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Messages - Ekstatikos

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31
Quote
But what surprises me is the amount of heated anger towards TDS coming from people who aren't even members, or were only part of the school briefly. I don't understand the level of vitriol certain individuals are expressing towards an organization which they personally don't have any real first hand involvement with. I admit that it really baffles me.

And who are you talking about right now?



You know, I think these threads need some of that well earned positive feedback so those loyal to TDS should share their experiences, as well. And I know, I really do, that TDS helped you on your path immensely, but considering I have heard this general sentence so many times I will put here a list of questions I mainly would like to be answered.

1) How do you enjoy the false lineage claims of your school?
2) How do you enjoy all that gnosis and henosis that your school led you into?
3) How do you enjoy the fact that your teachers (people that should be way ahead on the path than you are) didn't get to that gnosis/henosis part to figure out who really is or isn't an "old soul" and they weren't even convinced enough to stay with you students?
4) How do you like the seasonal change of the practices of your "ancient heritage" school?

Nah, I think I am getting sardonic again, so if that first part offends you, please ignore that. Rather tell me/us what you really did achieve thanks to the school? Now I don't mean sentences like "TDS helped me greatly on my path", I mean more information like "I can now astral project at will" or "I can stay awake for 3 days without any drugs" or "I completely lost the need to eat as I am completely sustained by the Sun energy now", I think you get the idea.

You are, if nothing else, a consistent source of entertainment here Akenu. Bravo.

Seriously though, your suggestion is a good one. In my own testimonial (link below), I talked about some of the progress I'm comfortable with sharing. I'm by no means one of the advanced students, though I know of some people who have made staggering progress. Of course, most of these things are private (Law of Silence and all that), and many of the people making good progress are meditating and practising and enjoying the benefits serenely and privately instead of getting involved in the drama of internet forum arguments like me - I should probably do the same haha. But I like this community - it'll always be special to me, and lately there has been more activity than just endless pro/anti TDS debates, which is good.


If we are going to go for balanced objectivity I once again dare the ex-students and teachers from tdssanctuary to share their positive experiences they had with the school...

I've changed my mind. Ruhdelen100, I think your request is fair so long as TDS students are willing to do the same: be willing, for the sake of objectivity, to openly talk of their negative experiences within the school and make accurate, fair criticisms on both their teachers and the school system itself. Perhaps the school already does this from within, but stating these opinions publicly to help represent an accurate picture of the current state of the school rather than merely enumerating on all the positives would be a fair compromise.

That's fair. In light of this and for what it's worth, I've updated my own testimonial here. That might answer some of your questions as well Akenu. Of course, if current students of TDS want to present a more balanced view of TDS by providing their own positive experiences, I think that's much more helpful than engaging in endless arguments here.

As for tdssanctuary, it's unreasonable to expect them to give their positive experiences of TDS. That's not their goal. Their goal is the following, quoted from their first post:

Quote
In summary, we believe (and will attempt to show, to the best of our ability) that the leaders of The Divine Science have:

* given unsafe practices that have harmed students
* given unsafe medical advice and treatments without a license to practice medicine
* exerted unhealthy amounts of control over their students’ lives, to their detriment
* mislead (at best) about where the money they collect goes
* slandered and libeled current and former students due to leaving the school, or merely for criticizing the leaders or defying orders
* mislead students about the nature and degree of their spiritual attainments and abilities
* passed off others knowledge as their own
* have exploited students financially
* directly defied the mandates of the guru they claim to be so close to (and from whom they claim to get their power and mandate)
* used fear as a tactic to prevent students from leaving or disobeying
* lied about former students to provoke the sympathy and outrage of current students, so that these students, often acting with well-meaning, if misguided, intentions, would * attack and harass the former students.

The leaders of The Divine Science are completely unremorseful and unapologetic about all of these misdeeds, in fact, they have taken absolutely no responsibility for any of them, and instead they turn blame around to portray themselves as victims. Although we are not psychologists and cannot diagnose anyone, we believe, and will attempt to prove, that they are textbook narcissists, with nearly all of the characteristics listed on well-regarded websites explaining narcissistic personality disorder. In addition, we believe, and will attempt to prove, that The Divine Science is a textbook cult, meeting nearly all the characteristics of a cult listed on well-regarded websites explaining cult behaviors and spiritual abuse.

We hope that by offering some criticism of TDS and it’s leaders, we can stop the spread of ego that, if left unchecked, we believe will become increasingly dangerous to those affected by them. We hope that if someone decides to join this organization, they will be going in with their eyes completely open to all of its benefits and detriments, so that they will not be taken advantage of by the seductive illusions that the leaders wrap around naive students.

The bit about "benefits" in that last sentence is a hollow caveat at best, in light of everything before it. These are their goals and they will pursue them - I don't know why anyone expects them to talk about their positive experiences with TDS. That is not their objective. And that's fine - let them pursue their objectives, and if you feel like they are presenting an unfair picture of the organization then either ignore it, argue here (pointless in my opinion), tell others about your positive experiences (a fairly lengthy compilation of those can be found here), or commit yourself to the teachings and practices of TDS and, if you're successful, don't worry about what others have said. Or do whatever! Just my suggestions ^^

And again, none of this invalidates any legitimate complaints that TDS can learn from, nor does it make it any better that people had bad experiences - that is deeply regrettable, and I wish the people who did all the best. I'm always around to talk to here, anyone is always welcome to pm me. Well almost anyone  :P

32
But now, when criticism finds its way here, suddenly talking about TDS and airing the dirty laundry outside is something that is to be avoided.

Not really what I meant at all, Silver, and I'm not sure how you got that from my post, but ok. Of course anyone can talk about whatever they want, and criticize or defend whatever they want. I was just raising my own opinion of whether it is useful at this point - I could be wrong, maybe it's still very useful. Though I still feel a lot of the general attitude of us vs them and the type of rhetoric used has made it less so, so I'd hope that at least some of that could be dropped. But people will act as they see fit, I was just giving my 2 cents.

33
Magick / Re: The Mechanics of Worship
« on: November 23, 2015, 07:48:46 AM »
Ekstatikos, please try to keep the external links at minimum, we are trying to put the life back to this forum.

Blessings, Akenu.

LOL seriously?

...This book has just 26 pages but contains an extensive explanation on how to use and read tarot including a set of basic spreads. Read the book and try to work with tarot along the reading, let's see how that goes.

If you prefer PDF, this book can also be downloaded here: http://forums.vsociety.net/index.php/topic,23528.0.html under name Liber Azag: The Book of Tarot...

Very interesting banned TEDx talk about science delusion by Rubert Sheldrake:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TerTgDEgUE

...More info here: http://www.occultresource.net/veritas-society-forum/

... little exert from this page: http://www.galacticcenter.org/content/view/127/78/
Vishaka"the forked shaped" 20.00 Libra to 3.20 Scorpio
...

I have just find this awesome website http://www.occultresource.net/



Instead of acting like you're the Voice of Veritas and asking me to not do something that you yourself do all the time, maybe contribute to the thread? Also, just because you don't like TDS doesn't mean they don't have good resources, or that I can't link people to those resources here.

That's all I have to say about that. I won't derail what I think is a very valuable thread any further - any magician worth their salt should make understanding religious symbolism, and the mechanics of worship, a priority.

34
Magick / Re: The Mechanics of Worship
« on: November 23, 2015, 05:31:55 AM »
Hi Netero!

Your post has many good insights. You can find some articles that I have found helpful on the subject here and here.

Studying various mythologies and understanding the finer details of symbolism is no doubt crucial for the aspiring magician. However, what is perhaps even more crucial for the purposes of worship, is to sometimes drop the mind and open the heart. Worship is a thing of the heart, and should be approached in that way. While it is good to be intellectually familiar with various pantheons and their interconnections and symbolism, it is just as important to find the God of one's own heart. In Hinduism there are the concepts of the Ishta Devata (personal deity) as well as the Kula Devata (family deity). So, it is believed that it is important to pay respect to the deity of your own family and upbringing, but also crucial to find your own personal deity, that speaks to your heart and that you can identify with. Moreover, your own relationship with deity is highly personal; Hinduism, as an example, teaches that different people relate ideally to their personal deity in different ways, e.g. as a king, a parent, a sibling or friend and so on. Do what feels right to you, and keep experimenting to find ever deeper layers of faith and devotion.

I believe it is good, in terms of worship at least, to focus on one or only a couple of deities, otherwise you will, worship-wise, you will be like a jack of all trades and master of none. Personally, I think it is best to either pick a single pantheon to focus on - with one deity in that pantheon being your own conception of the highest god, or a single 'type' of deity and worship it in whatever forms it takes in various pantheons, especially those that resonate most strongly with you. Of course it is understood that ultimately, divinity transcends all of these forms and symbols, and that these are tools for our own benefit, to make reaching up to the divine easier for us.

As you mention, astrology is also a fantastic tool here. There is a methodology in Vedic astrology specifically for the purpose of providing guidance on the nature of one's own ishta devata. I can recommend a good astrologer for this if you pm me.

How religious and traditional or relaxed and free-from you want to be about worship is ultimately up to you and the needs of your own soul. What matters is that you pour your heart into it sincerely.

35
Magick / Re: Free public services
« on: November 23, 2015, 05:05:55 AM »
@ArcaTuthus: Sure. It just feels like a little odd, I believed that divination is part of TDS curricula. No offense intended.

If you consider the public articles on their website as part of their curriculum, then it is. More specific instruction on divination is part of the later levels of instruction as well - I can vouch for this personally. Astrology in particular is seen by TDS to be one of the best forms of divination, and Veos has offered several workshops on the subject, as well as running his own website apart from TDS offering astrology services and information (I guess according to the new rules I'm not allowed to link to it here, but I'll be happy to point anyone to it if they contact me in pm).

That being said, not every student in TDS is necessarily interested in divination, nor does everyone have the same aptitude for it. In my experience it's better when people train towards their own interests, strengths and aptitudes, so there's nothing strange about someone having had some basic instruction in some of the core tenets of divination, but never having fully committed to attempting to master the art for themselves, or simply admitting that they are not yet confident in their skills in that particular area.

Just wanted to clear that up. It's nice of you to offer your own services here for free Akenu, certainly commendable!

36
To the condescending comments about not being anywhere near the mountain or whatever analogy you will use, do cease with the condescending. It really is not hard at all to do. And we’ve never implied we are higher than the students of the divine science, we have just simply been trying to point out the wrongs Ekstatikos.

Lolwut... I said nothing of the sort nor was I being condescending, nor did I say that you've been implying that you were higher than anyone.  Do you need me to quote my own post for you here? Please don't complain about people ignoring or not reading posts properly and then do the exact same thing. :/ Anyway good luck with the nerve issues, I know how debilitating those can be.

My point was simply that I feel, personally, that it's silly for people to argue about this here. On the side of tdssanctuary, there is already a platform established where you are airing your grievances and trying to show that TDS is a cult - good luck with that (and I'm not saying this is something anyone does all day, that's just ridiculous, no one is thinking or saying that). On the side of TDS, I don't think it's up to their students to come here and try to prove that TDS is not a cult, although of course if they want to do that then good luck to them as well. Rather, I think TDS students should be focusing on their studies, which, if effective, will show that whatever its 'cult-like' attributes, TDS at least provides legitimate training.

Finally, I'm tired of how polarizing this is, and I think that that has a lot to do with people coming on places like this and arguing about something that is not going to be resolved in an argument, especially now that it's a legal matter and so on. Keep to yourself and your own goals, shouting at each other here is not going to achieve anything in my opinion, except create bad blood. The ceaseless arguing and the general atmosphere that it creates makes it seem like the only possible explanation is that one side are righteous saints and the other are nefarious villains. Everyone who has been involved with these arguments in such a way (including myself) should be ashamed of creating an atmosphere where those seem to be the only possible explanations. Discussion is good, but not when poisoned with polarizing and inflammatory rhetoric from either side, as is so often the case with internet arguments.

This is real life, not an action movie with black and white morality and heroes and villains. Mistakes were made, no one is perfect, it sucks that people had bad experiences, the tdssanctuary members are right to make themselves heard, and the TDS staff are right to defend themselves from what they see as false accusations. So let tdssanctuary and TDS sort it out amongst themselves - arguing about it here achieves nothing. And at this point, 3+ threads and how many weeks later, exactly how much nothing it achieves is increasingly obvious.

38
Enlightenment doesn't exist in the mystical sense. If you want enlightenment read a book. Learn something new. If it's  spiritual enlightenment, you're fooling yourself. It's just a condition response to reinforced thinking. I've become enlightened they say, only because you believe it so. I guess science and psychology have been tossed out the door.

Yes and no?

The main problem with enlightenment is we try to define it as something mystical, something "out of this world". A really enlightened people came with electricity, bricks, fire, aqua-ducts, antibiotics, surgery, cars... What should be our greatest goal in life is to reach and maybe even surpass these people to make our lives better, to make the humanity better.

You could argue that e.g. Buddha wasn't an inventor, but Buddha came with Buddhism, which was a great thing in the times of Brahmanism and system of castes. As for the science: Science was developed by religions all over the world, from ancient Egyptians up to the priest in the Victorian age and we, as occultists, are part of this tradition, we just need to make sure we are another useful part and not a waste.

You're right. It's the same point I was trying to make. Mass market "enlightenment" is just a sales pitch. Real enlightenment is knowledge and the will to achieve something outside the box. Not meditating is some remote location for years.

Sooo... You've never experienced an altered state of consciousness? In all your years of meditating, you haven't had your state of consciousness permanently altered, in any way? You can't imagine that these alterations gradually build up to distinctly unique waking states of consciousness? Amazing. Anyway, we had a discussion on this topic last year, if you'd like to revisit it, and stay on topic here.

39
TDS sounds like just another cult to me.

Wonderful.

I don't know why people are still arguing about this. If tdssanctuary is setting out to prove that TDS is a cult, then good luck to them - that is their goal, their purpose, and so clearly they will work hard to achieve it.

But what is the purpose of TDS students? To prove that TDS is NOT a cult? No. The goal of TDS students is to reach enlightenment. If they can achieve this, they will, as a side effect, also prove that, whatever it's "cult-like" status, it is a legitimate mystery school. They would do better to focus on their primary purpose than continuing pointless arguments here. Leave tdssanctuary alone to pursue their goals, and as a student of TDS, pursue your own - let success be your proof, and if you are not having success, then find something that DOES work for you, and go in peace. There are many ways up the mountain, don't waste your time arguing with someone who is yelling at you that you are going the wrong way - especially if they are relatively no further up the mountain themselves. If you have a guide that you trust, who has climbed the mountain, brought back evidence, and led others up, and who is now holding their hand out to you, what else should you be looking at?

May we all find what we seek, Namaste, God Bless.

EDIT: Good point Sadrielle, well said.

40
A topic to write testimonials and discuss experiences about The Divine Science, an online "Theurgy" school run by Ramose and Veos Daskalodos.

Testimonials and experiences can be both positive and/or negative.

Please try to give your personal account rather than speak for the majority or defend any claims previously made against the school by others in the past or in this topic.

The whole idea for this topic is to allow YOU to give YOUR personal account without anyone trying to discredit or attack YOU as seen previously in other topics on this forum.

Please try to keep it clean, give YOUR account and be honest so that others can learn from YOUR experience.

Edited topic description.

Well since you added this after the fact I won't go back and edit my entire post, nor do I think I need to. I have given my personal account. The majority of TDS students won't come comment on a Veritas thread, but I have had personal interactions with the majority of TDS students in my time there, and so I see no problem with me reporting that in my honest experience the majority of TDS students are content and seeing results. Feel free to disregard this if you don't want to believe me, but, as the majority of TDS students aren't' going to come on here giving testimonials, I felt it necessary to mention in the interest of fairness.

Being accused of being part of a cult is a part of my (I suppose in this instance somewhat negative) experiences with TDS, so I thought it worth mentioning how I feel about that. Others are welcome to give dissenting views, of course, and I won't feel personally attacked or discredited, unless it does amount to that. If the moderators feel that my comments have targeted anyone in such a way (which was not my intention, it's a pretty general accusation), they are welcome to edit out the "TDS is a cult" section from my post.

41
So I’ve said things about The Divine Science in quite a few places scattered around Veritas, but I will take this opportunity to put my testimony in one place, with what I perceive as the pros and cons of the school at this point in my involvement with them. This might end up being a long post, so:

TL;DR – they are legitimate teachers of magic, their system gives results, and the vast majority of people who enrol are satisfied and happy - but the school has a very specific flavour imo – if you are unsure, try out the Probationer class, and if you want knowledge about them instead of opinions, try to visit them in person and see for yourself. Even if you do, you may find that you don’t like them, and that’s fine. That’s why there isn’t only one spiritual tradition on this planet. Personally, my experiences with TDS have been positive, and as I have said elsewhere, this is the case for the majority of people who enrol.

Also, TDS is not for everyone – I will not labour this point, as I think Shinichi’s post already illustrated it perfectly. What I will do in the remainder of this post, should anyone go through the trouble of reading it, is to give an honest account of the school as I have experienced it. Use it to gauge for yourself whether you might be interested.


My History with TDS

I came to TDS from a background of bits of online learning alongside practical experience in meditation, yoga and the beginning practices of Bardon’s Initiation into Hermetics. I joined online around April of 2011 (if memory serves), and have been an online student ever since. As is the case with most of my peers, this means at this point I have received around a hundred knowledge lectures and over a dozen practical exercises. With recent changes in the teaching system of the school, these numbers are even higher, and I have been really enjoying the increased focus on practical magical exercises as well as ancient philosophy.

I have visited the TDS teachers twice, once in 2012 on my own at a 3 day retreat, and once for two weekends in 2014 with my partner, who also joined the school (around 2012). These visits cemented the reality of the teachings in my mind and heart, and made magic more real to me than it had ever been before (I will return to this below).


An Online School and a Physical Temple

Firstly, let me disabuse anyone of any notions that the TDS staff or students believe TDS is the best or only way to learn magic. Admittedly, in the West, it is certainly one of the more legitimate options. That being said, the teachers often and openly admit not only that TDS is a ‘work in progress’, but that teaching magic online is probably the worst way imaginable to teach magic. Nevertheless this is in part what they have set out to do, in an effort to bring legitimate knowledge and practical experience of magic to a wider audience. That being said, it is much better to learn in person. For this reason there is also a physical location which can be visited. The benefits of learning something like magic in person as opposed to through the electronic medium are myriad and should be obvious to anyone, and so students are encouraged to visit. That being said, do not think that learning online is useless – it certainly is not, as the experiences and progress of many, many exclusively online students will attest to. It just isn’t nearly as good as learning in person. Keep this in mind if you feel that it will be difficult to visit. (Note: it may in the end not be as difficult to visit as you think. Many students, including me, experience nigh miraculous series of events enabling them to take what at first seemed to be an impossible trip.)


The Head Teachers

Ramose and Veos are certainly charismatic. They are always cheerful and joking, and this gives the entire school an air of light-hearted seriousness, as strange as this may sound. They are incredibly knowledgeable about Theurgy and a host of other spiritual systems of the world, as well as practical occult matters, as anyone who has learnt from them will attest to. They do not set themselves up as guru’s to be worshipped, but they do demand respect as Teachers and Hierophants (the latter term denoting someone who has the authority to confer initiation), which is reasonable in the context of any place of learning. They are pleasant and approachable and above all, always happy to help and serve.


The Sub Teachers

The sub teachers who are at this point still with TDS are shining examples of what is possible when the system is practiced conscientiously. Though they have widely varying personalities, they all have an air of kindness and nobility which is unmistakable. Some of them are strict to a fault, some are very forgiving. This means that somewhere on this spectrum you can find a fit that is best for you, which helps. Personally I enjoy stricter teachers, so that is what I have opted for – which resulted in maybe my only ‘negative’ experience with TDS. On one visit, the entire group was chewed out royally by one of the sub teachers, in rather harsh terms. We were all a bit taken aback, but in retrospect, having a good disciplining every now and again is necessary, especially when the matters at hand are of such gravity. Your spiritual path is not something to be fucked around with, and the teachers at TDS won’t have much patience with you if that is what you want to do.


The Community

The school is made up of people. If anyone thinks that any group of people anywhere is immune to things like gossip and infighting then that is astounding to me. If these things happen with the ‘locals’ (this who live at or near the temple), and is explained as past life karmas or whatever, well then so be it. If you really can’t pay the price of a little drama in return for the attention of actual magic teachers and peers on the path then you really have no place learning in any kind of group setting – go your own way and be content. As for the online community, though there are occasional disagreements and arguments, naturally, in my experience it is by FAR the best online community I have ever had the pleasure of being a part of. I don’t need anyone to take my word for this, anyone who becomes involved will experience this for themselves.


The Tradition, Lectures and Practices

A word on tradition – besides getting scolded once or twice (poor me), this is the only major con to the TDS experience: it has a very specific flavour. What flavour you ask? Neoplatonism. I would advise anyone interested in TDS to go and read some Plato, Plotinus and Iamblichus and see if you like it. If you don’t, you won’t like TDS. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Personally I love it, and I love seeing TDS as a revival of the Neoplatonic spirit, so cruelly cut down in its prime many centuries ago. As Shinichi also said, the Greek tradition is in many ways the heart of Western culture, and so it is very satisfying for me to see attempts to bring this grand tradition back into the fold of Western spirituality. So much for tradition. If you want to know more, TDS has an interesting article about the history of the Theurgic tradition on their public website.

The lectures are instructive and useful. Though not explicitly pointed out, since students are encouraged to experiment and find things for themselves, there is much practical information ‘hidden’ in the lectures, that the astute student will, upon further investigation, be able to use for all sorts of things. Most of what is in the lectures are considered ‘Lesser Mysteries’, meaning they are, in some form or another, already available publically. The benefit of the TDS curriculum is that they are brought together in one place in a structured series of teachings, making them easier to, well, find, and to digest. Coupled with practical instruction running parallel to these lectures, this forms the backbone of TDS’s system of teaching, which even a student working on their own can gain immense value from for many years, leading them up to the point of initiation, which is done in person.

The practices start at the basic foundational things like the skills of meditation and the ennoblement of character, with the main spiritual practice being a form of internal alchemy (the Olympic meditations), and the key magical practices involving the training of the magical faculties, work with the Vital force, and preparatory exercises for later ritual work. The Olympic meditations lie at the heart of this system, the first level of which brings the student into rapport with their Higher Self, opening up intuition and triggering experiences that put the student firmly on the path towards the goal of the system: Enlightenment.


Magical Phenomena

As I’ve said elsewhere, I am not comfortable sharing the details of some of the more incredible experiences I’ve had with TDS. More than that, I want people to experience these things for themselves (whether with TDS or not, there is nothing more special to me than someone truly waking up to the reality of magic). Suffice to say, I experienced things that cannot be explained by coincidence, confusion or hallucination – blatant manipulations of physical reality. There is no other way to put this. It is my sincere hope that anyone who dedicates themselves to the path of magic, whether through TDS or another avenue, can one day experience the kind of things I have. The exciting part to me is that I ain’t seen nothin’ yet – this is just the beginning…


My Progress with TDS

Progress in meditation, personal transformation, and magical ability. I’ve spoken about this elsewhere, I’ll leave it to others to say more on this if they wish. The system works if you dedicate yourself to it, the sub teachers and older students are all a testament to this. EDIT: I'll quote something relevant to this from another thread I participated in:

Quote
Did TDS' teachings help you develop spiritually?

That's a pretty vague question. Could you refine it? If you mean have I experienced the spiritual in my daily life more as a direct result of TDS, then yes. My life has turned from relatively mundane to being infused with magic on a daily basis.

Did you reach states of meditation that are described by many Spiritual traditions with clear signs of progress?

Yes, as Kichara said, pratyahara being the most well known. I've also had other experiences during meditation ranging from intense physical symptoms like heat and cold, distortions of my perception of time and location, and intense visions and inspirations. Moreover, there are certain waking states that are more or less permanent that have now become a part of my daily reality, which I can directly attribute to my progress in the practices I learnt studying at TDS.

As a side-note, TDS has it's own taxonomy of waking and meditative states based on the Neoplatonic tradition, so the student can verify their progress in meditative states for themselves. Anyone can easily verify that the states TDS describe correspond to those described in other recognized spiritual traditions.

Did your character change for the better?

Yes, in some ways strikingly. The details are personal, but I have broken myself of several addictions, and have overcome some major vices in areas like anger and callousness. This is really something that is hard to talk about, but people who have applied the system conscientiously know the extent of self-transformation that is possible using some of it's most simple techniques.

Did it strengthen your belief in the Divine through actual direct mystical experiences?

It depends on what you mean by the Divine. As I've said, visions and the like during meditation are not uncommon, and I've definitely developed an appreciation for the unseen presence and influence of Deity in my daily life. On the other hand, I am now wholly convinced of the reality of magic (on a scale I could never before have imagined), and due to the direct ties of these experiences with TDS, also convinced of the status of the TDS staff as, at least as far as my experience goes, effective and attained magicians. Either that, or I have suffered random and entirely convincing shared hallucinations whilst somehow being entirely sane otherwise. Anyway, I don't need to labour this point, even many of those now critiquing TDS cannot deny the things they experienced via TDS as being extraordinary.


Over-zealousness and obsessive behaviour

If there is an aspect of my experience with TDS that I would call 'negative', it would be the following, though really, it was simply (in my case at least) a 'phase' to be grown out of. When you become a part of something new and exciting in your life, you tend to be excited about this, and often this can make a person act over-zealous about the subject (insert cross-fit reference here), or act in an obsessive way, thinking about it night and day, until they can feel like their life has been taken over by this thing. I experienced the latter with TDS, though that has now passed, ironically, because of the teachings on detachment that I learnt from that very same school. I was worried that my life was being taken over by TDS, but, on gaining proper perspective, I realized that it was in fact my spiritual path that was taking over, making me break with many destructive habits, things that I yet held on to. In the end, TDS can pass out of existence; I would find another way, and simply be grateful for the things I learnt during my time there. It doesn't matter what tradition or school or organization you are part of, what matters is the results you are seeing, and your own personal path and relationship to the cosmos.

I think it's entirely natural for people to get excited about good things in their lives. When that good thing is a magical school through which you are experiencing incredible magical phenomena, and often almost miraculous self-transformation, that excitement is going to be pretty intense. So, some people become over-zealous, or obsessive, or even evangelical about it. This is all natural and fine, and with time, people calm down, or burn out and reject the whole thing completely (of course, there is also the quiet, consistent excitement that leads to simple and powerful devotion to the practices and the spiritual path in general, and this is ideal). Now, unfortunately, this stage of over-zealousness can make people misunderstand what the student is going through, which leads me to my final point.


“TDS is a cult”

The accusation usually lobbed at TDS when people with an axe to grind run out of things to say against them. Well, if that is the case it’s a pretty terrible cult – and by the standards given by those making this accusation, pretty much any religion or spiritual organization (or corporation for that matter!) is a cult. TDS teaches philosophy and highly encourages critical thinking, which (amongst other things, not least of which being that they actually are teaching real magic and getting people real results, instead of just selling a fantasy for money) makes the accusations of cult mentality and psychological manipulation comically ironic, and frankly laughable. There may be many problems with TDS, but this is not one of them. I won’t dignify an accusation that amounts to simple slander with any more than this.

That being said, people have had negative experiences with TDS. How they interpret these experiences, whether as damages done to them maliciously or as learning experiences, is going to depend on a lot of things, and people are free to make up their own minds and choose their own course of action in this regard. In my own experience the teachers are open to discussing whatever grievances you may have if you come to them with a sincere problem - I have only ever experienced the staff to be kind and ready to help, if at times strict or matter-of-fact about things. Different people will respond to different teaching styles differently, a lot of that is personal preference, and should someone opt to take the Probationer class, they will be able to gauge the teaching style well enough to be able to decide early on, I think, whether it is right for them.

If not, and people leave the school years later, I don't think many of them, looking back, would seriously be able to honestly tell themselves that it had been a waste of time. Whatever the case, being a part of something like this teaches you many things about yourself and your approach to your own spirituality, and life in general.


Conclusion

The Probationer class is free and there is much material on their public website to give you a good idea of the flavour of the school. There will always be people disappointed with TDS, or people who have negative experiences, for whatever reason. But TDS can honestly boast that most students who have enrolled and taken the class seriously are more than satisfied. If you are genuinely interested, try it for yourself. It might be for you, it might not, only experience can reveal this.


EDIT PS I won't be responding to any counter-arguments or debating any of the above. This is my honest testimonial and I stand by it. Anyone is welcome to PM me with any specific questions though, or ask here, and I will respond as best I can. God Bless.

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This discussion should be about TDS as a school.

Originally it was about TDS probationer enrolment, which, incidentally, is now open http://www.thedivinescience.com/probationer-enrollment-open , for anyone who still thinks it's worth the risk  :teethy: lol

Just wanted to say that before I go back to lurking.

Also, at the end of the day, discussion is good, I'm glad everything in this thread is being discussed. Let's keep it civil.

God Bless.

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Unfortunately, those who have been a part of TDS and those who still are will find striking similarities in this video, unfortunately.

https://youtu.be/EBK5aKOr2Fw

Well, I would also recommend this movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Liqtk_qV0PE

There seems to be this weird, unspoken implication that all the people who are NOT leaving, who are by far the majority, are somehow mindless brainwashed goons, drunk on the fairy tales of their delusional and charismatic leader, happily following him off a cliff. This simply isn't the case. Even if everyone but the core teachers left TDS I would stay - most people that I know in the school would probably say the same. Why is this? Are we insane, or just idiotic? The simple fact is that it is so because our experiences have been overwhelmingly positive. Many, many of us have experienced incredible positive personal transformation, healing of ailments and breaking of addictions, objective progress in magic/mysticism, as well as witnessed or experienced objective magical phenomena directly tied to the school. So we have faith in this school - not blind faith, but faith built on what we have felt in our own hearts and seen with our own eyes.

Well now no longer unspoken. Criticism is great, but this thread has now officially gotten silly. And I don't want to look like I'm just defending TDS against silliness when actually I feel valid concerns have been raised, beyond ermagerd theyrr fat curlt lerders.

If you didn't like TDS I'm glad you got out and I'm glad you've made yourself heard. I wish you the best, and I'm sorry for your misfortunes. I hope things like this will more effectively be avoided in future. I'll leave it to people qualified to respond or not to the valid concerns, technical energy discussions and other specific issues.

I won't feed trolls though, and as Felidae said, this has reached a ridiculous place now, so I'm out, People can make up their own minds, and I've said all I wanted to say. Enjoy and may you all find what you seek.

EDIT: Pay attention. I'm not calling the people with valid grievances trolls. Getting hurt is a valid grievance.

44
This is really going to extremes, where either TDS is a horrible cult that only hurts people or it's the most wonderful thing ever and anyone who critiques it is a horrible person worth only spitting on.

This reminded me of this:


Source: http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=2939

We know that there is not one single way to find the Divine, and that there are many practitioners out there who have found success.  Is TDS's "divine science" so rigid, so absolute, that finding instruction or inspiration anywhere else is an absolute sin?  If a touch of divinity for all is the true goal of TDS, are you not happy when a student finds it?  Trillis's work should be praised!  Heralded!  Trillis should feel as if he is furthering himself and the school, but he comes away from it admonished because he strayed from the pack?

I am probably not the best equipped to respond to this, but I can share my thoughts. I have often heard it said at TDS that it is traditional when learning from a new instructor to commit oneself to studying only from them for at least the first year of instruction. This increases focus and lessens distraction, which can be a great obstacle early on. As this relates to Trillis, I didn't see him being reprimanded for travelling with a swami (in fact if you check Veos' words from the screenshot, you'll notice he says "[we] think it's great to have the opportunity to travel with a swami"), but only for sharing the fact publicly, perhaps because this could result in the kind of distraction mentioned. These are only my musings, it would be great if a TDS teacher could comment on this, it's a good question.


Did TDS' teachings help you develop spiritually?

That's a pretty vague question. Could you refine it? If you mean have I experienced the spiritual in my daily life more as a direct result of TDS, then yes. My life has turned from relatively mundane to being infused with magic on a daily basis.

Did you reach states of meditation that are described by many Spiritual traditions with clear signs of progress?

Yes, as Kichara said, pratyahara being the most well known. I've also had other experiences during meditation ranging from intense physical symptoms like heat and cold, distortions of my perception of time and location, and intense visions and inspirations. Moreover, there are certain waking states that are more or less permanent that have now become a part of my daily reality, which I can directly attribute to my progress in the practices I learnt studying at TDS.

As a side-note, TDS has it's own taxonomy of waking and meditative states based on the Neoplatonic tradition, so the student can verify their progress in meditative states for themselves. Anyone can easily verify that the states TDS describe correspond to those described in other recognized spiritual traditions.

Did your character change for the better?

Yes, in some ways strikingly. The details are personal, but I have broken myself of several addictions, and have overcome some major vices in areas like anger and callousness. This is really something that is hard to talk about, but people who have applied the system conscientiously know the extent of self-transformation that is possible using some of it's most simple techniques.

Did it strengthen your belief in the Divine through actual direct mystical experiences?

It depends on what you mean by the Divine. As I've said, visions and the like during meditation are not uncommon, and I've definitely developed an appreciation for the unseen presence and influence of Deity in my daily life. On the other hand, I am now wholly convinced of the reality of magic (on a scale I could never before have imagined), and due to the direct ties of these experiences with TDS, also convinced of the status of the TDS staff as, at least as far as my experience goes, effective and attained magicians. Either that, or I have suffered random and entirely convincing shared hallucinations whilst somehow being entirely sane otherwise. Anyway, I don't need to labour this point, even many of those now critiquing TDS cannot deny the things they experienced via TDS as being extraordinary.


As I said before, the vast majority of TDS students have had positive experiences, and many would answer in the affirmative to many if not all of the above questions. This doesn't invalidate any legitimate concerns that have been raised in this thread - it is just a reminder that far more often than not, those practising the system have found it effective, and the overall experience positive. This doesn't mean that TDS is perfect, and it certainly doesn't mean that TDS is the best or only way to achieve these results. A lot of it comes down to personal preference I believe, as the school does have a rather specific flavour and philosophy attached to it. That being said, there is always room for improvement, and it is my sincere belief that the legitimate concerns raised here will be taken into account in implementing some necessary changes for the benefit of current and future students alike. For those who suffered, again, I can only express my sympathy and my willingness to be a part of this ongoing conversation with them, and to wish them all the very best going forward.

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@Ekstatikos: You are very very wrong in assumptions. No one here implied that those happy with TDS are mindless brainwashed goons nad I believe it was actually posted already that many people have positive experiences with TDS. After all, Kumare's students also had a lot of good and positive experiences (but that's another story). Another story also is whether an enlightened hierophant should start e-mail with words "you're an idiot" as presented before.

I probably won't respond if anyone tries to counter anything I say here, I'm not here today to debate.

I'm not going to contradict anything anyone has said or make any serious counterarguments or try to argue specific points or justify the actions of the teachers etc etc.

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