At the beginning of the last year, I attended the Landmark Forum. If you don’t know anything about it or its parent company, Landmark Worldwide, I recommend that you, at least, do your due diligence and research it, and if still interested, attend an introductory session which is, the last time I checked, free.
The forum itself was a highly interactive, self-discovery experience. It was essentially a conversation with myself mirrored through engaging conversations with other attendees seated to my left and to my right.
The leader of the 3.5-day forum made no grand promises nor did she give away free books or cars a la “The Oprah Winfrey Show” upon completion.
Wait. I lied. She did promise one thing: Transformation.
Upon hearing this, in my “I already know what time it is” incredulousness, I mumbled to myself, “Yeah, right”. In 3.5 days?” As a preacher’s kid (PK) I’d heard about transformation and its sister-cousins “breakthrough”, “miracle” and “jubilee” for decades. Hell, every year during New Year’s Eve watch-night service it was the same song. So, to me, it was tantamount to today’s feel-good catchphrase, “New Year, New Me”. Sure, it sounded good, but I reasoned that I was tired of hearing what only sounded good; I wanted to be good.
I was put to task every single hour of the 3.5 days. Even when I was released to go home after sitting for twelve hours in the ass-numbing chairs equally distributed for punishment across the room, I was doing work in my sleep. I was Tom Cruise in ‘Vanilla Sky’. I had lucid dreams. I was anxious. What the hell am I doing? Why did I sign up for this? Is it too late to ask for a refund? What transformation was she talking about?
With no chance of refund and my desire to stave off embarrassment, and, more importantly, a dreaded conversation with my lady because she had already attended and “graduated”, I decided to brave through it until the end.
On the eve of the final day, the leader revealed “the secret”, if you will: “Life is empty and meaningless.” Whoa. What? That’s what I’ve been waiting for almost four days?
The room grew largely quiet minus the rapid succession of heads exploding with sizzling grey matter. “Ha!” Some laughed with elation. One person, an über religious lady to the right of the room, balked at the idea, stood up from her seat and, where she stood, confronted the leader of the forum as if she was told that her God was dead. The woman exchanged a few words with the leader and finally walked out the room, forfeiting her fees and ultimately her opportunity at a life-changing experience.
Meanwhile, I was still reeling from it all. What just happened?
More importantly, what did I not understand that so many others did? I paid my money. I want what they got. Why didn’t my head explode? I want my head to explode!
Life is empty and meaningless? You mean to tell me that I’ve prayed for my life’s purpose, tore through paperbacks and hardcovers on the same topic, attended expensive seminars like this one for the same reason, and that’s the simple, subtle truth that I was supposed to glean from.
Yup. That’s it and it’s nothing that we, if truly aware, should be surprised about or even fearful of. In fact, we should be grateful for this co-creative ability and opportunity.
In the biblical narrative of Genesis (the beginning), God created the Universe “ex nihilo”—out of nothing, in Latin.
Think about it for a minute. From a blank slate you can write any book. From a blank palette you can color any masterpiece. From a blank life you can be and experience whatever it is you want to be and experience.
Contrary to the opinions of victims that subscribe to powerlessness, we do have a say in our responses to our experiences.
Without preconceived notions or ulterior motives notions beyond our control we posses the unencumbered will to create, experience, live, and be on our own terms, and that is power.
In the end, I’m grateful for my experience at the Landmark Forum. I walked away cemented in the foundation of a curriculum of personal development that I can securely build upon armed with the mindset and mechanics of the requisite language to co-create with God and the Universe.
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