Bad weather makes me glum…but at Byron Katie’s mini-workshop last weekend many people looked much brighter and more alive in their faces than when they first arrived the night before…including me!
Am holding those memories and continuing what we started there to lift my spirits, bring peace of mind. If you’re not familiar with Byron Katie, here’s a brief synapsis (in my experience).
Top 5 Katie Takeaways…
1.) “Noone can hurt me, that’s my job.” We hurt ourselves with our thoughts. It’s not what happens to me that causes me to suffer, but the meaning I attach and the interpretation and judgement I have about what happened. In my mind I may replay the victim story of what happened, when in reality all that happened was life. By seeing myself as a victim, I perpetuate that identity, and continue to cause more harm to myself by recreating the situation and feeling about it in my mind.
2.) “It is hopelessly depressing to believe that your happiness depends on another person.” One woman who did the ‘Work’ with Katie during the seminar was making herself sick because her partner was not taking care of his diabetes (in her opinion). She was nagging him and trying to get him to go to the doctor, take medicine, change his lifestyle. He wasn’t behaving to her satisfaction and meantime she was getting depressed and stressed and having to take medication for her declining health.
3.) “We create the future based on our thoughts about the past.” Our mind is constantly projecting onto the world a skewed version of reality based on our judgements and interpretations about the past. If I say, “If such-and-such happened, I would…” then I am not talking about the real world, I am talking about the conceptual world that exists only in my mind. How do I know what I would do until it happens? Worrying about what I might or might not do if something does or doesn’t happen makes me tired…more tired than the actual doing of it would make me. I choose to live in the real world, the world of what is.
4.) “Once I stop the confusion and stress that comes from resisting what is, action becomes fluid, natural, powerful.” Freedom from stress is our birthright and our natural state of being. By questioning our beliefs (www.thework.com) our mind can find the peace we are seeking. It is the argument we are having with reality that prevents peace and freedom. When I have the thought, “She should have done that differently”, I am arguing with reality. She shouldn’t have done it differently because she didn’t do it differently! When I can make peace with what is actually happening, I can find my own answers how to deal with it, and, decide what to do next about what happened…(maybe nothing!).
5.) “Our mind needs an identity to survive.” Our conscious mind, in order to exist needs to keep distinguishing itself. In order to distinguish itself, it must continually separate itself from others. By judging, being angry at others, and blaming it is able to maintain its identity. Our true nature, how we were as children, was without an ego. We were free, lighthearted, guided by instinct.
I have now done 7 worksheets using ‘the work’ method and have many more to go!! Doing ‘the work’ is not easy, but it can lead to a more relaxed state of being. As I re-train my mind to question thoughts that perpetuate suffering, going through the laborious process of unpacking them, my heart is lightening, my worries are evaporating (even with 20 degree weather and rolling blackouts!).
Byron Katie’s work (www.thework.com) is a way to identify and question the thoughts that cause suffering. It’s a way to find peace with yourself and with the world.
If you want the worksheets and process, go to the website and download them. Feel free to share your stories of ‘loving what is’ here.