The Work and EIQ

THE WORK and EIQ

 

The Work

The Work of Byron Katie is a unique method of self-inquiry. The aim is to become aware that any time you suffer, it's because your thoughts argue with reality. Going around with a mind that argues with reality, is like attending a beautiful concert and all the musical instruments are out of tune.

Happiness is mental and emotional attunement with life as it is, from moment to moment.

The Work is a way to end the suffering of being out of tune.  You identify a disharmonious thought and question if it's really true.  The inquiry process includes a cost-benefit analysis. When the bottom line is seen, you recognize your freedom to choose: to keep on being interested in disharmony, or to tune in to the already-beautiful music of life as it is.

The final step in the inquiry process is the turnaround.  The turnaround process integral to The Work ensures self-realization: disharmonious, reality-arguing thoughts are not only recognized as false; the turnarounds give direction for how to implement action that reflects being in tune.

The effect over time, is dis-identification with the story-making mind. In place of the former belief and investment in the personal story, one’s interest, love and attention grows ever-more into Presence. This growing into Presence is the process of self-realization.

 

Self-realization, realizing the self—as the self realizes the self, everything changes. What is hidden and held secret and defended inside the self, denied by the mind, cannot be changed. How can we change what we can’t see? We have to realize it’s there, bring it into the light, own it, and then change takes place automatically, without a doing.

 It’s a natural flow, like walking. The mind becomes quiet, and life becomes kinder, and then totally kind, even in the midst of apparent turmoil.

The heart has no way to break. Sadness can no longer exist.

Gratitude is all that lives. The life of a student leaves the rest of the world as its teacher. People must see you as interested, loving, caring, open, sensitive, and pleasant to be with. To come out with some wisdom. We’re seen as wise. In the face of that, everything dissolves. No one can attack you because you’re so wise. It’s the end of anyone ever attacking you again.  --Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy

 

EIQ

EIQ (Emotions Inquiry) supports the classic form of The Work by identifying and allowing emotions—the powerhouse of thoughts. Once you’ve identified the feeling—the disturbed energy that drives a particular thought—you identify and question what the mind is saying about it.

By long conditioning, the mind suggests that emotions are a threat to prevent, or a benefit to cling to; it suggests that emotions are terribly significant, and even your identity. Most of all, the mind suggests that you chronically involve your attention and interest with emotions—as a way of feeling like “someone,” a way of feeling “alive”—even if the feeling is misery.

These are the thoughts to identify and question. What thought(s) would dictate holding onto a blocked energy, that energizes a painful story? That keeps you stuck in limitation—running (and ruining) your life?

What thoughts would keep you interested in clashing, disharmonious music—that does nothing but stir you up or prevent boredom? Thoughts such as these:

This feeling is a threat—I have to hide it, prevent or avoid it;

I need to act out this feeling;

This feeling is a command to react;

This feeling dictates how I must live my life;

This feeling is my identity.

Until you identify and question these thoughts, you'll keep on following the mind’s agenda, which is to involve with and interfere with activated emotional energies; to keep you identified as a “someone” who feels bad, and desperately needs to feel better.

It is the act of interfering with emotions—which are in reality, just raw energy—that creates energy blockages in your being and the sense of personal, limited identity. These blockages prevent the beautiful, Divine music from flowing through you, from uplifting and inspiring. It is the Divine music which gives inspiration and right direction at every moment in your life. Being unable to attune to this music is the cause of all suffering.

Emotional blockages obstruct you from being able to sit in The Work, or to fulfill any method of self-inquiry. Internal agitation absorbs attention, and prevents attuning to the silence so it can reveal what you really are without a story.

The Deep Dive Inquiry

The EIQ Toolkit includes the deep-dive inquiry: uncovering the mind's interpretations, beliefs and assumptions about emotional disturbances—energy blockages.

The EIQ deep-dive inquiry poses these questions, and others like them:

Just what is an emotion? Find out, in your direct experience.

How is the mind interpreting it?

What happens when I automatically believe the mind’s interpretation of emotion?

How have I lived my life because of this belief? Where and how does this belief limit me?

What is the actual cost of holding this belief? Is this cost high, medium or low?

Is this cost okay with me?

If not okay with me, what can I do about it? (Answer: question the interpretation, and turn it around.)

The Turnaround: I'm willing and look forward to feeling________.I'm willing to give up being enslaved to the high cost of believing, I don't want to feel______. 

“I’m Willing”

Now it's time for TERA: The Emotional Resolve Approach, how to let feelings have their life.

 

“Feelings have a right to life.  It's the way my mind interprets feelings that is the cause of suffering.”—Byron Katie

 

TERA is a precise and effective way to let feelings have their life, so they resolve organically, without any further need of involvement. When emotional feelings resolve, the mind that was fully “on the job” (trying to make sure unresolved emotional buttons don't get pushed), simply retires itself. The mind’s interpretation is no longer needed because the blockage has resolved itself.

In summary, EIQ begins by identifying an emotion that drives a stressful thought. Next, identify any mental involvement with the emotion (this is most easily accomplished with the Tail-End Exercise). Then, take that emotion through the Deep-Dive Inquiry, until you arrive at “I'm willing to feel ____.” Now, fulfill that willingness with TERA.

As I've described, the EIQ Toolkit includes TERA and the Deep-Dive Inquiry,  as well as these inquires:

1. Tail-Ender Exercise

2. Inquiry into Labels

3. Press the Pause Button Exercise

4. Moment of Impact Exercise

5. Inquiry into Resistance

6. Experiencing the Body in Line with Reality

7. TERA Reality Checks

I invite you to experience The Work and EIQ in an upcoming online Teleclass or in private sessions with me. Additionally, you may access session transcripts on the Inquiry Blog. Below are two sample sessions.

 

THE WORK and EIQ SESSIONS

Working with Emotions: “I don't know how to feel.”

 

Julie: I can't complete a worksheet, because when I get to the emotions, I can't really feel them, they just disappear into a vague way that I can't feel. But then later, in the presence of the person I'm angry with, the anger explodes.

EJ: So call to mind a situation where the anger was triggered. The situation you wrote your worksheet on.

Julie: Okay, so I'm in the den with my husband, and he's just saying how his daughter is going to invite her mother and him, my husband, to her wedding, but not me.

EJ: Okay, watch that memory in your mind’s eye, and let me know when you feel the moment of impact—the energy you feel when he let you know this was going to happen.

Julie [crying]: Yeah, I feel it now, I'm very upset.

EJ: Where in your body do you feel it?

Julie: In my throat. Like I want to scream. [shaking, crying]

EJ: Okay, as best you can, take a couple of conscious breaths; lengthen and deepen your breath. And place your hand gently on your throat. [pause] And can you feel the energy vibrating?

Julie: Yes. It's like a tight lump.

EJ: Can you allow it to be here, just for now, without any story? You can involve with the story anytime you want, and just for now, can you let it be here, story-free?

Julie: Yes.

EJ: And can you sense the space all around it? Both in the body, and beyond it.

Julie [long pause]: I mostly feel the space in my body. I don't know that I sense the space outside.

EJ: Does it feel like the energy is just in your throat?

Julie: Yes, and all over the back of my neck.

EJ: So, what about your breath? Can you take a few breaths, and feel your breath flowing freely into the energy?

Julie: [pause] Now I feel the energy dissolving.

EJ: Yes, this is how you let the feeling have its life. Do you see how you can help the nervous system to come to rest, by first supporting it with your hand, and then with your breath?

Julie: Yes, that feels very helpful. This happened eight years ago, and every time I think of it, I have experienced this rage.

EJ: And now? You see how the nervous system got triggered 8 years ago, and didn't come to rest? And because it didn't, that contraction was held in the nervous system… the cellular memory. And because this feels, because we know intuitively that contraction and tension is unnatural, the thinking mind has been generating the same old thoughts over and over—trying to solve the unnatural disturbance.

Julie: Yes, it has.

EJ: So now that the nervous system has come to rest, and the tension resolved, let's look at your worksheet.

Julie: I can see how it's much more objective now. What a relief.

EJ: Okay, read what you've written.

Julie: “I am furious with Dave because he's taking his daughter’s side.”

EJ: Okay, is it true? Really look at his facial expression; take time to take it in. And is this thought, “He’s taking his daughter’s side”—is that a true thought?

Julie [crying]: No, it's not. He knows I'm going to be upset by this, and I see how he's trying so hard. He knows how hurt I'm going to be, and he's just trying so hard. [crying]

EJ: You're experiencing emotion right now?

Julie: I am, because—

EJ: Can you experience it as energy, story-free, just for now? And can you put your hand on the place where you feel it the most?

Julie: Yes.

EJ: And notice, the mind was about to go into story. “I feel emotional, because—” That's not right or wrong, just notice the tendency. The mind immediately tries to solve what is purely an experience of energy—because we've been conditioned since childhood to consider the disturbed energy to be the enemy, and conditioned also to think, think, think or do, do, do—instead of focusing on the already-relaxed openness in which the energy is occurring.  So now, support the energy with your hand, and forget about the thinking mind, just for now. [pause] Can you let your breath flow?

Julie: Yes.

EJ: Simply let the energy be held  – by your hand, and by the quietness of your awareness. Attune your attention to what is so quiet and calm, so vast and un-disturbable, which totally allows the energy to be here. [pause] Is that easy or hard?

Julie: It's easy. It just kind of flows. Without the story? When I just hold it and breathe, it all just kind of flows back into balance.

EJ: Exactly. See how you've freed the disturbed energy from the grip of your thinking; you've not stored it in your brain as a threat. Not something you have to worry about, be vigilant about. See how this time, you simply let it have its life, so it came to a peak and dissolved back into the space from where it came.

Julie: Yes, it's such a relief.

EJ: Now, let's go back to your statement. “He's taking her side.” Look at the situation from this place of relief. And who would you be without the story, “He’s taking her side”?

Julie [crying]: I feel so much compassion. I feel I'm with him, I see how he feels trapped, he's in a tough situation. I'm with him, instead of with all the angry energy in that situation.

EJ: Continue to take it in, who you are, when you're with him, and not involved in the story. [long pause] Take in energetically, who you are without the story.

Julie: Yeah, I can definitely be more supportive, and not wrapped inside my story. There's just no threat! I don't feel like I have to do anything, or think anything—I can just be there for him. Just be there. Yeah.

EJ: Beautiful. Take as much time as you like to soak in what you're discovering. Which way feels more like yourself?

Julie: This way. I feel more balanced, like, “Oh! Here’s something going on! Now, how can I respond?” I feel so much calmer. [laughter]

EJ: And if a solution is needed, where would you be more effective—angry, or like this?

Julie: Oh, like this. Everything seems so much clearer, rather than being the one focused on attack and defend. It's more like, “What can we do? What's the best way?” Oh, my goodness, this feels soooo good.

EJ: Let's do the turnaround.

Julie: He is taking my side. Because even though he feels caught in the middle, he's trying really, really hard to figure out how to solve this, and help me not be upset.

EJ: And another example?

Julie: Well, he is with me. He's not with his daughter.  He’s literally by my side.

EJ: Good. Do you want to look at the turnaround, “I'm am taking her side”? Against him, so to speak.

Julie: Hmm. Yeah, because in a way, I feel I need to pull him in my direction, and she's also trying to take him in her direction. She wants to be right, I want to be right. We're both doing the same thing! Wow.

EJ: Yes, “I want her to not do that, but it's okay for me to.”

Julie: [laughter] Right.

EJ: And if you're not afraid to let the feeling have its life—the disturbed energy at the moment of impact—the feeling of helplessness, shaking, tightening; if you're not afraid to let that run its course and come to rest, do you really need to prevent what's happening from happening?

Julie: No. Not at all. Well, this feels so freeing. I didn't know how to work with the emotions, and now it's very clear. Thank you so much.

EJ: You're so welcome.

 

#2 EIQ Session: "I have to shut it down"--is it true?

Jeff:  I dread my wife going to work in the morning because I know she is attracted to her boss. She might leave me.

EJ: “She shouldn't leave me”—because I don't want to feel what?

Jeff:  I don't want to feel the wrench in my gut, and the shock and the inner collapse. You know, what people usually call fear. That horrible feeling.

EJ: Yes. So you want her to never, ever leave you or be interested at all in any other person. Is that what you want, that is supposed to protect you from that horrible feeling?

Jeff:  Yup. That's what I want. Then I'll feel safe.

EJ: When in the past did you experience this terrible feeling?

Jeff:  As a child, when my parents announced they were getting a divorce.

EJ: How did you react to that feeling then?

Jeff [crying]: I froze like a deer in the headlights. Then I ran from the room and basically, didn't come out of my room for 3 days. I started using drugs after that.

EJ: So invite the memory of that, as best you can, here and now. [pause] As you watch it, let me know when you come to the moment of impact.

Jeff:  My Dad saying, “You kids are going to live in two different places now.” I feel a shock in my gut, then the clenching, then the freezing.

EJ: Okay, so that's like a shut down, right?

Jeff:  Total shutdown, I wanted to die and disappear, rather than let that feeling continue. So I shut down all over. I don't ever want to feel that again.

EJ: So here and now, can you invite the energy of that memory—you see, it's still active? Can you meet it a new way—I'll guide you.

Jeff:  I'm open to try.

EJ: So notice the tendency or the desire to shut it down, to freeze, and do the opposite. Start to flow your breath, to support the energy, Flow your breath into the middle of the most clenched part.

Jeff [long pause]: It’s getting more intense… almost like I feel an inner pressure to scream.

EJ: Okay. So widen your attention until you can sense the space, that's open in all directions. Sense the openness in which the inner sound of screaming is occurring. Forget about your body—just for now, let the chair have your body, recognize you don't have to hold it together just now. Give your body up to the chair... and visualize and feel the body as transparent. Can you do that?

Jeff:  Right. [Breathing] Yes, I let my body…. Almost like it's melting into the chair.

EJ: Good. And can you sense the space--a relaxed, wide open space, in which your breath is flowing?

Jeff:  Yes.

EJ: See if you can sense that the energy and the sounds, are floating in the same space--not a physical space, but a conscious space. A relaxed openness. Can you sense that?

Jeff:  Sort of. Yes, there is relaxation, all around the clenching. [pause] The clenching is easing.

EJ: Okay. Now, can you simply offer the unlimited space to the energy? As if, recognize that up til now, you've been suffocating it. Containing it, hoping it wouldn't flood you or something. So just for not, as best as you can, give it its freedom to be—to have its life in its own way and time, as you stay attuned to the relaxation of the space. Is that easy or hard?

Jeff:  Getting easier. The clenching is gone. The sick feeling in my gut—it's falling apart, floating away in the space. [pause] It's all gone now.

EJ: So that energy which just resolved—is it really a threat, that you have to shut down around?

Jeff:  Hmmm. No… not when I let it do what it did.

EJ: When you remove the control of it. The judgment of it. So when you meet it that way, it resolves itself in a few minutes.

Jeff:  Yes.

EJ: And isn't this the worst that could happen—if something suddenly changes, or someone suddenly happens? Isn't this energetic reaction the worst that could happen?

Jeff:  Well… yes. I didn't realize that before.

EJ: So the worst that can happen isn't actually a threat at all—you have resources, an innate openness that receives any possible energetic disturbance, and resolves it unto itself—just like the sky receives all weather  disturbance and resolves it unto itself.

Jeff:  So far… but the habit to want to shut down is so strong. I notice myself shutting down many times a day, when my wife texts me from work, like I'm expecting the shoe to drop at any moment, the shock to come if she says,  “I'm leaving you.” I have to shut down, or else I might... I don't know. Fall apart.

EJ: If that happened, and it was impossible to believe “This feeling is a threat, and I have to shut down"—what's the worst that could happen? If you feel the energy of shock, but you don't have any story? If you rather, turn within and focus on the story-free space?

Jeff:  I'd just feel the shock. [long pause] I’d breathe. I'd witness the shock-energy coming to a peak and dissolving.

EJ: Yes. So “I have to shut down”—is it true?

Jeff:  No, I have to stay open—that's the truth. If I want to be free of this fear.

EJ: And so long as you are NOT free of this fear, what happens? How do you treat your wife?

Jeff:  I'm defensive. I'm brisk and kind of cold.

EJ: How do you treat her in lovemaking?

Jeff:  We make love only rarely. And when we do, I treat her like a sex object. I don't want to risk... something. like--being vulnerable on all fronts.

EJ: So “She shouldn't leave me”—is that true? So long as you treat her like that. And treating her like that is only the effect of believing, “I have to shut down.”

Jeff:  No, I see the self-sabotage in this—when I treat her like that, it's not true she shouldn't leave me. It's like, how could she not? I see the self-sabotage in that, all because I was enslaved by this thing, the fear of shock and the horrible feeling in my gut. I've been pretty wimpy around that—afraid of just some energy that disappears when I open up instead of shut down.

EJ: Yes. So what's  the turnaround for "I have to shut down."

Jeff:  I have to stay open.

EJ: And a living turnaround for “I have to stay open”—regarding your wife going to work?

Jeff:  I have to stay open—when I imagine her getting her boss’s attention at work, I have to stay open and allow the energies from those images. And I have to stay open as the space of consciousness—just being. I have to not go mental and judge that feeling as a threat. I have to stay open and remember this energy is old, from the past, that I didn't know how until now, to meet and process. Whew! I'm going to be busy!

EJ: Yes, in your business, attending to unfinished energies, out of her business mentally. Is this a good place to stop for now?

Jeff:  Yes, thanks very much. I feel like I'm in the flow now, in my power, if you know what I mean, not forceful but stable and strong. Thank you again.

EJ: You're welcome.

THE WORK and EIQ

THE WORK

The Work of Byron Katie is a unique method of self-inquiry. The aim is to become aware that any time you suffer, it's because your thoughts argue with reality. Going around with a mind that argues with reality, is like attending a beautiful concert and all the musical instruments are out of tune.

Happiness is mental and emotional attunement with life as it is, from moment to moment.

The Work is a way to end the suffering of being out of tune.  You identify a disharmonious thought and question if it's really true.  The inquiry process includes a cost-benefit analysis. When the bottom line is seen, you recognize your freedom to choose: to keep on being interested in disharmony, or to tune in to the already-beautiful music of life as it is.

The final step in the inquiry process is the turnaround.  The turnaround process integral to The Work ensures self-realization: disharmonious, reality-arguing thoughts are not only recognized as false; the turnarounds give direction for how to implement in action.

The effect over time, is dis-identification with the story-making mind. In place of the former belief and investment in the personal story, one’s interest, love and attention grows ever-more into Presence. This growing into Presence is the process of self-realization.

 

Self-realization, realizing the self—as the self realizes the self, everything changes. What is hidden and held secret and defended inside the self, denied by the mind, cannot be changed. How can we change what we can’t see? We have to realize it’s there, bring it into the light, own it, and then change takes place automatically, without a doing.

 It’s a natural flow, like walking. The mind becomes quiet, and life becomes kinder, and then totally kind, even in the midst of apparent turmoil.

The heart has no way to break. Sadness can no longer exist.

Gratitude is all that lives. The life of a student leaves the rest of the world as its teacher. People must see you as interested, loving, caring, open, sensitive, and pleasant to be with. To come out with some wisdom. We’re seen as wise. In the face of that, everything dissolves. No one can attack you because you’re so wise. It’s the end of anyone ever attacking you again.  --Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy

EIQ

EIQ (Emotions Inquiry) supports The Work by identifying and allowing emotions—the powerhouse of thoughts.

Once you’ve identified the feeling—the disturbed energy—you identify what the mind is saying about it. By long conditioning, the mind suggests that emotions are a threat to prevent, or a benefit to cling to; and it suggests that emotions are terribly significant, and even your identity. Most of all, the mind suggests that you involve your attention and interest with emotions—as a way of feeling like “someone,” a way of feeling “alive”—even if the feeling is misery.

These are the thoughts to be identify and questioned. What thought(s) would dictate that you hold onto a blocked energy, that energizes a painful story, keeps you stuck in limitation, running (and ruining) your life?

What thoughts would keep you interested in clashing, unharmonious music—just because it stirs you up? Keeps you from the dread of feeling bored?

These are the thoughts to identify and question. Until you do, you'll keep on following the mind’s agenda, which is to involve with and interfere with activated emotional energies.

It is the act of interfering with emotions—which are in reality, just raw energy—that creates energy blockages in your being. These blockages prevent the free-flow of the beautiful, divine music from being heard, and from giving you inspiration and right direction. Blockages obstruct you from being able to sit in The Work, attuning to the silence, as it reveals what you really are without a story.

“It's the way my mind interprets feelings that is the cause of suffering.”—Byron Katie

EIQ is a deep dive into the mind's interpretations, beliefs and assumptions about the disturbed emotional energy.

The EIQ deep dive includes:

1. Just what is an emotion? Find out, in your direct experience.

2. How is the mind interpreting it?

“It's the way my mind interprets feelings that is the cause of suffering.”—Byron Katie

3.  What happens when I automatically believe the mind’s interpretation of emotion?

4. . How have I lived my life because of this belief? Where and how does this belief limit me?

5. What is the actual cost of holding this belief? Is this cost high, medium or low?

6. Is this cost okay with me?

7. If not okay with me, what can I do about it? (Answer: question the interpretation, and turn it around.)

8. The Turnaround: I'm willing and look forward to feeling it. Give up being enslaved to the high cost of believing,  I don't want to feel it—and free yourself: I am willing and look forward to feeling it.

Now it's time for TERA: The Emotional Resolve Approach; how to let feelings have their life.

“Feelings have a right to life.  It's the way my mind interprets feelings that is the cause of suffering.”—Byron Katie

TERA is a precise and effective way to let feelings have their life, so they resolve organically, without any further need of involvement. When emotional feelings resolve, the mind that was fully “on the job” (trying to make sure your unresolved emotional buttons don't get pushed), simply retires itself. The mind’s interpretation is no longer needed;  mental interference with the energies has been removed; the blockage releases, and the energy has resolved itself.

The EIQ Toolkit includes TERA as well as these key inquires:

*Tail-Ender Exercise

*Inquiry into Labels

*Press the Pause Button Exercise

*Moment of Impact

*Inquiry into Resistance

*Experiencing the Body in Line with Reality

*TERA Reality Checks

With The Work and EIQ, you'll questions chronic beliefs such as these:

This feeling is a threat;

This feeling is a command to react;

This feeling dictates how I must live my life;

This feeling is my identity.

 

THE WORK and EIQ SESSIONS

Working with Emotions: “I don't know how to feel.”

 

Julie: I can't complete a worksheet, because when I get to the emotions, I can't really feel them, they just disappear into a vague way that I can't feel. But then later, in the presence of the person I'm angry with, the anger explodes.

EJ: So call to mind a situation where the anger was triggered. The situation you wrote your worksheet on.

Julie: Okay, so I'm in the den with my husband, and he's just saying how his daughter is going to invite her mother and him, my husband, to her wedding, but not me.

EJ: Okay, watch that memory in your mind’s eye, and let me know when you feel the moment of impact—the energy you feel when he let you know this was going to happen.

Julie [crying]: Yeah, I feel it now, I'm very upset.

EJ: Where in your body do you feel it?

Julie: In my throat. Like I want to scream. [shaking, crying]

EJ: Okay, as best you can, take a couple of conscious breaths; lengthen and deepen your breath. And place your hand gently on your throat. [pause] And can you feel the energy vibrating?

Julie: Yes. It's like a tight lump.

EJ: Can you allow it to be here, just for now, without any story? You can involve with the story anytime you want, and just for now, can you let it be here, story-free?

Julie: Yes.

EJ: And can you sense the space all around it? Both in the body, and beyond it.

Julie [long pause]: I mostly feel the space in my body. I don't know that I sense the space outside.

EJ: Does it feel like the energy is just in your throat?

Julie: Yes, and all over the back of my neck.

EJ: So, what about your breath? Can you take a few breaths, and feel your breath flowing freely into the energy?

Julie: [pause] Now I feel the energy dissolving.

EJ: Yes, this is how you let the feeling have its life. Do you see how you can help the nervous system to come to rest, by first supporting it with your hand, and then with your breath?

Julie: Yes, that feels very helpful. This happened eight years ago, and every time I think of it, I have experienced this rage.

EJ: And now? You see how the nervous system got triggered 8 years ago, and didn't come to rest? And because it didn't, that contraction was held in the nervous system… the cellular memory. And because this feels, because we know intuitively that contraction and tension is unnatural, the thinking mind has been generating the same old thoughts over and over—trying to solve the unnatural disturbance.

Julie: Yes, it has.

EJ: So now that the nervous system has come to rest, and the tension resolved, let's look at your worksheet.

Julie: I can see how it's much more objective now. What a relief.

EJ: Okay, read what you've written.

Julie: “I am furious with Dave because he's taking his daughter’s side.”

EJ: Okay, is it true? Really look at his facial expression; take time to take it in. And is this thought, “He’s taking his daughter’s side”—is that a true thought?

Julie [crying]: No, it's not. He knows I'm going to be upset by this, and I see how he's trying so hard. He knows how hurt I'm going to be, and he's just trying so hard. [crying]

EJ: You're experiencing emotion right now?

Julie: I am, because—

EJ: Can you experience it as energy, story-free, just for now? And can you put your hand on the place where you feel it the most?

Julie: Yes.

EJ: And notice, the mind was about to go into story. “I feel emotional, because—” That's not right or wrong, just notice the tendency. The mind immediately tries to solve what is purely an experience of energy—because we've been conditioned since childhood to consider the disturbed energy to be the enemy, and conditioned also to think, think, think or do, do, do—instead of focusing on the already-relaxed openness in which the energy is occurring.  So now, support the energy with your hand, and forget about the thinking mind, just for now. [pause] Can you let your breath flow?

Julie: Yes.

EJ: Simply let the energy be held  – by your hand, and by the quietness of your awareness. Attune your attention to what is so quiet and calm, so vast and un-disturbable, which totally allows the energy to be here. [pause] Is that easy or hard?

Julie: It's easy. It just kind of flows. Without the story? When I just hold it and breathe, it all just kind of flows back into balance.

EJ: Exactly. See how you've freed the disturbed energy from the grip of your thinking; you've not stored it in your brain as a threat. Not something you have to worry about, be vigilant about. See how this time, you simply let it have its life, so it came to a peak and dissolved back into the space from where it came.

Julie: Yes, it's such a relief.

EJ: Now, let's go back to your statement. “He's taking her side.” Look at the situation from this place of relief. And who would you be without the story, “He’s taking her side”?

Julie [crying]: I feel so much compassion. I feel I'm with him, I see how he feels trapped, he's in a tough situation. I'm with him, instead of with all the angry energy in that situation.

EJ: Continue to take it in, who you are, when you're with him, and not involved in the story. [long pause] Take in energetically, who you are without the story.

Julie: Yeah, I can definitely be more supportive, and not wrapped inside my story. There's just no threat! I don't feel like I have to do anything, or think anything—I can just be there for him. Just be there. Yeah.

EJ: Beautiful. Take as much time as you like to soak in what you're discovering. Which way feels more like yourself?

Julie: This way. I feel more balanced, like, “Oh! Here’s something going on! Now, how can I respond?” I feel so much calmer. [laughter]

EJ: And if a solution is needed, where would you be more effective—angry, or like this?

Julie: Oh, like this. Everything seems so much clearer, rather than being the one focused on attack and defend. It's more like, “What can we do? What's the best way?” Oh, my goodness, this feels soooo good.

EJ: Let's do the turnaround.

Julie: He is taking my side. Because even though he feels caught in the middle, he's trying really, really hard to figure out how to solve this, and help me not be upset.

EJ: And another example?

Julie: Well, he is with me. He's not with his daughter.  He’s literally by my side.

EJ: Good. Do you want to look at the turnaround, “I'm am taking her side”? Against him, so to speak.

Julie: Hmm. Yeah, because in a way, I feel I need to pull him in my direction, and she's also trying to take him in her direction. She wants to be right, I want to be right. We're both doing the same thing! Wow.

EJ: Yes, “I want her to not do that, but it's okay for me to.”

Julie: [laughter] Right.

EJ: And if you're not afraid to let the feeling have its life—the disturbed energy at the moment of impact—the feeling of helplessness, shaking, tightening; if you're not afraid to let that run its course and come to rest, do you really need to prevent what's happening from happening?

Julie: No. Not at all. Well, this feels so freeing. I didn't know how to work with the emotions, and now it's very clear. Thank you so much.

EJ: You're so welcome.

"I have to shut it down"--is it true?

Jeff:  I dread her going to work in the morning because I know she is attracted to her boss. She might leave me.

EJ: “She shouldn't leave me”—because I don't want to feel what?

Jeff:  I don't want to feel the wrench in my gut, and the shock and the inner collapse. You know, what people usually call fear. That horrible feeling.

EJ: Yes. So you want her to never, ever leave you or be interested at all in any other person. Is that what you want, that is supposed to protect you from that horrible feeling?

Jeff:  Yup. That's what I want. Then I'll feel safe.

EJ: When in the past did you experience this terrible feeling?

Jeff:  As a child, when my parents announced they were getting a divorce.

EJ: How did you react to that feeling then?

Jeff [crying]: I froze like a deer in the headlights. Then I ran from the room and basically, didn't come out of my room for 3 days. I started using drugs after that.

EJ: So invite the memory of that, as best you can, here and now. [pause] As you watch it, let me know when you come to the moment of impact.

Jeff:  My Dad saying, “You kids are going to live in two different places now.” I feel a shock in my gut, then the clenching, then the freezing.

EJ: Okay, so that's like a shut down, right?

Jeff:  Total shutdown, I wanted to die and disappear, rather than let that feeling continue. So I shut down all over. I don't ever want to feel that again.

EJ: So here and now, can you invite the energy of that memory—you see, it's still active? Can you meet it a new way—I'll guide you.

Jeff:  I'm open to try.

EJ: So notice the tendency or the desire to shut it down, to freeze, and do the opposite. Start to flow your breath, to support the energy, Flow your breath into the middle of the most clenched part.

Jeff [long pause]: It’s getting more intense… almost like I feel an inner pressure to scream.

EJ: Okay. So widen your attention until you can sense the space, that's open in all directions. Sense the openness in which the inner sound of screaming is occurring. Forget about your body—just for now, let the chair have your body, recognize you don't have to hold it together just now. Give your body up to the chair... and visualize and feel the body as transparent. Can you do that?

Jeff:  Right. [Breathing] Yes, I let my body…. Almost like it's melting into the chair.

EJ: Good. And can you sense the space--a relaxed, wide open space, in which your breath is flowing?

Jeff:  Yes.

EJ: See if you can sense that the energy and the sounds, are floating in the same space--not a physical space, but a conscious space. A relaxed openness. Can you sense that?

Jeff:  Sort of. Yes, there is relaxation, all around the clenching. [pause] The clenching is easing.

EJ: Okay. Now, can you simply offer the unlimited space to the energy? As if, recognize that up til now, you've been suffocating it. Containing it, hoping it wouldn't flood you or something. So just for not, as best as you can, give it its freedom to be—to have its life in its own way and time, as you stay attuned to the relaxation of the space. Is that easy or hard?

Jeff:  Getting easier. The clenching is gone. The sick feeling in my gut—it's falling apart, floating away in the space. [pause] It's all gone now.

EJ: So that energy which just resolved—is it really a threat, that you have to shut down around?

Jeff:  Hmmm. No… not when I let it do what it did.

EJ: When you remove the control of it. The judgment of it. So when you meet it that way, it resolves itself in a few minutes.

Jeff:  Yes.

EJ: And isn't this the worst that could happen—if something suddenly changes, or someone suddenly happens? Isn't this energetic reaction the worst that could happen?

Jeff:  Well… yes. I didn't realize that before.

EJ: So the worst that can happen isn't actually a threat at all—you have resources, an innate openness that receives any possible energetic disturbance, and resolves it unto itself—just like the sky receives all weather  disturbance and resolves it unto itself.

Jeff:  So far… but the habit to want to shut down is so strong. I notice myself shutting down many times a day, when my wife texts me from work, like I'm expecting the shoe to drop at any moment, the shock to come if she says,  “I'm leaving you.” I have to shut down, or else I might... I don't know. Fall apart.

EJ: If that happened, and it was impossible to believe “This feeling is a threat, and I have to shut down"—what's the worst that could happen? If you feel the energy of shock, but you don't have any story? If you rather, turn within and focus on the story-free space?

Jeff:  I'd just feel the shock. [long pause] I’d breathe. I'd witness the shock-energy coming to a peak and dissolving.

EJ: Yes. So “I have to shut down”—is it true?

Jeff:  No, I have to stay open—that's the truth. If I want to be free of this fear.

EJ: And so long as you are NOT free of this fear, what happens? How do you treat your wife?

Jeff:  I'm defensive. I'm brisk and kind of cold.

EJ: How do you treat her in lovemaking?

Jeff:  We make love only rarely. And when we do, I treat her like a sex object. I don't want to risk... something. like--being vulnerable on all fronts.

EJ: So “She shouldn't leave me”—is that true? So long as you treat her like that. And treating her like that is only the effect of believing, “I have to shut down.”

Jeff:  No, I see the self-sabotage in this—when I treat her like that, it's not true she shouldn't leave me. It's like, how could she not? I see the self-sabotage in that, all because I was enslaved by this thing, the fear of shock and the horrible feeling in my gut. I've been pretty wimpy around that—afraid of just some energy that disappears when I open up instead of shut down.

EJ: Yes. So what's  the turnaround for "I have to shut down."

Jeff:  I have to stay open.

EJ: And a living turnaround for “I have to stay open”—regarding your wife going to work?

Jeff:  I have to stay open—when I imagine her getting her boss’s attention at work, I have to stay open and allow the energies from those images. And I have to stay open as the space of consciousness—just being. I have to not go mental and judge that feeling as a threat. I have to stay open and remember this energy is old, from the past, that I didn't know how until now, to meet and process. Whew! I'm going to be busy!

EJ: Yes, in your business, attending to unfinished energies, out of her business mentally. Is this a good place to stop for now?

Jeff:  Yes, thanks very much. I feel like I'm in the flow now, in my power, if you know what I mean, not forceful but stable and strong. Thank you again.

EJ: You're welcome.

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