Start with the idea that how you do anything is how you do everything, and it will empower you to investigate how you relate—not just in a love relationship, but also with yourself and all others. This defuses the mindset of looking to fix what is “broken” and sets you on the path to having magical relationships in all areas of your life. Your DNA is unique and in every cell of your body. The way you relate to life and to others is also unique to you. The way you operate is predictable, so it will repeat itself over and over again. Of course, there will be instances when you do not react as you usually do, but if you look at the overall pattern of
your behavior, you will start to identify these predictable, recurring ways of relating. In other words, in certain situations with certain types of people, you usually respond the same way. Using our anthropological/transformational approach, if you become aware of the way you function, behaviors that
have heretofore interfered with or destroyed relationships can be identified. Then the Principles of Instantaneous Transformation again come into play. If you realize that you can have related only the way you did until you became aware of your behaviors (Second Principle) and if you do not judge what you see, these mechanical behaviors will complete themselves (Third Principle), creating the possibility for magical relationships. Of course, if you resist what you discover, this will reinforce your automatic, reflexive behaviors and keep them around (First Principle).


People have the idea that if they change their location, it will change their lives, but this is not the case. Here is an example: Jack moved from Colorado to New York to get away from a dead-end job, difficulties with his associates, and a relationship that was going nowhere. Within five months, he had alienated most of the people who had befriended him upon his arrival and had subsequently quit his new place of employment. Jack thought the dating scene in New York was brutal; everyone was totally unfair, and he needed a change. He picked up and moved to Texas. In this new location, things turned from bad to worse. He started a new business and quickly got into legal troubles. After a long and costly series of dealings with the law, he promised to change his ways, and the authorities let him go with a mere “slap on the wrist.” So on Jack went to California, where he started the same type of business with another dubious partner and he immediately got into similar troubles with business associates as well as with the California state and federal authorities.
Even though he changed his location, Jack kept creating basically the same circumstances. The same scenario kept recurring wherever he went. People initially liked him, went out of their way to support him, and were always disappointed when his true colors became apparent. Even though he met new people in these different places, somehow he managed to create the same outcome, over and over.

Of course, Jack’s story is an extreme example, but it typifies how personal patterns follow people wherever they go. Have you ever noticed that similar interpersonal dynamics between you and others develop over and over? This is not to suggest that you shouldn’t move or find a new boyfriend or girlfriend. What we are suggesting is that the most exciting journey is the one of self-discovery. When you know yourself and are able to dissolve the mechanical responses to your life, then the primary person you are relating to—you—will be an excellent companion.

We had a participant come to one of our winter retreats who was a victim of spousal abuse, having been hit, bitten, and beaten. Even the family pet had been threatened with bodily harm.
Here is what happened: Jim’s first wife, Rita, was abusive (yes, women can be abusive, too). She would regularly fl y into a rage and had once even physically attacked a motorist whom she found offensive. Jim finally found the courage to dissolve this marriage. Rita was not going to change; she was unwilling to be responsible for her anger and how she expressed it. So Jim found a new relationship. It started well, but shortly he discovered that he wasn’t any happier. His new partner was not physically abusive, but  communications between them broke down and physical intimacy was rare. Soon Jim discovered that his partner was having affairs. Life moved on, and eventually Jim met and fell in love with the woman who is now his wife. Although Jim and his wife, Dahlia, are happily married and have been for years, at first the
seeds for disharmony were there. In the early stages of all three relationships, Jim was excited, attentive, and loving. As the weeks and months progressed, his habitual way of relating emerged. He became frantic at work, stressed, and less communicative, and each of his partners felt neglected. Resentments grew, intimacy ended, and Jim and his mate would fight.

Because we were a part of Jim’s life during all three relationships, we were able to see that he related in a similar manner with all three partners. However, each of these three people dealt with the stresses of his mechanical way of relating with mechanical, reactive behaviors of their own. His first wife had a violent predisposition, and his way of being evoked her rage. His second partner was more quietly aggressive, and the way they related resulted in promiscuous behavior. Dahlia had a different predisposition. When upset,
she traditionally became quiet, clingy, insecure, and depressed. She would want to stay home every night and resented the time that Jim gave to anyone, even his clients.

Here is how Jim and Dahlia went from having a normal, quietly unhappy relationship to creating a great one: First, each of them realized that when upset, they had ways of relating that were not conducive to creating a magical relationship. With our coaching, Dahlia spoke up about what was bothering her, and Jim actually listened without defending himself. He didn’t judge himself for how he was being, and interestingly enough,
Dahlia didn’t judge him either. She just wanted him to hear her, to be more aware of her, to know how she felt. She wanted him, the man she fell in love with, not the frenzied fellow he had become.

Actually, all three of Jim’s partners wanted his attention, and they all had different ways of expressing their displeasure.

We are not saying that Jim caused the violence, the affairs, or the depression of his partners. What we are saying is that your unexamined behavior patterns will link up with your partner’s mechanics and produce problems. Should you stay in a relationship that is violent, for instance, because you have evoked unfinished business in your partner? Of course not. Our point is that your partner is not behaving badly in a vacuum. As we said before, there is no good one and no bad one in a relationship. As Jim became aware of the mechanical ways in which he distanced himself from his partners both emotionally and physically, then he and Dahlia were finally able to express and live from the passion they had for one another and their passion for life.

Now that you have a basic introduction to Instantaneous Transformation, awareness, and our anthropological approach to relationship, we will transport you to one of our New York City Monday evening seminars as experienced from Ariel’s point of view. Come ride along and immerse yourself in transformation and relationship from our perspective. In the light and easy format of our seminars, people have discovered personal well-being and have transformed their ability to relate. Join us as we meet some amazing people and see the natural unfolding that is a hallmark of true transformation.

The Monday evening meeting was really beginning to cook.
As I looked around to scan the faces and survey what was happening, I smiled to myself. It was hard to believe that only one hour ago, Shya and I had been standing outside enjoying the balmy air of an Indian summer evening. On the horizon, the sky had been fading to that really dark indigo blue that I have
loved ever since I was a child. Sometimes it still surprises me that even between Manhattan’s tall buildings, the beauty of a night sky can grab my heart and give it a gentle tug. Soon after admiring the sky, Shya and I had walked into the building and went into the auditorium we had been renting for these weekly seminars. As the room began to fill with participants, I felt a light breath on the left side of my neck, and my body responded with goose bumps rippling down my left side. Smiling, I turned to give Shya a squeeze and appreciated his new haircut.

We had gone to our friend and master hair cutter, Michael, that day because it was time to get a trim. As Shya sat in the chair, covered with a big plastic apron to catch the shorn hair, Michael had been grappling with what exactly it is that we do in our workshops.
“Is it like the EST training or like the Landmark Forum?” Michael asked while performing a particularly neat feathering cut on the top shock of hair on Shya’s head. “No, it is not like EST or Landmark at all. I guess you could see some similarities if you looked through a system that was based in EST, but then again, if you looked through a system that was based in psychotherapy, it would look like psychotherapy, or if your background was based in Zen, it would look like Zen.”

“We even had someone compare us once to Amway,” I added with a grin.
Michael looked at me incredulously. “But Amway is a company that sells household products. How can anyone even think to compare what you do to that?” he asked rather indignantly in his rich French accent.
“Well, actually, Michael, it isn’t so strange a comparison,” Shya continued, fl ashing a grin back in my direction as if to say, Ariel, you’re really mischievous today. You got him going. “See, people can only draw upon what they know. Let’s look at it this way. You know everything that you know, right?”
“Yes.” Michael resumed feathering. “But you also don’t know everything that you don’t know.
So when I tell you about our transformational seminars, the natural process for your mind is to understand. Your mind will fi t what I say into a framework it already knows and is comfortable with. It simply deletes the nuances of what it doesn’t know and puts in what it assumes is a reasonable facsimile.”
Shya looked thoughtful for a moment before continuing, “My father used to like to sing nursery rhymes to me. I grew up by the ocean in Far Rockaway, New York, and I loved it when he would take me by the hand and we’d go down to the seaside. By the time I was five or so, I used to like to watch the people
in the ocean on hot summer days, and my dad would sing, ‘My body lies over the ocean. My body lies over the sea. My body lies over the ocean. Oh, bring back my body to me.’ It was one of my favorite songs.”
Michael began chuckling as he reached for his electric razor to clean up some of the fi ne hairs on the back of Shya’s neck.

“Several years later, I discovered that the true lyrics were, ‘My bonnie lies over the ocean,’ but as a youngster, a bonnie wasn’t in my vocabulary yet. What Ariel and I do has a flavor that is uniquely our own. If our work were based in anything, it would be based in not punishing yourself for being yourself and not having to change or fi x yourself to try to fit some kind of ideal you’ve been taught as to how you are supposed to be. We have discovered that when a person gets into the moment, his or her life transforms instantaneously.” “Do you prepare for your groups?” “There are certain workshops, such as our business courses, that we outline, but even so, we leave room to be inspired by the participants themselves. If we didn’t take into consideration who was coming, it would be like planning on baking a cake without knowing what ingredients were being delivered to the kitchen.”

Later that Monday night, when Shya murmured in my ear, “Looks like our cake is arriving, Ariel,” I had fun looking at the “ingredients” who were showing up.

As I saw friends, acquaintances, and new faces round the corner and enter the lobby, I chuckled to myself as I imagined all of us entering the room for the evening as if it were the oven and we would all be baked when we emerged, yet none of us knew what was on the menu.

Seven-thirty rolled around, and it was time to begin. Shya and I took our places in the tall director’s chairs that made it easier to see and be seen by all. An expectant hush fell over the room.

“Good evening. I’m Ariel for those of you we haven’t met.”
“And I am Shya. Welcome to our Instantaneous Transformation evening. Tonight, it is possible to open the door to living in the moment and discover how to have a truly satisfying life. Tonight is designed to allow you to discover and dissolve those mechanical behaviors that rob you of spontaneity, joy, creativity, and relationship. The theme tonight is Instantaneous Transformation. Ariel and I have discovered that when you get into the moment, your life transforms. And by transformation, we mean a quantum shift in all aspects of your life, a shift where you are returned to a sense of well-being and you are able to respond effectively and appropriately to your environment. By the simple act of awareness, which is an observing without judging what you see about yourself or others, it is possible to melt the barriers to happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction.” Many folks began to nod their heads in agreement with Shya’s words. His description was consistent with their experience of transformation. I also noticed a number of new folks who were beginning to acquire that intense look that seems to come along when the mind is sorting out a particularly difficult
problem. I could relate to the disorientation I read on many of the faces. I imagine I had a similar look when I first learned to use a personal computer.
Sitting in front of the Macintosh screen that blustery November morning, I had felt so inept. There were words that I thought I knew. They were supposedly in the English language, but even so they made only limited sense. I found the manual— with its new application of old, familiar words—daunting.
“Take the mouse and drag it across the mouse pad to move the cursor on your screen,” it read. The only mouse I had ever been familiar with had been the little gray and white kind with the quivery whiskers from my childhood, and surely anything that cursed on a screen should be censored. And even when I did
understand the concepts and the new usage for these words, my mouse-clicking skills left a lot to be desired at fi rst. Now it is hard to remember what it was like not to use a computer, but at first I had to embrace learning something new. So as I looked at the faces of those in front of us, I had compassion for their process of rediscovering familiar words used in a new context.

“There are actually things that you can do that will keep you from being in the moment,” Shya continued.
“And we are going to tell you what they are so that you can do them if you wish to avoid the phenomenon of Instantaneous Transformation,” I finished and smiled.
Folks shifted in their chairs, laughing appreciatively. In the front row, Shya saw an earnest face looking back at him. An attractive African-American woman in her mid-thirties sat with pen poised, ready to record the main points.
“Hi. What’s your name?” he asked.
The woman checked behind herself to make sure he had been addressing her. “Vanessa.”
“Hi, Vanessa. It’s nice to see that you are here obviously looking to get the most from the evening.”
Vanessa’s shoulders gave a hint of relaxing.
“May I make a suggestion?” She nodded.
“We recommend that you don’t take notes.”
Vanessa smiled a brilliant smile and lowered her pen.
“See, taking notes will take you away from here. You will be collecting data or information to apply to your life later to fix what you think has been wrong with it in the past. You can’t work on yourself to have your life transform. Remember, we said that just getting into this moment is enough. In order to take notes, you have to translate, abridge, and write down what is said into an understandable format for later. But what is of use
here tonight is not easily understood.

“For instance, you can understand what makes a sunset become a brilliant red, but understanding is not the same as the intensity of the experience. Perhaps you can just hang out, relax, and see what happens. If you get ‘present,’ you won’t need any written pointers or guidelines or tips to take away from tonight.

“See, Vanessa, this brings us to the second thing that will keep people from being in the moment—their agendas. An individual’s ideas and goals of what they want severely limit the infinite possibilities that life has to offer, because they will scan for what they think is needed in order to be happy and filter out so many other rich and varied things. When a person is striving for something, it is usually based on the idea that what he or she has now is insufficient or what he or she did in the past was wrong. It’s funny, we’ve seen people come to our groups hungry for a job or to get a relationship or to have more fun in their lives, to name but a few agendas, and they are so serious about these goals that they miss this moment. And in this moment, an
available, attractive person may be sitting nearby but will be overlooked in the act of seeking. Others have literally talked the potential employers sitting next to them out of offering them a job because the out-of-work individuals were so busy trying to get ahead that they disregarded the people who had jobs to offer. You would be amazed at the number of people who are actually being serious about their search for fun. See if you can be here tonight and let go of trying to get ahead.”

Vanessa nodded thoughtfully. I could tell she was a little reluctant, but she was game to give it a go. Bending down, she placed her pen and pad under her chair so she wouldn’t be tempted and would be free to be there. As she sat up, Vanessa graced us with another brilliant and infectious smile. I appreciated that smile and also the fact that she had let that pad, her pen, and the idea to take notes really go. She took our suggestion and made it her own. Transformation was already happening here. Vanessa may have been reluctant at fi rst, but by the time she sat back up, she was truly there.

I shifted my focus to include the entire room. “We suggest you listen. And by that we mean really listen—not only to us but also to whatever anyone has to say. Get interested. Invest yourself in being here with totality. Watch where your mind wants to wander off, as if what is happening in your life in this moment is not important. Notice if you take exception to a word in order to miss the essence of what is being said.
“Most people think that they are listening when what they are really doing is completely different. Frequently people are actually agreeing or disagreeing. When you agree or disagree, you take what is being said and compare it to what you know, to the knowledge you have gathered from the past. Depending on what is in your knowledge bank, you will say to yourself, ‘Yes, that is true,’ or ‘No, I don’t agree with that.’ But this takes you out of the moment. You will naturally agree and disagree with things as the evening progresses. It’s a normal, automatic function of our minds. So don’t make yourself wrong or chastise yourself when
you see it happening. Just bring your attention, your awareness back to what is being said. That is all you need to do.

“Speaking of comparison,” I continued, “that is another function that will take you out of here. How many of you have ever read self-help books or articles, meditated, taken a personal growth class, or gone to therapy?”

Almost everyone raised his or her hand, and as I looked around, I noticed a man in the front who was slumped down, looking as if he were there under duress. This was just another weird seminar that his girlfriend, who was sitting on his left, had dragged him to. She was nudging him to get him to raise his hand because she had taken him with her to many different events, but there was no budging him.

“Your mind compares. We will say things tonight that may sound similar to things you have heard before because you all have a handicap. You are smart. And smart people, people who have worked on themselves, have the hardest time hearing things newly. In Zen, they talk about the beginner’s mind. See
if tonight you can be willing to let go of what you know and be here as if for the first time.

“Let’s see, what else will take you out of the moment?” I said, looking at Shya and then looking out to those assembled

there because, for now, I had run out of steam. There was a pause as we all contemplated the question.
“Proving and defending,” a familiar voice from the right side prompted. Shya and I smiled in unison at Roger. His comment had come from a rich background with us, and he was willing to share his expertise with others, even at the risk of looking foolish. Roger has bright red hair, freckles, and a dimple in his chin, and he is one of our dearest friends as well as our accountant and money manager.

“Go ahead and explain what you mean by proving and defending,” Shya said, giving him the challenge because he knew the story that Roger was about to relate. Immediately we were touched because our friend was about to reveal the foibles of his youth, the much lesser version of himself from more than fifteen years earlier when his business was young. “Well,” Roger began with a good-natured grin, “if you are here to prove anything, such as how smart you are, how you know better than Ariel and Shya do, then you will miss being here this evening. Actually, I am very familiar with defending or protecting a point of view. See, I am Ariel and Shya’s accountant . . .”

As Roger began to unashamedly tell his story, the morning he was referring to came into focus in my mind’s eye. We had met with him that day because Shya and I had decided that from then on, when possible, we would not spend money before we actually earned it. People often paid their tuition for our groups in advance, and we had gotten into the habit of spending the money as it came in. Our concern was that if for some reason people’s plans changed or we had to cancel an event for some unforeseen reason, we would not have the money to give back. We did not want to have to manipulate people to be in our groups because we had already spent their money. Shya and I had the idea to put payments that participants made in advance for groups into an escrow account and only release the funds to ourselves once we had actually earned them.

Enthusiastically we told Roger of the plan. He didn’t understand it. We explained it again. Still he looked dumbly at us. I tried to explain the concept again in very plain terms, like one of those story problems I had hated in math class as a child. I knew that this explanation would work. I was excited.
“Hang on, Shya, let me give him a great example,” I said, confident that this would do the trick. “Ready?”
Roger nodded. “Joe pays us for a workshop that he plans to attend. We spend the money. Two days later, Joe’s mother unexpectedly falls ill, and he has to fl y out to California to be with her. He misses the course. We want to refund his tuition, but we have already spent the money. Had we known better, we would have
held his money aside, in case there was an emergency, so that we could give him a refund. Only after Joe actually completed a course with us would the money he had paid be ours, because by then we would have earned it.”

I sat back, rather proud of myself. The morning sun reflected off the glass-topped table. I waited for Roger’s face to clear, but he still stared at me as if I were speaking a foreign language. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was this the brilliant man we knew and loved? Was this the fellow who had majored in accounting, had worked for a big accounting firm, and finally had become a certified public accountant after passing the
rigorous CPA exam?

All of a sudden, Shya started laughing, and his laughter deepened into a belly laugh. “I get it. I get it. I fi nally fi gured it out,” he said.

Roger looked a little nervous that he might fi nd out something that would make him feel even more inept, but at the same time he seemed relieved because we had been trying to explain this concept for over an hour.
“Roger, tell me, how do we pay you?” Shya asked. “Uh, by check,” Roger replied, mystified.“But do we pay you an hourly rate, by the day, or what?”

“Oh, that’s simple to answer. I get 6 percent of Ariel’s and your gross income in exchange for doing your bookkeeping and taxes, paying the bills, keeping your workshop records, making deposits, etc.”
Although Roger had answered Shya’s question, it didn’t give him any relief. He still remained in a stupor, but I was beginning to see the joke.
“And tell me, Roger,” Shya continued, “when do you pay yourself your 6 percent?”
“I pay myself as the money comes in.”
“Are you attached to doing it this way rather than, say, paying yourself each time we complete a group?”
Suddenly the storm clouds that had obscured Roger’s vision cleared as if they had been sent scuttling off by a stiff breeze. Instantaneously, just by becoming aware of what he had hidden from himself, our friend got “smart” again.
“Oh, my gosh. I didn’t see that. I didn’t want to give up my 6 percent. I didn’t want to have to wait to get my money until you finished each course; I wanted to use it as it came in. Wow! My investment in immediately taking my 6 percent made it impossible to hear you. I actually blocked the sense of what you
were saying because it threatened my agenda.”
“Your hidden agenda,” Shya prompted. “You had even hidden this agenda from yourself.”
“Boy, is that ever true. Thanks. Of course, your idea of an escrow account makes sense.”
During that evening seminar, as I saw Roger so eloquently explain to a room full of friends, acquaintances, and strangers about discovering his 6 percent, I realized that his way of being, his whole bearing and demeanor were not just signs of maturing. Plenty of people age without letting go of the old behavior patterns that are a vestige of their childhood. No, Roger had truly transformed. I was happy for him. Shya put his
arm around me, and we leaned back to hear the rest of Roger’s story.

I have heard a Yiddish term, kvell. When I think of this word, I think of it as meaning to revel deeply in the richness of something and to really relish the moment. As Roger spoke, both Shya and I were kvelling. We knew that Roger was handing these people the keys to be stars and to be transformed themselves. Unabashedly, Roger re-created who he had been so long ago in a way that it became real again in the retelling.

As he allowed a room full of folks to laugh with him about his 6 percent, his investment in his hidden agenda, he was demonstrating the possibility that they didn’t have to judge themselves—that, in fact, it was possible to not only look at but laugh at their petty investments, their own 6 percents.

With Instantaneous Transformation, simply noticing a behavior pattern, but not judging it, is enough to have it lose its power over your life. As you continue reading this book, we encourage you to discover your own hidden agendas and, like Roger, see if you can have a sense of humor about what you find.

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