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A presentation of The Work of Byron Katie through her "Katieisms"
Byron Katie explains that the turnaround is important because it shows other possibilities:
Yes. It also shows the mind what is as true or truer than the original thought. People usually find that the turnaround is as true or truer than the stressful thought they began with.
What’s an example? Let’s say the thought is “John should apologize.” Turned around: “I should apologize to John.” And if your mind is closed, you might not be able to see how that turnaround is true: “Me? But he’s the one who hurt me. He owes me the apology.” Or: “I should apologize to John? Well, okay, I really did do this and that to him. But he deserved it!” But if you’re really doing The Work, you’ll be able to see how every turnaround is true: “I should apologize to John. Let me do what I expect him to do. Let me get my own house in order here.” Even more, you’ll find genuine examples of why apologizing to John is a good thing. And if you think it’s difficult for you to apologize, then you begin to understand why it’s so difficult for John to apologize to you.
Your job is to turn it around; to see what you have done, what your part is; and then to apologize and go back to that person and ask how you can make it right. Usually you don’t even have to ask—you know.
One thing about inquiry is that it is the end of gossip. It is the end of passing on negative thoughts about people. It is the end of talking about a world that’s so terrible. Rather than making judgments like that, you begin to live in observations that can be worked with intelligently and changed and shifted.
I have an expression: “I’m in a hurry.” Of course, that’s not true in one sense. I have all the time in the world, because I have seen that there’s no such thing as time, or the world for that matter. But what I mean is that it’s so easy to break through the suffering on this planet, if the mind is open to doing so. I just want to make this work available to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. Everyone has a right to know it exists, and that’s my job. I don’t want anyone to suffer the way I suffered before I found this work.
If you’re in a hurry, too, if you want enlightenment, it’s so simple when you really listen to people. For example, if someone says to me, “Katie, you’re wrong,” I immediately think, “Could she be right? Is it possible she’s right?”
I find it inside rather than attacking outward through my defense. I go inward, not outward, and realize for myself—self-realization—to see what’s true for me. And I can say, “You know, you’re right. I just came to see that I’m wrong.” Or, if I can’t find it, I can say, “I’m not able to find that right now. I really believe I’m right. So, tell me, how am I wrong? I’m open to hearing your reasons. I really want to know.”
I’m standing there with a friend—no one is an enemy—who can give me information and really enlighten me. She can add to what I’ve got. It doesn’t mean I’m going to lose or change what I’m believing. But I’ll have more information, so what I’m believing or not believing will be much more intelligent. Who knows? I could be wrong.
I love to not defend—ever—and to open my mind and receive what can always add to me, not take away from me. So, if someone says, “Katie, you are out of order,” over something I’ve said, if I defend myself or justify myself, then I have just started the war. If people say, “You’re wrong,” and you react with, “How dare you say that?” or, “No, I can prove that I’m right, and here’s why,” or, “No, you are wrong, and I think you’re rude”—and even if you don’t say it out loud, maybe you think it, and even that’s stressful—that’s the moment you’ve started the war.
Defense is the first act of war. I see that clearly.
From an Interview With Byron Katie
Ray Hemachandra asked Byron Katie the following question during an interview :
Do people sometimes struggle to answer the fourth question? Because you’re having the thought—it’s become part of you—so you are essentially imagining yourself as someone else, even if that’s your true self you’re imagining.
This is what she replied:
No. What I invite people to do is to look at their lives just the way they have lived them. Not to change anything, and not to do positive thinking at all. Just look at yourself going to the market yesterday. Look at yourself going to work yesterday. Look at yourself having breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Just look at your life without that thought.
Look at your life without the thought “Something terrible is going to happen” or “No one cares” or “I’m not good enough.” It’s the same life, but without the thought. It’s quite an amazing experience to see the same life with and without the thought. You come to see how crazy a thought can make you when you believe it.
And then you turn it around. For example, the opposite of “Something terrible is going to happen” is “Something wonderful is going to happen.” You can now find genuine examples of possibilities without being crazy—genuine, real possibilities of what can come out of a situation you’re experiencing. Your little child is asleep in the closet, and instead of thinking “Something terrible has happened to him,” you’re thinking “Something wonderful has happened to him.” Then, you start looking for examples and possibilities. It really helps when you’re looking for a little guy.
When you call the police, and they say, “Did you look in the closet?” you can honestly say yes, and let’s look again, but without the panic. With the panic, sometimes you can’t even answer: “I don’t know where I’ve looked.” You’re just panicked, and then you’re blind.
Fear is blind. There are some options in it, but they’re very limited compared to the options available to the fearless mind.
Byron Katie explains what she means by, “How do you react when you think that thought?”— Is it a gut reaction? Is it emotional? Is it thought?
It would be like you coming home expecting to see your son running into your arms. You’re very happy walking through the door, and then he’s not there. You look around, and you can’t find him. You look more and, if you’re married, your wife says, “Uh-oh, I haven’t seen him in a while,” and then you both begin to panic.
Notice the emotions that happen, on a scale from 1 to 10. They can go from mild discomfort all the way up to real panic. Nothing’s actually happened, except that you’re believing thoughts like “I need to find him,” “He’s missing,” “He’s in trouble,” or “Something terrible has happened to him.” Whatever your thought is in that situation—“He could be hurt” or “He needs me” or “I need to call 911”—how do you react when you believe that thought?
And then you find him—maybe he fell asleep in the closet and you find him there. How do you treat him if you’ve been believing those thoughts? While one person might simply be relieved, another person might wake him up and start crying and holding him, or someone else might yell at him for causing all that worry. Just imagine the little guy and his fear and what that would mean to someone who was just taking a nap, after all.
So: “How do you react when you believe that thought?” How does it feel in your body when you believe the thought? How do you treat other people and yourself? Is this where addictions kick in? Is this where you begin to overeat or smoke the cigarette you said you’d never smoke again?
That’s all in the third question. It’s meditation. You sit and you watch what happens to your life as a result of that thought. You go back to your childhood and then all the way up to the present. “How do you react—what happens—when you believe the thought?” It’s an amazing question. Your whole life will just appear in front of you in images.
And then the fourth question: “Who would you be without the thought?” The result is calmness. You can watch your life without the thought. Let’s say, for example, the child is asleep in the closet, and you are afraid something has happened to him. Who would you be without the thought “Something terrible has happened to him”? The thought is like a nightmare that has surfaced. Even though you don’t really want to admit it, it’s always present for some of us. It surfaces when you can’t find him after the first five minutes.
So, you watch: “Who am I without the thought ‘Something terrible has happened’?” And then you get to that closet a lot quicker because your mind is clear. It’s not panicked. It’s more intelligent and calm without the thought. It does the same work, but it’s so much more effective. Our children and the world deserve that kind of clarity.
In an interview, Katie was asked the following questions: The first question is “Is it true?” The second question is “Can you absolutely know that it is true?” When you start doing The Work regularly, does the second question eventually fall off, because you fully probe things when you ask the first question?
Here's what she said:
Sometimes the second question doesn’t even apply. And sometimes with the concept you’re questioning, it makes more sense to ask just the second one and not the first one. For me, I wouldn’t miss one of the four. I like to say that the first question is there, and just in case you miss it, there’s another one to back it up.
Some people sincerely answer yes to the first question, but with the second question they have to go deeper and see if they can absolutely know what they’re so convinced of. For example, if the concept is “John shouldn’t have hit me—is that true?” your answer may be a quick yes. Of course it’s true; we all know that violence is bad. But then, when you ask yourself the second question, your answer may be different. You may find that you can’t absolutely know what is best for you or for John or for the world. And if your answer is yes, then just move to the third question: “How do you react when you believe that thought?” And just trust the questions and the inquiry.
People sometimes believe that every answer to the first two questions should be no. That’s not true. This is personal work. It’s meditation, and you come out with the answer that is yours. When you’re not defending and justifying, and you’re being very still, your answers can and do shock you.
Here's what Byron Katie says about why it's best to do the work on paper - particularly when starting out.
Because the mind is tricky. If you don’t write down your stressful thought, the mind will slip and slide around it. The mind is very clever. It will start defending its sacred concepts. It will qualify and justify and soon you won’t be able to give simple answers to the questions. The mind will outsmart you, so that it can keep all of its concepts intact.
But if you identify the stressful thought that you’re believing and put it on paper, there it is, in black and white. It’s stopped. It’s mind on paper. Your fearful mind never has been stopped before. It’s brought into the world and stabilized in the world—on paper. So, by putting mind on paper, you can put the four questions and the turnaround up against it.
When people do The Work, they need to notice when they begin to justify, defend, or go to a story. When you defend or justify, The Work stops working, because in that moment you’re no longer answering the questions. You’re doing what mankind always has done.
So, I invite people just to notice that and come back to The Work, and simply answer the questions. Be still, and take your time with each one of them. Your life depends on it. Your entire joyful life depends on it.
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.
The Work’s whole purpose is to question beliefs. It gives people a way to think for themselves, a way to take their own minds back. It has nothing to do with substituting new beliefs for old beliefs or teaching that any belief is true or untrue. The Work is about taking on the responsibility of unbrainwashing ourselves from the negative thoughts that keep us from the optimum health, happiness, and productivity that each of us deserves.
Here is what Katie says at the beginning of Loving What Is:
What I love about The Work is that it allows you to go inside and find your own happiness, to experience what already exists within you, unchanging, immovable, ever-present, ever-waiting. No teacher is necessary. You are the teacher you’ve been waiting for. You are the one who can end your own suffering.
I often say, “Don’t believe anything I say.” I want you to discover what’s true for you, not for me."
If you live with the uninvestigated thought “I need my money to be safe and secure,” you’re living in a hopeless state of mind. Banks fail. Stock markets crash. Currencies deflate. People lie, bend contracts, and break their promises. In this confused state of mind, you can make millions of dollars and still be insecure and unhappy.
Here's a video of Byron Katie working with the fear of losing money.
and take them by the hand and walk them out of it into the sunlight of reality.
Byron Katie answers the question of what she thinks the world looks like when everybody comes from a fearless place of pure love and joy—when everyone lives with that depth of understanding?
It’s amazing. We all begin to do what we can do—what you and I are doing now—to clean up the planet and to find solutions rather than fight. It just happens everywhere. We begin to become human in a different way than what we’ve known before. We begin to be creative in a whole new way. Right now our minds are confused with thousands of untrue beliefs, and we act out of those beliefs, and our environment mirrors that confusion back to us.
We have the opportunity to—oh my goodness!—it’s unspeakable. All of us would be doing the most wonderful things, and we would never know who did them. Like pollution right now—we never really know who’s doing it, although if we’re awake enough, we can know our own part. So, it would be like living the opposite of the pollution example, where all day long you do something that is a contribution and helpful, but you don’t ever get found out. No one knows it’s you.
You realize, “My life is a contribution.” Even breathing is a contribution. Low self-esteem is not possible when you understand the nature of everything. Depression is not possible. The universe is absolutely friendly.
If everyone lived that way, it would end up with all of us living as our true nature. And if we weren’t fearful, we would live that way.
We have been trying to do it that way for thousands of years.
The person who turns inner violence around,
the person who finds peace inside and lives it,
is the one who teaches what true peace is.
We are waiting for just one teacher.
You’re the one."
~ Byron Katie ~
This dialogue is from an Interview With Byron Katie. The interviewer is Ray Hemachandra. To read the interview in it's entirety, visit his website, Hemachandra.com.
Ray: Here’s a personal sticking point: identification with my child’s well-being. If I get cancer, I can accept and love what is, and even approach it joyfully, I think. But if my child gets sick — I have a son who was born in 2000 — I think I would be devastated.
Katie: Ray, what makes you think that you could handle cancer any better than he could? How do you know that he couldn’t handle cancer at least as well as you could? If something happens to your son, your thoughts about not having him in your life are what your terror is about. It’s not about his life.
When your son is healthy and happy, you’re happy. And when you’re son is not healthy, you’re unhappy. But that doesn’t make sense. When you question your thoughts about a time when your son is not healthy, you come to see that you’re the only one you’re worried about. It’s all about your happiness. You want him to be happy so that you can be happy. You want him to live for you.
It’s like this: If you’re okay with dying, your son could be at least as enlightened as that. If you’re okay with cancer, your son could be at least as enlightened as you are. And if your son is afraid to die, it’s because of what you’ve taught him. Some children are afraid to die because their parents are afraid to die. My own children have come to understand that it’s totally okay with me if they die. They don’t have to live for my sake.
What happens when you’re afraid for your child’s well-being? How do you react when you think the thought that something terrible could happen to your son and he’s out of your sight at 7 years old? How do you treat him when you think the thought that he’s not okay?
Look at that. You become frightened. You become overprotective. You begin to teach your child some very fearful things.
You don’t even realize you’re teaching them, because you try to hide your fear. You think you’re doing a good job of it. And yet your child picks up all your concepts.
Who would you be without your fear—without the fear of losing your son when he has cancer or he is dying? Who would you be without the thought “I need my son to be alive”? You would be present with him, not missing one second, not one moment, of your lives together.
It’s just too valuable to take time out for your fearful thoughts about what would happen to you without him. It’s all about you, you, you. I invite everyone to question their thoughts about their children and allow their children to be free. That’s when we stop teaching our children fear.
What we have here is a letter I found at ByronKatie.com, it was written to Byron Katie, and includes her response.
You say that you are contributing money to help the earthquake victims in Haiti. But aren’t you supposed to love what is? Don’t you love earthquakes? Why send money? I wouldn’t. That would be saying you don’t agree with what is.
My goodness! The simple answer is, “I like them and wish to support them and I like me when I do that.” And no one is “supposed” to love what is, nor can they, until they are no longer fooled by their minds. I simply do love what is, because I have questioned my stressful thoughts thoroughly enough to know how the mind creates all the suffering in the world.
For example, if I were to believe that the earthquake shouldn’t have happened, or if I were to imagine their pain and project it onto myself as though it were mine, it would be borrowing pain that isn’t mine, as well as costing me this amazing state of grace to be one who is freed up and in a position to help. I don’t want to add my false suffering as an aftershock to the Haitians.
How would that help anyone? It certainly wouldn’t help them, and it wouldn’t help me be as someone compassionately available and aware enough to see myself and them clearly enough to send support. To send support when I know to do it allows me to join where I want to, and the affect is a guiltless state of mind, one that joins without fear. I realize that the earthquake should have happened, because it did happen (in this dream I call reality). What happened happened, and in my kindest world, what is the best-intentioned wanting? It is “How can I help you, add to you in your time of need when I have no need myself?” That’s it, and nothing in the world can change that truest reality of our most authentic and pure kind nature.
I don’t want earthquakes to happen before the fact; but once they happen, that’s what I want. I am a lover of reality. As I often say, when you argue with God, you lose—but only 100% of the time.
Stephen gashed his finger the other day and came in and asked me to drive him to the emergency room for stitches. The blood was really gushing out quite strongly. I didn’t say, “Oh, it’s good that it happened, now you can bleed all over your clothes and the rug.” Rather, we hopped into the car, I drove to the hospital, and he got five stitches in his left hand. Actually it was fun, really fun for both of us. The doctor turned out to be a neighbor whom we hadn’t met yet, and Stephen said that he learned something about blood that will be useful when he writes about the Iliad, which is quite bloody. (He is translating the Iliad from ancient Greek. He finds that great fun—which I find hilarious, and very dear.)
"Loving what is" doesn’t mean that you are passive. Love is action. It lives from the inside out. It is source. People who are suffering are me, they are my own old self being witnessed—that part of my old mind that hasn’t caught up yet, my mind being witnessed, or, in other words, my mind coming back at me to see what is love and what isn’t yet. My mind, your mind, all mind: the same.. I respond to them (people, mind) with the same kindness as I practice toward myself, when I get up and brush my teeth and feed and water this body of the woman people call Katie. Some believe it and some don’t.
When someone comes to me who is suffering, my internal mind’s response and experience is “How can I help?” I don’t think that they shouldn’t be suffering. They are suffering (in their experience, and that makes it real for them as it used to be for “me”). That’s their truth, for the moment and I have mine and theirs is the cause of their suffering until it isn’t. If they are angry or depressed or sad or resentful, I never think that they shouldn’t be feeling what they’re feeling, or that whatever happened to them (as they see it) shouldn’t have happened. I listen. I am available as a “humane” being and friend. I am there to help them question the mind that is creating their suffering. I love that they come to me with an open mind, if they do; and if their mind is not so open, I love that too. Everything is welcome here.
I sent money to Haiti because that seemed to me the kind, right-minded thing to do. I just knew to do it. It was a wholehearted response to an invitation to help. That asking is what is, just as the earthquake is what is. Now that the earthquake happened, I love that people asked me for help, and I love love in action and sending money is just one way. Are you metaphorically experiencing an earthquake within you? If so, let’s do The Work.
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.
I’ve never seen a work or money problem that didn’t turn out to be a thinking problem. I used to believe that I needed money to be happy. Even when I had a lot, I was often sick with the fear that something terrible would happen and I would lose it. I realize now that no amount of money is worth that kind of stress.
If you live with the uninvestigated thought “I need my money to be safe and secure,” you’re living in a hopeless state of mind. Banks fail. Stock markets crash. Currencies deflate. People lie, bend contracts, and break their promises. In this confused state of mind, you can make millions of dollars and still be insecure and unhappy.
Some people believe that fear and stress are what motivate them to make money. But can you really know that that’s true? Can you be absolutely certain that without fear or stress as a motivator, you wouldn’t have made the same money, or even more? “I need fear and stress to motivate me” — who would you be if you never believed that story again?
After I found The Work inside myself — after it found me — I began to notice that I always had the perfect amount of money for me right now, even when I had little or none. Happiness is a clear mind. A clear and sane mind knows how to live, how to work, what e-mails to send, what phone calls to make, and what to do to create what it wants without fear.
Who would you be without the thought “I need my money to be safe”?
You might be a lot easier to be with. You might even begin to notice the laws of generosity, the laws of letting money go out fearlessly and come back fearlessly. You don’t ever need more money than you have. When you understand this, you begin to realize that you already have all the security you wanted money to give you in the first place. It’s a lot easier to make money from this position.
From: Loving What Is
From an Interview With Byron Katie, we have this exerpt about affirmations, why they often don't work, and how they relate to "the work."
Ray: At the talk you gave the other night, you explained how easily positive thinking can be turned around, because people still are basing their well-being on thoughts. Affirmations like, “I’m loveable, I’m loveable, I’m loveable,” have something stronger running underneath: “I’m not loveable.” You feel better with positive thinking, you said, until you can’t make your mortgage payment, receive an unexpected bill, or get a parking ticket. “Are you still loveable then?” you asked.
Ray: So questioning your stressful thoughts—the process of inquiry—better supports joy than does trying to think joyful thoughts?
Katie: By questioning our stressful thoughts, we come to see that they’re not true. And if we see that our stressful thoughts aren’t true—if we have questioned them deeply and thoroughly enough—what does that leave? It leaves love. It leaves you completely in love with yourself, and with a mind that can only project love onto everyone else as well.
You can never make yourself believe that you’re loveable, however hard you try, because when the chips are down, what you really believe rises to the surface of the mind to replace what you want to believe. So, after years of “I am loveable, I am loveable,” when your husband lies to you or your mother is rude, the underlying thought “I’m unloveable” overrides all your positive affirmations.
What we really believe is what we manifest. What we believe, we see. So, we cannot see what we don’t believe.
People talk about manifesting with positive affirmations. You can say, “I want a car, I want a car, I want a car,” but if the mind is running, “I don’t deserve it, I’ll never be able to afford it, I’ll never be a success”—if all those things are running—then that’s exactly what you’re really manifesting and what’s running your life. And as long as you believe those things, thinking positively—even though for some people it may be helpful at times—is not strong enough to override your negative beliefs.
If I want something, I go get it. Anything that I believe will stop me, I question. And I might be wise enough in that questioning to appreciate what I already have. I think that’s the trick: wanting what you have, whether you get the car or not.
Really, I don’t know if that’s the trick or not. What I know is it’s a wonderful world when you have what you want at all times.
In an interview, Ray Hemachandra asks: Some people may struggle to disengage the intellect. How do you undo thinking without thinking? Is inquiry not thought engaging itself or deconstructing another thought?
Katie Replies: Actually, it’s mind seeing through itself and understanding itself. I like to say that understanding is the power. The most important relationship is the mind’s relationship with itself. In other words, the ultimate—and, really, the only—relationship you have is the relationship with your own thoughts.
As far as intellect, what else is there? Without intellect, there’s no story and no world. If we are in silence — in absolute silence with no thoughts — for 10 minutes, it’s only a thought that tells us we were silent for 10 minutes. Our only proof is a thought.
Mind is everything. There’s nothing that it’s not.
If people are living their lives for security and comfort and pleasure, then mind’s every waking moment will be plotting those things. That’s how it stays identified — as a body, as a you. The moment it begins to question itself, the mind becomes so clear that it starts working with itself rather than with the body’s identification.
Byron Katie answers the question: What are some especially common stories and beliefs people realize they hold when they start doing The Work?
When I say, “People shouldn’t lie—is it true? How many of you think that’s true?” everyone in a room of, let’s say, a thousand people will raise their hand. Then I say, “Do people lie?” They all agree, “Yes, they do.” Then I ask, “Is there anyone in this room who has never lied?” No one ever raises a hand.
So, reality is: Should people lie? Yes. How do I know they should? They all do. This is not to condone lying. But realizing that people should lie when they do makes me a little more open-minded, a little more tolerant, when my child or my partner lies. Then, turn it around: I shouldn’t lie. I’m the one I need to work with. I’m the one who changes the world if I can follow what I think should and shouldn’t be lived in this world.
There are amazing beliefs a lot of people hold, like “They don’t care about me”; “I should be more successful”; “I don’t have enough money”; “I’m too fat”; “They shouldn’t have done it”; “I’m not good enough”—the beliefs go on and on. But when you begin to investigate these beliefs, the question “Is it true?” begins to live in you. It comes alive. It begins to rise as kind of a partner to all these stressful universal beliefs that people have been stuck in for centuries.
Also, the question “Who would I be without that thought?” begins to live, because you learn to identify stress with the concept that’s happening in the moment. And when that happens—oh, my goodness—what a world! In that moment, a state begins to happen that I call unceasing meditation.
You cease to be body-identified. The mind becomes a joy to itself. It dances with itself. It sees that it is its only self. It is its ultimate relationship and love and friend. It dances and sings, and the physical world cannot compete with that.
The nature of mind is that it loves everything once it loves itself—just as it opposes everything when it opposes itself.
Exerpt from an Interview With Byron Katie