Byron Katie: Getting to the REAL Question

 

The question “Is it true?” sometimes isn’t so easy to ask. When we have a stressful situation, sometimes there’ll be thought diarrhea angrygoing on. We might be internally fuming, ranting and raving. The thoughts think us whether or not we want to think them. The story goes on and on and on, but there is no clarity on what the real question for inquiry should be. Here are a couple of options.

Remedy 1 for past/current issues: Add the question “…. and that means that…?

For example,
Client: “I am irritated that the kids are making a lot of noise and don’t stop when I tell them to, I am fed up of having to repeat myself…..”
Facilitator: “Ok, and that means that…?
Client: “They don’t respect my authority”
Facilitator: “They don’t respect my authority, and that means that…?”
Client: “I am not important to them”
Facilitator: “I am not important to them, and that means that….?”
Client: “They don’t love me.”

Remedy 2 for future/hypothetical issues: Add the question “and what’s the worst that can happen if…?”
For example,
Client: “I am worried about angering my boss and loosing my job”.
Facilitator: “And what’s the worst that can happen if you loose your job?”
Client: “I would need to look for another job.”
Facilitator: “And what’s the worst thing that can happen if you need to look for another job?”
Client: “I can’t find one and have to rely on my parents.”
Facilitator: “And what’s the worst that can happen if you have to rely on your parents.”
Client: “It would mean that I am a failure.”
Facilitator: “I am a failure, is that true?”

In this last example there are a couple of ways to go, it just depends on whether you feel like there’s more to go, or “I am a failure” is the core issue.

Another point here is that repeating the statement helps to keep the focus zoomed in on the what needs to be addressed.

Hope this helps. More later on when there are only feelings or sensations and you can’t pin down a thought.

Working Byron Katie

At the Toni’s prodding, and it didn’t take long, I decided to go into retreat. It’s been long overdue, and I guess I’ve been a bit of a grouch. There were no conveniently timed meditation retreat in the vicinity, so I took the 2 weeks I was accorded to and shut myself in my urban cave instead. Since we’ve just done a weekend The Work of Byron Katie workshop, I thought I’d go through all the Byron Katie material I could find and hunker down to work.

 

Let the sound of the bell invite you home to your own mind

This is what I found.

  • There are no new stressful thoughts in the history of humanity. Across race, language and culture, they are the same.
  • These thoughts are not personal to us. They pop up when events in our lives occur. Then we believe them and suffer; or we could investigate them and invite the truth to manifest, and not suffer. Thoughts like
    • My parents don’t love me
    • I don’t want to look stupid
    • People should be understanding
    • People are not trustworthy
    • The world is a dangerous place
    • There’s got to be something better
  • Suffering is the story of the ego. Ego tries to re-create what essence already is. Why? Because it thinks it is separate. It is the ego who is identified with and attached to the suffering. The ego suffers. That’s what egos do to exist.
  • We have more ego than we need when we have more suffering than we want.
  • Suffering is suffering. It’s not personal.
  • Nobody can hurt me, that’s my job.
  • We can mind only our own business.
  • Its not a question of truth or morality. The Work does not condone any hurt or harm to the self, the other or the earth. it’s the just about asking questions, and investigating reality.
  • There are no mistakes. What is, is what’s supposed to be. The universe is a wise and friendly place. It’s always what we need in the present moment. If we pay attention, we will get that. We have everything we need. What we have, despite what we believe is exactly what we need.
  • It’s the old ‘nothing to do, no where to go, home in the present moment’ wisdom.

The Four Noble Truths

The Work reminds me of the Zen and Vipassana approaches to meditation, and the four noble truths:

Suffering
The cause of suffering
The cessation of suffering
The path to the end of suffering.

However it arose out of Katie’s own mind and is entirely unrelated to any eastern or western wisdom traditions. So the four noble truths from the Work Katie recommends this:

Judge your neighbour,
Write it down
Ask four questions
Turn it around

Thoughts Think Us

Our thoughts project our world. Our world is a mirror reflecting our beliefs. If we live in an unhappy world, it is a projection of what we have not healed within ourselves. “The map is not the territory”.

Most of the time, most of us cannot not think. Thoughts think us, they don’t belong to us. Thoughts are mostly recycled, there are virtually no new thoughts. Since there are there anyway, the smart thing to do is to meet them with kindness and understanding and see what it is they really want. Our job is to ask (e.g., the thought “Paul doesn’t listen to me”) the four questions.

The Four Questions
1. Is is true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought? Turn the thought around (original thought: Paul doesn’t listen to me)
a) to the opposite (Paul does listen to me)
b) to the self (I don’t listen to me)
c) to the other (I don’t listen to Paul)
And find three genuine specific examples of how each turnaround is true in you life

For more information on how to do The Work, got to www.TheWork.com

 

My Experience of The Work

I can’t say that I’ as adept at The Work than the other things I do, like EFT and Integration. I definitely wasn’t 100% faithful to The Work. I’m still playing with it, and that’s what it is. It’s play. It’s fun and interesting to investigate our feelings, thoughts and beliefs. I’ve seen the humour in some of my ludicrous presumptions, the ‘I need/want’, ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’, ‘always/never’ judgements that have gone unquestioned and run amok. The Work as facilitated by Katie use powerful reframes and turnarounds, administered with humour and kindness. It’s another way to slice the issues and bring new understanding. These are the great and not-so-great in my experience.

What’s Great

  • looks at causation without the long story (spends less time with drama, more time with results, usually a plus)
  • quick results, sometimes change comes at the first question
  • allows own wisdom to arise and brings real healing
  • easily induces a better state of mind
  • can induce a higher state of consciousness
  • easy enough, people can self-apply (mostly)
  • after some practice, it becomes automatic (bonus!)
  • lots of free material on her website (TheWork.com)

What’s Not so Great

  • it might be hard for newbies to identify the stressful thoughts or the underlying beliefs. Sometimes people just feel a sensation or emotion without being able to articulate meaning. It would get better with a little patience and practice.
  • can get frustrating and exhausting
  • the presence-of-mind of the facilitator is important, whether it’s self administered or facilitated by another individual

 

And guess what I found?
What I held as truths, they are not even mine, they are not personal, they are certainly not new and definitely not in the now. They are just stories. “The truth is rarely pure and never simple” says the wise Oscar. And “never let the facts get in the way of a good story”, says the wise Mark Twain. And after experiencing The Work, I would say, “Dont let the truth get blown away by a good story”.

To conclude
Suffering doesn’t happen to a mind that’s healed. So who are we without our thoughts, our beliefs, our suffering, our identity? That thought you believe, is it true? What would you be without that thought? And that thought? And that thought?

EFT For Lovelessness

I feel like a victim, like I have no control of my life. It’s hard to feel that way, and I would like to change, but I feel deeply conflicted and helpless.

I deeply and completely love and accept myself, I forgive myself and anyone else who may have contributed to this.

I feel all these emotions: despair, unloved, unsupported, miserable, longing, unappreciated, defeated, longing to be loved, feeling like an outsider. It’s may be natural that I feel this way based on my upbringing and my past baggage, may be I even have a right to feel that way, but it doesn’t really help me. And I don’t want to keep referencing the past because I dont’ want my past to dictate my future.

May be I dont know what is love, love is a concept that I see on tv and in other people’s lives. I am longing for love, but I don’t believe in love, there is no love for me. I am a victim. I am angry with _____ for not loving me, I have a right to feel like that. I need to be loved the way I need to be loved.

But thinking this way only keeps me in suffering. May be I need to choose a different way of being so that I can be happy, and so that my children can have a happier childhood than me. While it is easier to be unhappy and blame other people for my pain, I now choose to be courageous.

I choose to take charge of my emotions and my life, even though I still feel like a victim, I am willing to try. I now choose SERENITY, PEACE OF MIND, WISDOM, AUTHENTICITY, AWAKENING, EQUANIMITY, COURAGE, JOY, GRATITUDE, WONDERMENT, STRENGTH, HARMONY, ABUNDANCE, CONTENTMENT. I now choose THE HIGHEST TRUTH, THE GREATEST LOVE and THE DEEPEST JOY.

May be I have chosen to experience lovelessness, may be now I can choose to experience the opposite of that. I choose to see that the universe supports me, the sun, the sky, the earth, the food that I eat …… the look in my son’s eyes when he laughs and cries…. I am not alone in the world.

I now choose to know that I am a divine child of the universe, I am made of love, I am made of nothing but love. The energy of love gives life and energizes everything. I now choose to be in touch with the DEEPEST TRUTH within me. Underneath the personality, the negative thoughts, the painful emotions is the ESSENCE of who I am. I am a river of consciousness flowing into the the sea of all existence. The experiences I have are the experiences that I choose to have. Because I have choices, I can now choose to have a different experience of life. I now choose SERENITY, PEACE OF MIND, WISDOM, AUTHENTICITY, AWAKENING, EQUANIMITY, COURAGE, JOY, GRATITUDE, WONDERMENT, STRENGTH, HARMONY, ABUNDANCE, CONTENTMENT. I now choose THE HIGHEST TRUTH, THE GREATEST LOVE and THE DEEPEST JOY. All is well in my world.

EFT for letting go of the ‘I am a victim’ paradigm

Ten of Swords: bottoming out, victim mentality, martydom

Sometimes we just find it very hard to heal. We go around in circles, and find it hard to break free. We’ve had years of illness, bad luck, and maybe a victim mentality. The same reality repeats, again and again and again.

In this particular case, K had major triggering event in childhood she named ‘total devastation’. These statements were crafted to allow her to see that she somehow perpetuated this reality, stretched the moment and clung to it. She chose it, and therefore have the power to choose to change it. It’s about letting go of the idea of ‘I’ being the victim, ‘I’ being alone and in need while everyone else is having a good time. It was designed to be slightly provocative ,to engage the ego and dig out emotions which may be hidden. Also it’s meant to suggest to the user to let the ‘victim’ go, but in the event that he or she isn’t quite ready yet, it doesn’t push the envelope. Caution: This can only be used with skill and compassion, and isn’t meant for everyone. Please use with care.

If you are new to EFT and tapping please check the section on EFT Basics for the basic tapping technique.

1. Repeat 3 times: “I need to hang on to this ‘total devastation’. So that I can blame someone else. So that I can hold the world responsible for my misery. So I don’t have to take responsibility for myself. The world owes me, so-and-so owes me, they are responsible for my suffering, my pain.

2. just once: I’ll show them, I’ll make them sorry for hurting me, I’m going to be really, really sick, and then they’ll be sorry. They’ll be sorry for me, and give me attention, and love me. Poor me, look at me, negative attention is better than no attention. I need this ‘total devastation’ to protect me, from having to take responsibility, because I know I’m not good enough. I can’t take care of myself. I’m only a child inside, I can’t cope. I need you to take care of me. I need to be nurtured. I need to be loved. I need. I want. Nobody wants me. There’s only me in my world. I’m all alone in my world of me. I need to make people notice me.

3. Repeat 2 times: Even though I still need this piece of juicy melodrama, I’m now ready to think about letting it go. The more I think of ‘me’, ‘poor me’, ‘woe is me’, the more I box ‘myself’ into my lonely world of one. If only I can find another way of being, I just might be ready to let go. If only I can choose to be calm and confident; to include other people in my world, I might start to think about letting my melodrama go. If only it’s possible to let go of this siege mentality and enjoy being humble, selfless, and free. If only I knew what it feels like to be loving without expectations, to be open and giving, I might be willing to let the ‘victim’ go. If I was strong enough to have compassion and wisdom, and think more of others than of me, I will let the ‘victim’ rest, I will let my ‘I’ rest. I might be able to find the courage to let go of the river bank and flow into the river of life. But for now, I’m ok being who I am, and where I am. I have free choice.”

True Forgiveness is Freedom

Healing Tears

This was written for a client who needed help in achieving a true and lasting forgiveness  (as oppose to temporary suppression with the distinct certainty of lashing out on reflex). This can be used generally for when you find it hard to forgive and let go, and you care enough to want to.

If you are new to EFT and tapping please check the section on EFT Basics for the basic tapping technique. Please also include the karate chop point or the psychological reversal point as part of your routine. You may also want to repeat each paragraph once or twice  until you feel the intensity subside before moving on to the next one. Take it slow and let it work. Some of this is meant to be provocative, some of it is meant to inject humour in a tense situation. It may not work for everyone, please amend according to your own needs and nature. Good luck.

“I have so many conflicted thoughts about this issue. I don’t understand how  he/she could do this to me…… Parts of me want to forgive and move on, other parts of me want to bash his brains in and gorge his eyes out, may be swipe him with a tiger’s claw (well, you get the picture, use your own words)….. I acknowledge the hurt, anger, betrayal, hate, helplessness, bereavement, insecurity, alienation (add emotions that you feel) inside, there isn’t anyone I could tell this to, I am all alone. I embrace all the parts of me who are hurting, fearful and angry. I acknowledge that you all have a right to be here, and that the emotions you feel are valid. I embrace you, and thank you for carrying all my pain.

Parts of me feel justified in holding on to my anger, because my anger protects me, because I am entitled to my anger, because he deserves my anger. My anger gives me a high, letting go of my anger may mean that I only feel grief and fear, I don’t want to let my anger go. I am may be even enjoying my anger. I enjoy holding this over his/her head. I like the idea that I can swipe at him/her and take revenge whenever he/she least expects me. I have a right to swipe, and I like that. I thank my anger for wanting to protect me.

I acknowledge that there are all these conflicted emotions and thoughts within me, and it’s ok to be not ok. But there are other parts of me who want to be ready to move on, and leave the past in the past, parts of me who want to experience real forgiveness, so that the past does not taint my future, so that I can live anger-free / fear-free / grief-free / pain-free from this event, may be sometime today, may be sometime tomorrow. I ask my subconscious mind to find a few other ways for me to express my positive intention behind my anger/fear/grief/pain, so that I can be free of my anger/fear/grief/pain, and so that I can forgive and have true freedom to live my life without reference to this event/person.

I was hurt, but i now choose to heal my wounded children within, I now choose to be at the highest expression of who I am. I choose to be calm, confident, free and strong. I choose to be happy. I choose to be still. I choose peace.

I choose to truely forgive and release, because I choose freedom from this. True forgiveness is freedom.”