I have noticed a trend in my life. I am a Seeker who also can be a "Joiner". I am a Joiner who used to judge other Joiners with mild concern. Clubs, groups and lecture series. Retreats, networking events and public speaking forums. These activities were unnerving and largely avoidable in my early years.
I can now, from a confident place, share that nothing I have joined, signed up for, or embraced has yet to lead me to cult membership, though my suspicious loved ones have often feared that I am on the brink.
As a young person, I was shy and isolated. Being part of groups or community activities would leave me feeling insecure or feeling like an "other". I had friends, but never joined team sports, dance classes, gymnastics or marching band. I played the flute - but for my own enjoyment. I was drawn to water skiing, although never competitively.
As I gained confidence, I reticently began signing up for everything that I was curious about, fearful of, and/or could afford. My interests began to span the metaphysical, medical and motivational. I gained traction. Spirituality, from the mainstream to the extreme fascinated me. Finding parallels and observing human nature and belief systems everywhere became my favorite pass time. Cultural differences and religious influence give me so much fuel for thought. Sunday sermons, Reiki, Transcendental Meditation, Landmark, Tony Robbins, kabbalah, khundalini yoga, sound baths and tarot card readings are a few of the subjects I have chosen to experience. I have explored so many areas of questionable origins and influences, it could make my vintage self's head spin. I am especially attracted if the opportunity raises my own brow.
Remarkably, all of these activities thus far support humans to step into their highest and best life. This is what I have witnessed. The people I have met are largely quality people.
Some people get their thrills through drugs, crazy roller coasters, or gambling. My form of excitement seems more taboo, yet I must say I have yet to end my sessions with a hangover, physical pain or broke. And to answer the question - I have yet to succumb to a cult. There has been no body snatching or mind control to which I have fallen prey. Were there opportunities to sign up for more sessions? Yes. A person may even stay involved for life in many organizations. It is often a choice one can make, just as my mother remained a Catholic long after I would have left.
When I declined further involvement in any of my activities, nobody ever came to my door looking for me, or calling me incessantly.
If all of these things were actually cultish - I believe I would have known. I will continue my journey, as it has supported me in my deeper understanding of the world and people around me. There are so many possibilities and realms to experience, and so little time! Try learning about something that may be a bit odd or frightening. You have the power to leave or close the book. If nothing else, it will make for some interesting conversations.