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est part 8: In the days following the training...
Date: Thursday, 18 May 2006, at 9:41 p.m.
After parying $300 for sixty hours of ass bruising confinement to a armless padded chair, I had gotten that there was nothing to get. For reasons I can not explain to this day, I was happy about it. The girl who got me into this, who I had just discovered that I probably didn’t love had failed to show, and I was left to drive the long way home to the Valley all by my lonesome.
I woke up the next morning in my tiny garage apartment and I decided that est was cool, but I wasn’t going to be one of those fanatics like Barbara. I was going to be more like Bobby. I got value from the training, and since there was nothing to get, I had nothing to do about it.
I went to work. I told Judy that I got it, but wasn’t sure what exactly to do with it. She got that, and told me that I was in a perfectly normal space.
I went by the sign shop to talk to Ray, and he was filled with questions. I tried to explain some of the stuff to him, and while I was doing it, I noticed that it was time to get to work. So, I just started setting type for him while we talked. My Dad came through the sign shop and kind of glared at me, but didn’t say a word. I guess he thought someone had told me to help Ray. I stayed there all day helping Ray in the sign shop and talking about est.
I told Ray that he was welcome to come to my post training, but he would have to drive all the way to Newport Beach to do it. He said, “Can’t I just sign up without going to a seminar?”. I told him that he probably could. I’d call someone and figure out what to do next.
That afternoon, I got home and called Barbara and asked her why she didn’t come to my graduation. She told me that she couldn’t get off work on Monday. I asked her if she had broken her agreement, and she was kind of quiet. Then I just laughed. I told her that I had gotten value from the training, but I doubted I would continue to participate. She said that whatever I did was perfect. Then I told her about Ray wanting to sign up. She was all excited about that and suggested I take Ray down to the est center in Van Nuys the next day and the people there would be happy to get him into the next available training.
The next day, I went back first thing to ask Ray if he wanted to follow me over to Van Nuys to sign up, and he said “sure!”. We started talking about est some more, and I kept setting type for him. I spent my second full day in the sign shop, talking to Ray about est.
After work we drove down to Van Nuys, not far at all from our shop in Burbank. We walked in, and an assistant with a huge smile greeted us. I told her that my friend would like to sign up for the training. Everybody seemed to jump. We were brought over to a table and they took Ray’s information and payment, and enrolled him in a training that would happen in about two weeks in the Valley, probably the one I would have taken had I not been so impulsive when Barbara sent me the scholarship. I looked up on the wall and there were nametags for people who assisted at the center. I saw Barbara’s name on one of them.
Then one of the very cheerful assistants asked me when I had taken the training. I told them I graduated just two days before. This drew a huge rounds of “GREAT!”, and “I GOT THAT!”. Someone asked what graduate seminar I had enrolled in, and I told them I hadn’t yet, but I still had to attend my post training the next evening.
They told Ray that the training for him had already started and gave him a hug. Ray looked a little uncomfortable, and we left. I told him that I would see him tomorrow at the sign shop.
The next day I drove back out to Newport Beach and attended my post training. Some people brought guests, and I watched them look annoyed when they were pulled away from the person who took them. I felt like things had gone full cycle for me, and this was probably my last est event.
I was kind of interested to find out what terribly secret thing must have happened in Barbara’s training when I was pulled out. As it happened, it was more sharing about miracles that had happened over the last three days. I didn’t share about getting Ray to sign up. Then the rest of it was a hard sell pitch for the graduate seminar program.
Even though we learned in the training beyond a shadow of a doubt that “this is it”, it didn’t seem to stop there. Graduate seminars were available at $50.00 a series, and the idea was that everybody should sign up. The first one was called “Be Here Now”, and it was about upsets. At the break an assistant came up and asked me if I had signed up for a seminar, and I said “no”. When asked why, I explained that I was from the Valley and if I was going to take a seminar it would be near my home. That seemed to be a good enough answer, and I was somewhat surprised when the Assistant didn’t whip out a schedule for the Valley and sign me up for the next “Be Here Now” in Van Nuys. But, as I would find out later, each est center was operated in a sort of independent manner.
Back at work Ray had become my project. I was actually getting excited telling him about the training, and thinking it was hysterical that he was getting set up for “the joke”, as we called it. Ray was a great guy. Single, heavy set, and with a fantastic sense of humor. He was a natural comedian, and someone people just liked to be around. My Dad came into the sign shop that day and told me that the company was going to move to a new, larger warehouse in the City of Commerce, and that the sign shop was going to get bigger, and that he wanted me and Ray to run it for the company. Not only had I created Ray taking the training, but I had also created an actual job at Paradice for myself. I continued in the sign shop for the next seven years, and became a full-time union regular.
In est, whenever I would say that I created something, in the back of my mind, I was really saying that est created it. I began to believe that good things that happened in my life were because of what I learned at est.
At Roadshow Players, I bought myself a director’s chair. Anyone who has ever been to an est seminar knows what that represents. The trainer or seminar leader always has a director’s chair, the kind with the longer legs, right in the center of the platform. The Roadshow Players were about to be introduced to the ground rules.
I set up a list of agreements that everyone in the cast had to follow in order to continue performing with the group. They weren’t excessive, but they were absolutely patterned after the rules in est. Be on time. Be adequately fed and rested. They could not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at rehearsals and performances. They had to maintain a dress code. All good stuff, that often goes unspoken in this kind of organization.
Ray took the first weekend of the training, and I couldn’t wait to hear what happened in the room. He did perfect impressions of the trainer, and people who shared in the training. If he dropped a line of type, I’d cup my hands as if I were yelling into the wireless microphone and say, “Ray, GET OFF IT!”.
Ray told me that a black guy stood up in his training and said to the trainer, “Hey man, I just want you to know that you is cool wif me.”. I winced at thinking of what the trainer must have said in return. Then, Ray imitated his training, “I’m a PRICK! You don’t like a PRICK!”. Over the years, if Ray or I ever paid each other a compliment, the reply would always be, “I’m a PRICK!”.
I kept my agreement to attend Ray’s graduation, and just like the other idiots took great joy in yelling out all they needed to know about sex.
Ray really liked the training and signed up for “Be Here Now”, so I decided I should probably go with him, and signed up for the same seminar.
Back at Roadshow Players, some of my inner circle were getting worried about me and est. One night I was visiting Jane, when our fellow cast mate Mary came over. Mary and I launched into hours of argument about est. Jane fell asleep listening to us.
One day I was giving Jane a ride someplace, and out of the blue, she told me that she wanted to be “more than just friends” with me. I was stunned. Then I thought back to the training and what they said about love, and how Jane had come into my mind. Then I thought that having a relationship with Jane would just be crazy. She had kids, and she was in some kind of religious cult. But, in the training, they told us over and over “follow instructions and take what you get”. I got Jane, so that must mean something. I started spending nights with Jane after work at her brother’s small house on a pull-out couch.
I got back in touch with Barbara, and told her that we were not “complete”. She had just dumped me out of the blue on the telephone, and I thought we should get together and complete our relationship.
She was open to this, so on the weekend, I drove up to San Luis Obispo and for the first time walked into the legendary est house.
It was a big two story house kind of like you find around colleges. There were a lot of people coming and going. Barbara introduced me to Bruce.
Bruce reminded me a little of Randy McNamara. Balding, and compared to Barbara and myself, middle aged. He had the same style of dress that the trainers had and a similar manner. Bruce had been through a very intensive training series called GSLP (Guest Seminar Leader Program). People who had done GSLP were on a track to become trainers, and most of us looked on them with a bit of awe.
Bruce started in on me:
Bruce: You know, what I’m experiencing with this is some upset. What I want to hear from Barbara is that you are coming up here and she’s not going to see her. But, that’s not what Barbara is telling me.
Joseph: Bruce, Barbara and I have known each other a lot longer than the two of you have known each other. I want to get complete with her so we can continue to be friends.
Bruce: I got that.
I had survived my first communication with a more evolved est-hole than myself.
Barbara and I sat until the wee hours of the morning and talked about our long friendship, our weekend together in Big Bear, and that what we most wanted was to remain friends.
I spent the night at the est house, and went back home in the morning.
Kevin was my co-writer at Roadshow Players, and our most popular actor. Kevin was having none of est, and had let me know that he was not interested in joining a cult. I just “got it”, and tried not to talk about it with him. When I got home from Barbara’s, Kevin pulled up. He said, “I signed up for the training”. I just grabbed him and gave him a big hug, which was weird because Kevin and I never did things like that.
Mark was another Roadshow Player. A good looking, sensitive guy I had also known from high school. When he heard that Kevin signed up, HE signed up.
My brother, Jimmy, was doing sound for Roadshow Players. One day we had a rehearsal and the sound tape vanished. Jimmy said he had no idea where it went. Kevin and I stayed up all night re-recording the sound for the show. I told my Dad what had happened, and asked him if I could be off from work the next morning. He said okay, and then left the room for a minute. He came back with a bag that had the missing tape and said, “I found this hidden in Jimmy’s room”.
My Dad was really upset with Jimmy, and said he just didn’t know what to do about him. He had been arrested at Disneyland recently for smoking pot in the parking lot, and seemed to be going nowhere.
So, I told my Dad about est, and that I thought it could really help Jimmy. But, since he was a minor, one of his parents had to take it first. He said, “Get you Mother to do it”.
The my Mom signed up for the same training that Kevin and Mark were in. The next training in the valley now had three people I knew in it.
Roger was a guy I met in college. He was performing with the Roadshow players. We called him “Roger WOW!”, because he was just all full of life, and everything was like a big miracle to him. Yeah, Roger signed up for the same training. Now I had four.
At some point while getting all these people signed up, I was asked if I wanted to assist at the center on a phone team. I said, “Sure!”.
The phone team assisting was one night a week. When I arrived, we got into a circle and had a “clearing meeting”. Linda Dudley was on staff at the time, and she ran the meeting. As we introduced ourselves, Linda stopped me after I gave my name.
Linda: Joseph, tell everyone how many people you have in the next training!
Linda: And when did you take the training?
Joseph: Last month.
Linda: And, these people include….?
Joseph: My Mother, and my friend from Ray just graduated.
Linda: This, people (Linda pointed at me) is the space of no resistance.
I now know that it is very unusual for someone to sign up five people from their personal life in a month. The people in my life had seen a change in me, and whatever that was, they wanted some of it for themselves.