Category Archives: Busting Loose

The Paradox of Change

Nothing changes, until it does.

I’m about to rock your world…

Things change, but you never change things. What I mean is that it is not you doing the changing of anything. So I want to stress to you that you are not changing anything, but I also want to stress to you that you will never believe my words. Now that we’ve established a relationship of mutual distrust, let me continue.

You may believe it intellectually, but deep down in your soul you will continue to believe that you have sway over your reality. This is the fundamental paradox of our time here. If you’re reading this blog, you probably think you are an open minded person. Well I have news for you: you are human – subject to flaws, prejudices, and other kinds of limitations. If you say, “you’re wrong about me!” you might go to great lengths to prove that you are in fact open-minded and furthermore, that you don’t need to change anything.

But here is where the trap happens. The fact that you need to prove to me (or yourself, or god, or whoever) that you don’t need to change, is you trying to change something. I’ll say it again. Wanting to not change (or detach, or surrender, or whatever) is wanting to change that you want change. In fact, wanting things to stay the same, is wanting them to change underneath. Go as far as you can underneath your own internal drives and see if you don’t want some little aspect of your life to be different.

Ok, let’s stop with the torture. The only thing you can do with this paradox is embrace it.

You cannot solve a paradox – just as you cannot change anything in your life. You cannot get out of a paradox, for that is not what a paradox is for. I do not mean to instill helplessness in you. I do not mean to tell you to stop trying. I mean only to tell you the truth as I know it.

It is your role to make things better, but doing so is fundamentally futile. I know it doesn’t seem so. If you could, why wouldn’t you make more money, attract better relationships, travel more, and do more more more? If you were to boil down exactly what the human game is at its root it is the fundamental relationship between you and the world. Specifically, that you try to change the world. And  the tricky thing is that sometimes it looks like the world has changed, but that’s all part of the game. That’s what keeps you emotionally invested in your life.

Do you understand? You may understand intellectually and you may never get it a gut level . There is nothing particularly to get here anyway. The irony is that as I’m writing I’m living the game right now, banging my head against a computer screen trying to get you to understand. But not long ago I realized that I can’t change that I want to change my life. So I’m doing the only thing I can do – embracing it.

I recommend that you too do this. But it doesn’t matter what you should or should not do, you are going to do what you’re going to do anyway regardless of what I say. If what I say compels you to do something different, that was the story you wrote out for yourself. I did not change it for you. Change happens to you and within you – nothing more. Nothing less.

Are you having trouble dealing with it emotionally? That is because you hold on the idea that you are in control of your life. You may have read Busting Loose from the Money Game and thought “wow this is my ticket to happiness.” Indeed the book lays out step by step what you can expect in your brand new life. But this is the genius of your experience here. Hidden within that book is the message that awareness has no path and the change you burn for is unnecessary. Yet the form of the book offers you progress and results: The same kind of progress and results that you’ve been chasing your entire life in spiritual and non-spiritual ways.

So what is different? Some would say awareness is the only thing that changes. Others would say everything changes. I would say both are true. If my words sound hollow it’s because at a certain point, that’s what words do. You have to take it from there.

Robert Scheinfeld previously said that, on your journey, you will eventually let go of trying to change, fix, or improve your life. Yet recently Robert said that he no longer believes you shouldn’t try to change the hologram. He is tapping into a fundamental truth. Like the ocean, your world is forever changing. And the rules themselves are forever changing. But for now the rules seem set.

It is as simple as this:

  1. There’s you and there’s your reality.
  2. You will forever try to change your reality to fit what seems to be in your mind. What you want will change, but you will not change that you want.
  3. Reality will push and pull against you.
  4. If you change that you want, the game will end.

Such a simple game but infinitely complex in its variations. Do you see? You are so amazed by this game that you would never want to stop playing.

Play on!

What’s the Big Deal with Jed McKenna?

Jed McKenna is a fascinating creation. If you get his newsletters, you know Robert Scheinfeld recommends his book, Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing, when he recommends almost no one else. Yet if you read him or know someone who has, you know about what a strong reaction – often negative – he gives. I must confess that after being in Phase 2 for over a year and a half I don’t find much motivation to read self help or new age books. They seem silly, like trying to learn how to count when you already know algebra. Every now and then one offers a piece of the truth, but mostly they are forgettable teflon ideas that have no bearing on the truth that I directly experience. They slide right away but Jed McKenna sticks.

If you’ve read Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing, you may be inclined to agree with the title. Friends who’ve read it have either rejected it out right, like there was so much falsehood they had to vomit his theories and purge the poison, or they’ve been driven slowly mad, like they were afflicted with a mind virus that threatened to destroy everything the cared about, loved, or truly knew. In fact, I experienced firsthand the latter. The feeling was not unlike falling down the proverbial (Is Alice and Wonderland a book of proverbs? hmm) rabbit hole. Yes the stakes feel that high.

So what’s the big deal with Jed Mckenna? Potentially everything. And if you haven’t read his book, I’ll touch on a few concepts he outlines but this isn’t a review. In fact, if you haven’t read his book I strongly recommend it but not for the reasons you may think.

For the sake of argument, if we assume a dialectical (that is, opposing but ultimately cross-fertilizing) relationship between McKenna and Scheinfeld then they both have a say in the subject called non-dualism.

What is Non-Dualism?

The highest form of spirituality (that is the one that is closest to the truth) is called non-dualism. Put simply, it is the embracing of the oneness of the universe. Chances are that unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (or reading your Bible to the exclusion of everything else) you are familiar with this concept. We are all one. Yes, that means you and that bastard who cut you off. Yes it means you and the parent who didn’t love you. Yes that means you and Hitler and all the terrorists who make the world a living hell.

You can see already that it is near impossible to assume the perspective of one-ness in every day life. However, this is what Jed McKenna calls enlightenment. He defines it as “abiding non-dual awareness.” So enlightenment for him is sitting back from the drama of life constantly and appreciating the experience of it. This conforms perfectly to the Busting Loose model outline by Scheinfeld, who claims that Busting Loose is about living in true joy while experiencing that range from good to bad. I haven’t asked him, but I assume if you were to ask Scheinfeld he would agree that both mean the same thing. These models are – and watch out the words get tricky – dualistic interpretations of non-duality.

Ok let me explain that one a little bit. The problem with understanding through human thought and language the idea of non-dualism is that human thought and language are fundamentally dualistic. Go right ahead and try explain a non-dualistic world in descriptive words. You most likely can’t. It’s as hard as describing what nothing looks like without using the word nothing. The philosopher Alan Watts, in The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are puts it like trying to describe the surface of a mirror in terms of the objects reflected in the mirror. That one melts my brain a bit.

The point is that it is, for the sake of argument, impossible to impart knowledge directly about non-dualism through thought, language, visuals, or any other possible communicative media we have access to in our reality. Scheinfeld claims that the whole consciousnes-field-energizes-the-hologram-model is not the truth, but it’s as close as dualistic words can come to explaining it. And he furthermore emphasizes direct experience over knowledge in Phase 2. This is really the only way to live in True Joy, and Robert’s path to doing so is “the process.” Jed Mckenna’s path, on the other hand, is a total mental breakdown.

Are Scheinfeld and McKenna in Conflict?

Yes and no.

If you’re astute, then you probably noticed the inherent dualism in the last sentence. It’s ok, and furthermore it’s the entire point of this article. But first let’s talk about Jed McKenna. If I were to cartoonize the two spiritual figures, I would say Robert is the benevolent, endlessly patient teacher that says it will all be ok, and Jed is the anachronistic rebel who you worry may actually be right even as you wonder at what cost. Or for the more comic book inclined, Robert is Batman (but more mellow and less parent issues) and Jed is the Joker.

And this is the fundamental difference in McKenna’s viewpoint. He believes that you must pay a hefty price for spirituality and not doing so leaves you locked in the holographic prison (McKenna loves using extreme language to elicit your emotions.) Robert, first of all, doesn’t believe in paying a price. He believes in expressing appreciation and expanding. You, the persona of all consciousness most likely want to believe in the fairytale of the latter but secretly fear the all-or-nothing sobering “truth” of the former. This is perhaps why you want to give Robert a hug and burn Jed at the stake.

So are they in conflict? Obviously they have two completely different ways of communicating what can’t be communicated and two different processes for getting you to experience what can’t be communicated for yourself. And obviously in your dualistic understanding of the world, you would think it abundantly obvious that the two cannot coexist. They seem toxic to each other. No wonder Robert recommends Jed’s book and Jed says that anyone who doesn’t do what he does is living in a fucking dream world. No wonder Robert’s path to enlightenment is full of self-realization and magnificent expansion and Jed’s path is one of literally spiritually digesting one’s self. (He calls it spiritual autolysis)

I haven’t read his third book, Spiritual Warfare, but if this conflict isn’t it then I don’t know what is. But the warfare isn’t physical by any means. Robert and Jed aren’t grudge matching in a cage. But the warfare is inside you. If you read Busting Loose and then Spritual Enlightenment prepare yourself for the cold war of your psyche – but with more paranoia, second guessing, questioning what really is real, if you want to be enlightened, and just how much you would give up to achieve it.

And after going on that journey you may hate me for saying that this was the point all along.

It’s all Part of the Plan

Contrary to what you may think, both writers agree on a very important point which is the key to ending your spiritual cold war. Jed McKenna calls it “killing the Buddha.” Robert Scheinfeld simply makes a disclaimer (and I’m paraphrasing) that, “this was my experience, it may not be yours.” What they are both trying to say is that you – or more specifically your consciousness which your persona is linked to – are the only thing that is real. And as such your consciousness has the ultimate direct experience of the truth. Jed mean that at some point you will to come to terms with the fact that you are the teacher as well as the student and that you will eventually outgrow the wisdom of someone as wise as the Buddha if you stay on your spiritual path. Robert always claims that you should thank yourself as well as him, since you created him in the first place.

So you see, since you are the ultimate decider of what the true path is, you are the ultimate creator of this conflict in the first place. The catalyst for your spiritual downward spiral after McKenna, is predicated on your (false) belief that McKenna is outside and thus more authoritative about your experience than you. Just as the catalyst for doing the Phase 2 work was your belief that Robert Scheinfeld was more authoritative about your path to enlightenment than you. Is it any wonder that Robert is disappearing from your hologram as the teacher? Is it any wonder that there is controversy as to whether or not Jed Mckenna is real or a phony? At least you created Robert to say that following his model to the exclusion of your own direct experience is a crock of shit.

So your opportunity right now is to realize that giving up everything – your loved ones, your dreams, and your very identity – for the goal of enlightenment is every fear and insecurity you’ve ever had about this hologram wrapped into one giant devestating and magnificent piece of writing. That in fact, if you have determined the Process to be the way to enlightenment (which for the moment and the record, I have) then you have one amazing and brilliant piece of pulsating discomfort to process in the form of Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing And after you realize that this is just another step in the journey, not the shattering of Busting Loose and all you hold dear, your appreciation for the incendiaries of the world will skyrocket.

And this is why they aren’t in conflict. And this is why this is mandatory reading for you if you feel supported. Jed McKenna says he loves soap operas because he sees life as one. He must be tickled pink.

What Happens When You Give up Goals in the Expansion Phase of Phase 2?

Here follows a preview of what happens in the expansion Phase.

Goals are the bane of my existence.

I believed they gave me my power, what with my abililty to think long term, to plan, and to bring to fruition the kind of life I’ve always wanted. But they are also the sharpest of all double edged swords. Not achieving goals is a feeling akin to heartbreak. The longing feeling of great emptiness, of living a life unfinished. Of not achieving all that I can be.

And I was raised in a world where goals were everything.

I was raised in a world where the worth you have is the direct corrolation of what you have done. Not what you have – as in TVs, cars, houses, and all other manner of shiny objects, because that only serves as a trophy for what you’ve done. The great paycheck that paid for all those things is the reward for what you do.

As Batman himself says, “it’s not who I am, but what I do that defines me.”

This is the game I came here to play. The game that won’t allow me to quit because at heart I don’t want to quit. Yet failing the game is an all too scary idea. Sitting at the edge of a great void, thinking of what could have been. The world is the greatest sandbox game – an infinitely more varied and immersive experience than Grand Theft Auto.

And the game you came here to play is the game of goals. Goals then, not suffering, hold the real power. For suffering, like the trophy that goals give, is just a byproduct – this time of “losing.” Yet both are illusions, just as the game, the goal, and the player are illusions.

I find myself torn between this understanding and the constant pull of the dream world of goals, success, and “making something of myself.” This hides my next big expansion. Because this is simply the zen koan of the goose and the bottle all over again.

It’s quite simple. You have two options. Do you pursue your goals and the inherent drudgery that comes with it or do you abandon them and leave all of life to chaos?

Option #1

Do you pursue your goals, and play the game you set forth even if it brings great resistance?

Think about that book you always wanted to write. But that  book you always wanted to write has you getting up at 5am every day. Do you really want to get up at 5am every day to write the book? Was the idea of writing the book what gave you pleasure? If so, is writing a book what you really want to do? Well you think, “I don’t want to work at Starbucks anymore” (starbucks here is a surrogate for any do-shit-you-dont -want-to-do-for-money job. Is fear of working at Starbucks forever really a good enough motivator for getting up at 5am EVERY DAY for years to work on this amazing book your want to write that two weeks in you lose all interest for anyway?

Maybe you just wan’t to deal with your issues surrounding a topic, and writing is great for that. Maybe you just want to write half the book and call it done.  Maybe you don’t want to write at all, but you’re just fucking unhappy and blogging on a beach in the Bahamas is a glamorous escapist fantasy.

The point is, you have to write. But you don’t necessarily want to. Writing here is a surrogate for any do-what-you-love-in-a-systematic-enough-way-to-make-a-career-out-of-it diversion. Maybe you want to play video games for a living, maybe write music,  maybe garden, maybe read to children.

But here’s the point. Because you signed on the dotted line to live in Phase 1, you will both write and work at Starbucks. Because this is one of the greatest games ever played.

Its deceptively simple. Do what you want. Do what you love. Build it and they will come. But here’s where it gets infinitely complex. Do you really know what you want? Does what you love stay consistent enough to just do it? Build “what” exactly and who will come? And why do you want them coming in the first place?

This option was meant to hold resistance. Because at heart, you don’t want to break the bottle.

Your creativity is your spark – it is your very creative manifestations of your expanded self encapsulated into a thing. And yet in trying to encapsulate it in any one pursuit – in taking the infinite and making it finite, you destroy it. It’s delicate. Creation for me is liking giving myself to something. If I were a woman, I suppose it would be like losing my virginity.

So I really want my naked and taken self to be the source of my money, my happiness, and the achievement of these elusive “goals”? Do I really want my pure expressed self to be what satisfies the goals of the masses?Do I want the private made public? Do I want to, as they say, sell out?

So then, the great game of d0-what-you-love includes the game of do-what-you-don’t-want-to-do or more accurately, do-what-you-believe-you-don’t-want-to-do. The win condition for this game is the rewarding feeling of accomplishing and the social reward of accomplishing. I absolutely love it when people comment on this blog, for instance.

The lose condition, though, is feeling like an absolute failure.

Option #2

So you play the game, because you must, and somewhere along the way you run into a great tactic to make the game eaiser for you – the prospect of stopping playing the game altogether.

That is – abandoning goals, not caring if you win or lose, or redefining success to be what you already have. This too, is deceptive, because it seems easy. But it’s not, because that’s not the way it was designed to be. To truly abandon your real goals you would have to be someone else, which is not yet possible in this reality.

Do you really want to never experience a fulfilling relationship, fortune, fame, or travelling the world? Yes you are truly infinite but not in this game you decided to play. Do you really want to die knowing that you never wrote that book? Do you want to dive into that pain of regret so deeply as to lose yourself? Do you want to spend years burying that regret only to live life as a soulless emotional cypher?

To paraphrase Jed Mckenna, the price of enlightenment is setting fire to your dreams, beliefs, and goals.

High stakes indeed. All because of a simple game you came here to play.

So What do you Do?

You must do something. There is no not doing. Even not doing is doing, as long as you’re bound by time and space. This paradox is just the point, the field of gameplay if you will, and chances are you find yourself closer to taking one option or the other. Or maybe you find yourself careening wildly from one option to another.

In my life, I feel like a Phase 2 player masquerading as a Phase 1 player. I go through all the same motions of a Phase 1 player – including a job I don’t love, a girlfriend, and hobbies – but there is a growing disconnect from one reality to another. The game for me, as a player in the expansion phase, is to find the infinite in the finite and to embrace the limitation as a form of perfection in itself, even as I engage in the limitation fully.

The closest thing to the truth I can write right right now is that I have absolutely no real idea where this is taking me. In the past few days I’ve realized that I have no idea what I want – only wild speculation. It is impossible for me, the player, to predict what I will find most joyful and thus it is impossible for me to have real and lasting goals at this point in time.

Looking back at my hardcore goal setting ways, it’s easy for me only to get a picture of my false beliefs – nothing more. The future then, though it doesn’t really exist, is clear. The truth about reality is there is no certainty and that predictable patterns exists only so that they can later be refuted in another shocking twist to the ever more intricate story.

You read my blog because you are compelled to find the truth in it. But the reality is, there is no truth that I can speak for sure – there are simply models of truth. And the idea of setting goals based on a reality that doesn’t exist is just as silly as believing in that reality in the first place. I’ve spent my life planning and executing, insuring against catastrophe and ultimately sabotaging it – ending up at square one again and again and again.

Goals and planning are ways to intellectually satisfy the need for security, but that insecurity is just the point. And I would say the fight is all for naught, but for the very reason that all is perfect. Even now as I write, I shuttle back and forth between what I know to be true, and what I believe to be true (in this case the false illusions of this hologram) I feel as though I’m being torn in two, as I try to give some solace to those who are experiencing or soon will be experiencing the expansion phase.

But the truth is there is no solace, as there is no pain, and the pain you may feel as you watch your future crumble will be in the perfect amount to the support you feel from your expanded self. I’m cold right now, but not so cold that I can’t type. Cold enough that it echoes the sobering experience of watching dreams burn.

Yet this is how it must be. The truth is, whatever you were meant to experience, you will. There is no true missed opportunity, only the false belief in one. The only goal is to play the game the way you were meant to play it, including figuring out how you were meant to play it in the first place. Expansion is the beautiful process of truly changing, or more accurately, realizing that true change is accepting who you really are.

I got where I am in life not because of my goals, but despite them. I know what it feels like to be truly happy, even if it looks nothing like I thought it would, and I got here seemingly by accident. The only thing goals gave me were a world of pain, and for that I sincerely thank them.

But in this acceptance I realize that I may find myself in the wee hours of the night, hatching some new scheme, or drawing a detailed flowchart of the next five years. And in this, I am not wrong. Reactive mode is not one thing, and so it is incredibly hard to communicate with words. But it includes all things, even those that seemed like good and bad experiences in the past. Expansion takes the shape of all your hopes and dreams and failures and regrets and asks you to walk down those tear-soaked steps one more time. This is the most courageous thing you could ever do.

To those who want to know what it’s like when you get to the play phase, I can’t tell you because I haven’t gotten to that chapter in my story yet. But for those looking for an honest understanding of what real transformation looks like – this is it.

Why Knowledge Isn’t as Important as You Think

You already know everything you need to know, you just forgot you knew it. Learning then, is not really learning – it’s remembering.

There’s no greater power outside dynamic than the piece of truth. That is, if you think that you just need one more puzzle piece and then you’ll be all good, and life in your hologram will go swimmingly, then you are under the spell of the piece of truth. It feels like “I’m almost there,” “just a little more studying,” “I know it’s here somewhere.”

The Secret

Of course it’s not here. It’s not anywhere else. You are the whole hologram.

Ergo, you already know everything. What you are doing is playing a fun game of hide and seek with yourself. First of all, you already know everything so there  is really nothing to learn. Second of all, this thing you want to learn, whether it be something about quantum physics, painting, running a business, or driving a manual transmission, is only arbitrarily going to give you the feeling of learning that crucial piece of truth, because your expanded self set it up that way. You could just as easily learn from watching grass grow, going out for a beer, watching TV, or other such “boring or useless” things. There is no cause and effect in the hologram. That’s right, you could learn calculus from making love.

Here’s why you’re most likely experiencing the “piece of truth” paradox. Brace yourself, your knowledge paradigm is breaking down.

You need and love the discomfort of “not knowing something very crucial”, something that makes you feel incomplete.

This discomfort  exists to be processed of course. Meanwhile, you in your hard cause-and-effect physical reality are thinking that you are stuck, when the exact opposite is true. The real lesson is that you don’t need to know anything in particular and that the real value in this life comes from experience, not arbitrary goals of knowing this or having that.

So ironically, the piece of truth (why you might be on this blog in the first place) is a complete and utter illusion. No wait, don’t go!

Your opportunity then, is to play the learning game as a game. What does this mean? Learn and experience in this great sandbox called physical reality because it’s fun to do so. And why have you been searching all your life for the answer that would make it all ok only to discover that the answer was a red herring and you had the answer all along? – cause it’s FUN!

Look back at all the things you did on that unending quest for truth. Weren’t they fun? Wasn’t it fun to pour through books searching for puzzle pieces, to meditate looking “within”, to travel trying to find “yourself”? You are so fortunate that you are smack dab in the middle of the most elaborately custom tailored game to your spiritual and intellectual strengths.

Only you could make a game so incredibly multi faceted and engaging.

So you know what’s even more fun? When you start recognizing this more in more, in the most mundane things. Then your focus moves from achieving a particular state of mind to experiencing your perfect minute to minute custom tailored reality, no matter how boring, confounding, or wonderful-beyond words it is.

Even as I write this, I find myself less concerned with writing a certain message and more engaged in the act of writing itself. Certainly I thought I would write a huge post today on so many other things, but this feels just right.

Who knew “not getting it” could be so good?

What piece of knowledge are you looking for? What puzzle piece has eluded you your whole life? Can you see it differently?

Phase 2 Players Retreat: Your Story Separates You

There is much to say about the Phase 2 players retreat that took place in March 2010 at the Chaminade in Santa Cruz. This is first of several posts I will be making about the topic.

So let’s talk about separation.

Separation is very good. It allows for the structure of day and night, sound and silence, and you and me. The idea of “you and me” allows for us to have roles wherein you know something I don’t, or vice versa.

I began the weekend by recreating a very familiar Phase 1 role for myself: the student. As, the me who “doesn’t know,” I enter a room set up with round tables and office chairs, business stationary and bottles of water. Everything about the environment screams for me “lets workshop this!”, whatever this is. But I roll with it (especially cause there are rolly chairs!) And it feels comfortable. Most of the time if a Phase 1 pattern is comfortable, it means it’s time to get real uncomfortable.

I meet Robert in the very first moments of being at the retreat. Instead of feeling like an equal, like we actually are, I feel like a very special student allowed to be in the presence of a guru. The student/teacher paradigm is wonderfully intact. He gives me a hug. Ok, so maybe he’s a new agey guru, but a guru nonetheless. My perception of him before this was as an anal-retentive, logic-minded, straight shooting businessman. Yet in this moment, confronted with his unique separate entity, I see cracks in that perception already beginning to emerge.

For one thing, he’s incredibly laid back. For another he has almost no plan for this entire three day retreat.

The Introductions

“We’re going to start with introductions,” he says. Seems right. I should get to know all these strange people who all separately felt compelled to be here this weekend.

(I’m paraphrasing here) “Tell us as little (ha) or as much about yourself. Your name, where you’re from, and how you discovered the busting loose work.”

Simple right? Of a 3 day retreat, the introductions took almost 2 full days.

Each day lasted about 10 hours (9am-7pm) with maybe 2 hours of breaks each day (give or take.) The “introductions” were then 8 hours the first day, and about 6 hours the second. Or 14 hours, or watching the extended versions of Lord of the Rings with ample snack and bathroom breaks. What I’m trying to say is that they were epic.

And not just epic in length, they were epic in emotion, in intimacy, in meaning, in transformation.

One by one people laid bare their souls in the form of their storylines about money, rejection, their search for meaning in life, and imagined octopus’ clinging to their heads.

That last one wasn’t a joke.

The Truth

While I listened to stories about visions quests, law of attraction, and losing everything, I started to really get something.

Firstly, I started to get that the introductions were not really introductions, but one of the main points of the entire retreat. As I said before Robert hadn’t planned this, but If these were introductions, your entire life is a prologue.

Having my expectations for this retreat completely dashed, I started to let the truth of it seep in – that listening to these sometimes completely irrelevant and rambling personal biographies held many nuggets of direct experience.

Furthermore, that every one of these people were me, and everyone was telling the same story. You who are reading this, are living the same story. You can’t not, because you came here to do exactly that.

Sure, the details are different, but slowly distinct patterns begin to emerge.

  1. You comes across the book in an inconsequential manner – a friend recommends it to you, or you idly picked it up from a bookstore one day.
  2. If it is meaningful, you most likely learn the wrong thing from it first, especially if you’re steeped in the more more more, bigger bigger bigger, mindset (which you can’t not be in Phase 1)
  3. The book in many of your stories sits on a desk for months, unread.
  4. You eventually read it, and sure enough, your life as you know it falls apart.

Some were telling this from the perspective of the initial “falling apart” and some were telling it from the new expanded perspective that inevitably comes like a rebirth from the ashes of their old life. But as the hours passed equal parts boring and riveting, mundane and completely fantastical, I realized I was watching my story in a hundred different permutations.

Like a prism of truth with colors in infinite varieties.

During “break times” I had the privelege of talking to myself dressed up as old wise women, fit and ambitious men, gorgeous younger women, clueless and depressed older men, and every other kind of person you can imagine. I met myself as a porn star, an energy healer, a lawyer, a disillusioned wanderer, and as a guru.

The Retreat

If you’ve been playing in Phase 2 for a while, you know (or atleast you try to understand intellectually) that everyone is you. Yet, most of the time this fact does not stay in my awareness. An absolute gift of this retreat was that I allowed my persona to see the truth more easily in everyone else. As it went on the truth felt more and more obvious.

That is one of the reasons I highly recommend a retreat like this – if nothing else than to be in a room with a hundred other people who hold a significant piece of truth. The feeling of expansion happens tenfold in this environment.

For the first time ever, I felt home. Not the home in the story where my parents raised me and I lived (though ironically Santa Cruz where the retreat took place is that.) The home outside the story, where nothing is seperate, and where we each play dress up for the fun of it.

Though I met many people for the first time, I felt like I’d known them all my life. And Robert too, played a role for me to support the cast and crew of the story I want to play. He was obviously in on that understanding, since when someone asked if they would sign his book, he replied “you should sign it too.”

The Feeling of Separation

Yet this was all the details of my particular story.

Not everyone in my hologram had this same feeling. Some were frustrated, some pained. Some were absolutely delighted, and some were quietly contemplative. Many left the meeting room because they didn’t see the point if Robert wasn’t going to do Q&A (which he eventually did quite a bit of.) This was not a bad thing by the way, as it was established we could come and go as we pleased.

Separation is necessary so that coming back to your natural state of infinite abundance feels like a journey. In reality there is nowhere to go, no one else to be, and no knowledge to gain. You just pretend you aren’t there, you aren’t them, and you don’t have “it.” Many people at the retreat did wonderful jobs of pretending these exact things.

So a curious thing happened. It became obvious in my story that there were those who saw the separation for the game it was and those who didn’t – both as beautiful as those who watch the movie and those who made the movie. Both ideas must exist for this human game to be played.

And though I’m the only thing that is real, as I sat amongst a myriad of other beautiful stories, I couldn’t imagine playing this game in an empty room.

If you came to the retreat I would love to hear your story. What did you think of the “introductions”? What “new knowledge” did you “gain”?

If you didn’t go, what is your story now? Are you “in the know”? Do you want to be?

Next Post

I realized during a Q&A session that though I’d been waiting for years to be in the presence of a spiritual leader or someone “in the know” (where the know is the answer to life the universe and everything) that now that I was here, I had no questions left that I couldn’t answer myself. I was witnessing the breakdown of the teacher-student paradigm.

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.