But of real concern is that there may be any number of ex BKs who are in need. So I think it is important to create something unique that addresses the unique complications created by 'leaving Gyan'.
I have raised these matters and am sharing my experience openly because I have discovered that these issues are real and are not being addressed - certainly not from my experience. It is too easy to ignore these issues because of mistaken beliefs, and because ex BKs are too afraid or shy to ask for the help they need. Something has to be done - there has to be plan to identify ADHD in the BK group, and to make sure that for people leaving the BKs it is emotionally and psychologically safe.
It is inconceivable that until now the BKs have not made any effort to take care of those who 'leave' but simply convenience themselves with the notion that we will come back with our tails between our legs when Destruction begins. Newsflash - Destruction was supposed to have happened 20 years ago And I don't have a tail!"