Insight vs Breakthrough from doing Landmark Forum
Date: December 14, 2002 12:56AM
I'm sorry to hear you live with pain. If I find anything in my travels that might be of help, I'll be sure to pass it on. Your Landmark friend's comments about your pain are just an example of LE arrogance. While I've heard that LE is based on Zen concepts, the basis of Zen is love and compassion, not personal gain, be it financial or egotistical.
My other problem is that I went to LF in a state of desperation. Relatively speaking, I thougt by then I was well enough physically to attend, because I was eating better. Their "informed consent" scared me off and I tried to get answers from them about how tough it would be physically and emotionally. They insisted I would not have a problem, called me weekly for over a month and witnessed my mood swings, yet made their guarantees. I made a choice based on info they gave me.
I recently read a book called The Second Brain, by Michael Gershon, MD, who is a researcher at Columbia Med School. The book is about the enteric (gut) nervous system. In a nutshell, research started in the late 1800s about the gut functioning like a brain all by itself has continued to make great strides. Since the 1980s, it's known that conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (Crohn's, diverticulosis, etc.) are NOT a manifestation of psych disorders, but that anxiety and depression are likely manifestations of gut disorders when the two conditions are present. 95% of the serotonin in the body is produced in the gut, and certain receptors can be adversely affected by antidepressants, worsening gut symptoms and causing depression. Turns out these are not true "side effects" or negative reactions. Much of this research has been published. The modus operandi of medicine that if they don't find a therapy that works, it's all in the mind, is just not valid, and medicine is notoriously 15 yrs behind the research in many fields (for instance, acute back pain is now known to respond very well to ice, rather than heat, yet docs still prescribe heat for back injuries). There is a lot of resistance still to the gut research, yet drug companies are using the research because they lose $ every time a patient stops taking their Rx because of side effects. They realize this is a normal reaction in the gut. The 5-HTP my doc had me on is an SSRI, like Paxil. It did exactly what it was supposed to do to my gut - cause anorexia. Yet when I said it might be the cause of the anorexia, doc said he never heard of that, that this only happens in obese people (he was making these claims up). My doc wasn't interested in the research (I know now, didn't know this then) because he was more into using LE technology on me as he believed my conditions were in my head.
LF, and this doc I went to, operate on the outdated medical model that conditions are in your head - very closed-minded - and that they are right, but you're not wrong, and it's all meaningless anyway (talk about not taking responsibility!!) so they're not wrong either. Having studied both eastern philosophy and some psychoneuroimmunology, and having been in cognitive therapy, I'm familiar with the thought-body connection. Behaviorally, I benefitted from cognitive Tx a long time ago and went back to it after the whole LF\doctor ordeal because I felt like there were no more answers and that I was really gullible, stupid, yet somehow I MUST be resisting some deep stuck memory or emotion and that I would have these physical problems all my life, so how else could I reframe it all?
LE does not present reframing with compassion nor with much detail. My leader used an accusing tone which is not helpful. What I got from the headache-disappearing-act was that physical ailments are in your mind. Get into the pain (there is a childbirthing method, the opposite of Lamaze, can't think of the name - Rogers?- where you get into the pain) and it will disappear. This is oversimplification of lessons on having attachments, that avoidance or hatred is still attachment, and Sufis walking on hot coals who have developed mind skills that allow them to do this. Well - they didn't learn it overnight and by having someone tell them to get over it. To a neophyte, it takes time to learn how to reframe one's thinking about embedded conditions. And, again, I remember the I-can't-win-here feeling I got from LE and the feeling of having been had.
My doc didn't feel it was necessary to tell me he was using LE technology - I realized it after having the relationship ended terribly, and only after attending Forum did it dawn on me that he had run a very long Forum on me - complete with physical deprivation. He was cunning enough to throw in some alternative medicine so it looked like he was trying to address mind, body and spirit. It's very difficult yet to separate him from Landmark, but I trust that at some point I will. Neither LE or doc were willing to have a dialogue when asked questions, and even claimed they didn't get messages, said to call at a given time but then weren't available. But, as LF says, humans don't have integrity and it's all meaningless. When my doc was speaking with my yoga instructor about doing a workshop on meditation at her studio, after plagarizing Alan Watts for an hour (boy if I knew now what I didn't know then!!), he said he "couldn't care less what people do with the information he presents." No compassion. It's about performance. I considered if compassion did not matter, but it does. If there is no compassion, they will not care what happens to participants and patients. If it's about performance, it will be about moving onto the next bit of narcissistic supply and not the wellbeing of the person who is paying for expertise.
At this pt, a full year after Forum, I have yet to see a benefit, other than the ability to help others, and perhaps start my own website on following one's gut. That, however, also falls into one door closes and another one opens, which is pre-Landmark:) I guess going to LE helped understand my doctor's dynamics and to see how close-minded he was as he was claiming to be open - it's real yin-yang, no?
I'm enjoying the correspondence, Katydid.