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Serge Benhayon: “Cult-leader” or Life Teacher?

Following on from my last blog I feel to write further on this issue. Universal Medicine (UM) is slanderously accused of being a ‘cult’ and Serge Benhayon of being a ‘cult-leader’. Since these accusations, those attending the Universal Medicine presentations have set up several blogs to give voice to the truth of their experience of Serge in words and how applying his teachings has had a beneficial influence in their lives.

However, we find ourselves in the unusual position that everything we say may be discounted by others as we are now labelled as being under the ‘brain-washing’ influence of a ‘cult-leader’. I find it astounding that the claims of the anonymous few who orchestrated this whole campaign from a convicted criminal’s website (Rick Ross Cult Forum) are given more credence than the open, honest and transparent accounts of those attending Universal Medicine, many of whom are highly qualified, professional, successful people. Many of us are willing to be interviewed, filmed, observed, studied in order to show that we are just normal people endeavouring to live lives that are least harming for ourselves, our bodies and those we interact with on a daily basis. Yet, we are now under suspicion as being weak and gullible, unable to think for ourselves and who follow everything our ‘cult-leader’ says and thus everything we say is also doubted, questioned or dismissed. All of this based on the words of a few people who have a grudge to bear and who have never met me or many others who attend UM and who do not fully understand what UM is about

The word ‘cult’ strikes fear into many people; it is associated with loss of family members, loss of money, loss of life even, people giving their power away to the ‘cult-leader’ and becoming involved in sexual improprietary or other practices that are not healthy. It may often be associated with a disregard of those outside ‘the cult’, cutting off from the world and people, people living in a commune or compound. None of these practices occur within Universal Medicine whose foundational teachings are about living a life that is true and fully responsible. Thus the word ‘cult’ is a word that should be used carefully and responsibly and  should only be applied when a thorough investigation has taken place and solid evidence is produced to substantiate the claim. None of this has occurred in this instance – there has been no thorough investigation only the allegations of a few thus far mostly anonymous people who have an axe to grind.

Whilst I know for myself that UM is not a ‘cult’ and that Serge Benhayon is not a ‘cult-leader’ and that these words have been used to deliberately denigrate Serge and UM,  I can understand how those looking in from the outside might apply that label without a full understanding of what it is Universal Medicine stands for, without understanding what the esoteric is about, without understanding how applying the esoteric teachings in one’s life can lead people to develop a similar way of living with respect to sleep and diet and other lifestyle factors. That conformity to a way of living and being is then confused with us succumbing to the ‘brain-washing’ ways of the leader rather than making our own free choices based on what we have come to experience for ourselves and in our own bodies.

Imagine someone giving you a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle without the final picture on the box, but you are only given 3 pieces out of the puzzle and you have to say what the final picture is. What are the chances of you getting the final picture correct? Pretty slim I’d say. Even with 5 or 10 pieces chances are you wouldn’t get the whole picture. This is exactly what has happened in the press recently. Esoteric Philosophy is a vast subject and people have picked only a fragment  or two out of it and are trying to make a whole picture out of those fragments – and inevitably they get it wrong.  They paint the wrong picture but justify it as being the right picture because they have used fragments, or pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, in their picture – but that is not the picture on the box, the picture that is present when all the true pieces are put together.

It takes time to construct a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle, it requires patience, commitment, playing around with the pieces to see how they fit together, if they fit together. We all know that if one piece is missing or in the wrong place then the whole picture is affected. We also know that as we spend the time to put it together, it gradually becomes more clear what the whole picture is, we get glimpses of the beauty of the picture we are creating as we go along and we begin to get a sense of how the different sections we are working on will fit together.

So it is with esoteric philosophy – at the start it can seem confusing when we only have a few pieces of the philosophy, some aspects of it are unconventional for sure and it takes time to assimilate the different parts of the puzzle or the philosophy, the different understandings and how they all fit together. Some aspects may seem difficult to understand or accept, may feel too challenging to the world as it is today and life as we currently know it to be. It is not a philopsophy that will appeal to those who like to blame others for the condition of their lives or who get something out of living as a victim of life, as a core tenet of it is the need to take personal responsbility for our choices.

However, I have found that as I gather more and more pieces of this puzzle, of this philosophy and apply them in my life,  more and more it makes sense, life makes sense and more and more the whole picture becomes clearer.  I have gained a much deeper understanding of why my life is the way it is and why things happened in my life they way they did and how I can make choices going forward that allow me to co-create a true life rather than existing and being a recipient of what life brings to me. Applying these understandings has not always been easy due to the engrained ways of living, stubborness and arrogance that were/are within me.  Yet my desire to truly heal, to seek the truth about life, about God and the human condition has given me the patience and the commitment to keep going with this particular philosophical puzzle of life because it feels true to me, it resonates within me as truth and if it didn’t I wouldn’t be there.

However, it is also so much more than that; it has become a lived reality for me, not just something I know in my head as knowledge but something that I reap the rewards of in my life by lving it. I have enough pieces of the puzzle put together to be able to see the whole picture taking shape, to be able to see the true beauty and gift of life, of God and who we are as human beings. Yes, we are amazing, we are glorious and yet we live so restrained and constrained by age old ideals and beliefs and false perceptions and mis-interpretations about who we are. We live to a false picture about who we are rather than who we truly are. As I  began to replace the false picture I carried of myself with the truth of who I am, slowly but surely I began to make different choices and I became less held and constrained by the false picture I had carried for so long. Just like the 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle, it has taken time for me to know the various aspects of this philosophy and how they all fit together, to apply them in my life such that I get to feel for myself whether they are true or not, whether they produce practical tangible benefits in my life or not. Thus I cannot expect an interviewer or someone unfamiliar with esoteric philosophy to just get the whole picture in an instant or in a few sound bites.

When the esoteric is presented in a fragmented, disjointed way based on knowledge rather than the livingess of it that again can portray the wrong picture. As esoteric students we can be guilty of doing just that. We get a glimpse of the whole picture but if we don’t have all the pieces strongly in place in our daily living, in our keeness to want others to ‘get it’ too we can go about sharing fragments to people that don’t convey the whole picture, that might come across as a bit weird or preaching or as ‘Serge says’ rather than speaking from what is our truth and our experience.  The fact is, this work is too good, too true to be kept to ourselves and that is not how love works. Love is not selfish and we cannot do this work in a way that is true for self-gain alone – it is impossible. However, that does not mean we go standing on street corners with megaphones preaching it to everyone – for that would be imposing and certainly not loving. No, we share it by how we are with everyone we meet, by our openness, our connectedness, our ability to be light hearted, joyfull and playfull. In short we share it by the loving quality of our expression, whatever form that expression may take. And if we are not being loving in that expression, then no matter how many years we have been working with the esoteric teachings, in those moments we are not being esoteric. I have been endeavouring to apply these teachings for the last 5 years but I can still react, get defensive or frustrated and say things or write things or do things that are not loving and part of my learning is recognising when that happens and resolving it within myself, such that my next expression is more true and loving.

However, even though I have stated that esoteric philosophy is a vast subject, and it is, the fundamental teaching of it is simple and can be easily understood. It is that God is love and we are love. That ‘being love’ means we need to be self-loving, self-caring in all our choices in order to build harmony in the body and how our ignorance of our true nature of love results in all our suffering. This is what Serge presents, explains and expands upon in great detail – how to develop a way of living, a way of life that is truly loving for self and other equally. This is done by listening to and honouring what we feel in the body rather than listening to the mind which can and does over-ride the messages of the body. It is about empowering each and every one of us to re-connect back to who we truly are, back to our essence of love and making choices from there.

If this is understood in full, it is not difficult to understand how a group of people who are dedicated to living according to the impulses of love within their own body can end up making similar choices regarding lifestyle habits if it becomes their experience that certain foods have detrimental effects on how they feel. If they find that going to bed earlier and getting up earlier is more rejuvenating and builds vitality rather than burning the candle at both ends. From the outside, this might just appear like a group of people slavishly following a ‘cult leader’s’ instruction – but with more understanding of what it is about, with more pieces of the jisaw puzzle in place, it becomes clearer that it is a personal choice based on what is a self-caring way to live and be.

Thus for me, Serge is a teacher of life or a life teacher, someone who lives what he presents, who walks what he talks – unlike so many of the self-help, personal development coaches and spiritual gurus that are in the world today. He presents from what he lives and this can be felt and known. He has already given much to the world and undoubtedly has so much more to give. The teachings are Universal for they apply not to a belief or an ideal but to the true functioning of the human body and all bodies are made in the same way, from the same stuff with love as the essence.  The teachings are based on what love is and what love is not – not from an ideal or a belief but from what love is energetcially and thus they apply to us all whether we believe them or not. This can be felt and known by each of us and it is the love within each of us that is the true guide, the true voice that we respond to and live from.

Consider the possiblity that there is a consciousness, some would call it the force of evil,  that does not want us to get all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, that does not want us to know we are love, that does not want us to know who we truly are – for then we could become truly free and not at the mercy of life happening to us, no longer a puppet being tossed on the waves of life but a captain of our ship with God as our compass and navigator.  What would be the best way for that consciousness, that force to keep us away from a true teacher of life who could help to fit all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together?

Is it possible that the best way to keep people away from a true teacher of life who can assist people with their own jigsaw puzzle of life such that they get to to see the whole picture of the true and glorious being that they are, is to have that person, that true teacher, labelled as a ‘cult leader’?

Something to ponder perhaps.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Paul O'Hara
    31st July 2012 at 3:45 am

    No, Universal Medicine is not a cult, nor Serge Benhayon it’s cult-leader. But why does it seem this way to some? I remember thinking to myself a few years ago after having listened to some of Serge’s presentations that I agreed with some of his statements and disagreed with others, that sometimes Serge was right, and sometimes he was wrong. As time has moved on I now don’t think that way – when I hear something from Serge that challenges my mind I realize that I have a belief there that I will in time let go of, because I have realized that what Serge presents always ends of being of truth. He simply presents, and what he presents is truth.

    This process of accepting what Serge says as being of Truth, rather than weighing everything up with my mind, could easily be seen as me giving my power away. It is not. It is me accepting that here we have someone who presents Truth, and I can also find this truth if I feel what is inside myself, through living it.

    Our society if very uncomfortable with the reality that there is actually an absolute Truth for us all on this planet. We have become very politically correct and meek by believing that truth is relative, that there are many different truths, that my truth and your truth can be different, and that all truths are created equal. This is really a cop-out, for how can opposing ‘truths’ be true?

    The many and varied people who have found the teachings of Serge Benhayon have something in common it seems, they realize that there is only one Truth, or rather, that true Truth is always One-unifying, it can be felt (in the heart) and not always fully comprehended my the mind. This brings them together in what could be seen as a ‘cult-like’ gathering. It is not. But to a society that champions ‘argument’ and acceptance of varying ‘truths’ it would naturally seem like these people are all being “brain-washed” into believing one man’s truth. Society is simply very uncomfortable when people come together presenting the same Truth, living the same Truth, and speaking the same Truth, especially when that Truth is asking us to take full responsibility for all of our choices and not be ‘victims’ in one way or another.

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