Monday, October 11, 2010

Transformation of Communication and Communication for Transformation

I did the 'Communication for Access to Power' course from the Landmark Education from Mumbai on 2, 3 and 5th October 2010 and it was awesome! It revealed to me the hidden patterns that controlled my communication and the blockages it created. There were two main reasons I wanted to do this course. The first was the personal and the other was related to my occupation. I had discovered that I was unable either to 'open up' emotionally as a person to people close to me and that I was not able to remain 'present' with the people communicating with me. This resulted in me appearing as evasive and uninterested and hence ultimately insulting. I could see how I communicated 'first hand' when I attended the Tuesday completion evening of this course in Ahmedabad. A powerful exercise exposed 'how I looked' when I communicated and was shocked. I would not myself have loved to interact with such a person. So I knew before hand that the course would be terrific and obviously it did not let me down. The other reason was that I am a writer and teacher and hence my bread, butter and chicken is dependent on communication!

The course used the distinctions we learned in the Landmark Forum and offered us some crucial new distinctions. The course enabled us to distinguish between the 'inherited'(default) old model of communication and the 'invented' or new model of the communication that this course provides. This distinctions is parallel to the default or inherited model of 'being' and living and the invented model of 'being'  provided by the Landmark Forum which brings forth 'a new realm of possibilities and the new possibility of being calls us powerfully into action'.

Like in the Landmark Forum what we need is to 'distinguish' this limiting and restrictive model before we can do something about it. In the Landmark philosophy what it means to 'distinguish' is explained by an analogy: The fish in the water doesn't know what water is unless it takes a jump out of it. Until it knows that there is something like 'non-water', it wont understand that it has been living in what is water after all. Hence unless the fish 'distinguishes' and gets the 'distinction'- water, it has no idea what and where it is living. Hence until we are exposed to the non-inherited and non-default model of 'being', living or communication, we are not able 'to distinguish' between the default and the invented models.

The 'default' model of communication all of us inherit is built on the assumption that the world 'IS' 'out there'/'in here' and the function of language is to 'fit' the word into the already existent world. The function of language basically to 'describe', 'command' or 'express' the pre-existent world out there or in here ( in our mind).

In this model we realize that we are 'small, separate, weak and alone' in this gigantic world which exists irrespective of our existence. Hence within this default paradigm we are constantly trying to 'survive and fix' things, people, circumstances, people( including ourselves).In the default model we are constantly doing things needed to survive and fix like avoiding, withholding, controlling, manipulating, forcing an outcome and so on. Hence 'survive and fix' life is all that we have. As our coach Nirav Vyas put it,' Even when we get used to living in the dark and get expertise of living in the dark, we are still living in the dark.' Most of us live within this model and we don't even know that we are living in this model.

In the default model, we are revealed how 'the sentence' we have passed on ourselves when we were very young runs our life. This sentence is usually a statement like ' I am not x, I am y' which we said to ourselves when we were not even seven years. This 'sentence' is still active when we just look beneath upsets we experience in the day to day life. In my case I discovered that my sentence is ' I am not wanted, I am unwanted.' Hence, to use the coach's words again, if hundreds of people told me that they wanted me with thousands of flowers and even wrote it in the skies with an aeroplane, I would still not believe them because I was living from the context of' I am not wanted, I am unwanted' and looking at the world from this point of view. The coach also pointed out that this was not just 'A point of view' but I WAS  that point of view and so if someone offered an alternate point of view it would be read as a threat to my survival ( as I WAS that point of view). Once I could distinguish this, I was able to give up this point of view. It also meant, in the words of the coach, ' a five year old upset child' was running my life till date.

In the default model of communication we also tend to ask, 'one unanswerable question' beneath ALL our communication. This unanswerable question could be ' Do you love me?' or 'Do  you want me?' Once we can distinguish this question , we are able to see how absurd and meaningless this question is.

The new model of communication is simply exciting. It is based on the assumption that the world 'IS not simply out there or in here ( in our minds), it is created out of words. For instance, the sentence ' I am not wanted, I am unwanted' shaped my life and determined how I look at life and the world. What was the sentence but a speech act?The older model which was designed in order to survive and fix was also based on the hidden contexts which were purely linguistic ( e. g the unanswerable question). This means that the world is CREATED from our words. What we see, how we see, what we think or how we think is determined solely by our conversations which we have with ourselves and the others. The function of language in this new paradigm is no longer to 'describe', 'command' or 'express', but to 'create' the world. This new language is language of transformation and usually takes the form of 'declaration' ( e.g Declaration of Independence or ' I have a dream' speech of Martin Luther King). The power to create can come only when we honour our word ( the distinction known as 'integrity'- not to be confused with morality or ethics).

The new model of communication comes into existence when we bring forth  'listening from nothing', that is, listening from a space rather than listening from the older conversation ( 'already always' running within our mind). In this model, there is no need to 'survive or fix' anything. The communication is no longer controlled by the past discourses and concerns which are put aside. Hence the moment we put the internal dialogues about people aside and be present to the person's current communication, we bring 'everything' into our communication. The person gets freedom and space for expression in our listening which has come from nothing.  The communication becomes a 'dance' and we can sense love and affinity running in the background.

This listening also allows us to enter the world and the point of view of the other. We can get to look at how we look from the other's point of view. And often what we see is not very flattering!

Some of the other very significant distinctions I got was that communication is not 'content' but 'intent'. 'Intent' not as purpose but in the phenomenological sense of 'intentionality' , the space where the self and the other are related and that communication involves creating 'being-in-communication' as against 'talking'.

During the course I called up my dad and told him how much  I love him and how he is the most important person in our life. After good 38 years of life. I told him that it was because I used to live from ' I am not wanted, I am unwanted' that I did not open up my heart to him. I told my sister the same thing. I told them I give up this point of view. I told Amogh and Ashwini the same thing. After the Landmark Forum, I discovered the negative stories I was running and thus destroying my life, after communication course, I discovered what lay beneath these negative stories and blame games.

The Advanced Communication course teaches us how to dismantle and get rid of habitual modes of communication. It teaches us how to alter not just our communications but also the communications of one person in our life with another. It also teaches us how to resolve multiple concerns in a single conversation! The course starts November 20th and I am so very excited about it.

Parallel to these communication courses, I am also participating in the Landmark Action Seminar series which takes place on Thursday evenings. Each session strengthens the distinctions we have got in the Forum by giving us an opportunity to get them once again and practice them. Hence almost a year after doing my Forum , I am 'back in conversation' ( though I was never really out of it).

9 comments:

Blue Glass Grasshopper said...

Dear Sachin, I am sorry to say that there is nothing new or advanced in the communication model that you and the land mark forum is talking about. I think it would be interesting for you to look at Jacobson, Searle, Austin etc. who are linguists and rid yourself of this mania that has unfortunately got hold of you to say that this junk called land mark forum is wonderful. Sorry as you say you are a teacher and a writer and from the discipline of English I am sure that there are hundreds of different and more interesting communication models available. I am sincerely concerned that you rid yourself of this vice called the land mark forum and all the pop psudo psychology and linguistics that they are distributing hoping to attract post globlaized kids who do not want a critique, of themselves or the nonsense they believe.

I did all these monkey tricks when i was a teenager. I belonged to a group called the IPR - or inter-personal relationship group. We were in Maharashtra and I guess we inherited the Maharashtrian notion of 'saying things straight' I hope I have been straight and brutal with you as I think that is the first bit that one has to communicate. Besides this is a money making racket which one can see quite clearly. What new insights does it have to offer?

I do not understand how they have been able to beguile you into believing that they are giving you a good new model? Is hypnoticism a part of their art---Osho I am sure was better. Do the landmark forum teach you to have commitment to your job and do your job properly. I wish they taught people that instead of all this fancy footwork. Well I guess if there are fools ready to be cheated then why should they not. Let's stand up for rich and powerful fools!!!

I have taken the trouble to read this crap --- please don't send me such trash. I would appreciate it heartily.

Blue Glass Grasshopper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Blue Glass Grasshopper said...

I did all these monkey tricks when i was a teenager. I belonged to a group called the IPR - or inter-personal relationship group. We were in Maharashtra and I guess we inherited the Maharashtrian notion of 'saying things straight' I hope I have been straight and brutal with you as I think that is the first bit that one has to communicate. Besides this is a money making racket which one can see quite clearly. What new insights does it have to offer?

I do not understand how they have been able to beguile you into believing that they are giving you a good new model? Is hypnoticism a part of their art---Osho I am sure was better. Do the landmark forum teach you to have commitment to your job and do your job properly. I wish they taught people that instead of all this fancy footwork. Well I guess if there are fools ready to be cheated then why should they not. Let's stand up for rich and powerful fools!!!

I have taken the trouble to read this crap --- please don't send me such trash. I would appreciate it heartily.

Sachin Ketkar said...

Thanks for your views. I disagree with you entirely regarding landmark forum or communication, simply because you dont seem to get what it is all about and I don't blame you for it. These things differ radically from the conceptual-theoretical 'knowledge' that we are brought up on. Landmark Education is basically training, like training to swim or play cricket. It provides us coaching and training to get results in any area of our life. It makes us aware of what is really preventing us from getting results- and this is different from what we think is preventing us from getting them. It shows how to get rid of these constraints. I am sure you must be dealing with many areas where you are not getting results that you want and I suggest that leaving all preconceived notions and assumptions like it is a cult or money making racket aside and give it a shot yourself and find out. After all, all these years you might be struggling with the issues and they must be causing lot of distress to you and people in your life, so why not try it? If it doesn't work, you are always free to go back to your usual way of dealing with things. From my experience, it is one of the most powerful way of getting results in life. Give me a more powerful way, I am alway game for it.

Joe Moore said...

Blue Glass Grasshopper, I get your concern. Landmark has the distinction integrity. Doing what you say you will do, doing what others expect you to do, doing it the right way, the way you know it should be done, when you said you would do it by. And when you know you cannot, be in communication with whoever is impacted by your not doing it.

Many things Landmark teaches derives from others teaching. There is nothing new. If you do the Landmark Forum, most of the time you think -- I already know that.

The finances of Landmark are public record. They have never paid owners dividends. Salaries of officers are comparable to similar sized companies. I am not sure of your concern for money, but your fear of being cheated is common. Many people will avoid bliss for fear of being cheated.

There is no new insight in Landmark Education. There is nothing to know. The minds of human beings enslave people by creating interpretations and acting as if the interpretation is reality. This is not new, even before Buddha, this was already known.

The Landmark Forum is based on the experience of "getting" distinctions, the way you get balance when you learn to walk or ride a bicycle. There is no treatise or knowledge or insight that can teach walking or riding a bicycle.

For rich fools like myself, I do not wish to read all knowledge and test and verify all that was written. There is way that in 1 weekend, I can have an experience that more than 90% say is profound and life affirming. It costs about the same as catering a small party.

Words create reality without proof or evidence. Any fool can say Landmark is a fraud, even with no evidence, a reality is created for the speaker and those who hear his words. Inside the reality created by "no" is always no space. Life is lived inside what you say "yes" to. If your life is fulfilling and peaceful and full of love, then share what you say "yes" to, so I can try it. If your life is empty, consider: what do you say "yes" to?

My life is rich and full. What I say yes to is the Landmark Forum.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Joe Moore! I agree 100%. I feel sorry for Blue Grasshopper - he apparently is unfamiliar with the adage: "“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

Pinoy said...

Great post! I have done the Landmark Forum and the Advanced Course, I am currently finishing off my seminar and was looking over the next course to help me with communication. I looked over the SELP but this did not interest me, I have been looking over the communication course and will be enroling soon! Your post helped. Thank you.

Ralph Argen said...

The language games of Grasshopper, Ketar, and Moore have workability. Landmark ends most programs with something like: None of what we've told you here's true, but if it works use it.

Yassir said...

Dear Sachin, I am completing my access to power course tomorrow, here in the US,, and I came across your post. I have to say you have clearly and succinctly captured the distinctions of the transformation in this course. Thank you for sharing these! Let me also offer to the reader, that I too am experiencing the transformations you are speaking of and today had the most authentic and complete conversation in my adult life with my mother. This stuff works! There is as much rampant skepticism here in the US as evidenced by some of the comments on your blog. For those people I would say to simply go and see for themselves. If you get caught up in invented stories about the forum, you are the on the sidelines in the game of life. Play it, and if it's not for you then find something else that works. But get off the sidelines and instead of reacting to things, create the world you want to live in with your word.