Am I in a Cult?

I have seen some putrid online posts that, if they were to be believed, would put me in the middle of a cult. And so it got me thinking – what does being in a cult actually mean?

I will now present the reader with two contrasting ways of living, both of which are from my personal lived experiences, and then leave it up to you to determine which one is a cult and which one is not.

Life Number One

This life is all about purpose, commitment to life, work and people. Although not perfected, it is about making every day count, whether out in society or at home. The question that is often asked in this life is, “What did I bring to everyone today?” Did I bring fun, humour and wisdom to the people in my day or did I let my emotions/reactions/dramas get the better of me? If the latter is the case, then tomorrow is a brand new day and a brand new opportunity to re-imprint the previous day and to work on lessening those reactions, if not ditch them completely.

In this life I spend a lot of time working, not only at my paid job but for a variety of projects and organisations that support communities locally and worldwide. Forget about that I spend a lot of time doing it, but on top of that I enjoy it immensely! Seeing the great domino effect my steadiness, respect and love for people can have with friends, family, colleagues and customers at work, makes my heart dance. Witnessing withdrawn people opening up to me and to others, having a rare hearty laugh, is what makes this life worth living.

Here I spend my money on good quality, carefully selected (mostly with the guidance from my own body) nutritious and nurturing food; clothes that I feel I can be myself in; presentations, workshops and retreats where I learn about how to make the most out of life, how to develop and deepen relationships with everything and everyone around me so that when I am out in the world I can bring even more of the amazing young man I am to everyone I meet.

This particular life is so much fun daily, and in this life I find that I can make very close friends with people who I’ve just met – or never even met in person in a couple of instances! I can see people for the gold that they are and have a way of bringing out the best in people, especially when I work with them. I can speak as a tender man who is not afraid what will come back his way.

This life is not and does not have the pressure to be perfect. Living this life, I am always given the space to learn and take lessons from life’s events and challenges and never be condemned or judged.

Life Number Two

This life is about building a life such that it is all about me and everything that suits me. In this life much time is spent being intoxicated with recreational drugs and alcohol in the company of friends who devour the same substances and where I am always looking for something different to do, some sort of artificial stimulation. In this life I laugh, however, mostly at others, not with others.

My hard-earned money in this life is spent on fast food (drive-throughs a particular favourite), cigarettes, alcohol and fizzy sugary ‘energy’ (after which I have no energy) drinks. I wear baggy and posture-altering clothes that put a slant on my body and my speech, as I make it about labels and the latest ‘trends’, following what everyone else is doing and not what truly supports me.

Large sums of money are spent on attending events in sizeable stadiums where I watch two groups of men kick a ball to compete for our applause, and of course for lots of our hard earned cash too. During these events, alongside thousands of others including very young children I chant songs, many of which include vulgar language and disturbing imagery, either promoting the group I support or verbally defecating on the other group. In this life I change my speech to match those around me, to include swear words and phrases that no Oxford dictionary may include.

In this life I have little reason to get out of bed, unless I HAVE to go to school or work. I often feel lifeless and lethargic, apathetic to serious worldly affairs. I find myself heavily invested in what my peers want me to do, all in fear of being ostracised and ridiculed if I were to go against the grain. I make friends with the type of characters I know do not suit me so that I have a sense of false protection from anything unpleasant happening to me.

In this life my work ethic is that of “I’ll do only what I have to” just to make a comfortable living. I see work as a must-do in order to afford all the aforementioned indulgences. In fact, the ideal, dreamt of scenario is to win the lottery, settle down with a good looking wife, a couple of kids perhaps, nice friends, a big house and fast cars where I don’t have to worry about anything and don’t even have to work anymore.

Whilst you might be contemplating your answer to the obvious choice, I’ll contribute an answer to my own question at the beginning: what does being in a cult actually mean?

Being in a cult means selling out my heart and Soul in return for a completely false sense of security and glamourised success.

Note to Reader: Feel free to re-read both lives however many times you like, and see the clarity of what each life has on offer for Humanity as a whole. You must have guessed by now which one I am enjoying more…

By Michael Brown, Maths Student and Manager in Retail

Further Reading:
A ‘Perfect’ Life
Changing your life
What is the meaning of the term ‘cult’?

523 thoughts on “Am I in a Cult?

  1. I have been part of some really interesting conversations about cults in the last few days, exploring what the word actually means, and realising that there are so many things we consider as ‘normal’ that are really more cultish than other things that are called ‘cults’. It is like a mass hysteria that points fingers at a group of people who are doing things differently, whilst adhering to the rules of their cult vehemently. Football team support came up a lot as one of the things that actually, on examination, does tick a lot of the boxes in a cult definition.

  2. Being a part of Universal Medicine I have watched it grow over the last 16 years , never have I witnessed such a cult-less organisation being accused of being a ‘cult’. Ridiculous!

  3. Reading this shows that myself and many I know once chose life 2 and did not question it. Until such time that our bodies starte to speak loud and clear. Now I live option 1, a forever learning and building and an amazing opportunity to connect with others.

  4. Well done Michael. What you are describing here is very simply two different ways of life, the choice to live one way or the choice to live another. The term cult need not be used at all. If we had basic decency and respect we would simply let people live and observe the outcome, without labels or judgement. If we saw what we liked, we might be inspired and ask them for a few tips for own lives, and if we weren’t, and no harm was being done, we would just let them be and respect their choices. Unfortunately in our society we have as you say, chants that attempt to demoralise or stain the ‘other’, who just happen to be making different choices; chanted to make ourselves feel better about our own. The term cult here is being chanted by one side only, however the other side is too busy enjoying their life and kicking true goals, not just for themselves, but for the all, to worry about these ramblings. One has to wonder how rich and enjoyable one’s life is if they have to dedicate their time to degrading both themselves and others… As many have said, I know which life I’d be choosing.

  5. I’ve been making healthier choices now for over eleven years, thanks to the presentations by Universal Medicine, and if this is a cult then it’s far healthier than the ones I was in previously. As an example, the ones where we get drunk every weekend and during the week when we were flush. Or the ones where we had all night parties and the police would be called looking for drugs and any illegal activities. The ones where we ate everything and anything to the point of being sick and unable to move, then within an hour or so eating leftovers – I think they call this one Christmas day. Then there’s the one where we went to many concerts to get a glimpse of our favourite rock singers with the compulsory singing and listening to loud music, to the point where my ears were ringing well into the next day. In all of those examples, I was following and not making my own choices, whereas when I attend a presentation I know a 100% that it is up to me what I take on board and what I chose to shelve.

  6. Call it whatever- I am for Life number one. And if you want to degrade it by the word “cult”, I am proud to be in that kind of “cult”.

  7. Life number one knows no images and ideals- it just allows whatever comes our way and asks for expansion, not imaging how it will look like in the end. There is no control about any outcomes, but a constant ‘YES’. I live a life like number one and I would never change it to a life number two!

  8. Place the word ‘cult’ in front of and sprinkled within a text and you are guaranteed wide exposure, reaction and a sensational pitch. It highlights that any response is seemingly better than none particularly when the intent is to dis-regard truth … And this is evident in the tabloid reporting of Universal Medicine.

  9. It is easy to label something we don’t understand as ‘cultish’, though I would ask what is being challenged in us that we cannot be open enough to see beyond our own judgements to the truth of what is before us…..

  10. The difference in the commitment to life in Life 1 and Life 2 is huge. We are sold a big fat lie in Life 2 that we live and work until we retire and then we can sit back and give up. So many people are feeling this is not true now, so they often escape and fill their time with hobbies but still remain unfulfilled.

  11. Interestingly, the dream of retirement in life 2 – of ‘me’ time, people often find to be disillusioning, lacking in purpose and inspiration for living… could this be why we have an increase in Alzheimers and Dementia?

    1. Paula what you have written is very interesting, because a member of my family who has lived on her own for years has been diagnosed with Bi-Polar, but I feel we are lacking a purpose in life and withdrawing from it. Now they have bought a dog it seems to have turned their life around, because it’s not just about them any more, they have a companion and suddenly life is worth living. Humans are like pack animals and don’t seem to thrive very well left their own.

    2. This is a brilliant area of our current ‘normal’ to explore. The often devastating effects of ‘retirement’ as people come face to face with their life choices, their relationships, their level of engagement with life, without the distraction of work.

  12. Having been in a cult earlier in my life, my current experience of Universal Medicine is the exact opposite – the absolute antithesis of a cult.

  13. The difference between life number one and life number two is stark. It’s unbelievable there is a witch hunt going on because people are making healthy choices. It makes no sense.

  14. Indeed, what if society considered living with vitality, health and care for self and others as the new normal rather than a cult? A no brainer one would think.

  15. The word cult strikes fear in everyone, and there have been plenty of horrific stories such as the Jonestown mass suicides to justify this opinion. This is why it can be used as such an effective weapon to condemn a group of people just with a few comments…but it is empty lies and cannot not stick.

  16. This is a great exposing of what is really going on in life and the two ways we can choose; one of love honesty purpose and understanding for all, which is the real normal, and the one society is choosing of self; individualism, checkout, over indulgence, escape, suffering, war and disease, in a prison like way of living in stress, anxiety and depression with the constant trying to better ourselves to keep up and best manage life, all the while pretending all is o.k. Surely this is the cult, as there is nothing natural, loving and honest about it.

  17. Why do we need the word cult in the first place, why do we need to classify groups of people that share a common way of living, philosophy or thought? We are all one and the same in different phases of our development back to soul. There is no need to classify people in groups, as to me, it is only used to make oneself feel better, less good or equal to that group, or it gives a feeling of safety to the idea that life is under control if we can place people in certain groups, rich, poor, religious, atheists and so on. But in the end it makes no sense, it is only a product of us living in separation with who we naturally are. When we live that, our natural way of being, there is no need to classify or separate people in groups, as then we will live united as one with only one purpose, and that is to return to soul.

  18. The word cult originates form Latin meaning worship, homage paid to a divinity and nowadays it means great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work. The meaning has changed, but actually is in the same energy. There is no reason to worship a divinity, person, group or idea, as it only takes us away from the true divine place that lives in each and everyone of us – our inner heart, the spark of light that will never extinguish.

  19. The term ‘cult’ is highly pejorative and brands all participants as brainless (they are doing something that is obviously very stupid) or as mind controlled (they do something that is against their best interest, therefore they must be forced in some way). The above is true in quite a few instances but that makes the label ‘cult’ a very convenient cudgel to attack groups that one doesn’t like.
    A bit like calling somebody a murderer or child abuser. Very nasty and convenient when the labels are not true.

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