My Life is On Track

Saturday 12 January, 2002

06.40 E&M 55 mins. At first, my negativity took hold, induced as it was by the stiffness of my back and the looseness of my spine and pelvis – there were all sorts of clicks with each movement. However, by the end of the exercises, I felt solid and alive. A great start to the day. With respect to the negativity about the exercises doing no good – get out of this immediate judgement – my life is a long-term project, so relax because it is the discipline which is important. Everything else will work out as a consequence of my discipline.

As I look down the garden at 08.40 I see Dev with the broom, Sunil with the pressure hose and Robert with the spade, all working to tidy the garden for today’s men’s group. The sight fills me with companionship and a sense that I am doing the right thing. My life is on track. Things are happening for me which allow me to look back on all my life so far and say ‘yes, I am okay’. After years of wondering what I am going to do with my life I realise that I have been doing precisely what I have needed to do and that all I have done has brought me here, together with these men and I know that wherever I go from here it will be right and I will have the company of good people. This planet does have good people. I am one of them. It makes life worth living. Karaj told me later that I have created this.

Karaj also pointed out that I have reached the point where I can see the negativity. I can see negative people and that allows me to move away. Kuldip has helped me with that gift and it is a great life lesson.

Men’s Group

We paired up for the first half an hour to talk about the games we have played so far this year. I sat with Robert and my first comment was, ‘I’m struggling with this’. My focus has been on all the good things that are happening to me that I cannot see the games I play and I wanted Robert’s input. Unfortunately, my comment was a game in itself because Robert said he felt inclined to rescue me – what I had said had been negative and had come from the position of victim. What I could have said was, ‘I’d appreciate your input on my games’, or ‘can you highlight some of the games I play?’ The lesson here is:

  • Negativity illicits rescue/persecution. Positivity brings support.

Another game I play, and have done so this week in my contact with Robert, occurs when I say things I feel I ought to say. I have seen this week how accurate I am when I verbalise what comes to me – thought or feeling – but when I try to say something because I think I should, then it is unnatural and will always have the effect of annoying people. It is devious and manipulative. A prime example occurred the day we cleared Sunil’s garage. I annoyed everyone by saying something I thought I should say, and something which, as I said it, did not feel natural to me.

Before we could share our games with each other there was a challenge to Kuldip, during which I read a letter Karaj had received from Naveen. The letter said that he is doing well and continuing to work on himself with another group. This was evidence that despite all the possible repercussions and consequences of being told to leave the group, he is fine. Confirmation that Karaj had done the right thing. When we make a decision we may not receive the confirmation for many months, years or even at all. We need to have faith in everything we do.

Apologies

Karaj’s voice was very loud when he was challenging Kuldip and this affected Earl such that when his name was mentioned he reacted angrily and accused Karaj of sometimes being a ‘knobhead’. Karaj told him to provide evidence. He couldn’t. Karaj respected Earl for his confrontation because at least there was contact between them.

The challenge returned to Kuldip. He was told to apologise to each man in turn for saying yesterday that he does not trust them. The group would give feedback on each apology and if we felt it was not genuine he would have to apologise again. He turned to me first and I was willing to accept his apology because I felt uncomfortable, but Robert had not been convinced by it so we took a break. When we came back Kuldip stood up and asked me to stand up. I felt intimidated and so I refused. He sat down and proceeded with his second attempt. This time he talked to me about what I have done for him and it was all proceeding very well until he uttered the words ‘I do apologise’. Again I felt frightened and the apology was not accepted.

Karaj told him to choose someone else because otherwise I would begin to appear harsh. He turned to George and made an attempt from victim state – his body language was stooped and his voice was low. Not accepted. His fourth attempt was different again, more aggressive than the third. Not accepted. He was changing strategies, randomly searching for something that would work – Adapted Child behaviour. As Leon pointed out, Kuldip denigrates himself and if we are not aware, we rescue or persecute him and eventually he turns and persecutes us. Very manipulative. Karaj asked Kuldip to leave and return on Thursday.

First Learning Points

Robert talked about the situation with his boss and the learning points which came out of it for us were:

  • Don’t ask a woman to do something for you – do it yourself (George)
  • Don’t get excited at progress and success, because you will forget the procedures
  • You need to look for the next fuck-up
  • All successful men have (male) networks

We then moved on to answer a question I have asked Karaj this week: How is he able to tune in and give appropriate advice on everything?

He has observed and experienced that if people don’t follow procedures then their lives are a mess. Karaj goes into his procedures every time he relates. Any sensations he experiences which are not a part of him ‘at rest’ make him sit up and ask himself, ‘What is this person doing to me?’ Because he knows himself and because his life is simple he is able to identify any fluctuations which occur within his own field of existence. He also benefits from his lack of conditioning, due to his isolated childhood. In addition he is short-sighted, a condition which went undiagnosed for 16 years as a child which meant that he was left to develop his other senses to compensate. Senses which now stand him in good stead with his analysis of people and situations.

After a discussion with Dev about his goals and his self development – they run side by side but goals are finite and defined, whereas self-development is a never-ending unravelling of our conditioning – we went to lunch.

Setting Myself Up To Be Late

I went into town with Earl. He complimented me on the way there, saying that I am getting as good at picking up people’s games as Karaj. This should have made me aware of what was to happen in town, but I was not alert and as a result we returned to the house 15 minutes late. I had already told Earl where the shop was which he wanted to visit and when we parted I pointed to it but did not say anything to him because I assumed(!) he had heard me. I waited for him at the agreed spot for 25 minutes because, unbeknown to me, he had been unable to find his shop.

I was livid with him for making me late – I consider that I have a responsibility to be on time and I was highly frustrated that Earl had made a mockery of that responsibility. But I soon realised that it was my fault and I started to bash myself up for allowing it to happen. After yesterday’s lesson and Karaj’s comment to me this morning that I am now able to identify negative people, I had sabotaged my life once again. I had set it up.

Lack Of Self-Motivation

Back at the house, one of the earth walls on the sloping path in the garden had partially collapsed. Karaj was still not around and when Earl said, ‘We needn’t have rushed back’, I was firm with him saying, ‘That doesn’t change the fact that we were late’. For the next hour or two I was preoccupied with the lapse in my awareness. I was trying to own it, pay the price and learn from it. I should have verbalised it but I didn’t. The truth is I didn’t want to be told what I already knew, and in that sense I suppose I wasn’t truly prepared to pay the price.

After some attention to the earth on the pathway (we had disturbed Leon to seek his advice on the best way to deal with it), the group continued. Karaj told us that we lack self-motivation – we could have cleared the fallen earth from the pathway but we didn’t. This is a serious issue. It is this lack of self-motivation which is preventing us from making important breakthroughs.

Life Can Change In An Instant

We talked about how life can change in an instant. Earl told his story of how he had been hit by a car driven by a 17-year-old – an accident which has left him with a severe limp and a life of pain. At that time in his life he was working hard as a glass sculptor, running on the adrenaline of the creative process and the excitement of a new love in his life. He was set to become a renowned and internationally famous sculptor and, in an instant, his life was turned upside down. He feels cheated in life. This made me think even harder about my lunchtime lesson.

Karaj invited me to tell yesterday’s story of Kuldip and the table saw. This heightened my self-analysis and I felt a determination to sort it out. Karaj told us to be thankful for Earl’s story because it will help us to be alert. Earl has given us a gift and he needs to own that contribution to us.

I thought to myself that I am putting myself, my progress and my life in danger by not realising that I am vulnerable. I felt that I did not want to lose sight of the importance of this issue. I said nothing about any of this and did not mention my lunchtime lesson until Karaj prompted me late in the evening. He told me not to bash myself up just because I was late once in two years. He said that his focus is not on that I was late but that I am a good man.

Laughter

For the next half an hour the mood lightened and so did the conversation, with the result that I found myself laughing hysterically as Karaj entertained us with his unintentional, funny-man routine, his dead-pan delivery on the subject of driving activities and non-stop refuelling, bringing great laughter from all the men and from me and Robert in particular. I really needed that and it did me the world of good. The power of laughter. By this time I felt much better, the bashing up had stopped and I had analysed my learning and could clearly see that for the last two days I have been risking my progress.

Receive The Feedback

Leon was challenged that the positive feedback we give him is not fully received. He maintains that the situation at work is not as rosy as we depict but Karaj countered him saying that the reason the feedback we give does not correspond to his view of his position at work is because he is fucking around at work. And all because he is not listening to us and is not receiving what we say. If he owned his abilities, believed in himself – or even just believed us to start with – his life would be enriched immediately.

Robert talked with experience about the attitude which they both have of feeling that the world cannot possibly appreciate their talents and that there is a lot of energy wasted in maintaining such an attitude. He told Leon that if he does not use that energy creatively he will destroy himself. This gave me a perspective on Leon’s facial expression which I have hitherto thought to be one which says, ‘You have no idea what I have been through’, but which I now see as saying, ‘You have no idea how good I am’.

Karaj disappeared in the break and when he returned he told us the story of Ernest Shackelton, who saved all his men when they were trapped in the Antarctic. He did it using procedures, discipline and morale, and said that what they learnt during those long months ‘has to be experienced – it cannot be taught’.

Be More Forceful When Giving Love

George was challenged about not asking for a lift from the station this morning instead of waiting for the bus and being late. He had phoned Robert to arrange a lift for after the group but when Robert suggested a lift in the morning he felt rebuffed by George’s assurances that he had everything in hand – which he didn’t, otherwise he would not have been late. Robert did not force the issue and he should have done. We need to be more forceful when we are giving love – the more we give, the more we will receive.

Be Sure To Contribute

George told us about his eye problem, but Karaj was convinced there was something else he wasn’t telling us. He wasn’t being secretive he just hadn’t realised the impact a situation with his wife was having on him – or he was denying that impact.

This lead on to a similar issue with Earl and his wife. Karaj told them both to let their wives be. Let them have some fun and remember that the woman is always right – even when she’s wrong. That attitude alone will simplify life and make it a lot easier. Earl suggested the two of them get together if their wives are going to do the same but Karaj warned Earl that he must first give serious consideration to exactly what he will contribute to George and vice versa. Karaj invited me to tell the story of me and my friends. Do I contribute something worthwhile to them or am I just a novelty with my views on the life and the universe? If there is to be no contribution then what is the point?

Being Rescued

After another break Karaj encouraged Dev to take control and hurry the process along. Dev looked at Calvin, knowing that he had not been yet, but shied away from asking him or telling him to go next. In the end Calvin rescued him – he would rescue me within the next half hour too – by saying that he was still to go. He said that he had not really played games this year – Calvin is congruent and ‘normal’. It’s the rest of us who play games and Karaj explained that when he had told us this morning that all of us have played games he actually didn’t include Calvin in that.

We took another break during which we were to give thought to the contribution we will make to Calvin this year. I thanked Calvin for his important influence on the development of my Parent Ego state, which said nothing about the contribution I would make to him. This is where he rescued me because he said that when we go dancing I try to control myself and my excitement, whereas he is trying to let go and have some fun. Therefore I can contribute my fun side to him – he has shown me the way to be a Parent and I can share with him my Child. Contributions from the other men included fun, support, dance, work on his flat and help in the advancement of his goals.

Back To The Games

Sunil then talked about his games – his criticisms and his focus on solutions. Karaj told him he needs to learn to receive, and to accept love. Then Leon broached the subject of the ‘landslide’ in the garden at lunchtime. Sunil had asked Leon to come out and have a look at it. Sunil said that it was because he was an elder and an engineer and so could advise on what best to do. Unfortunately, Leon had just woken up from his siesta and the way Sunil went about asking him left him feeling forced and manipulated. It all boiled down to Sunil not having the correct procedure for dealing with elders. His behaviour surrounding the landslip was unusual too because he was asking people what best to do when he was quite capable of taking control.

This was the same as the situation last week with Robert when the two of them were buying bolts. Sunil knew exactly what was needed and yet rolled over just because Robert was firm with him. Sunil produced anger in Robert then, and anger in Leon today. It was a serious issue handled very well and Sunil took the feedback better than he has done in the past. He learnt from it. Leon learnt from it because he realised that his boss produces the same reactions in him as Sunil did. Robert also benefited because his anger from the bolt incident was released, as was Leon’s.

Leon’s generosity then came to the fore as he thanked Sunil for the learning opportunity. Ten minutes previously he had been visibly annoyed and having been able to release his anger, he could show gratitude for Sunil’s contribution to his insight. Karaj told Sunil that he has a lot to offer the world but with his thinking he blocks himself.

Before we went into a break, Karaj asked me why I had not been yet. I told him about being late at lunchtime and that, however it had happened, it was my fault – I am responsible for my own life. He agreed and told me not to be so hard on myself. Earl tried to rescue me by taking the blame but I was not interested.

More Laughter

After the break there was even more hilarity as Karaj and Ishwar, both Kenyan Indians, shared their intense dislike of India. They connected as one, united in stories of squalor and of masses of people, all invading each other’s space. East African Indians have a very different mentality – they enjoy space and do not see the need for unnecessary contact, be it physical or verbal. I laughed until it hurt and the tears rolled down my face. Again it was Karaj’s dead-pan delivery and their mutual conviction that ‘India is not a place you should visit’ – Ishwar.

Ishwar did say, however, that the people there have no fear. The situation is so hard for so many people that survival is a daily struggle. We don’t have that ‘problem’ – we are too comfortable – that is why we are so fucked up. Because we do not have to worry about how we are going to live from one day to the next, we have time on our hands to play games with ourselves and with each other.

As Karaj said, ‘In India you have to switch your mind off and live’. The feedback to Ishwar stated clearly that he has to start writing things down – especially at work – if he is to safeguard himself and continue to progress. He gave me permission to kick him up the arse in this respect.

Great Feedback

I then talked about the games I have been playing. Karaj told me that because I am being quiet I am able to see the games I play and as I get quieter, more will be revealed to me of just how devious and manipulative I am. The feedback from the men was some of the best I have received. The attributes are ones which are important to me and their comments complimented the progress I see myself making. They told me:

  • I am calm
  • I am quiet
  • I am steady
  • I have good insights
  • I provide good, instant feedback
  • I make people think
  • I am respectful
  • I am welcoming
  • I challenge

I did not get excited about it because it was confirmation of what I am seeing in myself and because I know that excitement is dangerous. However, it made me feel good to hear these things from my contemporaries and elders. Karaj added that my steadiness allows him to think and because of that he is taking control of his life again. He told me I have created what we have here and that some people are waiting for me to trip up, but I am still working hard, so we shall continue to walk together step by step, day by day, for as long as it lasts.

Be Prepared To Work Hard

He moved on from there to inform us that he will change his practice this year to make sure people know exactly where they stand and that he will have no problem in shutting down the practice if people are not prepared to work very hard. He needs to get rid of the negativity around him and if people cannot be more positive in their outlook, and more determined and self motivated in pursuit of their visions then they can leave.

We need to have the visions and to realise our dreams and we need to blossom. There is nothing else to do in life than to be positive, blossom and fulfil our dreams. We think our mind switches off when we sleep but it never stops. It is always working so why not put it to good use. He told us he wants to die totally burned out.

Bed at 1am.


2 Responses to “My Life is On Track”

  1. Chuhr Says:

    Lovely post. It reminded me of the support we received from each other. It was like back in the group again. It also affirmed the qualities I have and that I can make the right decision regarding my future.

  2. Jonathan Lewis Says:

    That’s lovely to hear, Chuhr. When it was good, it was very good.

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