The communication training routines in Scientology are very much downplayed in my opinion. Supervised with the requisite attention and emphasis, in and of themselves they are a tremendous advance toward the state of Clear. Ron Hubbard at one time made that point rather plain.
From L. Ron Hubbard’s lecture Scientology and Effective Knowledge (15 July 1957):
I woke up eventually to discover that these training drills (communication training routines) all by themself, practiced with sufficient rigor and coached well enough and instructed well enough, were steps on the road to Clear, all by themselves, without any further processing…
…And where training and processing processes are successful, they lead toward a straighter communication. And therefore, the road out is marked by simplicity and direct observation….
…The whole subject opens up at its inception with just this: that the simplicity of observation, the simplicity of communication itself and only itself, is functional and will take Man from the bottom to the top. And the only thing I am trying to teach you is look.
Provided one approached the training routines with the above in mind, and not as a bait and switch toward dependence on years and years of costly and complex psychotherapy or membership in some true-believer group, one might avoid the pitfalls Ron warned of in the same lecture:
Now, that’s the first thing we must know about Scientology is that by the attainment of a simplicity we accomplish a benefit. By the attainment of a simplicity, we accomplish a benefit. By the invitation of or involvement in a complexity, we accomplish the unfathomable and create a mystery. We sink Man into a priesthood, we sink him into a cult.
It is interesting to note that Taoists had a similar philosophical view about becoming clear more than two millenia ago. From Lieh-Tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living (translations of ancient Taoist texts) by Eva Wong:
Those who are involved are muddled; those who watch are clear.
There was a man who was so intent on avenging his father’s death that he could think of nothing else. He was so engrossed in making plans for his revenge that he forgot he was holding his walking stick upside down. He leaned on his staff and the sharp point punctured his cheek. One of his friends said, ‘He is so deep in his own thoughts that everything around him is a blur.’
There was another man who was obsessed with getting rich. One day he went into the bank and tried to walk off with several bags of gold. The guards caught him immediately. A passerby said, ‘only a fool would think of robbing a bank in the presence of armed guards.’ The man said, ‘my mind was so set on the gold I didn’t see the guards.’
You often see people stumbling into walls or stepping into holes because they are so occupied by their thoughts that they don’t see what’s in front of them. When we are too involved in a situation, we can’t see straight, and things that are obvious and clear to bystanders are a blur to us. This is very dangerous.
The training routines that Ron devised, well supervised by those not caught in the rapture/delusion of complex scripture, go a long way in attaining that ability to be clear. A handy stable datum to help steer one clear of the ‘priesthood’ and ‘cult’ aspects of Scientology is to question anything you encounter that doesn’t seem to contribute to this: And the only thing I am trying to teach you is look.