Is understanding of things that happen possible?
Posted by John on 03/21/2007 17:49:15
In reply to Re: Is what possible? posted by Eddie on 03/21/2007 13:39:28
Yeah, I can't open that part of the Archives, either. I thought it was
just my computer, as on the class board. Maybe that's better even for
an exercise like this, to see what highlights memory can bring back. I
appreciate your clarifying that you are "winging it from memory." That's
valuable insight for our purposes.
I hear you that you can't remember experiencing any traumatic episodes in
the group. Interestingly, one such episode did surface for you before
you stopped writing, and I'll get to that.
I'd hate to call you an "insensitive oaf," not because you aren't but
because all of us are! Most of us simply don't grow up being highly
sensitive care-givers, such as mindfulness may help us to discover. For
my part, I can think of a number of heavy loads of stuff that I might
have put into the space of some of our group members.
I don't know if you knew this, Eddie, but Scot and I go back twenty and
more years, to times when he was in one of my first teaching groups here
in Tucson. And we've remained friends dearly ever since he moved away. I
remember Scot carrying me in his arms like a baby at times, when I was
recovering from a broken back, and he cared enough to get me around.
One of my projections is that Scot may have felt let down by me, for not
taking his side in that back-and-forth talking about war and peace
between you and him. I felt it was my conscientious duty not to take
sides. Yes, I am on the side of playing for peace and harmony. But I
don't have to take sides in the political debating to make my case. My
case is simply based on my own experiences. If anybody else wakes up and
sees, and experiences some of the things I experience, fine.
I don't recall ever arguing with you, Eddie, about your political views.
At least I didn't argue very much, I hope. It's pretty clear to me that
no amount of arguing is ever going to turn a profoundly conservative
thinker into a profoundly liberal thinker, or vice versa. There was no
chance from the start that either of you were going to undergo a
political transformation through your conversation together. And yet,
with both of you in such a small group, it was probably inevitable that
full-on authentic talk about this would get started some day. I grant
you Eddie that you were being authentic in all that you voiced. Do you
doubt that Scot was also being authentic in the parts that he expressed?
That's a projection, after all. Maybe so, maybe not.
So, here you've had a projection that I was playing on Scot's side. That
hadn't occurred to me. And I had a projection on Scot that I may have
wounded him by seeming to him to be playing on your side. I wasn't
wishing that I had played on either of your sides, of course. I was just
wishing that I hadn't played it in a way that hurt either of your
You ask me: "Do you mean "find out" what happened? Or do you mean agree
on" what happened.
My answer is: both! And I still think it is possible to find out what
happened, and even for you and me to agree on what happened . . . or not.
We can only find out by continuing with the exercise, or not. And I'm
You said: I'll simply say it's my guess that it's probably 'not'
possible for you and I to 'agree' on what happened.
That, too, is another projection, I say. And I don't know if we can
agree on what happened. At least, that's a beautiful challenge, and I'm
willing to give it a shot.
And an important thing here: I don't see that the possibility of our
agreeing on what happened has anything whatsoever to do with your
changing your political philosophy. In fact, I would not expect that to
happen. Here's a thing to notice: You and I seem to get along so well
most of the time (as far as I know), and yet during that long talk with
Scot, you and he didn't seem to be getting along very well. Reflect on
that. As you've noted, his political philosophy is a whole lot like my
own. So why are you and I usually having so much better a time of it
together than you and he were having then?
I think it's because I knew from the beginning that there was no point in
our being drawn into a political argument together, Eddie. I've
respected your position and gone on respecting your position, and even
though I feel it's appropriate to express my own position for teaching
purposes at times, I honestly don't remember ever having an agenda to get
you to change in yours. Good for you, when you finally came up with your
"Let's agree to disagree," solution. Scot had also made gestures of
contrition and apology, and together, the two of you did manage, finally,
to find your way "out of it," so to speak. In our case, Eddie, I adopted
the "Let's agree to disagree" gesture from the first time you and I
became aware of our political differences. And it seems to me we have
gone on becoming better and better friends ever since then.
You said: "So if what you are asking is will I participate in helping
you build a platform for an anti war agenda/discussion, I can assure you
I won't be of much help to you there.
No, no, no, no! That is yet another projection, and I can tell you
immediately that that is NOT what I am asking, Pal. I promise you that
has nothing to do with what this exercise is about. Without taking
either of the sides on that great, widespread argument of our times, I am
only asking you to participate in helping me find out, if possible, what
happened in our group, if anything, to cause or contribute to that
prolonged silence that was so mysterous to me.
You said: I can simply refrain from participating with those type
I don't think that's necessary. I think I've said all I have to say for
the time being on that topic, including what I've said here, which is
clear and reassuring, I hope. I don't know if any others are itching to
bring that topic up again. But if it happens, I am not coaching you not
to participate. Yet, I do suspect that agreeing to disagree is a
strategy that is worth an aware try to work when discussions feel like
they are turning into arguments that neither side has a prayer of
You concluded by "solving the puzzle" from your own point of view at this
You said: So"what happened", from my perspective is you got mad (not so
much hurt like you tended to let on) and Scot got frustrated because he
couldn't protect you, and I was just being my authentic self for the most
Yes, I can see that that is a very logical and reasonable projection for
you to have. And it may be true, too. I don't know if Scot would feel
strong enough to be authentic about his own experiences of this. That's
the only way we could see if that particular projection is actually true
or not. As for my own experiences: I don't remember having a sense that
Scot was trying to protect me with the things he said. But that does
seem very reasonable to me if that's what happened, now that you mention
it! Heh-heh, so we *may have* a chance to agree on down the way on that
one. And if does become known to be true, that's all the more reason
Scot *might have been hurt* that I didn't acknowledge the well-intended
efforts that he did make, talking with you there.
I'm not suspecting that you weren't being authentic throughout that talk
with Scot, Eddie. In some ways, I think you both were rougher than you
needed to be with each other. Can you allow for a possibility of that,
Eddie. Maybe I'm mistaken, but it seems to me like the gist of this last
quote of yours seems to be saying that you don't believe I leveled with
you about being angry, that I lied and was deceptive instead of
authentic. And I'm willing to sit with that like a brick in my lap and
contemplate on it, to see whatever I can remember and see.
The other thing, and this may not be fair to say, but it almost seems
like you are saying that Scot and I are to blame for what happened.
Maybe true! And that you were not a party to any blame that might fairly
go around about this incident.
Yes, this "personality war," as I like to call such engagements between
members in group, was one of the events that I seemed to recall that
might have put a load of impact into the space for all of us to react to
in our individual ways. The other most seemingly obvious such disturbing
event, to my sense of it, was that long post I made about argumentative
and withdrawn marriages, that made such a big deal about separate
sleeping arrangements. I was just plain wrong in the narrowness of that
part of it. That coaching could have been a ponderous load of painful
stuff in the space for some women. And I was lucky to catch-on. Now I
have realized that separate beds might save some marriages too, and for
many people that separation in the space is an intelligent and
satisfactory choice. Yes, I'm sure I will have a new view on that to
express here in Classroom Talk, along the lines of "separate beds is a
good thing" when the time for it seems right.
Meanwhile, can you relate to any of the things I'm saying here today, my
Friend? You have given me many reasons not to go on with the game. I
still feel it's worth the play to go on. Am I being stubborn? How do
you feel about it here-now?