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 Witnessing withdrawn people opening up to me and to others, having a rare hearty laugh, is what makes this life worth living.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’?

747 thoughts on “Am I in a Cult?

  1. Their object is to get at ‘us’. Yet The Way of the Livingness truly lived cannot be got at, it is intrinsic to who we are. A life lived with purpose may be disrupted, but never derailed.

  2. The scary thing about life number two is how normal it is, even if you take away the drugs so many people could relate to it. Like yourself Michael having a purpose, commitment to life and to people, and equal commitment to loving and caring for myself, has completely changed how I approach life and it’s a joy to be me.

  3. What is the energy behind words. There is a saying that says ‘what Suzy says about Sally says more about Susie than is does Sally’ meaning look at and observe the person/people who are making comments and gossiping about others rather than focusing on the people they are talking about for it says a lot about that person/people making the comments and gossiping …and not in a good way. Or in this case the reader could look at the many different people from all walks of life from all around the world that are being labelled a ‘cult’ and in their observation actually get to see just how sensible, loving and joyful we are. The truth is when you are living to the best of your ability in a responsible way not adding to the abuse, hurt and harm in the world, caring for both yourself and others does it matter what anyone else thinks or says? No.

    1. I’ve never heard that saying but it’s absolutely true, the gossip and negative things said say more about the person talking than the person who is the subject. There’s another really good saying I like that goes something like this “what another person thinks about you is their business”, i.e., don’t let what others think about you affect you.

  4. Its interesting how a true way of living that is perceived to be a threat to one that causes harm and disorder, is the one that is ridiculed and attacked, when its easy to see when the facts are presented which way brings us closer to a truer way of living.

  5. I hate it when people assume and label others and I hate it when people try and label me … especially when they have not even met me!

    1. I can relate to what you share, Vicky. It does hurt when others show prejudice against you and make all sorts of false conclusions about you without any true foundation… but what I have realised, is that it hurts more when a single part of me needs to justify or tone down what is true for me to try and lessen the impact of what comes back at me. To truly claim my truth, walk and live it is very empowering and the impact of others is way lessened from this stance. I know what I have experienced, lived and changed in my life and no amount of insults can ever change that fact.

  6. Your examples of Life number 1 and 2 Michael illustrates perfectly how we all have choices and that those choices have repercussions.

  7. “Being in a cult means selling out my heart and Soul in return for a completely false sense of security and glamourised success” – yes, and they can come in all sizes and shapes and flavours.

  8. I loved reading this about the two lives. When I was growing up, I recall hearing or reading about cult activities in the news and yes, there were times when it was presented from one perspective, the media. But neither advocating for what was going on either.

    Recently I was pondering on the meaning of cult and I realised that everywhere around us, we live, work, play in a society of cults. With policies, rules, religion, we have to be a certain way etc and for gain of oneself or organisation.

    I have to say I prefer life number one.

  9. The two ways of living are worlds apart (and yet they live side by side). I know which one is inspiring and affirming of who we are, and I know which one drains our energy on things that are our downfall.

  10. The way we spend money in life number two is such a trap, we spend money to get our next high, then we slump wanting our next fix, bigger and greater than the hit before, working harder and pushing to get more money so that we can feed the addiction of creation we are on. I played this game for years, it left me feeling bruised hurt and depressed. I definitely know the life I choose and it’s the one where I feel consistently (well pretty consistently) light joyful and engaged in life.

  11. Earlier state I was not aware how much resistance there can be against some who bring true love. That was what we were waiting for, but when it is there we act like we don’t see it.
    We even try to put lies to it to make it look like wrong.
    Just because we like our comforts better than the truth.
    To make it clear about cults is where people give their power away to others.
    I see many places where that happens. In work, families, between friends.
    The family Benhayon show no signs of trying to get power over others.
    They invite you to feel your own power as a Son of God.
    And they show by their own livingness how you can live a life of love and service where there is no space for giving your power away.

  12. I knew the media lied but I did not know just how much until they lied about me. Brandishing claims around and using words to scaremonger to make others believe something like the world ‘cult’. I have been a student of Universal Medicine for over 12 years and on reflection even though I have some work to do on the student part (have always been a bit slack with studying) this is not a cult, never has been and never will be. Not only that I think it is actually quite cowardly for people to print something about others when they do not actually know them. Certainly this kind of behaviour was not the respect and etiquette I was brought up to have.

  13. The contrast in lifestyles described is very clear and seems to stand miles apart. But that is just the human understanding when we make life only about the temporal, and in that forget that we all are equally divine beings to start with.

  14. I do know what lifestyle to choose although it is being called a cult, as is the temporal vision of those that feel confronted with what I know is true.

  15. I think people are afraid of the unknown or out of the ordinary, but if people knew and truly understood what Universal Medicine is and represents, they would certainly not be keeping it at arms length, but embracing it as a true purveyor of the Ancient Wisdom that will lead us out of the dead end lives most of us live.

  16. I love my life too, and it has gone from strength to strength in the years since I started attending Universal Medicine workshops and courses, and that has been recognised by lots of people who know me. There are many ways in which my life has been enriched by the healthy changes in myself and my relationship with myself and hence with others. I too have more energy, and I contribute much more in the way of community based activities and demonstrate the benefits in my life. I too deny any inference that I might be in a cult, as nothing could be further from the truth.

    1. “I love my life too,” Shirley-Ann and it has nothing to do with material comforts, but the deepened quality of relationships we have with self, others and community. How many people can say with out reservation “I love my life”?

  17. The word cult nowadays is used for almost anything that goes against the mainstream of society. If Buddhism were to surface today it would probably be labelled as a cult as well, but because so many people are following it, it has been accepted by society. Good to call out that Universal Medicine is not a cult, better even to live it. Then people will see that yes, we are different, and live differently, and that we are not a cult. I feel there will be a time when Universal Medicine is accepted as mainstream religion. It will happen.

  18. Labelling a group a cult is a cheap way of getting people to dismiss what it presents as being worthy of consideration. Perhaps we should not be so easily swayed and have more intent to test the waters for ourselves – for if there is such a thing as evil in this world, all it has to do is throw a few names at the truth and then people will be turned away from something which might truly benefit them.

    I’ve been attending Universal Medicine presentations now for the past 8 years and I love my life. What is more, I love myself and hence others so much more too. (There is a direct correlation between the two.) My experience is that over these 8 years, I have learnt to express myself more openly and freely, my relationships have blossomed, I enjoy working more than ever before – and like Michael, I do a lot more community and voluntary work too.

    My life has a purpose that it didn’t have before, a truly loving purpose – and that is a wonderful thing. I have come to know that we must feel into and discern what we are told because there is a lot of misleading information in our world. When we come back to our senses, we might just have a true guide to show us what is and what isn’t true – and this is sorely needed.

    1. The term ‘cult’ is used indiscriminately to discredit any group different to the norm. Rather than examine the truth of the Way of the Livingness, media and certain individuals, knowing the public will believe and be swayed by what they read, are emboldened to print what they like regardless of consequences to people and businesses. And some have a stated intent to bring down people and businesses.

  19. Given that what is considered normal is because large groups of people are doing certain practices, which are often damaging to our health or well being, I can see why there is a taste for reading about ‘cults’ – somehow it’s reassuring when we can compare to others we believe are more dysfunctional than ourselves because we seem better off in comparison. Papers know they are onto a winner as a result, accusing people of being in a cult sells. It doesn’t matter then the accuracy of what’s written or that many who are accused of being in a cult are actually being very respectful of their health, their well-being and that of others. Taking a honest look may reveal that what’s considered normal isn’t so normal after all, no matter how may people are involved.

  20. A cult is a follower the leader mentality without thinking or feeling for yourself. This happens in all walks of life, hence the expression ‘he/she has a cult-like following’. I choose to live my life based on what’s best for me – meaning more supportive, keeps me most steady and vibrant.

  21. If living a life of purpose, integrity and love as described above is a cult then it sounds like a cult worth being a part of.

  22. Great to clarify what a cult is and also to present 2 lives and 2 choices. I know which one I am living – but also that I used to live life number 2 without thinking anything was wrong.

  23. In recent times, the word cult has been misused by the press in some of the most horrific ways. I can only assume they know that it will sell their papers. So why do we, the general public, like to read stories about such things? How can the press know what to print in such vile ways that will guarantee their pockets become full of coin? There is surely something wrong, when a guaranteed income comes from the abuse of anyone, especially if someone is innocent.

  24. Super cool Michael that you are here where you are writing this blog and many others with the awareness and awakened state of knowing what works for you and what doesn’t. The pressure and expectations in society to fit into the ‘normal’ way of living is a very strong one and to be able to discover, explore and know what is true for you is the best thing ever. Thanks to Universal Medicine and the teachings of the Ageless Wisdom we are able to stop and reflect that there is a different possibility, another way of living that makes it about energy first and foremost and what quality we are aligning to.

    1. The support of Universal Medicine in giving the space to recognise that we are equal Gods living compressed in this dense body our spirit has chosen to explore, is the greatest gift one can have.

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