How You Can End Suffering

An Interview with Byron Katie, author of The Work

Ray: But why do so many people feel as if they are sad or suffering?

Katie: If your beliefs are stressful and you question them, you come to see that they aren’t true — whereas prior to questioning, you absolutely believe them. How can you live in joy when you’re believing thoughts that bring on sadness, frustration, anger, alienation, and loneliness? When you believe those thoughts, you think that the world is making you unhappy. But it’s your thoughts about the world that are making you unhappy.

Ultimately, there’s no one who can teach you except yourself. Each of us needs to look at what our belief system really consists of. Look at the concepts that come across your mind and just notice what you believe.

Ray: Some people may struggle to disengage the intellect. How do you undo thinking without thinking? Isn’t inquiry a thought engaging itself, or deconstructing another thought?

Katie: Actually, it’s mind seeing through itself and understanding itself. I like to say that understanding is the power. Without intellect, there’s no story and no world.

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.

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.

Ray: You don’t use Positive Affirmations though. Why not?

Katie: You can never make yourself believe that you’re lovable, however hard you try. Notice – 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 lovable, I am lovable,” 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.

The Mind is not the enemy – Become a gentle observer of your thoughts… try to view unexamined concepts as an invitation to investigate and reclaim your natural state of joy.

4 thoughts on “How You Can End Suffering

  1. I can’t agree that if we question our thoughts and find they aren’t real it leaves you with love. This is not making sense. If we are unhappy with our thoughts we must examine why they make us unhappy. Once we find that out. We should delete the things that make us unhappy and move on to better and higher grounds so to speak. For example, if we are unhappy with our job then try a career change. Take classes to be able to do that. We can make changes. We can change our thinking easily. Habits can be broken if they make uncomfortable. U can even change your environment. But in all of this what does love have to do with the thinking mode that may cause suffering?

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    • “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.”
      If I think my friend is being selfish, let’s say, I’m unhappy. If I question this belief thoroughly, I may find it isn’t true, then I’m back to loving her just the way she is! Peace!
      1. She’s selfish – can I know it’s true?… That implies she’s doing “it” on purpose. But what if she is overwhelmed with something that just happened? … I can’t know what’s behind her behaviors.
      2. How does thinking ‘she’s selfish’ affect me? …. I get uptight; I become selfish with my with my time with her….
      3. How would I react without this thought? … I might listen better… I might ask if she’s okay….I’d be more comfortable (happy) in my own skin. I am open, and that feels like love, which (I believe)is our authentic nature.
      Hope that helps. Thanks for your comments!

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