When I woke, I wondered what to do: Stay upstairs or go down? Go straight out before the others turn up, or wait until they arrive and go out without them seeing me? I decided to go downstairs. Maybe there will be a copy of Karaj’s letter waiting for me.
There was no letter. I was folding the clothes when Karaj came in from the garden. He told me he doesn’t want me around this weekend because of my negativity and people’s attitudes towards me; and he showed me the letter he has written to me personally, as opposed to the one going via the Self Healing Group. In it he says he is very sad but has to ask me to leave. There were some other points, too. I accepted his wish for me to leave but still argued against what he is saying: that I have done nothing this year, and met none of the minimum standards in any area of my life or work. I told him he is intelligent and clever and he knows the truth (of what I have done). This started us off on a discussion which had to be continued in the sunken garden. Karaj did not want anyone walking in on it.
He and I argued about what I have done this year. I really lost my temper with the fact that he has told me all along how well I have been doing and then writes me a letter saying that I’ve done nothing and need to leave. He suggested it is a paradox, which only served to inflame my annoyance. By this time I was well into the cocky, arrogant, wholly unattractive behaviour which has been my way throughout my life. Karaj asked me if I have ever felt his love. In my obstinance, my initial thought was ‘no’. But fearful of what this might mean for me and also knowing that somewhere, without the anger, I have felt his love for me, I told him ‘yes’.
We argued some more. Karaj informed me I’m point scoring. I got mad when he claimed he has written in my appraisals how well I have done this year. He hasn’t marked any of my appraisals this year, so the only written information I have from him is the letter which says I have achieved nothing, and also ‘please leave’. And I haven’t even received that. He is fucking with my mind and I cannot stand it any longer. When I tell him this, he just says, ‘Precisely.’ Apparently, that is what it is all about. He highlighted that what I did to the Christians is coming back to haunt me. I countered, saying that all I wanted to do was challenge their belief. And that is what has happened to me here, because I no longer trust Karaj.
The argument continued with Karaj asking me why I cannot just see the love instead of going into the negative. I don’t know. It’s what I have always done. It’s my way to survive. I also hammered home the fact that I can only see what is directly in front of me. Karaj is amazed that I cannot see the love, or other people’s pain, or the lessons for me in the dilemmas of others. Fact is, that is how it is. I cannot see anything other than what is clearly in front of me.
By this time we were seated and Karaj kept making a point of how I can see that he loves me. Then all of a sudden there was emotion all across his face and, with tears in his eyes, he said he will strike the two letters, cancel the hearing and forget everything. I couldn’t understand him being emotional. What he was doing was making me cry, and I shook my head. I didn’t want him to cancel anything. I wanted to leave. I told him so. He answered that, as an older man, he has come down to meet me with his statement; and with mine, I have hitched my arrogance right up. I told him I cannot take it any more.
Karaj then explained everything he has gone through over the last year. He kept on using my name in a way he has never done before. He was relating to me as a person, not as a client; something like that anyway. However it was, he was getting through to me in some way. He told me he loved me and that it has been difficult for him to stand by and watch me go through my rebellious phase over the last year, knowing that if he intervened, I would be off like a shot.
We hugged, both of us emotional. I was seeing a side of the man I had never seen before. He talked of how he had cleared the sunken garden of cigarette ends because he knows I don’t like them anywhere other than in the bin. He also assured me, with tears in his eyes, that when he looked at my desk yesterday, he couldn’t imagine it not being there. With every show of emotion from him I was touched, surprised and thankful. And as we talked, I began to understand his pain. He has done the same for Ruben, Darvesh and Robert as he has for me, and they all left. In his own words, he considers himself a failure. He has loved these people, too, and they are no longer here. He thinks about them all the time and he has to kill his emotions and say to himself, ‘They fucked about.’ He hurts, just like everyone else, and I have never seen that before.
With the same emotion in his voice, in his face, and in his eyes, he spoke of his gratitude that I have been in his life; I have helped him in his marriage and have calmed him down. In another show of emotion, he said, ‘I’m sorry for what I have said to you.’ I could not help but hug him and cry on his shoulder. We have been through so much together and we have both been hurting this last year. This is the first time we have related to each other in that time. I could not believe he was apologising for what he has said to me. It told me everything about how he has done such a good job of loving me that it has hurt him to put me through this necessary part of my process.
He recounted his own process: how he had been ridiculed by the people in Africa and India in front of everyone: public humiliation; having his work and life derided and held up as a piece of shit. All through this he had no idea what love was. Even by the time he got married he still did not know what love was. Finally in 1998 he was required to wake up and live his life: a loner, gradually surrounded by people who demanded his help, his support and his love. He said to me ‘If you want my life, you can have it’, and he said it in a way which communicated perhaps only a fraction of the pain he has gone through, but also the commitment he has to live his life. A great example for me of what it means to come through sadness and desperation and live life fully.
He continued that if I can just focus on the love we have for each other – that is all we have in common – then nothing else matters. It is just a tiny grain but it means more than anything we have done together. More than the garden, the office, and the papers we produce. All that is pointless. There is only love. That is the only thing that matters. All the stuff he does with people at the weekends and during the week, means fuck all. It’s just going round in circles. Love is all there is. He was thinking what I must have gone through with Katja all those years ago in Germany. All I had wanted was for her to let me love her. That is all Karaj is asking of his wife, and it’s all he is asking of me.
I explained how I had helped the men yesterday with the corrections to my letter. Karaj was visibly moved by this, saying I had gone up even further in his estimations. I let him know how grateful I am for what he has done for me. Again, he became emotional and informed me of his gratitude towards me and that having me in his life is a privilege. We hugged again and he said, ‘I am not going to let you go.’
I talked of my call to Francis. He asked how Francis is and suggested I just call him at some point and tell him that we have sorted things between us, that I don’t know what the future will bring, but that for the moment things are okay. Karaj assured me that this has been a script-changing day. I need to be very careful for the next few days in particular because my script will want to fight back and my body will be an easy target. Stay indoors. Stay safe. Moreover, this has all happened on the day before Divali. Tomorrow is the Hindu New Year, and I have sorted such an important issue on the final day of the outgoing year.
I can really leave my past behind and start afresh. In the prophetic words of Kuldip, I really am a ‘lucky bastard’. Karaj added that over the next few days my mind will tell me I have made the wrong decision (to stay). I need to take it easy with myself and in three or four weeks I will be all right and I will be able to see where I am going. He emphasised the need to leave the past behind and look forward.
Karaj told the others what had just happened and asked them to wipe the events of the past few weeks from their memories. He then turned to me and said I can stop writing appraisals and move on. I am relieved at this. He explained that I have just gone through the deconfusion stage and I am onto redecision and relearning now. He asked the others for comments. Simran said, ‘I knew you had it in you.’ We talked about Divali, about Arun, and how she and Kuldip have it tough because they are enlightened. However, all they have to do is lift the veil in front of them to reveal their truth, whereas the rest of us have to smash through iron wall after iron wall.
I rested at lunchtime and cried as I recalled Karaj’s emotions this morning. I am left with a feeling that everything was a little easier when I thought he hated me. But that has been my problem all my life, and this man has been the only one who has really helped me face up to it. Five of us ate lunch together. Karaj made sure he cooked something special for me because he said I deserved it. The food was delicious. In the late afternoon I cried again about the events of this morning. Karaj’s love is overwhelming me. He told me he feels my love for him, too.