This is a tall order: reviewing a program which takes place over an entire weekend and involves hours and hours of conversation. But, for me, as a grateful alumnus, I feel compelled to share what I now know. The Landmark Forum (LF), developed and presented by Landmark Education, is a life-changing experience.
It would be impossible in the space of a short article to describe how the process works; furthermore, I don’t feel that would be ethical to divulge Landmark Education’s proprietary methodology. What I can share is my own experience and comment on the insights I came away with.
The fundamental issue that an LF weekend examines–or, to be more accurate, the issue I looked at deeply for myself–is the process of story creation and storytelling. Our lives are narratives that we create but which then to some extent create us and our experience. We don’t see it, not usually, but everything that arises is given meaning by us and made to fit into the greater, longer narrative we have been creating and living since we could first put words together.
Of course, none of this new. People have been giving meaning to their lives through the telling of stories since the dawn of human civilization, and myths, the greatest of all stories, for many people straddle the line between the line between fact and fiction, art and actuality. For centuries philosophers have told us the same, and, more recently, in the 20th century, great thinkers such as Viktor Frankl have pointed out that meaning-making is the quintessential human activity. But what the Landmark Forum does is to present storytelling in a new light, one that is both more conscious and more critical, and by doing so delivers it into our hands as a tool.
The weekend was intense, beginning on Friday morning and continuing all day and well into the night Friday, Saturday and Sunday and, finally, continuing for a few hours on Tuesday. Over the course of this time, it was evident that everyone who permitted themselves to really engage the process benefited from powerful breakthroughs and profound experiences of personal transformation.
This was certainly true in my case. Recently separated after 22 years of marriage to a woman who deserved much better than she got and leaving behind two beloved children, I arrived at the hotel conference room with an enormous burden of guilt and shame. By the time Sunday rolled around, I knew two things which preserved my sanity and maybe even my life.
First was the lesson that there is nothing more powerful than taking complete responsibility for everything that occurs in one’s own experience. By assuming what I now call “radical responsibility,” I retain my personal power. How? By avoiding blame. Whenever we blame others, we empower them by making ourselves passive, turning ourselves into victims. Learning this lesson prevented me from making excuses for my own behavior. As a result, I have today an amicable and harmonious relationship with my first wife, which has spared my children a great deal unnecessary further suffering.
Just as important is what I learned about personal integrity. This is fundamental to the program, as it is indeed to life itself. This is not to say that I have consistently upheld a lofty standard of integrity since completing my Landmark Forum weekend. But the standard is there, and knowing that progress toward that ideal is both a safeguard and a basis for happiness keeps me on the right track.
There is much more that could be said, and others just as appreciative as I would perhaps say different things. But this, I hope, will give you a glimpse of what this powerful program has to offer. I have no hesitation in recommending that you invest both the time and the money required.
Go with an open mind…and be fulfilled.