Saturday, July 14, 2012


I get angry at my friends who go to Landmark. They call me up and try to "share" ecstatically all the cool things they learned and discovered. They don't even sound like themselves, but rather like someone brainwashed and re-programmed.

A friend called me yesterday in the middle of the Landmark seminar to ask me how I am. Having some previous experience with this, I suggested, "they must have given you an assignment to call with a specific purpose". To which she replied, that yes, she would like to ask me if there's anything that she can do FOR ME. I didn't know if I should  have laughed or screamed at her. It was late, I was tired and it was my obligation to come up with something so that she could complete the assignment and cross an item off the list? Her "transformation" is my headache? If you really wanna do something for someone, you take the time to call, and ask questions, and show genuine interest, so that it felt safe for me to open up and share what's on my mind. And then you would know that something you could do for me, it would float right up to the surface. I will ask you for a favor, for a helping hand, if I know you are sincere about helping me, not because it's part of the self-help session you are in the middle of.

A number of years ago another friend of mine asked me for an interview, where I was supposed to honestly answer what I thought about her, what were the things I liked, and what were the things I believed she needed to work on. Apparently, completion of a series of seminars prepares you to stomach the truth however hard it  hits you. I tried my best. I softened and sweetened the "flaws" part. But I did tell her - care about others not just yourself. Hear people out. Well, I never saw any change, so I guess all her efforts went to the process, not the purpose and outcome.

I know I sound bitter. And I have nothing against Landmark though I never took any of the sessions myself. I believe it helps people to understand themselves, the meaning of their lives, the purpose better. And I should be happy for my friends who took this direction and set out to the self-exploration quest. But having followed so many inspirational and self-help sites for years, I am no-stranger to this area of human practice. What they've been doing for a weekend or two, I've been doing daily for months. I've discovered and learned so much. And the main thing I've learned is that the key part of the transformation process takes place inside. However you change the surface, it will go back to its old form without changing the content within. Knowing is big, but without feeling and believing and willingness to work hard through pain and self-disdain, your words and actions will be empty.

They never asked a question about why things the way they are, but after a couple of seminars they suddenly think they know all the answers and go preaching to the rest of the world how to live and think. What they don't know is this learning process has no ending and after years and years of digging, they will still not have enough knowledge to have a huge positive impact on someone else's life. It takes self-sacrifice, devotion and unconditional love to make a difference.

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