Podcast: Elise is Ignoring Me—The Work of Byron Katie

Elise is Ignoring Me—The Work of Byron Katie

Byron Katie does The Work with a French man who believes that his girlfriend is ignoring him. His concept is “I’m angry with Elise because she’s ignoring me.” He explains that she’s passionately interested in another man.

Man: The situation is: we are in a dance hall in the countryside and a man comes along.

BK: What is she doing in that moment when you say she’s ignoring you?

Man: I’m sitting down. Two people come in and start talking to the man about dancing. Her eyes light up and she speaks passionately to that man. It’s as though there are no other people on earth.

BK: Close your eyes and see the scene. She’s ignoring you—Is it true?

Man: Yes.

BK: Look again. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? She is looking only at him. She is looking starry eyed. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

Man: No.

BK: What did you just understand?

Man: I felt included in the room with them.

BK: Does that feel right? In other words, what you just experienced; was it authentic?

Man: Yes.

BK: Close your eyes. In that situation in that moment in time, notice what it feels like and notice how you react when you think the thought she’s ignoring me?

Man: I feel abandoned, nervous, and angry.

BK: You see images of past and future before you can feel annoyed or angry. And I love that you all understand how the mind works; the cause of emotion. You see images of the future and past and you’re asleep to that. As you witness that dream it’s like watching a movie and that’s what brings anger. No matter how quickly your temper rises, past-future has to be in place. So close your eyes. You’re seeing her with her eyes all lit up talking to him. You think the thought “She’s ignoring me.” What images of past and future do you see in your mind’s eye while you’re sitting there? Do you see images of how she used to look at you that way? And then you see pictures in your mind’s eye of a future when she’ll never look at you that way again. Also, you look at him, and then you have an image of you in your mind’s eye. And your mind is comparing him with you. So now you’re sure she’ll never look at you that way again. She’ll always be thinking of him. This is what happened in that moment that you were witnessing her.

Man: Laughs [in recognition of his experience that Katie just described].

BK: So you witness this past and future; you don’t know it’s going on in the moment. If you continue this practice, as you sit in that movie, you can be awake to the cause of the anger and confusion you’re experiencing in the moment.

Now in your mind’s eye, look at her, look at them, and take that story off of then. Get intimate; watch. Get connected. Who would you be, without putting that onto those two people? Without comparing.

Man: I would be happy for her; that she’s able to talk about her passion.

BK: What we want is for everyone to be happy. Why does it have to be you that makes her happy? But no, you want only you to give her that. That is limited love; conditional love.

Man: I’m at peace. It doesn’t bother me. I can accept it.

The Turnarounds

Man: I’m ignoring her.
Examples:
I’m ignoring her passion; her feelings.
I left without her.

BK: When I turn around “I’m ignoring her,” I witness in my mind’s eye, did I ignore her or punish her in any way in the situation? And later, did I hold a resentment; continue not to call, not to talk? Did I continue to punish her or ignore her in any way? If I have, and if it feels right, I contact her, admit it, and make it right where I can. I created it; I need to end my part. It’s like the breadcrumbs; you go back and pick them up, or that will be your past. Take care of it in the present time. It’s a practice.

 

Another Turnaround

Man: I’m ignoring myself.
Examples:
I love her and this is not proof of my love.
I hurt myself all on my own.

BK: Yes, by comparing you with him in your mind’s eye.

With your eyes closed, look at him and look at you. The way you experienced that situation. Look at yourself in your mind’s eye, is that you? No one has ever seen themselves. Not one human being. You see what you imagine yourself to be. When you look at how you saw yourself that night, it was not your best image. You always lose when you compare. You’re always more or less. You believe that’s you so you’re identified as that image which is not you. You’re in the dream and it will affect your next relationships.

I love that you notice any time you feel upset, that you’re in the past and future. You’re not in reality. In reality there’s no anger, no jealousy, no more, no less. Just sanity.

When you compare, you lose. —Byron Katie

Podcast: My Sister Betrayed Me—The Work of Byron Katie in Paris

A French woman does The Work on a situation with her sister that occurred thirty years ago. The woman had just opened her first bank account and was already in the red. Sitting at the dinner table with their parents, her little sister said, “You’re irresponsible.”

The belief she finds by revisiting that moment is “My sister betrayed me.”

BK: She betrayed you. Close your eyes and witness. Notice how you physically react when you think the thought “She betrayed me.” Describe it as you witness.

Woman: It’s as if I’d been shot with an arrow in my heart.

BK: Did you give her “the look”? We’re looking for those physical tendencies. I want you to get still enough to observe. Does your body tighten? Your shoulders? Your neck?

Woman: I can feel it in my eyes. I’m judging her. I feel myself above her.

BK: Do you feel the pain? Continue to look with your eyes closed. Look at your sister in that moment without the story “She betrayed me.” What do you see?

Woman: Just a little girl with an opinion.

BK: Do you see her innocence?

Woman: She just wants to be part of the family and take part in the conversation.

BK: Look at her again with the thought. Notice the radical difference. Who caused all that suffering, your sister or you?

Together they find turnarounds to her original statement:

Woman: I betrayed myself.

BK: You put your untested thoughts over reality.

Woman: My sister did not betray me.

BK: Could be as true or truer. She just told the truth.

Woman: I betrayed my sister.

BK: In that situation, what does that mean to you? Examples?

Woman: I crystallized the idea that I couldn’t count on her.

BK: She makes a statement that was a simple truth. You betrayed her by what you believed onto her. Not what she did, but what you believed onto her. Not being good with money is a good thing to know about yourself. People who betray you support you to come out of denial. Do you see how this is the end of war? Defense is the first act of war and your reaction to your sister was defense. It’s how the ego stays identified as that self. We have an identification that we want to live up to, like “I’m the responsible one.” When someone threatens the ego’s identity, there’s war. That’s how war is created in our world. If we can’t end the war in our own minds and lives, how can we expect our politicians to? We can’t. When we believe our thoughts, we create not only suffering in our lives but in the world and within our own families.

Defense is the first act of war. —Byron Katie

A conversation between Katie and Eileen Fisher in the LifeWork Embodiment Lounge

Eileen Fisher and Byron Katie dive in and explore topics that include anxiety, creative mind, how to serve, conscious consumerism, and a fearless state of mind.

This conversation was filmed live at the Eileen Fisher Embodiment Lounge at the Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco in February 2017.

Discover LifeWork, an evolving collection of resources to make your day a little more interesting: eileenfisherlifework.com

Podcast: No Teacher is Necessary—Byron Katie Interview with Giovanna Rossi

Today’s topic is How to Identify and Question the Stressful Thoughts that Cause Our Stress and hopefully by the end of the show you’ll be inspired to question the things that cause your suffering and have the knowledge and power to dismantle these stressful thoughts and gain freedom of mind.

Byron Katie is interviewed on “The Well Woman Show” with Giovanna Rossi.

Giovanna: I want to start with a quote from Loving What Is. “No teacher is ever necessary. You are the teacher you’ve been waiting for.” What do you mean by that?

BK: I went to the world for answers—asking others what they advised; but ultimately, I found the answers to all my questions inside. It became so clear to me to just question everything I believed about my life and other people’s lives. As a result, everything shifted dramatically. Every time I questioned my assumptions—the things I was so sure were true—the questioning would show me astonishing truths I had no access to otherwise, truths that gave me a happy, problem-free life. So I invite people to question what they think.

Giovanna: And it is really hard to always be questioning our thoughts. That’s why you have these four simple questions to guide us.

BK: And the questions really are a practice. They are something we meditate on, until the questioning just comes naturally.

Giovanna: You have to focus on it and really do this in order to get to the other side of suffering.

BK: I do The Work all over the world with people and one-on-one, so I’m always in inquiry. And the questioning continues all day long, without effort. So I’m always prepared for life.

Giovanna: What superpower did you discover that you actually found was there all along?

BK: The ability to love without reservation.

Giovanna: I define feminism as equality in social, political, and economic spaces. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

BK: In that way, absolutely. And as women, if we are not in those spaces equally, it’s because of a fearful state of mind. There’s nothing that could stop us in our life if we were not fearful. If I believed anything that didn’t give me equal rights in my life, I would question it.

Giovanna: What do you tell people who are incredibly fearful right now; people who feel like they have no power over our social and political situation?

BK: I’d invite them to love what is, which is different from accepting what is. To love what is is to see things clearly from a balanced state of mind. In that clarity it’s simple to see what we can do to make positive changes in our life and in the world, and there’s no fear to stop it.

“Anyone with an open mind can do this Work; that’s the requirement.” —Byron Katie

 

For more information about Giovanna Rossi, please visit her website by clicking here.

 

More About The Work
The Work is a simple yet powerful process of inquiry that teaches how to identify and question the stressful thoughts that cause all of our stress.

The Work was developed by Katie Byron Mitchell who, after a long depression, noticed that she was unhappy when she believed her thoughts. She developed this method to methodically dismantle these stressful thoughts and gain freedom of mind.

Her insight into the mind is consistent with leading-edge research in cognitive neuroscience, and The Work has been compared to the Socratic dialogue, Buddhist teachings, and twelve step programs.

She says: “I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always.”

As we question the thoughts that pull us away from our true nature, a new reality presents itself. Fear and anger are no longer the default mode. The mind, free from stress, can think creatively, all on it’s own. We create, love, innovate.

Thus we understand that our stress does not emanate from our world but from the stories we make up about it. This is empowering news. It brings our contentment out of the whim of the outside world, into the realm of our mind. Whom else should we trust with our happiness?

People who do The Work as an ongoing practice commonly report: Alleviation of depression: Find resolution, even happiness, in situations that were once debilitating.
Decreased stress: Learn how to live with less anxiety or fear.
Improved relationships: Experience deeper connection and intimacy with your partner, your parents, your children, your friends, and yourself.
Reduced anger: Understand what makes you angry and resentful, and become less reactive, less often, with less intensity.
Increased mental clarity: Live and work more intelligently and effectively, with integrity. More energy: Experience a new sense of ongoing vigor and well-being.

Links:
thework.com
Katie’s new book:
The Mind at Home with Itself
Katie’s other books:
Loving What Is
I Need Your Love is That True?
A Thousand Names for Joy

Bregman Leadership Podcast Inteview

Can you reduce the amount of suffering in your life just by asking a few specific questions? Peter Bregman started reading Loving What Is years ago. “The idea of accepting life as it is scared me, so I stopped reading the book. Recently I stepped into a workshop with Byron Katie, thinking to myself ‘How can a couple of questions make a big difference?’ but found the experience extremely powerful and now live with the daily awareness of how these simple questions can deeply impact our lives.”

The Bregman Leadership Podcast

 

Play Podcast

The Ego Is…

“The ego is terrified of the truth. And the truth is that the ego doesn’t exist.” xoxo bk

A Mind at Home with Itself

My new book, A Mind at Home with Itself, will be published on September 19. (Please pre-order it at amindathomewithitself.com.) Here’s a chapter from the book. (The word “Buddha” means “the awakened one.” It’s a word for the clear mind—for me, for you, for all of us.)

 

Chapter 8:
The Ultimate Generosity

The Buddha said, “Let me ask you something, Subhuti. If someone were to amass inconceivable wealth and then gave it all away in support of charitable causes, wouldn’t the merit gained by this person be great?”

Subhuti said, “Extremely great, Sir. But though this merit is great, there is no substance to it. It is only called ‘great.’”

The Buddha said, “Yes, Subhuti. Nevertheless, if an open-minded person, upon hearing this sutra, could truly realize what it is teaching and then embody it and live it, this person’s merit would be even greater. All the buddhas, and all their teachings about enlightenment, spring forth from what this sutra teaches. And yet, Subhuti, there is no teaching.”

The Buddha’s point here is that when you realize there is no self and no other, you give an incomparable gift. It’s the ultimate generosity, both to others and to yourself (neither of whom exist). All Buddha awareness—that is, any mind that sees reality as it truly is—arises from this realization.

There is no distance away from mind. It’s all an imagined trip. Mind never moves as the source. It doesn’t “come back” to itself, because it never leaves. Heaven and earth were born when I was, and the only thing that was born is the “I.” The whole world arises out of that unquestioned “I.” And with it arises the world of naming, and the sleights of mind that match those names. Out of that story come a thousand—ten thousand—forms of suffering. “I am this.” “I am that.” “I am a human.” “I am a woman.” “I am a woman with three children, whose mother doesn’t love her.”

You are who you believe you are. Other people are, for you, who you believe they are; they can be nothing more than that. If you realized that the mind is one, that everyone and everything is your own projection (including you), you would understand that it’s only yourself you’re ever dealing with. You would end up loving yourself, loving every thought you think. When you love every thought, you love everything thoughts create, you love the whole world you have created. At first, the love that overflows in you seems to be about connecting with other people, and it’s wonderful to feel intimately connected to every human being you meet. But then it becomes about mind connected to itself, and only that. The ultimate love is the mind’s love of itself. Mind joins with mind—all of mind, without division or separation, all of it loved. Ultimately I am all I can know, and what I come to know is that there is no such thing as “I.”

So you discover that even mind is imagined. Inquiry wakes you up to that. When people question the apparent past, they lose their future. The present moment—that’s when we’re born. We’re the unborn. We’re born now… now… now… There is no story that can survive inquiry. “I” is imagined by “me,” and as you get a glimpse of that, you stop taking yourself so seriously. You learn to love yourself, as no one. Mind’s love affair with itself is the great dance, the only dance.

When you realize that there’s no self, you also realize that there’s no death. Death is just the death of identity, and that’s a beautiful thing, since every identity the mind would construct vanishes upon inquiry, and you’re left with no identity, and therefore unborn. The “I” of past and future are both nonexistent now, and what remains is imagined. When mind stops, there’s no mind to know that there’s no mind. Perfect! Death has a terrible reputation, but it’s only a rumor.

The truth is that nothing and something are equal. They’re just different aspects of reality. Something is a word for what is. Nothing is a word for what is. Awareness has no preference for one over the other. Awareness wouldn’t deny any of it. It wouldn’t deny a needle on a pine tree. It wouldn’t deny a breath. I am all of that. It’s total self-love, and it would have it all. It bows at the feet of it all. It bows at the feet of the sinner, the saint, the dog, the cat, the ant, the drop of water, the grain of sand.

The Buddha says that the merit of someone who realizes this central teaching of the Diamond Sutra is greater than the merit of even the most generous philanthropist. This realization is the greatest possible gift. But ultimately there’s no merit. No one is keeping score, after all. How can you acquire merit if you don’t even exist as a separate being? “Merit” is just a way of saying that you can do nothing more valuable than realize who you are.

The Buddha-mind holds nothing back. Everything in it is freely given, as it was freely received. It has no storage place; what flows into it flows out of it, without any thought of having or giving. There’s nothing to have that isn’t immediately given, and its value is in the giving. The Buddha-mind doesn’t need it. It’s a receptacle; it exists in a constant flow. Whatever wisdom the Buddha may have is something he can’t claim. It belongs to everyone. It’s simply realized from within and given away in exactly the same measure. The more valuable it is, the more freely it’s given.

I can’t give you anything you don’t already have. Self-inquiry allows you access to the wisdom that already exists within you. It gives you the opportunity to realize the truth for yourself. Truth doesn’t come or go; it’s always here, always available to the open mind. If I can teach you anything, it is to identify the stressful thoughts that you’re believing and to question them, to get still enough so that you can hear your own answers. Stress is the gift that alerts you to your asleepness. Feelings like anger or sadness exist only to alert you to the fact that you’re believing your own stories. The Work gives you a portal into wisdom, a way to tap into the answers that wake you up to your true nature, until you realize how all suffering is caused and how it can be ended. It returns you to before the beginning of things. Who would you be without your identity?

We’re born as a story. The story stays out there and lives its life, forever. For me, “forever” lasted for forty-three years, and it was every lifetime that has ever been lived—all of time and space. I thought I was stuck there, in hopeless agony, with no way out. Then the four questions brought me back to the storyteller. Once I realized that no one was telling the story, I had to laugh. It turned out that I had been free all along, since the beginning of time.

 

In this sutra, the Buddha talks about generosity, but he doesn’t talk about love. Why do you think that is?

Love is usually thought of as an emotion, but it’s much vaster than that. Egos can’t love, because an ego isn’t real, and it can’t create something real. The Buddha is beyond any identity, and that’s what I see as pure love.

When I refer to love, I’m merely pointing to the unidentified, awakened mind. When you’re identified as a this or a that, a him or a her, any kind of physical self, body, or personality, you remain in the limited realm of the ego. If your thoughts are opposed to love, you’ll feel stress, and that stress will let you know that you’ve drifted away from what you fundamentally are. If you feel balance and joy, that tells you that your thinking is more in keeping with your true identity, which is beyond identity. That’s what I call “love.”

 

What’s the relationship between love and projection?

When I judge someone, I’m seeing a distortion of my own mind superimposed onto an apparent other. I can’t love the one I’m with until I see him (or her) clearly, and I can’t see him clearly until I have no desire to change him. When confusion takes over the mind, when it argues with reality, I see only my own confusion. “Love thy neighbor as thyself” isn’t a command coming from the outside; it’s an observation. When you love your neighbor, you’re loving yourself; when you love yourself, you can’t help but love your neighbor. That’s because your neighbor is yourself. He’s not the “other” that he seemed to be. He’s a pure projection of mind.

I understand how painful the unquestioned mind is. I also understand that love is the power. Mind originates in love and ultimately returns to its source. Love is mind’s homing device, and until mind returns, it has no rest.

 

You say that there is no death. But bodies die, don’t they? Is the mind independent of the brain? How can you know that when the brain dies there is any mind at all?

Nothing is born but a thought believed, and nothing dies but that thought once realized, and eventually you come to understand that the thought was never born in the first place. I don’t see anyone as alive, since all beings are within me and are only as “I” see them to be.

If you think that bodies die, they die—in your world. In my world, bodies can’t be born anywhere but in the mind. How can what was never born die? That’s not possible, except in the imagination of the hypnotized, innocent believer.

 

You say, “Nothing and something are equal.” Doesn’t that mean that nothing matters? And if nothing matters, isn’t that depressing?

All somethings are nothing, since they’re all imagined, and “nothing” is equal to “something.” Does anything matter? Yes, to the ego. But the fact that the ego believes it doesn’t make it real.

Once you realize that you’re no one, you’re thrilled that nothing matters. There’s so much freedom in that! The whole slate is wiped clean at every moment. It means that every new moment is a new beginning, where anything is possible. You also realize that the turnaround for that statement is equally true: everything matters. That’s just as thrilling as its opposite.

Podcast: I’m Disappointed in Her—The Work of Byron Katie

I’m Disappointed in Her—The Work of Byron Katie

A man whose baby has died struggles with listening to his wife complain about work. His thoughts are “Her world view is rubbish,” “She needs to not care about work,” and “How can she think about work when our baby is dead?” At the core of his inquiry is the belief “She behaved in a way that made our baby Sophia’s death more likely.” MAN: She waited and waited and waited before having a child, and that made it more likely that the child would die. BK: “Her behavior made Sophia’s death more likely”–can you absolutely know that that’s true? MAN: No. BK: And how do you react when you believe that thought? MAN: I feel broken. Snapped. Blocked. Like I can’t go on. BK: How do you treat her in that situation when you believe that thought? You’re looking at her, but you’re seeing the woman who killed your child. MAN: I’m not truthful with her. I’m pretending everything’s okay. I’m screaming “no” inside, and “This is rubbish!” I feel aggressive and hopeless. BK: You believed she shouldn’t wait so long to have a child. And she believed she needed to wait. She’s just like you, and you’re blaming her for being just like you. You’re both guilty of believing your thoughts–that’s all. If you prefer to suffer, go on believing your stressful thoughts. But if you’d rather be happy, question them.

Meditating on Freedom—An Interview with Lilou—The Work of Byron Katie


Lilou: People are really going through hard times with depression and suicide, etc. What is your perception of this?

BK: People are projecting the past and the future in their minds. When you imagine what the future will be, fear is created. Now is the only time we can really live in.

I always say, that if you want a little fear and terror, get a future. I invite people to put their thoughts on a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. The power of The Work is the answers that arise from the individual doing The Work. As we tap into that knowledge inside us, we find freedom. That’s why inquiry is so powerful. The Work is a beautiful way to peace, and it doesn’t require a teacher.

Lilou: I hear that you received The Work in a moment, kind of like Eckhart Tolle.

BK: The valuable thing about that moment for me was: I saw that when I believed my thoughts I suffered, and when I didn’t believe them I didn’t suffer. I’ve come to see that this is true for every human being. In that moment, it was very clear to me, but when I tried to tell people about it, there was no way it could be described. So the questions take people into that experience.

Lilou: How did you work out this radical shift in yourself with your family?

BK: Well, I had been agoraphobic. After my eyes were opened to reality, my family wondered “Who is this high-functioning and non-reactive woman? What is living in that body we call our mother?” They were constantly waiting for an angry reaction that never came. It was very confusing for them. I invited them to say whatever they wanted to say. They began to introduce me to my old self. That’s how I kept one foot in what I call the dream-world, without being the dream.

Lilou: How do we know if we’re taking the right actions in life?

BK: There’s no argument in your mind. If you choose to turn to the left, or to the right, or do nothing, the worst that can happen is what you’re thinking and believing. All the while you’re on the perfect path.

Lilou: So you’re saying that reality is this movie we’re in, that we’re living, and creating, and everything is right there, as we project it.

BK: Yes, in the moment. The images in our minds, and the thoughts we’re believing about the images, the way we define what we see–all this is happening in the moment. Believing that we’re that image can be terrifying, but if you’re witnessing the images out of a clear mind, they can be incredibly loving, dear, and enlightening.

Lilou: You have that grace and you can describe it, and we want to live there. It seems permanent with you. Some people experiencing The Work have it on and off, so it’s a continuous exercise.

BK: The Work is a practice , and I recommend that people do it every day. I invite people to identify any thought that causes them stress, to write it down, and to question it. Each time people do that, they become clearer, kinder, more loving human beings. And their whole world begins to shift. The world is internal. As the mind shifts, the world shifts. Thoughts create the world, as you perceive it. As the mind continues to question itself, it falls in love with itself and begins to project a beautiful world. This is the opposite of denial. It’s seeing out of your true self. If you see the world as a frightening place, don’t try to change it, look to your own mind.

Lilou: How do we get from the four questions to a nine-day intensive program, your School for The Work? The questions are very direct and simple.

BK: No one needs to come to the School to set themselves free. I make this opportunity available to people who want to immerse themselves in inquiry. It’s a very powerful experience, and almost everyone who comes walks out a transformed person. I hear this over and over. During these nine days, I take people through every possible source of stress, including fear and terror, the physical body, prejudice, gender, sex, communication, relationships, the things they are most ashamed of, and God. The curriculum is nothing short of radical.

Lilou: To find equilibrium in all areas: Is that what we’re supposed to do? Are we supposed to do The Work on all areas for true happiness?

BK: Yes, because ultimately every area has the potential to cause problems–in other words, to give rise to the unquestioned thoughts that cause our suffering. We have a continuation of the School through the Institute for The Work. It’s an aftercare program that allows people to sit in The Work as a daily practice and as a community that is meditating on those questions.

Website: http://www.thework.com
Webcasts: http://www.livewithbyronkatie.com
Subscribe: http://www.youtube.com/theworkofbk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theworkofbyronkatie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ByronKatie
ITW: http://www.instituteforthework.com/itw/

© 2016 Byron Katie International, Inc. All rights reserved.

Podcast: My Mother Doesn’t Want to Know Me

 

A woman does The Work on a moment in time when she was texting with her estranged mother. Her belief at that moment is “My mother doesn’t want to know me.”

BK: We’re meditating on “She doesn’t want to know me”—is it true?” The answer is always one syllable: yes or no. Notice the other thoughts that arise around this, and gently go back to the question. Do you see images of you and her in the past and the future? Is that you or imagination?

Together, they question statements like “I want my mom to acknowledge me,” “I want her to admit that she screwed up,” “She should apologize for the past,” “She shouldn’t expect me to parent her,”and “She should admit she’s a psychopath.”

“You cannot experience rage unless you’re in a movie.” —Byron Katie

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