Thought Reform

It can't be said enough: people join cults because they are lied to about what type of group they are joining.  And while cult members can often ostensibly leave "whenever they want to," most are no longer thinking about that option from an independent state of mind.  Their critical thinking abilities have been manipulated...reformed.

Since the term brainwashing first became popular, extensive research has been done to identify the specific characteristics of what is now more commonly referred to as "thought reform" or "coercive persuasion."  Brainwashing methods are almost always associated with physically restraining the victim, and while thought reform can involve physical restraint, it doesn't need to.  Thought reform can succeed purely via psychological and emotion manipulation, subjecting the victim to a variety of influential, anxiety and stress-producing tactics slowly over time.

Most cults currently recruiting members today, including Miracle of Love, engage in thought reform practices that do not involve physical restraint.

Pioneering work on the subject of thought reform was conducted by Dr. Robert J. Lifton, based originally on psychiatric evaluation of American POWs returning from the Korean War. Below are Lifton's 8 Criteria for Thought Reform, which explain the conditions required for thought reform to be successful.  Below each criterion is an explanation of how the tactic is used specifically in Miracle of Love.

: The group's doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute.  Truth is not to be found outside the group.  The leader, as the spokesperson for God or for all humanity, is likewise above criticism.

In Miracle of Love: The "master" of Mirace of Love, Kalindi La Gourasana, is held up as the literal "Voice of God."  Disciples believe that every word Kalindi speaks comes directly from God and everything she does is of God.  Kalindi's guidance for disciples must be followed "to a 'T'."  Followers also believe that Kalindi is associated with an incarnation of God, Lord Gourasana, who is similar to the Buddha, Jesus, Krishna and other "great incarnations throughout history."  Gourasana has come to restore the pure truth that has been lost in all other world religions.  According to Kalindi / Gourasana, the Miracle of Love path is the only path available in the world right now for people "to find their way home to God." 

2. DOCTRINE OVER PERSON : Member's personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group.

In Miracle of Love: To combat an individual's natural critical thinking abilities, part of Miracle of Love's sacred science also includes a belief in "the illusion" - an evil force constantly working against one's spiritual success.  The "doorway of illusion" is a person's rational mind.  So when members attempt to evaluate the sacred science and their own life experiences critically, they are reprimanded for giving into the illusion or "letting the illusion get them."  In this way, members push dis-confirming information aside and work to accept what Kalindi teaches as the only pure truth. Because Kalindi is the Voice of God, everything she does is above reproach and followers are reminded that "the illusion is always on their side."

In addition, past experiences in childhood and adult life outside of the group are re-interpreted to support Miracle of Love's ideology and the belief that there is nothing but suffering in this "material world."  Followers are repeatedly pushed into divulging negative experiences from their past or dwelling on the negative aspects of past experiences to support this view of human life as "a plane of suffering and illusion." It is only by following Kalindi and breaking free that true happiness is can be found.

The group reinterprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand.  This jargon consists of though-terminating clichés which serve to alter members' thought processes to conform to the group's way of thinking.

In Miracle of Love: Despite admonitions from leadership to not use "jargon," an obvious in-group language exists.  All of the following words have special meaning withing Miracle of Love: let go, surrender, illusion, love and care, desire, longing, true self, conscious, deep, freedom, power, energy, transform, sharp, devotion, illusory love - to name just a few examples.

Furthermore, words that might normally trigger a negative response such as "hierarchy" and "belief system" are re-defined within the group so that they no longer describe Miracle of Love, even though the commonly accepted definitions for all these words clearly describe the group.  Miracle of Love has a very strict, very clear line of leadership, but insists there is "no hierarchy, just people doing different jobs."

Examples of thought-terminating clichés in Miracle of Love include:
  • "Let Go, Give Up, Surrender"
  • "Desire is everything"
  • "Don't let the fear stop you"
  • "Listen, say yes and act"
Members repeat these clichés to themselves often when they feel bothered by something they have been asked to do, reminding themselves that everything Kalindi says is true and that even though they may be afraid or feel that something is wrong, they just need to "let go" and do it.

4. MILIEU CONTROL:  This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large.

In Miracle of Love: Any Miracle of Love member currently reading this website is in direct violation of Kalindi's guidance to not read any negative press or other critical evaluation of the group in any form.  When family members outside the group raise concerns or objections regarding a loved one's participation, the follower is not supposed to engage in the conversation, and lessen contact with their family if objections persist.

"God is always #1," so Kalindi's disciples need to be ready to "turn on a dime," when she's tells them to, which may mean canceling plans with family if they interfere with group events (even when group events are scheduled at the last minute); prioritizing volunteer service over other time with outside friends, hobbies or other pursuits; and giving up sleep or personal time.

Perhaps most importantly, Miracle of Love participants are strongly encouraged to live with each other in group housing.  The set up of Miracle of Love houses is tightly controlled by Kalindi, from the pictures on the walls to the type of dish soap and sponges to the color of bed sheets.  Who can come over to the houses and when is regulated and participants have to sign in and out of the house on a white board so that spiritual leadership knows where they are at all times.  In this way, connection to the outside world is extremely limited in deed, if not always in word.

There is manipulation of experiences that appear spontaneous but in fact were planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority or spiritual advancement or some special gift or talent that will then allow the leader to reinterpret events, scripture, and experiences as he or she wishes. These experiences produce a high, similar to that which can produced by drugs or alcohol, or other altered states of consciousness.  This includes the induction of trance states that significantly reduce individual critical thinking and make one more open to suggestion.

In Miracle of Love: Mystical manipulation is the basic purpose of Miracle of Love Seminars. An environment is created in which individuals are "opened up," forced to discuss painful memories from life and watch painful images of human suffering, then showered with love and affection by Kalindi's disciples to create a false dichotomy of suffering outside the group and unconditional love within the group.  It is only at the end of one's first seminar, when suggestibility is high, that the idea that Kalindi is the Voice of God is first introduced.

Mystical manipulation is also the main purpose of Miracle of Love's meditation practice - known as the Gourasana Meditation Practice, or GMP.  Disciples are taught than only after meditating are they truly "open" to hear truth from God.  When disciples feel resistant to following group orders they are also encouraged to meditate in order to "let go" and find a willingness to do what they've been asked to do.

6. DEMAND FOR PURITY: The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection.  The induction of guilt and/or shame is a powerful control device used here.

In Miracle of Love: As spiritual leaders in Miracle of Love often remind participants, "There are only two things going on - God and the illusion."  This type of black and white thinking makes it difficult leave the group or even pull back in participation, as that choice is always framed as choosing the illusion over God.  Even when an individual is fully committed to the group, the striving for perfection is constant and fully incorporated into the group's ideology.  Followers are taught that it will take 100% of their effort to break free, and if they are not constantly pushing themselves to give more and do more and let go faster, then there is no hope of "making it" (finding God) in this lifetime.

7. CONFESSION: Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group.  There is no confidentiality within the group; members' "sins," "attitudes" and "faults" are discussed and exploited by the leaders.

In Miracle of Love: Confession is required through ongoing "horseshoe" and "illusions work" beyond a follower's first Miracle of Love Seminar, whereby one must stand in front of a small group of peers and leadership to "share" about how or why you have not yet fully surrendered to God or Kalindi.  Those who fail to share willingly or deeply enough are belittled in front of the group, often to the point of emotional break down. Followers are also required to write regular confessional emails to leadership, and within communal housing, "house meetings" provide an additional forum for confessing illusions.  Followers who are discovered keeping personal secrets or who fail to disclose some aspect of their private life with leadership are severely reprimanded.

8. DISPENSING OF EXISTENCE: The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not.  This is usually not literal but means that those in the outside world are not saved, unenlightened, unconscious, and they must be converted to the group's ideology.  If they do not join the group or are critical of the group, then they must be rejected by the members.  Thus, the outside world loses all credibility.  In conjunction, should any member leave the group, he or she must be rejected also.

In Miracle of Love: People outside the group are living "in the illusion," so their perspectives, opinions, concerns and information cannot, by definition, be trusted.  Followers are taught that the illusion may use outsiders to try and get to them, and that following Kalindi's guidance is the best protection against this evil force.  Very little contact is maintained with the outside world, often for no other reason than if one is following all of Kalindi's guidance, there is almost no time at all for anything else.  The one exception is when group members are engaged in "Come to God" activities, designed to recruit new members.

One of Kalindi's teachings also states that people who leave "the mission" lose the "special protection" of God.  People who leave the group and have health problems later in life are held up as examples of this.  Because Kalindi teaches reincarnation, followers are also often threatened with terrible things that will happen in their next life if they turn their back on God in this one.