- Sept 19 Seattle Mini Retreat 1:30-5:30 at my cottage (4 CEUs)
- Sept 20 Meetup 2-4 pm The Work of Byron Katie North Seattle
- Sept 25-27 Seattle 3-Day Retreat (room for 3 more)
- October 9-11 Eating Peace Seattle 3-Day Immersion Retreat
- November 13-15 Eating Peace San Francisco area
Byron Katie says that seeking love, approval and appreciation from anything outside of yourself is one of the most painful experiences of suffering in the human condition.
She has said frequently to audiences that if she had only one prayer, it would be to NOT seek love, approval or appreciation from anyone.
I am sometimes astonished by the tendency of thought to entertain and hold ideas that have to do with this very thing.
- I don’t think he likes me
- what did she mean by that look (or that comment)?
- she criticized me
- he left me
- he doesn’t understand me
- I could get fired any day now
- I did something wrong, or I could soon
Sometimes, when I look clearly and closely at this place of concern, it’s like there’s been a beacon on the top of my head, a huge search light scanning every relationship I’ve ever encountered.
This search light is scanning to make sure everyone around me is calm, relaxed, happy, secure, and enjoying themselves.
If they aren’t…..uh oh.
There’s a problem.
(Oh, and by the way…..if they are TOO calm, relaxed, happy, secure and full of joy then we might put them on up a pedestal, or we might be jealous of their good fortune or wonder how they got like that).
In any case, there’s a measurement happening, with this kind of thought pattern and awareness of how much love, approval or appreciation is coming in our direction.
Categorizing people into points on a scale for positivity, clarity, enlightenment, capacity to serve, how fun they are, and how well they connect with us.
And inside the gut, a childlike sense of worry.
Does that person like me? Do they approve of what I’m doing, or what I did? Do they appreciate what I’m like, or what I offer? Do they love me? Will they be kind?
Am I safe? Will I be abandoned?
Let’s take a look.
Find one person in your life who you’ve worried sometimes if they care about you, or love you, or approve of you or appreciate you.
Byron Katie found this energy rose with great intensity with her own mother.
If you want to go to a core place for learning about love, visit mom or dad in your inquiry.
Find a situation when you knew this person did not appreciate you, did not love you.
This can be done with anyone. Anyone who you think, in some disturbing situation, they didn’t like something about you.
Today, for some reason, more of a stranger comes to mind.
Someone I don’t know very well.
This woman left a retreat I was teaching.
She was brand new to The Work. I’m not even sure how she found the retreat. At the end of only the first day, she left a note reporting that another participant made her so uncomfortable, she couldn’t take it. She left after sunset, quietly without telling anyone else.
She was gone.
Other people were noticing an intensity with this same interesting person who was a part of this retreat. The woman who left was not alone.
I should have handled the group dynamic differently. I should have done a better job.
I can go to that moment, the one where I found out this woman left.
Come back! No! Don’t ditch out so quick! Wait!
And then, this voice–the one that seeks appreciation–came into form.
Even if I understand her reasons for leaving….she should trust me, let me help her, come to me for assurance.
She doesn’t trust me. She thinks I can’t do the job of creating safety for the group.
Is it true?
Yes. I could have done better. She was too new to self-inquiry. She’ll never come back. This isn’t good.
Can you absolutely know that it’s true that she doesn’t true you?
No. I have no idea what she trusts or doesn’t trust.
I really don’t know.
How do you react when you believe someone doesn’t trust you?
How do you react when you think you should have done something different, so someone would stay with you?
This thought arises in love relationships all the time.
And remember mom? Or dad?
Did they ever show you the very same belief in living color?
Did mom or dad ever think you should trust them, but you didn’t? Did you ever think they should trust you, but they didn’t?
How do I react when I think someone is uncomfortable?
I might assume I’m responsible. Even the tiniest bit.
My mind races on how to make them more comfortable, how to help them calm down.
They should feel love, I should feel love, everyone should feel LOVE.
Whatever “love” is. We should all feel it.
So who would you be without the belief that anyone should trust you, ever?
Who would you be without the thought that someone should stay in your presence, stay at a retreat you’re leading, stay in the relationship you have with them, stay connected–whatever connected looks like or feels like, for you?
Without the belief that connection has been compromised, no matter what is going on? Even if people leave?
Without the belief that someone isn’t trusting me, and they should?
Without the belief that someone should like me, and they don’t?
Without the belief that I need anyone’s approval, or appreciation, ever?
This is one of the most liberating feelings.
A feeling of going back to something extremely, deeply, impenetrably innocent.
A sense of being a child, or an angel, beyond this tiny human life I apparently inhabit.
Without the thought that it’s important for anyone to love me, I suddenly remember the feeling of expansive……well…..I could call it “love”.
A centered, warm, alive feeling deep in my entire torso.
I feel connected to everything. Connected to this moment, this presence right here.
The floor beneath my feet, the earth, this early morning kitchen, the light beginning to glow outside, the soft white couch, the lamp, the brown pillow, the waking up daughter coming in a putting her head on my shoulder for a moment to read what I’m writing.
Who would you be without the thought you need love?
Who would you be without the thought you need that woman from that retreat to remain present physically in the retreat and not leave?
I would feel laughter, acceptance.
People can come and go and do whatever they do.
They can like, or not like, things I say or write or do or express. They can resonate with what’s happening, or not, and do what they need to do, without my getting involved.
Turning these thoughts around:
- I don’t trust myself. I don’t think I can do the job of creating safety for the group.
I don’t think I like myself
what did I make it mean with her look (or comment)?
she complimented me, I criticized her, I criticized myself
he did not leave me, I left myself, I left him
- I don’t understand myself, or him, and he doesn’t understand me
- I could never get fired, I could fire myself or fire this job
- I did something right
Today with all these opposites, and holding the feeling in my heart and body of not believing the stressful need for love, approval or appreciation…..
…..I connect with whoever shows up around me.
Why would I need anything more, or different, than this? It’s almost absurd to care, without the belief that I need anyone’s appreciation, or love.
I even connect with whoever isn’t showing up right now, and people who have left and are far away, if they come to mind.
I trust the Universe, Reality, God, Source, Life to handle what’s going on around here.
And I don’t even have to trust it to handle anything….it is going the way it goes without me demanding anything, including approval.
“In order to be truly free, you must desire to know the truth more than you want to feel good. Because if feeling good is your goal, then as soon as you feel better you will lose interest in what is true. This does not mean that feeling good or experiencing love and bliss is a bad thing. Given the choice, anyone would choose to feel bliss rather than sorrow. It simply means that if this desire to feel good is stronger than the yearning to see, know, and experience Truth, then this desire will always be distorting the perception of what is Real, while corrupting one’s deepest integrity.” ~ Adyashanti
What I notice in Reality is people coming and going. People feeling whatever they feel towards me, and towards themselves. Me feeling whatever I’m feeling towards others, towards me.
It changes and flows like breath, in and out, like the tide, like day and night.
Love, approval or appreciation is Here, then Not Here.
Contact then no contact.
Leaving and staying.
Remembering and forgetting about the woman who left the retreat leaving a note and slipping away after sunset.
Trusting her to take care of herself perfectly for where she was, where I was, what was required in reality.
Who would you be without your story that appreciation, or approval from someone, or trust, or love is required for you to feel good?
Laughing. Crying. Being. Silent.
Filled with appreciation, approving of this room and this brilliant moment, loving being a little battery buzz of life force doing whatever this thing does called Grace.
Much Love, Grace