I've just spent the weekend at a seminar entitled Unleash the Power Within
with Tony Robbins
here in Melbourne. I feel like a new person, I have enormous amounts of positive energy. But that's not the positive experience after which I have titled this node.
So I'm sitting on the grass outside the State Library eating my lunch in the sunshine. There's a peace vigil on the lawn, tents and so forth. I notice a rather shabbily dressed fellow walk up (beer can in hand) and sit down next to some girls about 5 yards from where I am. He starts to talk to them about the war, and what they thought about what he termed "this protest camp bullshit".
I missed the rest of the conversation, as I (like most people) opted to tune out and carry on as if nothing were happening. Then he walks over and starts to talk to me about what the impending war, and the use of Australian soldiers.
Now if you've read any of my daylogs you may have gathered that I certainly do not support the use of Australian soldiers in the fight against Afghanistan. So we talk. He has some very good points about Indonesia, the Muslim population there and his fear that we need to be wary of them invading our country. I counter with the fact that really, if we stay out of what I see as something that is not our fight, we'll have nothing to fear from terrorists, or Muslim extermists.
His intention, he later told me was to go and start tearing out tents from the camp. I turned that opinion around, and gave him some food for thought. That's part of the positive experience.
It doensn't end there
So we talk more. Bare in mind that this is the type of person who most people would cross the street to avoid. Me I'm 6'5" with a brown belt in karate so perhaps I'm a little less concerned. Either way, we talk more. We run through his life story, rough childhood, being diagnosed with schizophrenia, and having paranoid delusions and all these labels that he's had lumped on him from the time he was about 13. He explains to me how he can be in the middle of a conversation with someone and do what he calls "switch personalities".
This is where it gets good. I told him that that was complete bullshit; that I didn't care what people had labelled him, I knew that was not the case. I told him that the voices in his head that were telling him to hurt people were none other than his own voice. I explained to him that the only thing capable of making his brain work was himself, and that if he's hearing voices, the're being created by himself. Male or female voices, I didn't care. I pointed out that as a result of his upbringing, I wasn't surprised that he didn't trust people, and perhaps that although it sounded silly to him that he needed to hurt people before they did him, he could make that ok by giving it a different 'voice' to speak to him with.
Then we tackled the so called 'personality shifts'. I told him that that, too was bullshit. You have only one personality. When you "change personality" and (as he termed it) "don't even realise it until later" I gave him this example:
Suppose I'm sitting here and someone walks past and spills their coke all over me. I get quite upset. Is that a personality change, or simply a reaction to the circumstances? I don't "consciously" realise that I'm suddenly quite angry about something. I just react to the stimulus.
He thinks, and I continue. I say that perhaps the issue is simply that what sets him off is so subtle that he doesn't consciously realise it, and that perhaps this is something to think about.
By this time, we can forget all about him kicking down the tents
He talks about how he has 5 kids. I plainly see that this makes him happy. I use this to point out that he has the ability to change his state in a heartbeat. He can choose to feel happy simply because he has 5 lovely children and a girlfriend who loves him and accepts him for what he is.
I explain that deep down every single person on the grass today, including me, has two basic fears. That we're not good enough, and that we won't be loved unconditionally. He begins to realise that he's not alone, he's like everyone else around him at some level.
You should see this guy. He asks me for a card, or a referral to a pshychologist. I told him that, in my opinion, seeing a psychologist was a waste of time. I mean look where it had got him so far...
This guy now treats me as if I'm his new best friend. He has a smile from ear to ear, he tells me that although he probably won't remember my face if he sees me again because of his drinking (which I didn't start on) he'd definitely remember what I'd said to him.
So today I've managed to give someone a new perspective on violence in Afghanistan, change his state from belligerent to euphoric, give him hope for his life, and provide food for thought for him in a number of areas. Not only that, but the ripple effect of that will be quite something to see, I'm sure. This my friends, was an incredibly positive experience, before we even get on to how I feel about it.
Not to mention, it tends to put one's shitty workday in perspective.