Always A Way Through

Tuesday 20 October, 2020

This piece explains the insight which allowed Karaj to put to rest years of work, and so bring our 20-year story to a satisfying conclusion. At the same time, it is a both an acknowledgement of how difficult it can be to do the things we know we need to do, as well as a reminder that what’s required to find a way through are qualities such as determination and clarity, vulnerability and love… and patience.

When I first began working with Karaj, I remember asking him why his clients didn’t make more use of him. In the years that followed I was fortunate to be in his company for days, weeks and months on end in a self-contained world of detailed observation and deep reflection. It became clear to me early on that here was an opportunity to be close to someone who had something special to offer, so I wondered why no-one else was making the most of it.

On A Retainer

Instead, what seemed to be happening was that people would come for an hour every month, discuss their problems, feel better about themselves (or not), take his advice away with them (or not), maybe make some resolutions about their future, and then appear again a few weeks later. There were two men’s groups a month, which offered further depth and connection, but still I wondered whether more could be made of the available resources.

Eventually, people did start coming more often, and the monthly groups merged into one long weekend group, which met all weekend, every weekend. But even as the work began building towards the intensity of the final two years, I remained bewildered by certain people’s behaviour. In July 2001, in the post ‘Are They Even Listening?’, I wrote about what I saw:

I stressed that Karaj knows what he is talking about and people need to listen to him. After all, they come here and pay their money, so why don’t they listen? This led on to my other point: that people don’t make much use of the opportunities they have here. It’s almost as if they are paying Karaj a retainer for when things go really wrong in their lives, instead of using his vast knowledge and experience to sort their lives out now.

It doesn’t stop there. The post immediately after that one, ‘Much Has Happened’, continues the story. With a feeling of stunned disbelief at what had happened the previous day, I talked it over with Karaj as soon as we met that morning. The conclusion of our conversation may help to answer the previous post’s question about why I am still in touch with Karaj after so many years, and others are not:

Karaj told me he spends too much time explaining things to some people. He has never gone into too much explanation with me. He tells me and I listen. Once I have acted on his words and found out for myself, we usually talk it through so that I can better understand what has happened to me, but there is no point in prior explanation because I don’t need any convincing about the wisdom of following his advice.

Final Insight

Returning to the present-day, and the genesis of the final insight, Karaj called me in late August to talk about an issue he was having with the memory of one particular client. They had entered his psyche after a long absence and wouldn’t let him rest, so we discussed it over the course of a few conversations. One aspect he raised was the difference between love and seduction I mentioned in the previous post. He had been seduced into believing that the person’s intention was real and the connection true, but it turned out they were neither.

At the end of the call he asked me to reflect on our discussion to see if there was anything I could add.

This was a serious issue and, as it transpired, the last remaining obstacle blocking us from wrapping up the entire saga of the last 20 years. I took a few days to think about it. My first insight was that the person had been keeping Karaj at arms length. That was the seduction part. But it was not the whole story because soon after that came the second, more significant insight: they had been keeping Karaj on a rope for years, not wanting him too close, but not wanting him to get away. I had a sense of the rope tied around his neck, and was reminded of the retainer I had written about in 2001.

I shared this with Karaj and it felt revelatory for him. Writing about it now, it was as if a spell had been lifted and he could see in a truer light the part he had played. He had been acting as if everything was genuine – the need, the commitment, the connection – and in some way they were; but once blessed with greater clarity and understanding, he was immediately free.

In the course of our conversation a third insight appeared: not only were they keeping him at a distance and tied to a rope, it was also as if they were holding him captive in some metaphorical basement. He was their prisoner, their puppet, and they had seduced him, tapping directly into his desire to be of service, only to continue to manipulate their own reality to prove their view of the world, (which is how Script in TA works).

It was no real leap of intellect for the metaphor to be extended to others who were present during those early years. The evidence is there in those two excerpts from my journal.

There Is A Way

It has to be said that Karaj has his own defences against contact he does not want or considers manipulative. Consequently, it is not always easy to reach him or maintain a connection with him. I have experienced it myself on numerous occasions and he has continued to challenge me throughout, if necessary. The confrontational nature of the relationship is still there, and it can be difficult sometimes, but that is also part of what makes it so valuable.

There are many reasons, therefore, why people are no longer in touch with Karaj, but my own situation is proof that there is a way. I have had to persist over many years, but my conclusion as I write these final lines, is that if the intention is pure and the love is true, there is always a way through. We must guard against seduction because it seems so much like love; and we must continue to check in with ourselves to question and recalibrate. Furthermore, we must always remember that even though we think we know, and even though we think the story is over, it might still be years before we see the truth.


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