How to eliminate war for one human being: you.

Dear Katie,

I read a saying of yours: “Hurt feelings or discomfort of any kind cannot be caused by another person. No one outside me can hurt me. That’s not a possibility.”

What’s the best way for someone who has suffered (such as a child who was beaten or a person raped) to make sense of this philosophy?

Katie: Identify and question what they were believing in that cruel situation as it was happening. They can do this later–even years later.

When children (or adults, for that matter) believe the thoughts they are thinking during and after a painful event, they suffer. It is not the painful event that causes their suffering once the event is over; it is their thoughts about the event.

This is hard for some people to hear, but if you take a closer look, it is obvious. The event is in the past; the thoughts are in the present–thoughts of shame, anger, humiliation, depression, unworthiness, resentment, and so on–and it is only in the present that we live.

Children have no way to question these thoughts, so they can’t help suffering over them. It’s not their fault that they suffer. They just don’t know that suffering comes from believing our painful thoughts. This is why without inquiry, it’s so difficult to overcome a trauma during and after the fact.

The thing that happened as a child, or the thing that upset us yesterday, will stay with us for as long as we live, as long as we still believe what we were believing in that situation. Inquiry can break the spell.
The Work is not a philosophy. It’s a way that will let you discover that all suffering has been a misunderstanding.

Should a person ignore or glide over such things?

I was never able to do that. The way I became free was by not ignoring or gliding over such things. I had to face them, to look back on those terrible and seemingly unjust situations that I suffered as a child, and as an adult, to write them down and question the thoughts I had at the time. I had to travel back and to see in my mind’s eye that situation, no matter how terrible it was, and to fill in a ‘Judge-Your-Neighbor‘ Worksheet. I had to fill out one Worksheet for each situation. I remembered as much as possible of what I was seeing, feeling, thinking, and believing in those moments. I used to suffer when those images would arise in my mind, and now I don’t. In fact, all those old memories bring a sense of compassion, freedom and gratitude, not ever suffering.

Of course you should do that. How could you not do it, since you are believing your thoughts about him?

Our children learn fearful and angry beliefs from us, and they, like us, have no choice but to live what they believe. What are we teaching through our own negative, fearful beliefs?
endof suffering
My job is to end the injustice in my world, the war inside me, and that has made the world a better place, since there is one less violent, angry person in the world now. If I am at war with reality, I’m continuing in myself the very thing that I want to end in the world. A sane mind doesn’t suffer. Through inquiry, you can begin to eliminate war for one human being: you.
For more information on The Work of Byron Katie, go to TheWork.com

3 thoughts on “How to eliminate war for one human being: you.

  1. Im not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later. All the best aegddgdcddfe

    Liked by 1 person

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