The following 3 posts are an expanded version of my account originally posted on the Rick Ross Cult Education Forum
At the time I was introduced to Universal Medicine I was at a low point in my life, suffering from ill health and poor spirits. I was recovering from a extremely difficult association with a group of professional colleagues, which had detrimental effects to my wellbeing, professional reputation, livelihood and finances. Although it was a professional rather than spiritually focussed association, it had many parallels with a cult experience.
I’d been working hard for years, mostly unpaid, for what I believed to be a worthy cause. The harder I worked, the more was expected of me, and the worse I was treated by my superiors. Eventually the professional relationship was pushed to breaking point and I had to walk away in order to safeguard my livelihood and wellbeing. It was a healthy decision and I’ve never looked back.
However, when I visited Serge Benhayon’s clinic in Goonellabah, I was suffering the ill affects of that experience, and ironically, had also recently graduated with a B.A., majoring in Religious Studies, where my special areas of study were Eastern religions, New Religious Movements and cults.
I was referred to UM by two trusted complementary health practitioners local to Lismore. One, Neil Ringe, is still firmly entrenched in the group, which is a pity because he had great integrity. Serge was clearly exploiting these practitioners reputations and clienteles to boost his own credibility. How better to endow one’s unqualified healthcare practice with respectability than to enlist the endorsement of legitimate healthcare professionals. I had seen this first hand before during a peripheral involvement with a very harmful yoga guru, Vijay Yogendra who structured his group in a spookily similar way, recruiting doctors, psychologists and teachers. Yogendra ended up responsible for the death of his much younger wife.
During my first treatment session with Serge, I told him how I was feeling and a brief history of those prior professional difficulties. He listened attentively and sympathetically, agreed I’d been treated unfairly and confirmed that the bad experience had impacted my health and was obstructing me from expressing my better nature. It was a relief to feel understood and validated, and in spite of my wariness of healers, I found myself trusting him. My trust was bolstered, I might add, by the female positive artwork in his clinic, as well as the presence of female staff. Naturally, I imagined respectable women wouldn’t possibly associate with a sleazy wannabe healer, so I was safe. (Having said that, several years prior to my encounter with UM, I myself had worked for a sleazy, boundary pushing healer, who accused me of being disruptive when I raised objections to the way he dealt with women patients.)
The treatment sessions lasted one hour, where I lay fully clothed on a treatment table with Serge standing or seated and placing his hands on parts of my body for periods of time. He did not touch any genital areas. At times he talked and asked questions, at other times he was silent. He also asked during the hands on portions of the treatment that I clear my mind and try not to think, which I obeyed. Gradually I would physically respond, graduating from lying still in a relaxed state to spontaneously twitching, to shaking with increasing intensity until I was hyperventilating, thrashing around and speaking in tongues. As a willing and trusting participant in those sessions I didn’t attempt to suppress my reactions, but allowed them to occur. It was an extremely intense physical and emotional experience.
I can’t remember the explanatory palaver Serge came up with for these reactions in detail, except that he talked a bit about past lives, how I was an exiled warrior and also that I was a reincarnated archangel or monad or salami sandwich or something. Apparently I’d been burned at the stake and my angel wings had been cut off by evil authorities in medieval times, and my body needed to be purged of dark residual entities which had invaded due to those experiences. I entertained the notions, but didn’t take them too seriously, because I hadn’t signed up for a course of indoctrination and had only visited him to feel better. I continued for several sessions because the catharses, initially at least, seemed to help. I felt I could breathe easier and was more relaxed after them.
Serge spoke a little about his philosophy during the sessions, and I found it interesting at first because he’d done his homework, borrowing from established traditions to give just enough credibility to his ramblings. At the time some of it made some sense so I couldn’t write it off as total rubbish. I don’t deny he has some spiritual knowledge (I won’t call it wisdom, because that would require him to use it to help rather than exploit) and some of his remarks appeared inspired.
Following the second visit, he invited me to a yoga study group, telling me it was just him and a few people getting together to discuss the Patanjali sutra, which he claimed to be translating. At that point he was clearly trying to recruit me, due to my professional background. He’d told me I should continue the treatments and began inviting me to various UM events. He wasn’t aware I’d majored in Religious Studies.
Serge ‘and a few people’ at the yoga study, turned out to be at least sixty people crammed into a meeting venue overlooking Byron Bay on a hot night. Before the meeting, Serge and his women assistants were manning a table with a big pile of theosophist, Alice Bailey’s books (Ponder On This), and were selling dozens of them, as well as those ugly laminated symbols that are supposed to protect against evil entities (for example, common sense). I was amazed at the buying frenzy that took place, people buying those books as if they were the last publication on earth. Serge maybe a fraudulent spiritual master, but he’s certainly divinely inspired when it comes to sales. The only reason I didn’t buy the book there and then was because Serge had sold me one the day before. There was a real buzz outside the venue and the core crew was in attendance, including the older woman who would place her hands on you and burp raucously as your bad energy exited your body. Truly. Even L. Ron Hubbard couldn’t make that up.
The yoga study turned out to be Serge ‘channelling’ the Patanjali sutra. In other words an unstructured and often interrupted monologue that had little resemblance to the original text. At that point I was getting the idea Serge had designs on guruism, but I remained fascinated by his Esoteric Healing method and wanted to know more – particularly how to generate these strong physical and emotional catharses. I signed up and paid a deposit for the Sacred Esoteric Healing weekend workshop.
Before that though, was the ovarian reading, which is when the alarm bells really went off.