By Cathy Eck
Competition and Comparison
Competition is insanely normal in our life. Or perhaps, I should say insane and normal. We compete for jobs. Teams compete in all kinds of sports. Wanna be artists compete on reality television shows for record deals, modeling jobs, and the right to have their clothing lines in stores. We compete for all kinds of prizes and stuff. We expect children to start competing for grades at an early age; and we believe that NOT everyone can get an A. We accept competition as a natural fact of life. And yet, it’s only a natural part of the illusion.
Comparison is a subset of competition. People try to put themselves on top of others using comparisons. Most of us fail desperately. After all, the top of the pyramid is very small — only enough room for a few to stand on. If we reign superior in comparison to others, we create false self-esteem. If we come out inferior, we label ourselves unworthy, unwanted, flawed material; and we’re probably depressed. Those labels are false too; but when they’re blasting through our mind, they do feel real and true.
The illusory world is made up of roles and status. It’s a game that’s very hard to win. I guess I might be willing to play that game if the winners were truly free and happy. But in truth, they aren’t. They’re very often even more miserable than the losers. The illusion is not a win-lose game; it’s actually a lose-lose game.
Limitation caused by beliefs creates competition. I recently saw a television show that originally aired before December 21, 2012. It demonstrated how people were preparing for what they believed could be the end of the earth. Underground shelters were sold at a premium. It was revealed that such shelters were considered very valuable currency that politicians could get only if they supported selfish enterprises. Certain religious groups preached that they were the chosen ones who would survive since they built their own shelters like Noah built his ark. They predicted that in that last day, we’d kill each other as we competed for the remaining shelter spaces. Those who saw that illusion could not see beyond it. They didn’t realize that the idea of getting a shelter wasn’t even on most people’s minds. They were stuck in their illusion; and they wanted us to believe it too. In fact, they presumed that we did believe them. They were using the Mayan Calendar as a fake ending date because of their fear. The Mayan Calendar is a mental calendar, not a physical one. It was about the end of the false mind, their illusion. I do feel like people became braver in exposing the illusion after that date. But the game isn’t over yet.
Many of us noticed that nothing happened on December 21st, 2012. It should have been a giant wake-up moment for all of us. But for some Christians, it was just the wrong date. They’re still waiting for the Apocalypse.
The illusion basically works like this. Create a serious limitation that plants everyone in fear while you offer the solution, have been mysteriously chosen, or just simply have the money or power to buy safety. This used to be a trick that only some knew. Today even normal people create an illusion where they’re the most likely to win all the time, and they sell that illusion, much like those pyramid schemes that are popular today. Our religious, business, and self-help leaders and gurus promise they will show us the way to manifestation paradise. Their illusion requires the power of numbers; and ideally those numbers sit below them in status.
The truth is that after December 21, 2012, passed without a hitch, the chosen status or underground shelter false currencies lost value. Of course, they had to invent new things for us to fear so they wouldn’t lose their investments. If we aren’t frothing at the mouth to be chosen or safe, these believers have no value at all. And they know that because if they really thought the world was going to end, why did they give Congressmen shelter access for special privileges that they would only receive after 2012? Do you see how stupid people are within the illusion. Gullible people should not be allowed to hold office. But most politicians are very gullible; they think holding the office means something.
If we wake up, the bottom of the pyramid suddenly controls the top. Fear creates competition and status, which keeps the elite on their pedestals. But look at what happens when we expand our point of view beyond what we’re told to see. The view of goodness expressed by the Pope loses its face value when you realize that other religions don’t have the same view of goodness. When you understand the occult symbols he wears, you realize he can’t possibly be good. He’s just a great actor. Positive thinking was the rage until it started to lose its value as a currency because it only works in the masculine role. Normal people were saying affirmations all day, feeling foolish, and wondering what they were doing wrong. It’s all slight-of-mind magic. People sell their illusory point of view; and they stay on top for awhile until exposed.
Take it up another notch. One diet book loses its currency when you buy lots of diet books because you’ll see they’re all bullshit and even contradict each other. The view of one product loses value when other like products appear on the market. The New Age broke down for me when competition created contradiction. The illusion’s fear currency is fleeting and fragile. It only sticks around because we believe what people in authority or experts tell us without discriminating. Competition is the enemy of the temporary winners of the illusion; it makes sure they don’t remain on top forever. It exposes them when we confidently discriminate and speak up when we see that the emperor isn’t wearing clothes. The pyramid can break very easily when people can see how fragile it really is.
True Self and Competition
Our True Self doesn’t understand or enjoy competition. It’s completely win-win oriented. Only our false self enjoys watching someone else lose so we can win. I am actually talking about not competing at all in any aspect of our life — and that can sound really strange at first, but stay with me. When we stop competing, everyone has value. Everyone can more easily find their place in the giant human jigsaw puzzle. Cooperation naturally emerges, and we live in a constant state of win-win.
At first, letting go of our inner competitor (or comparer) feels like we’ll have to give up things we love. And that only exposes just how far our minds have fallen. It doesn’t mean we won’t do sports or enjoy a game of Monopoly. It just means that winning or losing won’t mean a damn thing. We’ll enjoy the opportunity to improve our skills, use our creativity, or get into the zone. We’ll enjoy being with the other players. We’ll actually enjoy playing the game or doing the sport without constant focus on the finish line. The outcome will become secondary. Or like they say in improv, “We play the game for point that don’t matter.”
I recently wrote a post about success on No Labels No Lies (click here to read). In that post, I talked about redefining what success means to us from the inside out. We live in a world where others want to define success for us. Success today is largely associated with money. If we have money, we can look eternally youthful. We can have the perfect body. We don’t have to work. We can play all the time in luxury. We seem to be free. Only death equalizes the power of money since we can’t take it with us.
Our media puts mannequins in front of our faces in the form of touched up photos of already reconstructed beings that got their money by getting into the masculine role and then feeding the illusory dragon. If we compare ourselves to them, we’ll keep coming up short. We’ll throw ourselves into the powerless feminine pool and try to suffer with a smile or drive all our friends and family crazy with our complaining. We’ll hope the people in our lives don’t escape and even hold them down because we don’t want to be left alone in the miserable illusion that we believe to be true.
If you look closely, competition is mostly about attention. We give our sports stars too much applause. If someone wins a singing or dancing competition, we label them an idol. We continue to award the result, and we negate the actual performances or activities. Often when people win, they say, “I hope I made you proud dad.” I find that revolting. I want to kick dad’s ass for not teaching their child about unconditional love and cooperation. Winning a competition brings us pride, but it doesn’t get us freedom. So it’s worthless currency outside of the illusion. Not worth wasting our time on, really.
My First Letting Go Around Competition Was Accidental
I never liked competition in business. Business was very male dominated when I was an entrepreneur; competition was naturally expected. My fellow business people saw business as a sport or game. Today there are more women in business, but it’s actually still dominated by masculine minds; some are just dressed in drag.
If the economy was bad, competition really heated up. It was during a period of recession that I could not take anymore. I went home one night, exhausted from a tense battle over a deal that I needed desperately to stay in business. Or so I thought. I decided that I was willing to lose it all to never live that day again. It just wasn’t worth the price I was paying. My competitor had gotten nasty — like they do in politics. I was starting to hate myself because I felt horrible when I played their game; but if I didn’t, I felt I would lose. I simply decided that my quality of life was more important than any business. If a potential customer couldn’t easily see the merits of doing business with my company, I was now going to be okay with that. It was my job to display our gifts and talents as best I could, but I would not compete ever again. My husband/partner nearly shat his pants. He was very competitive, and he figured we were now quickly on our way to being homeless.
I shared with my staff that I wanted to stop competing in our Monday morning meeting, fully expecting half of the company to walk out. But John, one of my sales reps, gave a little speech that went something like this. “Cathy, I was your second employee. We’ve been together ten years, and I know you better than anyone in this room, except for maybe your husband. And you shine when you tell the truth. When you speak from your heart, we get the deal every time. I’m not the least bit afraid. I support you completely.”
After the others left the meeting, John and I spent the day designing a seminar that compared our products truthfully and realistically and really showed people how to pick the best product for their business, which wasn’t necessarily one of our products. We invited potential customers and people who could recommend us to their clients to free seminars with awesome luncheons. Soon we had so much business that we could not handle it. I laid off the rest of my sales force. John became my project manager. Our marketing budget dropped from ten percent of our gross revenue (excluding all the expensive sales commissions) to near zero. We only had to pay for the luncheon food.
That decision changed my life. I felt like my Self again, and I was. My Self told the truth regardless of what others thought about it or what the situation appeared to merit. And it had a real power. I didn’t change the business world or my competition. I changed my mind. I decided being my Self was reward enough. I let go of something I could not tolerate anymore without looking back or doubting. I was so willing to suffer the consequences of my decision that I didn’t have to. I really let go of business competition completely in one day. It isn’t always that easy. I was in the masculine role; I had John’s completely support, and I wasn’t psychologically reversed at all on the subject. The thought of never competing felt completely calm; the thought of competing again felt like death.
Looking back I can see that the saying, “The truth hurts,” which comes from the illusion, died within me that day. What hurts is believing and trying to live by what the illusion erroneously says is true. Dropping competition from our minds changed everything 180 degrees. But we didn’t become weird or the New Age business in town. We didn’t become spiritual. God didn’t turn around the business. I became authentic as the leader; and my employees happily followed. We became the people you could trust because we would tell you the truth. And that experience made me want truth in every aspect of my life. Sadly, the other aspects were much harder to flip since I lacked the masculine role.
Competition had been killing me; I realized that. I could now see that competition was slowly killing everyone, but they could not see it. In fact, they thought that the emotions they generated in competition created a sort of raw power. That was clearly my husband’s point of view; he had the full-blown competition psychological reversal going on.
Much like people misinterpret their emotions as excitement, hope, or romance. Competitors see their emotions as power. They think that if they hate their competitor, they can intimidate them and win. Some do see value in a calm mind but can’t sustain it. They suppress their fear of losing only to have it explode at the worst possible times. American politics is full of examples of this very strange phenomenon. Or look at the mean-ass soccer moms screaming at the refs. Notice how many sports stars blow all their money and can’t reinvent themselves after their day in the sunshine ends. Even lottery winners rarely do well. If you look beyond the temporary high of winning, you see that competition doesn’t create freedom or joy. It eventually asks that a price be paid for a false high that is over and gone.
We’re so blind about this subject that we act like someone who doesn’t want to compete is flawed; we should ask them to rule the world. Only one who completely lacks competition can lead with love. Only one who isn’t competing for the position, role, or victory can think beyond the election or their own selfish needs and desires.
Winners and Losers
Later in life, after I sold my business, my oldest son had a dream to become a pro golfer. He was very good and was playing in a local tournament. He was in first place by nine or ten strokes. Suddenly, he started to screw up with only a few holes to go. I was his caddy, and when he got into the cart I said, “Are you throwing the game?” He said, “I can’t stand it mom. I’m embarrassing the other kids. I can’t stand to watch them mess up. Their parents are yelling at them.” I told him to just ignore it all for now, and we’d deal with it when we got home. I told him to just play the way he knew how, and forget that it was a competition. I could feel his empathy was crushing him. He wasn’t the problem. The other parents were. They were so focused on winning that they were causing their kids to play poorly. I was simply enjoying the day with my son. He could have missed every stroke for all I cared. These stupid parents were making it easy for my son and so hard for their own child. They weren’t building character; they were creating future monster adults that would one day fight to win at all cost because they will forever imagine punishment if they lose. The fact that the other parents were ragging on their kids wasn’t my son’s problem. I realized that he couldn’t help but think he was causing them problem, and there just wasn’t enough time between holes to explain projection and roles to him.
He did win, but only by a couple of strokes. And the win wasn’t very satisfying because he felt like no one really played their best game. He quit golf soon after that. I understood. He still had a heart; and I realized his True Self really won that day. That was enough for me. Pro golf had been his dream for a long time. He’d trained like Tiger Woods to be the best, and yet the desire faded very quickly. It wasn’t a real desire; and he learned that by recognizing that his dream would require him to do something that he would never be happy doing.
I wasn’t much help at that time since I couldn’t see how my business experience of win-win would translate into his golf career. After all, there isn’t any such thing as a career in just playing a round of golf without a tournament. People don’t pick you as the winner because of your talents; they expect you to play the game and compete. However, in hindsight, he won that tournament by doing something very right; we just couldn’t see it when he got caught up in the other player’s emotions. We thought he won because he competed the best or had the most talent. He won because he loved playing the game, and he wasn’t competing. It actually was very much like my realization that I didn’t want to compete in business. He made a mistake that many of us make when we do something from our True Self; we seem too good at it. It looks too easy. He felt responsible for the other player’s predicament, but he wasn’t. That was their problem, or their parents’ problem. It made sense that he’d fall into this trap, because I then remembered a similar situation from my childhood. I need to clean up my memory to free him.
Then I understand that he could have continued to golf. But he would have had to learn to focus only on his own mind like I describe in the success article. He would have had to let go of emotions that arose when he saw others competing or parents badgering their children. He’d have to allow his example to make a statement. Quitting or losing really just made the statement that those other parents’ very bad behavior worked. He’d have to become a very different sort of player, not as focused on the physical ability as the mental ability to stay in his love for the game. He’d have to play in a competition without competing.
I suspect that if he continued down that path, he would have been a great golfer. But we don’t just have one path in life. There is a happy ending to the story. He decided to take up dance at 17 or 18 years old (old by most dancing standards), and eventually he moved to LA to pursue his dream. He was horrified that it was all about competition again. Dancers compared themselves all the time. Auditions were just another form of rivalry or competition. I could see he wasn’t happy. But by this time, I’d cleaned up my baggage around my childhood incident, so I knew he’d resolve his problem. He was a different person than the kid that gave up golf.
He struggled for a couple of years, but did follow little moments of inspiration. Then he found a way to use his talent that wasn’t about competition. He created an on-line dance school so everyone and anyone could learn to dance for free. His YouTube channel is thriving, and people all over the world are learning to dance. Recently a Chris Brown dance video got 2,000,000 hits; and Chris Brown himself showed up at a class to thank him for teaching people to dance to his music. There is a True Self under Chris Brown’s rage. My son lives a cooperative, not competitive, life doing what he loves to do. In fact, many of the dancers that he once competed with are featured dancers on his channel. He not only enjoys the choreography, teaching, and dance. He’s found that he loves producing videos and traveling to studios that find him on YouTube. In many ways, he’s found something even better than golf by once again challenging the notion of competition.
Football and Other Such Sports
I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where sports can make or break someone’s day. It never made sense to me. I used to cry if the Steelers’ lost — not because I cared, but because my mom would be angry and take it out on us. Teachers would be harder on us in school, and friends weren’t friendly. Everyone was in a bitchy mood because of a stupid football team. People in Pittsburgh had false Gods called Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. Thank God they didn’t have a fucking basketball team.
I married someone from Pittsburgh and took this shit along with me even though we moved away from Pittsburgh. Now I had a husband whose moods were like waves controlled entirely by something outside of him — sports teams. I felt powerless to change it because it was always that way. So of course, my boys followed in their father’s footsteps and started to follow the Pittsburgh wave — high when they win; low when they lose. My current family was just like my family of origin. I had no choice but to let go of my powerless beliefs that I was unheard and impotent to change this situation. And I did.
After divorcing and moving to San Diego, my son missed going to football games. I found San Diego refreshing because there isn’t much in the way of competitive sports; people tend to enjoy playing sports for fun or perfecting individual sports like biking, hiking, skateboarding, or surfing. I decided to go with my son to a Chargers’ game. I suggested that we would not look at the score or fret over who was ahead or behind. What if we just looked for awesome plays, teamwork, and cooperation? Maybe I could even enjoy it. Afterwards, he admitted that it was a strange experience, but fun. We had some great conversations and took some cool selfies. He’s tried to incorporate that into his love of sports today. But this wasn’t really about my son. He was simply the catalyst for me to really see the truth behind all those memories. I’d often made myself wrong for not fitting in. My friends and family had made me wrong for not empathizing with their emotions. How could I? I didn’t share their belief that sports mattered.
During that game, I watched as men and women around me behaved like beasts getting their aggression out. It was the epitome of using your emotions backwards. And so it really answered my question about why competition could never exist in a true world. Now for those of you that think that I’m suggesting too much calmness, I’m okay with that. But just realize that when you pick up the illusion, you get the whole enchilada. You enjoy that moment of screaming delight in the football stadium, but then you have to watch your child get sad when they lose a game, your wife leaves because she isn’t interested in competing for your love, and your business goes bankrupt because you are too focused on winning. You have to put up with the wrong people being elected to leadership because they competed well. You can hold on to competition if you want. Just make sure you don’t judge calmness without appreciating all the rewards; make your decision consciously. Recognize that competition lives in the same world as drama. Too often people want to live by a double standard. They want the credit or the high when things go good, but they don’t want to take any blame when things go wrong because they’re now in the trough of the wave that was high a few hours or days ago.
You never know; you might find that you really do enjoy fishing on the edge of the river, smoking a cigar, and drinking a cold brew while talking with your son about creative projects and life. You might find that skateboarding is more enjoyable than pounding another man in the face. You don’t know until you try.
My Current Life
As I moved into this line of work, I appeared to be competing with the big coaches, teachers, preachers, and spiritual leaders. I had moments when I saw the money the self-help gurus charged for their illusory belief systems, while I made nothing giving away what I had for free. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t think it was unfair. I was back at that same moment when I decided to never compete in business. I was simply in a different part of the illusion. I’d have thoughts like no one wants what I have to offer; and I’d have to let that go. That thought was very persistent. I had thoughts like, “I’m too different. Or nobody will want to challenge their own mind.” I’d think that others had found a better way to freedom only to realize they were blowing smoke up people’s asses. I’d feel like others were spiritual, and I wasn’t. I’d fear that religious people would get mad at me and cast me into hell. I’d fear that my websites would be taken down by people in power who didn’t want me to expose them.
I had to face the collective illusion, and I realized why no one speaks honestly about it. The beliefs that arose for me cause most people to just try to fix the illusion. They are terrified of these thoughts, and they sit in our minds as a giant psychological reversal that says, “If I be myself and expose the lies, bad things will happen.” I’ll be humiliated; I’ll be killed. I’ll be banished, judged, or tortured. These beliefs have been around for a very long time. And they stop people everyday from exposing the illusion and freeing themselves and others. At the time, I was married to the perfect person to keep my beliefs in tact — someone who totally believed all of these fears and more. And I thought I had to fix his fears to free myself; after all, he was my husband. That’s how we feel in the feminine role. We think we have to get the masculine to change their mind. But, fortunately, we don’t.
I had to realize that his fears were creating his limited experience, his illusion. They were all just beliefs planted in his mind as a child, and they looked true and felt true to him because he’d been psychologically reversed to march into hell for what appeared to be a heavenly cause; but these beliefs weren’t true. They felt horrible to me. I didn’t want to live in his illusion. But for some reason he still did. Competition to me was death, but to him it was loving memories of watching games and competing with his brothers and sons. He wouldn’t really have had to give that up. He just needed to put it in the right perspective so he could see beyond it.
Ultimately the real competition is within. Do we want our false self memories, which we think are love and freedom, or do we want to take a risk and find out what real love and real freedom are like. It’s a choice we make in every moment of every day. No one can make it for us.
This was a much bigger game than business. Business people don’t consider themselves spiritual or necessarily good. They just see themselves as good players. Also I was in the feminine role to my husband, which made these beliefs seem powerful and true.
Exposing spiritual people, even if they aren’t spiritual or good, can look competitive, arrogant, and pretentious to those still locked in the illusion. I had to let go of the fear of appearing evil or bad. I had to know myself and allow that to be more important than what others thought of me. I had to redefine success from within. I had to make sure that I had no competitor left in me so I didn’t end up battling everyone. I had to keep letting go of the perceptions that others had of me. I had to realize that they projected their perceptions on me as if they were true; however, they were really witnessing their own beliefs about their own illusory world. We see what we believe everywhere we look when we look through false eyes; and sadly we never see anyone but ourselves. Their perceptions felt horrible because they weren’t true for me. Their illusion was their problem, and I could remain free of it if I discriminated and let go. If I believed them, I’d fall into depression and feel powerless again. I rose and fell many, many times.
It’s like the December 21, 2012, television show. I had no thought of needing a safe hideout because I didn’t share their beliefs; and therefore, I had no fear. And nothing happened because as long as some people, or maybe even only one totally clear person, knows that there is nothing to fear, the false selves can’t manifest their beliefs. The True Self is that powerful. The cynics, comedians, and disobedient two-year olds keep us safe and sound.
Yesterday, I went to see the movie, “The Giver,” based on the popular book. The Giver saw beyond the boundaries when no one else could. And the story’s message is that when one person goes completely beyond the boundaries, the entire illusion disappears for everyone. I’ve often wondered if that could be true. It seems possible. If one person could become so clear that they could see the whole thing as false, it seems that the illusion would completely dissolve. Or maybe it will be a joint effort of many of us all breaking up the illusion in different places until it completely falls apart. That dissolution could happen in an instant that looks like the end of the world to the believers, but is the beginning of the world to those who remember freedom. It seems that this is the only competition that we must win.
Competition Didn’t Win
Over and over again, competition has tried to take over my career, my family, or my mood; but if I got clear, it didn’t win. I could still live in the same world as everyone else, enjoying the same things without it affecting my day. The illusion promises things within the illusion that we can only get by becoming free of it. The illusion gives us winning for a moment, a temporary high; the True Self gives us a permanent win that we can never lose. It’s our free will to choose, but I think more would choose the True Self if the illusion wasn’t such a damn good liar.
In every case, my truth did eventually affect other people. After making that radical change in my business mindset, my competition followed my lead. Technology businesses were notorious for being cut throat and aggressive. But suddenly, all the competition changed to cooperation. Almost every month, a competitor brought me a deal that they couldn’t do, but I could. Likewise, I helped them out as a partner at times so they could handle an engagement that was beyond their capacity. My son found his place in the world of cooperation and has had a large impact on others.
Competition is simply false. It looks a lot bigger and better than it is. We are all one tribe, one True Self, split into many harmonious parts. We just forgot that and thought we had to compete. But we can remember again.