Become mindful of how often your conversations focus on the past or future.
Be aware of the verbs you use: was, did, will, are going to, etc. To speak of the past in the present is to reawaken and recreate it fully in the present, if only in our minds, and then we are lost to what is present for us now. To speak of the future is to create and live with a fantasy.
If you want to experience fear, think of the future.
If you want to experience shame and guilt, think of the past.
Just focus on the dishes in front of you.
“Doing the dishes” is a practice of learning to love the action that is in front of you. Your inner voice or intuition guides you all day long to do simple things such as doing the dishes, driving to work, or sweeping the floor. Allow the sanctity of simplicity. Listening to your inner voice and then acting on its suggestions with implicit trust creates a life that is more graceful, effortless, and miraculous.
The miracle of now.
Notice when you hurt that you are mentally out of your business.
If you’re not sure, stop and ask, “Mentally, whose business am I in?”
There are only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s.
Whose business is it if an earthquake happens? God’s business.
Whose business is it if your neighbor down the street has an ugly lawn? Your neighbor’s business.
Whose business is it if you are angry at your neighbor down the street because he has an ugly lawn? Your business.
Life is simple—it is internal.
Count, in five minute intervals, how many times you are in someone else’s business mentally. Notice when you give uninvited advice or offer your opinion about something (aloud or silently).
Ask yourself: “Am I in their business? Did they ask me for my advice?” And more importantly, “Can I take the advice I am offering and apply it to my life?”
The AARP article about The Work is timely, in a way.
I’m 63, and I accept it.
But not everyone accepts their age. What stress do you experience when you think your body should be different than it is, or when you think someone else should take better care of their body, and they don’t?
Who would you be without that thought?
Read the article, “Quit Your Pain” here.
I just received an email with this question: “What’s the difference between the School for The Work and The Work?”
The School for The Work on the other hand, is a nine-day event. It’s for people who are tired of their suffering, people who long for freedom, who really want to know the truth and are ready for peace.
In the School for The Work, I take people through every nightmare I ever experienced. (No nightmare is foreign; we carry them all inside us.) I show them how to walk themselves through everyone of their own fears, until they are confident that they have the key to the end of their own suffering alive within them. If they have a problem, real or imagined (all problems are imagined), we work with it. I take them into the depths of hell and out again. We travel. All are welcome, and I love that my staff is entirely made up of earlier participants in The School.
Imagine the most painful experiences you’ve ever had—with your parents, your partner, your friends, your children.
Now imagine your life without that pain.
How would things be different? What if you no longer felt attached to your fears, your self-judgments, or your disappointments? What if, for the rest of your life, you couldn’t play the victim, and you even welcomed problems?
The School makes this a possibility. Only you can decide how The School will change your life. The deeper you go in, the more your world changes.
On the first evening, I sometimes ask the participants what they want to take home from The School. They say things like “I want peace of mind” or “I want to be free” or “I want to be a more loving person” or “I want to be less anxious about my problems” or “I want to be less self-absorbed” or “I want to live without fear” or “I want to be happy, whether I have a lover or not.”
By the end of The School, they all say that they have found a way of to end their suffering, and that they got even more than what they originally wanted. People come out so changed that their families are entirely grateful and often astounded. The Work has awakened within every participant who comes with an open mind, and there is nothing that they can do to shut it down. Once the four questions are alive inside you, your mind becomes clear, and therefore the world you project becomes clear. This is more radical than anyone can possibly imagine.
You can listen to an clip in which staff members, a recent graduate of The School, and I answer questions about the School for The Work. I facilitate The Work with a women on her anger at God and with a man on his frustration with his wife’s blaming.
For more information about when the next School for The Work is, check out our events page.
The following dialog appears in Loving What Is.
NOTE: Byron Katie’s response to reader comments on this post may be read here>>
Mary, reading the statements from her Worksheet: I hate my husband because he drives me crazy — everything about him, including the way he breathes. What disappoints me is that I don’t love him anymore and our relationship is a charade. I want him to be more successful, to not want to have sex with me, to get in shape, to get a life outside of me and the children, to not touch me anymore, and to be powerful. My husband shouldn’t fool himself that he’s good at our business. He should create more success. My husband is a wimp. He’s needy, and lazy. He’s fooling himself. I refuse to keep living a lie. I refuse to keep living my relationship as an imposter.
Katie: Does that pretty well sum it up? [The audience bursts into laughter, and Mary laughs along with them.] By the sound of the laughter, it seems as though you speak for a lot of people in this room. So, let’s start at the top and see if we can begin to understand what going on.
Mary: I hate my husband because he drives me crazy — everything about him, including the way he breathes.
Katie: “Your husband drives you crazy” — is it true? [This is the first of the four questions: Is it true?]
Use the following four questions and sub-questions to investigate a stressful belief-for example, “My mother doesn’t love me.” (Some of the sub-questions may not apply.)
1. Is it true?
(Close your eyes,be still, go deeply as you contemplate your answer.
If your answer is no, continue to Question 3.)
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
– Can you know more than God/reality?
Can you really know what’s best in the long Work run for his/her/your own path?
– Can you absolutely know that you would be happier if you got what you wanted?
3. How do you react when you think that thought? (When you believe that thought?)
– Where does the feeling hit you, where do you feel it in your body when you believe that thought? How far does the feeling travel? Describe it.
– What pictures do you see when you believe that thought? Watch it, be still, notice.
– When did that thought first occur to you?
– How do you treat others when you believe that thought? What do you say to them? What do you do? Whom does your mind attack and how? Be specific.
– How do you treat yourself when you believe that thought? Is this where addictions kick in and you reach for food, alcohol, credit cards, the TV remote? Do thoughts of self-hatred occur? What are they?
– How have you lived your life because you believed that thought? Be specific. Close your eyes, watch your past.
– Does this thought bring peace or stress into your life?
– Where does your mind travel when you believe that thought? (List any underlying beliefs, and inquire later.)
– Whose business are you in when you think that thought?
– What do you get for holding onto that belief?
– Can you find a peaceful reason to keep that thought?
– What terrible thing do you assume would happen if you didn’t believe that thought? Write down the terrible thought, and turn it around to the opposite and test it for yourself – is the opposite as true or truer?
4. Who would you be without the thought?
– How ewould you live life differently if you didn’t believe that thought? Close your eyes and imagine life without it.
Imagine you are meeting this person for the very first time with no story. What do you see?
– Who are you right now, sitting here without that thought?
Turn the thought around.
(Statements can be turned around to yourself, to the other, to the opposite, and to “my thinking,” wherever it applies. Find a minimum of three genuine examples in your life where each turnaround is as true as or truer than your original statement.)
– If you lived this turnaround, what would you do, or how would you live your life, differently?
– Do you see any other turnarounds that seem as true or truer?
The turnarounds allow you to see the best course of action for you.
The key to experiencing The Work is to go beyond the quick answers of the intellect and tap into a deeper wisdom. Ask, then be still and wait for an inner voice to respond. With practice, this will become easier. You will learn to rely on yourself—not the world—to see what’s true for you.
Get free resources at www.thework.com
The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want.
If you want reality to be different than it is, you might as well try to teach a cat to bark. You can try and try, and in the end the cat will look up at you and say, “Meow.” Wanting reality to be different than it is is hopeless. You can spend the rest of your life trying to teach a cat to bark.
And yet, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that you think thoughts like this dozens of times a day. “People should be kinder.” “Children should be well-behaved.” “My neighbors should take better care of their lawn.” “The line at the grocery store should move faster.” “My husband (or wife) should agree with me.” “I should be thinner (or prettier or more successful).” These thoughts are ways of wanting reality to be different than it is. If you think that this sounds depressing, you’re right. All the stress that we feel is caused by arguing with what is.
People new to The Work often say to me, “But it would be disempowering to stop my argument with reality. If I simply accept reality, I’ll become passive. I may even lose the desire to act.” I answer them with a question: “Can you really know that that’s true?” Which is more empowering? — “I wish I hadn’t lost my job” or “I lost my job; what can I do now?”
The Work reveals that what you think shouldn’t have happened should have happened. It should have happened because it did, and no thinking in the world can change it. This doesn’t mean that you condone it or approve of it. It just means that you can see things without resistance and without the confusion of your inner struggle. No one wants their children to get sick, no one wants to be in a car accident; but when these things happen, how can it be helpful to mentally argue with them? We know better than to do that, yet we do it, because we don’t know how to stop.
I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality. We can know that reality is good just as it is, because when we argue with it, we experience tension and frustration. We don’t feel natural or balanced. When we stop opposing reality, action becomes simple, fluid, kind, and fearless.