I'm getting really good at this Phase 2 thing, and I could not have created more brilliant support. This experience was designed to provoke discomfort and inquiry and processing and it's worked marvelously, not to mention it provided the added benefit of inspiring a blog entry. Yet, when I first realized I wasn't invited, I couldn't resist trying to fill in the blanks -- just like you're probably doing right now.
Who were they? What was the event? Why wouldn't they have invited you? Did your invitation get lost in the mail? Were they real friends or Facebook friends?
But as a favor to all of us with OCD, I'll stop with the speculation. Let's solve the more pressing questions of the Kennedy assassination, Bigfoot and where UFOs come from first.
Because as we like to say in Busting Loose, the details aren't really important, and in the largest sense, they aren't. The discomfort, and the processing of it, are paramount.
And perhaps just as importantly, I realized that focus on what my other aspects did or did not do was about power outside of me, and focusing on that would distract me from embracing the disappointment and hurt I felt (which, of course, I created), and questioning the illusory nature of relationships.
Regardless, this experience has served to illustrate to me one of the biggest challenges in Busting Loose, or practicing any other spiritual path.
From the time some doctor writes your name on the birth certificate, we are conditioned to fill in the blanks.
That's what our eyes do. That's what our brains do. That's what our ears do. That's what our memories do. That's what our spiritual quests do. That's what we are programmed to do. If something is missing, we automatically fill it in. Otherwise, the hologram might appear to be incomplete. We would see it for its inherent falseness -- and then the game would be over. That's no fun.
I got the first hint of this phenomenon back in my journalism days, after I began recording all my interviews, then comparing the actual transcripts to the notes and quotes I had scribbled in my note pad. The differences were amazing and to me, a reporter with a pretty good record of accuracy, appalling. I had literally been filling in words that were not spoken so that I could create a story.
Science has revealed numerous instances of how filling in the blanks helps us survive. Our brains, for instance, automatically fill in holes in our field of our vision -- just create it out of nothing but neural connections. Otherwise, like one woman described in the book "Phantoms in the Brain," cartoon characters might show up in the blank spots in your peripheral vision. If texting didn't get you killed while driving, watching re-runs of "The Simpsons" during rush hour traffic surely would.
Can't actually see? No problem. Scientists have documented something called "blindsight," wherein some people who are blind because of brain damage respond to objects, images, even facial expressions they cannot consciously see.
It's also well documented that many amputees feel real pain from phantom limbs. Imagine trying to fix that hangnail.
From an emotional and psychological standpoint, we fill in the blanks every second of our waking lives with thoughts, sentiments, assumptions, expectations, judgments and interpretations about our families, our friends, our lovers, our jobs, our aspirations, our politics and our choice of imported bottled waters.
Hell, I'm filling up this page, because I was uncomfortable with it being blank.
But no matter how many blanks we consciously try to fill in, we never have the whole picture really, and even if we did, what would it matter? We know by now we can't think our way out of the "problems" we create for ourselves in the hologram.
Journalism also taught me a simple, but interesting interviewing trick -- just shut up after someone answers a question. Nine times out of ten, three to five seconds of my silence would prompt the interviewee to resume talking. Some of the best responses resulted from the fact my subjects were uncomfortable with the silence. But one out of ten had the awareness and discipline to just sit there, waiting for the next question.
That's probably not a bad way to live, instead of pretending life is a game of Madlibs.
Truth is in the silence, in the emptiness. How you get there -- meditation, a hot cup of chamomile, bungee jumping -- is your choice.
But by not rushing to fill in the blanks, you are just beginning to find the truth.