Letter: “Dancing in Joy”

Dearest Katie,

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever know that I would become what I am becoming. There are no words to say what is going on inside me. I am dancing a dance beyond what I could imagine. This morning I actually was dancing to some music, just me and the world, and I felt the deepest of joys and freedom. Because of The Work in my life. How can I ever thank you enough. Some of my friends stopped doing the work along the way, they got busy, thought maybe it was “over the top” or not for them and that is wonderful. But for me, I am “laughing all the way to the bank”…as they say! The work has only given me love I never knew.

You say “just when you think it can’t get any better, it has too.” YES. It is true. And I am just an ordinary woman! Katie, I get more and more of what you have every day.

Going into the grocery is the most amazing experience now because I feel so safe in the world and among true family wherever I go. I look into the eyes of the man who gets the carts and help him, I see the people and I am home with them all, watching them shop with a love so deep, as if I am that tender hearted God watching over them. They would never hurt me willingly, I understand this. I sense they would die for me if needed. I look at a man on the way out and we smile. I feel a oneness not known before. When I go to my women’s 12 step meeting we laugh and laugh, this new self is contagious. I am a new person at my meetings, bringing in joy and a knowing that all is well without having to say it, and sometimes sharing that. It is true Katie when you say “If you are in a hurry to get to heaven, this is the way.” When I started doing the work 2 and a half years ago, I thought at times it seemed slow, or that some thoughts would never go away. Today my deepest sorrow i s gratitude unable to be spoken. I met with you recently at Kripalu, sitting with you and honoring your loving presence.

I must thank you for your tireless travel to people everywhere to give them The Work. You are, to me, the most amazing, humble person I have ever met. This must be what love must do. Every time I go to your workshops you remember my name and always have time to talk with me. And now, it seems I am off to the woman’s prison to offer The Work. I notice that I want to do that. Not perfectly. Not sure how it will turn out but what else can I do Katie! As I become free I am more here to help out, wherever I can. I have a long way to go, lots of stressful thoughts yet to welcome. I am not complete, however, I have paper and pen and 4 questions.

You are one of the greatest blessings to our planet, even when some people don’t recognize that.

And yes, you are right when you say “we all love each other, we may not always recognize that.” Thank you for you.

Loving you always, Sandra K.

The Arabs/Jews Event, 2006: A Tale of Hope

The other night a friend of mine was discussing the Arabs/Jews event in 2006, and Stephen asked her to send it to him in an email. The following is one Israeli woman’s view of that event.

It was a night like any other night—except it wasn’t and I knew it wasn’t—because I was greatly anticipating an event that was about to take place at the university. It was an evening designed especially for Arabs and Jews by Byron Katie, and all day long I felt I was thinking about it and wondering who the heck is going to show up, because on that same night Pink Floyd were getting back together again to play a concert for peace in Israel, and anyone who was even remotely interested in coming to the event with Katie decided, of course, to go to the concert instead.

Not me, though. I felt strongly that a truly fresh new thing would be happening, and there was no way I was going to miss this. I had heard Pink Floyd so many times, and as great as they are, it was history, and here was Katie, who I only saw on the web, coming to do something for peace that had never been done before, and I felt truly interested. So I managed to convince a good friend to join me, and off we went.

My friend let me know that she was only coming for that one night, just to keep me company, and anyway—the workshop Katie was offering for the next few days was sold out, and even the overflow room was sold out. As my friend was talking and while we were driving, we saw a young woman on the sidewalk who looked like she needed a ride, and I had a sense she was heading in our direction. “Stop,” I said. “Let’s give her a ride—I bet she is going to the event.” Sure enough, she was, and when she got into the car, she thanked my friend for the ride and said, “I’m in charge of the overflow room in the upcoming workshop, and I can add your name to the list of names, though the room is almost full.” Needless to say, my friend came.

When we entered the hall, it was completely full, and the whole front of it was filled with Arab villagers, Arab dignitaries, women with their faces totally covered in black (Katie had sponsored buses that brought them to the event), Jewish students, political activists who came because they saw it was an Arab-Jewish thing and had never heard of Katie before, and all kinds of other people—and the place was full and noisy. A man was standing on the stage speaking in Hebrew, and on the side of the stage I saw a woman standing, and I realized it was Katie (I recognized her face from her pictures).

Katie began working with an Arab man, the principal of a secondary school, who was dealing with his stressful thoughts over the Israeli occupation. The noise and restlessness in the hall was almost embarrassing to me. An Israeli left-wing political activist behind me was yelling at Katie, “Go home, you American, this is not a soap opera, this is a real occupation.” I turned to her and said, “Be quiet,” and my friend said, “You be quiet, you’re making more noise than anybody.” “My goodness, what a mess,” I thought, “what Katie must be thinking about us —probably that it’s such a third-world country.” In that moment Katie turned around to the audience and said, “Let’s just do the best we can with what we have. This is a first, and there are a lot of things to work through, but if we do, then from a resolution here, something will benefit the whole world, and in my experience what happens beyond what we can see is very powerful, so I am okay with the noise, and let’s just be with it.” Then she turned back to the man she was working with. I felt relieved and was able to hear and appreciate how hard Katie was working to hold the space so that the man on the stage could get a glimpse of the truth that it was his thoughts about the occupation that were causing his suffering. Finally, with Katie’s patient and gentle help, he did the turnaround: “The occupation is not the worst thing.” It was amazing to see him even consider this, because he seemed to believe with all his heart that it was the worst thing, and many of the Arabs were shouting that it was the worst thing. He had a hard time opening up in front of his peers, and yet he said, reluctantly, that maybe, just maybe, murdering somebody might be worse for him than the occupation. I don’t know what he understood in that moment, but he seemed to be very moved.

The second person to volunteer to do The Work was a Jewish Israeli who had been very angry at a group of Arabs (he called them “terrorists”) who had severely beaten him and his friend when they were fourteen years old.

“Tell us what happened, honey,” Katie said. So the young man began to describe his ordeal. He and his friend were walking through the field one sunny day when a group of Arabs jumped them and beat them up so badly that he had almost died. And he went into each and every gruesome detail. He spoke in a very calm tone in spite of the noise in the hall, and the audience became quieter so that they could hear him. He described how they broke his bones and put a knife through his neck.

“What were your thoughts in those moments, sweetheart?” Katie asked.

“Well”, said the young man, “all of a sudden, a thought flashed through my mind: ‘I’m going to die,’ and in a split second I found myself hovering over my body, looking down. I was just being a light or something. It was amazing. Meanwhile, the terrorists thought I was dead and ran away, and my friend ran off to get help, and in a flash, I was back in my body.”

“What if I told you, honey,” said Katie, “that the only way for you to experience that you are not the body was to go through this ordeal—would you be willing to go through it again?”

“Yes,” said the young man very clearly, and a total hush fell upon the audience. “I would go through it again in a second. It was the single most important experience of my life. I’ll never forget it. It totally shaped who I am.”

“Without the terrorists,” Katie said, “how could you have had that experience? And did you send them a thank-you note?”

The young man smiled.

I felt that everyone, Jews and Arabs, came together in that moment, and that a new understanding was being born. There was total silence, and then there was loud applause. “My God,” I heard myself think. ”She did it. She penetrated something old and stale and got to people’s hearts. Unbelievable.” Even the rowdy activists in the crowd had to agree.

As we were leaving the hall, we were all much more relaxed. Arabs and Jews were even mingling. I found myself walking alongside the Arab school principal who had done The Work with Katie, and he said, “She is doing cognitive psychology. I am sure of that.” “Maybe,” I said. And we kept talking. Then all of a sudden, he said some political thing, and I could feel an argument rising up inside of me, but before I had a chance to say anything, the activist I thought of as “rowdy” came along and said to him—right in my face—“Don’t even bother talking to her” (meaning me). “She always has to be right.”

“You know,” said the Arab man, “you’re right. She has no active listening.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and was just about to react when it occurred to me that maybe I needed to really hear what they had said. Maybe wisdom was speaking to me through these kind people and reminding me that we had just spent time in the company of a very wise teacher who had opened up a whole new way to communicate by listening inside, and I needed to listen. I backed off and thanked them for telling me that, and I left the event a much different person than the one I’d been when I came.

Death is A Part of Living

Here’s an e-mail I received from John, along with my response:

I often wonder why if I speak the truth to someone else when a friend passes away—for example, if I say to them “It must have been time. How do I know he’s supposed to die? Because he did”—why do people get so angry?

Thanks, John

Dearest John,

Oh my goodness, you are so very funny!

Most people have very fearful beliefs about death as well as about life. People are very afraid of losing the people that they love, because they don’t yet understand what you have come to understand, and hearing your comments they quite possibly could perceive you as cruel, heartless, uncaring, cold, out of touch, or freaky.

As long as people believe their fearful thoughts about life, death, themselves, and life without their loved ones, your honesty might sound crazy to them.

Most people don’t yet understand that God is entirely good. They are still mentally dictating to God and agreeing among themselves that it is only right to do war with the ultimate power of the universe. In other words, not everyone understands or trusts that the universe is not only friendly but perfect in every way without exception and that it always gives without taking. This is difficult for the immature mind to grasp.

People who believe their unquestioned thoughts cannot see what is obvious and directly in front of their faces at all times, because they are invested in what they believe to be true. As long as they live out of an unquestioned mind, they must continue to argue with what they believe is happening rather than the reality of what is really happening.

To the unquestioned mind, perfection is a myth; people who believe their unquestioned thoughts don’t see that the world is perfect exactly as it is, so they must remain at war with reality. Even their sadness is a tantrum; they are still at war with God, and most people are still immature enough to argue with the power of what made a universe and can and does often stop it, without evidence of its ever having existed. All fear is the evidence of an unquestioned mind.

Are you still afraid at times, John? I love that you know the power that is within you and is everything and that The Work, the four questions with your answers, is the key to that power, the beneficent power of the all and the key to your dear open fearless heart.

You are so funny, John. Do you remember when a statement like the one you speak of would have shocked and unsettled you? If you do, then you can understand that these people’s minds are believing what you used to believe. Have mercy, angel. It is enough to be free, and when your truths pop out of your mouth innocently and without motive, your experience as well as their experience is just right and on time.

There’s no mistake in the universe. Thank you for your innocence and enlightenment, John. If anything you say seems to be harsh, investigate and see if you had a motive in saying it, apologize, and begin again. Otherwise, you are not the doer at all.

Loving you,
kt

Letter: Stressful Holiday Thoughts

The following is a list of the stressful holiday thoughts which we got from our vets. We had them draw 3 thoughts each out of a “treat jar,” pair up, and apply the 4 questions and the turnarounds.

We had 22 guys and they could all find them in their lives. Good energy.

Love,
Jean

I have to go home.

I have to do all the work.

I don’t have a family.

I might not behave.

I have to buy gifts. (I have to have money for gifts.)

I have to be around people.

They might ask me to do something.

I don’t have enough money.

I won’t feel anything (joy).

I’m not being helpful.

I’ll be depressed.

I’ll be alone.

Shopping is a pain.

Cooking is a chore.

All the drunks will be on the road.

I’ll miss my family.

My mom died on Christmas.

I won’t be straight on Christmas.

I have to see family I don’t like.

I have to lie (about Christmas).

I can’t give them what they want.

The white Christmas doesn’t come. (It’s supposed to snow on Christmas.)

I can’t go home (and see certain family members).

I’m not wanted.

I have no input.

I will be judged.

Taking time off from work will put me behind.

I can’t participate.

I should have prepared for the holiday.

I have no girlfriend to share the holiday with.

They’ll be upset with me.

I wish the whole family could be together.

It takes too long to get there.

I might run out of booze.

I have to listen to my mom complain.

I have to stay longer than I want to.

The weather will be lousy.

I might steal the presents.

I have nothing to wear.

My friend was murdered on Thanksgiving eve. (I was supposed to be there.)

I haven’t talked to my family in a while.

The hospital is the loneliest place on a holiday.

They can’t be here. (We won’t be together.)

Talking on the phone makes me upset (miss them more).

I’ll miss my kids.

I have to go into detox. (I have to wait to get into Cat-5.)

I might use.

My family will think I’m relapsing.

I’ll be depressed if I can’t go home.

I’ll spend more money dining out and eating.

I can’t spend time with my kids. (They’re locked up.)

I have to go into my savings to purchase gifts.

Everyone should get together.

They’re not around. (I wish my family was around.)

I have to remember. (It’s disrespectful—it means I don’t care.)

I’ve never had a sober Christmas.

I can’t give my son what I would like.

I’m always the one giving. (I’d like to receive.)

Nobody thinks about me.

I can’t celebrate. (She died on Christmas.)

I have to shop.

Holidays are another reason to get high.

It’s too much.

It has to be perfect.

Everyone has to get along.

I have to get the right thing for everyone or they won’t love me.

I have to like my gifts.

I’m supposed to like my gifts. (People should know what I like.)

Thanks to our Helpline Facilitators

Two letters about the HELPLINE:

Dear Angels,

I was just looking at the Helpline page and saw this request for feedback for the first time. I already had tears of gratitude in my eyes when I noticed it. I had been thinking for the millionth time what an incredible gift the Helpline is.

I have called pretty often, and had some just amazing clearings and deepenings with these wonderful facilitators. Just beautiful intimate human-to-human moments, such generous and sweet support, it blows my mind, and that’s better than anything! I learn so much from the round robin also. The NetWork is a total life line. Thank you all from the bottom to the top of my heart.

love, Jude

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

If I were personally to award the Nobel Peace Prize, I would award it to the Helpline.

I’ve probably used it a dozen times in the past three or four months, and every single experience has been tremendous, peaceful, respectful, and revolutionary. What more could we ask?

P.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The HELPLINE service is for people who want to have a one-on-one experience with The Work now and is offered at no charge by skilled friends of The Work. Thanks to our volunteers for their dedication and generosity!

Finding The Work

Dear Katie,

I’ve come across The Work by chance, or so it seems. Was searching the web for something I completely forgot about afterwards (obviously wasn’t important) and there was a link to your website. I was curious and went to have a look. I now often think that was not my decision, it was something decisive happening through me.

I was thrilled when I discovered The Work, and I started doing it immediately. It’s already brought a tremendous opening in my life and I got somewhat “addicted” to it. Sometimes it’s not easy to do it, it’s not easy to look at the truth in the eye. I feel as though I have something to hold on to and, if I look thoroughly at it, as The Work always invites me to do(!), I’ll be left with nothing. Only that’s exciting too!

I’m deeply grateful. Thank you for keeping The Work available in the net, allowing all of us to share this fabulous experience! I’ve ordered your books through Amazon.com, because I’m fortunate enough to be able to read in English. And was a bit disappointed for not being able to share The Work with colleagues, friends and clients (I’m a Reiki and floral therapist) in a Portuguese translation. Can you imagine? I was doing some Christmas shopping and was absolutely speechless as I saw your book Loving What Is on a shelf . . . and in Portuguese, of course. It has been newly published here in Portugal, and I’ve already bought it as a Christmas present for a friend. Reality is indeed perfect!

My very best and grateful regards,

Emilia

Letter: Saying Goodbye to Cigarettes

Another wonderful letter from a friend of The Work:

I was thinking about the conversation that we had about my own experience with the School of You in L.A. last October . . . and about sharing a little of that with you before the Cleanse.

What was so remarkable about my experience with the School is that my miracle was so unexpected.

In fact, as I consider where I was in consciousness at that time, I’m quite surprised that I even noticed anything miraculous had occurred at all.

I went with two primary thoughts: the first was that I was about to spend a week learning a superficial intellectual tool and calling it deep work (by the way, I was wrong about that!!). The second was that I was dying, and that I would rather die with an intact secret than experience the shame of revelation. I have spent the whole of my adult life as a lung doctor who was a secret and closet smoker. I preached against, in the daytime, that which I practiced under cover of night. I had spent many years creating ritual around keeping my secret . . . and telling myself stories about how vilified I would be if I were discovered. Then, on the verge of leaving for the School, I discovered a lump in my neck . . . and I imagined the worst of everything. I was dying. I could not tell anyone about this lump because my shameful secret would be discovered. I was surrounded by a lifetime of friends who were doctors, and I did not dare speak a single word to any of them because I was ashamed. I thought I would rather die than let them know. It appeared I probably would die rather than let them know.

So I went to the School prepared to die and I will tell you that in the miracle of the School . . . in the doing of The Work . . . the cigarettes that had been my best and most secret friend for forty years said goodbye to me. I have not smoked a single cigarette since October 20, 2006. I am, miraculously, free of my attachment to smoking. Just as importantly, in the process of doing The Work, I realized that cigarettes supported my inner story of needing to be hidden and separated from the world. Each process taught me more and more about my lack of willingness to be revealed, to be integrated, to be intimate. Cigarettes had become the way for me to be separated, alone, outside the circle of tents. I share this with you not so much because I think my story needs to be heard, but because I can actually share it, now. Two months ago, I was unable to say any of this out loud to anyone. I would—remember—rather have died than tell anyone!

I came home from the School, called a friend, had some tests and found that the lump in my neck was absolutely nothing but an enlarged gland that appears to be attached to NOTHING (I loved THAT).

I can’t describe the joy of liberation that I experience. Certainly I love being liberated from the habit of cigarette smoking. What I really love is being liberated from the shame and the separation I had lived with for so long. I am liberated from the belief that lung doctors don’t smoke (Is that true? YES . . . IT’S TRUE FOR ME!! I DON’T SMOKE. O JOY!!)

With loving, Carla

Letter: Doing The Work with Children

Here’s a letter from a friend about her children doing The Work. If any of you have stories about your children doing The Work, I invite you to post them.

Dear Katie,

I wanted to tell you about how we used the conflict resolution method of doing The Work with our children this Thanksgiving.

Claire, 15, and Zeffi, almost 9, were arguing, and the words and tones I heard from them felt tediously familiar. I started talking and my husband entered the room with his decisive, take-action energy and told me I had missed an entire episode of Claire-Zeffi dynamics the previous day. He asked them both what they planned to do about this, because an old pattern that we’d certainly looked at and talked about plenty just wasn’t budging. Everyone looked at him. Something they planned to do?

There was a confused moment when both girls started telling their story at once and Ravi stopped them and declared that we were absolutely not going to let this go on and we were going to do something about it right now. Both girls looked miserable. We had talked to them, pointed out patterns, pointed out alternatives to their habitual behaviors, asked how they would feel if . . ., and even done The Work with them separately on thoughts they had about each other.

I don’t know why I’d never thought of this before, probably because it seemed such a formal approach, but in that moment the conflict resolution approach to The Work rose to the surface of my awareness. So I said at once that all I could see for them to do was to fill out a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet about each other then do The Work together, with the parents facilitating. Ravi’s immediate reaction was “Let’s do it.” Zeffi agreed. Claire took a breath and said, “Ooooh-kay.”

She filled out her sheet where I was working toward our feast in the kitchen, and Zeffi went to the living room with Papa so that he could be her scribe. She cheerfully dictated all her judgments about Claire for him to write down.

Children are so good at filling out JYN sheets, and you don’t have to instruct them not to be spiritual or mature or nudge them toward pettiness. They’re just so happy to be completely honest. After Claire filled out hers, she did find herself a bit thrown off by the level of honesty she was reading back on her sheet. “This is mean,” she said. “I’m supposed to read this to her? I know I’m mean to Zeffi, but this is really mean to just sit here and read all this out loud to her.”

I told her that mean, just as she’d said, was the way she treated Z when she was living out of those thoughts she just wrote down. Everything on that sheet represented her thinking about Zeffi; the way she treated Zeffi didn’t come out of nowhere, it came out of those thoughts. The JYN sheet isn’t mean; it’s the place where we take the story in our mind and pin it down on paper. There, we can see it very clearly. Then when we do The Work on those thoughts, we’re on the road to seeing things differently. Behaving differently follows naturally.

So on Thanksgiving, as I chopped and sliced and mixed and spiced, my daughters sat with me and did The Work on each other. Ravi took the not-unpleasant job of playing with Gaelen in the living room to give us the space we needed.

Zeffi read her sheet first and Claire said thank-you for each item. I asked her to take each piece in and try to find it, and assured her she didn’t have to find it. She could just look and see what she saw. And whether she found it or not, she was to say thank-you. She did this. Sometimes she laughed at something Zeffi had written. I had to interpret Papa’s handwriting a couple of times. Claire was very patient with this.

Then Claire read hers to Zeffi. I saw what she meant about being mean and did have a few flashes of concern over how Zeffi would manage receiving harsh thoughts about herself. I found that what I had told Claire earlier held true: Zeffi had already received all of this in what she and Claire lived together. She was fine sitting there hearing “Zeffi is an annoying brat” and saying thank-you. None of the ways I’ve seen her melt into distress or fly into rage in response to Claire even began to show up here. Her face was open, her eyes were serious, she was fully present. And, as had happened with Claire, laughter just burst out of her a couple times: For her sister’s perception? Or the way it was phrased? I can’t say. I did have a strong sense of both girls being alive and alert.

Zeffi volunteered to be facilitated first. This was perfect. It addressed at the onset Claire’s frustration about having to work harder than Zeffi. In this story, Claire feels we, her parents, blame her more and expect her to take more responsibility. And in part, this is true. With The Work, both girls took turns looking at their thoughts and taking responsibility for them with the turnarounds. Both girls heard each other explore her own thinking and the effects of that thinking. They saw how the unhappy thoughts didn’t merely cause fighting between them but caused each girl to be unhappy in herself and usually to feel bad about herself and dislike her own behaviors. With The Work, both girls worked on themselves and their own thinking equally.

Claire explored her responsibility deeply, even before the turnarounds. She found that Zeffi couldn’t possibly tell on her but could only tell her story. When Claire ran after her to defend herself and tell her version, that was the moment it became “Zeffi telling on Claire.” Amazing clarity. She also looked deeply at the turnaround to herself—how she told on herself. Here and throughout The Work we did that morning, she was surprised to find that most of the statements she was exploring held something for her about her entire life, not just life with Zeffi. She found ways she told on herself with her friends, exposing or shaming herself by telling things about herself she would better keep to herself. She found ways that she told on herself to her parents, about things unrelated to Zeffi. At fifteen, Claire is fully capable of understanding the mirror principle, that Zeffi shows up only as her mirror so she can look at something in herself and see how it operates in every aspect of her life.

Zeffi’s Work was more directly about Claire. For her, the magic happens with finding very concrete answers to number 3 and very concrete examples of the turnarounds. One thing I love about doing The Work with Z at her age now is that it shows me the process at its simplest. We’re just asking and answering questions. The answers are simple and pure and honest: when I believe this thought, I get mad and I want to hit her and sometimes I do hit her. I try to make her mad. I ignore her when she says stop. I hate her. I feel bad. I don’t like myself.

I also love the purity of the answers to 4 in Work with a 9-year-old. Who would you be if you couldn’t believe that Claire excludes you with Gaelen? Zeffi shrugs. I’d be fine. I’d just go do something I want to do. It reminds me of how easy it all is, really.

I took Zeffi and Claire through one long exploration each. We did the first statement on Zeffi’s list, and Claire chose one that seemed the most potent to her. From there, we went through the sheets doing turnarounds, though I think I did a couple of quickies—when a statement seemed especially rich, or in a different vein from the others, I asked the four questions briefly and moved into the turnarounds from there.

Zeffi and Claire did not fall weeping into each other’s arms at the end of the process and swear to be sweet to each other for the rest of all time. What did happen was that they both left feeling very solid, present, and calm. They both had a lot to be with after the process, and it was fascinating how it was no longer about Claire and Zeffi. It was about Claire for Claire and it was about Zeffi for Zeffi. For me, it was about falling more in love with The Work and with my amazing daughters.

Zeffi had trouble staying put at some point in our process and actually wandered into the other room to see what Papa and Gaelen were doing. Claire and I were so focused on what we were then looking at that neither of us responded to this initially, then Claire said, “Uh, is Zeffi coming back?” I asked Z to bring in her drawing pad and pencils and told her to stay here with us during the process and to feel free to draw the whole time. Z is capable of drawing for at least two hours straight. This worked perfectly. The drawing gave her a focus and a structure that held her while she gave her mind to the inquiry process. I didn’t learn until days later that what she chose to draw was a picture of Claire going off with Gaelen and the dog, above which she wrote, “No you can’t play Zeffi Go that way.”

If we had done this four years ago I would have given Zeffi a catalog and a pair of scissors. She used to sit still for nothing except cutting. She could go-go-go and move and talk all day, but with a pair of scissors in hand she would drop into perfect stillness except for her little hands intently following the shapes as she extracted them from a page. I would now recommend to any parent sitting down with a serious inquiry project to find whatever works best for the particular child and use this tactic of keeping hands busy and eyes focused so that the mind and body can be still for The Work.

The one thing I noticed about doing The Work with Claire and Zeffi in this situation as compared to Working with two adults was that I gave them a lot of praise. I told them often they were doing great Work. I told them when I thought something they’d located was a great find, and then stayed quiet a moment for them to take that in. All of this was completely genuine.

I don’t know how long we hung in there exactly, but my husband and I both estimate two hours. This may sound like an insanely long time to do this with children, but they were fine with it. They were completely immersed in the process. Truly, they were just as tired of the issue as we were. And finally, they would rather do The Work for two hours than be on the receiving end of five minutes of tense and angry lecturing or fifteen minutes of restrained and reasonable lecturing from their parents. The children can see just as we can that The Work takes them through a process to know themselves that is actually interesting to them, leads them to new insights, and leaves them feeling better. Lecturing can sometimes lead to new insights, usually later when some bit of wisdom breaks off from the rest and sinks in, but they hate it. They feel attacked or at the very least overwhelmed and dictated to. In no way do they find it interesting and they do not feel better—sometimes feel worse—when it’s over.

That’s my report.

Love, Jaya

A Note from Phoenix

A beautiful note from a friend in Phoenix:

“Kent and Carol in Phoenix are 84 and 80. They recently discovered The Work and are as excited as anyone I’ve met about it. They purchased the first two seats at the Phoenix event and were there in the front row. Kent has asked his daughter and son-in-law, who have done the School, to do The Work with their family at an upcoming family reunion. They had over 35 family members in attendance at the Phoenix event. Kent carries Loving What Is with him and quotes from it. At a recent family gathering, he read aloud the several pages regarding “my business, your business, and God’s business.” He loves that!! He also loves the story of Katie and her children’s socks. He was so inspired by it that he decided to stop mentally complaining about his neighbor’s overgrown lawn and go over and mow it. Which he did! He just giggled as he told us the story. At 84, he is discovering “Loving What Is” and I am not just talking about the book.”

A Letter from the Parlor

Here is a wonderful letter from Johannes about his experience during this summer’s School at Bad Neuenahr and after. Originally published in last month’s Parlor, it is worth reading again and again. Thank you, Johannes!

Dear Katie!
Sorry, that my English is so bad. Therefore I have to write in German. I hope, there is someone who can translate it for you.

[The rest of the letter is in German and has been translated (with some polishing by Stephen) by Gabriele Brunner, who does such an excellent job translating my words at the School for The Work in Germany. I highly recommend her. Her email address is gabribrunner [at] yahoo.de.]

I was a participant at the last School and am still full of gratitude for this great experience. I have invested a lot in my process of personal growth and spiritual development up to now, but what you gave me in the School certainly made it the best and most effective thing I have ever done. I got exactly the right tools for the rest of my life and I have the option now to explore to the depths the question “Who am I without my story?” and to find peace within myself.
My father was a Protestant minister like almost all my ancestors back to the seventeenth century. He was a man who was very torn inside, who could find no peace in God, but who fought as a warrior of faith against the evil world and wanted to convert it to his faith.
I was given my first name in honour of an eighteenth-century theologian who had written a catechism. I recently looked at the old book and discovered that, funnily enough, the theologians of the time did The Work in their own way to provide believers with answers to their religious questions. After each religious belief is stated, there is the question: “How can I know that this is true?” For example: “God created the world—How can I know that this is true?” And then comes the explanation.

When we did the exercise about the worst stories that had happened to us, I was dealing with my family history, the whole terrifying tradition of Christianity, all these warriors of faith and desperate God-seekers and how I ought to hold that. When I deleted the untrue thoughts from the story, I distilled it down to this: “Johannes Quistorp—the story of a family. His great-grandfather was manic-depressive, and he named his son Gottfried (peace in God). This man also named his first son Gottfried, and this Gottfried died at the age of eighteen. His second son (my father) was manic-depressive and gave his son the middle name of Gottfried name in memory of his brother. This Johannes-Gottfried (me) left the church, had himself sterilized and is doing The Work now. He is beginning like a child, over and over again, to find his peace in “God.”

I have to report another beautiful experience that happened during the School. I was in my room, still lying in bed when my roommate, Jim, came out of the bathroom and said something I misunderstood because my English is so bad. He said, “It’s all yours.” And my very first thought was: God shows Adam the Garden of Eden and says to him, “It’s all yours.”

During the morning walk, in the “Naming the World” exercise, I heard over and over again a voice within me saying, “It’s all yours.” It also crossed my mind that God had added a but: “But you may not eat from the Tree of Knowledge.” I had the feeling that once I had named the world with its original names, I had spat out the apple of the Tree of Knowledge.

Then, at breakfast, when I wanted to eat an apple I looked at the apple and looked at the world and said to myself, “It’s all yours.” I see the apple, I see the world and (!) I bite into the apple. I am no longer in the Garden of Eden, I have fallen into duality and this is why both are there: “It’s all yours” and the bite into the apple of knowledge—they’re equal and there are always both of them. I am a human being, who knows about the world and knows about where I come from, where my home is.

On another morning walk I had another exciting experience. We were walking down a street lined with trees, on the left and on the right, and after a while, when I looked exactly and saw “literally” what was happening, the truth was that it was not I who was walking down the street but the trees that were coming toward me, passing me and disappearing behind me: in other words, the world was passing through me and I was always exactly where I was. When I looked through the trees up to the sky the truth was that the trees were passing me as the movement happened, but the sky, just like me, always stayed in the same place. I am always connected to the sky when I am not hurrying through the world in search of some kind of experience, when I really am where I am.

The next morning, while we were walking in the woods, single file in a long line, I had the same perception and simultaneously felt deeply connected to the whole School family. You can also perceive the same thing when you drive your car in the countryside. The landscape comes toward you, passes you by and disappears in the rear view mirror, but I am in my auto (which literally translated means “self”), I always stay in my “auto,” in my self, and I am actually not moving.

During the next morning walk, I closed my eyes again and again in between naming things, to collect myself and to see the world with my inner vision. This resulted in the following rhythm: 2 steps—open eyes—breathe in / take in, 2 steps—close eyes—breathe out / give away—or vice versa. Or 4 steps—close eyes—breathe in and out, 4 steps—open eyes—breathe in an out, so that in the end the inner and outer vision, taking and giving, were one and there was no longer any difference between them.

Finally I would like to tell you about my experience sitting on a bench in Cologne. I closed my eyes, and in the beginning I was still identifying what I heard. Sometimes there were so many noises that I was not able to differentiate them: there was just space, listening and naming. Everything goes straight through me and I can collect myself. My ears turn more and more toward the inside and I become very vast. I hear/feel my heartbeat and I am all ears: I become one big ear. I am so open that even when there is a sudden loud noise, I notice, very precisely, that nothing contracts within me. At that moment an expression by the great German poet Rilke came to my mind—Rilke had named the experience so strikingly, with a single (!) word that is not a metaphor, but reality. He called it “worldinnerspace” – a true primal word for this experience.

Later I am standing at a spot close to the Rhine. I close my eyes again and listen to my heartbeat and feel that I am the center of my world. Many different sounds are coming from all sides. At first my closed eyes are still going in the direction where the sounds are coming from, but then they give in: the things outside fall into the inner world and pass through me as if there were no me at all. Outside and inside become transparent. The more I enter the receptive, the more subtly and clearly I can let everything through. All over my body I feel my heartbeat, every single heartbeat very precisely, then I open my eyes very slowly, slowly let my gaze go wherever it wants to go, always in contact with my heartbeat. And I see my heartbeat: the whole world moves in the rhythm of my heart. In the seeing I feel my heartbeat, each heartbeat, wordless seeing, without meaning. Moment by moment. When I look and feel my heartbeat, my inner world and the outer world remain directly connected with each other.

In front of the cathedral, in the midst of the many people, I stood again with closed eyes, and felt my heartbeat inside me. And there was a vast, open space and the world was flowing right through me. I have been living in and around Cologne for fourteen years, but in all these years I never perceived as much of the city as during these four hours. I was never so present in the city – and at the same time I saw nothing of Cologne: at the moment of the experience there was no Cologne, no city, no place. I was just in the world.

When I left Bad Neuenahr on the train and had to show my train ticket, I reached into my pocket and I accidentally gave the conductor the little yellow card with the four questions. I had to laugh out loud. That’s how I took The Work into my everyday life right away.

I had seven dreams the week after, in which I did The Work, three of them in one night. Usually I was not able to go back to sleep afterward because I was so moved by them. In one of the dreams I was in a big group and did The Work with two people. The result at the end was: I can honestly see the way it is; I can honestly say the way it is; I can honestly leave it the way it is – no more and no less. In one of the dreams I did The Work on three issues and each time I emptied myself even more, layer after layer, until only an outer contour of myself was left and the inside was nothing but radiant emptiness. And when this image came up, I knew that I had succeeded in the real turnaround: I am You and You are Me. I am just amazed and I am full of gratitude for how much I have obviously integrated The Work inside me already.

Many many thanks to the translator for her effort, since the letter has gotten pretty long.

Dearest Katie, I hug you full of gratitude

In love,
Johannes

E-mail from Brian in the UK

Thank you for allowing me to share this with our readers, Brian.

Dear Katie

I just wanted to write to you to say thank you for sharing The Work. I am enjoying exploring this amazing process, and I’m feeling positive changes in my life already as a result. I want to deepen my practice, and am moving forward every day with it.

Just yesterday, I had a profound experience of The Work, after a difficult argument with my partner. It was amazing – I started from a position of such blazing anger, such self-righteousness, such belligerent indignance…and then I did The Work, and I felt all of that dissolve, leaving a humbling and beautiful sense of responsibility, compassion, and love. It felt as though I had traveled through time – the “calming down” period that would normally take a day or more, took only a few minutes. And it was more than just “calming”, the natural settling down after a storm…it was like the storm clouds were actually clearing, leaving just the light and the fresh air. What a beautiful gift.

I very much hope to join you at an event in the near future – I live in the UK, and will certainly be looking out for any events near here which you scheduled in. I would love for you to come to England again…

With best wishes and much gratitude to you, in Love,

Brian