The Work of Byron Katie
It is like summoning up a genie that lives internally within me at all times. I trust this source completely to show me in the stillness. --BK
The Work is a clearing process
If you want happiness and peace beyond the mere ideas of happiness and peace that the thinking mind offers, then there must be first a clearing of these old programs or conditionings. These old programs are what Byron Katie calls "universal beliefs" (see article below.)
Early in our life experience as a person / human, these programs were taken on willingly (although not consciously)--so that we could effectively play the game of being separate, autonomous individual "persons," seemingly independent of the Source of Life that we really are. This is a fall from the unlimited Beingness which is our real identity, into pretending to be a limited, located person.
This "fall" is described in the Garden of Eden allegory, where the serpent (the limited, self-referring thinking mind) tempts Adam and Eve to "go outside" where they will find a much richer life, because in the Garden, they are being abused and used by God like two puppets. This "serpent" is the personally-biased mind and is now alive within you, if you suffer attacks from your mind.
Yet the "I" who is under attack, is also a construct of the thinking mind!
Every moment is your test: Will I leave the Garden of Eden (resting in my own unlimited awareness) and go "out" with the agitated mind, fascinated by objects? (The Idea of a limited, separate person, made up of Thoughts, ideas, emotions, sensations and perceptions.) Will I give my priceless unlimited consciousness, to limited, lifeless objects? (Lifeless, in that they are devoid of any consciousness of their own.) Will I play, again, the game of separation and limitation? When will I have suffered enough, and turn back to what is Real and precious--my consciousness?
The Work is a systematic clearing process to expose and then uproot, dissolve, and purge beliefs (the programs) which keep us from choosing the Garden of Eden.
The Work as a CLEARING PROCESS goes hand -in-hand with any CONFIRMING PROCESS (such as The Insight Approach which I offer, and any non-dual inquiry method.)
Confirming is to use a higher reasoning process, to realize that "What I am cannot be anything conceivable or perceivable"--including my name, my image, my body, my thoughts, my sensations or emotions. It is to confirm through reason that relies only on direct experience, not on theory, "What I am is effortless, choiceless pure consciousness to which all these things occur."
Yet, "I AM" cannot be a person. It cannot be individual. This can also be seen, but it cannot become a living, meaningful reality until and unless the positions, beliefs and tendencies of a "person" are truly cleared.
This is the magnificence of The Work--clearing, clearing, clearing. As fast as you are able and willing to go. Confirm---and clear; Clear---and confirm.
This is your life's work, when you are ready for the possibility of Jesus's promise, ""Take no thought of what you should eat, of what you should wear, of where you should go, but seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all these things will be added unto you."
The Work: Identify which thoughts you have "taken," which position as an independent, judging person, and then untake it. What are you? A mental position that has to be rigorously defended? Is that who and what you are? The serpent would love for you to believe this, uphold it, and deny yourself the Kingdom.
TO FREE YOURSELF OF TERROR
-from a Byron Katie newsletter
The Work is inquiry. It is a way to identify the thoughts, judgments, and assumptions we place on the past and future images running in our heads that cause suffering, all the way from mild irritation to terror, sadness, and grief. Once you have identified and listed these disrupting past/future internal events and write them down, they are ready for inquiry. For example, let’s say that my child is very ill, I am in the hospital room with my doctors, and they are informing me that they are unable to pin down the cause of the illness, and in the meantime my child’s condition is becoming worse by the hour. I am terrified. I am believing that he is going to die of this unknown disease.
So, in order to actually do The Work on that judgment in my head, which feels like it is terrifying me to death, I look at the situation clearly in my mind’s eye, eyes closed, and begin to question this judgment that I have written down.
“He is going to die” (of this disease). I quietly ask myself, “Is it true?”
“Can I absolutely know that he is going to die (of this disease)?” And it is like summoning up a genie that lives internally within me at all times. I trust this source completely to SHOW me in the stillness the answer to these two questions, and I wait until I see either “yes” (it’s true) or “no” (it’s not true), and remain open to what I am being shown, without prejudice to either one. This is a meditative practice, and to understand such truths being summoned up takes focus, silence, patience, and an open mind. The answers are there already, these simple “yeses” or “no’s,” if you really want to get in touch with the simple truths beyond rational understanding and the peace that comes with them.
Next, notice in that situation how you react, what happens, and how it feels, when you believe that. Be still and witness from that hospital room in your head. See the doctors’ faces, see yourself as you were in that situation, see that time and situation as closely as you possibly can by meditating on it as though it were happening now (because it is happening now in your mind). If you are still enough and are asking in earnest, you will be shown.
Now ask yourself, “Who would you be in that situation without the thought ‘My son is going to die of this disease?’” Meditating on this question as though you were still in that situation, that hospital room, etc. (even though it may have happened years ago), will show you peace, clearly, if your mind is open to all that you see without the thought “My son is going to die.”
Turn the thought around: “My son is not going to die.” Could that be as true or truer? Eyes closed, be still, witness, meditate on that situation in your mind’s eye. You will be shown, beyond fear, what is, was, and always will be already there.
“My son is going to live.” Could this be as true or truer?
“I am going to die” of this thinking disease about my son, while my son is actually still alive, doctors are on the case and doing their jobs, my son is in the hospital being cared for, and I’m worried in a way that keeps me disconnected with him and his potential fears, pain, life, etc. (and for all I know, he may be more settled than I am).
I invite you to go to http://www.thework.com to “universal beliefs,” and find situations to apply to any one or two of them, and began to experience inquiry as a daily practice. Only you can actually shift your mind and life in a way that can give you another, better world that no one has the power to take from you. It is a kind world, it is the world we already live in, as opposed to a world we perceive. If I don’t live in a friendly universe, I have lost touch with reality. (When I make such statements to others, about their own work and world, I am quick to also say, “Please don’t believe me; test it for yourself.”) You are the one, and the power is within you, released through inquiry and silence, that can set you free.
Identify your thoughts. Write them down. Ask, wait, witness, and allow your world of suffering to shift.
These are interesting times we live in, with much turmoil, it seems. If you want to change the world for everyone, you can do it from within yourself. To change the world, question your internal world
“Often when we think we’re being rational, we’re being spun by our own thinking. That trait explains how we get ourselves into the painful positions that Katie recognized in her own suffering. The self-questioning she discovered uses a different, less-known capacity of the mind to find a way out of its self-made trap. The Work is an ongoing and deepening process of self-realization, not a quick fix. It’s more than a technique. It brings to life from deep within us, an innate aspect of our being.” From Loving What Is by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell
Loving Me [Innate Being] with all your heart, mind and soul becomes a very natural thing to do. When you have really taken My star of truth in to your heart, secreting it in the closet of your consciousness, you will be unable to stop loving Me even if you tried. For, regardless of how often your surface mind may shout its doubts, your heart recognizes this familiar Word and your surface mind will eventually be put to shame. —Ruby Nelson, The Door of Everything
The Work of Byron Katie Resources
Everything you need in order to do The Work of Byron Katie is available free on this website, www.TheWork.com.