How The Work Works – the work of Byron katie

UNSHAKEABLE INNER PEACE

Worth reading! From Off the web!



Many people in many traditions have spoken about a state of continuous and unshakable inner peace, in which the mind delights in everything that happens. Byron Katie calls this “loving what is.” It is the mind’s natural state. Through the self-inquiry of The Work, people can return to it as often as they wish, and eventually it becomes constant. Suffering is optional.

THE CAUSE OF ALL SUFFERING

The initial insight, as in cognitive psychology, is that all human suffering is caused by believing our stressful thoughts. As the philosopher Epictetus said, “We are disturbed not by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens.” Byron Katie puts it this way: “The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want.”

ENDING SUFFERING

It’s not possible to end stress or suffering by substituting positive thoughts for negative thoughts. This may work to some extent, but eventually the mind will outsmart you. There is a whole underworld of unexamined thoughts that will override the positive thoughts that you’re trying to believe. Ultimately it’s not possible to let go of our negative thoughts, because we can’t control the mind. When we look deeply into the mind, we see that we aren’t creating thoughts in the first place. We aren’t thinking; we are being thought.

Suffering can be alleviated and ultimately ended by questioning our stressful thoughts. The Work provides a simple and powerful method for doing this. Byron Katie says, “I didn’t let go of my stressful thoughts. I questioned them, and then they let go of me.”

THE JUDGE-YOUR-NEIGHBOR WORKSHEET

One of the brilliant innovations of Byron Katie is the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. This allows people to identify the thoughts and stories that cause their suffering. The first step in doing The Work is to fill out a Worksheet. “Though the mind can justify itself faster than the speed of light, it can be stopped through the act of writing. Once the mind is stopped on paper, thoughts remain stable, and inquiry can easily be applied.”

The stressful thoughts to be identified on a Worksheet are about someone else, not about yourself; hence the term “Judge-Your-Neighbor.” This is sometimes difficult for people, since we have been taught not to judge, though we do it all the time. When you do The Work, you see who you are in a stressful situation by seeing who you think other people are. Byron Katie explains this in the following way: “Since the beginning of time, people have been trying to change the world so that they can be happy. This hasn’t ever worked, because it approaches the problem backward. What The Work gives us is a way to change the projector—mind—rather than the projected. It’s like when there’s a piece of lint on a projector’s lens. We think there’s a flaw on the screen, and we try to change this person and that person, whomever the flaw appears to be on next. But it’s futile to try to change the projected images. Once we realize where the lint is, we can clear the lens itself. This is the end of suffering, and the beginning of a little joy in paradise.”

THE FOUR QUESTIONS

1. Is it true? People are encouraged to meditate on this question and go deeper than answers that seem obvious but that bring them stress or suffering. “My husband (or my wife) should listen to me—is it true?” Most people’s automatic response is “Yes,” indignantly or sadly. After someone truly contemplates the question, the answer may still be yes but there may be a slight weakening of the ego’s position. Or maybe the person sees clearly and shockingly that the statement isn’t true. It may be something they have believed for years and decades.

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? If their answer to the first question is yes, this second question gives people another chance to examine the stressful thought and to go deeper into the open mind, which in Zen is called the “don’t-know mind.” Yes is still a valid answer.

3. How do you react—what happens—when you believe that thought? This question allows people to see the cause-and-effect of believing their stressful thoughts—to witness what happened, what they felt, said, and did, when they believed the thought in that They are encouraged to inhabit the situation they were remembering in the first statement on their Worksheet and trace, in detail, the physical sensations and the emotions caused when they believe “My husband (or my wife) should listen to me.” Someone might say, for example, “I feel anger in my belly. My face flushes. I start to talk louder. I see my husband as neglectful. I become antagonistic. I try to convince him. I see him as the enemy,” and so on. These specific reactions are clear evidence of how unuseful, even damaging, this belief is to the person believing it. Whether they answered “yes” or “no” to the first two questions, they get to see how the thought leads them away from connection with the other person.

4. Who would you be without the thought? This is a question outside the realm of cognitive psychology. It allows people to see reality without the superimposition of their own belief. It gives them a vivid glimpse into what life is like without a problem. They become the seer, the listener, egoless, receiving the other person without blame, demands, expectations, or anything but an open mind. This question has resulted in very powerfully transformative experiences, even for people whose response to questions one and two were “Yes.”

THE TURNAROUNDS

After the mind has educated itself about a particular stressful thought through the four questions of The Work, people are invited to turn the thought around. The turnaround is a way of experiencing the opposite of what you believed was true. Sometimes there may be just one turnaround; sometimes there are two or three turnarounds to one of the statements on the Worksheet (turnarounds to the opposite, to the self, and to the other). For example, the statement in that situation, “my husband should listen to me” can be turned around to “My husband shouldn’t listen to me,” and also to “I should listen to me,” and finally to “I should listen to my husband.”

Once people find a turnaround, they are invited to contemplate specific examples of how the turnaround is true in their lives, how it is as true as or truer than their original statement. This grounds the turnaround in actual experience and further weakens the power of the stressful thought over the mind. For some people, just one deep session of inquiry is enough to completely unravel a belief, so that it doesn’t occur again, or if it does, the response is amusement rather than stress.

Often, after fully contemplating the turnarounds, people who have answered “Yes” to questions one and two, if they are asked the questions again, will answer “No,” often with a smile or a laugh.

When we are suffering in any given moment, we are in a trance, hypnotized.

 The Work wakes us up.

Creating Trust in a Relationship

Worth reading! From Off the Web!

“I never dreamed he would cheat on me!” 

AngryCoupleSilloeutte

Love may be intoxicating, but trust is what makes it safe. Trust is based on a shared understanding about what each person in the relationship expects of the other.

The wise couple develops an explicit, concrete agreement about what is and is not okay in terms of interactions with, and especially attractions to, people outside their relationship. When they have absolute confidence that the other person will stick with the agreement, they each relax and trust.

Here is How to Negotiate a Healthy Couple Contract:

  • Be Open About Your Expectations
  • Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

Read the rest HERE:

Creating Trust in a Relationship  By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

How to Stop Hurting and Take Your Power Back

When we think other people are hurting us, we have no power. We feel hopeless.

What if we thought of what was said or done as just being a mirror for us? – revealing to us what we are deeply thinking about ourselves?

Now we have our power back.

The Work of Byron Katie does just this – she calls it the “Turn-Around”

Einstein once said, “There is only one question worth asking: ‘Is the universe kind’.”

When you step into the grace of this wisdom, you can see nothing but kindness. But I’m getting a head of myself….

We have always been told not to be judgmental of others. Yet our minds are constantly assessing, and therefor, judging. We learned to keep these judgments private. These judgments turn into beliefs – stories – that run our emotional life.

Concepts are not a problem until you believe them. At that point, you are responsible for them. In the same way, by being aware of our responsibility for thoughts, we suddenly have responsibility for our power, our happiness, and our freedom.

For 1,000’s of years, we have innocently thought our suffering is caused by things outside of ourselves. So, it seems obvious to also look outside of ourselves for the solutions. Our mind runs these stories constantly, “he should/I need/ I want/...”

“The Work” invites us to find these deeper thoughts, put them on paper, and investigate how they’ve affected us. Thoughts arise. We can’t force these thoughts to stop. Once investigated, however, these thoughts may finally leave us.

It’s not that the mind is the enemy. On the contrary. The mind simply IS. By gentle, curious investigation, the same thoughts that we believed caused our misery can offer us peace.

It is only the unknown or denied parts of self that are in chaos. Feelings are a wonderful reminder to look at your thinking.

Byron Katie created the “Four Questions and the Turn Arounds” after years of extreme feelings and behaviors that were often unbearable… One day, when she was simply “despairing”, as usual, she listened to her minds constant chatter. Then she heard, “Is it TRUE?”, which stopped her dead in her tracks.  From there, she developed a simple process with which to meet any disturbing thought. She called it – “The Work”.

Turn-arounds may be shocking! For example, “He should put me first” turns around to “I should put HIM first”…  And why would I expect him to practice a concept I wouldn’t want to do? It also turns around to “I should put MYSELF first”… That’s my job!

Find out more:

http://thework.com/en/do-work
http://thework.com/en/tools-do-work

The Single Best Piece of Marriage Advice Ever Given

Worth Reading! From Off the Web!

I Think there is some good points in this article!  Especially:

“If you’re smart about it, you’ll rise above the inevitable setbacks and stresses of a shared life, and you will make it your lasting mission to bring out the absolute best in your spouse.”

How do you do this?
You have to banish contempt. Contempt is an acid, and it etches ugliness into love. To banish contempt means that when your husband has given in to his least attractive tendencies, his most fearful, or fearsome; when your wife has lost her focus, her patience, or her heart … This is the moment when you must see through the annoying, demanding, complaining, failing, faltering wreck in front of you—and find the strong, kind, fascinating, functional person you know your spouse wants to be.
You have to learn to be a critic without criticizing. The origin of the word critic is the Greek word kritikos, which—strangely enough—does not mean “able to pick at flaws incessantly” but does mean “able to make judgments.” This is a crucial difference. The kind of criticism that helps marriage is the kind you learned in English class: studying something so well that you can find its hidden patterns and its deeper truths. If you apply this kind of criticism in marriage, it is actually possible to stop a spouse in mid-spiral (sometimes even in mid-sentence!) and say, “Excuse me, no offense, but I don’t think you are being the person you want to be.” The pronoun is vital. The difference between “who you want to be” and “who I want you to be” is the difference between encouragement and nagging: spark and ash…”
If we don’t develop a sense of grace and an open loving heart, then we should at least let our partner go. It is a very crude, immature, and base character who thinks the only hold he or she has on the other is to keep them feeling insecure about themselves.

Read the rest here –
http://time.com/3909505/marriage-advice/?xid=emailshare

Revealing the Unconscious Through Art

Do you ever feel overwhelmed but don’t know why? Or feel “odd” but can’t make sense of it?

Try drawing… nothing in particular, just let the pencil move across the page. Then do another page. Try it using your non-dominant hand – crazy… I know.

But it works! Discover what the infamous Carl Jung did –

Ahhh! Calmed and reassured.

 

What Are Your BLIND SPOTS?

There’s this cool diagram called the Johari’s Window:

JOHARIwindow2

People have used it for various purposes, but I like to use it as a tool for living more consciously – More authentic, self-actualized, congruent, non-defensive and trusting. 

Briefly, quadrant 1., OPENess, is the aspects of self that we easily share with others.  Quadrant 3. includes the aspects about self that we keep private (HIDDEN).  Quadrant 2., BLIND SPOTS,  are the things others’ know about us that we aren’t aware of,  and quadrant 4. are the aspects of self that are unconscious, UNKNOWN.

In reality, your internal boxes are not equally divided.  They may change proportions depending on the relationship or your moods.  If the goal is to become a more congruent, authentic person, then we must expand the OPEN area, which requires disclosing more about ourselves, as well as being willing to accept feedback from others about how they perceive us.

For example,  Andy thought he was pretty open towards others.  And he was.  But when he received feedback from his friend, Janet, that he seemed to get defensive when she shared an opinion different from him, he just couldn’t see it. He became even more defensive.

This would be Andy’s BLIND SPOT.  As he thought about what Janet said, he looked into his HIDDEN quadrant for some clues. Had he always been like that, or was it just with her?  Through gentle inquiry, he was able to realize that, when people disagreed with him, he felt like he wasn’t “good enough” –  something he felt frequently growing up in a household with many older siblings.

Andy was willing to disclose his discoveries with Janet, thus expanding his OPEN area.  He was willing to respect her feedback, and as a result, expanded his OPEN area even more.

The more we bring our blind spots to awareness, the more freedom we have –  the more we can live an authentic life.  Instead of automatic responses to factors that present themselves in everyday life,  with self-awareness,  we learn that we can exercise choices in our responses.

Ahhhh! Freedom!

How to Meditate – in 5 Minutes!

Meditation Apps To Calm Stress And Boost Mood

Worth Reading from Off the Web! By Natasha Baker

In a bad mood but not sure why? New smart phone apps provide short guided meditations designed to help you return to a positive state of mind.

Stop, Breathe & Think, a free iPhone app, prompts people to check how they are feeling mentally, emotionally and physically and will recommend three guided meditations between five and 10 minutes long.

“We wanted to give people a friendly and accessible tool to develop these skills – something they could easily integrate into their daily routine,” said Jamie Price, executive director of Tools for Peace, a California-based non-profit company that developed the app.

It aims to help people feel more grounded, calmer and happier, he added, and to recognize emotions and impulses and to react positively.

“The recommended meditations are meant to be a support, to help you deal with whatever is going on from the perspective of kindness and compassion, and with a greater sense of being positively connected,” Price said in an interview.

It includes 15-guided meditations based on Tibetan teachings. Users can track their progress including how long they have meditated and how settled they feel every day.

Canadian singer K.D. Lang, who serves on the group’s board, said she used the app as a reset button for stressful days.

“Our goal is that after using this app people learn how to become calm, and approach their everyday life from the perspective of kindness and compassion,” she said.

A similar free app called Headspace, which is available for iPhone and Android, also teaches meditation and provides a free ten-day program that leads users through short guided meditations.

It also features specialized meditations to improve sleep or reduce stress or other problems, as well as paid programs. Users can track their progress day-by-day in a dashboard and set reminders to keep on top of their practices.

Studies have shown the positive benefits of meditation, including research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which found that it may be helpful for reducing anxiety and depression.

Buddhify This $5 app describes itself as “the urban meditation app for modern life,” and was named the number-one health app by UK news outlet The Sun. App Store reviewers rave about the app’s clear, simple design and relaxing guided meditations. Customize your meditation to your location: It offers tailored guides for when you’re at home, walking or at the gym.

Mindfulness Meditation By Mental Workout  This best-selling iPhone app by Mental Workout, designed by renowned meditation teacher and psychotherapist Stephan Bodian, provides guided meditations for both beginners and more experienced mindfulness practitioners. The app features an eight-week program, inspiration talks, body scans and relaxation instructions. According to one App Store reviewer, the app is the best way to learn mindfulness “short of finding your own personal meditation teacher.”

Simply Being  Short guided meditations, with or without music and nature sounds, for relaxation and presence are the focus of this $0.99 app. Perfect for beginners looking for something simple, Simply Being is highly rated for being user-friendly and customizable.

If you want to learn how to be “mindful” or to “meditate”, and you want it NOW, get the app GPS for the Soul or Insight Timer. I love them!

Article Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/21/meditation-apps-stress-positive-thinking-mood_n_4639232.html#slide=start