NewDayNews Recovery Forum
est part 5: More from the 1st day
Date: Wednesday, 17 May 2006, at 12:53 p.m.
I made it to the first break, what felt like many hours actually was many hours. Men usually don’t have to wait in line to pee, but with a limited number of bathrooms, and so many man, I found myself doing the dance with the other guys. I was certain that est had done this just to mess with our minds, and burn up our precious free time.
After the sweet relief, I sprinted down the street to my Chevy “Luv” truck. Yes, in the 70’s, Chevrolet really did produce a small pickup truck called the “Luv”. I pulled open the door to the cab and looked around to see if any of the est robots were watching as I pulled my watch out of my pocket and put it in the glove box.
I locked the door and sprinted back to the est center and into the room before the assistants slowly closed the doors.
In the training room, the blocked out all light. Windows were fixed so you had no idea if it was day or night outside. The only time you had any idea how many hours had really passed was on a break. There were very few breaks.
It was sort of lucky that I had made a choice not to smoke, because I don’t know when I would have done it, except maybe while running back and forth to the truck.
Lon: For those of you who made it back from the break on time, I acknowledge you for that. Those who did not will be cleared before they may resume the training. Until they become clear, they may not continue.
I wondered what kind of torture might take place when a late trainee was being “cleared”. Later I found out that being cleared for lateness had to do with a series of questions and answers. Until you gave the right answer, you kept being asked the questions. The short version went like this:
Assistant: Are you late?
Assistant: Did you have an agreement to be on time?
Assistant: Who is responsible for you having broken your agreement?
Trainee: I am.
Assistant: I got that. You may enter.
This could take hours is you wanted to launch into a story about how somebody else made you late, or how your car broke down, or your Mother died, or any other excuse.
Excuses were part of our “story”, more of the bullshit that prevented us from having a life that worked.
Lon: You are all assholes because you believe in reasons! Reasonableness does not work in this training. That you were late because you were kidnapped and held at gunpoint sounds reasonable. But, reasonableness doesn’t work. It doesn’t get you here on time. If you were late because you stepped in front of a bus, it sounds reasonable that the bus caused you to be late. Assholes always think any excuse is reasonable. The truth is, you were late because you were the asshole who stepped in front of a moving bus.
Lon: In this training you will get that you have the ability to create the space for the bus to pass by, not run over you, and make it back from your break on time. Until then, you are just a late asshole with a bullshit excuse trying to sell his story to another asshole who will believe it.
Lon: ASSHOLES! That’s the agreement out there! “You don’t call me on my shit, and I won’t call you on yours!”. That deal came to an end today when you stepped into this room. In here, I will call you on your shit, and you will take responsibility for your own lives. You are going to die in this room.
(A had is raised, Lon points to the trainee, an assistant rushes a microphone down the aisle)
Trainee: Are you threatening us?
Lon: I’m not threatening YOU. The problem is that you may feel threatened because you don’t know who YOU are. You are an asshole because you forgot Who you think you are is going to die in this room.
Trainee: How do we know it’s going to work?
Lon: Because Werner found out what works. Werner only does what works. Werner developed this training, based on what works, and got rid of everything that doesn’t work.
Lon: If you stay in this room, you will get it. If you fall asleep during the training, as long as you are sleeping in this room, you will get it. In fact, if you fall asleep, you will get it faster because I won’t have to deal with your mind. We are going to blow your mind during this training. At the end, you will still have a mind, but your mind won’t have you.
Lon: Sit down. You know that voice you hear in your head, that “yamma-yamma”. You are an assholes because you believe that is you talking. That isn’t you, that is your mind. Your mind is constantly judging and evaluating and fucking. Yes, mind-fucking. You actually have an experience, and then you mind-fuck it to death until it’s just a concept. Something you now believe. Something you understand. Werner said, “Understanding is the booby prize”. Assholes like you will trade and experience for something understood every time. You go home with the booby prize and leave the real thing at the side of the road, and wonder why your life is fucked.
Barbara had talked on and on and on about this Werner. She and now Lon said the name “Werner” like a Christian would say “Jesus”. It was constantly, “Werner Says”. Werner, Werner, Werner…..
(A trainee raised her hand)
Lon: Yes. Stand up. Take the microphone.
Trainee: Isn’t it true that Werner Erhard is really Jack Rosenberg? A former used car salesman who abandoned his first wife and children?
Lon: Werner is Werner. Jack was Jack. You are an asshole.
Trainee: I’m an asshole because Werner left his wife and kids?
Lon: No, you are an asshole because you are stuck in a story about Jack that keeps you from getting Werner. In fact, you use the story about Jack to avoid knowing who you are.
Trainee: I don’t understand.
Lon: Good. Sit down.
Lon talked in circles like this for hours and hours. I never knew I could be so bored. I was really skinny at this point in my life, 6’ tall and about 135 lbs. It felt like the bones in my ass were going to poke holes in the chair. The first day wasn’t even over yet and my ass hurt so bad, I didn’t know how I was going to survive. I was hungry, and had been for hours. Then Nami walked to the platform:
Nami: We will now take a meal break! This break will last for sixty minutes! It is now 11:03PM! Be back in your seat at 12:03AM!
We all gasped and looked at each other in disbelief. It felt like we had gone a long time, but now we knew we really HAD gone a long time.
We all jumped into our cars and drove around hoping to find someplace open to get food. Some of us ended up at an Arby’s.
Now, I think that Arby’s is to BBQ sandwiches what McDonald’s is to hamburgers. I really hate Arby’s. But, I ordered two of these and had one in each hand stuffing them into my face with a straw going into a large coke in between. The cheese sauce which normally tastes like barf to me was like nectar of the Gods.
We all kind of grunted at each other as we stuffed ourselves. The Arby’s staff looked like they had seen all this many times before.
When we returned, Lon acknowledged those of us who had returned on time. Then he told us that we would be doing a “process”.
In this process we were told to close our eyes and “go into your space”. Lon explained that our space was where we went when we closed our eyes.
We were told to create our beach. A place to lie and relax in the sun. Then, we were told to create our “center”. This would be a room that we would go to from time to time to work during the training. I remember that my center was dimly lit with candles and a roll top desk. Very quiet and private.
After the process Lon told us that tonight when we went home, we should create waking up on time. Tell ourselves what time we wanted to wake up, and then set an alarm clock only two minutes later.
Nami went up to the platform.
Nami: The first day of the training is complete! It is now 2:57AM. Be back in your seat ready to start the second day of the training at 9:00AM.
With that, I walked out and got into my truck and headed to the Holiday Inn. I remember thinking that it had been a big waste of money getting a room for only a few hours, but being able to lay in bed was wonderful. I set the alarm for 7:32am and told myself to wake up at 7:30am so I would have time to shower, have breakfast and get to the center on time.