6.40 E&M and a walk in the park before breakfast. At the house I talked to Karaj. He told me to be sharp, strong and firm with everybody who enters my space, otherwise they will mess me up. This has particular relevance with the men in the group. My office is my space.
Men’s group. As people arrived I was aware of being alive, enthusiastic and curious. It worked and I felt more comfortable with the evening and did not see it as hard work. Karaj had asked me to raise quite a few points and I was wary of dominating the session to the exclusion of others. [Karaj: Analysis. MF. Stop it.] Dev had put my mind at rest by saying that whatever I raised would be relevant to everybody present. [Karaj: Yes.]
I started the group off. I knew that if I didn’t get some of my issues in early I would waste energy worrying about how I was going to fit them all in. Stop this. It’s MF. I raised my feelings of inadequacy after my time in Germany and the feelings I have that people cannot survive without me. I received very useful contributions from Leon, George, Ishwar and Kuldip.
Leon explained the tension between two worlds: my reality and my fantasy. It’s this tension which causes my low feelings. I have two choices. Either I bring my fantasy into my reality, creating what it is I am missing, thereby eliminating the tension, or I forget the fantasy. If I do this the tension disappears again, relieving my gloom and feelings of inadequacy.
Kuldip summed up the second dilemma superbly. If I have it in my head that people need me, I should ask myself ‘What do they need me for?’. This is such a simple solution to the problem but it’s not one I have ever considered. This is what happens when we verbalise things. Beautifully simplistic.
Ishwar told the story of the separation from his mother. He’d had similar feelings that she could not survive without him, but he explained that this was a fantasy. In reality we adapt so easily and quickly to our environment and the conditions. George confirmed this with stories of his fellow teachers who left his school. When it happened he had thoughts of how life would be without their presence. Again, people adapt and within only two weeks, things had resumed an air of normality.
We talked about the negative voices which tell us we are no good, that we should have things we do not have and be doing things we are not doing. Karaj told us to look at the evidence. This was further confirmation of a message which I have been receiving for the last week or so. Whatever I say to myself or people say to me – look at the evidence. I know what the evidence is; I know the score, so nothing, not my mind nor any person, should be able to say anything which leads me to doubt the evidence I myself possess.
I raised the issue of my resentment towards George when he challenged me in the last group about my ‘cheap’ comment. Karaj asked the group what its thoughts were on how George and I dealt with the challenge after the Saturday group. There was uncertainty about this which Karaj said indicates uncertainty in ourselves. This was confirmed by George’s comment that he felt he could not phone anyone the day after the group. What sort of support network is it where somebody feels he cannot rely on the others?
The discussion allowed Ishwar the opportunity to talk about the humanity he witnessed in the way we resolved the original issue. It was this humanity which had led him to choose the career he has. He told us a childhood story of how a Muslim man had resolved a conflict between Ishwar’s group of friends and a group of white boys. That incident inspired Ishwar to follow the path he has followed. It is this faith in the humanity of people which Ishwar has lost as a result of the very difficult nature of his job. Being in the group and witnessing the resolving of conflicts like mine with George can help restore that faith, such that he remains the example to others which he deserves to be.
The group finished at around 00.30 and I enjoyed myself very much. It was not hard work and there had been no need for me to feel burdened by the prospect.