Karma Cleanser - June 22 2005
Dear Karma Cleanser: A few weeks ago, I joined a new yoga center in Midtown in hopes of alleviating the pain from a recent back injury. The place soon started to give me the creeps, and after doing a little research I learned that it is not a yoga center at all but a huge "cult" that uses not-so-subtle brainwashing techniques to con its members out of money.
They tell you that the only way to reach enlightenment is to pay extraordinary fees to attend "healing Chakra workshops" out West. I decided to stop going and accept the loss of the nonrefundable three-month membership fee as a stupid tax, but figured that it would be thoughtless of me not to warn the other people in my class. I sat through one last class for the sole purpose of informing two particular people who I thought would listen. I gave them the Web addresses that I found, and asked them to please investigate it for themselves and then tell others.
I still have immense feelings of guilt, though. What if they don't listen to me, or don't tell others? Should I go back and find out? Is it my problem if these people get brainwashed, or have I done my part and now it's up to them to spread the word?
P.S. My guilt would really be alleviated if you could publish the name of the center.
Groups that peddle everything from plastic food containers to everlasting salvation get smacked with accusations of cultlike behavior all the time. Sometimes it's warranted, sometimes not. You did the right thing to warn your yoga buddies that they should do some digging. But for the Karma Cleanser to publish the name of the center in question - now that's a real stretch.