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Title Centers of Light - Open Letter to Odyssey Study Group
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Open Letter to Odyssey Study Group Date: May 21, 2004 Subject:

Open Letter to our friends in OSG Dear Friends,

We hope this letter finds you well. We are writing to inform you that there are things about the Odyssey Study Group (OSG) that you may not be aware of, but you would want to know, as they speak to the validity and legitimacy of some of the group's practices and teachings. We hope that your first hand experiences of us while we were in the group will enable you to trust us and be open to the possibility that the information we wish to share can be useful to you. In fact you may find that speaking to us will confirm some of the doubts and questions you have personally experienced from time to time about the continued usefulness of this group to your development. Over the past several weeks we have taken a good hard look at our lives, including how we spend our time, who we trust and look to for guidance, how we make decisions, why we made some of the decisions we have over the past 5 years, and what is best for our evolution. As part of this process we completed, among other things, the activities described in the 5 week aim below and asked ourselves some difficult questions such as: - Why is it that I feel the need to ask for direction and advice from Robert and other teachers before making major decisions about my own life? Do I feel more or less empowered now compared to when I started with the group to make these types of decisions on my own? - Am I spending enough time with my family, friends and loved ones outside of OSG's influence? Why is it that I can only answer 'yes' to this question during periods when I have structured this time into my 5-week aim? How do I prioritize what is most important to me in a given moment in my life? Did I really choose this process for myself or did I evolve into it without ever fully evaluating it? - Why is it that parallels are being increasingly drawn between the third story of the three storied house (religion/aspiration) and the school/the Work? Do I really believe that OSG should be the highest organizing principle in my life, as opposed to my own religion/aspirations? - Why is it that there are so many more rules that I am aware of now compared to when I first started? At what point did I agree to follow these additional rules? What other rules will I be expected to follow in the future? Who are these rules serving? Is following these rules essential for my continued development? - If OSG were to disappear tomorrow (which it may, as often mentioned by teachers), would I feel lost? What is my backup plan for pursuing self-development and following my wishes for myself, my family and my creator? Through exploration of these (and other) questions, and completion of the aim (below) we learned some very surprising (and somewhat disturbing) things about ourselves and our relationship to OSG. We feel it is our responsibility to share these insights with you as we truly care about you and want you to have access to pertinent information that will help you make informed decisions about what's best for you. Don't underestimate the wisdom within you. Only you know what is best for you, and only with full information (and God's grace) can you make this assessment. To request a private meeting with one or both of us, contact osginfo@hotmail.com. Be assured that our discussions, including the fact that you contacted us at all, will be kept completely confidential. We hope you will contact us soon and/or review the information about 'Theater of All Possibilities' by conducting a web search using 'the work sharon gans' as keywords in Google (www.google.com) and selecting the link titled 'The Work' a 'Fourth Way School'. Warmest regards, K & A -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- K & A's Five Week Aim (Starting on April 24th, 2004) Part I Map the structure, format and activities of OSG to the following evaluative frameworks assessing whether an organization is a destructive group (i.e. cult): Lifton's 8 Mind control techniques identified through his comprehensive study of Chinese Communist Thought Reform (Milieu Control, Mystical Manipulation, Sacred Science, Doctrine over Person, Demand for Purity, Dispensing of Existence, Cult of Confession and Loaded Language). Hassan's BITE model defining four elements of destructive mind control practices (Control of Behavior, Information, Thoughts and Emotions). Hassan's model for evaluating the destructiveness of any group or organization using a review of leadership, doctrine and membership. Communicate and/or meet with a minimum of three former members of OSG to share experiences and obtain information about history and practices of OSG. Review information about OSG by conducting a web search using 'the work sharon gans' as keywords in Google (www.google.com) and selecting the link titled 'The Work' a 'Fourth Way School'. Read Steve Hassan's books 'Combating Cult Mind Control' and 'Releasing the Bonds' and review information about mind control on his website www.freedomofmind.com. Part II Tell a minimum of three people who are close to us about our experiences in OSG and our decision to leave. Reformulate the 'Morning Prayer' using our own language and wish. Draft and post on the web a letter inviting friends to assess for themselves the value of continued involvement with OSG. Cancel meetings with all recruits and pursue real friendships. Leave a message on the main OSG line clearly stating that we have decided to leave because we no longer feel the group is useful to our development. Identify a minimum of 10 examples where our own personal experiences in the group were inconsistent with the teachings and ideas of the Work, or contradicted specific 'help' being given by Robert or other teachers. Rework the song 'Freedom' created for Am out of a sincere wish to help her listen to the strength and wisdom that lies within her. Specifically remove any 'cult' language or ideas that detract from the true meaning of this song and keep the essence which was inspired by Emerson's essay 'Self-Reliance.' Sing for A the song created for L (which was never sung in the group because it's still in progress) to affirm her wish to be a balanced and passionate woman. Sing at least three times the song/poem created for the 'Dance to Create a Soul' performed at the Christmas Party January 2004 and reflect on personal work efforts to create and perform this song and the associated dance. Do the prelude to the 'Dance to Create a Soul' in a context outside of OSG to create a new, healthier association for this expression of movement and poetry. Part III Finish unpacking all boxes from K's move. Formally break K's prior engagement to marry. Have a minimum of five dates with each other (K & A) and meet each others' friends and family. Attend at least three events that feed us such as dance and singing lessons, walks by water, tai chi, etc. Identify a minimum of three ways that we have been sabotaging our own health and implement an action plan to regain control.