Thinking about leaving the school?
The decision to leave the group is not an easy one to make. This is why it is so effective when the teachers threaten to kick you out -- even if you have lingering doubts about the legitimacy of the school, you still might not see any clear choice, and you certainly do not want to throw away what seems like your only chance to "awaken". Emotionally, you may have recognized that something seems wrong, but you feel stuck in indecision because, intellectually, you find that almost anything can be justified within the framework of the school.
For an outsider, the choice to leave is obvious. This indicates that, as an insider, you see things differently.
The following questions are meant to bring your attention to areas which you may have ignored for some time. Try to ponder these questions sincerely, and, instead of responding with an obvious quote from books or the teachers, attempt to answer from your own valid experience. Make a distinction between what a school should be and focus instead on what your group actually is.
There is an absolute rule which states that the only valid response to a photograph is "thank you." Do you feel that this response is always appropriate? When you repeatedly find yourself answering criticism in this way, how does it make you feel about your own point of view?
Ouspensky says only you can find your own chief feature . Did you find yours, or was it told to you by the teachers?
Do you feel afraid when anticipating a meeting with the teachers? Do you feel afraid when they come home?
Do you believe that the teachers know what you are thinking? Have you ever tested this?
Would you be uncomfortable asking a question which might indicate that you do not have absolute trust in the teachers' honesty? Have they earned your absolute trust? Deep in your heart, do you really have absolute trust for them? Do you think that such devotion is a requirement for your growth? Can you imagine an organization in which you are not required to have absolute faith in the teachers, and, if so, do you think it would be more or less effective? Do you think such a group would be more or less healthy?
Does anyone ever graduate?
Were you to "awaken", would you then feel indebted to the teachers? Would you feel even more responsibility to do what they asked?
Ask some of the older students if they have "awakened". To those who answer yes, ask them if they verified it themselves or if they had to be told by the teachers that they had awakened. Ouspensky says that a Man number 5 is "objective in relation to himself", that is, he understands himself without distortion. Why, then, would a Man number 5 need to be told that he had awakened? What does this imply about those who think they have awakened? Do you personally think they have awakened?
Money and profits
Do you really feel that your payments help you to "value your work" more? Do your payments increase your understanding?
Have you ever seen the full financial records of the school? Would you feel uncomfortable asking? If so, why?
Why do you pay in cash?
When the teachers ask you for a large payment, say, $1000, are you able to bargain with them? Would you feel uncomfortable attempting to bargain with them? Why? Do you feel that these payments really help your understanding? Do you consider yourself more of a "serious student" when you make these payments?
Why do you think the teachers have a safe hidden under the floor of the bedroom closet?
Have the teachers asked you to make a large purchase "for the good of the school"? For example, have you bought computers that were used by other students, or have you discussed buying a house that would be used by the school?
Who owns the teaching house?
Why do so many work octaves involve making improvements to the teaching house and other property owned by the teachers?
Do the teachers themselves pay "the school" a monthly payment? Or, instead, do they get paid? Is there any financial distinction between "the school" and "the teachers"?
Do the the teachers know your annual income?
Do you know the annual income of the teachers? Would you feel uncomfortable asking them this question? If so, why?
Have you noticed that, regardless of a student's chief feature , to actively work against it they inevitably end up sacrificing themselves for the benefit the school? For example, to work against "vanity", a student must be more selfless. Or, to work against "greed", a student must be willing to give the school more time and money. To overcome "dominance" or "power", you must do what the teachers say. To work against "nonexistance", you must take a more active role in school activities. Or, to work against "superficiality", you must go into greater depth with your commitment to the school and its activities. Who really benefits most from this work?
Examine the process of "verification". If something takes a while to verify, how many times do you have to see it in action before you consider it verified?
How do you interpret observations which appear to contradict the idea you are trying to verify?
When you approach an idea for verification, do you admit the possibility that it might not be true? Or, do you see it more as an objective truth which you presume to be true?
If you cannot verify an idea, do you consider it as a failing on your part?
What happens when a student leaves? What kinds of comments are made about them during meetings afterwards? Why were those comments not made to them before they left? Are they treated with compassion?
Do the teachers ever lose their temper? When they do become angry, do you interpret it as an intentional act, the aim of which is to teach you a lesson? Does it really look like an act?
Since joining the school, do you feel more connected to other people outside the group, or more detached? Do you have friends outside the school?
Are you hesitant or embarassed to discuss certain aspects of the school with your friends and family?
Do you really think that " life is trying to eat the school"?
When you place bookmarks in stores, do you ask permission from the store owner first? Why not? Do you feel it is appropriate to place bookmarks when you know that the owner would not allow you to do so if he knew what you were doing? From the perspective of the six processes which process best describes this deceptive behavior?
Observe the "older students" who have been in the group for years. Do you admire them? Do you want to become like them? Are they happy? Do they understand themselves any better than you?
Are you happy? Do you enjoy life?
How do you feel about the possibility of being in the school for the rest of your life? If that possibility makes you feel uncomfortable or worried, do you interpret that emotion as laziness?
Do you have ways to express your creativity? Have you had to discontinue previous creative activities (such as music or photography) because you no longer have time for them?
Have you ever been instructed to kill an animal by the teachers or an older student? Have you ever seen another student kill an animal? If so, did it seem necessary? Were there other solutions that were not explored?
Do others really "transmute negative emotions"? Do you?
Do you feel that the other students are more or less negative than other people outside the group?
Since joining the school, have you personally become more or less negative? The question does not refer to your expression of negative emotions, but to the frequency of the emotions themselves.
Do you feel that it is ever legitimate to put yourself first?
Are you able to distinguish between valid criticism of the organization and mere laziness?
Would you feel uncomfortable not participating in a group activity? Have you ever wanted to not participate? Did you participate anyway?
In general, do you feel guilty when you take a rest from active psychological effort? For example, would you feel guilty if you took a nap? To avoid this feeling of guilt, do you purposely find recreation which can also be justified as beneficial to your psychological work? For example, if you want to watch a movie, do you seek out movies that are sanctioned by the school? And, if you cannot find a movie which explicitly promotes your view of the world, will you then decide not to watch a movie at all?
Control of information
Why are you not allowed to communicate with people who have left the group? Does this really help those who have left? Does it help the teachers in any way? Can you see any reasons why the teachers might not want you to communicate with ex-members?
Do you know the true lineage of the school? If you ask this question to the teachers or older students, what is their usual response? Would you feel uncomfortable asking this question? Why do you think this question would be taboo?
Are friends and family allowed to visit the teaching house? Why not? Would you feel comfortable asking for permission for a visit by a family member? Why?
Students have been kicked out for lying to the teachers or withholding information. Do the teachers withhold information from you?
Have you verified the teachers' level of being?
How, exactly, do the planets affect your psychology? Have you verified this?
What do you think will happen when you die? What experiences have you had which lead you to this conclusion?
Do you view this life as just one of countless lives that continue to recur? Have you verified this? Does this attitude affect your valuation of this current life? Do you feel that the belief in recurrence makes you more willing to devote your life to the school?
Do you believe that there is an objective meaning to events? Or, rather, do you believe that we attach meaning to events?
Do you know the meaning of paranoia? Do you believe that higher forces communicate to you through the mass media such as TV, movies, music, and billboards?
Have you personally experienced something verifiably miraculous?
What, exactly, is "awakening"?
Who and what, exactly, is "C Influence"?
Do you believe you are part of an elite corps of individuals who are superior to other humans? Do you think that, someday, if you are lucky, you will reach another level of existence whose role it is to influence the lives of ordinary humanity?
What, exactly, is the purpose of the obligatories ? During obligatories, do you interpret a physical tingling sensation as the presence of "higher energies"? Do you understand what happens during hyperventilation?
Do the teachers require you to have sex a certain number of times a week? If so, does this "balance your sexual energy", or do you instead find yourself dreading these occasions?
Do they require you to have sex with partners to whom you are not naturally attracted? If so, did this teach you something positive?
If the teachers have given you sexual quotas, do you now enjoy sex more or less? Has your attitude towards sex changed?
Since joining the school, do you consider yourself more or less physically healthy? Have you gained weight? Are you more or less tired than before?
Do you get enough physical rest and sleep? Did you know that lack of rest can make a person vulnerable to suggestion?
Since joining the school, have you developed a fear of certain foods? If you have changed your diet, has the change produced verifiably positive improvements in your health?
Obstacles to leaving
Did the teachers suggest that you would lose all that you had gained psychologically if you left? Did they suggest that everything you'd learned would "turn into something bad"? Have you ever known this type of disintegration of understanding to happen in any other branch of knowledge? If not, why do you think this would be any different?
Did the teachers suggest that they would "keep your magnetic center " if you left?
If you live in a teaching house, are you aware that part of you might want to stay because you are concerned about finding a new place to live?
If you have cut off relationships with friends outside the school, are you aware that part of you might want to stay in the group because you fear the loneliness of being on your own and being unable to communicate with your friends that still remain in the school?
Are you concerned about the large re-entrancy payments? Do you think it is reasonable to ask for monthly payments for each month you were absent? How does this influence your decision? Do you think the teachers are aware of how this influences your decision? Why do you think they keep the rule anyway?
Can you see any reasons why the teachers might want to pressure you into staying?
Do you think that it is healthy to have these artificial pressures placed upon you? Do you think it is necessary? Do you think you would be able to judge for yourself whether the school has been a positive experience, without the additional fear imposed by these policies?