… or when understanding strikes
I have had a few moments of intense understanding (you might call them epiphanies) when the way I operate in the world shifts forever onto a new axis. I had one today and it reminded me of a previous one which both seem to be interrelated. It seems churlish not to share them, though for YOU they may not hold the same impact.
The first moment was during a second Landmark Forum. My view of Landmark had been clouded by rumours that it was a cult, demanding greater and greater commitment (and course fees) from participants as they progressed through brain-washing courses. I wasn’t going to be taken in, I assured myself. And I wasn’t! The gift of insight I was given, however, has lasted the rest of my life and will continue to do so.
One Way Stream of Insight
I’d gone along to the first and second forums because I felt that some of the insights they offered made sense and could be applied to my life. I looked at the organisation as a group offering something to ME. I would take from it what I wanted and leave the rest.
My moment of insight came when we were confronted with a diagram of where we fit in the World – our world view. It looked something like this:
We were, the Landmark leader assured us, one and the same as our involvement in those links/groups we identified with. I did NOT merely see myself as a single entity – I saw myself as ‘part of’. Each ‘part of’ we identified ourselves with brought us closer to being world citizens. In other words, the World would not exist unless we all saw ourselves as ‘part of’ a larger whole, and just by seeing ourselves like that we were the whole.
It was one of those hair on the back of your neck experiences. I suddenly realised:
I was responsible for YOU and ME
I was responsible for the health of the world
What I did mattered – for good or mediocre – doing nothing has never been an option
Every cell in my body reverberated with the enormity of what I had just realised. I was excited and stunned by this new filter through which I viewed the world and everyone I met.
When selecting ‘best’ excludes the rest
That was the first moment when ME became YOU. The second moment happened this morning.
I was sharing a reading of Rhonda Byrne’s book “The Power” with my partner Tre, when we came to a quotation of Gautama Buddha (563 – 483 BC):
“If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.”
It’s not a unique quotation; many religions have similar rules, quotations from prophets or religious texts. What struck me was my thoughts on hearing this quote.
“Buddha’s wisdom and the wisdom of those who represent him on Earth is full of peace and kindness. Perhaps I should become a Buddhist?”
Then I thought: “If I became a Buddhist I wouldn’t be able to follow the teachings of other great prophets and thinkers.”
“By choosing the best I would exclude the rest.”
And back came my learning from that Landmark Forum. Only this time it looked like this:
That central ME part, given that is also a part of my community, organisations I support, my country and the world, is also filled with the other YOU’s of the world – the people like Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa, and YOU who are reading this blog. We are all putting into the world and we are all receiving back from the world; and what we receive back is equivalent to what we send out. So if we judge, or gossip “pain follows him” but if we think or speak with kind thoughts “happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him”.
I do not have to choose who to follow: great teachers and wise people are standing on the same footprint as I am. That’s the moment when ME becomes YOU.
Heather Sylvawood, 2015