|Can you be clearer about what you mean by The Work by Byron Katie? I read her website but don't understand the context.|
Imagine waking up one day with absolutely no memory. Another way of putting it is, imagine if you were a newborn baby. It isn't easy to remove absolutely everything you know but it is a process of discovery you imagine. You look at a cockroach running by and you have no word for it, no concept, no frame of reference. You just see a small brown thing scuttering along the floor. It means nothing. You have no distaste, no fear, because you have no experience or memory of "cockroach".
You look around the room and see stuff. A hair brush catches your eye. You pick it up. You feel the shape, the different parts, you have no idea what it does, what it is. It means as much to you as the cockroach does. A purple one eyed monster with green spots may as well walk in and make you toast, it all means the same to you, for without memory, there is nothing to refer to. We build our experience from that point. We start to build memories and memory triggers based on what happens from this moment forward.
This is called, in certain circles, enlightenment. Of course, enlightenment is much more, it is having no "opinion" but still with memory intact. It is feeling joy where another feels pain, as one is above concepts and duality. Enlightenment is so much more, but it must contain this element. This element of innocence, for want of a better word. What The Work does is strip away all you believe. For our beliefs hold us back. You take a situation and you ask certain questions of it, stripping it down to its bare bones and oftentimes when I work this with people, they can have such a shock of an AHA! moment, it changes their life forever. Other times, it just helps. But it rarely does nothing.
I can help you with one to get you started if you like. Online is not very easy, as it is a process that ordinarily happens in the moment, not in the days I've taken with some on forums to go through each question, come back to the computer, answer, come back, etc. Chat windows are better than forums. But I can write an example of one that I've done. First, the questions you ask are:
Is this true?
Can you absolutely know that this is true?
How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
Who would you be without the thought?
- The Turnaround
- Embracing Reality
You fill in a form, judging the situation and saying how you think and feel about it. There are specific ones and there are several but I'll just do one of them.
I am angry at Steve because he doesn't listen to me, he should pay more attention. I never want to experience him doing this to me again.
He doesn't listen to you; it that true?
Can you absolutely know that is true? Can you be in his head, can you bet your life and the life of your kids on that being true?
He doesn't listen to you, is that true?
How do you react when you think the thought "He doesn't listen to me"?
I feel disappointed; so unloved. Like I'm nothing, like I'm all alone. I feel as though what I have to say is worthless, I feel angry and frustrated.
Who would you be without the thought, he doesn't listen to me?
I would be free. I would love Steve more. I would feel loved.
Steve should pay more attention to you. Is this true?
It feels true.
Can you absolutely know this is true, that the world would be a better place if he paid more attention to you? Can you know for sure what he SHOULD do?
How do you react when you think that thought?
I get angry. I feel the same way I do about him not listening.
That is a lot of negative feeling when you believe something that isn't even true.
Yes (swallows back tears)
Our pain is based in believing something that argues with reality. Reality, what IS, is always kinder than our thoughts about it. Our story starts to play in our heads and we manipulate reality, we create, and all too often we create hell, when we can create heaven. What is real? What is true? What do we ever know for sure? Right now, what is real?
This chair is brown. I hear birds outside. I hear a plane flying over head. I see two people arguing over there.
That is the power of now. That is all that is real. The rest is an illusion. Made up. fabricated in your head. When you feel pain, ask yourself what is real, and how much of that pain we are creating with our thoughts. Victims of rape, war, torture, they have all done the work, and found a place where they realised what happened to them lasted a short few moments, but they hurt themselves with the thought of it over and over for years.
Steve doesn't listen to me. Turn it around, find one that fits better than this.
I don't listen to Steve.
How does that feel? Could you be so busy in your own head, you are tuning him out?
I don't listen to me.
Steve should pay more attention to me. Turn it around.
Steve shouldn't pay more attention to me.
Let's embrace our reality; let's move past fear. You said you never want to experience Steve doing these things. What are you willing to do now?
I am willing to experience Steve not listening to me. I am willing to experience Steve not paying enough attention to me.
Can we embrace it?
I look forward to experiencing Steve not listening to me. I look forward to experiencing Steve not paying enough attention to me.
That's a really simple one. And only doing the process yourself can you find the layers lift. Freeing yourself from the bonds of belief and limited thoughts is something many religions dedicate years of meditation to. Byron Katie has managed to make it accessible in a very simple way. You can take this as deep as you choose, peeling layers off your preconceived ideas, learning just how much you have created your reality, and how much pain has actually been all made up. We're still playing pretend, just like children, which some people say is the reason we are here, in life. But the game can become painful, and we can get trapped in our stories. Getting back to what is real, that's when you can change the story again, and make it more fun.