How to Eliminate Suffering

img_0914You can eliminate war for one human being — You!

Worth reading – from Off the Web! (edited for readability)

Byron Katie is known world wide for her wisdom about ending human suffering. She says,

“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.”

That’s a bold statement. Many of us react instantaneously to such (seemingly) outrageous claims.

Someone asked Katie:

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

Katie replied, “Identify and question what they were believing in that cruel situation as it was happening.”

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.  

The event is in the past; the thoughts , and resulting feelings, are in the present – thoughts of shame, anger, humiliation, depression, unworthiness, resentment, and so on – yet it is only in the present that we live.

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

The things that upset us will stay with us as long as we still believe what we were believing in that situation.  Whether in childhood, or yesterday – time doesn’t matter. 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
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  • Should a person ignore or glide over such things?

Katie replied,

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 do this by remembering 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, and never suffering.”

Of course you should suffer when you remember those situations –  since you are believing your thoughts.
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?

She continues,

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

“The difference between outrage and understanding – is peace.”

When we feel a strong emotion, we are mistaken if we believe it confirms the truth. Feelings are always a response to a belief – ALWAYS! 

It can be incredibly powerful to ask yourself (which requires awareness of the mind/ thought) … IS IT TRUE?  Where’s my evidence? (..and, is that true)

I find that anything less than compassionate inquiry leads to misunderstanding (and paranoia, separation, anger, fear… all the icky stuff!).

Give yourself the gift of inquiry – for your own peace of mind.

How to Live IGNITED!

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“Your beliefs about people – that’s who you believe them to be.

That’s what’s meant by “no one exists”.

Because who you believe them to be isn’t who they are. That’s why they don’t exist.

Instead, you are getting a glimpse of your own ego. And when you meet the power of that, and when the power of that moves to another polarity…you can drop the word power. 

It’s like living ignited.

And it’s nothing more than being aware of your internal life, and knowing what’s true, and what’s not. What that leaves is the great surprise. And all you can know about it is its nature, so you begin to live a fearless existence. “

– Byron Katie, TheWork.com

Question Your Beliefs!

youAre

There are a lot of things I don’t know that you probably know. But does that really matter?

We have a right – by birth (HUMAN Rights) – to our opinions, feelings, and desires. And we have a right to express them in a way that respects others’ right to the same.

And as Buddhist philosophy becomes more popular in the west, people say we contain within all the wisdom we need (Enlightenment).

The two concepts above, human rights and enlightenment, seem to require that we first learn how to live in a civilized world. We go through an intense training period for what seems to take at least 18 years, in which we are indoctrinated with facts, moral codes, proper behaviors, skills training, and constant evaluation. We rely on the experts for this process – everyone from parents to teachers to books to police to public leaders.

Is it any wonder that the next phase is so much harder? All this taking in, absorbing the outer world of rules, seems to subliminally teach us that we are dependent on external authority. No wonder we compare ourselves to others, indulge in gossip and envy, develop secrets born of shame and guilt, and struggle with daily right and wrong.

But if you want to continue growing, this next phase truly requires unlearning much of what you thought you knew. In order to do so we must first channel our awareness inward – instead of  to the ‘other’.

Becoming self-aware is the only true path to freedom. After spending 18+ years in training so we can respond to routine life semi-automatically, we have to learn to observe ourselves in thought and action, and then, objectively ask ourselves what is essentially truefor us.  

“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years…I still love what I think but I’m never tempted to believe it.” Byron Katie