I’ve been watching a retreat called Being With Byron Katie all weekend on a big screen with a truly fabulous group of people.
They came from many corners of Washington, Oregon and California.
With one thing in common.
Everyone has been touched by questioning their stressful stories.
The beliefs or repetitive memories that say “this world is dangerous” or “my life has been a sham” or “reality is treacherous.”
I am reminded, by being with Katie for 4 days of live video sessions for six hours per day, that this work is absolutely transformational….
….and ANYONE can do it.
People raised their hands sometimes from the in-person audience of almost 500 people doing The Work with Katie in Switzerland.
They would ask questions that are familiar.
This is confusing. There are so many thoughts. Where could I even begin? I just have a bad feeling sometimes about the world, it’s not connected to any specific “thought” so what do I do then? What if the one I have trouble with is ME?
Katie responds to each person with love, kindness, and an invitation.
Follow the simple directions.
First, find one moment in time, one situation where you really feel reality was horrifying. One moment where you were raging angry.
Katie asked several people, as they wandered through a wild inner field of brambles and snags and long stories and heavy beliefs, trying to explain, feeling confused….
….have you ever been angry? Or resentful?
Go back to the first troubled memory, if you need to.
What were you thinking in that moment?
Write it down.
Follow the questions on the Judge Your Neighbor worksheet.
This is the first part of doing The Work.
You’re going to look at what you object to, with such closeness you are practically back there in the middle of that difficult situation.
The mind is so powerful, you might cry, or feel adrenaline, or rage right here while you remember.
Instead of trying to escape this horrible feeling and terrible memory, and say affirmations, or feel so desperate, or drink or overeat or smoke….
….sit in it.
You are meditating on this human condition. You were there. Call it back.
Have you ever said to yourself “don’t think about that crushing situation! Get a grip on your mind, think about pink daisies and happy times instead!”
I notice that didn’t work for me.
In fact, the more I did that, the angrier or more terrified I actually got.
I really do get the saying “what you resist, persists”.
It wants to be reconciled, it wants to be heard, it wants acknowledgment.
A woman did The Work with Katie that brought me to tears.
When her daughter was 2, this woman went to see her father. This man was her daughter’s grandpa. The two year old was meeting grandpa for the first time.
An incident occurred.
Grandpa hit the two-year old.
This woman (mother of the two year old) went into a flying rage at her father. “If you ever hit my child again…..!”
Trouble and silence and unhappiness and everyone feeling crushed(except maybe the two year old, who forgot about it almost immediately).
For 19 years.
(The two year old is now 21).
As this woman questioned her past horrible memory, this experience with her father and her daughter, she discovered that the actual “hit” lasted a second.
But in her resentment, she hit her own father AND herself with guilt, for 19 years.
I know when something “hard” has happened in my own life.
I tell the story to all my close friends.
“She betrayed me”. Or “he abused me.” Or “he abandoned me”. Or “he hurt me”. Or “it almost killed me”.
So it didn’t happen only once, it happened all those times of retelling the sordid tale.
Who would I be without the belief I was wronged?
Without the thought I was a victim?
Without the thought there is no support here on planet earth?
Without the thought (this is incredible) that something TERRIBLE happened that I can never get over?
I notice I’ve so far gotten over everything that’s ever happened.
Only my mind has logged and recorded and repeated back to me all the tough times.
Thank you for sharing, dear mind.
I know you mean well.
Thanks for continuously remembering it and persisting so brilliantly. You kept coming back until I slowed down and meditated on each situation, in silence.
And as soon as I got really, really silent and quiet, I noticed the goodness in this present moment.
What could be more astonishing than that?
Literally….Magical Mysterious Nothing.
Deep bow to Byron Katie whose voice of wisdom it turns out is actually my voice of wisdom.
Deep bow to whatever is within me that hears the truth.
“Everything I need in order to know the Truth, is given to me in the Silence. I call it The Work.” ~ Byron Katie
P.S. I love you even if I’ve never met you, and you’re reading these words. You’re amazing.