Recently, I was describing my experience of the work community with a friend when she asked me, “Isn’t that a cult”. I was more shocked that she had heard of it than the fact that she thought it might be a cult,

so I answered:

“I guess you could call it that”.

Do I actually think “The Work” is a cult? Of course not, but there is a sense of groupthink amongst us and the entire practice is kinda based around one central premise – that we live in a friendly universe.

I know, its kinda strange and cheesy especially when it can sometimes seem like we live in a total emotionless, material world that is impersonal and has no interest in “being friendly”. 

I don’t think I’m mainstream. I think what I am is lots and lots of different cults. And when you get lots and lots of small groups who like you a lot, they add up to a big group without ever actually becoming mainstream.

Neil Gaiman

My friend continued on,

“Just seems like most people who join those things are lonely”

It was certainly true for me.

I was lonely.

I walked through most of my life seemingly by myself, in some ways it even felt more comfortable.

And after being estranged from my immediate family as a teenager and moving around so much as a young adult, I really didn’t have people or places in my life where I was allowed to just fall apart.

Part of the beauty in the spiritual communities I was apart of was that they allowed me to grieve and celebrate and no matter how unbearable I became- the unspoken agreement was that we would all come back together again.

The practice offered me a space to be myself fully and attempts to teach me how to be in the world in a way that will reduce the harm I cause myself and others and in some ways reduce the amount of suffering I cause in the world.

I used to be uncomfortable with my insistence on staying close to my community and committing so much of my mental fortitude and time in devotion to my self-inquiry practice,

but I don’t anymore.

Acknowledging where we may feel vulnerable and seeking help can at times be the most courageous thing we can ever do in our lives.

I completely honor and respect my friend who from her vantage point has never been hurt. 

And I completely honor and respect myself whose pain and hurt has led me on a journey that continues to exceed even my wildest dreams.

Culture and community are necessary parts of any individuals development and sense of personhood.

And if for any reason you have found yourself without “peoples”, I urge to go forth and immerse yourself in a group of people who share your interests, concerns, ideals and are willing to keep coming back.

Whether or not that group turns out to be a cult…..

Is totally up to you!

Wishing you only sunshine and happiness,

Danielle.