Wherever you go, there you are

The full quote:

Hey, hey, hey — don’t be mean. We don’t have to be mean. ‘Cause, remember: no matter where you go… there you are.

I had occasion to use this phrase today, which I first heard from the Immortal Buckaroo Banzai. I saw the original release of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension in 1984, and thoroughly enjoyed the movie. There are those who attribute the quote to Confucius, but Confucius merely said something that can be seen as similar. This is really ancient wisdom, but the phrasing appears to be from the movie. As a “teaching,” this was part of Landmark Education, which arose from est, which long predated the movie. Again, not necessarily the exact phrasing, but, at least, close. There is a book recently released with an old Forum transcript that might have it. I might be getting that book soon.

The movie did not break even. My explanation: “God must love muggles, he made so many of them.”

A muggle trait is disliking what is not understood, unknown. In the training, the source of transformation is identified as the “unknown unknown,” what we don’t know and we also don’t know that we don’t know it.

Many in the movie business have done the training I went through in 2011-2013.  So the concepts are found in many films. They are all through Adventures, and The Matrix was well-informed by it (which I only saw last year).

The training is designed to support distinguishing between reality (“what happened”, or, a little more deeply, the realm of the senses, raw, with minimal interpretation) and the realm of meaning, which we invent, it does not exist in reality (though it can be useful — or otherwise). That, as well, in the training, is not asserted as truth, the distinction is simply a tool, a way of looking at life that is known, by experience, to generate transformation.

Landmark training is not a philosophy, it is a sophisticated game, designed to empower us in every realm of life. There is no dogma, contrary to common claims.

In any case, here are more quotes from Adventures:

I’ve been ionized, but I’m okay now.

It is little recognized, but the amygdala is programmable with language. I have seen saying the words “I’m okay” transform a person from a full-blown hysterical fit to a calm acceptance, when the suggestion was met by “But I’m not okay.” I said, “You don’t have to believe it, just say the words!” And the words were said, with maximum sarcasm, and within a minute, “okay” became very real, like magic, but it’s really quite simple. The amygdala, called the “lizard brain,” does not understand sarcasm.

There are times when verbal ingenuity is not enough.

“You can’t think your way out of a paper bag.” What actually makes a difference is presence. 

In my experience, nothing is ever what it seems to be, but everything is exactly what it is.

Key word, “seems.” “Seems” is an imagination, created by the interaction of what is present with our past.

A friend calls me up, complaining about how badly his co-worker treated him.

“What did she say?”, I ask.

“She was rude to me!”

“No,” I clarify, “What did she say?

“I don’t remember,” he says, and this is typical when the reactive brain is active and undistinguished. (It will always be active until and unless calmed, it is there for emergencies, when we have no time for anything other than immediate response. We can learn to do this in a fraction of a second, making a choice.)

We lose awareness of reality in favor of believing our own reactions are reality, “She was actually being rude,”  he might say, and these reactions are heavily conditioned by our past, often from early childhood. She may or may not be something called rude, but that’s not the point. When we are reactive, we become a victim of conditions, with little or no power.

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen all at once.

If we were travelling at the speed of light, the entire history of the universe would be one instant.

Today’s impossible is tomorrow’s reality.

This is very, very Landmark. “Impossible” is an imagination, obviously, it could never be proven. Rather, something isn’t happening now, or so we think. That’s the most we know. We may invent explanations, but these explanations don’t cover the unknown unknown.

That statement is not necessarily literally true. A more grounded way to say it would be “Tomorrow’s reality may seem impossible today.” But the training also encourages us to stop hedging everything. We do it to “avoid being wrong.” People who simply declare what they choose are generally more effective in creating it, and I saw evidence for this again and again.

A common version of this is an explanation by someone as to why they have not done something considered desirable. “I tried, but I couldn’t”

“Can’t” is standard disempowering language. It implies impossibility.

“I tried.” Again, all “trying” — an interpretation — shows is that we didn’t actually know how to do something. We learn this language as children, in what I now see as dysfunctional education. “A for effort.” If something is actually difficult, the teaching has failed. it does not become successful if someone has “tried.” Did they do the work? If not, exactly how much did they “try”?

The system encourages us to develop “excuses.” Reasons for failure. We are not encouraged to look at the roots of failure, at what is missing in us that causes it (or, for that matter, missing in the educational system). Everything is given a moral edge, good or bad.

So the kid didn’t do her math homework. Did the dog eat it? And does it really matter? If the kid says “I did it, but the dog at it,” a skilled teacher may say, “Wow!” A skilled teacher will never tell a student they are lying. See the next quote. That does not mean that the teacher believes that the kid has a homework-eating dog! (But it can actually happen.)

A skilled teacher will ask if the student understands the work, was it easy? (Because math homework will generally be easy if understood, and “difficult” or even “impossible” if not understood.) The teacher may say something like, “It’s part of my job to make sure you understand as much as possible, and I’m confident that understanding all this is possible for you, but I need to test this. So, here is that homework sheet again, and would you mind taking a few minutes to complete it? And if you need help, if you forgot anything, don’t worry, ask! Don’t ‘try harder,’ trying harder will not help you to understand. I may have failed to explain something important to you.”

So let’s assume that the kid actually didn’t do the homework because she hates math. And why does she hate math? Well, she is “bad at it.” Where did she get that from? I started looking at things like this by the time I was a teenager.

Something happened, the kid was shamed for mistakes or the like, and developed aversion. And if you are averse to a task, you will try to get it over with as soon as possible, and haste leads to many mistakes, once again “proving” you are “bad at math.” Speed comes later, with practice, lots and lots of practice. So the kid sees others who are quick and thinks, “Well, they are good at math, I’m obviously not!” Teachers who are skilled at recognizing this vicious circle are not necessarily common, the whole “poisonous pedagogy,” Alice Miller called it, is still widespread. “Kids are naturally bad and must be forced to become good.”

The only way to know if a man is trustworthy is to trust him.

A girl was 12 and was acting out extensively, diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder (which can produce incredibly frustrating behavior). Because she was fighting with her mother, she was sent to live with her father, who was Landmark-trained. He decided to treat his daughter as “always right.” I.e, “nothing wrong,” she was doing whatever she needed to do to survive, in her world, and he decided to trust her, that she would find her way if supported. She had a fixed income, which came to him as trustee. He decided to turn it over to her, making her responsible, at the same time, for buying all her food, clothing, and everything else. He gave her a room to live in, drove her where she needed to go (and for regular driving expense, charged her — but not for his labor). The first time, he handed her all the cash for a month when it came in. She had never seen that much money in one place, she’d had a $10 a week allowance from her mother, who was often taking it away because she had been disrespectful or some other reason.

She immediately created a budget, putting cash in envelopes so she could see what she had to spend in each category for the month. For a couple of weeks, she bought a lot of potato chips. but very quickly, she was using her phone to calculate price per pound at the market, reading nutritional values, etc. (He also got her a smart phone, and took the operating cost out of her income. She later bought an iphone, the latest and best at the time, being fully responsible for paying the cost monthly) She got a bank account at 13, the legal minimum age, with a debit card, so she could buy on-line. She is still a teenager at this point, has a job. She never really ran out of money. So she learned to budget and handle a fixed income when she was 12. Why and how?

She was trusted and responsible. If she made a “mistake,” it wasn’t actually a mistake, it was a way to learn what works and what doesn’t work. Her father never gave her money aside from that income. If she ran out, she lost a little freedom for a little time, easy, not really a big deal. However, because she had regular income, several times — not often — she asked her father for a small loan, which he gave her, taking it out of the next month’s payment. That’s how it is in “real life.” She didn’t like borrowing, because it gave her less for the next month, so she completely stopped it.

To develop a trustworthy child, trust her! Children will make mistakes, it is all part of learning. What is being trusted, done properly, is the core, the “being” of the person.

There is more from the Adventures. Researching this, I watched some clips other than the one above. I had actually forgotten the Penny story, I only remembered the title line here. The context, the compassion shown, the rejection of knee-jerk disapproval of this very upset woman, again, very Landmark.

That remark was not directed to her, but to his audience at that point. He is pointing to their state of being, which he interpreted as “mean,” and as a powerful leader, we may suspect that they “got it.” There is a standard piece of business in the Landmark Forum, very early, I think it’s the first day.

The segment is about “Already Always Listening,” which is the chatter of the mind, very basic stuff. The association engine is constantly giving us a stream of assessments, good and bad, like/dislike,etc. So a woman, say, complains about her husband. The leader points out that she has a “listening” for her husband, that will look for what is wrong, and that is maintained, possibly for many years. (One sign of this will be that it is entirely one-sided, as if designed to elicit sympathy, and certainly not the whole story, and it is not rooted in actual fact — i.e., what he actually did and said — but in how she interprets it. And if he is abusing her, she’s not describing that. It’s more on the lines of “he doesn’t understand me and isn’t giving me what I need.”)

And then he turns to the rest of the room.

“And you have a listening for her. You are thinking, “She’s the problem, not her husband.” Now, a Forum Leader has done this hundreds of times, maybe even more. This is a point where many graduates report that they woke up. “OMG! This is about me!”

We don’t really know what the “problem” is in that relationship, if there is really any problem at all, we only have knee-jerk reactions and expectations, heavily influenced by our own past. (And to be more complete, some of that audience may be thinking, “Yeah! She should leave that jerk!”) The leader’s comment is not about her and her husband, it is about the way we think, if we are not careful.

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Author: Abd ulRahman Lomax

See http://coldfusioncommunity.net/biography-abd-ul-rahman-lomax/

2 thoughts on “Wherever you go, there you are”

  1. Or “everywhere you go you take the weather with you”.

    Thanks Abd, this was an interesting read. Overcoming the limitations and conventions you grew up with is not an easy task, though I’m not willing to give up the distinctions between what’s true and what’s not true and to lose the considerations of right and wrong.

    At the root of logical thought there are axioms, which by their nature cannot be proven but can only be accepted or discarded if they can be shown to be wrong. As you said, we can’t prove something is impossible, but only show when it is possible. It seems likely more things are possible than we currently know to be possible. An axiom may be true most of the time, but not true in some specific circumstance that we’ve not yet found or not yet reliably found, thus showing only as occasional anomalies that can’t be repeated.

    1. Actually, the distinction is between “what happened” as a literal reality, with minimal interpretation, without coloring, not good, bad, and “what we made it mean,” which is all interpretive. It is not between “true and false.” Those are, in fact, interpretations of statements, and statements are never the whole truth or are they ordinarily wholly false. We draw lines artificially.
      But this is what we do as humans. “The human being is a meaning-making machine.” The trick is to use meaning (it has a powerful function) without being dominated by it, because we made it, we invented it. Meaning is neither “true” nor “false.” It is, when we understand it best, chosen and we are may therefore be responsible for it.

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