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Suffering is Optional

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn't believe them, I didn't suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always."

— Byron Katie


FMJemena said...

What do you mean? What do you think then if you can't trust your thoughts? WHat if you're into visualizing your goals in life?

Please...I am intrigued, not only because of the idea of ceasing suffering, but because of a childhood experience: I was a happy child, even through my parents' marital woes. I laughed wholeheartedly at funny things and I would dance if I felt like it. I remembered that 1-2 adults would comment on it, saying, "You seem to be always living in Sabado de Gloria." (It is 'Glorious Saturday", a part of the Glorious Mystery of the Catholic Rosary.) They said that sentence as if it is a sin for me to be happy, that it is a shallow thing. So I tried to find a way to be sad, to not be shallow. Of course, I realized no in my 40s that those adults said those things because they were miserable at the time and were jealous. But the damage had deepened already.

Shirley Twofeathers said...

Hello FMJemena - I think what Byron Katie means is that it's our thoughts about life that bring us suffering - for example when we at some deep level believe that happiness is a shallow sinful thing - it's those thoughts about happiness that brings the suffering.

Or, and this is what I find myself doing - I visualize my goals and then tell myself that I can't possibly accomplish any of them because hey - it's too late for me.

When we stop believing those thoughts, we are free to be happy - free to set goals - free to ... whatever ...

And that's the purpose of "the work" to ferret out those thoughts and discover the basic lies that live behind them.

If we can stop believing the thoughts we use to beat ourselves up - and only believe in the thoughts we use to love ourselves - wow!

Make sense?

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