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Accepting The World As It Is

Sunday, March 06, 2011

From an Interview With Byron Katie, we have the following explanation of what she means when she talks about accepting the world as it is:


Ray: Some people might be troubled by your idea of fully accepting world conditions. Let me read a passage from A Thousand Names for Joy: “The apparent craziness of the world, like everything else, is a gift that we can use to set our minds free. Any stressful thought that you have about the planet, for example, shows you where you are stuck, where your energy is being exhausted in not fully meeting life as it is, without conditions.” And, then, “Until you can love what is—everything, including the apparent violence and craziness—you’re separate from the world, and you’ll see it as dangerous and frightening.”

So, war, genocide, poverty, hunger, environmental degradation—you love all parts of the world because you love what is. Can lovers of what is still be agents of change, and how can they do so without the “should”—that something should be other than what it is?

Katie: Let’s take the example of war—the war in Iraq. If I have the thought, “They should stop fighting,” then I can’t know that that’s true. Who do I think I am, God? Who am I to say what’s right and what’s wrong? Who am I to say what is good for me or you or the planet in the long run?

When I turn the thought around, one turnaround is “I should stop fighting.” Is there any place in my life where I am making war? Am I fighting with my husband or my children or my parents? Every time I read the newspaper, am I fighting with the President in my head? Am I fighting with myself? Let me work on that. That way war is ending somewhere in the world.

If I think the environment in the world needs to be cleaned up, let me clean up my own environment. Let me clean up the environment in my head—let me work with the pollution in that ecosystem. And that’s huge: just to clean up one ecosystem.

The power of one is magnificent. Look at what Gandhi did. He was clear. Well, I don’t know if he was or not, but he was certainly clear enough for me. So, it’s obviously possible, when we really love and respect people, for them to affect our lives. And we want to know: How is it that courageous, fearless people like Gandhi are possible?

The power of one! If you can’t stop war in your life, how can you expect politicians to stop war in the world? You can’t. And we all have equal wisdom, so if you can do it, then you know that everyone can do it if their minds are open to answering just four simple questions and beginning there.

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