TAHIR ZAHOOR AHMED
No single incident is significant enough to have individually affected the enormous journey I am on. Let me just reflect on my evolution from the impact of each significant theory on me, the integrative application of skills learnt, to the palpable discovery of a new consciousness, a new frontier.
It is the first day of the Diploma I sit transfixed to my chair, as much a stranger to myself as I am to the others in the room. How do I introduce myself to the others? I don’t even know who I am! Who am I?
I sit rigid, stereotypically male, in emotional shutdown. (Very honest!) I introduce myself to the group through an activity! SCUBA Diving! Come on, how remote can you be from yourself? I sigh in relief, as other people’s introductions are equally mechanical. Some faces are socially familiar; we exchange glances and smile embarrassingly.
I am a 57 year old man yet I am so acutely self conscious that every time I am asked to speak in that room, my heart pounds like an 8 year old on his first day in Prep school. The tutors tower over me like my English headmaster at Public school. I feel overwhelmed by everything, the room, the participants, the tutors, I hide behind my false exterior, the tribal feudal male introject, that familiar front of self restrictedness and male aggression, the old friend who has always seen me through such situations. It works equally effectively now. Or does it? (displaying self-awareness here Tahir) Months pass, my humanistic jargon increases, maybe even some counselling skills, I am affable, articulate, comfortable and closed.
Satori – enlightenment through a box of tissues
I have never sat next to a box of tissues. I have never needed to. One afternoon that is all I need to hide my self with. A box of tissues. I am caught unawares, a peer narrates his childhood experience of ECT, he weeps, a grown man crying, and as I fight back my tears, I find the years of restrictedness, of not crying, stifling. My comfort has turned to discomfort, I am face to face with years of emotional dishonesty. I hate myself and the years of falseness, what was false? What was real? My fragile maleness flashes in front of me through the haze of tears, the years and years of posturing self sufficiency, of escaping fear through alcohol, as I weep, as I feel the tears, does something shift? Is this the beginning of becoming real? I learn in that sad revelation filled afternoon, how I have lived, just in my mind, with the false illusion of unfeeling fronts, of egotistical posturing, of my sense of centre being only appearance. Yes something has changed. (It must have been an emotional moment for you) As I go to my room that night, I stare at my self in the mirror; the foreground is the “I “in the “now”. The awareness that comes from learning who I really am, is dispossessing. Who am I? Who owns me? The previous strong, financially successful stud, overbearing, cynical and arrogant. Or this new I? Confused, feeling slightly emasculated, embarrassed by the deeper more intense person I see, I look away from the new self. The next morning is a check in, it is my turn to self disclose, I speak as if there is no one there but me, I speak of myself with an unguarded openness I never knew I possessed.
I speak of my alcoholism, my trail of broken marriages and wounded children, I feel the room suddenly alive with other injured humans, not a group of students, but people with similar lives, congruence is not a word anymore, it is a feeling. I have dropped my guard and confronted my defenses. There is a new connection with my peers and tutors, the self discovery and in its aftermath, the acceptance and care, creates a new lightness in my being. (I sense some relief here when you were able to do this)
Everybody’s important plaything
Is now unpossessed, owned only by me.
As I strip it of veneers...
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