I bet more than one reader has dabbled in ‘self-help’ over the years. I have, and it led to me accidentally killing a woman.
Ten years ago I came across a flyer for meditation via self-hypnosis, and I suppose the part about ‘manifesting wealth like magic’ appealed to my weakness for short cuts. In retrospect, I skimmed too quickly over the ‘past-life regression’ bit, taken in as I was by the opportunity to turn my life around from the comfort of my couch.
The workshop started breezily enough with introductions followed by a group meditation taking us deep into the oblivious state I thought we had signed up for in the first place. In the interest of moving out of my comfort zone I even tolerated the ‘Dance like no one is watching’ exercise. I understood the mind trick they were trying to play, breaking us down before building us up again. I was okay with that, even though I dislike dancing (unless no one is watching).
But they caught me off guard when they made me stand up and explain to the group where my pain came from.
“My bank statement?” I volunteered to the Angel Helpers. “My job?”
“No no no, its much deeper than that,” they assured me. “But not to worry, you needn’t go first.”
The modus operandi was that participants would state where their ‘pain’ came from and then try and resolve it through role-playing. There was a woman who had been abandoned as a child; another had been abused; and then there was a really skinny bloke with stomach cancer and hoping for a last gasp cure. . .
First up was a woman, let’s call her Hope, who said her pain came from being murdered as a witch in the 1600’s (don’t even ask, it involved past-lives). She could choose anyone from our group she felt would best play the part of her murderer, and then let rip at him. The poor sucker nominated to role-play this part had to apologise and beg for forgiveness. Once forgiveness was reached everyone had to form a group hug around the lost soul and she would be ‘healed’ (yes, it was as sad as it sounds).
The thing is that Hope was quite a butch sort of woman, short spiky hair and squat. In fact she was downright aggressive if I remember clearly. She surveyed the group slowly, sizing up each of the men before eventually stopping and pointing her stubby finger at poor little unfortunate me.
I must say that I am right out of my comfort zone in this sort of situation. We had to stand facing each other in the middle of the circle as she squared off like a boxer with kinetic angst steaming out of her ears. I thought she was going to punch me after letting rip with a diatribe about being drowned in a dunking stool or something in England. She even started crying, and I remember her tears arcing straight out of her face without even touching her cheeks, so upset she was.
I was called all sorts of names and eventually she broke down completely, asking me in a pleading pitiful voice, How could I do such a thing? I was a bit stumped, to tell the truth, and the best I could mumble was that I had been drunk, that there was mob-behaviour involved, and we had not meant to hurt her feelings. Or something like that. Amazingly enough she seemed to buy it and it was time for a group hug. Ughhh. . . I hate strangers invading my personal space and I remember being stuck like a beanpole in the middle of this group, up against a woman who thought I had murdered her 400 years ago.
I don’t know if this ‘cure’ worked for her in the long term, but I did see the guy with cancer about three months later. He had lost a bit more weight but at least he had a smile on his face. Even so, I am not so sure I really like the whole open-casket thing at a funeral.
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