The week passed and The Turning Point continued.
Every class we meditated. Alas, I didn’t quite return to the bliss of that wonderful first session, but I still enjoyed meditation and resolved to keep on doing it long after The Turning Point.
We also learned interesting new other techniques like using focused concentration to ‘think’ away pain like headaches instead of using medication (although I found that too time-consuming and decided that for future headaches I’d stick with painkillers).
There were also many individual and group exercises where we revealed our problems in life, and worked independently and together to resolve them.
Overall it was challenging, confronting, inspiring, interesting and at times truly stunning.
One experience I will never forget was a closed-eye talk-through group session where several people around me cried and cursed and screamed at the top of their voices to get years of anger and pain out of their systems.
Other unforgettable moments included some of my classmates revealing life-long secrets for the first time – and some of them were very painful and saddening to hear.
Fortunately, there were also moments of great tenderness. One of those I won’t forget was during another closed-eye talk-through group session when I suddenly found myself crying, and one of the counselors came up close behind me and massaged my shoulders until I felt better.
Yet, as the week progressed, something began to nag at me.
I had expected – and hoped – to come to The Turning Point and curse and howl and scream. I had been angry with my life and myself for a long time, and here at last I could get it all out of my system.
But I didn’t.
The only time I got angry was when at the start of another closed-eye talk-through group session I relaxed in my chair, and another of the counselors came up behind me and told me to sit up straight. That made me feel like a naughty child, and I spent the rest of that session angry.
But other sessions like the one where we took turns lying on a large gym-mat so that we could curse and scream and thrash about? When it was my turn, I had to force myself to pretend to do so.
It wasn’t that I thought any of those exercises were embarrassing and silly.
But to my dismay, I found that I didn’t have much anger in me after all.
I wondered if it was because unlike a lot of my classmates, I had already spent most of my life dwelling on my problems and being angry in private. Some of my classmates were confronting their problems for the first time, which is why some of them had been so expressive and would express their gratitude at course’s end that The Turning Point was the first place they felt they could express and deal with their anger.
But despite that, I still felt baffled, which in turn led to a growing sense of disappointment in myself.
And which also in turn led me to tell myself to knock it off. Okay, so I wasn’t doing any ranting and raving and screaming – but so what? It wasn’t like we had to, and maybe I didn’t need to after all.
And besides, I was still getting a lot of other value out of The Turning Point.
Finally, the week ended with a Saturday all-day marathon session and a Sunday half-day session and dinner at a nearby restaurant.
A few days later, we returned for the last time to share what the beginning of the new stage in our lives had been like.
Some of my classmates already had some inspiring stories to tell.
I didn’t, but overall I felt better.
I had kept my word to myself about meditation and had been doing it at least once a day since completing The Turning Point. Again, I hadn’t had a repeat of that remarkable first session, but I was still enjoying it and wanting to keep doing it.
But overall and most of all, The Turning Point had given me hope that my life could and would get better.
And for the next six months, life did get better.
Until the evening of Saturday 14 June 2003.
TO BE CONTINUED