The Art of Being Ordinary

Ordinary or Extraordinary?

By Cathy Eck

SCORPIO: What if you had the power to enchant and even bewitch people with your charisma? Would you wield your allure without mercy? Would you feel wicked delight in their attraction to you,even if you didn’t plan to give them what they want? I suspect these questions aren’t entirely rhetorical right now. You may have more mojo at your disposal than you realize. Speaking for your conscience, I will ask you not to desecrate your privilege. If you must manipulate people, do it for their benefit as well as yours. Use your raw magic responsibly. Halloween costume suggestion: a mesmerizing guru; an irresistible diva; a stage magician.  (Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology:



Each year, in celebration of my Scorpio birthday, I save a copy of Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology column.  I’m not fond of traditional astrology.  What spews from the mouth of most astrologers is a great description of our prison cell within the illusion disguised as the truth.  Many astrologers use their masculine position to keep people in their cells fearing retrograde planets and scary transits if they escape.

Our natural desire to be good provides incentive to will our way to the positive side of each sign, planet, and house while avoiding, and therefore projecting, the shadow side on to the world.  Rob presents both sides of the illusion and cracks open the gate to allow us to see our way out.  He’s an initiate at heart; it comes through in his unusual view of astrology.

My birthday horoscope brought me back to a time when I was faced with a difficult life choice.  During my business years, I had quite the reputation.  I was an expert — a valued authority.  People treated me with respect and admiration.  It was actually hard not to think highly of myself.  Nearly everyday, I received glowing compliments from people in high places.  I could pick up the phone and make things happen.

One day, while sitting in my office, I looked at a sign pasted on my computer.  “Be anything; just don’t be ordinary.”  It was one of those quotes you pick up from inspirational speakers and hear when you attend pump-you-up business conventions.  I’d read that quote a million times, but this time I had a moment of sanity.  I thought “What’s wrong with being ordinary?  Why do I fear it so?”  I realized that ordinary was like a demon that stood behind me constantly trying to pull me down.  Saying my magic affirmation was what kept that demon behind me.


The Choice

During my time in business, I came to know the ins and outs of the illusion.  I knew that with force of will, I could reign like a king over others.  I could win at the illusion game.  But I realized that little demon would always be there looking for an opening.

What if this strange pull to ordinary wasn’t really a demon?  Forcing my will never brought me the peace or freedom I truly desired.  Oh, I’d leave trails of losers along the way — the Scorpio in me thought that was a divine idea.  But I didn’t want to live from win-lose anymore.

I decided that I would choose ordinary and strip the power from this seeming demon. I’d no longer avoid ordinary; I’d dive in.  At first, I changed my business approach to win-win.  Eventually, I sold my business and dropped all my prestigious labels.  It was then that I came to realize why ordinary isn’t a happy state.

Ordinary (in the illusion) means assuming a feminine role to win-lose powermongers who need losers to win.  Ordinary means suppressing our God-given value and talents so that others can live an inflated life where their talents or knowledge are perceived as extraordinary.  In the illusion, ordinary people are valued for their ability to obediently worship the elite and to suffer with a smile.



In truth, being ordinary means being our True Self — as we’re designed.  The illusory extraordinary is actually a charismatic mask of power that keeps unconscious people spellbound in false beliefs.  While that mask appears to be more powerful than our True Self, it isn’t.

The notions of better or worse, superior or inferior, or extraordinary and ordinary aren’t real.  Only in the illusion are some talents valued more than others, are experts with knowledge considered greater than non-experts with wisdom, and are those with pedigrees naturally extraordinary.

After I made the tough decision to no longer use my ability to play an OSCAR-worthy guru, wizard, or magician, I felt a great loss.  I missed the accolades and the money.  I missed having people listen to me and trust me.

When I wielded my allure, bewitched people with my charm, and gave them knowledge which served the illusion, they adored me.  Now that I dropped the facade, spoke the truth, and wanted only win-win experiences, those same people found me odd, wrong, and even evil at times.

The illusion also made me outer directed.  The art of being ordinary demanded inner direction.  I had to let go of all the rewards of the illusion, including my false power and value.  That’s why Jesus said the rich won’t get to heaven.  Heaven is freedom, our True Self; but when we’re winning in the illusion, it’s hard to leave.

As Rob suggests, if I must manipulate, I should do it for the other’s benefit.  I do use what looks like Scorpio power to convince people to let go, to be themselves, and to choose love over judgment or hate.  I use it to push the seeming extraordinary off their pedestals and to provide some wings for the seeming ordinary until they can fly on their own.  I could still dip into the illusion and produce some raw magic, mojo, or charisma at will; but why would I when being ordinary means being my True nature, and being my True Self means being free.

Storytelling or History: What’s the Difference?

Footprints in the Sand

By Cathy Eck


Storytelling Versus History

I enjoy stories very much.  I love to read them, to write them, and to watch them on the big screen.  But I don’t like history at all.  History is usually presented by the winners; it’s masculine-dominant (his story, not her story) and fact driven, not character driven.  In short, it’s food for the intellect, the false self.

The difference between storytelling and history has become blurred in people’s minds because our educational systems emphasize history over storytelling.  We can learn a lot by studying the difference between storytelling and history.

If we want to write a story, we first develop characters and maybe a plot or a story idea.  We give the characters a false-self perspective, including a back story, preferences, and beliefs.  Then we turn the characters loose and let them interact.  If the characters don’t like the results they’re getting, they’ll hopefully have a change of mind.  If the characters don’t change their mind, the story eventually becomes predictable and boring.  If the characters don’t grow, viewers will stop feeling sympathy for their troubles.

We see these things clearly on the big screen, but often ignore them in our own lives.  Suffering isn’t natural; it’s the consequence of being unwilling to expand our perspective and grow.  Suffering comes from holding on to what we no longer need.  Mental hoarding, just like physical hoarding, is destructive.


Life is Storytelling

We’re all living a potentially great story whether we know it or not.  Two decades ago, the Story of “The Legend spontaneously popped out of my unconscious.  That began my exploration into the nature of storytelling.  I could see that “The Legend” was like an undercurrent in my life.  Fairy tales, myths, and religious stories sit in our unconscious as causal forces in our life.  This is why religions and cultures are built on a foundation of storytelling.  We’re controlled by the stories we hold in mind as true.  If we share a common foundation of story with another, we’ll have similar beliefs and see the world through homogeneous eyes.

Modern video games take storytelling to a new level.  I used to watch my children play them, moving from level to level.  If their character screwed up, they’d say, “Oh, I died.”  They’d restart the game.  I felt as though I was watching a miniature version of life.  You either make it to the next level in your storyline, or you die.  The difference is that the gamer realizes he’s responsible for his fate.


His Story

History is literal.  There’s no room for individuality or interpretation.  It’s simply the reporting of facts — names, dates, and physical events.  History is always one-sided; usually the winners write history.  As we’ve become more left-brained or intellectual, we’ve forgotten the cause and effect relationship in life.  We fail to consider that every event has a belief-related cause behind it.  We accept the winner’s false-self projection that their enemy is evil and deserving of punishment.

Today, people share their personal stories in historical form.  They think they’re storytelling, but they aren’t.  Great stories allow for change; and great storytellers allow their characters to transform.  People have labeled the oldest stories mythology because they find so many versions of the old stories.  Old stories changed as the characters changed.  History put an end to that; history keeps us stuck within a false, collective mindset.


The Key

The true storyteller knew that he created every single character, even the evil ones.  The historian only identifies with one character — the one they label good or right.  

The historian acts as if he or she is either a hero or victim.  They’re telling the story to get sympathy, attention, or approval.  If they get such rewards, they’ll continue to tell the story to keep it alive.

Often we get stuck in another person’s story; we feel like we can’t get free.  We feel bad if we expose another as cause in their drama because we’ve been trained to feel guilty for revealing the cause of history.  We aren’t supposed to point out that the Emperor is naked.



Freedom requires owning all the characters in our story and seeing that they fit together like a puzzle.  The victim and perpetrator/hero are opposites who have divided thought in the same way (see the triangle process); and the evil that the hero fights is simply his or her shadow.

The psychologist Fritz Perls popularized Gestalt therapy.  Perls studied people’s dreams.  He required them to see themselves as every character and even every essential item in the dream.  In this way, they could step back and see their whole mind; they could see themselves as cause.  When we see our whole mind, we see the mental cause of our problems.  Then we can change our mind more easily.


We’re All Storytelling

Many have said that we’re all storytelling.  We invent a story; then ideally we direct, produce, and star in it.  But when we don’t own our mind, we just play a walk-on part in someone else’s drama.  When we follow the false mind (which we acquired from others) over our heart (True Self), our own story remains unlived and untold.  We don’t grow or change.  Life becomes boring, and we feel without purpose.

This happens when we accept masculine and feminine roles; and we place ourselves in a feminine role to another.  Dropping roles that don’t bring us joy is key to returning to our own original story.

Screenwriters say that the audience wants an inciting incident (usually a fall of sorts) in the first ten minutes.  From the perspective of story, we plan our fall into the illusion.  You probably lived that part of your story.  But what happened after that.  Did you learn?  Did you grow?  Did you change?  Did you let go of your “evil” shadow?  Did you love?  That’s what makes a story great.  And most important, did you get that precious and rare happily ever after?

Are They Authentic or Just a Perfect Persona?

Manure Pile and beliefs

By Cathy Eck


Authentic or Bullshit

My dad sends me some really stupid emails — I tell him that all the time.  But he was a nuclear engineer; so he thinks that he’s making conversation when he forwards an email.  Besides it gives me things to write about.

He recently sent me a copy of a discussion between two people who were trying to decide who was more authentic, George W. Bush or Barack Obama.  That’s pretty much like trying to decide whether a dog or a cat is more insect like.  It’s a useless discussion with no potential resolution or benefit.  But it brings up an interesting point:  How do we know if someone is authentic?

The truth is that the biggest liars have become quite accomplished at looking authentic.  Clear communication, lack of emotion, and happiness are qualities of the True Self, but they’re also qualities of highly perfected personas.

On the other hand, while we’re purifying our mind, we often get highly emotional when someone says something false, causing us to look like the flawed one.  Eventually, we reach a place where we know that anything false is powerless so we don’t need our emotions to explode like atom bombs.  But it’s always that awkward phase in between that gets us in trouble.

It seems that this has been a common problem throughout time.  Even Plato discussed it in his discourses on the legendary lost continent of Atlantis.  He said that those in power had too much “mortal admixture.”  The masses couldn’t tell who was truthful from those who had selfish intentions.  This caused the destruction of the continent.  We’re in the very same place today.


Knowing a True Self

In truth, we can only know if we’re authentic.  That’s the best use of our time and energy.  When we know our mind, we know when someone else’s thoughts enter.  We feel our emotions more easily.  We can catch and deflect the projections that those poker-faced personalities send our way.   I’ve discovered that as I clean out my mind, it’s easier to discern if another is being authentic or just blowing some sweet-smelling smoke.  Of course, they don’t like being exposed, but we’ll save that for another post.

I used to wonder if we all signed some sort of pact a few thousand years ago that said, “I won’t expose your false self if you don’t expose mine.”  Then I realized that a pact isn’t necessary.  When we hold lots of beliefs in our mind, we don’t catch the lies of others until it’s far too late because we can’t distinguish our thoughts from their thoughts.  That’s why the first exercise I give to people I mentor is to start watching their own mind 24/7.

People, who benefit from the illusion, support social skills where we focus on and care what others think instead of what we think.  That way we become gullible targets for those wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Our false selves have been highly trained to look at what people do.  We see a person hug a baby, and we think they’re nice.  Someone gives a vet a job, and they’re good.  But Charles Manson could hug a baby; he could also give a vet a job.  People who do things for show aren’t stupid; they know what to do to get the biggest bang for their buck.  They know how to work the collective mind.

Our false selves need validation.  The two people having the discussion, in my dad’s forwarded email, each thought that their favorite politician was authentic because they sounded like them.  False selves are insecure; they seek constant support.  That’s why our false self love to gossip or judge others.  A common enemy feels like power and mutual support.  The false self has to constantly support its position of rightness, or it will realize that it’s wrong.


What’s the lesson?

We must remember the reason that we have emotions.  They’re not to determine good and evil or right and wrong people.  They’re to decide if the particular belief or thought, which is our point of focus right now, is true or false.  Our emotions are actually highly impersonal — they are simply very good lie detectors.

If someone says, “All dogs of Republicans should have blue hair and Democratic dogs should have pink hair,”  we notice how their statement feels.  If it feels bad, it simply means don’t believe them.  It doesn’t mean color-coded dogs are bad or wrong for the believer; it means they aren’t right for us.  Our True Self is giving the thumbs down to their statement.  That’s all.

Somewhere along the way, most of us fell for the trap that we aren’t being nice if we expose someone’s belief as a belief.  We’re bad if we don’t support their false self.  In truth, we’re truly good (with no hidden opposite) only when we don’t support false selves.  Being nice to false selves keeps the illusion running.  Our false self should embarrass us, not get us approval.  We were designed by our cosmic designer to discriminate; we were given emotions to keep our minds pure.

When we realize that beliefs have NO power of their own, we easily ignore them.  We don’t fear beliefs of others, nor do we condone them.  Whether the person is authentic or not doesn’t matter that much.  We stop judging false selves when we see them as powerless; we just ignore them or correct them.  Life gets much easier.

The key to living an authentic life is to drop our own false self.  Then we can live in the world, among the most crazy false selves, and not fall into their trap.  We can even play in their world for a bit, and then exit when we’ve had enough.  In short, we no longer need to worry about whether someone else is authentic, because we’ve got our own authentic best friends with us all the time — our True Self and our emotional lie detector.


Blame, Shame, and Guilt: The Illusion’s Superglue

Blame, Shame, Guilt

By Cathy Eck


Most of us have been taught to take the blame for things that we didn’t cause when we were stuck in feminine roles.  We’ve been guilted or shamed; and we’ve been taught to please others, especially authority, even if their demands are ridiculous.

Blame, shame, and guilt are the Superglue of the illusion.  They don’t exist in the true world.  Therefore, with some discrimination and wisdom, we can free ourselves from them.



In the true world, there are no roles.  But roles dominate our social structure (the illusion), and that isn’t a problem as long as we honor the natural flow of the energy in the illusory roles we play.  Blame involves a reversal of the natural flow of masculine and feminine roles.

Normally, the masculine energy (intellect) holds the beliefs, and the feminine energy reflects those beliefs.  In blame, the masculine energy says that the cause of the problem lies with the person or people playing the feminine role.  Or sometimes, the person in the masculine role blames another masculine role (like Obama and Bush/Romney).

If we are in a feminine role in the illusion, we cannot be blamed unless the leader wasn’t really leading.  If the masculine role is leading from truth as it should, nothing bad can go wrong.  When things go wrong, it’s the leader’s belief that’s the cause, not the follower’s reflection of the belief.

Only the person in the masculine role can drop the causal belief.  The emotions and wild behavior, that often occurs in the people in the feminine role, are the effect of the false beliefs of the masculine.  When the mind of the authority changes, their feminine reflection changes.  To fix the feminine is to fix the effect.  To blame the feminine is to blame the effect.  It doesn’t make any sense.  But we accept this reversed way of thinking because we’ve been trained to.  Everyone in the illusion is breaking their own mirror.

If you blame the feminine, you can’t solve the problem.  The feminine doesn’t have the responsibility; it’s not the cause.  The child can’t fix their parent’s belief.  The employee can’t fix their CEO’s vision.  Church members can’t fix their preacher’s mind.  Citizens can’t fix their leader’s flawed perspective.  The feminine can leave when they’ve had enough, or they can let go and become the masculine.   Fighting (or war) happens when the feminine has had enough and tries to take the power back from the masculine. Crimes are often committed against someone who reminds the criminal of their hated masculine authority.  To fix problems, the authority, masculine role, must take responsibility, fix their own mental cause, and everything will go back to perfection.  But that almost never happens in the illusion.

Early Bible stories trained our western mind to reverse our natural cause and effect thinking.  Eve (feminine) got blamed for the fall.  Moses (masculine) blames his people (feminine).  When you understand the masculine-feminine relationship in the illusion, you can’t be fooled into taking the blame any longer.

This is also true within ourselves.  When something goes wrong in our life, the cause is in our intellectual masculine mind.  Our emotions are only the messenger — we should never shoot the messenger.  If we let go of our own causal beliefs, our emotions will calm down immediately.  But often our own inner mental masculine, just like outer physical masculine authorities, wants to be right at all cost.


Guilt and Shame

Guilt and shame are given to us by authority figures (masculine roles).  No one is born with guilt or shame.

These two emotional states can be difficult to let go because someone else imposed them on us.  Our mind says that we can’t let guilt or shame go; the authority must free us.  Since we’re lower in power (feminine) than the authority (masculine), we think that we don’t have the right or ability to remove the causal belief.  This is a disgusting trick of the false mind.  It can keep us stuck for a whole lifetime.

The True Self is not capable of doing anything wrong because right and wrong comes from the false self.  If we did make mistakes (sins), we did so because we were caught in the illusion, a false self.  We didn’t want a false self; our authorities gave it to us when they taught us their beliefs and said they were true.  Our false self was created in the image and likeness of our false authority figures.

I’ve followed many people’s guilt and shame back to the source; they all lead to a really powerful, but rigid, authority figure (usually religious).  Crime is not caused by evil people.  Crime is caused by the religious-perpetuation of the belief in good and evil and right and wrong. We see it because we believe in it.


Freeing Our Mind

In my experience, and I’ve done this hundreds of times, the person who is blaming, shaming, or guilting was projecting their responsibility, negative character trait, or belief on to the person in the feminine role.  Once we take the blame, shame, or guilt, they have no reason to ever fix their problem.  Their mind feels a sort of fake freedom.  That’s why when we let their projection go, they often react with lots of emotion.  That’s their problem. When you drop blame, shame, or guilt from your mind, your True Self can breath again.

If you are someone who thinks others should be blamed or shamed or guilted, you probably aren’t reading this blog.  But just in case you are, remember that when you point the finger at another, three fingers are pointing back at you.  The cause is within your mind; and if you let go, they won’t reflect you anymore.  Letting go is always win-win for everyone.

Keeping Score the Right Way

Be Yourself

By Cathy Eck


Keeping Score

Recently, a man called me because he saw my business card on a health food store bulletin board.  He shared with me that he was bisexual and dressed in women’s clothing.  He felt the discomfort of other people’s judgment when he dared to do what felt joyful to him.  We talked for a few minutes; and it was clear to me that this wasn’t a judgmental person.  In fact, I could tell that he worked hard not to judge others because he’d experienced the sting of being judged so often himself.  I found him very likable right away.

It was completely apparent that this man was a really good person inside — something that’s common among my readers.  But he was keeping score based on what others thought of him, and he wasn’t “normal.”  He was different.  So his scorekeepers gave him a consistently low score.

As long as he continued to value the score that others gave him, he was going to come out short.  He’d feel out of control, an outcast, and a loser at life because he was honoring a false score sheet.

But if he kept score based on his own thoughts about others, he’d find that he was a damn good player of the life game.  He’d have incentive to become even less judgmental and more loving regardless of how others treated him.  And if he learned to let go of his belief that others could judge him or that he was bad or wrong, he’d find that he had the potential to be a true winner at the life game.


Everybody Wins

Most people are keeping score based on fame, power, money, or material possessions.  People who live outside the status quo don’t fair well in that game.  That game can only have a few winners.

On the other hand, everyone can win when they keep score of the purity of their own mind once they learn how to let go.   Each day, their mind gets a little freer, they judge others less, and they love more.  As they do this, they become authentic; the authentic person has no competition.  They always win.

When we see authentic improvement in ourselves, we realize that we’re truly good people; we do have incredible value.  When we stop caring what others think of us, our natural joy flows unobstructed from the inside.

I struggled with this problem for such a long time.  Once I discovered letting go, I spent time each day letting go of my judgments and beliefs about myself and others.  I became more unconditionally loving inside.  But people couldn’t see that my mind was becoming freer or more loving.  They still judged my looks or the fact that I didn’t do what they wanted me to do.  They still saw me as different or unusual.  Their memories of the old me screamed so loudly that they couldn’t see past them.  I believed that my freedom required them to let go of their beliefs about me.  But I was wrong.

My naturally good self wasn’t good in their illusory perspective where good is defined based on rules and social protocol.  How I felt during that time was directly related to my poor scorekeeping.  Allowing other people’s score of me to dominate my mind caused me so much pain and agony.  I felt that I didn’t want to live on the planet.

Then I changed my way of keeping score.  I focused on my own mind and let go of thought after thought to see if I could unconditionally love those that didn’t love me.  They were not willing to let me off the hook, but I was willing to let them off the hook.  I felt better and freer and my inner score continued to improve.  Soon most of the people who judged me disappeared from my life; and quite frankly, I didn’t miss any of them.  But I did feel complete with them because I saw their True Self in my own mind even if they weren’t willing to be that yet.

I decided that my purpose in life would be to make my mind a pure space where people could join me in being themselves.  I would create a safe place where people wouldn’t be judged for being their True Selves, where letting go and freedom would be supported and honored.


Be Yourself

No Matter how ornate your mask, your True Self is much more beautiful.


It was out of that realization that the business card at the top of this post was born several years ago.  I chose the green mask because it was so beautiful.  Recently, I decided to paint  the mask.  I wanted to get to know this woman who had adorned the front of my card for several years.  As I worked on every little detail in her face, I began to see the beauty under the mask; she became real and authentic.

I realized that we can’t see in others beyond the level of our own authenticity.  If we’re wearing a mask, we don’t see with pure eyes.  If we aren’t wearing a mask, even a mask has truth and beingness.  Likewise, when others are wearing a mask, they can’t see us.

So keeping score of our own mind is truly the only method of scorekeeping that makes sense.  We wouldn’t rate our physical sight based on a blind friend reading an eye chart for us, but that is exactly what we’re doing when we allow someone else to judge us or tell us whether we are good or worthy.  Their criteria for goodness simply doesn’t apply to us.

When we strive to be more ourselves each day and use the right method of keeping score, life starts to make sense.  We find even the most ornate mask easy to drop.  Our unique True Self is clearly much more beautiful.  As our score improves, the judgment of others disappears.  We can’t imagine being anyone other than our Self.

What is My Passion?

Ruins of Ephesus

The ruins of Ephesus

By Cathy Eck


What’s My Passion?

Lots of books and workshops promise to help us find our passion.  But ultimately there’s a flaw in the very question, “What’s my passion?”  If we have to ask, we’re in our false self.  If our false self hijacks our passion and clones it, we can get really stuck in the illusion.

Many people who appear to have great passion aren’t really authentic.  They’re actually more enthusiastic or excited than passionate.   Some have bought into the idea of “find your passion and get rich.”  The True Self sees it more like “find your true expression and your perfect abundance will come.”  Fear that we might “sell our soul” causes us to keep our True Self hidden until we let go of enough beliefs to assure that our false self won’t steal our dream and ride it for riches or rewards.


The Word Passion

We can see the problem by looking at the definition of the word passion.  The first definition is “strong and barely controllable emotion.”  Strong, barely controllable emotion signals a big, fat belief.  The True Self state is calm and peaceful.  It’s the false self that generates strong, uncontrollable emotions.

Passion is often linked with enthusiasm, which traces back to “Greek enthousiasmos, from enthous ‘possessed by a god, inspired.'”  But we have to ask ourselves which God are we possessed by?  The word God has two meanings.  One relates to ancestors or those who came before us.  Ancestors had beliefs and human baggage.  The other definition relates to the all-loving creator God — perfect and void of beliefs.

Pure enthusiasm is calm and inspired; it harms no one.  What most call enthusiasm is actually excitement — hyped up emotion.  When we’re excited, we’re thinking the positive side of a dual thought.  We’re ignoring the opposing twin shadow thought that’s generating the strong, uncontrollable emotional to warn us to stop and let go.  We mistakenly believe the emotion is telling us to charge forward.  Following excitement gets us in big trouble.

The last meaning of passion is connected with the passion of the Christ.  This sort of passion means suffering and death.  If you hold a strong religious perspective, there’s no way in hell that you’re going to allow yourself to find your passion.  Your false self thinks you’ll die.  Good trick huh!


Passion as the True Self

If we take the true meaning of Christ, annointed one or initiated one, and add that to the creative, all-loving principal of God, we get a perfect definition of the True Self.  When we live from our True Self, we think pure thoughts and find that whatever we do has a joyful quality to it.  If we have a particular focus that we enjoy, we’ll do it more easily and skillfully because our True Self is leading.  We can even do something that isn’t our thing from our True Self and bring ourself so fully into that activity that we enjoy it.  Now we’re living and breathing pure creative expression every minute of our life.

Oddly, when I’m in that state, I feel that passion is the right word.  It seems that passion fell along with religion.  At one time, people knew that passion wasn’t something you conjured by getting excited about a goal, money, winning, or power.  Passion wasn’t related to suffering or death.  Passion was bringing an idea out of the oneness into the creative palette of the material world — True Self expression.

The initiates understood that hanging on the cross was code for the final initiation test where one became completely feminine to the world so they could see what was left of their masculine false self.  It was an extraordinary feat that required letting go of anything and everything that came their way.  When the false self was gone, they were resurrected — their True Self — living completely in a state of passion.


My Own Experience with Passion

When I was about four, I picked up my mother’s Bible and said, “This book is confusing and no one understands it.  I’m going to fix it when I’m big.”  I couldn’t even read the damn thing, but some part of me had the big picture of my life.  I also spent all my time drawing and making things; and I said that I never wanted to do anything else.  I wanted to create stuff.

Then I went off and got lost in the false world.  I didn’t draw or create anymore.  I was as confused by the Bible as everyone else.  But slowly, I remembered how to let go; and the desires and wisdom of my True Self returned.  I’m now doing exactly what I said I would do at four.

I couldn’t have found my True Self with exercises or well-crafted questionnaires.  I needed to let go of the beliefs that veiled my eyes (the false voices in my mind) so I could think clearly and see my path.

Jesus said, “Find ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all else will be added unto you.”  He also said, “Be like little children.”  He was telling us to be our True Self — like we were as children, before falling into the illusion.

The painting above is my latest creative project.  It’s part of the remaining facade  of the library of Ephesus.  Revelations says that the church of Ephesus was a strong church that had patiently borne adversity and couldn’t stand evil.  Their calling (or passion) was to remember their first love.

When we can no longer tolerate the illusion, we choose initiation.  We feel called to be courageous in letting go so that we can find our passion, our first love, our True Self.  If we stay strong and continue on the path of initiation, we eventually realize that we were never lost.  It was all a facade.  The wisdom wasn’t in the library; it was within us.

Courage, Acceptance, and Peace

courage, acceptance, and peace

By Cathy Eck


Peace, The Ultimate State 

Lester Levinson was an American who found his way to a free mind about half a century ago.  His journey was my validation when I couldn’t find anyone to confirm my inner and outer research.  Lester said that three words defined his state of mind:  courage, acceptance, and peace.  As I let go of my own beliefs and misperceptions, I realized that Lester’s perception of those words wasn’t the norm.

Lester said that the final state of mind was imperturbability, peace.  Followers of Lester worked to release emotions since their emotions perturbed them.  They couldn’t see that Lester’s calmness and peace came from his True Self perspective of no beliefs.  When we have no beliefs, we have no emotions.

Many words that describe the path to freedom or the True Self have been hijacked by the false self.  We can’t just memorize the new definition of these words and use them to elevate our false self — that gets us really stuck.  But we can use these words as guideposts to let us know that we’re progressing.



The True Self is inwardly courageous.  The True Self lives from true and false.  If a belief arises that isn’t true and emotions erupt, it’s unstoppable in facing that emotion and finding and releasing the causal belief.  It can stand up to any person or situation without loss of power — not to fight them, but to free them.

Courage isn’t the same as bravery.  Brave people are filled with beliefs.  Brave people charge into battle to kill their projected enemies.  True courage is about realizing that the battle or enemy is illusory.  True courage allows us to admit that our perception was false.  True courage can let go of the label of victim and its false payoffs.  It takes courage to remember that the truth will set you free.  It takes tremendous courage to tell the truth to ourself and others when we fear we’ll be judged.

As we travel the path to freedom, our perspective improves each time we let go of a belief or misperception.  Things that used to appear true and powerful now look weak.  It upsets us when we realize we’ve been following a weak leader (false authority).  Often people try to shore the leader up instead of letting them fall.  Courage lets them fall if it leads to greater freedom.



In the illusion, people use the term acceptance when they mean apathy.  Apathy is when you let go of your desires instead of your beliefs because you don’t believe you can have them.

Acceptance to a True Self isn’t about accepting loss, disease, or problems.  It’s about accepting the flow of joy, health, and unconditional love that is natural.  The flow of life force is eternal once there are no beliefs damming up the stream.

People often say, “I’m accepting what is.”  That isn’t true acceptance — that’s giving up — apathy.  They’re protecting the false notion that God gives us problems, tempts us, and challenges us.  But that isn’t true.  God doesn’t give us problems or challenges, people do.  The people running our life are the people whose beliefs we still hold in OUR mind.  If we “accept what is” while marinating in their illusion, we’re letting their beliefs run our life.  Thus, acceptance is really apathy because we lack the courage to let go.  If you’re following a loving person, false acceptance might improve your situation temporarily.  But true freedom is being the master of your own life, not accepting another’s illusion.

If you have no desires and get nothing, you’ll die.  When people say that Buddhists are desireless, I remind them that the fundamentalist Buddhists would be up shit creek without a paddle without their begging bowls.  They want people to feed them — that’s desire.  People make them superior and then try to copy their illusion; then suddenly they’re stuck in lack.

Acceptance is natural when you’re living as your True Self because what you want is right for you; beliefs no longer stop your desire from flowing to you.  You seem desireless to others because your desires manifest so quickly that you never long for them.  That’s true acceptance.



Peace is another word that has been hijacked by the false self.  Peace is not the opposite of war.  Tolerance is the opposite of war.  You either fight with someone or you tolerate them at the bottom of the triangle.  Peace is the state where war and tolerance are viewed as false, illusory.

In the illusion, people pretend their enemy doesn’t exist with fake forgiveness.   They face their fears outwardly with bravery, or they stop fighting under the guise of pacifism.  But we’re not in peace if we’re still seeing the other as bad or wrong.

Peace is the effect when we remember our True Self’s unconditionally-loving perspective because we’re in the flow of our life.  What we think is what manifests; and we think nothing that would harm another or ourselves.  When we have no more inner wars, outer wars and outer warriors appear false and powerless.


Courage + Acceptance = Peace

Courage enables us to live from true and false in a world that is built on an illusion of good and evil or win and lose.  We’re fearless in facing our own emotions and following them until we find the causal belief.  We aren’t afraid to let go of beliefs.

Acceptance allows our desires to flow into our life effortlessly.  Acceptance can allow beliefs in others, but it doesn’t obey or follow people with beliefs.

Peace is the effect, our natural free state of mind when we live from our True Self.  We no longer have beliefs; therefore, we no longer have emotions.  Peace comes from knowing that we’re safe, we’re in control of our life experience, we can have what we need and want (what’s true for us), and we’re unconditionally loved.  Put these together and we know and live from our True Self.  We are free.

The Act of Letting Go: How is it Done?

Letting go

By Cathy Eck


Letting Go Isn’t a “How To” Process

You’d think after over two hundred blog posts, I’d have written about how to let go; but I never have.  I’ve discussed the topic in countless ways, but I’ve never addressed it directly.  There’s a reason for that.  Letting go isn’t something that can be explained in a “how to” fashion.  There is no “Letting Go for Dummies.

“How to” comes from our false mind — it comes from knowledge, reasoning, and wanting answers — which just creates more beliefs and illusion.  Letting go happens automatically when we realize that what we hold in mind is false.

Letting go is the result of discrimination.  Consequently, what I talk about most on this blog is discrimination — how to differentiate between truth and falsehood.  Letting go is the effect of realizing that your causal beliefs are false.


A Metaphor

Imagine that you want to go to the beach.  You ask a friend for directions and follow them carefully.  But when you arrive at the end of the directions, there’s no beach. You could go back to the starting point, but you’ve driven a long way.  You don’t even know if you’re closer to the beach than when you started.

Suddenly, you spot a guy in swimming trunks with a surfboard.  That’s a good sign; he looks like someone who would be a reliable source for beach directions.  He gives you directions, and you get back into your vehicle.

Now you have a choice.  You can follow the new directions and get to the beach, or you can hold on to the old directions and stay put.  Of course, the choice is easy.  You trash the old directions, and you drive to the beach.  How did you trash those old directions?  You simply let them go because you realized that they were false.  You discriminated.  You didn’t need a “how to” book to do so.


Beliefs are Temporary Truth

Beliefs were designed to be temporary just like directions to the beach.  Our beliefs cause our actions.  When the desired action is complete, we let the causal beliefs go.  You don’t think about letting go or try to let go.  You just let the beliefs go.

The reason that it’s so hard to let go of some thoughts or beliefs is that you’ve labeled them in your mind as useful, true, or right.  You think you’ll need them in the future.  Sometimes an authority has scared, guilted, or shamed you into keeping them in your mind as rules.

As human minds became more logically oriented, we learned how to memorize; people began holding on to beliefs.  They even created belief systems.  They relabeled beliefs as truth.  If you replace your True Self with a belief system, you create a false leader or God within your mind.  Your True Self then becomes the enemy of that false leader.

You can hang out in someone else’s illusion for a while, just like an actor plays a character.  But in time, your True Self will want to fulfill its divine plan.  An inner Armageddon starts to occur.   You begin to seek the truth.  You find many people who will gladly give you their version of truth — usually more beliefs.  Most people put even more belief systems in their mind before they realize that the right path is the path of their own True Self.

But where has their True Self gone?  Did they lose it?  No, they didn’t lose it.  They covered it up with beliefs.  They must dig it out by letting go of all the false beliefs they now hold in their mind as true.  It’s not a small job.


You Have Free Will

If you accept another person’s or group’s illusion as your truth, your emotions become psychologically reversed to honor their belief system.  You live for others, not your True Self.  Religious, cultural, and social beliefs are sticky because our mind tells us that they must be right because so many people believe them.  But most people are completely lost — trained from birth by authorities who are already grounded in the illusion.

Once you decide that you want to return to your True Self’s path, your emotions show you the way.  When you think something True, you feel calm.  When a belief arises, you feel emotion.  Since you’ve accepted lots of beliefs, you often feel like you’re going to burst with emotion.  All of your old beliefs arise trying to pull you back.  Your false mind says, “What about honoring your mother and father?”  “You’ll go to hell if you don’t obey the priest.”  “You must serve or sacrifice to be good.”  “You are becoming selfish.”  “You won’t be special anymore.”

Your change in direction has made the old belief systems obsolete.  But you have always obeyed them in the past.  What once felt good, now feels terrible.  This causes great confusion.  You must slow down your mind and discriminate.  You must let go of the beliefs that no longer feel good.  If you don’t let go, you stay stuck (like holding on to the old directions to the beach).


Letting Go Can’t Be Forced 

Letting go happens when you realize the old beliefs were false — when you discriminate.  Now you feel emotion that you didn’t feel before; there’s a voice that says the emotion means the belief is true.  It’s lying.

You MUST remember, “If a belief generates emotions, it isn’t true.”  That becomes your new mantra until you find your True Self.  Belief systems, usually from religion, culture, or social status, make letting go hard.  But hard doesn’t mean impossible.  You undo them one belief at a time.

True freedom means that you’ve let go of all beliefs.  The True Self has no permanent beliefs.  As you continue to let go, discrimination becomes easier.  The process quickens and becomes a normal part of life. Discrimination, the willingness to let go, and the desire to BE YOURSELF is the only formula you need for complete freedom.

Practical Alchemy

gold coins

By Cathy Eck


The Fall of Alchemy

Years ago, I became very fascinated with alchemy — the notion that something with low value could be transmuted into something with great value.  I loved the stories about turning water into wine or lead into gold, and I studied them intently tearing apart every number and ingredient for symbolic value.  I felt in my heart that it could be done, but how?  Were the stories literal or metaphorical?

I wasn’t interested in getting rich.  I hoped that alchemy was about finding our own human value in the world.  I wondered if there was a practical side to alchemy, something that we could all use to improve our lives.  I’d come to realize that the truth about anything has practical value and works for everyone.


Missing Ingredient

It was said that alchemists were generous with their instructions.  Some published literal recipes and others embedded alchemical secrets in stories.  But it was widely agreed that alchemists left out one ingredient from every recipe or story — keeping the secret from the average Joe.

I spent months in libraries looking for the missing ingredient.  At first, I thought that perhaps different alchemists left out different ingredients, and I could piece together different stories and recipes like a puzzle.  But that didn’t work.

Eventually, I realized that the missing ingredient wasn’t physical.  Like an optical illusion, the True Self perspective was the missing ingredient.  Nothing was missing if I read the story through true eyes.  But if I read it literally through false eyes, it appeared to be incomplete.  Damn, that was cool!

Just like mythology and religious stories, alchemical stories took the same Humpty-Dumpty fall.  People lost their True Self perspective (eyes to see and ears to hear), and you can’t understand ancient stories unless you read them from your True Self.  From the false self perspective, they appear incongruent and disjointed.  They seem to be missing something or to be badly translated.


Gold to God

If you look at the word Gold, it’s God with an L.  The L in Hebrew (Lamed) was the central letter of the alphabet and the tallest letter.  The tallest could be conceived as the most powerful, the king, who in the ancient world was the center and often treated like a God.  Gold relates to a physical God.

In Greek the true King was the Christós or Christ (annointed or initiated one).  But the True King wasn’t just one person or King.  He was the high initiate, the True Self in all of us, an inner King.  When this part of us Leads (is the center), then we live and behave from a completely different perspective than when our false self leads.


Practical Alchemy

In the ancient mystery schools, alchemy was about the transformation of the false self to the True Self.  The final transformation was turning the body from the mortal form into the Temple of Solomon.  (Sol – Om – On were three words for the sun — the triune nature of God).  The initiate’s body was to become a temple for the sun, the True inner King.  But remember, this wasn’t a stupid pagan belief.  The sun was the metaphor for the perfect masculine (yang) energy because it gave light and warmth unconditionally without asking anything in return.  The True King took all of his joy from giving and loving (not taking and spending).  The sun, of course, is golden in color so ancient kings surrounded themselves with gold.

We are all leaders or suns in some way.  If we are leaders of a family, company, or classroom, we can practice being more like the sun.  We can practice unconditional loving and giving.  That’s practical alchemy.


An Alchemical Project

But I love to use practical alchemy to grow while creating material things.  To do this, choose a project, preferably one that involves an idea, as well as a hands-on component  — something you really want to do and don’t yet think you can.  Painting a picture, making a perfect pie, growing a garden, building something, creating a business, or training a pet can all be alchemical projects.

What you must recognize is that you do know or have access to everything necessary to take this project to perfection.  Only beliefs stand in the way of your success.

First get a clear vision of the result you desire.  Follow any inspired actions throughout the process — remember inspired actions have no emotional component.  You aren’t willing the project into submission.  If you are inspired to take a class or read a book that’s fine, but don’t give your power to the teacher or author.  Just get the information that you need to move forward.  You’re putting the pieces of a puzzle together, not submitting to another’s way of thinking.  Notice any fear or self-doubt that arises, and let that go as you move along.  Continue to take any action you feel certain of.  If you keep letting go, the inspiration for the next step will keep you moving forward.  If your results aren’t perfect, you look for what beliefs you have that produced the less-than-perfect result.  Continue following inspiration and letting go.  Then take action again.  Keep repeating this until you get to the perfection you envisioned.

We all do projects all the time; we just don’t do them from the alchemist’s mindset.  The alchemist was comfortable with not knowing everything; he didn’t need a step-by-step recipe or outline.  As you let go of your beliefs and follow inspiration, you find that you know more than you thought.  You grow in True confidence.


The Wisdom of Alchemy

When the ancient alchemist used the process of creating and the results of his efforts as feedback, he purified his own mind — his mind of lead turned into a mind of gold, his True Self.  He became the center, the True King of his world.  He became One that would Lead with unconditional love and the pure spirit of giving.  He became a master of life.

Your Unique and Valuable Story

Unique and perfect
By Cathy Eck
“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”
-Margaret Mead



I love the above quote.  About a month ago, I pulled my “Freedom Astrology” work off the shelf.  It’s really got me thinking about uniqueness.

Freedom astrology is nothing like traditional astrology.  It evolved from my understanding of ancient storytelling and wanting to understand how one gets their unique perspective on life.  I realized that I could look at someone’s astrology chart and craft a unique story.  Each person’s story was completely unique like our fingerprints.  In addition, the stories transcended time, offering an eagle’s eye view of their life.


We’re All Storytellers

We’ve shared stories for thousands of years.  That’s why we love stories so much; we’re all telling a story with our life whether we know it or not.  But the stories people tell in social circles about their trip to the doctor or their fight with their spouse aren’t real stories.  Here’s why.

The first stories came from the stars — nomads lying on the desert sand with nothing to do at night invented characters and stories.  As time went on, the stories became more and more evolved.  The major characters became patterns for normal ways of being and interacting.

These star stories provided a framework for people’s lives.  Like a house blueprint, the story provides the overall structure.  A house blueprint is changeable, and it doesn’t describe the colors, decorations, or furniture.  In the same way, one’s unique star story is malleable.

Our story is part of our false self, and we can let it go completely — that’s complete freedom.  But we accept our star story with the desire to complete it.  And when we let go of all the beliefs we’ve borrowed from others, the story does make sense; we usually want to live it to completion.  It’s our reason for being.


Stories Aren’t Cast in Stone

Religions cast stories in stone structures to make them last beyond their normal lifespan.  Stories were designed to be flexible and temporary so we store them in our false self.

Once people became power-hungry, they decided that the leader’s story should dominate the lives the entire kingdom forever.  The notion of the personal story was replaced by the group story.  No one can live a story like the writer, so this way of viewing life made sure that the leader would be the most successful and powerful person.  Christianity did this with Jesus’ story — no one can be Jesus like Jesus.  But Jesus would also have a really hard time being you.


The Fall

The original stories had a beginning that was perfect and Eden-like (Act I).  Then there was a fall (Act II), and last they resurrected themselves and came full circle (Act III).  You might recognize this as Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey or the three-act play.

Western religion falsely started our lives with the fall (Act II).  They told us that Adam and Eve were in Eden, but we weren’t.  When a story starts at the wrong place, it keeps us stuck.  It erases our memory of perfection causing us to think our desires are ridiculous or imaginary.  Religion also made the resurrection part of the story (Act III) unachievable for us mortals.  If we were never in Eden and we can’t resurrect ourselves from the illusion, guess where we stay stuck forever?

When people read their star story, they’re struck by the fact that Act I and III are there.  This creates a huge perspective change.  Everyone can do the same thing by accepting Eden as their original starting place (Home) and realizing that we’re meant to return Home in this life.  Doing so expands your perspective like nothing else can.  It exposes your false beliefs.

All three acts of one’s star story come from the natal astrology chart based on birth time and location.  I see the different acts or perspectives by changing my point of view.  As I go into the fall part of the story, I see the beliefs that pulled the character into the illusion and feel emotions arise in my body to the point of huge discomfort, then as I move into the resurrection or return to Eden, the beliefs and emotions go.

In the end, I feel unconditional love for the person.  That’s proof that I’ve completed the cycle.  I see them as free and perfect.  It reminds me that what we don’t like in another is only the result of viewing them from a fallen perspective.


Don’t Accept What Is

Religion and the New Age have sold the notion of accepting what is.  Absolute bullshit!  There is no one that can’t get Home in one life based on what I’ve seen in these stories.  Religion blocks that by making beliefs the truth and convincing us that we were never in Eden and won’t be returning.

The number one criteria for returning to Heaven on Earth is being unwilling to accept less than perfection in your life, to constantly challenge the status quo.


Boring Reality Stories

People make events into their stories, which is why their stories are so boring.  The star stories have characters and events that represents patterns of thought.  We’re all taking mental journeys that produce physical effects.  Likewise each person we encounter in life is an aspect of our mind.

The point of life on earth is to complete our story and get back Home.  It doesn’t matter if you’re the poorest person on earth or homeless.  It doesn’t matter if you never went to school.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve gotten completely off track.  Everyone has the same chance of success when we’re playing the right game.  There’s no competition.

Everyone can play and win.  The notion that everyone is equal and unique with a unique story-driven experience is powerful.  It opens up the possibility that everything can become right again for everybody.  That  just makes me smile.


Here’s more on the Power of Story.



Why Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

By Cathy Eck

Actions Speak Louder than Words

In the true world, everyone’s congruent.  In the false world, people are incongruent; their words and actions cover-up their unspoken words (beliefs, judgments, and insecurities).

False powerful people need others to believe their actions and spoken words.  Like a good magician, they keep our eyes looking in the wrong place so we don’t see what lies hidden below their facade (their shadow).  We enable false authority figures like bad wives buying Vodka for their alcoholic husbands because we fear exposing the lies.  We believe false authority and give them our power, even when our emotions are warning us not to.  We’re programmed to do this.


Eliminating The Programs

We must uncover the places within our mind where our own actions speak louder than words (unspoken words).  When we clear out our own incongruence, our eyes open so we no longer fall for their magic.

Human minds are really good tape recorders.  They memorize information and spit it back out.  Just because we memorize something doesn’t mean we live it or even believe it.  Bible quoters are famous for this; they’re often breaking the very rule they’re quoting.  Their actions speak louder than words if we pay attention.  But their incongruence usually goes unchallenged because their spoken words are considered right; exposing their incongruent action feels taboo.

Our mind creates programs out of memorized data just like a computer.  The modern computer was made in the image and likeness of the human mind.

Let’s say you wrote a computer program for “looking good” as defined by society.  You need the program because you believe you’re bad.  The “looking good” program provides spoken words and actions that override the belief that you’re bad.  Bear in mind that you could eliminate the belief that you’re bad rendering the “looking good” program obsolete.  But often the “you’re bad” and the “looking good” programs are tightly wound together at the bottom of the triangle.  Your mental program might be something like this:

If someone enters the room, I must say hello. I must respect people who are older even if they’re wrong.  I must believe authority even if they’re wrong.  I must not say “No.”

If I’m too happy, I’ll get punished.  If I’m not in control, I’ll get punished.  If I’m playing a game, I must never win.  If I’m successful, I must downplay my success so I look humble and remain below my authority figures.  I must go to church every week, and donate….


The “looking good” program sits quietly within your mental computer.  If you look closely, your emotions aren’t working properly anymore.  They aren’t guiding you to your True Self.

If you follow the “looking good” program, you feel calm, unemotional.  If you rebel or ignore the “looking good” program, you feel bad (guilty).  This is what I’ve labeled “psychological reversal.”  Your emotions aren’t guiding you down your perfect path; they’re forcing you to obey your false God (the composite of your authority figures).

We often see people who are unemotional, and we think they must be their True Selves.  But often they’re just blindly following their own inner programs to the letter.  They’re highly psychologically reversed with great “looking good” programs.  They’re always very rigid and hold their beliefs as right.  Anyone who disagrees with them is just plain wrong.

Your authority figures also installed reward and punishment programs within your mental computer.  These programs say:  “If you don’t follow the rules, you’re bad.  People will scold you, tell you you’re bad and wrong, or hurt your body.  You deserve it.”  So when you break the authority’s rules, even in adulthood when the authority is no longer in your life, you punish yourself.

This is a real important issue for readers of this blog.  Most of you are already breaking the rules of your parents, teachers, and clergy.  You can’t help it because your True Self is calling you.  You know they fed you lies.  But you still have the beliefs and programs (rules, rewards, and punishments) inside your mind.  So when you move toward the truth or step on your perfect path, you’re simultaneously rebelling against your own false mind (false God), which punishes you accordingly.


Undoing the damage

We undo “actions speak louder than words” programs by questioning our own actions and spoken words.  It’s Sunday and you go to church because you fear punishment if you don’t make an appearance.  The fear arises, and going to church alleviates the fear; but going to church also feels bad because you’re overriding your True Self with someone else’s beliefs.  Jesus called this worshipping two masters.

If you peek under the rug (the action or the proper spoken words), you find the belief (the inner words) that says you must go to church.  Beliefs often have “must” or “should” in them.  The True Self doesn’t demand.  Often you’ll remember the authority who installed the rule in your mental computer.  You’ll feel the emotion that you felt when you accepted their belief, as well as more emotion for each time you followed their belief.  The emotion you feel is proof that the belief isn’t true.  You’ve been following a belief that didn’t feel good because you feared punishment that didn’t exist except in the mind of your authority figures.

Truth always lacks emotion.  If you witness (observe) the belief and emotion with the recognition that their false, they’ll go away.  Your True Self dissolves beliefs this way.  But it can take awhile, so don’t rush it.  It’s gone when you clearly see the truth and feel calm.


In Summary

Before you do any unconscious action, stop yourself and ask, “Why am I doing this?”  You’ll find your causal beliefs this way.   You unknowingly accepted the beliefs/programs, and you can now take them out.  Then, you’ll no longer need the actions.  In fact, they’ll look silly.  Your actions will match your spoken and unspoken words.


New Age, Self-Help, and Conspiracy Theory

Exposing Beliefs and Conspiracy Theory

By Cathy Eck


I spent this past weekend with a small group of amazing women who are totally committed to freedom.  They all displayed the kind of courage, radical honesty, and willingness to let go that really does change the world.

Each of these women had done their fair share of time in the New Age movement, dabbled in self-help, and even tasted the bitterness of religion.  The acceptance of New Age and self-help techniques seemed to repair the damage caused by religion.  It allowed them to feel balanced, but not free.  So we took a good hard look at how opposing belief systems keep us stuck.


His Story in My Life

I used to own a big private library.  I acquired my first self-help book about a year after I married a Catholic Italian.  Not having any strong beliefs myself, I saw beliefs as personal and not really that important.  I certainly wasn’t going to allow beliefs to get in the way of love.  But people with beliefs feel bonded with like-minded people; so I felt pressured to honor my husband’s beliefs.  I presumed that I was just keeping peace by giving in.  However, I was slowly giving his beliefs power in my own mind.  I was developing a yin for his yang false self.

With each Catholic and cultural belief that I honored, I acquired another self-help book.  I balanced his religious and cultural beliefs with other beliefs that appeared to neutralize the charges.  I accepted the self-help author’s projection of their beliefs because it felt like I was fixing my mind; but I was just putting more garbage into it. You can’t fix beliefs with more beliefs. Two wrongs don’t make things right; they make us stuck.

If I was positive, I wasn’t humble, obedient, and good.  I’d try to convince my husband that he was wrong.  But that didn’t work, so I’d obey his false god for awhile.  But then I wasn’t positive.  My mind was a fucking mess.

Everything that I write about on this site and Gateway To Gold were born out of my intense desire to free my mind.  I didn’t want balance — I wanted freedom.  I decided I would either get completely free or die.  But I would not create another false belief system to fix the false beliefs I had accepted. That meant that I had to discover how to let go.


How It Works

Any concept in the illusion has two sides; the True Self doesn’t have an opposite.  The New Age and self-help movements copied a very old trick invented by religion.  They take something from the bottom of the triangle and move it to the top (see above).  Now the True Self must move to the bottom.  What used to be true is now dual and false.

The triangle process will always get us to the truth.  If you want unconditional love.  You must see that our society put romance, caretaking, or two halves of a whole at the top of the triangle so that we’ll strive for that.  They define love by what you do.  Then they put hate and unconditional love at the bottom.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve truly loved someone unconditionally, and they thought I was hating them because I wasn’t agreeing with them or I didn’t do what they considered love.  They couldn’t feel my real love because they were looking for a gift, words that supported their false self, an action, or sex.


Conspiracy Theory

Conspiracy theory exposes this shift in the triangle.  People who detect conspiracy usually have a good sense of smelling the false.  But they go too far.  They turn what they see into a purposeful conspiracy.  In truth, people have no idea what they’re projecting because they’ve accepted the false triangle as the truth.  When we’re lost in the illusion, we always project an enemy.  We always think we’re good or right when we’re actually false.

Look at 9/11.  This was clearly George Bush’s projection.  He’s an Evangelical Christian who believes with all of his little pointy heart in good and evil.  He also sees himself as good, and his definition of good lives at the top of his Evangelical triangle.  His false God and his evil doers live at the bottom of his illusory triangle.  Evil shows up for him in the place where he isn’t winning — oil.

This was only his illusion, but he was the leader.  Our problem began when we believed his illusion.  Before every conspiracy type of event, there’s a grooming period where the authority sells their beliefs, usually with fear.  Once enough people accept the beliefs, the event occurs because we manifest it.  Everyone involved in 9/11 had the same false view of the world — it can’t be any other way.  The way to avoid these situations is to stop believing illusions, even if they come from authority.  We must remember how to discriminate between true and false.

The conspiracy theorists said 9/11 wasn’t real.  It was reality but not truth; it could only happen in the illusion.  Nothing in the illusion is true; it’s only the projection of a leader’s own enemy.

Conspiracy theory solidifies the illusion if we think we have to fix it, fight it, or if we think it was purposeful.  Once the conspiracy theorist exposes the illusion, their work is done.  If we let go, the leader’s projection boomerangs back to them.  We don’t have to do a thing.

We can look cold-hearted when we don’t empathize with people caught in illusory tragedy; we can look unsupportive if we don’t believe the latest self-help/New Age scheme.  But what we don’t let go will continue to manifest.  Balancing belief systems does no good.  In fact, the self-help/New Age movement created more chaos, more conspiracy, as people projected their evil and negativity on to others under the guise of spirituality.  We’ve tried it all, and it hasn’t made the world any better; now we must let it all go.

Life Lessons of Shawshank Redemption (Part III)

Shawshank Redemption

By Cathy Eck


Here are the links for Part I and Part II of this series.


Crime is Illusory

Red did commit a crime.  But through his relationship with Andy, he changes.  He starts to accept liberation as possible.  Crimes only exist in the illusion because people hide their beliefs and emotions.  They project their enemies outside of them.

The way to free ourselves from prison is to drop the beliefs that got us into prison.  We liberate the mind, then we go free.  The physical follows the mental.  When the illusion completely disappears, everyone returns to innocence.  Everything is forgiven, which means it went back in time to “before the giving.”

Eventually, Red gets parole.  He gets it when he stops trying.  He admits, in his last parole interview, that he doesn’t even know what rehabilitation is anymore.  Admitting that we just don’t know is powerful because we’re admitting that the false self doesn’t have the answer.  That allows the True Self to take over and do its magic.

Red: I know what you think it means, sonny.  To me it’s just a made up word; a politician’s word.  So young fellas like yourself can wear a suit, and tie, and have a job. What do you really want to know?  Am I sorry for what I did?

Parole official: Well, are you?

Red: There’s not a day goes by I don’t feel regret.  Not because I’m in here, or because you think I should.  I look back on the way I was then, a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime.  I want to talk to him.  I want to try and talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are.  But I can’t.  That kid’s long gone and this old man is all that’s left.  I got to live with that. Rehabilitated?  It’s just a bullshit word.  So you go on and stamp your form, sonny, and stop wasting my time.  Because to tell you the truth, I don’t give a shit.


Andy Knows His Strengths

Andy brings his natural strengths into the prison — his insight, his out-of-the-box creativity, and his fearlessness in risk taking.  Often people feel that their gifts are too weird or will be judged  so they put their True Self aside or hide it in the closet.  They become small. But when we bring our True Self’s gifts into the illusion, we see the exits.  Our True Self is our power; it can even dissolve the illusion when we allow it to shine.

Notice that even though Andy’s gifts cause him to rise to the top of the prison food chain.   He doesn’t start thinking he’s someone special.  He keeps his eye focused on the goal — freedom.

Brooks isn’t as wise.  He feels important in his prison role as librarian.  He even tries to harm another so he can stay in Shawshank.  When he does get out, he commits suicide.  He’s no one in the free world.


Andy Gives What He Wants to Others

When Andy succeeds in getting through to the guards on the rooftop, he gives his well-earned beers to the other inmates.  You can see by the smirk on his face that he didn’t do it for their friendship or loyalty.  He did it to plant the seed of freedom.  The library, teaching other inmates to read, and the infamous music broadcast are all ways he created freedom within the illusion.

These actions were slowly liberating Andy’s mind so that when he eventually got outside those concrete walls, he was truly free.  He too is nobody on the outside, and he doesn’t care.  He’s joyful in sanding his boat.


Act IV

The three-act story is normal.  We’re used to it.  Most screenwriters would have ended the movie with Andy standing in the water, a free man.  But Shawshank gives us a gift — a fourth act. I always imagine life having a fourth act.  It seems ridiculous that we work so hard to get free and then we die.  The best part of life is after our rebirth, and it should last a very long time so we can enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Andy and Red have formed a sort of bromance — they have an honest firendship and we want them both to be free.  Now we get to see that unfold.

Andy: [in a letter to Red] Dear Red. If you’re reading this, you’ve gotten out. And if you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further. You remember the name of the town, don’t you?

Red: Zihuatanejo.

Andy: I could use a good man to help me get my project on wheels. I’ll keep an eye out for you and the chessboard ready. Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well. Your friend. Andy.

Red decides to break his parole.  He chooses to join Andy.

Red: I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.


I live near the Pacific.  I suspect that they say it has no memory because America was settled from the east.  People came for freedom, but unfortunately they brought their beliefs with them.  They didn’t realize they could just let go.

Andy: You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific?

Red: No.

Andy: They say it has no memory. That’s where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory.

Life Lessons of The Shawshank Redemption (Part II)


By Cathy Eck

For Part I of the Shawshank Redemption posts, click here.



Andy is sent to prison for murdering his wife and her lover, but he’s truly innocent.  His innocence becomes a joke when Red tells him, “Everyone’s innocent in Shawshank.”

Shawshank prison is a metaphor for the false self — the illusion.  We are innocent when we enter the illusion; then we’re tossed in a polluted sea of beliefs and rules perpetuated by people who committed one significant crime — they’re living as if they killed their own True Self.  You can’t kill your True Self, but you can ignore it so well that it appears dead.  You do that by following the authority figures in the illusion.  You make them your false Gods.

Once we embrace the illusory way of thinking, we murder everyone, even if we never pull a trigger.  We do to others what was done to us.  We spiritually and emotionally murder them.  We don’t want to admit it — everyone in Shawshank is innocent.  So we reformat our mind focusing only on what we do or achieve; we ignore what we think.  We suppress and hide our fears, our judgments, and our beliefs behind our good persona.  We all look so innocent.

Warden Norton is a perfect metaphor for Andy’s false God.  The job of authority is to make sure the prisoners don’t escape the illusion.  Authority creates endless rules and punishments (pretending they’re God’s ideas).  Freedom isn’t achievable.  Uniqueness is labeled as nonconformity, insubordination, or stupid risk taking.  If we accept the labels of authority, we get stuck in their world.  Andy is insubordinate, in the Warden’s eyes, but he doesn’t let the Warden have his mind.  He doesn’t try to manage the effects of his situation or keep score.  Andy stays focused; he just keeps carting his wall out to the yard everyday.

The guards of the illusion play a role; their job comes wrapped with authority.  We’re supposed to respect authority, but why?  They didn’t earn it; they just bought some false knowledge or acquired a false title.  They’re imposters.  The power of authority is nothing more than beliefs that we’re forced to accept.  We see that at first.  But over time, we start to believe that authority does have power and that beliefs are more powerful than the truth.  Red calls that becoming institutionalized.

Red: These walls are funny. First you hate ’em, then you get used to ’em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized.

Red: Goddamn right. They send you here for life, and that’s exactly what they take. The part that counts, anyway.

Red: Forty years I been asking permission to piss. I can’t squeeze a drop without say-so.


Good Isn’t God

As you watch the Shawshank Redemption, something strange happens within your mind.  The prisoners suddenly look good (they remind us of ourselves), and the lying Bible-thumping Warden is exposed as evil.  Andy explains this to Red in a private conversation about how he’s cooking the Warden’s books.

Andy: If they ever try to trace any of those accounts, they’re gonna end up chasing a figment of my imagination.

Red: Well, I’ll be damned. Did I say you were good? Shit, you’re a Rembrandt!

Andy: Yeah. The funny thing is – on the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.


It hard to distinguish good from evil in the illusion.  People can fake a smile, perform good deeds, or quote the right parts of the Bible to support their good facade.  Discrimination isn’t possible if our false self is too strong; our shared beliefs blind us.  But if we let go of the illusory beliefs, chip away at our false mind just as Andy did to his wall, we find that our clear sight returns.  We see the way out.


Who’s Your Warden?

Eventually Andy gets a chance at freedom.  But the warden isn’t about to let his cover guy go.  When the Warden denies Andy’s request for an appeal, Andy finally lets his anger out.  He takes back his power.

Andy:  It’s my life. Don’t you understand? IT’S MY LIFE!


The people who keep us stuck in the illusion aren’t our friends.  They’re our prison guards.  Prison guards want us to stay in prison with them.  They don’t love us.  If you love someone, you give them their freedom.  The prison guards fear that if you escape, you’ll blow their cover.  So they fill you with fear and guilt.  But the truth really does set everyone free.

You either get busy living, or you get busy dying.


Andy chose to get busy living.  He breaks free.  Red gets his parole.  And even the Warden gets freedom in the only way he can — he commits suicide.  The religious fundamentalists see freedom as death since Heaven doesn’t exist on earth.  Their beliefs assure their death although they do their best to project their beliefs in death on nonbelievers at the rapture.

So many people love this movie because each person gets exactly what they deserve, not based on actions or titles, but based on the extent to which each person’s mind has been liberated.  One person breaking free creates a ripple effect that makes everything right.  It’s exactly as it should be.  True justice handles all the details.


Andy Never Forgot his True Self

Andy: That’s the beauty of music. They can’t get that from you… Haven’t you ever felt that way about music?

Red: I played a mean harmonica as a younger man. Lost interest in it though. Didn’t make much sense in here.

Andy: Here’s where it makes the most sense. You need it so you don’t forget.

Red: Forget?

Andy: Forget that… there are places in this world that aren’t made out of stone. That there’s something inside… that they can’t get to, that they can’t touch. That’s yours.


To be continued…



Life Lessons of The Shawshank Redemption

Shawshank Redemption

By Cathy Eck


I’m Not Obsessed With Much, But…

This is my 100th post, and so it had to be special — it had to be about Shawshank Redemption.  You don’t have to read my blog for very long before you find a Shawshank Redemption quote.  My Leadership Coaching program is based on lessons found in Shawshank.  Shawshank Redemption is a near perfect story; I love it.

Today I had an opportunity to attend a screenwriting webinar analyzing the Shawshank Redemption.  How’s that for perfect timing?

Without knowing it, screenwriters often see through the illusion because the illusion is also based on the three-act story.  Almost every good story follows this blueprint or arc.  We unconsciously identify with it when we see it on the big screen or in the pages of a novel.

Every human starts in Eden or the realm of the True Self.  Then we fall into the hypnotic illusion of the material realm, and finally we work our way back out to freedom.  We become our True Selves again.

It seems like a stupid trip to take since you end up where you started.  But the person who arrives at the end of this three-act journey is not the same person who began it.  They now have vision, knowing, and stability that they didn’t have when their journey began.

 Red: “It takes a strong man to save himself, and a great man to save another.”


We All Have a Fall Story

Everyone has a True Self that doesn’t fall.  The false self takes root pretty quickly; our parents usually make sure of that.  It’s our false self that has the storyline that causes us to forget who we really are.  Stories were originally invented by astrologers based on our date and place of birth; now they come from Hollywood and religion.

Andy Dufresne had the perfect life, or so it seemed — hot wife, great job, nice house, club membership. It looks like he’s living in paradise; but he’s not.  He doesn’t have freedom or love; he’s stuck in his myopic fallen illusion.  He’s winning, but winners are often more stuck in the illusion than losers.  They have to give up their winnings to get free; that often seems like too high of a price to pay.

None of this is conscious to Andy, so his wife reflects it for him by seeking freedom and love in another man. Like most women (or children) who reflect the men in their life, she’s just being his mirror and probably doesn’t even know why she’s doing what she’s doing.

So like most men (or people in the masculine role); Andy thinks he’s a victim of his wife and her lover.  He believes that his anger is because of their actions.  He wants to get revenge and break his own mirror; but fortunately, he doesn’t.

Later on in the story, Andy takes a big step toward freedom when he realizes that he caused his wife to cheat, in a way he killed her.

Andy: She was beautiful. God I loved her. I just didn’t know how to show it, that’s all. I killed her, Red. I didn’t pull the trigger, but I pushed her away. And that’s why she died, because of me.


Like Andy, we must all realize that we are the writer, director and producer of our three-act illusory play.  We can’t change it until we take responsibility.  It’s taking responsibility that puts the letting go eraser in our hand. Responsibility gives us the power to rewrite our story.


Beautiful Women

To most people, putting up posters of beautiful women sounds kind of like male lust.  But metaphorically; it’s perfect.  Andy hides his secret tunnel to freedom behind pictures of beautiful women.

Initiates knew that the way out of the illusion was through the feminine.  Initiates followed their own feminine emotions to show them what to let go — to point to the causal beliefs within their own mind.  You can’t find freedom by denying what you feel. Thus Andy hides his secret tunnel to freedom behind pictures of beautiful women.  Each night Andy chips away at the cell wall (his false beliefs) that lies beneath his feminine (emotions).

The Greeks put Athena in the Parthenon. The Egyptians dedicated temples to Isis.  Babylonians had Ishtar. America’s Congressional building is topped with Freedom (female). The female Statue of Liberty greets immigrants to America.  The path to freedom is feminine.


The Rebirth

Andy eventually escapes by crawling through a sewage pipe, a damn good metaphor for the small, dark birth canal; he pops out looking like a newborn.  He’s free, but he’s really dirty.

Red: Andy Dufresne – who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.

The story demonstrates that if we want to free our body, we must first liberate our mind.  It’s an old teaching that most have completely forgotten.

Most people use their minds to keep themselves in prison — a life sentence without parole.  They put art deco on the cell walls and flowers in the urinal and call it Home, Sweet Home.  It looks like acceptance of their destiny; but it’s really apathy.

Andy didn’t have apathy.  Regardless of what happened on the outside, Andy knew he was innocent.  Apathy occurs because someone else has convinced us that we deserve punishment because we broke their bullshit rules.  We wait patiently for them to give us back our innocence.   They never do.

Andy knew he was innocent. Therefore, Andy had real hope that redemption was possible, even when it looks improbable.

Red: I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.


To be continued…