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Just what I needed. Most of this page is about what's wrong with the cult I joined or rather was absorbed into in Boulder, which at the time was known simply as The Community and which was originally based on a holistic healing system called Harmonizing. Extracting myself from that cult on all levels, inside and out, has been an important part of my spiritual quest ever since I realized it wasn't the right place for me. That realization came sometime during the 1980s but didn't become clear enough for me to act on until 1991, the year I left. But before I begin this indictment I must make it very clear that spending the eighties in the community was exactly what I needed. TH and Harmonizing saved my life. I was headed straight into a miserable ease when I encountered TH, and my internal guidance saw to it that I moved to Boulder and joined his cult, which at that time I thought was a school of healing arts.

It's a cult. It wasn't one when I first moved to Boulder, but then things changed. It was a gradual shift, a series of minute instantaneous changes, never enough to notice at any given time. I was a frog in the slowly warming water around a charismatic leader. I moved to Boulder to study a curriculum, not to become a disciple. Being a Harmonizing practitioner was to be my new career. But my shift from student to disciple had already begun when I was still living in Tallahassee and studying with TH via correspondence. He gave me a dancing assignment that gave me a huge buzz, like I was king of the world. It was a trick designed to get me to buy into him as a guru. By the time I moved to Boulder I already considered TH my spiritual teacher. Back then I didn't get how that's a very bad idea. Anyway, I joined the cult. To be fair, it was a pretty mild cult. We were free to leave at any time. Our constraints were psychological. I made my escape from the very belly of the beast, and everyone involved, TH included, was easygoing and good natured about it.

Dietary misguidance. One of the key ways Harmonizing saved my life was by cleaning up my diet. The faithful in Boulder generally adhered quite faithfully to The Diet, a set of grain and veggie-based recipes TH had come up with that was based on what he liked to eat. Everybody knew the minutiae of diet recipes were largely arbitrary, based on TH's likes and dislikes. But they were good recipes, not hard to live with. The whole time I was in the community I mostly ate food from The Diet. It's a good thing I did. But just as with teachers, I never plighted my troth to the diet; I never swallowed it whole, which is what he demanded of his disciples. I was happy to eat way better than I ever had before, but I wasn't interested in being perfect with it. But TH couldn't accept that. To force the issue he put me on a special rice diet. Force is never the answer. I can only make progress via my own efforts. That has to come from deep inside me. In trying to force me to make progress, TH showed that he didn't understand how making progress with love really works. If I'd been presented with a simple diet that was appropriate to me, I might have embraced it. I came close to doing that with the diet in Salida. But back in Boulder The Diet was a one-size-fits-all deal, part of TH's project of turning students into disciples. My special diet consisted mostly of brown rice cooked until it broke down into mush. Once a day I got to add protein to my rice: egg, cheese, or ground beef. No seasonings, no salt in the rice. That was my diet for weeks. I started losing weight. Soon I was seriously underweight. My ribs stuck out, my cheeks were hollow, I felt like I had the flu: body aches all over, zero energy. I just wanted to stay in bed. He finally relented and I got healthy again; nothing had been gained from that torture. I wasn't conscious of it at the time, but that episode helped me see through his scam. Everything was determined via muscle testing, and testing results were supposedly impartial because they weren't his ideas, they were answers from my own body, and thus absolute truth. The flaw in that setup is he was the one doing the testing and interpreting the results, and he was not impartial. He had an agenda. He was busy building an empire to support his addictions: booze, sex, and extreme running.

Glorification of booze. TH's fanatical obsession with alcohol is what hurt me the worst. He inflicted his addiction on all of us; I just happened to be particularly susceptible. He glorified booze, raising drinking to the level of a holy sacrament. He once said to a friend of mine, a fellow disciple, "Everything is better with alcohol, Joe. Everything." He often tested me to determine how much of what kind of booze was just right for whatever I was working on. One of my jobs as a disciple was to give raps to my fellow disciples. TH's teachings came in the form of raps: impassioned, alcohol-fueled rants delivered to a circle of presumably rapt disciples seated on the floor. Sitting on the floor was torture for me. My raptness was questionable. He considered me qualified to give one particular rap to new arrivals. I studied up by listening to cassette recordings of him doing that rap. Before I rapped he would muscle test me and say what, when and how much to drink before and during my time in the spotlight. He made me a very specific schedule: how much to drink at exactly what time before the rap began, and with what kind of energy, e.g. sipping vs. chugging. My rapping potion was a treacly sweet dark British malt liquor alcohol bomb called Stingo. TH's unbridled evangelism of alcohol twisted me. It forged a perverse link in my thinking between booze and the spiritual quest. It was my most damaging experience ever of the unholy fellowship of users.