If Nothing is Real Then Why Does X Lead to Y?

What is the difference between fate and free will? Keep that question in mind as you read along.

Another fundamental shift in perspective from Phase 1 to Phase 2 is the nature of causality. In Phase 1 you believe that what you do inside the hologram creates an effect inside the hologram. In Phase 2, however you begin to understand that what you do has nothing to do what happens, and that anything that actually happens is created by your expanded self. This is the reason that success in various areas in your life may have seemed random in the past, for instance.

So there is no cause and effect then. Cool! That means I can go drive off a cliff and not have anything bad happen right?


Once I’ve expanded enough?

Still no.

But I’m infinite right?


So I can do anything I want.

Sort of.

Ok lets stop the two way head conversation and lay something out – you are infinite, but you are also so powerful that you created a hermetic game for yourself that it is impossible to get out of until your expanded self says so.

Causality, in this full spectrum game called life, seems to be very real. If I don’t pay my bills, my power gets shut off. If I insult someone, they will most likely get upset. If I don’t eat, I’ll starve. If I start exercising regularly I will feel better. If I “make more money” I can spend more money. Ask anyone who has busted loose (and if you know anyone I’d love to talk with them) if they still get hungry when they don’t eat or if they get irritable when they don’t sleep. I’d wager that both are true.

Except for maybe some monks in the mountains.

Busting loose becomes something of a Catch 22 when you realize that the only way that you are busting loose is because you got turned on to a great piece of writing and started saying some affirmations to yourself. Was not that a cause and effect?

Has your life improved since you started doing the process? Mine sure has. So, while I’m not directly affecting anything in my hologram I am still doing something (the process) that then makes something else happen (the hologram getting better).

Causality is squirrelly. And though there is no formula (a causal-based creation if there ever was one) for busting loose, there are some guidelines that everyone seems to follow. There is causation, there is a journey, there is x following y. And my guess is that even if you bust loose, time will stay linear and causation will still seem to hold sway over your reality.

So, how do we reconcile these two seemingly opposite ideas?

A Possible Solution

Let’s go back to the earlier question. The difference between fate and free will is perception. The net effect of either is the same. The reason people perceive differently is they enjoy thinking that they are/aren’t in control.

If viewed positively, fate becomes destiny. I was destined to become an artist.

If viewed negatively, fate becomes a curse. I was cursed to work at Burger King.

If viewed positively, choice becomes empowering. I make my own luck.

If viewed negatively, choice becomes damning. I got into this mess.

But lets take away emotions for a second and look at two different statements:

You were fated to go to college.

You chose to go to college.

What is the difference between what happened in those two sentences?


You went to college whether you were pulling the strings or “someone else” was. The fact is no matter how much choice you have, you will still only do the things you do, and no matter how much you seem limited by the circumstances of your life, you still have the ability to think what you want and do what you want (within reason).

Now what?

As long as you’re in the hologram you will perceive time and space in terms of causality, which is the way the game was meant to be. Busting loose will seem to be a cumulative process of expansion upon expansion. Things will seem to come a little at a time and challenges will present themselves only to seemingly disappear once your storyline deems it necessary. You will make causal connections between events, but those won’t be real. And yet they will feel real to you. Because that’s the way the game was designed.

Expanding to where you have a direct experience of just what is creating all the things you experience will not take away causality – Robert still made his large sums of money from somewhere in the hologram even though he knew where it was really coming from.

How do you think differently about cause and effect after entering Phase 2?

P.S. Here’s a cheat sheet with the formulas for busting loose.



X->Z.      Huh?

after committing to phase 2..

X->Y    Not this again…

X->$   Whoa, this is powerful stuff.

X->Y   Hey where’d all the powerful stuff go?


Don’t Worry, Busting Loose is Inevitable

For many, the biggest shift in perception from Phase 1 to Phase 2 (the expansion phase not the play phase) is realizing that there is no wrong way to do things. Not just that there is no wrong way, but the idea of a wrong way is simply a Phase 1 game in itself.

Yet Busting Loose is inevitable. It is not contingent on what you do, think, say to others, or say to yourself. For me, the game is remembering this very simple fact, especially when the hologram seems to be showing me differently.

One way the hologram likes to do this is through cause and effect. If I do something right now the hologram likes to come back with “consequences” (negatively perceived creations) or “rewards” positively perceived creations.

And depending on which of those I experience more frequently in my hologram, I feel like I’m getting closer or farther away from Busting Loose. In “reality” however, I am always getting closer. In fact, I’m already there, I’m just playing a game where I’ve convinced myself I’m not. So, busting loose has already happened in the grand scheme of things, but in this game I’m playing right now, I can simply perceive it as inevitable. Remember, I am not actually in control.

How I Apply this Understanding

Oftentimes I find myself using the process like I might pull a tooth out. Everything that’s supposed to make me feel limitless and abundant, makes me only more aware of my (perceived) lack. This in turn makes me feel like I’m not “doing it right” or feeling “abundant enough” for the process to “work.”

Though all of these things are untrue, to help in the moment with my emotional game, I simply invoke the state of being of inevitability.

I say statements like:

“It doesn’t matter what I do, I will reclaim power.”

“Everything is perfect just as it is, and I will eventually believe this wholeheartedly even if I don’t right now.”

“I’m doing the process perfectly right now. I could not possibly do it better.” (Even if I’m shouting the process in defiance or disbelief.)

Eventually, I relax into a state of receptiveness and appreciation, even if I’m still feeling frustrated that I’m not experiencing true joy. Because the frustration of not experiencing true joy actually IS true joy.

So I’m sorry to tell you, but you didn’t do anything wrong. Your anger or frustration is just an illusion. And busting loose will happen to you whether you like it or not.

If you’re spiritual or not, it’s happening.

If you believe or not, it’s happening.

If you’re a “good person” or not, it’s happening.

If you do the process or not, it’s happening.

In the world of infinite where time and space do not exist, it already has.

But right now, just remember that it’s inevitable.

Make the Process More Effective by Breaking Down the Hologram

In some ways, using the term “egg” to describe a center from which you reclaim your power is a misnomer. Egg implies a buried standalone object that, once discovered, is yours forever. While I do agree that power reclaimed is reclaimed forever, the egg that hides that power is not standalone.

In the beginning of Phase 2 I had trouble until I realized a fundamental rule of how power is hidden in the hologram:

Eggs are interdependent. They do not sit alone, buried. They exist in a network structure, like roots of a tree, neurons in a brain, or people in a well functioning society (thank you, Stephen Covey!)

You may drain the power in one only to find a source of power related to it in another. Power in your relationships egg may actually be power in your money egg, self-worth egg, parents egg, travel egg, disease egg, or anything else.

So how can you make the process reflect this new understanding?

By breaking down the hologram. It’s simpler and less violent than it sounds.

Eggs connect together until they become one big impossible-to-differentiate- egg-like mass. This reinforces your place as a helpless agent in the hologram.

Have you ever tried to clear a wooded area of all the plants? It takes effort, but you pull the top layer of weeds off. With sore hands you look upon your accomplishment, satisfied. Yet out of the corner of your eye there’s a small stalk sticking out of the ground.

“I’ll just get that last one,” you think. Yep.

10 hours later you’re still trying to rid that small area (for a nice little wood shed) of those blasted weeds.

Yeah, eggs are like that. 10 hours, try 10 years! (not saying it actually takes this long, I’ve only been in Phase 2 for just over a year now)

What is Breaking Down the Hologram?

I’m glad you asked…self.

During the process, Robert Scheinfeld outlines a step wherein you say,

There is no power out there, not in anyone or in anything.”

I have spent a great deal of time pondering this idea, and still it boggles my mind. What I find supportive, because this is such a grand statement is I like to identify where and in what I perceive the power to be. And once I do that, like an egg detective, I look further to see if I can find the hidden places of power.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know that I recently had a falling out with my best friend who I was in love with and shared a house with while opening into a new relationship and better living situation.

Naturally, I experienced a great deal of discomfort. Discomfort as you know is really just your power in disguise.

Can you name the disguises?

Let’s start with the obvious ones. The house I shared with my best friend is not real. The new house I “moved into” is not real. My (no longer) best friend Ash is not real. My current girlfriend Tabitha is not real.

Seems easy right? But we’re just getting started.

My job that kept me away from Ash is not real. The money I earned from the job to “pay” the rent on the old house and become dissatisfied with “wasting” money is not real. In fact, there was no dissatisfaction in the first place, because there was no distance to commute from “home” to “work” and there was no car to commute with, and  there was no gas to fill the car. There was no rent or bills to pay. There were no overdraft fees to force me to keep working.

There was no wasting money because there was no money in the first place.

You see this isn’t just a relationship egg or a housing egg, it’s also a money egg and a career egg.

But there’s more.

There wasn’t really a falling out between myself and Ash over living somewhere that was no longer supportive for me. There was no friendship between us in the first place, no matter how concrete it may have seemed. Furthermore, there was no love or pain to feel.

Now it gets crazy.

The person who I think I am is not real either. So there is no me to become dissatisfied, love, be fearful, or experience pain. There’s no me to have been lonely to develop love in the first place. There’s no me that “needs” anything from the “world.” There is no world to “get” anything from. Furthermore there is no me to have caused any sort of discomfort to “others” in the hologram.

Brace yourself.

In fact, since nothing exists, there is no cause and effect at all. There was nothing you did to make any of this happen. There was nothing “they” did to make your life what it is. There is no past. No future. There is no time to pass, only a story. There isn’t even the present you are “experiencing” right now.

Here’s where you trade your beliefs about the hologram for the truth.

I am in infinite abundance right here, right now.

There is nothing for you to do, because there is in fact, nothing to do or be. You already are everything. You already are perfect. If you really think through this exercise, how can you not be? Absolutely nothing is real. The hologram is so intricately detailed, down to the dust that floats in the light from your window, that only by pulling the truth apart piece by piece can you experience who you truly are.

This is what the process ultimately does for you on a macro level. On a micro level though, I recommend breaking down the hologram. Obviously, you don’t have to do this all the time or ever if it doesn’t feel right. One of the things I love about Busting Loose is just how flexible it really is.

But I can’t remember how many times I try to tell the truth about a situation when I forget to tell the truth about myself. Everything is not real, it’s not just me – “the real person”- inside a hologram.

How do you break down the hologram? Do you augment or personalize the process?

Love – The Most Harrowing Egg of All – Part 3

Is this starting to sound like a bad soap opera? By the way this story turns out, you may think  it was all made up.

That was a joke for you Busters out there.


“1. Expect to be Uncomfortable

(Busting Loose from the Money Game, pg 129)

This is the beginning of Phase 2 crystallized in a single phrase. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, picture yourself sitting in a hot tub. It’s 102 degrees. Perfect temperature. Yet now and again, the temperature rises up just a little and you get a slight feeling of discomfort. “Who’s controlling this thing?” you ask and your expanded self giggles behind the scenes as they slowly bring your body to a boil.

Be aware of this if you make the commitment to Phase 2, for discomfort can come in oh so many ways. Why, just last post I talked of being cold, having unrequited love, and working my body to exhaustion. What makes it all so worth it, however, is just how supported I really feel. More on that later…

“2. Expect Weird Things to Happen

(pg 130)

You may ask yourself, “weird like how?” Well, if having an angelic boss who convinces you of the joys of commitment isn’t weird enough, then how about…



Thursday, December 10th

Ash and I talk on the phone like we do every day. In the middle of our shit shooting, she casually remarks, “my parents says we should move out.” I jokingly reply, “well you don’t really live there anyway.”

No big deal. I do however think it’s pretty bizarre (read: weird) that her parents would actively discourage her from living in a sweet house in the woods with her best friend. Sure we haven’t gotten everything together just yet, but I have faith.



Sunday, December 13th

I log 70 hours of work this week, including one stretch of 23 hours. I’m stoked because I now have enough money to pay Ash back the money I owe her. Sure I’ll be broke again, but no big deal. This house is worth it, because…well because…Conviction and stubbornness are my two only good reasons, but for now they are good enough.



Saturday, December 19th

Ash and I go see Avatar. Another date like scenario is par for the course for us. I slowly realize I’m hanging out with her out of obligation. It’s the weekend, and who am I going to spend it with? If we don’t spend it together, it would be silly. After all we’re housemates. Yet I feel a growing discord between our “friendship” and what a real relationship could be.



Sunday, December 20th

We clean our mostly empty house. There seems to be a lot of tension. This whole thing is starting to feel like a chore.



Thursday, December 24th

I realize I haven’t talked to Ash in a week. This is the longest we’ve gone without talking in over a year (including when I lived in New Jersey) To make it up to her, I show up at her house with a Christmas card. The new year is coming and I can’t wait to start keeping some of the money I’m earning.



Friday, December 25th

Ash calls me. I don’t pick up or return her call. In her voice mail she thanks me for the card. She doesn’t sound normal, but I shrug it off. I don’t feel like talking to her because I’m starting to have second thoughts about our house together and I don’t want to ruin her day or upset her.



Saturday, December 26th

I haven’t been “home” in a week. I go there to spend the night and I see that owe over three hundred dollars for propane service. This is the last straw. This house is a money drain. Yet I know if I tell Ash, it could hurt our friendship. I decide to avoid the issue and resolve to tell her at a more opportune time.

It’s close to new years and I think she’s making plans. If I call her it will definitely come up. I’m not good at hiding things.




Thursday, December 31st

I spend the night at Tabitha’s house and feel so at peace. I feel like this is the way things should be. I ache and heal from all the wasted years of not feeling this way. Of not letting this part of the hologram in. Something new stirs inside me, and I feel compelled to be here.

I text Ash, “if I don’t talk to you, Happy New Year.” I know I’m not going to talk to her.

The next two days are a blur of walks on the cliffs near Tabitha’s house, hours wrapped in blankets and limbs, and the growing understanding of what I must do. This is a new year, a new decade, a new life. It’s time to say good bye to old dreams and outdated fantasies.

But, I can’t call her on the first, since it’s frickin New Years day!

I can’t call her on the second, because it’s the day after frickin New Years day!

I had the perfect plan. I’ll call her on the third.



Saturday, January 2nd

She calls me. I don’t answer. I’m not ready. Her voicemail says, “We need to talk.”



Sunday, January 3rd

I’m still not ready, but I call anyway. This is the part where my expanded self brings my body to a slow boil.

She’s upset, but composed. She tells me her side of the story. How she waited to talk to me. That many opportunities in her life had come to her. That she might be leaving Santa Cruz. That every day I didn’t call she became more convinced she knew what was going on. How at first she believed I was working too much to call, yet she knew that wasn’t true. I listen intently. I’m glad to hear her voice. I’m glad that we’re resolving things.

It’s obvious to her that the house isn’t working. We decide to give our thirty days notice. Whew, that is finally out of the way.

We hang out for seven hours talking. She talks about feeling replaced by Tabitha. I listen closely and try to console her. She doesn’t know how this is going to turn out. But we’ve weathered worse than this. We’ve lived together (now 3 times), worked together, and smuggled LSD to Puerto Rico together.

We’ve been best friends for six years. Nothing could shake an iron clad relationship like that. Certainly not something like not calling for few days. We end our talk (at the bar) optimistic. I give her a hug and she walks away. I’m so glad it’s going to work out. I finally know that I can be free of her, free to live a life of real romance. And in this new glorious life, we can really be friends.

I experience a pattern collapse.

She texts me. “I never knew someone you’re not in love with could break your heart. Thanks for nothing.”


Maybe this is the real pattern collapse. The unthinkable happens – we are no longer friends.

So did I break the bottle or kill the goose? I shattered the goose on a thousand tiny shards of glass, leaving a stain no winter could wash, no summer could dry.

Yep. This was true, unstoppable, change. As sure as the sun rises, the promise of Phase 2 was delivered.










That was the space I wish I had afterwards. But in my story, I had to move on. I had a promising job, a blossoming relationship, and loving friends to host my exodus from the coldest house ever. My hologram shifted, landing me on a strange soft blanket. Yet still a terrible hole burned inside. The life I lived before now felt like a dream.

I don’t know what happens next. I know I’m not in control, because if I was I would never have written such a beautiful tragedy.


Today (Monday, January 18th)

As I sit here writing this, all I can say is,


I love you.

More than you will ever know.

But I have to let you go now.”


And in one blinding insight I realize that she is me – as is everyone in the hologram – and when I read that passage and replace her name with mine, I cast off my shackles of the past and say goodbye to a dear old friend.

Then I turn to face the inevitable, infinite, unknown.





Love – The Most Harrowing Egg of All – Part 2

Last time, we left off at:

“I’m in love with a woman who is my best friend (of 10 years) – the kind of “in love” which will not go away, no matter how much I fight it. She does not feel the same way as me. We are going to get a place together in Santa Cruz. Financially, it is really my only option. My two damned if you do, damned if you don’t, options are:

1. Bury my feelings for her and live together.

2. End our friendship and any future together.”

That was three months ago.

I used to think that life didn’t move fast enough for me. That I spent a lot of time sitting around waiting for “life”, as if it were an organism with its own brain, to hurry up and get on with it already.

Now, everything has changed. I’m still not some uber-enlightened being or a poster boy for Scheinfeld’s “Busting Loose” works, but I am shaken, stirred, and a bit drunk on the possibilities of Phase 2.

What happened were a series of events leading to a total pattern collapse in my hologram. Here is the play by play, interspersed with thoughts about it relating to Phase 2.

Saturday, December 5th

My housemate (we’ll call her Ash) and I spend the weekend at our house in Felton. This has been our routine for two months. We play the same video game, drink the same alcohol, and sleep on the same air mattresses in house bereft of furniture and exuding cold. I give her rent money and the final part of the deposit. I’m once again broke, even though I’ve been earning more money per month than I ever have in the past.

Sunday, December 6th

In the middle of the night, my air mattress deflates. Instead of being angry, I’m stoked. I get to sleep in the bed of the woman I’m in love with, and I have a legitimate excuse. There will be no sex intimacy unfortunately, but I delude myself in to thinking that’s not a problem. Ash is indifferent.

I spend the night at my friend’s house. This is also my weekly routine. I spend 3 nights here since it cuts my work commute in half. Also there is heating. I check my facebook – something I do very rarely in these days of 40-60 hour work weeks. An ex girlfriend, call her Tabitha, wants to meet up with me and drink wine. Cheap wine. She must really want a booty call I think. I arrange to meet with her on Wednesday night.

Monday, December 7th

My wonderful boss and I have a deep conversation about intimate relationships. He tells me about the wonderful world of give and take, commitment, and total vulnerability. This comes as a shock to my system as I had before then only considered and experienced shallow, emotionally distant relationships for fear of being hurt too much or being trapped.

He stresses to me that life can be so much better than having what I now call a “fake girlfriend.”

Needless to say, commitment in general has been a major egg for me. Not just commitment in relationships, but commitment to a career, a place to live, an identity, a spiritual path – the list goes on.

This was the first time I felt the sun poking through the cloud cover on this issue. Such a simple and obvious idea – “commitment can be a good thing and ultimately help expand you” – hit me like I had just realized a true secret.

But I was scared. Unlike any so-called change that spiritual paths offer, and unlike any notions I had about what Phase 2 would be like, this feeling was the promise of a real, honest to goodness, shift.

I ask him how I could create this kind of relationship in my life. He says the key is, “listening.” It dawns on me that I may have never really listened to someone in my life.

Wednesday, December 9th

Ash wants to drink as always. We buy a bottle of wine. I buy a second. She cocks an eyebrow. I nervously say, “I’m meeting up with Tabitha later.” She is concerned, but I’m not sure of what. She tactfully says, “get the White Zinfandel.”

I meet up with Tabitha. We sheepishly nurse a half bottle of wine, guardedly talking about the year since we broke up. I say “broke up” now for the sake of clarity, but I never considered us together in the first place because that would be, you know, commitment.

In the middle of our conversation she interjects, “ok, tell me something you remember about me.” I draw a blank. My memory is terrible, but this is embarrassing. She looks defeated. I scrounge out something from the annals of my brain and tell her her best friend’s name. She is happy.

She says, “why are you looking at me like that?”

“I’m listening to you.” She had never seen that look on me before.

We sit on her bed to look up something on her laptop. I kiss her. It is by turns passionate and confused. We leave the night having no idea where this is going.

Friday, December 11th

After another brutal seventeen hour workday, my boss questions me about my intentions with Tabitha. He gives me a with-great-power-comes-great-responsibility lecture.

I seriously consider the ramifications of what I could be creating – a real relationship and a real connection – and how fragile and beautiful that could be. Could I really care about someone or something more than myself?

This relates to something that expands more and more as I move through Phase 2: appreciation. Not appreciation in the form of money, but appreciation in the form of everything. The newest form I’ve discovered is listening. Listening with your heart is a direct affirmation of the glorious hologram you’ve created and the wonderful and varied people that populate it.

Loving the hologram more than you love yourself (even though you’re a part of the hologram as well) is a deep and meaningful expression of appreciation unlike any you might experience.

But I’m still not there, yet.

Wednesday, December 16th

I meet up with Tabitha again. She is pulled between her fear of being hurt and the obvious connection we’re experiencing. She wants to know what I’m thinking. If there was ever a time I wanted to tell about myself, this was not it.

She cuts right to the heart of the issue. “When we were together before you couldn’t be with me because you were still in love with Ash.”

I tell her that I still have feelings for Ash, but those feelings are irrational and based on illusions (more than I could possibly explain at that moment.) I tell her I’m in the process of getting over Ash. I realize then, maybe I am…

To be concluded.

Why Working Gets a Bad Rap

“I love my job.”

That’s usually a thinly veiled lie I say in order to handle the amount of time I dedicate to doing something I don’t want to do.

After all, if life is truly infinite, why would anyone want to forcibly do something they don’t want to do? And why would they want to do that same thing 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, for 40+ years until they can finally be allowed to do all those other things they really want to do when they retire.

Chances are you’ve had this same thought process. Congratulations, you are well on your way to demonizing work, creating a scapegoat for the emptiness or unhappiness you feel.


“If I didn’t have to work, then I would be truly happy.”

As my beliefs about work have been continually challenged over the past year in a myriad of ways, I have come to view work much differently.

What is work?

Work can be defined in many ways. In simple mathematic terms, work = force x distance. Or in human terms work = labor x time.

Work is usually considered something you do for money, like entering data, shelving books, hammering nails, or cutting hair. It is also usually considered that you only do it for money. Someone asks you about your job and you say, “it’s good money.” Ah morality begins insidiously seeping into a simple mathematic formula.

Then there is work that isn’t considered in the same breath as money. Maybe your life’s work is helping disenfranchised people or making metal sculptures of farm animals. Either way it’s certainly your life’s work not your life’s play.

People in the olden days (which is a vague term referencing everything from the time of the caveman to the 1950’s) worked for survival and nothing more. Perhaps work meant something more because there was a direct corollation between the work you did and the amount of food you ate. Perhaps then it wasn’t really work at all, it was just part of your state of being.

Work is further demonized by the fact that you don’t have to do it when you are a child. Somewhere along the line you’re walking along and all of a sudden a great weight is attached to you that you must pull your whole life, unless you find a way out.

Yet by trying to find a way out, you’re actually getting pulled deeper in.

The Illusory Way Out

You don’t want to be a sheep anymore. You want your time to be your own, whatever that means. So now you’ve got a plan. Maybe it’s a multilevel marketing scheme or maybe you’re going to write a hit song even though you’ve never played guitar. Or maybe you’ll just straight up rob a bank.

You will find a way out of this hamster wheel existence even if you have to dismantle the wheel. You’ll live outside the system, grow your own hamster food, and eek out an existence in the dusty walls of your master’s house. And on those rainy dark nights in the creaky wooden netherworld, you’ll long for just a bite of the cheese.

Or maybe you’ll build a better wheel, either by creating steam power or subjugating other hamsters for the good of your own life. You’ll even have enough hamster currency to buy yourself a three piece suit, top hat, and monacle. Perhaps then you’ll buy more wheels. Hundreds of wheels turning far into the night as you sit atop your hamster empire with an abundance of cheese. Yet as you have it all you feel the same emptiness with as without.

Whew, I think I just got the prize for longest metaphor ever.

So now you’ve got to work to get out of working, because you can’t simply do nothing. The maze has its traps and chances are your fellow friends in the maze are not going to be very helpful – either because they don’t know or they do but their route can only accommodate them.

After many failed attempts you might come across two increasingly bitter realizations – that working to not work is just working in disguise, and that you might as well give up on being able to not work and thus on your prospects of being happy.

Yet I didn’t write this post to bring you down. Because working is not the issue. It never was.

Work is a big juicy red herring, charged with so much power, that the word causes you to sober up, shut up, and start considering your future.

Yet what if there was no plan, no future, no sobering up, and no stopping the inevitable freight train of happiness now doing deliveries off the tracks and right to your doorstep?

What if, *gasp*, you actually liked work?

My Story

I am generally anti-work. I like taking pictures with my digital camera instead of developing pictures at the store because it’s too much work. I prefer driving to a location instead of biking because it’s too much work. I’m interested in green architectural design, but I don’t want to go to school for five years because it’s too much work.

And I don’t like 40 hour workweeks because, well you know.

So as you know, I’ve moved from the safety of my parents house back the big bad world of adult living including a requisite residence and occupation. The residence thing I’m nailing down (see the previous post) but the job had eluded me. I’m certainly employable and can write a mean resume, but there was nothing biting.

Two weeks may seem like a short time, but I had been blessed with the get-a-job-quick skill to the point where I abuse it, and I was also running out of money really fast about to move into the most expensive place I’ve ever lived. Apparently I have less power in my money eggs.

So the normal laziness modus operandi that I employ wasn’t working and I decided to get out the big guns and use what Steve Pavlina calls Overwhelming Force. I cold emailed 40+ catering companies, called up my old jobs in the area, and did a lot more work than I ever did even when I was working.

Nothing worked. Not a surprise, work being an illusion and all. But if you’re in a play and the universe is your acting partner who seems to be forgetting their lines, you start to get a little nervous. Sure the show must go on, but you’re just a part. I was dumbfounded, illuminated by the stage lights of uncertainty, waiting to see if my ES tour bus was about to drive off a cliff.

An Unlikely Turn

I woke up the next morning early to hear that my friend’s wife’s father had some work. Not just any work, the exact kind of work I didn’t want. Lots of lifting, long (12+) hours, and low pay. If this was a play, my ES seemingly flubbed the line. Yet the audience didn’t seem to notice so I went with it.

A week and 87 hours of work later, I felt like I’d stepped into a different life. Not only did I find I didn’t mind the job, but I found a perfect boss and a kindred spirit in the most unusual place. Though his chosen business was installing and filling vending machines, it could have been sheep shearing, basket weaving, or bean counting. I’m learning from a real mentor in a way that I can truly grow.

Only in Phase 2 could I see that something I thought I would love to do (filmmaking) could be a complete nightmare and something I thought I would hate (vending) could be so completely and perfectly enjoyable.

I realized that I didn’t need to move from job to job knowing from day one that quitting was inevitable. This was a chance to really enjoy my job, to change the meaning of work. But not to play. Work is still work, but somehow different, the way so much of Phase 2 changes things. It’s almost like a new sense is developing.

But the Chris who never wants to work is stripping his costume of unshaven laziness. The Chris who equates work to a wheel-shaped prison is having his beliefs challenged. And the Chris who took the road away from success and then secretly longed for it is having those desires slowly reawakened. But I’m not trying to get out of the maze anymore. That world of success beyond the exit is just as much an illusion as my being trapped here.

This is fluid. This is unstoppable. This is the complete unknown. And I’m terrified and exhilarated.

What is Work?

It’s a place you learn about yourself.

It’s as necessary a part of the game as sleep.

It’s your sworn enemy and your loving friend.

It is all of these things and none of these things.

What is work for you?

Love – The Most Harrowing Egg of All – Part 1

I have to confess I haven’t been using the process nearly as much in the last month as I have been in the ten months before hand.


The egg that I’m draining is so large and so overwhelming that it doesn’t even seem like the process exists. Using it feels like the emotional equivalent of using a small stone to stop a whirling typhoon. And that whirling typhoon is the most glorious experience of all in this limited created consciousness we share – love.

Let’s back up a bit.

For the last year I’ve been living a sheltered life. In New Jersey in my parents basement I weathered things like the economic crisis, my own issues with depression, and the rocky take-off of Phase 2. Living in Phase 2 was much easier when I didn’t pay rent and I could honestly do whatever I wanted to do.

Now in the past month I’ve moved back to California, become homeless and jobless, and have spent all the money I had  previously saved for a Phase 1 plan on vacations to Vegas and Puerto Rico. Ah to be young…

Believe it or not none of this bothers me. In general, I feel better than I felt my whole life when I was running the achievement treadmill faster than the next guy at the life gym. Why? Because I know for a fact that this is just a story and that I’m already taken care of. You see, I’ve remembered. I’ve begun waking up and having direct experiences. Yet now my ES has decided to proclaim “the Phase 1 tour is not over yet – we’re just getting to the good part.’

So when is your story not a story?

When you’re in love.

The Problem

Alan Watts talks about a great zen koan that masters used to give their disciples to figure out. Once they did they would open up the doorway to Nirvana. A koan is a sort of a seemingly unsolvable problem. E.g. this classic, “if a tree falls in the forest, but no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Here is the riddle that most describes my situation:

There is a goose trapped inside a bottle. You must get it out without breaking the bottle or killing the goose. How do you do it?

We’ll come back to this…

So I’m not using the process frequently. Not because I don’t want to. Not because I don’t think it will help. I just haven’t. I suppose maybe it was actually true joy in disguise. I didn’t use it because it wasn’t necessary to do so. After all, the process is part of the illusion as well. Maybe in this part of the storyline I took a time out from the process. Life was no less amazing, magical, and far more relaxed.

This was akin to finding a leisurely ridge while mountain climbing before running smack into a cliff of solid ice with no conception of how to climb it.

All of a sudden Phase 2 dissolved and took the shape of Phase 1, warts and all. I’ll spare you the details but the simple problem is this:

I’m in love with a woman who is my best friend (of 10 years) – the kind of “in love” which will not go away, no matter how much I fight it. She does not feel the same way as me. We are going to get a place together in Santa Cruz. Financially, it is really my only option. My two damned if you do, damned if you don’t, options are:

1. Bury my feelings for her and live together.

2. End our friendship and any future together.

It’s amazing how everything about Busting Loose can seem to disappear when dealing with matters of the heart. I had found a problem that couldn’t be solved by the process or Busting Loose. Little did I know it was that zen koan dressed in shiny new, emotionally naked clothing. It wasn’t until a couple days ago I emerged from my aching stupor with the clarity of this riddle.

So which do you do?

Break the bottle or kill the goose?

To be continued.

The Invisible Eggs of Identity and Integrity

“These precious illusions in my head did not let me down
When I was defenseless
And parting with them is like parting with invisible best friends”

-Alanis Morisette, “Precious Illusions”

“I just want to do the right thing!”

How often have you lamented this to the cruel, unforgiving universe?

When I was a child I loved frisbee. I loved it so much that I soon thought of myself as a “frisbee player.” I knew that no matter what life threw at me, if it was a frisbee, I’d catch it. Though I didn’t know it, this was my first dabbling in attributing my identity to something outside me.

People experience this all the time. I’m Chris, but I’m also a caterer (my job), a single guy (my marital status), a filmmaker (my hobby), and a philosopher (my viewpoint on the world), and a son. But even in Phase 1, none of these things are me. They are simply labels.

Labels are no big deal until they cause you a great deal of discomfort.

So frisbee playing was all well and good until I decided to shift my identity. Now I was the smart guy. The guy who had all the answers. This became a persona over the years that sparkled, burned brightly, then tugged at me unused through the wastes of existential angst. This identity thing was fun when it was just pretend, but now it became dangerous.

So too with the labels, personas, and acts of the nice guy, the asshole, the artist, the traveller, the comedian, the supportive friend, the brilliant child prodigy. Every new identity seemed fresh and congruent and every one ultimately never stood the test of circumstances.

Except for one. Except until now. The last line of defense against an encroaching illusion has been breached.

Each persona had a honeymoon period where it seemed to fit me like a glove. Yet soon, I was always presented with an impossible decision – stay in the persona or do what is right. After the burnt husk of that persona lay smoldering somewhere in the back of my psyche I always returned to, “well at least I did the right thing.” Cue credits. My martyrdom was secure. I knew that, whatever happened, no one could ever take my integrity away from me.

Cracking the Egg

This is all well and good until your expanded self starts ripping up the carpet and the floorboards under what you think is real. As my egg cracked open different thoughts started permeating my consciousness. Just like a smart-ass kid in an ethics class would say, “how do you know right from wrong?”

For me it’s just a feeling. My integrity is expressed when I’m faced with a choice. I had a job that paid me well but also disrespected me. Money or respect? Though I said choice, really it’s not a choice. I’m always going to take the path of respect. So I quit the job right there. Why? Because if I don’t have respect then I’m not being true to myself.

It all sounds good. However, as you know, I am not real. So what I’m talking about is subjective truth not absolute truth. Not Truth, but truth. So if the truth is not real, then anything that may be compromising my truth is not real. So too for my respect and my integrity.

“Wait a minute!” says my ego. “I’m a good person! I do the right thing.”

“I hate to break it to you,” say I, speaking for my expanded self. “But you’re not a good person, nor are you a bad person. And you don’t do the right thing. Nor do you do the wrong. You just do. You just are. And it is perfect.”

My identity of integrity, a solid rock in the uncompromising chaos of the universe, is revealed to be just another illusion. I never had anything to stand for because I never stood against anything.

And just like that, it left – a shadow self posing as the light.

The Fallout

I was talking with my friend Brett in the Metro Cafe when all of this happened. I felt a subtle shift in everything and as our conversations and awareness deepened, it felt like there was a large cocoon of true joy surrounding us. It’s what I imagine a confession of sin is supposed to actually feel like in church. But this was my confession of limitation.

I saw so many of my past acts, thoughts, and feelings in a different light. And there were many questions.

  • How many times did I do something “bad” in the name of “good”?
  • How many rash decisions had I made because someone had violated my integrity?
  • How many people would I never forgive because they didn’t operate within my standards?

As he saw me slipping into the rabbit hole, he asked me how it felt.

“Great,” I said.

“No. no. Look deeper. How does it feel?”

All of the friendships I’d severed, the jobs I’d quit, the people I’d directed angry thoughts towards.

“It feels terrible.” If these people were just other aspects of me, then I’d cut them out as if I was cutting my own hand off.

Just to serve an idea of who I was that wasn’t really real. So I as I staggered with grief and slowly dripping solace into a dormant ocean of joy, I asked for the first time:

“Who am I really?”

And I sit here waiting for the Truth.

Who are you, really?

Phase 2, Day 283 – Magic Moment in NY

After the light rain.
After the light rain.

Though there are 1001 magic moments every minute in this astounding city, I thought I’d share mine.

Last week I tried out Parkour, or what we in the states call, free running. I was late, unprepared, and totally out of shape. In Phase 1 this would be very embarrassing, but now in Phase 2 I felt the embarrassment but also the illusion behind it. All these people weren’t real, so there was no one to be pressured by and I’m not real, so there was no person to feel the embarrassment. In Phase 1 I would have left. Now I stayed in true joy.

Soon the joy of my expanded self expressed itself in the form of endorphins. After I had this mini realization, I wanted to call my friends and tell them about it. How I’d conquered some part of my social anxiety egg. But no one answered and I felt temporarily deflated.

Then it began to lightly rain. Now my body was warm and my skin was cool. I looked all around as other aspects of myself shielded themselves from the rain using umbrellas, hoods, or their arms. While they scampered, I became light of step. While their frowns grew increasingly more prominent, a smile could not stop forming on my face. This is what it feels like to embrace a moment.

As I looked off into the sky, I saw layers of sheets of rain beyond and behind tall buildings backlit by a waning sun. Then I came upon fountain in a park. There are many fountains in NY but this one was accented by enclosed flaming torchiere lights. Water mixed with fire, a beating heart mixed with soothing rain. About this time I thought to myself – this is impossible. There’s no way I could have planned this.

And in that second I looked off across Broadway st to see a curious storefront named, “Broadway Illusions.” Indeed.

Phase 2, Day 276 – Breaking Free of Apathy

Last week I was perusing through the Robert Scheinfeld facebook phase 2 players fan page and I came across a number of people reflecting my growing feelings of apathy towards the world. Feelings that would eventually become a gaping void of unfeeling determined to swallow me whole. The great war of my life had always been internal and the stage was set for another massive battle.

All along in Phase 2 my “logical mind” – one side of the war – attempted to rationalize the journey by putting in its thoughts before every other internal sensation  including emotion, intuition, and the truth. It seems my brain and all of the tools of its domain – rationalizing, analyzing, planning, reasoning, extrapolating, etc – holds a lot of discomfort about this whole transformation and continually wants to assert its control. If logic mind had its way my life would be akin to a fascist police state where rules, order, and “reason” would make me a slave to an impossible ideal of perfection. Logic mind has never completely won. Intuition has insurgences now and then but fully giving into intuition feels like it would become chaos. This fear has kept me from completely surrendering. But I could not deny the truth any longer.

Do you ever had an intuition to do something that goes against your logical mind?

Lovers who get together without reason experience this. So too the person who turns left at the traffic signal even though previous knowledge suggests that right is the quicker route to their destination. Gut reactions have saved and doomed many people, but I would argue that it’s always for their best. Though intuition is the underdog, it has a heart of gold. I realized the risk of chaos is worth the true freedom of living reactively.

But I hadn’t considered the secret weapon of logic. Never has there been a more potent force for stopping progress than apathy – just look at our political system in America for the last 10 years. Regardless of where your allegiance stands, the fact remains that less people voted ever in the previous two elections (before Obama and McCain of 2008)

As I did the Phase 2 work one by one my logical arguments dissolved due to processing and a fleeting feeling the truth of who I really am. It was like I finally found the volume control on the battle cries of the logic mind who all along told me I would bring about my own destruction. And then, like a dark cloud , logical mind brought out its nuclear bomb – apathy.

My Logical Mind’s Last Stand

There on the battlefield of my mind sat two opposing forces. All my life these forces had been in equilibrium. But now they’ve both learned the truth and both attempted to use the truth to win their war once and for all.

“If I really believe the Phase 2 work then he doesn’t need plans.” said Intuition, stoutly.

I reeled at the true ramifications of this statement and saw my freedom on the horizon, but the forces of logic stood fast.

“If you really believe the Phase 2 work then nothing exists. If nothing exists, then nothing matters. If nothing matters, then what’s the point of living?” said logic quite logically.

I’m was stunned, frozen. My intuition made a desperate reply. “Weren’t the rules you blindly enforce meant to take away suffering?”

Logic mind made a compassionate retort, “Yes. We want to protect you from suffering.”

Intuition pleaded, “The fact that nothing exists makes it easier to see the truth behind all suffering and thus negate your purpose for this war. If suffering doesn’t exist, you have no reason to protect us from it.”

Logic mind, in this battle to the death, came back with a swift final attack.

“If you can see the truth behind suffering and believe that it isn’t real, you must feel the truth behind joy as well. It is also not real.” Intuition felt its world crumbling.

“We’re here to protect you from the emptiness you feel. We give your life purpose and meaning. It may not be real, but it’s far better than the world beyond the void.” He pointed to the gathering forces of darkness, now surrounding the battle field.

Intuition, appropriately against all reason, rebuked the forces of logic and said. “We will not be slaves to this fake world any longer.”

Logic, with a grim demeanor says, “So be it. Your world as you know it will come to an end.”

A dark cloud of apathy swiftly seeped into all the world inside my brain and my soul. An inky blackness that would not shake because it seemed to be the force behind everything, even the light of joy.

The Aftermath

I stayed in the fog of apathy for a time. Nothing in life seemed to matter. My family, my cats, the money I had, my talents – nothing was real, so how could I engage with it? I had forsaken who I’d always been and what was left was an ever growing black hole. In my despair I had the darkest thoughts yet:

Busting loose isn’t real.

The process isn’t real.

There is no game.

I’m a prisoner to a reality that isn’t real.

There is no winning, there is no losing.

There is just being – purposelessly wandering an alien world in an alien self.

My disconnection was almost complete.

There is no going back. No going forward. There is only here now. In a world of infinite possibilities, mine would be of infinite sadness if I felt emotion at all. I was a ghost; an observer. I was in purgatory waiting to die.

Yet inside the black hole where my illusory joy had all but collapsed, sparked a singularity; A distant twinkling light in the abyss.

The Other Side

Once I felt that single light of truth I started using the process. It didn’t seem to do anything at first. The black cloud stayed as the chaotic emptiness continued to be the force behind everything in reality. I processed and processed. I sheltered the frail conviction that this couldn’t be real; this couldn’t be the truth.

I beat my fists into the air, trying to physically dismantle the reality where I was submerged. Still nothing. Another night went by seemingly sealing the fate on another doomed self help crusade to bring some kind of order to this turbulent life I lived.

Then one day I gave up knowing somewhere inside that if Busting Loose told the truth that I could do no more in the moment to see it. Saving myself now was beyond me as the player. The next day I resumed my old patterns of being and began to rebuild my logical mind in order to reclaim my fake joy. I figured a life of pretend purpose was better than a life of no real purpose. I was back at square one.

In a conversation with a great (non buster) friend I asked them what I should do with my life. She hesitantly began to speak when my phone inexplicably shut off. And that’s when it hit me.

What was it?

The truth.

In small ways at first. Sensations before thought and emotion. Sensations of knowing, slowly permeating my consciousness. Those bits of knowing formed thoughts which in turn broke open streams of emotions. And my logical mind, previously my enemy, joined the rousing silent chorus of understanding and overwhelmed me.

I was not real.

My logical mind is not real.

My intuition is not real.

There was no battle between logic and intuition. Those opposing forces were merely players just like other aspects in my hologram.

The  rift between them that created the void was not real.

The void is not real.

Everything was true joy in disguise – the greatest, most epic disguise ever experienced by my player.

The apathy that consumed me was not real.

So much power so quickly made me dizzy and exhilarated. The peace I felt then was the truth. Truth like I hadn’t experienced. Truth that foregrounded everything I experienced. Truth that spoke without words to the beauty of the illusion not in spite of its illusory nature, but because of it.

Do you question the beauty of the ocean, the sky, the deep reds of a sunset or the look in your lover’s eyes? The illusion is infinitely more beautiful than its images, tastes, or sensations. I looked into the mirror and saw its surface.

My logical mind, playing the part of tyrant, had held a deceptive piece of the truth – “Your world as you know it will come to an end.” And it did, but also a new beginning. For the first time in Phase 2, I had broken through.

A visual map of my journey.
A visual map of my journey.

The work of Chris Tomasso, writer and law of attraction enthusiast.