8.6 The Five Hindrances

The Five Hindrances are all tools of the ego that are activated when the authentic self tries to show up and take control by disciplining the ego. We see this happen without fail to everyone who goes through the Biocybernaut Process. Trainees will come in having had a wonderful deep sleep the night before, be filled with energy, then go into the chamber, and a wave of drowsiness will come over them. Because we have instructed them about the Five Hindrances, they understand that it is the ego trying to shut them down with drowsiness.

Worry, which shows up as anxiety, is also one of the Five Hindrances. When this comes up during the deep exploration process in the feedback chamber, we tell people to keep in mind that it is a tool used by the ego to control. It doesn’t matter why the anxiety or worry is present. If you look underneath the feeling of anxiety, you come to fear. We have expressions in our language like ‘numb with fear’ and ‘blind with rage,’ so if the ego can get you to be numb or blind or both, it can do whatever it wants because your out-of-control emotions disable you. If you decide not to participate in that negativity served up by your ego, you can choose love or compassion. The ego will try to tell you that your choice is boring, and it will raise doubt in your mind, another Hindrance, as it tries to keep itself in control.

Forgetfulness is a common hindrance. We had an elderly gentleman in training whose wife had been in a home for seven years with Alzheimer’s. He would see her every day and be one of her caregivers, but it had obviously been difficult for him because she no longer recognized him. He came for the Alpha One training we offer at the Biocybernaut Institute of California. On day three of his alpha training, aided by the Mood Scales, he got in touch with the fact that he was angry. As I pressed him for what he was angry about, he said very softly under his breath, ‘Angry at Maude.’ I probed, ‘Well, why?’ He paused, and again under his breath, whispered, ‘For ruining our golden years.’

This was a huge breakthrough, and I anticipated that he would have a lot of forgiveness work to do on that the next day in chambers. But we didn’t make a big fuss about it on the morning of the 4th day, and when we interviewed in the afternoon that day, we discovered that he had NOT even brought the matter up in the chamber that day. So we did make a fuss about that, and the next morning (5th day), we reminded him again; he went into the feedback chamber that 5th day and did some major forgiveness work on her. As he told us in the debriefing after the session, in his mind, he took her to an empty room, and he started quietly saying, ‘I’m angry at you.’ He built that up to where he was shouting, ‘I’m angry at you!’ Then, changing to a whisper again, he stared over and said, ‘And I forgive you.’ He built that up to a huge shout, and he accomplished tremendous, wonderful forgiveness work with his wife. After that, he was exhausted, and he floated in a blissful high alpha state. That was his reward for all that deep forgiveness work.

Then he felt a bulging and pain in his forehead. At one point, he felt two slits open in his forehead, and in his mind’s eye, he saw that light came out of those slits.

After we completed the interview about his experience, I went back and asked him to tell me more about the light that came out. He was again sheepish, embarrassed, actually. He said the light was brighter than the sun. I told him that it sounded like a phenomenon known as the opening of the third eye. As we talked about it further, he asked me, ‘Why did I have that? The opening of the third eye?’ ‘Because of the great work you did,’ I said, encouragingly. ‘What work was that?’ he asked.

At first, I found it hard to believe that he forgot the compelling forgiveness work he had just done with his wife. So I went back and forth with questions for a couple of minutes. I didn’t want to tell him; I wanted him to recover it himself. I saw that his ego was not going to allow him to go there, so I reached around and grabbed a pad of Post It™notes, handed them out to the rest of the group, and asked them to write down why that happened to him. Immediately, with no hesitation, everybody began to write.

I looked at him sitting there, and I could see his ego looking out like ‘Oh, gee, the jig is up. Everybody else knows.’ His ego was holding on and holding back, not wanting the information about his wonderful forgiveness work to come back into his consciousness. Still, the pressure was building, building, building because everybody else was smiling and looking at him expectantly. Obviously, everyone else knew the answer, and it was almost getting to the point of humiliation. Finally, poof! Ego had to let go of it. He acknowledged that his breakthrough came because of the forgiveness work he did with Maude. I had people pass their notes to him, and every single one of them said something like ‘forgiving anger at Maude.’ He treasured those pieces of paper. It was a classic example of ego coming in and erasing the memory of something that had just happened five minutes earlier. This is an excellent example of why it is essential to do this kind of deep work with a skilled trainer. If he had been working in a less supportive and less intense setting, this breakthrough would not have happened. Anyone seeking to do this work independently, without the guidance of a skilled trainer, will not come close to the results that are possible when this training is done using the full Biocybernaut training protocol that includes consecutive days of intensive training and thorough debriefings with a skilled trainer.

Ego can be a wonderful member of the committee that is you, but it is a terrible chairman of the board, given that it wants to control for the sake of control. Remember the carriage that ego is driving? Ego sitting happily upfront in control of the carriage, lashing the horses shouting, ‘Yee-Haw!’ as the carriage careens down the canyon, horses snorting, hooves flying! Ego is having a blast! But at the bottom of the canyon, the bridge is out. This doesn’t matter to the ego; it lives in the moment, and at that moment, it is in control and fully satisfied. So up until the moment when the carriage hurtles off the remnants of the destroyed bridge and crashes into the raging torrent below, the ego is pleased. Authentic self (the passenger in the carriage), however, realizes that there are consequences to ego’s actions, so it is the one that has to put on the brakes, rein in those galloping horses, stop the carriage and back up and, then proceed upstream three miles to where there is a stronger bridge. All the while, the ego is protesting and complaining because its control has been challenged. The fundamental thing is ego wants to control. It’s the original and total control freak. The authentic self is willing to reroute to avoid disaster, all the while fending off the dark clouds of doubt and worry that ego will be projecting into the awareness simply because the ego is no longer fully in control. The Five Hindrances are some of the ways it fights back.

8.6.1 Ego Stifles Creativity in Favor of the Limelight

One time I had the opportunity to work with a famous author who had written 16 books and won international acclaim for his work. He was also a therapist, and he was an adherent to the philosophy of objectivism espoused by Ayn Rand. A third party who was doing therapy with him and who really admired his genius initially connected us. The third-party was a man who had become a friend of mine, and he was considering making a major investment in the Biocybernaut Institute and then dedicating himself personally to running the enterprise as CEO. My friend wanted me to talk to this writer who would gather information suitable for putting together a business plan. So the writer wanted to know all the background, such as the type of people who come for training and the results they experienced.

I knew that this writer was a devotee of Ayn Rand; thus, I knew he would experience a huge confrontation when the cat got out of the bag that this training was all about disciplining one’s ego. So he and I did this dance, mostly by e-mail, some by phone, where he pressed me for details about the training. I would say, ‘There are some aspects of the training that it would really be better for me not to talk about with you in advance of your doing it.’ Well, he was not to be deterred. So I finally had just to come out and say, ‘This training is going to discipline your ego.’

He went into an uproar. He was raging and carrying on, and I wrote back and said, ‘Who you think yourself to be is not who you will be at the end of this training.’ He took that as a huge affront to his intellect, to his fame, and his self-understanding. Here he was, this brilliant, internationally famous therapist, counselor, and author, and this little whippersnapper was thinking he knows enough to tell him he knows what’s going to happen to him.

Up to that point, he had been planning to come and pay for the training himself. From then on, he dug in his heels, and the only way that he could be induced to come for training was the third party had to not only pay for his training fee but also to pay him his high hourly rate as a consultant to sit here and be in training! So you have to imagine this situation; here he is, a famous man with a raging ego that is doing its very best to be polite because it’s being paid handsomely to sit here and do this process that it absolutely doesn’t want to do.

What was interesting is that although he had written 16 books, the 17th book wasn’t coming. He’d been struggling for two and a half years, and nothing would come. My friend told me he was darkly talking about suicide because the writing was life for him; the only reason to live was to write, and he couldn’t write.

On the first day, when we looked at the graphs on the screen, we could see that what we would normally expect from a right-handed person was not there. As a righthander, we would expect that his biggest alpha scores would come from his right occipital, which they did. The second biggest should be his from left occipital, which it wasn’t. The left occipital was a distant last among all eight of his brain wave channels. The left occipital was trailing by some distance, even the weak temporals. We call the alpha world’s poor stepchildren because they are usually weakly straggling along far below all the other head sites with minimal alpha scores. So I said to him, ‘I can see why you are in writer’s block. You have hardly any blood flow going to your left occipital region, which is, among other things, a source of your logical, verbal creativity.’ Suddenly he became very interested in the process.

He made a special effort on the second day to pay attention to the lowest pitch feedback tone from the left side, which was the alpha activity in his left occipital, and he successfully moved it up. It was now no longer distantly removed from the other alpha sites on his head; it was up in the pack at least. In the debriefing, I gave him lots of acknowledgment and encouragement. On his third day, the left occipital just took off with huge scores relative to where it had been, and this high alpha alternated with lower alpha and obvious movement on the polygraph. During the movement periods, we heard talking over the intercom. When we would call in to ask if he were OK, He’d say, ‘Yeah, yeah, everything is fine.’ He’d be still for a little while and would make huge alpha, and then there would be more talking and movement, during which periods his alpha would drop, and there would be movement artifacts on the polygraph.

When he came out of the chamber at the end and gave his interview, we found out that the muse of all writers had appeared to him in that enhanced left occipital alpha, and she was downloading to him the complete character development, plot, and even the most minute details of this book he was trying to write! He had a pocket tape recorder with him, so when he would get a download from the muse, he’d save it by talking into the tape recorder. He would then turn the tape recorder off, go back into the alpha, get more downloads, and then talk into the recorder again. He was extremely pleased with the results of enhanced alpha since it abolished his writer’s block!

This all happened on day three, and he had gotten way more than he ever expected from the training. But we still had four days left. So I put on my forensic analyst hat, and we went in search of why he had gone into writer’s block. I asked him where and how he had written the first 16 books. He had written those books while he lived in a beautiful home in the mountains of Southern California. His wife was a fierce guardian of the gate, and six days a week, she wouldn’t allow visitors or phone calls from 9 AM to 6 PM. The upstairs he wrote was lined with windows that looked out into a redwood forest; there was nothing to do except look at the birds or write. So he wrote. I felt that his writing was painfully pulled out of him; he was very critical of himself. But he had nothing to do except writing. His wife would take lunch up to him on a tray and leave it there; she wouldn’t interrupt him. They had learned over time that that was how he could get the most writing done.

After he became internationally famous, they left this beautiful retreat and moved somewhere near Los Angeles. Now he was the honored guest at parties, meeting Hollywood stars, famous people, ambassadors, and the like. Barbara Streisand sang for his 70th birthday party, and he didn’t even like parties. But guess who liked them? EGO loves to be fawned over, especially by the glitterati, by the rich and famous. So ego noticed that some nights when there was a party, instead of going to the party (which was ego heaven), he’d sit home alone and write!

Ego was very unhappy with that, so ego went in and literally restricted the blood flow to his left occipital, which cut off the alpha waves necessary to write creatively. Ego cut off the competition for being fawned over at parties. His life’s mission as he understood it was to write. Ego had thumbed its nose at his life’s mission. Ego had no care that he wanted to write or had things he wanted to write about. Ego was willing to shut it all down, even to the point that this man was considering suicide since, in his mind, he lived to write.

The ego does not see very far ahead. It does not see long-term consequences. It doesn’t believe in the deferral of gratification, such as if we stay home for a year and write, then we can get fawned over and win a Pulitzer Prize. It doesn’t go there. Ego is for immediate gratification, like a bully six or eight years old.

This experience and understanding that ego had acted in opposition to his life’s work created an 18-month long existential crisis for this man. He had lived his whole life since his 20s believing in the objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand. However, even before the alpha feedback training, he had demonstrated the ability to do transcendent things. For instance, in one of his books, he wrote about his therapy methods, and he said that if he were treating a tough client and weren’t making progress, he would ‘merge with the client’ to come up with things to say to help the client along.

Merging is not a rational or analytical process. Merging is the stuff of magic. So, in a sense, he had certain psychic abilities. However, his writing was all very narrowly rationally based, and he didn’t allow this ability in his rational thinking. That merging stuff was just for ‘fun,’ and he didn’t take it seriously, even though it was the basis for his most inspired work.

So this famous writer had put ego into the role that most people put God. Then he woke up in the Biocybernaut Alpha One training to discover that his ‘God’ i.e., his ego, first of all, had clay feet, didn’t give a hoot for his life’s mission, and would prefer to be fawned over by all those people he disdains! It would be similar to a cardinal discovering that God was actually working to bring people to having drunken orgies and was organizing the burning down of churches. It is quite a mistake to worship or even to revere your ego.

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