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When It's Done - It's Done

Saturday, March 12, 2011


When you don’t believe something, you can’t make yourself believe it. There’s nothing you can do to believe it again. You either believe it or you don’t.

Let’s say you’re out walking in the desert and you see a snake on your path, and you’re terrified of snakes. You jump back, and your brow is sweating, and your heart is racing—you’re paralyzed with fear.

Then, maybe the sun shines through the clouds a little differently, and through your fear, you look down again and you think, “Oh, that’s a rope! How could I ever have thought that was a snake?” Your whole body shifts. It begins to relax. You realize that there was never any danger. It was just a misperception, a misunderstanding.

Then other people come along, and scream, “Watch out! It’s a snake!” And you smile. Those people are terrified, suffering, in pain, afraid for their lives, afraid for your life—how can you smile? Well, because you know that there’s no snake. It’s just a rope. But they’re yelling or running, and if you say, “Don’t worry, it’s okay,” they won’t believe you. They have to see it for themselves.

When you question what you believe, you leave behind the world and what the world believes. It puts you in a very interesting position. When people are suffering, you don’t suffer. You know that every stressful thought is untrue, that every snake is a rope. And you understand people’s terror, because you once thought that ropes were snakes, too.

How can I fear what is harmless? I can’t make myself fear that rope again, even if I stand over it for a thousand years. It’s impossible.

That’s what The Work does. It challenges every problem in the world. It invites everyone to discover that every snake is a rope. There’s no exception to that.

But this work is for people who are open to it. It’s not a little thing to lose your identification and who you believe yourself to be, and that’s what this work threatens. It threatens the ego.

~Byron Katie

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