When we experience boredom, or other more mild forms of stress (and often when we experience super high level stress too) we want to distract, end it, change it, move away from it, fix it. But who would you be without the belief you can't stand this moment, even a "bored" moment? And who would you be if you stayed with whatever you're feeling in the moment, and studied it? Here's how. It might not be as hard as you think.
When we feel ashamed or guilty or embarrassed, it's a horrible feeling although not uncommon. However, the feeling often leads to the next step which is to keep it a secret and lock it away forever, and never talk about it. We try to escape, by eating or drinking or going into some kind of addictive process (I sure did). What if instead of escaping shame, you went into it and got to know it's point of view, the feeling it brings, very well indeed? I found, this made all the difference. I found, I knew how to then identify the lie of shame.
We all are accustomed to having surprises happen, and perhaps they affect our lives deeply, or our day. But is our capacity for peace entirely destroyed? You can question this thought, if you have it.
I have found, there's a space within that's peaceful and alive, no matter what happens. You've got this. It's who you are without thought.
Not long ago someone wrote to me and said The Work might not work on a fact like "the earth is dying" or "the lake is polluted" or "the country is at war".
But it doesn't matter if both your answers to the first two questions are YES (is it true? Can you absolutely know it's true?)
You can still find incredible emotional freedom or awareness of yourself through this inquiry process.
Question your thinking, find peace!
Everyone's had sleepless nights, or times you awaken. What's the best way to handle it? Definitely not fighting against your thoughts! Doing The Work is one of the best ways to see what's really true for you, and rest.
Thoughts about ourselves are often the most painful, and many people want to start self-inquiry by fixing thoughts about themselves. But who would you be without your improvement story?
When we believe thoughts like "I have to go to work" or "I need to say yes to my partner" and we're resentful, this is really like living in slavery. You can find freedom by questioning your thinking. You don't even have to DO anything, the natural and loving way will be revealed. Who would you be without your story of "I have to"?
Acting as if....turning around an awful moment.
When we believe "I screwed up" it's not always the best approach to resolving or correcting a situation. Here's why.
Ten years ago, I thought I needed more money so badly...there would be terrible consequences if I didn't get more. The worst that could happen, i thought, was having to go live with my mother. I did The Work on that future, terrible imagined situation and found, maybe if it went that way, it would be the best that could ever happen. I felt lightness and joy about the future, after I did that work. And I never moved in with my mother.
Those people who say "no" well seem to be confident, sure of themselves, great leaders, clear! But maybe you can say no, in your own less-perfect way. Here are some sentences you can practice for saying "no" and getting more comfortable. You didn't know how before, and with rehearsing, you get better and better.
Byron Katie mentions when we believe our thoughts, we suffer, and when we question them, we don't. Who would you be without your story of making a mistake, or that other person making one? How strange (but interesting, and a relief) to find something good coming out of these so-called "mistakes" and the freedom from guilt. It's kinder.
Everyone has voices in their head, sometimes that oppose each other, or don't even feel natural. One of my favorite exercises while doing The Work is to feel and be with each question, very thoroughly, very physically. How would it feel, with this thought....and without it?
We are told and invited over and over again to do The Work on OTHER people, not ourselves. But here's a little confession about me. My first public worksheet? Yup. It was on myself. Something I felt horribly ashamed of, and guilty, and thought I'd never get over.
Everyone wants to do The Work of Byron Katie on themselves. Even though we're told not to. How can we imagine who we'd be without our stories? Here's how.
I work with many people, including myself, who think "self-inquiry, or The Work of Byron Katie doesn't work for me!"
I love finding out why. Over time, working with others, the little bumps and barriers along the way fall apart, or dissolve (that's the good news).
There is nothing and no one who can't benefit from inquiring to the truth about their mind, if they want to.
I constantly criticized myself for an interesting moment from my past---trying to get my grandpa's approval, as well as be just as good as my sister, when I was ten years old.
Who would you be without the belief you did it WRONG, because you sought approval? What if that was just YOU at the time?
I often notice I've thought being kind, nice, saying "yes" and being connected = best result. But what if you could be loving and connected, without physical contact? Who says you have to hang out with people forever? Or that it's success if you do? Listen here to how I handled a "no" and moved on, still appreciating the teacher who I learned to say "no" from!
I often want the nice comfy way. Can't we skip the hard parts of life? A little story about a moment I was, literally, hanging on the edge of a cliff face and couldn't get off.
When I was 8 my family moved far away from my home town and the home I had mostly known since I was a baby. It felt devastating, and like it's true you can never, ever go back and that it's painful to get rooted somewhere. I spent many years in my late teens and 20s having home of my own, thinking "home" was my parents house. You can question these kinds of beliefs, even if they don't seem devastating anymore. What beliefs do you have running, that you got from some old memory? Question it!
Money and the absence of it is often a terrible worse-case scenario in our experience. We've lost everything, we think about the stuff we once had, or the house, and how terrible we don't anymore. Or, about the horrible scenario we see in our future, if things keep going the way they do. Yikes. Fear and panic set in. Listen to my story about what I did, when I thought the worse case scenario was about to happen.
Death and dying is so painful, it can break our hearts into a million pieces. Listen as I share today my own experience of death, and a poem that both mends, and acknowledges, the dark and beautiful sadness of death.
The turnaround to #6 in The Work of Byron Katie is often somewhat jolting. The way we're turning around our thoughts is to consider being willing to experience something terrible, and even looking forward to what we think is terrible. But this doesn't mean you have to like it. Here's how.
Sometimes that mind is so tricky, it will make even a great principle like "Be Here Now" into a project. "GET INTO THE PRESENT MOMENT!!" it will scream. So how do you work with that dictator mind? Let's explore how.