It's a cult. It wasn't one when I first moved to Boulder, but then things changed. It was a gradual shift, 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 the dancing assignment. That got things moving in me on a deep level. I made a classic mistake: confusing the message with the messenger. 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. I'm grateful Leela made sure I had little potential as a runner. If I'd had potential, I'd probably still be there. To be fair, it was a pretty mild cult. We were free to leave at any time. Our constraints were psychological, in our own heads. I made my escape from the very belly of the beast, and everyone was easygoing and good natured about it.
Betrayed by my teacher. TH betrayed me twice while I was his student. I was not complying with The Diet. Now I can easily see it was not a good diet for me, though no doubt it was good for TH and his running disciples. To force the issue TH 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. But 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. That was my diet for weeks. I became underweight. My ribs stuck out, my cheeks were hollow, I felt like I had the flu: body aches all over, zero energy, just wanted to stay in bed. He relented and I got healthy again. The other betrayal was deeper. It was an absolute betrayal of his role as a teacher. I bore psychological scars from it for decades. You can read all about that here.
Betrayed with booze. TH's love and enthusiasm for alcohol was a different kind of betrayal, one he inflicted on all of us. I just happened to be particularly susceptible. He glorified booze, raising drinking to the level of a holy sacrament. He often tested me to determine how much of what kind of booze was just right for whatever I was working on. For instance when I was detailed to give a rap, a spoken version of some of his teachings to fellow students, he tested me to determine exactly what, when and how much to drink before and during. My rapping ally, a term he stole from Carlos Castaneda, was a treacly sweet dark British malt liquor alcohol bomb called Stingo. As he once said to a friend and fellow student of mine "Everything is better with alcohol. Everything." Living in The Community twisted me. It forged a perverse link in my thinking between boozing it up and the spiritual quest. It was the most damaging experience I ever had of the unholy fellowship of users.
Harmonizing online. I've looked at a lot of stories and accounts of Harmonizing online. By all accounts things got much worse after I left. I can only talk about what happened to me. It was overall positive for me. I made progress, mostly at the beginning before I moved to Boulder. I can't tell the rest of the story, so here are some resources for those interested. The Cult Education Institute has several articles based on stories taken from The Daily Camera, Boulder's newspaper. That link takes you to one article, with links to others at the bottom. This article from Newsweek is well researched. There's also this one from SI, and one in the New York Times. Oh, and a Wikipedia article.