How Did Michael Guen Modify the Behavior of His Members?
Michael used several techniques in order to keep us under this control. In addition to freely modifying our characters and having free reign to make whatever comments he liked, he also taught us physical practice to “open our bodies.” He used a posture that basically mimics the military style. It only occurred to me later that this open body posture actually creates little soldiers who do not think for themselves. We are constantly in a position of keeping attention. I also noticed that the posture itself stops your thoughts. He has maximum ability to influence this way, especially as he encourages the women to continue to train this special physical practice and reap its medical benefits.
Furthermore, he would teach us meditation practices in this open body posture. He would begin each of the Thursday night women’s classes this way. We would sit quietly for several minutes, often with a candle in the center of the circle. During this time of complete silence and vulnerability, he had a chance to manipulate us in an altered state. We were completely open to any form of suggestion back then. This was also true when we lay on the table for his acupuncture sessions. It is scary now to think about what he was saying or doing to me during those trance-like states. This was the same as being hypnotized.
In effect he created phobias while we were in these states, instilling a very deep sense of fear in all of us. He hid behind the teaching by saying that we were actually practicing the feminine quality of “faith.” But in reality, he used fear tactics in order to keep our authentic selves at bay. He hijacked our spirituality and commandeered it for himself. I actually believed that I could not live a fulfilling life without the group. When I was only one of the few young women in the group, Michael emphasized to me that I could potentially end up like many of the older woman who were drained of energy. They gave so much to their children and some of them had unfulfilling relationships with their spouses. He manipulated me to think that I had to change something dramatic in myself or else I was doomed to their fate.
The message I got was that I could not grow spiritually without him or his teachings. He called it a “high class teaching” as opposed to the “middle class teachings” that were out there. Michael always said how we had “the complete system of a sacred teaching from China” and he made it seem as though we had something so special. No one could prove where this teaching came from. He claimed himself to be the sole bearer of this complete system. Through his language, he manipulated the importance of his knowledge and his role. He was going through a scarcity model – making it seem as though we were incredibly elite to have attracted this amazing knowledge into our lives.
The “standard of character” became everything. At one point, he even called us the standard bearers. I had developed a phobia over time that I would never be able to “bring the chi down to my feet” and “open my higher heart” before I had a child. At the time, I was married but he created such an intense drive and a fear in me. I had to succeed and I needed to spend all my free time devoted to the teaching itself. He later blamed me for being too ambitious and desperate, but looking back, I realize now that he manipulated me into believing that I needed to reach this unattainable goal because that would foster more dependency in me. Also, I was terrified of losing my spiritual family because we “had gone through so much” and there was an illusion of closeness and intimacy that I could not get anywhere else.
– Ruth –
Photo Credit: Andrew via Flickr