Health Sickness, and Death

Health Sickness, and Death

When you’re asleep, does your body hurt? When you’re in the worst pain and the phone rings and it’s the call you’ve been waiting for and you’re mentally focused on the phone call, there’s no pain. If you change your thinking, you change the pain – Byron Katie

Judge- Your-Neighbor Worksheet

Video: Positive Thinking and the Bathroom Mirror

Positive Thinking and the Bathroom Mirror

“My body is unlovable,” a woman states. “How do you react when you believe that thought?” asks Byron Katie. “I have a hard time breathing,” the woman observes. “I’d rather be dead.”

Watch as this courageous woman questions her stressful thoughts about what is too fat and what is acceptable. “If you believe in basic kindness, it’s your job to catch those thoughts and get real,” Katie says. “Not get positive, get real, because positive thinking doesn’t cut it when you look in the mirror.”

www.thework.com

Bad News — You Have Cancer

A doctor once took a sample of my blood and came back to me with a long face. He said he was bringing bad news; he was very sorry, but I had cancer. Bad news? I couldn’t help laughing. When I looked at him, I saw that he was quite taken aback. Not everyone understands this kind of laughter. Later, it turned out that I didn’t have cancer, and that was good news too.

The truth is that until we love cancer, we can’t love life. It doesn’t matter what symbols we use—poverty, loneliness, loss—it’s the concepts of good and bad that we attach to them that make us suffer. I was sitting once with a friend who had a huge tumor, and the doctors had given her just a few weeks to live. As I was leaving her bedside, she said, “I love you,” and I said, “No, you don’t. You can’t love me until you love your tumor. Every concept that you put onto that tumor, you’ll eventually put onto me. The first time I don’t give you what you want, or threaten what you believe, you’ll put that concept onto me.” This might sound harsh, but my friend had asked me to always tell her the truth. The tears in her eyes were tears of gratitude, she said.

No one knows what’s good and what’s bad. No one knows what death is. Maybe it’s not a something; maybe it’s not even a nothing. It’s the pure unknown, and I love that. We imagine that death is a state of being or a state of nothingness, and we frighten ourselves with our own concepts. I’m a lover of what is: I love sickness and health, coming and going, life and death. I see life and death as equal. Reality is good; so death must be good, whatever it is, if it’s anything at all.

Until you experience death as a gift, your work’s not done. So if you’re afraid of it, that shows you what to question next. There’s nothing else to do; you’re either believing these childish stories, or you’re questioning them—there’s no other choice. What’s not okay about dying? You close your eyes every night, and you go to sleep. People look forward to it; some people actually prefer that part. And that’s as bad as it gets, except for your belief that says there’s something else. Before a thought, there’s no one, nothing—only peace that doesn’t even recognize itself as peace.

What I know about dying is that when there’s no escape, when you know that no one is coming to save you, there’s no fear. You just don’t bother. The worst thing that can happen on your deathbed is a belief. Nothing worse than that has ever happened. So if you are lying on your deathbed and the doctor says it’s all over for you and you believe him, all the confusion stops. You no longer have anything to lose. And in that peace, there is only you.

People who know there’s no hope are free; decisions are out of their hands. It has always been that way, but some people have to die bodily to find out. No wonder they smile on their deathbeds. Dying is everything they were looking for in life: they’ve given up the delusion of being in charge. When there’s no choice, there’s no fear. They begin to realize that nothing was ever born but a dream and nothing ever dies but a dream.

When you’re clear about death, you can be totally present with someone who’s dying, and no matter what kind of pain she appears to be experiencing, it doesn’t affect your happiness. You’re free to just love her, to hold her and care for her, because it’s your nature to do that. To come to that person in fear is to teach fear: she looks into your eyes and gets the message that she is in deep trouble. But if you come in peace, fearlessly, she looks into your eyes and sees that whatever is happening is good.

 

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Video: The Gift of Chronic Pain

A woman takes a closer look at her illness with the help of Byron Katie. At the start of their inquiry, she discovers that her beliefs about herself have hardened her suffering into place.

“So, sweetheart,” Katie asks, “’You’re in physical pain constantly’—is that true?”

Maria pauses, and when she finds that her genuine answer is no, she sighs.

“You just got some of your life back, ”Katie says. “I, too, used to believe I was in constant pain, but through The Work I got pieces of my life back that I didn’t even know existed.”

After examining the consequences of her beliefs, Maria discovers examples where the opposite of her belief is as true or truer. Katie then encourages her to find examples of why she is actually better off not doing the things she can’t do. “I look at all the reasons I’m better off not walking,” Katie says, referring to a time when she was crippled by neuropathy. “And the whole world opens up. That’s the gift of pain. Everything is a gift, when we see it with a questioned mind.”

Thought Thursday

On Love, Sex, and Relationships

If you don’t attach beliefs to it, sex is just like breathing or walking. It’s beauty; it’s you. But when you go into it seeking things like satisfaction, ecstasy, intimacy, connectedness, and romance, don’t count on finding them. -Byron Katie

What are your thoughts?

Question Your Thinking, Change the World

Working with Alzheimer’s

The email below was submitted for a Conversation with Byron Katie webcast from A. in Sweden.

 

Dear Katie,

Thank you for bringing The Work out in the world. It has helped me greatly. This past year there is an issue I have had trouble working through. Here it is coming from my scared thoughts:

My father is in his early 60s and has got a rare kind of Alzheimer’s or frontal lobe dementia. The doctors are not sure yet of which diagnosis it will be. If it is Alzheimer’s, then there is a medication that can slow down the process. If it is frontal lobe dementia the process will be more aggressive, leading to loss of speech and apathy. Eventually the body breaks down and the doctors do nothing to support it. You die at quite a young age. Frontal lobe dementia is caused by a mutated gene, and there is a risk that I have it and will suffer the same fate. It scares me terribly to have to see my father getting worse and worse and to not know if that same terrible disease will happen to me. I get thoughts of not having children on my own and have trouble functioning through the day due to anxiety, heavy thoughts, and fear. It can feel like my life is over. Please help.

Love,
A.

 

 

Dearest A.,

Here are some thoughts for a sample Worksheet that you can put up against inquiry:

1) I’m scared because my father has Alzheimer’s.

2) I want my father’s Alzheimer’s to stop progressing. I want my father to be healthy, happy, and lucid.

3) My father’s disease should stop progressing. His disease shouldn’t be passed on to me.

4) I need this fear to go away. I need Alzheimer’s to stop being such a threat.

5) My father’s disease is unreliable, getting worse, and has been passed on to me.

6) I don’t ever want to have Alzheimer’s. I don’t ever want to have dementia. I don’t ever want to see my father becoming worse and worse.

These are just examples of fear-making thoughts. I suggest that you be thorough, sweetheart, as you write your own Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. If you need more help, don’t hesitate to go to thework.com and find one of our very fine Certified Facilitators to support you.

Loving what is and what isn’t,

bk