Isn't Burning Man purported to be a venue in which everybody is accepted, a place where full self-expression is not only accepted, but supported? Or does that only apply if another person's views are acceptable to you?
Some of the replies on this post are downright virulent. And, you're welcome to your view, of course--that's what it's all about, right?
Can you really tell someone else about Burning Man that hasn't been there, such that they get how it really is? Or do you have to actually experience it? There's plenty of people that can tell you all about how Burning Man is a hippy sex-craved free for all for the ultra-liberal left crazies of this county. But is that true? Or just their opinion based on other people's opinions based on heresay and third hand stories taken out of context?
The Landmark Forum is like Burning Man: all the opinions in the world don't mean squat, you have to experience it. It is, by it's nature, experiential. All that stuff posted here about Landmark being a cult, coming out of Scientology, brainwashing people, breaking them down--that's just not true.
Landmark was featured this spring in Time magazine:
http://theworldnewspress.com/2011/06/ti ... education/
Perhaps Time magazine's report might be a more objective view. Or have an open mind, and talk to someone like me that has done it, and has had very real and wonderful results in life out of it.
For myself, one of my big wake-ups in life was how much of my life was about my opinion, and my judgements and assessments of other people's opinions, and how worthy it seemed to engage in discussions and arguments about that. Then I finally got a different viewpoint to approach life from: what if I had space for your views and opinions, and actually looked at them, to see what value they might have, how might my life be enriched from looking at something from your view? ESPECIALLY when I am TOTALLY RIGHT about that my view is right and yours is wrong.
I got the extent of my own intolerance of other people. That alone has been life altering for me.
Some of the very real impacts on my life of doing the Landmark Forum:
1) I saw that I had decided very early in life (not a conscious decision; just one that fell out of something that happened), that kids were loved, but not always wanted around when adults were having fun. The result: I was never going to have kids of my own. When I saw that a "decision" made when I was about 4 years old had driven my life, I had a new opportunity to choose, as an adult, whether I would have the experience of being a father. I chose yes. That was never going to happen, EVER, before doing the Forum. My daughter is now 11 years old, and being a daddy has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Period.
2) I felt trapped in a job/career that I had spent a big chunk of my life on--college, 15 years in the career, all the usual jazz. Not depressed or anything severe like that--after all, I was successful financially, was living the "American dream" (whatever that is); but vaguely dissatisfied, like there should be something more. But it seemed (as in it felt real), that there was nothing I could do about that. I was trained for the career, had experience, was very successful, how could I ever do anything else? In the Forum, I realized that it was ME saying I was trapped, there is absolutely no "reality" behind that; merely a conversation I was making up in my head. The RESULT of that conversation though, was real impact in my life: I was living my life less than fully fulfilled and happy. That affected my marriage (after all, who wants to live with someone vaguely dissatisfied and unhappy?), relationships with friends, my very experience of my life. And most importantly, I got that THIS IS NOT MY PRACTICE LIFE, THIS IS IT!!!! Why not live it full out, give it everything I can, all the time, go for it!!!
That's how I get to live my life now. All the time. I invented a whole new career that I love, and set off to sail around the world for a few years so my wife and I could spend all day with our new daughter, rather than both going to the daily grind and having someone else raise our little girl.
The Landmark Forum can be confronting, because it is an opportunity to start dealing with all the places in life you have given up on; sold yourself short on; and justified to yourself, by coming up with all sorts of justifications about why you gave up on yourself and your life. Or why it's OK to be less than great with your best friend, or your partner in life, or your mom or dad, or the clerk at the Customer Service counter (how many times have you been a total shit to someone just in the last three days?).
And, you're welcome to continue to have your views, and I will defend your right to have those views. You will get what you get from having them, and I'll get what I get from having mine, and that's the perfect path for each of us to walk in life, at this moment. Why do I say that? It's because this is what I am actually doing, and what you are actually doing, that is reality. I've found that living life dealing with reality, rather than the stories and interpretations you and I make up about what is actually happening, is a very powerful and fulfilling way to live life.
Peace, and see you on the Playa