Landmark Education and the Landmark Forum

February 14, 2012

A New Review – Landmark Forum , Cult or Transformation?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 7:55 pm

Another rational review of The Landmark Forum has appeared as a Yahoo Voices contribution titled Landmark Forum: Transformation or Cult? As you can probably guess from the title, the article reviews the Landmark Forum while clearly addressing those who call Landmark a cult.

What is distinct about other sane reviews of this type is that it goes through the things that distinguish a cult one by one – a leader to be obeyed, possessions to be surrendered, isolation from family, meditation/chanting, etc. – and of course finds that The Landmark Forum and Landmark Education don’t qualify at any level. Of course you probably knew that already – people call Landmark a cult and people cultists is more the kind of vague insult that people toss at any group of people who seem to have a passion for something.

Read more above.

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August 17, 2010

Giving Things Away (Trusting Others)

Filed under: Breakthrough Results — Tags: , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 9:32 pm

A woman recently blogged about a breakthrough she’d had in a Landmark Education course that struck near to my heart – the willingness to give away a responsibility rather than doing it all myself. Those of us who are control freaks often fear to surrender even the most basic tasks to others for fear they’ll muck it up.

Now, this is what I call a perfect example of a ‘blind spot’ that you see in the Landmark Forum – something others can see about you, but you can’t, or maybe you can see it but you don’t get the full impact of it and you don’t see away of changing your behaviour (“that’s just the way I am”).

In this post, the woman shares about seeing what it cost her to do everything herself, and how it led to a total breakthrough in her delegating things. I won’t try to explain further: at her suger coat it blog, read for yourself.

January 8, 2010

Alter yourself and your actions will come along

Filed under: Breakthrough Results, inspiration — Tags: , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 5:55 pm

There’s a story that all of you should read that eloquently expresses the power of taking a stand for something, telling the truth to yourself, and focusing on who you are instead of just what you’re doing.

This blogger tells two stories: the first is a nice little piece about New Years resolutions and why they almost never work. Her point, and it is an excellent one, is that simply trying to change one’s behavior without altering any conception of who one actually is tends to be futile in the long run. This is because who we are pulls for a certain kind of behaviour, or doing, and what we try to alter what we do while being the same person we’ve always been it’s like swimming upstream.

Take this example: you know you’re a fat lazy slob who’s 20 kilos overweight. You don’t like this about yourself so you make a resolution to eat less and exercise more. You go to the gym – it’s hard, you don’t want to, but you force yourself, and you force yourself to eat less as well. At some point, you give into temptation and oversleep and don’t make it to the gym or eat that piece of chocolate cake because just one won’t hurt, and then you’re done for. Now you know yourself to be a fat lazy slob who’s 20 kilos overweight and is too weak-willed to do anything about it.

What went wrong? You tried to alter your behaviour without altering your being. You still were for yourself a fat, lazy person who hated exercise, and that made if excruciating to take actions. Willpower only gets you so far.

This is where the power of taking a stand comes in – declaring oneself to not just do something different, but be somebody different. Get inspired by the kind of person that you could be. Actions then tend to alter by themselves, more naturally.

The second part of the blog post talks about fooling yourself. Sometimes we don’t take a stand because we lie to ourselves. She talks about going to a Tony Robbins event, and realizing she was lying to herself about being a smoker, and that telling the truth gave her the freedom to take a stand and quit. Take a look; it both embodies a lot of why I got out of Landmark Education and is quite well written. Plus I love Tony Robbins and the story about him is excellent!

July 23, 2009

Explaining the Landmark Forum

Filed under: inspiration — Tags: , , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 11:09 pm

I like blog posts that do an admirable job of explaining or demystifying the Landmark Forum. Even those of us who’ve done quite a few Landmark Education programs sometimes have some difficulty explaining what it is and how it works, which can lead people to think there’s something mysterious about it. In fact, the Landmark Forum isn’t mysterious, just different. Notes Towards Supreme Fiction has an excellent post explaining the ideas, much of which I’ve attached below.

Notes towards extreme fiction

Landmark Education is often accused of being too aggressive in their marketing techniques and being something of a `cult’. A `cult’ would offer you a trick or a technique which allows you to avoid responsibility and encourage self deception. A cult would encourage blind ` followers’. However, my experiences were different. Landmark Education, on the other hand is EDUCATION. One has to learn a set of skills which enable us to untangle issues of life and demands a sense of responsibility and integrity. It teaches you how to confront your relationship issues, deepest fears and provide you with a philosophical vision which would empower you to take create your future which is not based on your past.

Read a variety of more specific points at the link given above!

July 8, 2009

Reconnecting with and Forgiving Parents

Filed under: Breakthrough Results, inspiration — Tags: , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 2:38 pm

This latest post really captures what the Landmark Forum and Landmark Education are really all about – that life is too short to waste on resentments and regrets, and underneath everything we just love people. This blog talks about a man reconnecting with his father after an estrangement – I found it deeply moving. An excerpt is below, including a letter the man sent to his father; read the whole thing here.

My note to my Dad after seeing him for the 1st time in 13 years

If you didn’t catch it, a few months ago I attended the landmark forum which is a seminar that empowers you in so many different ways but made me realize that I wanted a relationship with my Dad that I hadn’t seen in 13 years and he had never met my two boys (ages 9 and 11). Well, we went up there this past weekend and it was awesome. I have simply created a whole new life by taking action and making it happen and am so happy I did. This morning I wrote him a note about our experiences. Some people may wonder why would I share such an intimate moment on the Internet? Well, because I know my situation is not unique. I know some eyes that may read this are the eyes of someone who also hasn’t made the move to have a relationship with a family member that they wish were in their lives. We all have justifications on why we don’t have a relationship, we can all get buyin from people we talk to on why NOT to have a relationship with someone, but, those are the things that go on and then those people die and then we have lost that chance. I hope these words encourage you to make that move you have been neglecting as I did for 13 years. Namaste!

Go to the above link and read the letter he then wrote his father.

June 5, 2009

Telling the Truth in the Landmark Forum

Filed under: Breakthrough Results, inspiration — Tags: , , , , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 4:31 pm

I thought this post that I just read was very interesting – it involves a man’s experience of taking the Landmark Forum programme and telling the truth about some things he had never previously told the truth about. I think sometimes there is a misconception that the Landmark Forum is about making deep confessions to other people. I think what happens is the Landmark Forum is that people get very clear where they have been telling the truth in their lives and where they haven’t. Sometimes, when people see that they’ve been lying or hiding things for a long period of time, the truth comes rushing out of their mouth in the course, as they see that what they’ve been hiding/lying about has been controlling them.

I think that was the experience of this person as they took the Landmark Forum, and a perfect example of the old expression “The truth will set you free”! Go to the fishing for the soul website and read it!

June 2, 2009

Grateful for her Life

Filed under: Breakthrough Results, inspiration — Tags: , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 8:46 pm

This blog post comes from a woman from New York City in the United States, who describes her experience of taking the Landmark Forum. I think her post/Landmark Forum review is notable for two things: it points out how ridiculous some of the negative things you can find about Landmark Education on the web really are, and it also expresses what I would describe as one woman’s profound gratefulness to be alive and create what she wants with the rest of her life. Here is some of NYC Mama’s post:

So Grateful

So, this past week has been filled with a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. My birthday and the day after left me feeling a bit ‘blah”, to tell the truth, and I was worried I was getting a case of the Birthday Blues. Luckily for me in the beginning of May I had signed up to do the Landmark Forum the weekend after my birthday. It was truly, aside from having my son, the most transformative experience I have ever had. I was a bit skeptical going into it, because when you Google the Landmark Forum you get all this “cult” stuff about them. I can understand that though, I mean, Christianity, Islam, even Buddhism were all cults when they started out because their perspective was so radically different from what was being taught at the time. The thing is, one of the closest people in my life to me did the Forum in April and I saw with my own two eyes the positive change it had on her. I knew then I didn’t really have anything to lose anyway; I’m way too level-headed to get sucked up into drinking Jim Jones’ Kool-Aid. She assured me that it was nothing like that, and she too is one of the most practical and level-headed people I know. She had become so free from all the tension and negative intensity that had ruled her life for so long after the Forum. She seemed so much more peaceful and contented, still her, but like a Her 2.0 version of herself, lol. The changes in her were so pleasant and positive.

By the time I signed up, I was in desperate need of a pleasant and positive change.

It’s not a very easy experience to describe, except to say that it transforms the way you look at yourself, your past, and your life. Indeed, life in general. I feel free in a way I haven’t since childhood. I have been given the gift of a release from the burdens of the past to create my life and my future. What a gift. Happy Birthday to me!

Read the rest at the link above.

May 18, 2009

Landmark Education and Forgiveness

Filed under: Breakthrough Results, inspiration — Tags: , , , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 10:46 pm

I’ll admit it: stories about forgiveness tend to make me a bit weepy. Nothing moves more than a tale of how someone who walked around with decades of bitterness and anger gives up their burden and forgives those that they are blaming, or even more powerfully, realize that they themselves ought to ask forgiveness for the damage they’ve done to people through their own rage and self-righteousness. I don’t know quite what is about the Landmark Forum, but peace and forgiveness seem to come to a lot of people who do the course.

This next woman describes how she had hated her mother her whole life, and made herself miserable in order to make her mother miserable. In the course of taking the forum and other Landmark education courses, the woman decides to give up all of her hate. She says is much better than I can. Go read this remarkable blog post titled how to live.

April 10, 2009

Reconnecting with Family

Filed under: Breakthrough Results, inspiration — Tags: , , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 3:31 pm

Sometimes I come across something on the net that is so heartfelt, so moving, that it reminds me why I started this blog in the first place. I won’t ruin it by saying too much – Just read parts of it below. And, needless to say, check, out the whole ‘Love one Another‘ blog post.

Love one Another

Do we know the people we love?    We say we  do, we say we love them,   we feel love when we think about them – and often, those real moments of love in which we can feel the love itself – are hidden in the folds of daily life,  the worry that permeates our world in these times,  the routine of automatic communication that leaves no room for the beauty of what love truly is.

When I first started in transformation education at Landmark Education, there was a course I took in which we had to create a “map” of our closest circle – those people who are in our lives on a regular basis, with whom we interact daily, or at least weekly, who create the fabric of our lives.

My map was virtually empty – my son and my ex-husband and a sprinkling of friends around the country.  I realized that I didn’t have a circle – I didn’t have a community, I didn’t have many people with whom to weave a rich, textured fabric in my own life.

In that moment, I took a stand that my family would be what I would transform for myself – I would get in communication, I would learn about their lives, I would be there for them, I would love them.

So, let me tell you about my brother, Ralph. He is strong and dependable and has always been there for his family. He’s not quite a year younger than I am – something we joke about, that we are the same age for four days out of the year. He’s married to his high school sweetheart and has four girls, Nicole, Tiffany, and the twins, Jacki and Julie. He is an engineer by education and worked at Rohm and Haas for all of his working years, retiring in January of 2007.

And he never talks. Not that he can’t talk – he doesn’t talk. Or he didn’t talk to me, anyway. To illustrate, I was in a car with him for a long ride about 10 years ago, babbling away in the seat beside him until I realized he hadn’t said anything for a quite some time. I said, “My jaws hurt from talking so much! It’s your turn. Tell me what has been going on with you.” After we laughed at the strange injury to my jaw, I shut up and we continue driving.

We rode in silence for 15 minutes. Finally, the silence was unbearable!  I turned to him and said, “I can’t stand it any longer…! Aren’t you going to say anything?” We both laughed and that was the end of that.  We continued on and I talked the entire time.  I never did know anything that was going on for him.

I had rarely seen or spoken to him since.

I took my stand for love and family.  I started calling my brothers and sister… and little by little, I was invited to family events and dinners. The summer after, I was invited to my brother, Ralph’s, house in Avalon with his family for their yearly summer vacation.

Before I left, I actually thought about who I would BE in the presence of his family — I didn’t want it to go the way it’s always gone – a lot of automatic interactions, a lot of opinions and defenses, a lot of awkward moments – and my brother, once again silent in my presence.   And so, I created myself as being Love, no matter what came up, no matter what anyone said — I would not babble, I would not lecture, I would not talk all the time – I would not defend my opinions or positions about anything. I would just let it all be the way it was and simply love them.

The week was beautiful — the grandchildren were there – Sophia, Luke, and Olivia — and so it had that magical quality that young children always bring to a space… laughing and running around and giggling – running into the waves at the beach and getting sand all over us — I let myself get carried away with it all.

Finally, on the last day I was there, everyone else had gone to the beach and my brother and I were talking at the house about the plant he had just finished building in Shanghai. He had spent almost 2 weeks out of every month traveling to China for the three years prior to his retirement. He mentioned that he had pictures of the plant.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have asked to see them. My Goodness! It was a plant for  — I didn’t even know what kind of products! This time, I heard something in my brother’s voice…. I asked to see the pictures. He seemed surprised but pulled out his laptop and started showing me hundreds of pictures of this project in Shanghai that had consumed his life for all this time.

The more pictures he showed me, the more he spoke — he pointed out the glass walls, the interior details, and the “water element” that the Chinese people believe is good luck… how challenging it was to create this side of the building or that pond….  I heard his admiration for the Chinese people and his love of their country.

I was looking at the pictures and I was glancing at my brother’s face… how animated he became as he spoke of something that he had devoted his life to over the past three years…!  I realized that this was the first time I had ever truly listened to him.  He had a whole life I never knew about – a passion that excited him and was a driving force in his life – all hidden from my view!

I was overwhelmed with love for him.

I was suddenly sorry that this had only come up on the last day.   I wanted to sit there and listen to him for hours more…   I didn’t want this time to end.

Soon, it was time for me to leave to take the bus back to Manhattan.

I gathered my belongings and positioned my suitcase by the door. I walked back to where my brother was sitting, now watching one of his favorite car races on television. I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek, “I love you so much,” I said and turned to go. I heard his voice as I walked away….

“Same here,” he said.

April 3, 2009

Islam, Life and Empowerment

Filed under: inspiration — Tags: , — landmarkeducationinaustralia @ 8:21 pm

I read a rather inspiring tale of a woman and the adversity she has overcome in her life. In relating her tale she hit upon an idea that is a key part of the Landmark Forum: empowering oneself instead of one’s circumstances. In so doing, the writer reaffirms her connection to her Islamic faith. I’ve put part of the post below; it’s definitely worth going to Islam Online and reading the entire thing.

Lessons From the Heart – Empower Yourself, Not Your Circumstances

Time, time… most people agree there’s just not enough time for all the many things they need to get done. Particularly mothers, it seems, constantly lament over how hard it is to fit in the things they know are good for them. A question that plagues many of us is, “How do I manage to break away from the day-to-day rat race long enough, and often enough, to engage in activities that will empower me as a human being?”

 

A few years ago, I completed several courses offered by an international company called Landmark Education Corporation that promises transformational breakthroughs to its participants. At the end of one of the courses, I received an award that had been created especially for me: “Don’t Know Your Own Strength.” I’d actually heard something to that effect a couple of other times in life. One of the program coaches advised me to “empower myself rather than my circumstances.”

 

Once I became a mom, although I did typically work part-time, I decided to follow my own mother’s example and make motherhood my first priority. After one year of college, my parents dropped out and got married. My father joined the military, and my mom had a baby… and then another and then another within four years. 

 

I was their fourth child, and I was followed by two more. Growing up in an authoritative household, we did what we were told to do, or be punished (sometimes severely). And although my parents were honest, hard-working and decent human beings who instilled in us so many of the values that I feel blessed to possess, and have passed on to my own four children, ours was not the loving, nurturing home that is apt to produce the confident and determined individuals that go on to become the most successful members of society.  

 

Don’t get me wrong – my five siblings and I have excelled in many of our endeavors. We are all regarded as intelligent, and we have intelligent offspring, al hamdu Lillah! Five of us have earned college degrees; three of us have advanced degrees. One of my sisters is a retired government worker. and a pioneer in her field. This required her to travel and speak nationally and internationally. Another is a special education teacher. My older brother is an accountant, and his wife is a middle-management executive in telecommunications. My younger brother and sister are both spiritually devout and dedicated parents.

 

There is an attorney amongst our twenty-one children, and one of my daughters just started her law school. I have another daughter in law enforcement.  She is married to a fellow officer. Several of our offspring are college graduates or enrollees and/or truly gifted in music, the arts or sports. Although a couple of them, including my own son, are struggling to find their niche in life, they are all resilient and basically decent human beings. We all thank Allah for that, and attribute much of it to our family upbringing.

 

But it seems like exceptional success (as measured by financial criteria, anyway – the primary way that western society measures success) has eluded all of us. We, like most Americans, live paycheck to paycheck – struggling to make ends meet, having abandoned the pursuit of childhood dreams and ambitions, and succumbed to this rat-race called “Survival.”

 

On a personal note, the premature death of my first husband, and father of my three oldest children resulted in an even greater struggle for me than for most of my other siblings. I had to seek more substantial employment, but because I always chose work that accommodated my role as a single mom, I sacrificed higher-paying opportunities and opted for less responsibility and/or the flexibility of self-employment. Now, divorced from the father of my 14-year old daughter and in my 50’s, I acutely feel the financial toll of my choices.

 

I am joined by millions of other Americans who, even before today’s recession, are caught up in a never-ending scenario of having too many months left at the end of their paychecks… wondering how they are going to make ends meet while they are still young and healthy enough to work. Terrified of what might happen when they reach the age where they can not work. Asking themselves what they did wrong or did not do enough, and surely, what they need to do next. Then they are left wondering, “Why do so many people find themselves in the same shoes?”

 

Self Empowerment

 

 

 .

 

 

This article is not meant to be an analysis of the economic woes that many Americans (and others) are experiencing. There’s plenty to read about the economic, social and political issues facing the world today. 

 

What it is meant to do is share my conclusion about my personal struggles with others who are similarly challenged: I am convinced that the underlying cause for whatever personal challenges we face is that we tend to empower our circumstances instead of empowering ourselves. I thought I should have mastered this oft-repeated life lesson by now.

 

How do we empower ourselves? Well, we all know the most obvious answer to that question: we build our iman (faith) through prayer, prayer and more prayer. Why don’t we do it more? I think it’s because we sorely underestimate the power of prayer. And because, like a trainer in a behavioral mastery seminar once said, although as Muslims we believe in Allah, many of us do not believe Allah. He has promised us good if we obey Him, and He has promised to sustain us. And

 

  •  Grants the power of any other halal activity that uplifts us

 

  • Provides us with a strong sense of self-awareness and self-worth

 

  • Allows us to attain personal fulfillment and a feeling of completeness

 

  • Makes us feel loved and capable of loving

 

  • Grants us peace with ourselves, and with those around us.

 

For any one of us, that could include a number of things:

 

Making quality time for family, friends, and others who strengthen us (either one-on-one or in groups of various sorts)

 

  • Developing our Allah-given talents and skills

 

  • Connecting with nature

 

  • Exercising

 

  • Reading empowering materials

 

  • Volunteering

 

  • Practicing Personal hobbies

 

  • Making affirmations.

 

And the list goes on and on.

 

There is no one thing (I feel, outside of worship, anyway) that serves as a magic wand for everybody all the time. The main criterion is that it strengthens and uplifts us; it is not a temporary fix (like drugs and alcohol) and it does not dis-empower someone else. 

 

Once we identify the activities that work best for us – outside our obligatory duties – we must make room for them in our lives on a consistent and permanent basis. As author Stephen Covey says in his highly-acclaimed bestseller Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, we have to learn to schedule our priorities instead of prioritizing our schedules. Breaking the habit of not making, or taking, the time when empowering activities require hard work to ensure that they don’t get pushed to a backburner – or taken away from us by others.

 

A year ago, I lost the part-time job that I counted on to cover my major expenses while I focused on seriously developing my writing, and the community empowerment work I offer (AGAIN!).  Since then, I have tried a number of things seeking to secure a “bread-and-butter” income so that I would not have bills hanging over my head. I recently came to the (painful) conclusion that the more I concern myself with having a predictable source of income, the more I don’t have one, and the more I concern myself with doing what I believe Allah has assigned to me on this earth, the more money comes from directions that I do not expect. 

 

So, over the past few weeks, even though I was not sure how my financial obligations would be taken care of, I kept concentrating on communicating with Allah, our Lord and Cherisher, taking better care of me, and doing my thing. Not surprisingly, I’ve regained the sense of clarity and certainty about my life purpose that I need to quiet any anxiety I occasionally feel about my own destiny, or about the world’s fate. I think I have finally reached the point of knowing for sure, al hamdu Lillah, that if I continue “focusing on my mission instead of focusing on survival,” I will empower myself, my needs will be met, and I will be at peace. I may be a late bloomer, but like the saying goes, “Better late than never.”

 

 

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