Every year at the summer Breitenbush annual retreat in late June, we have a movie night.
We watch the film Turn It Around with Byron Katie.
In the movie, quite a few courageous people get up on stage with Katie.
They share their innermost suffering and disturbing thoughts with the whole audience (and in this case, all of us who ever watch Turn It Around, too)!
Last night, I showed Turn It Around in my Eating Peace retreat.
I’ve seen it about 10 times now, and it’s still moving for me.
One of my favorite pieces of work is when a young woman shares that her brother died in Afghanistan, and how enraged she’s felt about the loss, her devastated family, and death itself.
What an amazing question to ask someone as they consider death (to ask myself)….
….who would you be without the belief that death is so awful?
Without being against death, and anything leading to death?
It does seem to be the overwhelming way of it, as in 100% of the time, that we die.
So why get so disturbed?
What’s this deep, terrifying upset all about, anyway?
It’s profound to think of, at this level.
Almost the same, for me, as the process of addiction (which is what everyone is looking at so very closely in Eating Peace these three days).
This whole over-eating, under-eating, worrying about eating thing.
What’s So Upsetting?!!
What’s going on in any moment, that we would choose to start to eat, and eat, and eat…..or drink, and drink, and drink…..or smoke, obsess about a person, shop, internet, clean, facebook….
….want, want, want?
What is so disturbing about the moment we insist we need something to…..
We looked at this today, in our retreat.
What does that thing, person, activity…..give you?
People noticed they thought eating, in those compulsive moments, would give them comfort, reward, compensation, soothing.
What does believing that death-is-terrible give you?
Why would I choose to think death-is-terrible is true?
It’s like there’s some kind of idea within that if I didn’t think death was terrible, I’d twiddle away the hours I’ve got, I wouldn’t care, I’d be weird, I wouldn’t get freaked out about loss, change, and things coming and going (people or animals).
I’m afraid I wouldn’t truly love, I’d be too detached.
But is that true?
Whether it’s death I find frightening, or this empty moment, or this gruesome image from a memory….
….when I believe my story that this situation is lousy, or bad for me….
….I become fear, loss, sadness, distress, drama, excitement.
That’s who I am when I’m believing my story.
Alone, confused, not exactly trusting of the universe and reality.
So who would I be without the belief that my mind, my thoughts, my story, the images I see, my fantasies about death, my fantasies about this moment (that invent the need for some compulsive behavior) are true?
Who would I be if I didn’t believe my stories?
Including the story of death?
Including the story of uncomfortable feelings and moments and situations and addiction?
I would be feeling, seeing, being myself, which includes for me nutty pictures (some frightening) and judgments racing by and a brain full of thinking (sometimes).
Noticing that even though I see pictures of what death might be like, or other people I love dying, and even though I wonder about death a lot….
….and even though it sometimes occurs to me that a moment is annoying, missing something, more than I can handle, or boring….
….I don’t have to believe it.
In fact, I often don’t.
I don’t have to do anything.
I don’t have to get up, or fix it quick, or eat something, or figure out how to handle it.
Without believing my thoughts, they are just there, being themselves.
Oh, and look at that.
The universe is being Itself, too, in all its wild mysterious glory, full of lives being lived temporarily (it seems) and moments happening only for an instant (even moments full of craving) and things morphing, moving, opening, closing, changing.
Turning the thoughts around in every way: death is wonderful, craving is wonderful, life is terrible, not-craving is terrible, my thinking about death is terrible, my thinking about craving is terrible.
Could these be just as true, or truer?
“She who is centered in the Tao can go where she wishes, without danger. She perceives the universal harmony, even amid great pain, because she has found peace in her heart. Music or the smell of good cooking may make people stop and enjoy. But words that point to the Tao seem monotonous and without flavor. When you look for it, there is nothing to see. When you listen for it, there is nothing to hear. When you use it, it is inexhaustible.” ~ Tao Te Ching #35
Question your thinking, feel wonderful and open, rather than terrible and closed.
Yes. Even about Death. Even about Addiction.
The world keeps doing what it does….
….and yet, it looks so different.
Much love, Grace