The following are stories and experiences which are longer in length than our critical reviews.
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Stop the Insanity (Anonymous)
Since I decided to quit my use of the tools altogether, I feel I’ve gained a far greater awareness about my relationships with others and my role as creator of my life than I ever had using the tools. And just to clarify, I was pretty heavily involved for several years, attending Masters, Wizards, Pro Course, Integrity Course and helping to deliver several courses. I would say that when I was heavily involved, I felt like I was part of a special group and had special powers. When people would approach me with their problems I could act compassionate and very loving, but there was a part of me that was always thinking in the back of my head that they could fix it if they just had the tools. Or I would think, what beliefs do they have in order to create THAT experience?
So, in retrospect, I wasn’t always being very compassionate. I would say that I also ended up compromising myself a lot in both my financial life and my social life. Even though it felt wrong to do and my intuition was screaming NO, I began speaking with some of my friends about using the tools and having them come to intros, etc. I pushed people away that I believe could’ve been really great friends. If they said they didn’t want to come, I automatically assumed that they would never achieve the kind of “enlightenment” that one could achieve with Avatar. I also spent a ton of money to do all these courses.
There were several occasions where I knew I was not planning to deliver a course and I ended up being manipulated into going by a trainer. I was always told that there couldn’t possibly be anything in life that could be more important than delivering on the next Avatar Course. I was also told by a trainer that they knew I was “meant” to be a Master from the minute they met me. I must’ve been quite gullible and in need of a self-confidence boost, because I ended up going several times when I didn’t really have any intention of being there to begin with. To make a really, really long story a little bit shorter, this really messed me up for a long while afterward. I couldn’t figure out right from wrong anymore. Because you see, I knew what was right for me from the get go and to have someone who is supposedly more “enlightened” than me tell me that what I was feeling was wrong really messed with my head. I would say it led to a serious mental state with obsessive thoughts regarding decision making.
When I finally decided to leave for good recently, thankfully this difficulty made a great turn for the better. I could take a step back from the “creation” and label it (to use Harry’s terms) as a nightmare and let it discreate. I’ve seen the trainers be manipulative to an extreme. I’ve been spoken down to (mind you, when I’m paying for hard-earned money to be there) and treated poorly. I also ended up in the absolute worst, suicidal depressive state after my first Wizards course. My master and trainer basically said it was my fault and to work it out, mind you after I had just spent $10K to be there.
When I stepped out of the group, it was like I took my power back. I’m actually more in control and more self-confident than I ever have been. Perhaps that was the lesson that I needed to learn. But unfortunately it came at quite a large cost. I see Harry like the Wizard of Oz acting all strong and powerful, but really he’s nothing more than a human being like you and I. The Harry worship gets more extreme the higher you go. And the more courses and the more devoted people are, the more deluded they are about their ability to control every detail of their life. The worship was my first clue that something was not right. Anyway, I could go on forever and ever with many disturbing details … you get the point.
[Taken from: Observations and Experiences – https://harleystrangelove.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/observations-and-experiences-of-people-who-have-come-in-to-contact-with-avatar-devotees/]
Stop the Insanity (2nd Posting)
Thanks for creating a forum to discuss these issues. I am learning more about cults and mind control, which is helping immensely in my recovery process. My main issue is trying to engage my critical thinking skills and making decisions that are of benefit to me and my partner, rather than what I think I “should” be doing. It’s amazing how much mind-control was happening without my awareness. As soon as I made the decision to leave, it was like I could see my life clearly for the first time in a very long time. It was like my life was suspended before and now I’m ready to take action. I’ve got some learning to do, but I’m excited about the future….
…. It’s amazing how much time and energy and money we will pour into a business and into Harry’s pocket for “tools” that everyone has. The power of intention and focus is amazing and can feel quite magical. I notice this in my life all the time. Harry did not give us these powers – we were born with them! But the remarkable thing is that I can get the same results without using the tools. In fact, I think it’s much more effective and stream-lined than spending so much time on doubts or transgressions. Spending so much time on transgressions, especially, can be quite dangerous for people, which is why there are so many people that have trouble after attending Wizards (and believe me, there are many who have trouble). This solidifies a belief in people that they have done bad things and are or were bad people and is a trick used across the board in cults to maintain control. If someone had a lower self-esteem when starting Avatar, this could further solidify that belief without their conscious awareness.
It’s interesting that Harry purports that we create our own reality based on our beliefs. If we believe that we have to spend that much time, energy and money, involving all kinds of in-depth exercises and long courses in order to do that, then that’s what we’ll do. Also, the QMs and trainers will not hesitate to tell you that doing whatever it is that’s important in your life is not as important as attending Wizards or delivering the next course. And of course Harry wouldn’t just stop at primaries. My QM told me that there was nothing that couldn’t be handled with a primary, period (translation: there isn’t anything that can’t be handled with a powerful intention). Wow, so what was all that other stuff about? Harry had to go on and on into the higher levels and make things more and more complicated because it gets people further and further dependent on the organization and creates a nice profit for him.
I’ve seen some really lovely people who want to do good things for this planet sacrifice their goals and plans at home and a lot of money to devote themselves to delivering Avatar just because they’ve been indoctrinated to believe that creating more Avatars, Masters and Wizards would be the most effective way to make a difference in the world. This makes me very sad.
Creating primaries, which are taught in the basic Avatar course, are little more than hypnotic exercises that allow you experience with certainty whatever belief you’d like to experience. Make no mistake, this is a hypnotic exercise that shuts down critical thinking. Have you ever noticed that QMs and trainers literally swoop in on a student after they have done lots of these exercises to get them to sign up for the next course? This is another thing that I’ve had a really hard time with. I am an intelligent person with many ideas and I help people for a living. I was extremely sad when I realized how much of my brain I had shut down for so long, because using my critical thinking skills is one of the ways in which I can help people more efficiently in my work. Scientific research is actually quite important and useful for my work (something that Harry denounces from your first intro to Avatar). Critical thinking allows me to make the best decisions for myself, especially regarding business and finance, which are two areas that I am working on right now….
… Be very careful what you have allowed yourself to be indoctrinated with. Harry talks about indoctrination, but what he doesn’t tell you is that he’s indoctrinating you and all the Avatar students in the process. A lot of Harry’s ideas are reworking of Scientology, that doesn’t have a good track record, so being aware of who your teacher is important. But, of course if people were aware, there would be a lot fewer Avatars. I tried to bring this up to my QM early in my Avatar experience and was quickly shut down.
Sorry for the very long-winded post. I could obviously go on and on. Don’t shut down your critical thinking. It is also very important for success in life.
[Taken from Observations & Experiences: https://harleystrangelove.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/observations-and-experiences-of-people-who-have-come-in-to-contact-with-avatar-devotees/]
Pressure in Joining (Anonymous)
My name is Ella (all names changed) and first of all I would like to thank you so much for all the things you are doing. I have been waiting for a website like yours, where people like me can finally talk to each other, share our stories, aid one another, for years now. Since Avatar is not so popular in my country, it was very tough for me to find support. So, I am really very grateful for the precious work you have done. Since I definitely want to support you and your work, I would like to start by sharing my story with you. Since things are still ongoing in my life I prefer to stay anonymous.
I was introduced to Avatar by my boyfriend Sven, or more precisely my boyfriends’ parents. When we got together, he never really talked about it. After a couple of months since we’ve been together, I asked him about his moms’ work. It was the first time he mentioned something about Avatar. After asking him if she works in the film industry he laughed, said something about personal development courses but then quickly changed the subject. I did not further ask since I felt that he did not want to talk about it.
A couple of weeks after that he informed me that he is going to travel with his parents and sister to Orlando for two weeks in February for the Avatar course. He told me it’s a “family thing”. I was not particularly happy about not seeing him for two weeks, but I did not further ask, just accepted the situation. Some days later I was sitting with some friends talking about all and sundry when I, as a sideline, told them about Avatar. It was a big coincidence that one of my friends said “Oh Avatar, isn’t it this cult by Harry Palmer covered in a self-development course? I mean I don’t know, maybe it’s wrong, I just heard that this guy used to be in Scientology”. I remember this first state of shock with a very loud inner monologue “Scientologoy?! Is this possible? Did I miss that information? But how? Is it true, he never talks about it!” On my way home, I started searching the internet for Avatar. I immediately found hundreds of happy looking people on colorful pictures and inviting pages. It seemed to me like a harmful organization; reminded me of NLP, a communication course I once wanted to do. Later that day I met Sven and immediately confronted him with my new information.
My panicked state did definitely make him feel nervous. Like the first time he explained a little bit about the exercises until he saw a bit of relief in my face and then quickly changed the subject. Soon his family and him were leaving for the course in Orlando. On the second day of his absence I started to search for “Avatar Scientology” and “Avatar cult”. What I found was terrible for me to read. Horror stories from people reporting on family members who completely changed their personalities, huge money rip-off, particular cult members with special techniques, wizard courses which sounded completely crazy to me, and so on. I remember doing screenshots of those texts and sending them to Sven in Orlando. After reading my messages he responded that I should calm down and that we can talk about it after he comes back home.
It was for the first time that his family started to talk to me about the course. They talked about how wonderful Avatar is, how useful and life changing the Avatar tools are and how helpful it would be for me to visit such a course. At the beginning I always thankfully declined. With time it was on a regular basis, every time I saw them, we would talk about me going on an Avatar course. It was a very stressful situation for me, since I did not want to be mean or hurt their feelings by not wanting to go there.
Once his father talked to me, again, trying to convince me to the Avatar course. Since I was running out of ideas what to say, I told him that I actually wanted to invest my money into the NLP course. He started to laugh and said that Avatar is so much better. I asked him, how would he know? He said he knows some people who have done NLP. It was an answer I did not expect from a man who did not seem to me like a person who would say anything to convince another person to Avatar.
Time passed by, but “Avatar persuasion talks” by my boyfriends’ family did not. I was tired of it, I was tired of saying no so one day, after my boyfriends’ family came back from a course, which mostly is the time when they are particularly motivated to persuade other people, they managed to convince me to subscribe for a Resurfacing course. My only request was my boyfriend to be my Master and not anyone else. His parents just laughed and asked me if I could not go alone for two days without him making me feel ridiculous, but I persisted. When I asked how much I would have to pay, Sven’s mom told me that I have to arrange that with my Master indicating that I might have to pay my boyfriend for his service as a Master. I found that very peculiar and it made me feel unfamiliar.
Few weeks later we went together to the Resurfacing course in the Netherlands with huge skeptical gut feelings. We stayed at this horribly expensive hotel, at least for my pocket (80€ per night per person). Clearly, they wanted the people to be in a comfortable environment. It was a very interesting experience for me but not from a self-developing perspective but rather from getting to know various kinds of people. I am a very strong, stable person with most of the time a very clear opinion and mind. Since I am also very open and chatty it was not that hard for me to talk about my past, my inner thoughts, beliefs and feelings to complete strangers Even tougher I found this setting to have psychotherapeutic aspects and thought that some people should visit an educated psychotherapist or psychologist rather than Avatar Masters.
At one point they showed us a video, a talk by Harry Palmer which was okay, kind of old wine in new bottles I would say. It was fascinating for me to watch the people clapping to a screen, it felt weird, I did not participate. Additionally, since I found the outcome of most of the exercises a little bit weak/poor, I started to question the whole purpose of the course not only in front of my boyfriend, but also in front of the other Master who supervised me since Sven did not get along with my criticism.
It was high time they sent me to an older woman with a very commanding eye named Toni. Since I was talking about my past to my other Master, when I approached Toni, she already knew about my catholic background and my recent decision to leave the church because I did not like the cult aspects behind the church organization. She immediately made use of it by telling me that I am projecting my past on Avatar. I was shocked that she used this personal knowledge against me even though she did not know anything else about me. When I got emotional and upset about her saying this she said in front all of the other people around that she does not want to talk to a child who is not capable of controlling her emotions. At this point I knew that this woman is a very skilled person and that I am not going to agree with her but there is no point to argue with her. But still, my rebellious side did not want to give up; I calmed down, she said that now we can talk. I looked her in the eyes and said “I still think that there are cult aspects in Avatar” thanked and said goodbye.
We went back home, I thought a lot about it, about different situations, my experiences. Was Avatar a cult now? I actually experienced only two days, but I felt very uncomfortable in so many situations. On the other hand, I was not sure if I had too many prejudices. At some point I decided not to think about it anymore, just cut it off, I had so many other commitments in my life, I needed a break. I just forgot that this was not so easy with my boyfriends’ family. “Do more, go the Avatar pathway, take the chance and learn how to use those precious tools, just think about it!”, they did not stop. They somehow managed to get me into a skype call with plenty of different Avatar Masters who tried to find problems or difficulties in my life to make a thing out of it and then do some exercises, I even once talked to famous Toni, gladly she just asked my how I’ve been recently and that I should come again to a course. I said I will think about it.
Another time, I met Sven’s mom in a bar because she wanted to meet me. In general, we have had a very nice time. Just this one sentence made me feel very angry: “Ella, Avatar is part of our family; I kind of have the feeling that you want to belong to this family, but also kind of not.” It hurt. Lucky me that I found support by a friend of my boyfriend who at the same time is the ex-boyfriend of his sister, Anja. He once asked me about my feelings regarding Avatar. After telling him about all of my experiences and true inner desperate feelings he told me about him going nuts with the parents back in the days when Sven’s sister Anja and he used to be together. He also told me about Sven’s ex-girlfriend who couldn’t stand the pressure of the family and regularly vomited due to the increased stress situations. Finally, I felt understood. For the first time I did not feel like a complete weirdo. At the same time, I was so angry. How could Sven’s parents be so ignorant and oversee the harm which they have done to at least two persons before me. With time, I got to know other family members and friends who shared my opinion. “Are your parents still part of this CULT?!” asked one of Sven’s not so closed relatives bringing Sven in such an uncomfortable situation that I felt happy and so sad at the same time. “Avatar is a cult, there is no doubt, the question is, how are you going to deal with it?” asked me a friend of the family in a private conversation.
Last year, Sven’s mum decided to talk to me in person about Avatar. I told her again that I really do not want to participate and that I think that Avatar has some aspects of a sect. She laughed, wanted to know which ones, but did not really comment. She also asked me whether I think if Sven does not want to participate in Avatar due to my brainwashing. I said partly due to me and partly due to his own struggles with Avatar. Afterwards she also invited Sven to have a private conversation about Avatar with her. I knew that it is hard for him to speak about his feelings and thoughts on this subject. Even though they are very stubborn, they are still his parents whom he loves and does not want to hurt. He said it was a good conversation and that he could clear some things out. Nevertheless, around Christmas time, his mum openly said that her biggest dream is me going the Avatar pathway. I accepted the fact that as long as they will live, nothing will ever change.
Today Avatar is still present. After several requests, my boyfriend told his parents how I feel about Avatar. “She thinks it’s a cult” easy as that. Since then they stopped talking to me about it. We keep the conversations limited to “How was your Avatar trip”, “Very nice, as usual”.
Sven’s mom introduced him to Avatar when he was only 13 years old. His sister Anja was only 11. Since that time, they have been part of the community and to my knowledge never really questioned Harry Palmer and his courses. Not even his time at Scientology, not the fact that the original Avatar materials made extensive use of Scientology terminology. I do not understand this, I never will. I love Sven, he has a beautiful soul, he is a loving and caring person. I want him to break free. I want him to truly live deliberately, be a stable person with a healthy portion of skepticism recognizing true indoctrination, knowing that there is nobody who can teach him awakening, that he does it perfectly on his own.
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