High Demand


We met, studied, stayed up late, worked really hard, cared for and tried to help each other. I’m tempted to call it a folly of youth, but it was actually a chunk of my adult years. And perhaps not folly after all. Taking everything into account, my experience nets out positive by something between a hair and a high jump.

A high demand group, didn’t really have a name. Dozens of us, every year a Christmas party, we’d stay up for days with hot melt glue and cigarettes and extension cords. And coffee, always a lot of coffee. We were brought together, bound together, by a heart-breaking desire to make something more of ourselves, to find a better way to live a life on earth than those usually on display.

It cost money, but not all my money. It did take up more than all of my free time. It spoiled some friendships I treasured. There wasn’t a compound. I lived a regular life, had a job, an apartment; I didn’t hand out flowers in airports.

I’d been expecting for years to arrive at the place where we learned how to go about living a decent life. I thought it was going to be elementary school, but it turned out not to be. Then, that must be what “church” is for. It wasn’t. There might have been something once for us Americans & Europeans, but if there was, it was gone. I’d be a tourist in India, so, making the best of it was the only next choice.

Imagine how exciting to discover just such a place. How dedicated I was, observing myself, conquering some of my social anxiety, making essence friends. How devastated after years and experiences, to be unable to escape the conclusion that it was corrupt, and in the standard ways: lies, manipulation, abuse of power, and money, and sex, and money.

This part of my history won’t stand in the way of me becoming a serious writer or spoil my reputation. Those times are, I think, over anyway. In fact, I’m going to make it an asset. It might be evidence of naïve and twisty discrimination on my part, but it’s also evidence of my ability to believe passionately, to be serious, to put myself on the line.

I have no regrets but one. My devastating disappointment over leaving has for some time kept me from a young and sincere impulse toward worship, toward a spiritual practice. And I’m afraid the same is true for many of my loved ones who also became disillusioned and moved on. Trading on those innocent qualities and fervent desires for the sake of money, vanity, and power is merely unforgivable. But not all wounds are deep enough to be permanent.

6 comments to High Demand

  • delia cashin

    Hey Paul, Can’t tell you how much your writing means to me…and even more your renewed afirmations. How permanet are the wounds..I still wonder. Want to read more! thank you! Delia

  • admin


    Thanks for saying so. It’s really good to hear from you. There’s more to come. Living well is the best response, after all. How are you?



  • Hi Paul, We haven’t met, but I started a blog after I left “school” in August. I have found it so healing to put my experience down in written word. I think it’s great that you are doing the same and would love (when I can figure out how) to link our blogs together.

  • Bette

    Amazing, this sounds so familiar…
    Oh my God, I was there too!!!

    You write beautifully about the experience. In the past few years, I have considered that the experience will in some ways always be with me. It is a part of me for better or worse and it does not stand in my way either. As you so wisely pointed out to me some years ago, we would not be where we are now if we hadn’t been there then. I do still have a lot of residual anger – it cost most of my money, etc. But my wish for myself and for all of us is to be healed, find peace and lead the blessed lives that we were all born to live.

  • Jorek

    I feel a camaraderie, a commonality with you not even knowing you. Our time at Brown overlapped. I was recruited into a different “school” (same lineage, same ideology) while there, and several years of unethical control and exploitation (even if leavened by companionship) ensued before the spell broke and I was ready to leave. The following twenty-five years included much inquiry and study to understand the dimensions of the ensnarement, both internal and external to me. Healing required understanding the wound as well as the scheme, and in learning to call sociopathy by its true name. Feel free to write.

    • admin

      Hi Jorek,

      It’s amazing really how long it takes to get over the ill effects of time in a Group.

      The thing that’s been seeming more important to me lately is how the abuse of our spiritual natures leads so often, definitely for me, to discounting or turning against our spiritual impulses. That still makes me angry and I fight against it. No one joins such a group and stays if they aren’t really pursuing something deep and personal, and harming that is a loss to us & the world.

      So, how’s it going with you?

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