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#3209 - Thursday, June 26, 2008 - Editor: Jerry Katz

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We've covered a world of nondual perspectives, but this is the first time I've seen anything good on nonduality and investing. It's not the most hard core treatment of nonduality, nor should it be. It focuses on knowing who you are and how beliefs and emotions are the ether that keeps you asleep. The article is by Dr. Van K. Tharp. Investor or not, I think you'll enjoy this article.

About Van Tharp: Trading coach, and author, Dr. Van K. Tharp is widely recognized for his best-selling book Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom and his outstanding Peak Performance Home Study program - a highly regarded classic that is suitable for all levels of traders and investors. You can learn more about Van Tharp at



Why Knowing Yourself Is Important to Trading Success

Lately, however, I’m beginning to realize that there is a lot more.  If you’ve been working on the Peak Performance Course, much of what you’ve been learning is the structure of the ego and how to reprogram yourself to function at a super level.  It’s like Neo (from the movie The Matrix) taking the red pill instead of the blue pill.  Once you’ve taken the red pill, you can start reprogramming yourself to do all sorts of super things.

Object Consciousness

But there is a level beyond the red pill. That's what Neo realizes at the end of the original Matrix movie.  He’s not part of the matrix at all.  He’s beyond the matrix.  And when he realizes that, his power becomes much greater than anything in the matrix.  Although I’ve seen the answer for many years, I’m now beginning to understand it from an experiential level.  I recently heard Eckhart Tolle say that there are two types of consciousness, “object consciousness” and “space consciousness.”  Object consciousness identifies with the objects in consciousness.  A thought or belief comes to you, and you believe that you are that thought or belief or emotion.  For example, someone might say:

         I am very sick.

         I am angry.

         I am trading well today.

Those are all examples of object consciousness.  Information flows through you and you think that you are that information.  You are your beliefs.  You are your emotions.  You are the subpersonality that seems to be in control of you at this time.  When someone is in total objective consciousness, they are very "asleep."  If your head is full of meaningless random thoughts and energies, and if you think that’s who you are, then you are in for a lot of pain and suffering.

Suppose you keep losing in the markets, and you suddenly adopt the belief that your system is not good.  If you have that belief, then you’ll probably stop trading it.  And you might become quite emotional about the belief, since it might be charged by your reactions to the losses you incurred while trading it.  Think of the pain that comes from saying to yourself, “My system no longer works – I’ve lost a lot of money.  I’m a big fool and I’ve lost a lot of money.  Oh, poor me!”

But let’s look at that belief without the emotion. Your belief is that your system no longer works.  If you’ve been trading a long term trend following system in today’s market, you might have such a belief.  But wouldn’t a more useful belief be “I have a great trend following system but it doesn’t work well in volatile sideways and volatile downward markets”?  However, until you thoroughly examine the belief to determine if it is useful, you will probably think it is a fact.  And if you think you are the belief, you will suffer a lot.

Going to a New Level – Space Consciousness

Remember that beliefs are your filters to reality.  They shape your reality.  So it is important to continually look at your beliefs to see if they support you.  In fact, most of the work I’ve been doing with traders over many, many years, has been to simply have them look at their beliefs and emotions so that they can reprogram themselves.  But such reprogramming is hard to do 1) if you think your beliefs are facts (meaning they are real) and 2) if they are highly charged.  I’ve usually had to get rid of a lot of charge to help people with important belief changes.  However, I suspect that I’m going to be taking things to a new level shortly by moving beyond such beliefs.

And what do I mean by that?  Let’s take one more step now and look at what Eckhart Tolle calls “space consciousness.”  By space consciousness, Tolle implies that you are not the objects flowing though your consciousness at all.  You are the AWARENESS of those objects.  But you are so powerful at creating your life, that if you decide that those objects (beliefs and emotions) are you, then you will create that reality for yourself.  But if you decide that you are just the awareness of your beliefs and emotions, then they are just things moving through you.

I’ve meditated for many years.  I’ve heard the statement that you are not your beliefs and you are not your emotions.  But when you suddenly understand that from an experiential viewpoint, it changes everything. 

You can learn more about Van Tharp at

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