The Bridge to Total Freedom
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According to sources, a Scientologist moves up The Bridge to Total Freedom, or simply "The Bridge", to a state of Clear when one has freed oneself from the "reactive mind". Reportedly, this takes place beyond training sessions in Church of Scientology auditing, and is said to be a lifetime commitment. Once an individual has reached Clear status, one claims to be more self-confident, happy, and generally successful in careers and interpersonal relationships. Beyond the state of Clear, Scientologists move through several auditing steps called Operating Thetan levels, the most sacred religious activity. An OT is a state of spiritual awareness in which an individual is able to control self and the environment. According to D. R. Christensen, Scientology is “an individualistic religion with a hierarchical organization of the soteriological system, called the Bridge.” The Bridge is envisioned in Scientology as a “comprehensive series of soteriological steps." American anthropologist Harriet Whitehead, as discussed in James R. Lewis' work Scientology, has suggested that moving up the Bridge in this belief system can be understood as a “learning process within a larger framework of conversion.”
The Bridge is broken down into two parallel paths, Training and Processing. Processing addresses the Scientology devotee's "case" or how they function in life as influenced by their "aberrations". The Training path teaches Hubbard's theories on the nature of life and the universe and the techniques of auditing. Participants feel that this knowledge greatly enhances their ability to be effective in life whether they audit another or not. Scientologists can travel up either side of the Bridge and many do both sides. Although not part of the formal Bridge, the chart also lists many optional courses and training actions that can be done by Scientologists.
The Bridge was a result of the culmination of the foundational work on Dianetics and Scientology training that Hubbard had established in the mid-1960s. In 1965, Hubbard published The Bridge to Freedom, which includes the “Classification and Gradation Chart,” which, according to James R. Lewis, discusses the steps that church members must follow as they learn and study Scientology. The chart was a summary of the results of Hubbard’s experimentation since the Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation was founded fifteen years before that time.
- Semuels, Alana (24 July 2005). "Bridge to Total Freedom a lifetime commitment". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- Christensen, Dorthe Refslund (2009). "Scientology and Self-Narrativity: Theology and Soteriology as Resource and Strategy". Scientology. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2016-08-18.
- Lewis, James R. (2009). Scientology. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2016-08-15.
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