Letter: About Apologizing

Dear Katie,

I haven’t fully understood the concept of “to apologize” yet. There is a conflict for me between wanting to apologize and then, when the other person says “I accept your apology” or “I forgive you,” I feel like “Now it looks as if I did it on purpose and I didn’t!!” And I become angry and defensive. What am I missing here?

Yes, and on purpose or not, “you” did it; it happened through your body (mouth, hands, etc.) and what you claim to be “yourself.” Isn’t that why you apologized? The next time you apologize and didn’t do the act on purpose, I suggest that you say, “I didn’t do _______ on purpose, and I’m so sorry that it happened.” Or “I didn’t do _______ on purpose” (if you aren’t sorry).

An apology happens within me first; it is clear when the slightest internal circuit is broken, planned or unplanned, within one’s own self. I may notice the off-ness (the circuit breaker) when I said something, and then an “oops” kind of sweetness happens (instant awareness of the past as here and now, even just a nanosecond away), and out of that, a sense of awakeness and delight at noticing, I apologize with or without a bystander. If the apparent other isn’t there to be offended, I apologize to the self (it doesn’t mind at all, and we laugh at the “self” self-talk). There is never a moment within this intimate dance that the one who steps on its own foot wouldn’t apologize. Nothing personal, and yet so unbreakably intimate.

And even though someone may not be offended by my words, actions, etc., it seems right that I easily claim, “I said _______, and I’m sincerely sorry if I have offended you. I apologize. I am sorry for any suffering I may have caused.” Intentional or not, I am only about the end of suffering. I am about peace, and I’m sorry if anything that is understood through “my” words should fall short and seem to point away from that.

Dearest, the ego has great difficulty with identity (false self) exposed, and the truly humble, completely exposed and naked doesn’t have any problem, as it understands what it really is and is not.

Why is my reaction defense and not freedom and peace?

Are you really sorry, or are you just imagining what you consider to be escape? And yes, I wouldn’t apologize until I really understood any suffering I may have caused and was in touch with how to make it right if that is involved in the harm as well. I wouldn’t apologize until I was completely willing to have the other person shout my “wrong” to the rooftops and include it in his or her next Facebook entry. That’s how I know that I would rather be free than right. The moment this kind of freedom is experienced is the beginning of the old identity shifting, falling away, seeing and experiencing itself as truly false in the dearest of ways.

I better not apologize to others until I am “ready”? But what is “ready”?

I hope something in my response has helped you in some way. And good that you don’t apologize to others before you are ready, since that is no apology from you at all. What is ready? When you understand that for you and you only, it is the right thing to do, and it is for you, not to you. An apology has nothing to do with the person I am apologizing to. Nothing at all. They will do with it what they do with it. Mine is done: a clean slate. I am ready.

This may help: Statement numbers 2, 3, and 4 on the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, when turned around, show me what to apologize for. Question 3, “How do I react when I believe that thought,” shows me what to apologize for and to whom. All so simple to the mind that wants to expand and leave the world of suffering from within and fly.

When do I know that I’m “there” and that an apology is the right thing to do now?

When you’re ready to live without guilt and stress and regret. Be gentle, take your time, be thorough and know that starting over is what time is for.

Do you have any suggestions here that help me understand myself and the concept of apologizing better?

I leave it for you be the judge of that, dearest one.

In deep gratitude and love,
Anncagrete

Letter

Hello, Hans.

This is Pamela Hickein, from Right Brain Kids!

As you may recall, I brought four copies of “Tiger, Tiger,” Katie’s books and the card set you illustrated for our right brain schools in Malaysia. The teachers have really embraced the 4 questions, and the older group of children have, too. I introduced the 4 questions at a staff meeting, then read the “Tiger, Tiger” book. English is a second language for most of our teachers, so the children’s book went a LONG way in helping them understand the concept.

Tiger-Tiger, Is It True? by Byron Katie and Hans Wilhelm

We have a staff bulletin board where I place a new Katie card from week to week.

What I notice is that the teachers are now looking within when they have conflicts with others—other teachers or parents, or even children with behaviors that they react to (I am doing more of this, too!).

After I first arrived, my business partner’s 11-year-old son felt unloved because he had to share his mother with me (in business meetings), or with the teachers and the other children. As she read “Tiger, Tiger” to him, many of the comments he voiced were in the book—”Wow, that’s me!” This book opened him up to being willing to continue to the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet and that process. I had the privilege to assist. His insights when he was processing with the turnarounds were really deep. I felt like I was listening to a high teacher in those moments.

Also, one of our teachers used it with a 5-year-old math prodigy who was in 3rd grade at an international school and was being teased daily by his fellow students. It really helped him let go of the pain. Now, he is being homeschooled with special lessons by area tutors in different subjects. His mother was really grateful for our help. She regularly orders books from the U.S., so I’m sure she will be getting him a personal copy.

There’s no need to reply to this email. I just thought that you should know how much your Work has impacted us. I know that you do not do this to receive recognition, but please do know: We are grateful!!!!

Thankfully,
Pamela

 

Letter: “I don’t like the way he touches me”

Dear Katie,

For years, I’ve been struggling with the relationship between me and my son’s father. I left him when my son was three months old (he’s almost ten years old now), because I had a post partum depression and I experienced the way he dealt with that as very unpleasant. I left when my inner voice told me I could either leave on foot right then or be taken away “to the funny farm” a little bit later.

I think I can say I’m able to accept—and even love and appreciate—him the way he is, now (The Work has been most helpful to me to accomplish that!), but I still have some problems with his behavior towards me. For almost ten years, he has been touching me in ways and places I don’t like (i.e., that don’t feel right to me), whenever he sees me, and when I tell him I don’t like what he’s doing he just laughs and goes on.

Because I believe my son deserves to grow up in harmony, I’ve never wanted to start a fight about this—but, in all these years, I haven’t been able to find a peaceful way to make him stop this behavior towards me.

On the one hand, I think I should just learn to accept that this is the way he behaves towards me, because it’s reality; on the other hand, I feel such a strong revulsion deep down inside me, when he behaves towards me in that way, that I find it hard—if not impossible—to really accept it.

I would be most grateful if you could shine your light on this for me…

Much love,
Ann

Dearest Ann,

You say that when you tell your son’s father that you don’t like the way he touches you, “he just laughs and goes on.” How would he know that you really don’t want that behavior when your “no” doesn’t really mean no? He may understand this about you. And isn’t your “no” teaching your son, if he is a witness to you and his father and these exchanges, that it’s okay to touch women against their will, in spite of their “no”? It’s not harmony that you’re teaching in this situation. “This is okay with me. I will do whatever it takes to avoid conflict.” Our children learn many of their behaviors from our example, and in this case from his father as well. “When a woman says ‘no,’ don’t believe her. Don’t respect what she is saying.” I don’t see this as cause for guilt or shame; it’s just that you’ve innocently been believing your motive-driven thoughts and are trying to convince yourself that you don’t have a right to be frank and authentic about what you want and don’t want from your ex. “You should learn to accept how he behaves toward you”—is that true? Notice, how you react when you believe that thought. Revolted, passive, phony, dishonest, feeling that the spiritual thing (as you perceive it to be) is what you describe above? Who would you be without the thought? I see a clearer, kinder example for both your son and his father.

If you haven’t done a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on your son’s father, now would be a good time (as now is always the only time to do it). And if you have done a Worksheet on him, did you nail down the moment of revulsion that you actually felt? I suggest that you imagine him again in that situation, touching you in inappropriate ways, and as you identify the thoughts you were thinking at that time, write them down on the Worksheet. It might serve you and be helpful to work with one of the Institute (for The Work of Byron Katie) facilitators on this one, as they can help you stay focused on inquiry. Or, you are welcome to call the Helpline if you think we could assist your focus until you can hold it firmly for yourself. Your e-mail really has touched my heart, angel. If I could survive this agony (and that’s what it was for me), it tells me that you can too.

Love, just as you are,
bk

Letter: “Not taking the blame”

Dear Katie,

After some trial and error, I am finally learning how to use The Work, but I am wondering if my situation may help clarify something for others.

I have a difficulty standing up for myself and have found that often I inquire on questions in a way that doesn’t work. For example, when having a relationship problem I always craft the question as if I am wrong to be upset with the other person and it feels very dishonest by the end when I have basically just constructed an accusation towards myself, in other words, always with the assumption that I should stay in the relationship because my thoughts are what is wrong.

For example, I recently ended one relationship in which I was treated badly and I feel great! My stressful thoughts lead me in the direction of ending the relationship. With the inquiry I was doing, I found I was deluding myself into thinking the relationship was good and that I only needed to inquire to find that everything is really fine.

For someone like me, who tends to take blame and assume I am wrong, how can I avoid this trap and find the best thoughts to inquire about, honestly? How can I see my hidden assumptions?

Thank you for the Work you are doing.

Logan

Dearest Logan,

I am so glad you asked and for this Worked mind, I find that I am free to leave any relationship, at any time, with or without a “valid” reason. In this, as in everything, Stephen can trust me completely. He can trust that I want to be his wife, partner, friend, and he trusts me with good cause. He trusts and respects that if I want to leave our relationship, it isn’t about him, it isn’t about one or both of us being right or wrong, rather it is that I “myself” stay connected to him, no matter what status our relationship may seem to be. I am always focused on my connection to what is kind, that preciousness that never waivers, and that always includes connection to all apparent (projected) others, including Stephen. It’s never personal, and it couldn’t be more personal. And I want that kind of freedom for you too, if that’s what you want.

So, in answer to your question, here is what I suggest. First, download a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet from the website or go to the Work App on your Android or iPhone or iPad, and begin to contemplate that stressful situation. Become very still, with eyes closed, and begin to focus on one specific problematic, stress-filled, difficult moment within that situation, when you were, in your words, “having trouble standing up for yourself.” For example, “I am angry at” (or saddened, etc.—identify the emotion you were feeling in that moment) and then fill in the name. Now, eyes closed, identify and get in touch with why you were angry (or saddened or …) at that person in that moment. Next, as you continue to consider and meditate on that same situation, fill in the next five statements on the Worksheet.

Now, let’s continue, let’s do The Work. Begin by questioning each statement on the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, one by one. Meditate on all four questions, then find turnarounds, and examples for each turnaround. This process takes focus, an open heart, and stillness. Your examples for each turnaround will reveal new realities to you. Allow them, as they are shown to you, to settle into your awareness, realities you may not have been aware of, they will wake you up one by one and enlighten you, show you a much kinder world. With all the love in my heart, I invite you to meet that world that is living right here, right now, right under your nose, just four questions (and your answers to them) away.

Thank you, Logan, angel. Please let me know what difference filling in and Working the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet makes for you. No shortcuts, angel. A One-Belief-at-a-Time Worksheet is also available at thework.com, and if you want to meet the underworld of beliefs that makes possible your suffering, I suggest that the concepts you take to that Worksheet come from the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. The two can work as one. I see many people missing out on the full Worksheet, and I love that through your question a little more light breaks through into consciousness, into what really matters, and that is the freedom of your mind, your open heart, and the end of suffering in your world.

In deepest gratitude,
bk

Question: Does joy last?

Hi Katie,

After doing The Work, there have been times, sometimes days long, that there is this experience of just pure joy and happiness. Just experiencing what is, without judgment of it. After some time, judgment comes in again and thoughts and suffering and reacting and unconsciousness again.
My question is, does this joy come over time to be a permanent state of existence?

Thank you,
Namaste,
David

Yes, sweetheart, in my experience it does. And through inquiry you may understand what I mean by that and come to understand for yourself. You either question your stressful thoughts, or you believe what goes against your own kindest self.

Thank you for asking, dearest.

A Letter from Gordon in Kenya

Hi So Dearest Katie,

We at my project in Kisumu love you sooo much and practically well! Thanks for your emails that really give me and us all strength and enthusiasm.

The photos that I have attached here are our participation as a group in the recent joint venture where we helped built a house for one of our project members whose house was destroyed by the recent floods. You can see me at work in red shirt and our project ladies are making green vegetables for the builders and our project men are constructing this house!
I have involved all these members into doing The Work and also training them and translating your books in my language for the elderly and uneducated members in the village!

I love doing The Work with all groups of people here!!

Today am happy to let you know of great and impressive development regarding The Work in Kisumu, Kenya.

So far, I have been busy sharing and reporting about my experiences at the School for The Work in Germany and my experiences and challenges after I came back from the school until now. I have received enthusiastic change in my personal life and in my work with my project. It’s so wonderful. Am so happy that the School has greatly turned around my life, thoughts and vision!! Am NOT the same again. New things are happening in my life!!

Please see the photos of both students and my project members doing The Work with me! Some of these students are in Maseno University near Kisumu city and others in Kokulo Primary School and others are my project members!!

Hope you enjoy seeing the photos!

Warmly,
Gordon

Thank you, dearest Gordon. It is as though I am there with you. I am so proud of the human being that you are and how you dedicate yourself to freeing others in so many ways through your dedication and love.

in deepest gratitude,
kt

Letter: From Algeria

Hi,

I’m very happy and exited today because I’ve facilitated my friend, a 50 year old woman, about the most important problem of her life (her mother). My friend is a psychologist and also works with the minister of education. They are developing a new field in human development and after the facilitation she said to me: “Isma, this Work is magic—so powerful and deep. I’ve been suffering all my life and now I have a new way that will help me to find peace.” She offered for me to introduce The Work in their program (the Worksheet and the four questions) and also to introduce it to the psychologists she studies and works with, in order for them to help people with it.

I’m really happy because when I was with Katie at the School for The Work in Germany 2012, I had this idea of how to help people in my country with the work and now it is taking place. I’m so grateful to God, to Byron Katie, and to all of you, my dear family.

Isma

Letter: “I am not safe”

Dear Katie,

Thank you so much for answering the email I sent to you about my son’s father who keeps touching me whenever he sees me.

I meditated on what you said: “I will do whatever it takes to avoid conflict”—and I found two underlying beliefs.

  1. “My parents were fighting all the time.” (Which, of course, isn’t true, because they were also working, eating, sleeping, etc.—and, sometimes, they even had a normal conversation?)
  2. “My son’s father is a psychopath.” (Which, of course, isn’t true, because having characteristics of a narcissistic personality disorder doesn’t automatically mean someone is a psychopath.)

The most interesting thing, however, was the fact that I found a common underlying belief under those two beliefs when I did the four questions and the turnarounds on both of them: in both cases, the answer to question number three was fear: “I am not safe.”

Then, I did a One-Belief-at-a-Time Worksheet on that belief and I discovered I can’t imagine who I would be without the thought: I have had this belief for as long as I can remember (i.e., as long as I have memories); when my memories started, I already had this belief.

By the way, I also discovered where my addiction to sugar (which I, too, have had for as long as I can remember!) probably comes from: sugar calms me down and, thus, makes me feel (more) safe.

Luckily, I could easily find three genuine examples of “I am safe”: I have a house, I have a job, and I have family and friends who support me.

But I felt I wasn’t finished, so I looked through the fear and anxiety archives on your web site, where I found this statement: “Fear is always the result of an unquestioned past imagined as a future.”

And, then, it suddenly became clear to me: in the past, I got afraid when my parents were fighting (because, as a child, I couldn’t see it for what it was: two confused people trying to reach each other) so, I took the belief “I am not safe” with me to the future, where I imagine my son’s father to do something terrible to me and/or my son if I tell him frankly I don’t want him to touch me in certain ways and places.

Moreover, his inappropriate touching may “just” be his confused way to try to reach me, and I don’t want him to reach me because, deep down inside, I’m afraid of him (perhaps even terrified).

What doesn’t really help here, is the fact that one of my two sisters (who were identical twins) was murdered almost twenty years ago by a “psychopath” (i.e., a very confused young man).

Confused people can do terrible things to others. However, that probably can’t be prevented by being insincere; being insincere probably makes things even worse.

In my heart I know now, that, when the fear is gone, the inappropriate touching will be gone, as well.

I still don’t know how to “get rid of” the fear that feels like a hand squeezing my heart (I can feel it VERY clearly, now!) but I trust the universe will show me, somehow?.

Thank you again for your most valuable answer to my email!

Much love from the Netherlands,
Anneke


* * * * *

Dearest Anneke,

I suggest that you go to your computer right now and print out a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet (free at thework.com), find a pen or pencil and with the Worksheet in front of you, get comfortable, take a deep breath, begin to relax, close your eyes and when you are comfortable, begin to focus on that situation, and then isolate just one moment when he was touching you inappropriately. Notice what time of day it was when he was touching you. Notice the place where you were. Where were you sitting or standing in that situation as he was touching you? Notice your experience and emotions in that moment when he was touching you. Become very aware of the feelings as you felt/feel them in that situation, and when you are able to identify why you were frightened, angry, or put off by him (in that moment in time), fill in statement #1 on your Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. (The situation, as I hear it from you above, is “He keeps touching me whenever he sees me”). Good, #1 is done. So you’re on your way!

Now, let’s move on to statement #2 on the Worksheet. Close your eyes, get very still and begin to identify what you wanted from him or of him in that very moment when he was touching you. Meditate on what you wanted him to do or to say. Still your mind and continue to fill in statement #2 as you witness that situation. (It doesn’t matter if it was thirty or forty years ago or five minutes ago; quiet recall and focus will show you what you were thinking and feeling in that moment.) For example, “I want him to stop touching me,” “I want him to act appropriately,” etc. Now find your own.

Now, go to statement #3, the shoulds, and identify what it is that he should or shouldn’t do in that particular situation, at that particular moment. (Give him “doable” advice. Be aware that in that moment he can’t go back in time, so don’t ask the impossible.) As you contemplate that moment, what advice would you offer him that would serve you in that moment? “He should stop taking me for granted,” “He shouldn’t be so insensitive to me,” “He should see that he is making me uncomfortable,” etc.

Now, as you continue to hold that image, remaining visually and emotionally in that moment, continue to locate the thoughts you were believing and experiencing, as you continue to meditate on statement #4, the needs. What needs were running in your head in that moment? What do you need from him in that moment to be happy? “I need him to think about what he is doing,” “I need him to ask me what I want,” “I need him to know that touching me is not okay with me,” etc.

Continue to complete the next two statements on the Worksheet with those “in that moment” unidentified thoughts and fears. Allow the image to show you what you were thinking, believing, and feeling in that moment, in that situation with your son’s father. I have discovered that the world of reality is always kinder than the world of my unquestioned mind. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living,” and I SO understand that, and I hope that this correspondence makes such a truth clear. I was throwing my “life worth living” away to a world of suffering, though no suffering existed in reality.

Now, it’s time to question the thoughts on your Worksheet, since those thoughts were and still are the cause of your fear, impatience, lack of heart connection, and whatever separation and stress you are or were suffering. For example, “He touches you whenever he sees you”—is it true? “He touches you whenever he sees you”—can you really know that this is true? Think about it. Really? Notice how you react, and what happens, when you believe that thought. Take your time with this third question, and when you have fully seen your reactions (mental and physical) through the stillness of your own mind and heart, move to the fourth question, “Who or what would you be (in that same situation) without that thought?” In that situation, in that very moment, who would you be? Contemplate this question; be still, be open, be shown all that will set you free from fear.

You are very dear, and I hope that this serves you, as inquiry has served me. The only thing more difficult than doing The Work is not doing it.

I remain, without choice, as you are,
Love.
bk

Letter: “You are your own suffering”

Byron Katie’s words suddenly make perfect sense! What a gift to be able to actually ‘feel’ this ‘simple’ sentence!

I’ve recently been shown just how true this statement is! I just wanted to share what came up for me around this. It’s been an amazing realization for me—not just shown to me once, but over and over, until the lesson was learned and the message heard! Yep! got it! loud and clear!

I was recently rushed into hospital following a major surgical procedure. I’d contacted septicaemia and pneumonia quite severely afterwards and was very ill. I had to have two further surgeries to ‘save my life.’ I was admitted to Critical Care, where I was in a small coma for just under five days—‘being breathed’ and such like by machines.

The thing that has hit me with a huge impact since, is that whilst I was ‘unconscious’, I had no pain, no thoughts, no images, no past, present, or future, no stories, no attachments, no judgments, no love, no hate, no business, no logical awareness of what was going on around me, happening to me, how it was affecting my loved ones, no fear, and so on, therefore, no suffering! Just pure peace! Bliss! Rest! Calmness! Just being! Not one stressful thought that I can remember in any way shape or form.

It was only as I started to come round back to the ‘land of living’ that my suffering started!

My mind kicked in the second I opened my eyes (or so it seemed) and the thoughts, images, stories and fears started to take over.

It was at this point that my peace went out of the window and my suffering started. I began forming all kinds of stories once I saw the machines I was attached to, the drips, the needles, the blood, dressings, etc. Pure panic kicked in and my mind went into overdrive. I had no idea where I was, or why, and yet, I’d developed a whole story in my mind. K Magnified several times over. Shock. Confusion. Disbelief. Denial. Insanity!

It was painful to let it all out and it was painful to keep it all in!

Then, I saw the blood I was having via a transfusion! That was it! Fear kicked in and the mind stated all over again, like a broken record. I started trying to make sense of things, piece things together, and understand what was happening. My head was like a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions, and yet, I still didn’t know what had happened. I had nothing to base any of my thoughts, presumptions, or theories on. No proof. No memory. No evidence. No knowledge. Just my own stories keeping me in my own prison.

What was this constant need all of a sudden to understand everything? I’d never really paid much attention to my body before, and yet now, it’s all I could think about! It’s almost like I HAD to focus on something—there HAD to be a reason for it to be ok! Who was causing my suffering? ME!!! Who was trying to fight reality? ME!!! Who was getting nowhere, but causing pain and torment? ME!!!!

What was even more remarkable, is that I hadn’t had any physical pain, until the doctor explained to me what had happened. It was then that I suddenly started ‘feeling pain’ in the effected area and was plagued by it. It became hard not to focus on it, and yet, it had been that way for days. Nothing had changed: just my thoughts and attachments!

It’s since made me stop and think—was it that I could feel the actual physical pain in my body? Or, was it that I was attaching to the story of what had happened to me that made me aware of the pain? Nothing had changed (physically) from the time I was in a coma to the time I had opened my eyes, and yet, mentally, all hell had broke loose. The wound was in the same state. The dressings were the same, etc. Nothing new… just that I was now awake and ‘processing’ all around me.

I’d gone from being comfortable and rested, totally oblivious, to all of this, with the opening of my eyes, and the instant attachment to my thoughts in those surroundings. Would the outcome be the same if I’d woken up on a tropical island somewhere? I cannot know that, and it’s doubtful. Fascinating!

Who was causing my suffering? ME!!! Who was trying to fight reality? ME!!! Who was getting nowhere, but causing pain & torment? ME!!!!

Again it happened when the time came to change my dressing. I’d only heard about my surgery, what was done, how it looked, and what to expect. It would seem that I’d chosen to ‘ignore’ all of this information and detail, on the basis that: a) It didn’t suit me at the time; b) I was too wrapped up in my own images and stories; c) I’d had no visual stimuli / trigger and d) I was so out of my business (amongst other things!).

Then, when it was uncovered and I actually saw it for myself I was beyond shocked. I couldn’t speak. It was ‘worse’ than what my mind had allowed me to visualise. Or, at least, that was my story!

Again, the stories came flooding in—supported now by images. I was in the past, in the future—trying to fight reality once again. I made instant judgments. I focused on my body and how ‘ugly’ and ‘disfigured’ it was. How ‘damaged’ it was. How I’d never be the same. How it had ruined my life. Endless thoughts of suffering—which, I’d not had when the wound was hidden!

Who was causing my suffering? ME! Everything else was just doing its own thing blissfully as it should, minding its own business, and yet, I couldn’t seem to do the same. While I was ‘out of it’, ‘unaware’, I was silently fighting some how without even knowing—with no stories, no pressure, no expectations, no motives. Once I became ‘aware’, I’d started to do the opposite, putting my body through even more turmoil, thinking I had some kind of control some how. Remarkable!

Several days later, I learned that my nan had been told to ‘prepare for the worst’ and that the medics ‘didn’t hold out much hope with my chances of survival.’

Again, it was only when I heard this story that my suffering started. My mind bypassed the information I had just heard and I went straight into feeling guilty. I blamed myself for putting her through all of that (like I had a choice!). I pictured her being ill from the stress of it all and so on. Mind overload! It became unbearable once again!

Previous to knowing this piece of information, I was oblivious. I didn’t have any of those thoughts. I wasn’t even headed in that direction. It wasn’t an option. It’s amazing.

Who was causing my suffering? ME!!! Who was trying to fight reality? ME!!! Who was getting nowhere, but causing pain & torment? ME!!!!

There was much more too. But, all in all, my main point throughout is based on Katie’s sentence:

‘You are your own suffering.’

The words keep ringing through my mind. I’ve heard this many times since doing The Work, and never really fully paid much attention to it. I was convinced that it couldn’t be true. That it was others who almost certainly caused my suffering. I was in true victim mode. How could I possibly cause my own suffering? It was other people’s actions / words that hurt me. How could I possibly be my own suffering, when all I was doing was trying to find peace, a ‘solution,’ a ‘way out’? And so on.

Now, this sentence alone holds a whole new meaning for me, and I FEEL it.

‘You are your own suffering!’

This has certainly been true in my experience and, it is only now, after my recent journey, that I can digest those words and really embrace them. I love the peace that I’ve found around this and that I can share it with others.

Thank you for taking the time to read this long realization & be a part of my journey.

Jai Jai xoxoxoxo

* * * * *

Dearest Jai Jai,

I am grateful that you shared your experience with us and so very grateful for your journey to love in this world. Your peace is my/our teacher.

Always, always,
bk

Letter: “My son has a grudge”

Dearest Katie;

My 28 yr old son, the one with the brain tumor, is breaking me down. He has a grudge and he’s going to make me listen. Recently he had a series of seizures and resulting brain swelling that left him weakened on his right side and unable to find words to complete his sentences. His tumor is progressing with its own life and growing and impacting him more all the time. So last week he wrote a letter for me to read. He says it explains everything, about how I’ve never listened to him, and that I’ve lied to him, and refused to believe him, and smothered him, and made him look like a fool. He is going to make me read his letter. Even though he requires 24-hour care now and has come to stay with me since last Monday, he says he will leave and find someone else to live with, if I don’t read his letter, and if I don’t change. I can find it all, Katie. I listened to him today and I was able to say “Thank you.” He told me, “You’re not always right.” And I said, “Thank you” and I meant it. And he said he felt better and calmer because he was able to tell me all this today.

I don’t know if this was anything like what you went through with your children. I remember you saying that after you found The Work, they came and told you all the awful things you had done to them. I’m not sure how to stand this, but I’m trying. Thank you for The Work.

My son is a gift. He’s going to give me my life. Last Monday, I mentioned that I’d get him his hair clippers from his house and bring them to him. He looked at me and said, “How do you know where they are?” I said, “Wow, you’re really suspicious.” And I proceeded to tell him I’d seen them when I had picked up some of his things the day before. And right then I saw it all, Katie. He never said a word, and suddenly I understood that he was just asking a question, to get an answer. And that I was the one with the story. I had no business judging that he asked the question because he was suspicious. And it isn’t my business if he is. I’ve been thinking about that several times a day since. I’ve been doing this to him, and to everyone I’ve ever cared about or just been around, all my life. How did these people stand me like this, the way I have been? Finally I am beginning to get it when you say something like “until you look forward to criticism, your Work isn’t done.” I’m looking forward to noticing the next thing, when I feel the criticism, so I can see if it really is criticism.

My son is a gift; I know that, because he’s going to give me peace. But he still causes me pain, when he talks to me the way he did today. I feel the pain coming and I notice it can fall away. I’m not there yet, but I have no choice but to listen to him, and try to remember it’s not personal. Thank you for The Work.

Jane

Dearest Jane,

You are very brave, sweetheart. My eyes are welling up with love, gratitude, and admiration as I read your e-mail. Yes, I love that you do a Worksheet on your son each day and witness love expand and continue to experience the gift of your son as he continues to grow you. Continue until your heart bursts open with love and your eyes can’t stop filling with gratitude.

In deepest gratitude for your courage and love in this world,
Byron Katie

Letter: “My Dad is not okay”

Hello, Byron Katie,

My name is Janet. It has been 18 months since my dad was killed (radiation treatment for cancer) and I just cannot come to terms with what happened to him. He is my best friend; I love him more than the universe. He wasn’t a very happy man in his later years, but was only 70 when he was killed. I let him go initially as I felt there was a hereafter, but I have not heard from him personally, nothing, no dreams of him. I cannot believe that a person I (and my mum and twin sister) can be so close to, love him so much and not know for sure he is okay. I cannot stop being in agony all the time and no-one understands. What can I do? I also lost my beautiful dog, my uncle my aunt and my grandmother all around the same time (18 months). I can cope with their loss, just, but not my dad. Thank you for your time. You are the most amazing person I have ever read about, you know the truth, see through the illusion, and I would love to hear what you have to say about my hurt. Thank you again.

Best wishes and thank you for your Work,
Janet

Dearest Janet,

I hear from you that you’re afraid your father is not okay in death. I would ask that you answer the following questions. “Your dad is not okay”—is that true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true that he is not okay? How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? I hear that you are in agony, you feel that no one understands, you believe that you can’t cope, you are hurt. What else? Get as quiet as you can and trace what happens as a result of believing this very painful thought. How do you treat yourself when you believe it? How do you treat the people around you? Notice what more is affected when you believe the thought. Then ask yourself who you would be without the thought. Who would you be, living your life after your father died of cancer, if you didn’t even have the ability to think the thought “My dad is not okay”? Then turn the thought around and find at least three genuine examples for each turnaround. How is each one true? For example, “My dad is okay.” Would you like to hear two examples that I found? 1) He has never spoken up to give you any sign that he is in agony, that he isn’t okay. 2) You are guessing and don’t know. What other examples can you find on your own and without my help?

Another turnaround, a turnaround to the self, would be “I am not okay” (in the moment when I believe my dad is not okay).” Continue finding turnarounds and examples for each turnaround until you are free to think this thought, without believing it and without pain, angel. A thought unbelieved is a welcomed friend, not an agony-maker. You can take care of one of you, and that would be the one who you know for sure is suffering, and that would be you. I care deeply that you stay with yourself and give yourself the gift of freedom from agony around this unquestioned assumption, and if you want to end suffering in your family, deal with your own suffering first. If you can’t take care of your own suffering, how can you help others, “dead” or alive? Be still, angel. The answers that will set you free are within you. Ask, wait, listen, and be enlightened to what you already know. This enlightenment brings you closer to your father, much closer than agony ever could. Love is the power, and you have it within you to ignite that power.

You might also check in with yourself about the three kinds of business. Whose business is it if you are not okay? Whose business is it if your dad is not okay? If you can get only this straight, it could make things a lot easier for you to begin to do The Work.

Until we know that death is as good as life, and that it always comes at just the right time, we’re going to take on the role of God without the awareness of it, and it’s always going to hurt. Whenever you mentally oppose what is, when you think that you know what should and shouldn’t happen, you’re going to experience sadness and apparent separation. There’s no sadness without an unquestioned story. What is is, because it is. You are it.

You imagine an afterlife, and you feel devastated that your father hasn’t communicated with you, that you haven’t even dreamed of him, except as a waking dream, and it is a nightmare. 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. Death is kind enough to be still and silent, and I appreciate that. Everything else is projected into that stillness by your mind.

I hope that you write down all your stressful thoughts about your father and your projected “afterlife,” sweetheart, and do The Work on them. That is the only way I know that will help you out of your misery. Whatever else I may say won’t help you, even if you believe that I am telling the truth, even if you believe that I am the most enlightened person who ever walked the face of the earth. It’s only your own wisdom that has the power to show you the way out of confusion. So I invite you to The Work. Question what you are believing about your father. It’s not your father’s death that is causing your suffering; it’s your unquestioned thoughts about him and “his” death. I invite you to question these, and set yourself free.

In deepest gratitude for your stillness and devotion to what lives in you,
bk

Letter: Grandma and the School for The Work

Greetings, Byron Katie,

This is Rwanda, just wanted to let you know that my grandmother, Mrs. Leatha Sneed, just died at the age of 96. She loved The Work. We talked of it often and she stayed on the battle field of sharing with others The Work of love and its freedom. Grandma Sneed was freed at your School for The Work in Miami and lived in freedom every day thereafter. She was freed from things that she encountered during her childhood, and the prominent days of racism in the South, multiple molestations and rape because of her skin color. She talked continuously of love, love, love.

We had a family prayer call every morning at 7 a.m., and when asked how was she doing today, she would always say, “I’m blessed and highly favored.” She was the matriarch of 5 generations, the oldest of 12 children, leaving 3 siblings alive. She will be missed by her family, because there was never an event that she wasn’t present at.

Just wanted to let you know the part you played in freeing my grandmother and allowing her to live in peace within herself and to live in the purpose she was called for.

Love you always, Katie, for The Work you do and for being the one to give it to others!!!

Dearest Rwanda,

All is well and all is well, angel. Thank you for writing, and know that I am celebrating your grandmother’s life, death and her freedom. I send deepest gratitude to you for all the love and peace that you two have lived, shared, and made possible in this world. You and I and all of us who were blessed enough to encounter her at The School will continue to celebrate the life, love, and generosity of our beloved Grandma Leatha Sneed.

Blessings be to you and your family, and I am sending to you what is already yours, as I cannot do more than that, and that is love.

In joy and gratitude,
Byron Katie

Letter From the Archives: “My Betrayal Hurts!”

Dear Katie, I understand how you can live from day to day, moment to moment, when you know “It is what it is.”

Thank you, and as you may have noticed, everyone lives from moment to moment (or so it seems). Our unquestioned thoughts are what make life appear to be in time or as you say, “moment to moment.” It can appear to be difficult if you believe your thoughts, but that doesn’t make life difficult; it can’t be, because it’s not. In your life, without your story, you have always done quite well from moment to moment, and I love that you recognize that for yourself in “time.”

But sometimes, at least in my case, a betrayal of the heart, infidelity in the marriage, and loss of trust and feelings, does consume most of the daily thoughts after its discovery.

Betrayed? Do you mean that someone else determined to live her own life in her own way, following her own path, without your permission or direction? Isn’t that what betrayal is really about? Has your mind ever changed when you thought it wouldn’t? Have you ever lied? How often have you betrayed yourself? Is it her betrayal or your own that you are suffering from? Contemplate this in the stillness: is your mind not allowing your true nature, unconditional love, to live itself out of you? It is always present, you know. The unquestioned mind is sometimes louder, and it overrides the true nature of your own heart, but it can never obliterate what is real, what you truly are. Isn’t it truer that your unquestioned thoughts are not allowing you to be more aware that you really love the apparent “betrayer”—that in reality you love yourself and you love her just as much.

According to almost all the psychologists, once betrayal and infidelity are discovered, “it is the worst pain anyone can endure, and it consumes all of one’s thoughts and energy into all of the details of WHY?”

Why did it happen? Because it did. How else can ultimate goodness give all its beautiful self to you? If I lose anyone or anything, I’ve been spared, since this is a friendly universe, and I have tested this thoroughly. And not only spared but blessed, and so have they, and we are all better off because of it. That is obvious if we are awake enough to see the real in everything and without exception. That’s how life works. Our minds don’t have to understand this, but the kind of stress that comes from suffering and confusion happens until you do understand it. Until you do, you tend to see what is really grace as the oppressor, rather than to look to your manufactured unself, your thoughts. I invite you to find a minimum of three specific, authentic reasons why your life is better without her. It doesn’t mean you don’t love her; it is just that her leaving is for you; it is not happening in order to hurt you. And know that for every reason you find, time in its kindness will show you even more. If you question your thoughts and allow the open mind to live, the mind that you’re so capable of growing, you’ll see why nature, “the way of it,” is so perfect, wise, so benevolent. It is impossible for anyone or anything to take from us what is good. Life, takes from us what is no longer needed, in order to give us not only what is good but what is better, what is ultimate. This is always going on, and it’s all that is going on, through nature, in time. If your mind will not open to those possibilities that I speak of, it must remain in the non-generous, limited polarity of mind, the polarity I call suffering, the old paradigm. Notice in the polarity of hell how deeply in its black cave you are living or have lived. I invite you to dig yourself out of that grave. You have all of the help you need. For example, if you become still, listen, contemplate this wonderful thing that has happened, you will find three genuine reasons why your life is better without her. And if you can find three, you can find more. Move toward the light, sweetheart. It’s a beginning, and you have you and reality to show you what is already obvious.

This pain sometimes lasts years and years, because of the disbelief that one could give 100% of oneself to another person, trust no other, love so deeply, and then find out all of the “reality of it.”

The problem is that you put conditions on your love, as you think you were giving 100%. “You trusted her”—is that true? I trust Stephen 100%. I trust him to do what he does. And he always does. You trusted her to do what you wanted her to do and expected her to do. That is a very different matter. You cannot dictate another person’s life with your desires, assumptions, and bribes and secret motives running. Dictate your own life, your own unconditional love, and see if you haven’t let yourself down as well. That will keep you very busy, and out of the business of dictating her life in your head, only to be let down, to turn bitter, and be left to experience your own sometimes-closed heart. I love loving deeply and finding out the reality of it. I am free. I have given my love 100% to the other, and this supports him to live out his life, with or without me, and because I love him, I love that. It feels right that I would allow him the same happiness that allowing him gives me. It’s not as though I am noble or kind: I just no longer have a choice, since one way is to suffer and the other isn’t, and I’m about the end of suffering. And I love that this no-choice and my mind flow like a river as one.

How do you counter something that has deeper and worse pain and hurt then the death of a parent? How can one’s reality be separated from that which was thought to be “one”?

Richard

You just named it, angel. It wasn’t thought to be one, it was one. That reality. Your mind, believing its thoughts, separated it out. It was never separate. You were simply believing your thoughts about what is, rather than noticing what is, and then you didn’t see why it is happening for you, not to you.

“She betrayed you.” “She was unfaithful.” “This is the worst pain anyone can endure.” “The pain will last years and years.” “These thoughts consume all of your energy.” “You gave 100% of yourself to her.” “You trusted no other.” I would question these thoughts, sweetheart. I would do it now. Now is always the right time. After you question them thoroughly, experiencing the answers from the heart, as meditation, I would gently allow the mind to flow to the turnarounds, finding the ones that make sense to you. And as you begin to seek authentic examples for each turnaround to enlighten any limited thinking you may be stuck in, allow yourself to take the examples you are being shown to live in your heart, as this allows them to shift you. Find genuine examples of how these turnarounds are as true as or truer than the original concept. Nothing less, in my experience is the cure for real hunger, and if peace isn’t what you hunger for, if you’d rather be right than free, then you will find little rest here.
I wish you peace, precious one. Thank you for giving yourself to your own sweet and gentle care.
bk

“I shouldn’t have married this man”

Here is a letter from a woman in Europe kind enough to write to Katie even though her first language isn’t English.

For twenty years i’ve been married with my husband and you know, I had for twenty years resentment in this and I couldn’t get through it. I did The Work on it last August, I sent a letter, and still my resentment didn’t resolve till now. I couldn’t find what i wasfighting…..was it my illusion to fight…….I don’t love him or was it my heart telling me it wasn’t the right man. I did the work on it and I couldn’t come to a point and then…………

I spoke about it with my coach and went home, still not knowing what to do, bit of crying in the car…….. a friend of mine came by and I told her where it stops for me, where I couldn’t get through the problem so she said…………….. “YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE MARRIED THIS MAN..is that true????????…………………….”.

as soon i heard this question, I burst into a big laugh…..the reality was and is I AM MARRIED WITH THIS MAN and then she asked……..”who are you do when you don’t think this thought…………” Then the curtain went up and I started for the first time to see what this marriage has brought me ……..4 beautiful kids, home, a handsome man who stayed next to me durint all those bad times……..I started to see the good things.. for the first time in a long, long, long time

And I was so used to seeing all the negative things. I distracted me from him, so I lost myself, and my husband lost me, and we were both looking where i was .My mind wanted to see all the proofes of not having a good marriage………..oh what a bad time i had with this way of looking. really shocking.

My mind was my prison.

Questions 1 and 2 made me really laugh and question 3 ….I started to see how i created my own misery, and finding all the proofs and i could only see the bad times as proof.
Now I can see the opposite and am wondering how this changed my way of looking in only one shift. and not only in my marriage , but also in other ways.
the negative thoughts about myself are disappearing and I can feel myself coming out of my shelter.

But the big question now is ……………….I did the School in 2006….and after that, I still did……..but why didn’t i come to this simple point earlier this year?….. it is so really easy, why did I miss it all the time?………..

So now I have to get used to a life with nice points of views in my marriage and this feels rather funny.

Thank you for writing, dearest, and I don’t call it The Work for nothing! Daily maintenance can give a life of joy and understanding to all situations, in my experience and freedom to love is your birthright. I invite you to check into possibilities of enrolling in the Institute for The Work of Byron Katie. I developed this ongoing life school for those people who have been to the School for The Work and choose to do The Work as a daily practice. I like to say, “Do the work for breakfast and have a great life.” I am so very happy that you know how to find the way to your heart, husband, family, world, and peace. Thank you, angel. In love and gratitude for your humor, love, and light.

xoxo
kt