Friday, March 04, 2011

Landmark Forums, or Can You Wake up in a Herd?

This is a beginning impression of the Landmark scene,
or top of many glimpses before I stepped foot into
one of their introductory evenings.

Before I arrived I'd seen people
who used Landmark as a safety,
as a church
as a home for finding safe friends
and a world view that they found "worked"
and that was part of the safe friends thing:
they really really wanted other people to see the world
through the Landmark lens.

And what is the Landmark lens.
Well, you can go online and get the syllabus to the three day training.
And they hand them out when you show up for the intro night.

It's something like this:
we are programmed beings,
and out programming creates our VIEW
and our VIEW determines how we'll perceive and
act in reality.

We have a story that seems to validate the view,
we confuse and conflate the story with What Happened,
and the story is an illusion,
and once we see things the Landmark way,
we can "get on the bicycle" and ride
in the world of possibilities.

All that at the end sounds vague,
and it works,
because in part they are trying to have their cake
and eat it too:
deprogram people
almost with a hypnosis about "and now you
will be deprogrammed once you know it
our way."

It's all words.

Sort of
because they are big on action,
especially making phone calls to apologize for
being lost in "the story" about
some person you've been on the "outs" with.

There are no internal movement lessons
that give a feel for the new in a person.

There is no practice of being present,
though there is gobs of talk about the past and
the future not being real,
they are good on that,

and what about this now,
outside of the leader's words
and our / the audience's words
about the leader's word

is there a way to
to be now
okay now,
to be present,
follow your breathing,
or sense your arms and legs and watch light
and notice the sounds as they are happening.

or sense your big toe and your tongue and your thumbs
as you eat and talk

not really

life as a meditation
or an ongoing experience
is not offered

"transformation" not change are

it's cool stuff
in a way

So, you have a leader,
and he's been through "breakthroughs"
which are the currency of the L F,
you give up the "story"
and you get on the phone
and you apologize to people you've had trapped
away from your love with your VIEW

This is all very good,
and could be done with the Byron Katie work,
but she doesn't say
you need to/ should/ have to
do her work,
she doesn't want you to get everyone you
she leaves that up to you,
the work is to be done any time you are feeling
and only if you want to know the truth instead of suffering

And then the Feldenkrais/ Anat Baniel work
is a set of movement possibilities
that help us feel younger, more free,
clearer in our thinking,
but they are an approach to lifelong

And in Landmark, too,
the world of possibilities is the cool

and it is

the way to that,
the pressure to come to more and more trainings,
to get every one else in so they'll all "get it,"
the push to "get on the bicycle"
all mitigate against real inner clarity.

And it feels good, though,
to belong,
to be around people who are changing,
to be around people who have the same world view,
to be around people who have the same "born again"
not Jesus here, but Landmark.

And there is more
and this is hard to articulate,
but at the end of the introductory evening
the trainer brought up
some new people,
and had them admit an overview
that seemed to dominate their life.

One was: "I'm not good enough"
one was "I can't do it"

These two people were pushed to see
that these statements were illusion
(Which isn't all true:
sometimes all of us aren't good enough,
say, to fly a plane,
or can't do it, like quadratic formulas,
but as a blanket over view, both VIEWS aren't so useful).
And thus they didn't have any power over the people.

When the second person said she was fine when
she didn't believe her story,
the trainer pushed her around emotionally,
told her that wasn't so,
that she could NOT believe or disbelieve something
that was an illusion,

which is bullshit

that's the history of the world
falling apart
 couples and neighbors and nations
all going to war over the illusion:
you should change
you are wrong
I am right and you should see/ do/ feel/ think it my way

So, he's demanding she get with the program
He's denying an absolute full proof way out of suffering,
which is to stop believing the story,
He's promising her the Landmark pie in the sky
if she signs up for her $485 and learns to "ride the bicycle"

But the worst is,
unlike any person in the present,
who can't demand others shape up,
he isn't present to her,
he's present to the problem of solving her
to get her to demonstrate to the audience how
cool his method is

so he's not listening

oh, well.

that's my view,
and man do I fail at it,
don't we all,

this listening to others less enlightened than I

and that's always a false story of mine,
and to my mind,
was a false story of his

So, that enough.
Except the huge dishonesty of saying at the beginning of the night
that this wasn't a pressure thing,
and then pretty much making it almost impossible
to leave
if you didn't sign up at the end

And yet,
they were so happy

one almost wants to join the cult
to get that "oh, my, now I fit in" rush
and to
"get with a program"
that opens a lot more doors than "ordinary living"

and not to "disappoint" all the smiley faces,
if you'd just join our club
we'd smile even more
and love and hug you
and take you in

and there are boyfriends, girlfriends
a whole world,
like a megachurch
all is contained

come on in
come on in

all is safe

join the Hitler Youth
the born again
the we love the 49ers
the Tea Party
the communist party
the party party

join us
join us
and we will love cherish accept
take care of you

the Scientologist club,
wow, that's probably the closest

and then again
to just

be present

and including the ideas of making small changes
and noticing differences
and slowing down
and living in the emptiness of
and no story
and waiting and seeing

life as it is in the moment,
and seeing what happens,
in movement
in thought
in emotions
in spiritual work

that, too, will set us free

but without that warm mob family tribe feeling

and we can always do the work
as in (Byron Katie, again,
and you don't have to do that,
and you CAN do that
all on your own,
and Katie/ me/ others
won't love you more
if you do or don't do it)
on any feelings that it's wrong/ bad/ scary/ hard
to be alone


I thought this was going to be short

Oh, well

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