I authored the post “It All Started with a Craigslist Ad” August 1, 2012, nearly five months ago.
I had spent the night with the man; a man I had only met the evening before, a man I knew would be a part of my life until for at least seven months. That evening, the day we met, I had agreed to share a ski house with him for the 2011-2012 ski season. The following morning, as he showered, prepared for the day I pursued his bookshelf. I was trying to get a tiny peek into how this man ticked aside from the beer buzzed in-depth philosophical conversations in between sex sessions we had the night before. From his collection I began to get a sense of the kind of man he was, what was important to him and what he wanted out of life.
That morning we sat outside on his porch admiring the beautiful view, we watched the morning fog lift allowing the magnificent Golden Gate bridge to come in to view. As he was talking, telling me more about himself, providing tidbits of advice regarding how I could improve my life; a familiar sensation came over me. There was something in the way he spoke that struck me. My mind quickly re-browsed his book collection then quickly mentally pictured the library I grew up with in my childhood home.
The words came out of my mouth before I consciously thought them; it was after all a kind of remote out of the blue inquiry. “Are you some kind of EST’y person?”
Taken aback he asked “Were you parents in EST or something?”. I then continued to say, “I know you’re older than me but I don’t think you would have been involved that strongly at 6 years old.“
Shocked and taken aback he went on to inform of the rejuvenation of EST that had taken place. That the birth had taken place right here in San Francisco. He told me how it had evolved into what is now known as the Forum. Excited and alert he immediately began telling me all the ways taking the course would benefit me and address some of the issues I was dealing with at the time.
That I was able to detect his association, his involvement with the Forum, or from whence it came, shocked even myself let alone him. He spoke just like my dad.
His book collection – just like mine at home. It was full of titles like “You Creating a Better You”, or “Your Life Path”.
I could feel it in his energy, it felt like home. This was what I knew and I believed he was a person who I wanted in my life.
Perhaps, at the time, he was that person.
Mike is the one who never spoke to me again after I was dismissed from the Forum eight months later.
This event indicated to him I was not a person who could add any value to his life.
It took eight months and a lifetime until I felt ready to experience enlightenment, to register for the seminar. It took 15 minutes with the staff and 45 seconds with the leader for a decision to me made. I was to be expelled, no turning back, no discussion to be had.
These are the events that occurred and one consequence as a result that was beyond my control.
The experts, trained and knowledgeable in the practices of the Forum made a judgment based on my actions, actually and more accurately, on their interpretation of my ability to be “coachable” based on my demeanor and reaction to a situation.
To that I say this; I have been schooled in the principles since birth, since before birth, while in utero. It is something my father fully incorporated into his life, believed wholly and passed those beliefs down to his children. He is one of the best people, in his soul, I have ever encountered. This is a trait lacking in my Forum graduate friend.
My parents never pushed me. They parented passively. They taught me to push myself. Not to do something for someone else, achieve for the sake of achievement. That the only way I could truly succeed was if the motivation came from within. That is how I have always led my life.
I am an emotional being and am fully aware of this personality trait. I am under the supervision of a medical practitioner. Do these truths exclude me from understanding the principles as taught in the course? Do they remove my right to do something motivated solely by me without prejudice? That I came to this decision after deep consideration and a thorough understanding of the potential risks a person that has experienced depression like sadness, signed the waiver, garnered the consent of my doctor, do these actions mean nothing?
That, I have come to learn, is at the discretion of the Landmark anointed experts.
My personal choice had been taken; I was disempowered. The possibility to grow, to gain awareness, to experience what many who have participated in the Forum have had been withheld. All this possibility lay in the hands of the tight-fisted experts.
Why you may wonder would I continue to want to have a relationship, participate in the course led by a group that I have made no secret of my anger towards? That I am wary of the blatant disregard of their own rules and principles, their lack of integrity and hypocrisy. Why? You ask. I cannot say with certainty the answer. Perhaps it is my inherent stubbornness to see what I began to completion. Or maybe it feels as though I am missing out; on what possibilities I could be working towards this very moment had I been permitted to finish the course. The strongest urge I can describe is that it feels unfinished, I feel disempowered by what happened and completing the course is a way I can regain control.
This is yet another story. It is not a bulleted description of the events leading to my dismissal, the interactions I had with the staff during and following the event nor what I had hoped to gain from the course or my attitude regarding the principles.
I promise, put my integrity at stake, I will write this post before the end of January 2013.
~ the audacious amateur blogger
-> I know and take responsibility for breaking the promise above. It is February 2, 2013 and I have not fulfilled the promise I made. I apologize and now must work to regain your trust.
Below is a direct quote from Werner Erhard, founder of EST – the foundation of Landmark Education.
“There is nothing you get in the training that you didn’t have to start with. Uh, I live in the San Francisco and there’s that big beautiful bridge that goes from San Francisco across the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and every once in a while the fog comes in and obscures the bridge. And you can say if you were there at that time that there is no bridge. But then the wind will come along and blog the fog away and then that enormous beautiful bridge is exposed and it’s exactly how the training works.
It’s not that we know something that we think that you need to know. It’s that we’ve discovered that you know some things, that if you knew you knew, it could make the quality of your life enhanced”
- Werner Erhard, January 1981
When I heard these words being spoken by the charismatic leader it was as if I had been taken to another world. I was in Narnia. What he describes is almost an exact metaphor, it speaks to the literal physical manifestation of my re-introduction to EST and Landmark.
While others may adamantly disagree; sometimes you experience things or see sights that are so powerful. These coincidences; these tiny moments where you when you are within the eye of the storm, know in the depth of your being, there are no accidents; that we are not alone.