Tharp's Thoughts Weekly Newsletter (View On-Line)
Suffering is Running Away from Suffering by Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.
Quantitative Easing—Panacea or Sleight of Hand? Pt. 1 by D.R. Barton, Jr.
October is all about Transformation!
Oneness Awakening Workshop
Peak Performance 101 Workshop
Peak Performance 202 Workshop
Suffering is Running Away from Suffering
My transformational journey started in 1982. In that year, I started the Workbook for Students from A Course in Miracles (ACIM), and it took me four long years to complete the 365 daily lessons. There were times when I wanted to throw the book away and never look at it again. Sometimes, I’d go for a couple of months without doing the daily lessons. During those times, I felt a lot of pain. Conversely, whenever I was actually doing the lessons, I’d feel very little pain. Yet, for some reason, my ego would trick me into blaming the pain on the lessons, telling me, “See what happened when you did those lessons? You felt all this pain.”
Today, I see something similar as I actively work with about 30 Super Traders. Super Traders in Part I of the program are supposed to work through 20 Super Trader lessons. They’re also supposed to send me a weekly report on their progress, even if they haven’t done anything during the week. The report lets me know what’s going on in their lives and gives me ideas for suggestions that will help them overcome whatever roadblocks they might be facing. Those assignments don’t sound so hard, do they?
When considering potential candidates for the Super Trader program, I look at a number of criteria, but especially at the answers to two key questions:
- Are you willing to work on yourself? I can usually get a good idea of this by seeing them work on themselves in either the Oneness workshop or Peak 101; that’s why attending one of those two workshops is a prerequisite for admittance into the program.
- Are you committed? This has been a really hard one for me to measure. In fact, I’ve found I really can’t do it, so I just have people fill out a commitment statement. If they can convince me that they’re committed to doing the work, I usually accept them. However, there seems to be little if any correlation between my estimate of their commitment and what I see once they’re in the program.
A few of the people currently in the program have never sent me a weekly report or completed even one lesson. They paid their money and signed a commitment letter but never did anything more. Usually, it’s for one of two reasons: 1) they immediately ran into a roadblock and did a dance with it, or 2) they started the first lesson but became so scared of looking at themselves that it stopped them cold.
I’ve also had others who do some of the lessons; they progress nicely and send me reports, but then, all of a sudden, the lessons and reports stop coming. I send emails asking them at least to send me weekly reports so that I know what’s going on, but very often, those messages go unanswered. Just as I did when I spent those four years doing the lessons from ACIM, they may have started thinking, “there’s too much pain when I look at myself,” and decided to stop. Almost immediately, pain and suffering began to surface, and they blamed it on the self-work they were doing.
My guess is that this also happens to many people who get the Peak Performance Home Study Course. They’re really excited when they first order it, but when it arrives and they see how big it is and how much work it entails, they decide, “I’ll do it later, when I have time.” Meanwhile, their issues continue to dominate their lives as the thing that could help them just sits on the shelf collecting dust.
Then there are those who either skip parts of the course or simply stop doing the work entirely when they get to sections that really start to reveal their issues, usually with the excuse that “it’s too hard.” Later, when they’re in a lot of pain, they start to think, “I never should have looked at that course; it brought up too much pain,” when in reality, the pain was actually being handled and processed while they were doing the course. Issues were being solved. It’s only when they stopped that their unresolved issues began to surface.
I believe that the Oneness Blessing helps in this regard by accelerating the pain processing that occurs when you work through the course. The blessing actually seems to change the brain by slowing down the activity of the temporal lobes (which make you feel separate from the world) and speeding up the activity in the frontal cortex (which, among other things, seems to heighten the possibility for communicating with your Higher Self). I’ve seen huge changes in my Super Traders since we started giving Oneness events as part of the VTI curriculum.
As you make changes, you get higher highs (feelings of absolute bliss) and higher lows (when the universe says, “you’re ready to deal with this issue now, so look at it”). But when the higher lows are compared with the bliss of various awakened states, they seem awful. If you resist them because you only want the bliss, the resistance turns the issue into a Category 5 hurricane. What you resist tends to persist.
How can you become more present and aware? I could talk about some of the experiences of my Super Traders, but because I know “me” best, I’ll talk about some of my own practices instead. My normal routine is to wake up and spend 20 minutes meditating on that day’s ACIM lesson. I write down the lesson notes in my iPad. I meditate for about 15 minutes on the lesson and ask my Internal Guidance to comment. Do I really understand the lesson, or is there something I’m not getting? Typically, I get a great answer, especially if I missed some important aspect of the lesson.
I also fill out a gratitude journal and a manifesting journal. I do some reading in a spiritual book like A Thousand Names for Joy, have a dialogue with my Internal Guidance, and do the five rites from the book, The Fountain of Youth. Sometimes that whole process takes several hours, but I usually feel incredible by the time I finish.
Sometimes, though, I skip a few days or even weeks, or I make promises to my Internal Guidance about what I’ll do that day, only to remember the next day that I didn’t keep any of them. When that happens, I feel terrible.
When I return for guidance, the conversation usually goes something like this:
Beloved, I didn’t keep my promise to you, and I haven’t even bothered to talk to you for four days.
Why are you living in the past? Are you here with me right now?
Are we talking right now?
Right now, in this moment, do any of those problems exist?
Right now, talking with me, are you at peace? Do you feel joy?
Then stop living in the past and the future. Right now, I am with you. Your suffering only occurs when you are in the past or projecting the past into the future. Right now, in this exact moment, you have everything you need, and everything is perfect. You are filled with peace and joy. Isn’t that true?
Yes, it’s always true.
So just realize that all your problems occur when you leave me and go into the past or the future. Just stay in the now.
What I’ve noticed about my dialogue with Her is that there is such unconditional love. She is always there for me, and She never judges me. I might feel guilty about not keeping promises to Her, but She says that that’s only because I’m in the past. In the present moment, there is only peace and joy, and that’s where She dwells.
Most people spend a great deal of time in the past and the future. That’s where the suffering is. And the solution is very simple: Awareness. Be aware of the thoughts you’re believing. Realize that you are not those thoughts, just the awareness of those thoughts. When feelings come up, don’t run away; be willing to experience them. When you experience them, they disappear or even turn into joy. Suffering occurs when you run away from emotions. You don’t want to feel them, so you avoid them and don’t really experience them fully. This causes them to grow inside and attach to beliefs, which only reinforces them.
But as you clear out these issues and your level of consciousness grows, several things happen. First, you become happier. Your baseline level of happiness rises.
Second, your mind becomes quieter—and a quieter mind experiences less suffering.
Third, you can see the markets for what they are. When your mind is quiet, knowing what the markets are doing at any given moment becomes easy. Low-risk ideas seem to spring into your mind; what’s more, those ideas seem to work out. That’s what we call “trading in the now.”
For those of you who really want to accelerate your personal growth, we're having three different psychological/spiritual workshops in October, including another Oneness Awakening class on October 5-6th. If you think that now is the time to face your issues, move past the suffering that holds you back and become a peak performance trader, we encourage you to attend.
These are the last psychological workshops scheduled for this year, so they’re the last chance for anyone interested in qualifying for the Super Trader program in 2012.
Peak Performance 101 is a prerequisite for Peak Performance 202 and the Super Trader Program. It forms the most solid foundation for all of Dr. Tharp's principles for great trading.
To see the schedule, including dates, prices and location, click here.
Quantitative Easing—Panacea or Sleight of Hand?
Everyone who follows the financial markets knows that in the past several weeks, central banks in Europe and the U.S. have made widely publicized moves to add liquidity to the financial markets, a move known as “quantitative easing” (QE).
In the U.S. version, the Federal Open Market Committee pledged to buy $40 billion of mortgage-backed bonds monthly, with no defined “end date” for the program. This has led pundits to dub this round of quantitative easing “QE Infinity” or “QE Eternity.”
With the backdrop of an equities bull market that has more than doubled stock prices since the market bottomed in 2009, the question on the minds of many investors and traders is, “Will QE3 add fuel to the stock market bull?”
While QE3 was designed to help reduce unemployment (based on a convoluted thought process that we’ll have to save for another day), Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has been outspoken in his use of the stock market as a barometer for U.S. economic health. Will this new influx of money lead to higher stock prices? Let’s take a look at some data to see if we can arrive at a useful expectation.
Does Fed Easing = Higher Stock Prices?
Many pundits roll out a chart similar to the one below to show how stock prices rose as the Federal Reserve amassed assets over the past three years:
The chart is from an excellent QE3 debunking blog post by former analyst and money manager Denis Ouellet. Merely looking at this chart and jumping to the conclusion that previous QE efforts are the reason for the three-year stock market bull run is actually a logical fallacy known as “questionable cause.”
Dr. Sheldon Cooper, the fictional lead character in the hit TV show “The Big Bang Theory” (played wonderfully by actor Jim Parsons) is known for giving the Latin version of this fallacy: “Post hoc, ergo propter hoc,” which translates as, “after this, therefore because of this.” It’s also sometimes referred to as “Rooster Syndrome,” because it’s akin to believing that the sun rises because the rooster crows.
But correlation does not imply causation. The fact that two lines are heading up simultaneously doesn’t necessarily mean that the movement in one is causing movement in the other. Could there have been some other cause? What else could have driven stock prices up over the past three years? The rebound from a severe recession and debt crisis is definitely one possibility. Certainly one of the most time-honored drivers of stock price is corporate earnings, so let’s look S&P 500 price and an earnings-per-share trend for the same period:
One of the pillars of fundamental analysis is that earnings drive stock prices. That being the case, this earnings chart is perhaps an even more plausible explanation for the rise in stock prices. Furthermore, most analysts would agree that the main driver for this three-year earnings improvement was prudent cost cutting, not revenue growth. In other words, QE provided little help for the revenue side of the earnings equation.
Equity Pricing and Beyond
The tendrils of quantitative easing pervade many areas of current financial debate. In our next article, we’ll further explore the earnings vs. liquidity argument and see what other areas are being affected by the massive infusions of capital. As always, I welcome your comments at drbarton “at” vantharp.com.
Great Trading, D. R.
After a year-long hiatus, Florian Grummes is again publishing English versions of his Midas Touch gold and silver reports. If you’d like to see his latest analysis of gold, click here.
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