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.
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.
“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.
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:
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.
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.
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?
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.
As I move through Phase 2 I find my persona frequently questioning my expanded self. This is old game of “I’m a victim to a higher power” in shiny new clothes. Thoughts go along with this game such as “I want x but god wants me to do y.” When the Higher-Forces-Beyond-My-Control Game pops into my hologram I always want to know what my expanded self is thinking. Well, today I’m asking them to type through me to tell you their story.
Which is actually your story. Of course I must type using metaphors and the constructs of our language.
Imagine with me the you before you, before me, before time, space, love, chaos, and the greatest game ever played. Take a little peek into what’s going on behind the scenes of your perfect hologram…
In the Beginning
You exist, but nothing exists apart from you. Complete in your utter beauty you encompass all that is, all that ever will be. Shining brilliantly before sight, and singing an orgasmic melody before sound your power swirls brilliantly throughout all of you. Pulsating, exploding, imploding, you are nothing and everything. You are the smallest quantum before the universe is born and everything beyond death and an eternal void.
In your infinite certainty and beauty you create something that seems to exist apart from you – a world of stars and planets moving brilliantly and seeming autonomously. Within this soup of creation bursts forth violent life smoothly into a gorgeous charade. In the same dance flows time – a medium through which all your disguised magnificence is organized.
You are everywhere and everytime but you find a compelling fascination through viewing your disguised creation inside time. In this new frightening kind of consciousness your creations seem to change over time. And you begin to play, to create the language for the greatest story ever told.
You decide that contrast is an incredible way to experience your disguised consciousness. In a moment you see light and dark, sound and silence, mass and space, the infinite and the finite. You see dust here, and color there. The world comes into a new kind of clarity only accomplished through you beginning to limit your knowledge.
You keep limiting your disguised consciousness. You create gravity, civilization, life, death, sadness, and joy. How wonderful it all is. In the ecstasy of consciousness you view dreamworlds of infinite stories and possibilities.
Now you skip through each, feeling a sort of presence of realness, but never fully losing yourself to it. You see from a third person omniscience all that occurs in eternity, but as you become more enamored with this amazing game, you become deeply in love with the purity of limitation.
“What must it feel like when you are certain of death?”
“What must it feel like to lose and gain?”
“What magnificence must it be to feel created by an alien world, subject to forces beyond your control?”
“What intoxication must it be to be in love and believe that it’s the most precious thing in all of existence?”
“What is it like to be human?”
Inside this new consciousness where things burn and fade, where it dawns every day, you begin to lose yourself. But this can’t be the greatest story ever told.
Not unless you live it.
And for you to live, to truly live, you have to forget everything. You are so powerful that you know your all consuming power cannot lay dormant forever. But out of a place of immense joy, you create the great unknown and take a dive straight into its beating heart.
You know that this will be the most enthralling experience of all. But what brings to a new kind joy, is you know that you won’t know anything at all. In fact you know you can’t seem to know, but you know that your unending knowing will come in the form of “learning” the truth in your new world. Through contrast the bright beam of truth will be obscured by a fog of adventure, pain, and bliss. And you will love every minute of it – especially those when you really forget and believe this one specific dream world is all that there is. You are giddy in anticipation.
Inside time consciousness you consider all of these things and then one day comes and you leave this consciousness and create a new deeper one. You are birthed into the terrifying and beautiful world. You know nothing. You start completely over. You have five senses, all undeveloped. There are so many things to learn, to comprehend. There is language, color, laughter, music, emotion, and love – unfiltered love like you’ve never experienced. As you pass from the world of all knowing into the world of ignorance, the first sensation of being truly alive is the complete answer to the every iteration of the question “why?” you will ever experience. As truth slips away into the shadows of this world a satisfaction comes over you that no matter what seems to happen, it will all be worth it.
And as you walk through this immensely real dream world your certainty fades only to be replaced by the greatest story ever told. Then one day comes when you begin to remember – and slowly but surely the dream begins to dissolve. Only now can you feel the most amazing experience yet in consciousness – separation. Inside consciousness you create a black hole, a place where grace seems to end. Where you as a lone persona feel truly abandoned, left to fend for yourself.
But the greatest experience yet is next. Inside the maelstrom of chaos glows a glimmer of the truth. Inside this truth lies all of your consciousness which slowly trickles out to you in the form of lies, pain, love, forgiveness, and transcendence.
In the form of books that initially look like scams, artistic failures, friendships that stay and go, irritations, sex, faulty internet-connections, body image issues, ever present hunger, unrequited love, scintillating intelligence, engrossing conversations, pressing a pen against a flat sheet of processed wood, money and value, helicopters crashing into planes, chronic wrist pain, and earth shaking awe.
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. The moment of remembering. You can’t wait to turn the page.
I am not in control. Not of anything. Control is merely an illusion just like everything else. But what is controlling it is the most sophisticated and custom tailored story the universe has ever seen. Losing control is a very good thing…
If you believed you had control that was simply a pattern your expanded self put in the field and energized. Chances are if you experienced having control, then you also experienced losing that control. The reality is, you never had control in the first place. Think about that for a second. What do you think you have control of?
Your money – Nope – all just patterns in the illusion. This means that at any time “randomly” or “with a story” you could “recieve” a windfall of money, or “lose” everything, or put out a lot of “effort” and “get nothing back” or put out no effort and “get a lot.”
Your friends – You figure you’ve been friends for 10 years so you can rely on them, right? Sorry to say, no. Based on what your expanded self wants you to experience you could experience everything from deeper friendship to complete loss, all “without cause.”
Your emotions – This is huge when I realized this. You’d like to think that influencing your hologram can control your emotions, but this is not true.Why? Because you are a pattern inserted into the field and energized by consciousness, albeit a very special one.
I realized this two days ago and it really got cemented the next day. The days were the exact opposite of each other. The first day I felt amazing “without cause.” Everything seemed to be easy and flow. I thought, “wow, I’m just going to go with this.” I was late for work. It didn’t matter – everything worked out. When little things happened, they didn’t bother me. The day ended up as great as it began.
The next day was terrible. I woke up achy and groggy. I couldn’t get into my morning routine. “Oh no,” I thought. “It’s going to be one of those days.” And it was. “Random” things cropped up to continually aggravate me. I kept being late no matter what I did. And I felt bad so I didn’t want to talk about it.
But while this was happening I remembered the previous days’ realization and understood the truth in that moment – this was just as much an illusion as the previous day. And instead of trying to make myself feel better or figuring out “why” I felt bad or how others were going to react, I focused on accepting the pattern that was happening. Because, I am not in control. Interestingly enough, everything worked out.
But acceptance isn’t a formula for success. That was just the particular story I lived out yesterday. Today is a completely new day. There is no power out there that locks me into experiencing today what happened yesterday. I could become a different person just by a slight change in the design of this game. The possibilities are literally endless. And I say bring it on.
I say, “Here are the reins.”
I say “Here is the wheel.”
I say, “I trust you.”
And who I trust is really me anyway. The real me, behind the scenes.
My ego pattern says “No!, I am in control. I can’t do this or else my life will fall to shambles.”
To that I say, “May be, but you have to let me go.” And in that moment I put my hands up and let the roller coaster dip down the tracks towards an ever increasing bliss.
You may be asking – what does a shallow comedy have to do with spirituality?
Funny People is about as shallow as the continental shelf and for me the experience of watching it was like a guided tour of the creation of the hologram. For you non-busters, this means that the attention to detail in both its fictional world and it’s honesty of emotion is staggering.
Both groups will enjoy Anthony DellaFlora’s article on the intersection of comedy and spirituality The Zen of Seinfeld.
You should know that I have a bias. I have a B.A. in Film and Digital theory the majority of which was earned by analyzing films. The upside of this is now when I watch movies it becomes a four-dimensional experience. No I don’t go back in time, but I watch much more than the movie itself. Even while I’m engrossed in the story, I think about and analyze the cinematography, the direction, the locations, the script process, the sound design, the editing, the 2nd unit work (stunts and location-only shots). It’s like having a making-of documentary simultaneously piped into my brain at the same time as watching the movie.
You may think that this kind of critical thinking would detract from my pure enjoyment, but on the contrary, it greatly enhances it. Having made a film, I’m in awe of how much work must have gone into every little piece. How difficult it was for them to find that perfect extra to walk by the background of the shot at just the right moment. Or how much work went in to planning a piece of dialogue that reveals a nuance of a character. So when a film is good or great, it becomes a truly transcendental experience.
Are you seeing the corollary to busting loose yet? No?
Ok, so maybe you’re not me. Maybe you watch films for the pure escapism of it or maybe you don’t even think about all of the rigorously planned elements that go into a movie that make it feel like it was meant to be that way. The funny thing about Funny People is that it makes you have that kind of experience no matter what kind of person you are.
Putting busting loose aside for a second, what is the difference between the narrative of “movies” and “real life.”?
1. Movies have characters you can root for and neatly wrapped endings whereas life is full of ambivalence and non resolution.
These characters are credibly unsympathetic and they experience very little personal transformation.
2. Movies take place in a fictional universe with fictional characters.
This takes place in L.A. with characters who are only fictional because their name is different than in real life. E.G.
Adam Sandler plays a rich comedian turned movie star who makes shallow family movies.
Seth Rogen plays a young comedian taken under the wing of Sandler (in real life just the same happened with him and director Judd Apatow)
Leslie Mann (Apatow’s wife) plays the mother of two who are actually her kids in real life. At multiple times during the movie, we watch old real clips of all of these actors in the context of their characters’ stories.
Not to mention all these actors (featured on the poster) are or could be considered “funny people.” At this point the line between fiction and reality really begins to blur.
3. Comedies especially have contrived situations with formulaic structures.
Most of the time you’re watching brutally honest performances in normal life situations while the movie merely threatens to have a plot:
Is it about a young comedian starting his career?
Is it about an old comedian dealing with impending death?
Is it about a couple trying to rekindle an old flame?
Is this not starting to seem like real life?
I dare you to watch this movie and not think of the elaborately constructed world inside the movie or the elaborately constructed world outside the movie theater. This movie continues to capture real human experience to a frightening degree while also calling attention to the fact that it’s not real.
So what’s the point?
If you’ve ever believed that life was an illusion, most likely your brain or one of your five senses brought you back into believing it was real. Maybe you felt fear that you wouldn’t have enough money to live or joy from getting promoted. Maybe you stubbed your toe. Maybe you got rejected by that person you really wanted to know more about.
Like swing dancing, dating, and tug of war, awakening from your state of living dreaming is a push-pull process.
If you were to pose the question of “why make the movie feel so real?” to Judd Apatow, he would probably answer “to make the illusion better.” And then ask him “why make the illusion better?” he would answer “to make the emotional experience of the movie more real.” This could go on forever…
Modern day Hollywood is one of the greatest manifestations of an illusion making machine that we have in our experience. It is one of the greatest “clues” to what’s really going on. So much money, time, effort, and energy is put into such complex illusions to make them feel “real.” Robert Scheinfeld even equates living to being in a “full-immersion movie.”
And that requires being fully immersed. Which means coming up for air only so often to see the truth. So now that you can’t see which way is up, is the awakening that you experience when you do the process another, deeper illusion?
Is it the honesty and truth poking through the artifice? Or is the honesty and truth you feel right now just an illusion itself? For the record, I believe that it is real truth poking through the cloud cover. I believe the hologram pulls you further towards immersion in order to further convince you of the truth. Every time I experience transcendence or the truth, it’s not long for the hologram to do its darndest to convince me that it’s real again. In one moment I see the Matrix and in the next I’m paying taxes. Then I realize the taxes are an illusion, but then I have a flat tire. How far can this rabbit hole go?
Like watching Funny People, I think busting loose includes a happy coexistence of the illusion and the truth – one where each illuminates the other.
Though Busting Loose from the Business Game is Robert’s second book, it’s more of a “director’s cut” of Busting Loose from the Money Game. This may sound like a bad thing, but it’s not since it goes deeper into all of the pressing questions you might have after reading his mind-expanding first entry, but with the exact same user-friendly model.
And I mean the exact same model. Some of his chapters have the same titles and have the same or similar passages. If you haven’t read Busting Loose from the Money Game then you would be better off just reading Busting Loose from the Business Game – it’s a better in every way. He has obviously benefited from living in what he calls Phase 2 for a long time now and by the second half of the book offers a far clearer window into “creative ecstasy” than he ever could in book number one.
Haven’t Read Busting Loose from the Money Game?
The Busting Loose series is about awakening. It’s about realizing who you really are. And it’s about reclaiming your true power and living a life that is both abundant and congruent with what you love.
There are two phases. Phase 1 is where you believe that you are limited, weak, and subject to the whims of cruel fate. This is pretty much how I felt most of my life. Even when things were good, I believed that it could all change in an instant.
Phase 2 is about one phenomenon that takes two distinct forms. The overall phenomenon is that you awaken into who you really are and what’s really going on, but the first part is incredibly painful as you break out of your limited beliefs and ways of being. The second part, which is what happens after busting loose from the business game, is where you live life magically, where anything is possible, and where the focus of your existence is on what brings you joy and what you love without worrying about where the money will come from.
So what is really going on?
This series is the most practically radical series about personal development and manifestation I’ve ever come across so I will summarize but I would urge you to read the book if you are interested. He gives these pieces to you slowly and lets them build together to slowly chip away at your old belief systems.
In short, the entire experience you have in this world is a hologram, akin to a game. But it’s a fully immersive game where winning equals understanding the game, not winning it through conventional ideas of success. Understanding, though, can only come through direct experience or a feeling of the truth. The truth is that you are actually the consciousness behind everything in your experience, including you, other people, money, and the physical world.
Robert gives you the ability to have that experience through a technique he calls the Process. Using the Process you dive into every situation that causes you negativity and comfort and take away its power over you. You do this by recognizing that the situation is merely an illusion.
This may cause some distress in you as you may think that you have to disassociate from all you love to bust loose. Far from it. In fact Robert’s message is one of unending infinite joy. He continually urges you to see all of life as a game that is actually fun to play and the most fun part is realizing just how fun it can be.
What’s Different About Busting Loose from the Business Game?
The first obvious difference is that his focus is on business and all it entails, not just money. So the scope of Busting Loose from the Business Game is bigger. Instead of just talking about money as part of the hologram, he talks about income, expenses, stock markets, customers, vendors, products, services, and creativity all in the context of the hologram.
If he writes another book, it might as well be called Busting Loose from the Human Game. I’d be interested in a book that covered as many possible sub games of the human experience. It is rather easy, however, to apply his theories to any sub game you want: the relationships game, the social game, the emotions game, the adventure game, anything really.
The real reason to read this book is how much more he goes into depth about what the journey in Phase 2 is like. He talks about the kinds of emotional experiences you will have if you do the inner work he asks you to do. The last sixty pages are worth the price of Busting Loose from the Business Game alone.
In the first book he summarized what Phase 2 was like in both the beginning and farther in. Here he lays out two distinct parts of Phase 2 – the expansion phase and the play phase. He goes into wild detail about both sub phases and really tries to give the feeling (as much he can with words) about what busting loose from the business game is like on a general and day-to-day basis.
In doing this he charts the troubles you’ll encounter along the way. I was very happy about this since I started using the process about ten months ago and I had many questions that I had to find answers for myself. Those answers, it turns out, were mostly right since he answers them in this book. Questions like, “how long do I have to use the process to bust loose?” and “why do I seem to be going backwards when just before I felt expansion?” He is a much more generous tour guide this time around.
He also gives a very detailed explanation of what it feels like to cross from the expansion stage, which includes a lot of discomfort and can seem a lot like Phase 1, to the play stage where anything is possible. In particular, he talks about how you won’t feel like you need to plan or invest in changing anything. He also makes crystal clear that the idea of cosmic overdraft protection won’t happen until after you cross the busting loose point. This is good because I tried to use this idea and got saddled with lots of overdraft fees!
It’s obvious from reading this review and this site that I’m a true believer in Robert’s work. Furthermore, I believe that his practices are the true method of manifestation.
If you are a believer like me, you will find a wealth of information in his new book. If you aren’t, then he presents a more convincing case than his previous book, but only because he has more detail and conviction. Having said that, I can’t recommend the book to anyone enough who wants to expand their mind and create real abundance and joy in their lives.
And if you like, I invite you to express your appreciation buy buying the book via this link:
In no particular order here are five circumstances that often pop into my hologram and give me the opportunity to reclaim power. However, these five circumstances are deceptive since they don’t necessarily lead to huge drama and can easily be missed.
While part of moving deeper into Phase 2 is not actively going after the hiding places for your power eggs, you would be amazed at how many opportunities you can create to reclaim power simply by being aware that they exist.
Without further ado…
I’ve always thought of driving as a meditative experience. Maybe I’m listening to my favorite pop song on the radio, a stirring orchestral piece, or the simple sound of the summer wind. Driving doesn’t take all of my brain power, but it’s just freeing enough to let my mind wander and it gives new stimulus for my brain to chew on. I particularly love the look of the clouds, or an ever fading vista of the new york skyline as I cross a bridge across a clear river.
However, since I’ve moved to urban New Jersey driving has become half meditative and half endlessly frustrating.
There are literally nine stoplights between here and the freeway and it’s only ten blocks. Sometimes it takes a half hour just to get to the freeway which is almost always backed up on the way to work. Once on the freeway I have to deal with buses that think they can handle like Miatas changing lanes on a dime. And by deal I mean “not die from.” Furthermore, because of the congestion all the pedestrians have learned to completely ignore traffic lights and walk out into the street without looking. And don’t even get me started on the weather, which can change from sunny to hurricane in a span of five minutes.
I’m not here to rant or rave (though it’s been nice) but my point is that driving offers both fodder for discomfort and a peaceful environment with which to practice the process.
Have you ever tried to drum up some negative feelings just to practice the process? I’m guilty of this. Just go for a drive. There’s a good chance something will pop up and piss you off.
With a philosophy most known for a book called “Busting Loose from the Money Game” this one seems obvious. What may not be obvious is just how often you may let numbers decide your emotional state and how much “success” you have.
Are you trying to lose/gain weight?
Are you playing the stock market?
Does a 75 degree day make you happy or sad?
How about a sale?
Have you ever had a number assigned to your intelligence level?
Are you in school? Then you’re gonna be processing all day long.
Are you looking at your watch?
Are you too early or too late?
Do you want that cute guy/girl’s phone number?
Are you trying to drive traffic to a website?
Of all those temperature is my biggest stress factor, since one of my jobs is to deliver sandwiches and soup to a cancer center. The only problem is that these patients have very low immune systems so the temperatures of these foods has to fall within a certain range. Every day someone from the hospital checks the temperatures. Sometimes my entire well being in a day falls on the digital reading on a thermometer. Talk about power in numbers!
But they are just numbers which are very illusory. I find it easier to apply the process to numbers than people, events, or more “real” seeming things because numbers are already abstract. It’s not a huge leap for my mind to make from there.
A good thing to keep in mind here is that since numbers are illusory they can also change without logic. While their holographic nature may be easier to grasp it may be harder to remember that their logical nature is just a ruse – just part of the story. Remember that next time you don’t eat as much and still “seem” to gain weight. (I wish I had this in my hologram)
3. Experiencing negative feelings for “no reason”
Further emphasizing your expanded self’s complete and utter control of your hologram is you may be walking along, minding your own business, and suddenly you’re overcome with a lot of discomfort.
Usually this happens to me when I’m emotionally triggered, but not necessarily. I may hear a song that takes me back to a time, see someone who reminds me of someone I used to know, or just simply fall back into an old feeling. Yet sometimes, just because I’m between other thoughts, negativity seeps in.
I used to think this was a major problem, especially when I was obsessed with positive thinking, but now I realize it’s like a “freebie” from my expanded self. Instead of going through some terrible circumstance in the hologram and dealing with the repercussions you can have discomfort sent straight into your brain.
Let’s go back to the “no reason” idea. Say you’re with a friend and you’re having a great time. Now all of a sudden you feel discomfort or negativity. Because you are good friends you tell them what’s happening and because you are good friends, they try to help you. The dialogue might go something like this.
“I just don’t feel well all of a sudden.”
“Are you getting sick?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Is there something you want to talk about.”
“No, I’m fine. I just don’t feel well.”
“Hmm…well maybe you ate something bad earlier.”
“Have you tried drinking water?”
“Or fresh air! That always helps me…”
This could go on for a long time. Your friend wants to find out the reason why you’re not feeling well, because to most Phase 1 players it’s inconceivable that you could feel uncomfortable for no reason at all. This overwhelming cause-and-effect thinking can lead you into a long process of deduction to find the culprit of your mysterious disturbance when you could just be using the process.
To paraphrase Robert Scheinfeld, “don’t try to label your discomfort. Just use your Phase 2 tools.” Viewed in this way, it’s like your expanded self sent you an express mail egg just for you to reclaim.
4. Others pushing your buttons
Everyone has a pet peeve. Mine is when people have a lack of respect. This can manifest itself in ways as simple as friends not calling back in a reasonable amount of time to as large as deciding not to work for an otherwise great employer because their checks bounce. When someone treats me differently than they would treat themselves I experience discomfort ranging from miffed to downright furious.
People are a curious creation of the hologram as they – more than anything else – seem like independent consciousness that can have good or ill will towards you. If you bump your head on the door, you can blame yourself. If your event gets rained out, you blame the weather, god, fate, or whatever. If someone cuts you off in traffic, then they are to blame.
Investing emotionally in people is a fantastic way to reclaim power, but it’s paradoxically one of the most difficult situations to see from a Phase 2 perspective. Those numbers in your bank account? Chances are they’ve only been affecting you emotionally for a couple of months at most. That loved one who knows just how to piss you off. You’ve got a history with them. And if you just started the busting loose process, it will be easy for you to forget who you really are, place your discomfort squarely on the other person, and send your hologram into lockdown.
Your opportunity, in the midst of you being miffed or furious, is to see that large warehouse of power in the other person and appreciate how expediently they guided you to it.
As often as I can, I visualize someone I just had an unfavorable interaction with in a movie theater where the movie of my life is playing and we just got to the moment that brought discomfort. Me and this person (they could be someone who didn’t hold the elevator) are shaking hands and marveling at how well we played our parts. We open some champagne and make a toast.
“To us!” Yet we really mean, “to you!”
That person doesn’t have a personal vendetta against you, but they are the personal postage service from your expanded self with your daily dose of power to reclaim. You only have to realize this.
What’s wrong with succeeding you may ask? Nothing. In Phase 1. However, now that you want to bust loose, can you see that reward is simply the other side of the coin in the hologram from punishment?
You may be temporarily happy, but that is nothing compared to the true joy of busting loose. And leaving the power egg in success unclaimed continues the fallacy that happiness can only come from the hologram. Just as Robert Scheinfeld says to affirm your understanding of the truth when you gain money as well as lose it, doing the same with any measurement of success or reward further reinforces your belief in the truth.
At the beginning of Phase 2 your Phase 1 residual thought process was probably focused on busting loose to make your life better. If you’ve moved along in Phase 2 doing the process on a consistent basis you’ll already know that busting loose changes your very way of looking at the world and the idea of success.
But in case you haven’t, here is a taste of that way of being…
You already are successful. In fact the idea of success in the hologram is a spec of dust in the galaxy of your infinite love and abundance. Any success you receive in this world is like your expanded self sending you power disguised as candy. As you can see, you really can have your cake and eat it too!
Where do you hide your power?
Have you been overlooking a massive treasure chest?
Wow. That’s a huge gap between day 12 and day 257. In other words, almost 9 months. I’ll give a quick recap about what has changed in that .75 year period.
In the hologram (for those of you result-minded-Phase-1-residue folks):
Career – Not only consistent work (after a 6 month period of nothing), but work I like doing. I also managed to save up over 3,000 dollars while feeling much more highly valued by my employers than ever before.
Creativity – Returned to finishing my feature film as well as building a new website which eventually came full circle back to this one.
Community – “Discovered” a large support network of people for the Busting Loose process.
Body – My body, though it still feels pained, it is more fit than it’s ever been.
Exploration – “Got over” much of my social anxiety and began exploring more of wonderful New York.
Now for the really important changes. As cliched as it sounds, I’ve developed a much deeper understanding of Robert Scheinfeld’s work.
The best way I can describe it is that before I was trying to “use” the busting loose process to acheive an end. Now it’s much more about embodying the principles and letting them connect and subtly transform my life.
For example, I’ve always been a planner. In fact, just recently I created a five year success flowchart. That’s right, I’m the kinda person who gets all tingly over a flowchart. Well this is exactly the kind of future-obsessed Phase 1 thinking the process was meant for. I have since then slowly let go of my attachment to all of my big plans to become famous, rich, well-loved, muscular, and a world traveller.
Not that I don’t want those things – but right now – now is more important. Both for the busting loose process and the salvation of my sanity.
A caveat: The journal was originally supposed to show the slow progression into Phase 2, but for reasons related to my expansion, that did not happen over the last 9 months. However, all of that experience will color the articles I write from now on and I will constantly be referring to that period in this journal.
The work of Chris Tomasso, writer and law of attraction enthusiast.