Saying NO to EST and Landmark For 25 Years
Date: September 12, 2004 11:22PM
My friend who tried to enroll me in Landmark this summer called me the other day. I was having a nap. I looked at my Caller ID and it said . . . . Landmark, so I knew it must be her. She was in the sales office making follow-up calls. She said that the movie, ‘What The Bleep Do We Know?’ is now being distributed nationwide so I would be able to see it soon. She had mentioned this movie when she first called. I researched it on the internet and found out that it was produced by some talented followers of J.Z. Knight/Ramtha. It was being shown in relatively few theaters two months ago. But anyway, it appears that some Landmark salespeople are using it as a ‘hook’ to start their sales pitch these days, (to people who have an interest in quantum physics, etc.) so she mentioned it again when she called me. Other salespeople were of course sitting next to her and could hear what she was saying.
Then she asked how I was doing. I told her I was great and that since I had last talked with her I had been researching the contribution that vitamin and mineral deficiencies make to manic-depression and other ‘mental illnesses’, and that I was so excited that I was feeling so much more energetic and clear minded since I started taking a good vitamin B complex among other things. I reminded her that I had had such bad experiences with mania in the past and that that was why I didn’t want to risk going to a Forum - because I didn’t want THAT to happen again.
Then she asked, in Landmarkese, ‘What does THAT look like?’ So, I started describing when I ‘snapped’ on the last night of a firewalking intensive in 1993. I had described this to her before but she had forgotten that. So I told her how I had an ‘out of body experience’ etc. and finally lost it and broke out into hysterical laughter, and said to the people who I was talking with that I really ‘got it’, that I totally create my own reality. I described the next few days and all of the weird thoughts and sensations I had. So, she finally said, ‘Well that sounds like a spiritual experience to me.’, and I said, ‘Yeah, that’s what it looks like alright, but it’s actually a psychotic/manic experience too.’ I told her that people had told me that I had had a ‘shamanic break’ or a ‘Kundalini awakening’ but that those terms really never led me to a cure, or way to stop the episodes I had every three years or so, and that I finally learned that they are precipitated by stress and adrenaline rushes. I told her about the vitamin/mineral deficiency problem and how that also makes people’s brains more vulnerable to outside influences like hypnosis.
So I went on for about fifteen minutes straight with her just listening. She had heard all of it before. We have talked about my manic experiences, but this time she just listened without interrupting with a bunch of questions which break my train of thought - and hers I might add. (Interrupting with a question can be a ‘stopper’, a way to stop a person from saying something you don’t want to know, a distraction to the speaker and listener.) I told her that I was going to call her sister, who DID go to the Forum this summer, and let her know about the vitamin/mineral theory so that she could pass the information on to her adult ‘obsessive/compulsive’ children, who are also budding alcoholics, in the tradition of the family. Her sister has told me how concerned she is about their situations.
I asked her how her sister liked the Forum and she said ‘She said it gave her her life back.’ She also said that her sister left the Forum early on Friday because her back hurt, and she left early on Saturday night because her son had been in a car accident. What she was trying to point out was that the Landmark people are becoming less interested in people staying through every minute of the day, and participants can leave early if they want to. So I said, ‘Oh that’s nice, but I still would not take the risk with my brain. The long days and intense emotional content would still be too stressful for people like me, which I learned at the ‘Bob Seminar’ and the firewalking seminars, and I don’t need anymore psychotic breakthroughs.’
Then it was ‘time’s up’ for the call and she whispered, ‘Hey, I’m just really making a ‘free’ phone call here. Landmark is paying for this call. I’m heading home now, so I’ll talk to you later.’ I laughed and told her that I would call her.
This last part is hilarious to me because when I lived in California for a year during high school she started using other people’s telephone numbers to pay for her long distance calls to me. The telephone company found out she was doing this and called to ask me about it. I told them that yes she was calling me but I didn’t know that she was using other people’s phone numbers to pay for the calls. She can be such a little criminal sometimes . . .
But, anyway, after reading Steven Hassan’s book I realized that her ‘pre-Landmark’ personality was still intact underneath all of the Landmark jargon, thinking, and sales tactics. So, I was encouraged by her ‘phone time embezzlement’ scheme. Maybe she’s about finished with the Forum and we can discuss the idea of REAL integrity - and lack of it - in both of our lives. I’m so excited. I’ll have to call her soon. I have gotten so much out of NOT doing the Forum. It’s incredible. This post is like my ‘non-graduation’ speech. (laughing)