“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!

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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

Byron Katie and “The Work”

Byron Katie Loving What Is Book CoverThe following is an excerpt from Byron Katie’s book,  Loving What Is.

“Byron Katie’s Work is a great blessing for our planet. The root cause of suffering is identification with our thoughts, the ‘stories’ that are continuously running through our minds. Byron Katie’s Work acts like a razor-sharp sword that cuts through that illusion and enables you to know for yourself the timeless essence of your being. Joy, peace, and love emanate from it as your natural state. In Loving What Is, you have the key. Now use it.” — Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now


 

Meeting Your Thoughts with Understanding

A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but the 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.

Most people think that they are what their thoughts tell them they are. One day I noticed that I wasn’t breathing—I was being breathed. Then I also noticed, to my amazement, that I wasn’t thinking—that I was actually being thought and that thinking isn’t personal.

Do you wake up in the morning and say to yourself, “I think I won’t think today”? It’s too late: You’re already thinking! Thoughts just appear. They come out of nothing and go back to nothing, like clouds moving across the empty sky. They come to pass, not to stay. There is no harm in them until we attach to them as if they were true.

No one has ever been able to control his thinking, although people may tell the story of how they have. I don’t let go of my thoughts—I meet them with understanding. Then they let go of me.

Thoughts are like the breeze or the leaves on the trees or the raindrops falling. They appear like that, and through inquiry we can make friends with them. Would you argue with a rain­drop? Raindrops aren’t personal, and neither are thoughts. Once a painful concept is met with understanding, the next time it appears you may find it interesting. What used to be the nightmare is now just interesting. The next time it appears, you may find it funny. The next time, you may not even notice it. This is the power of loving what is.

Becoming Aware of Your Stories

I often use the word story to talk about thoughts, or sequences of thoughts, that we convince ourselves are real. A story may be about the past, the present, or the future; it may be about what things should be, what they could be, or why they are. Stories appear in our minds hundreds of times a day—when someone gets up without a word and walks out of the room, when someone doesn’t smile or doesn’t return a phone call, or when a stranger does smile; before you open an important letter, or after you feel an unfamiliar sensation in your chest; when your boss invites you to come to his office, or when your partner talks to you in a certain tone of voice. Stories are the untested, uninvestigated theories that tell us what all these things mean. We don’t even realize that they’re just theories.

Once, as I walked into the ladies’ room at a restaurant near my home, a woman came out of the single stall. We smiled at each other, and, as I closed the door, she began to sing and wash her hands. “What a lovely voice!” I thought. Then, as I heard her leave, I noticed that the toilet seat was dripping wet. “How could anyone be so rude?” I thought. “And how did she manage to pee all over the seat? Was she standing on it?” Then it came to me that she was a man—a transvestite, singing falsetto in the women’s restroom. It crossed my mind to go after her (him) and let him know what a mess he’d made. As I cleaned the toilet seat, I thought about everything I’d say to him. Then I flushed the toilet. The water shot up out of the bowl and flooded the seat. And I just stood there laughing.

In this case, the natural course of events was kind enough to expose my story before it went any further. Usually it doesn’t; before I found inquiry, I had no way to stop this kind of think­ing. Small stories bred bigger ones; bigger stories bred major theories about life, how terrible it was, and how the world was a dangerous place. I ended up feeling too frightened and depressed to leave my bedroom.

When you’re operating on uninvestigated theories of what’s going on and you aren’t even aware of it, you’re in what I call “the dream.” Often the dream becomes troubling; sometimes it even turns into a nightmare.

At times like these, you may want to test the truth of your theories by doing The Work on them. The Work always leaves you with less of your uncomfortable story. Who would you be without it? How much of your world is made up of unexamined stories? You’ll never know until you inquire.

Looking for the Thought Behind the Suffering

I have never experienced a stressful feeling that wasn’t caused by attaching to an untrue thought. Behind every uncomfort­able feeling, there’s a thought that isn’t true for us. “The wind shouldn’t be blowing.” “My husband should agree with me.”

We have a thought that argues with reality, then we have a stressful feeling, and then we act on that feeling, creating more stress for ourselves. Rather than understand the original cause —a thought—we try to change our stressful feelings by looking outside ourselves. We try to change someone else, or we reach for sex, food, alcohol, drugs, or money in order to find tempo­rary comfort and the illusion of control.

It is easy to be swept away by some overwhelming feeling, so it’s helpful to remember that any stressful feeling is like a com­passionate alarm clock that says, “You’re caught in the dream.” Depression, pain, and fear are gifts that say, “Sweetheart, take a look at what you’re thinking right now. You’re living in a story that isn’t true for you.” Caught in the dream, we try to alter and manipulate the stressful feeling by reaching outside ourselves. We’re usually aware of the feeling before the thought. That’s why I say the feeling is an alarm clock that lets you know there’s a thought that you may want to do The Work.

Investigating an untrue thought will always lead you back to who you really are. It hurts to believe you’re other than who you are, to live any story other than happiness.

If you put your hand into a fire, does anyone have to tell you to move it? Do you have to decide? No: When your hand starts to burn, it moves. You don’t have to direct it; the hand moves itself. In the same way, once you understand, through inquiry, that an untrue thought causes suffering, you move away from it. Before the thought, you weren’t suffering; with the thought, you’re suffering; when you recognize that the thought isn’t true, again there is no suffering. That is how The Work func­tions. “How do I react when I think that thought?” Hand in the fire. “Who would I be without it?” Out of the flames. We look at the thought, we feel our hand in the fire, and we naturally move back to the original position; we don’t have to be told. And the next time the thought arises, the mind automatically moves from the fire. The Work invites us into the awareness of internal cause and effect. Once we recognize this, all our suffer­ing begins to unravel on its own.

InquiryThe 4 Questions

I use the word inquiry as synonymous with The Work. To inquire or to investigate is to put a thought or a story up against the four questions and turnaround. Inquiry is a way to end confusion and to experience internal peace, even in a world of apparent chaos. Above all else, inquiry is about realizing that all the answers we ever need are always available inside us.

Inquiry is more than a technique: It brings to life, from deep within us, an innate aspect of our being. When practiced for a while, inquiry takes on its own life within you. It appears whenever thoughts appear, as their balance and mate.

This internal partnership leaves you free to live as a kind, fluid, fear­less, amused listener, a student of yourself, and a friend who can be trusted not to resent, criticize, or hold a grudge. Eventually, realization is experienced automatically, as a way of life. Peace and joy naturally, inevitably, and irreversibly make their way into every corner of your mind, into every relation­ship and experience. The process is so subtle that you may not even have any conscious awareness of it. You may only know that you used to hurt and now you don’t.

Edited for emphasis. Article source:

http://www.inner-growth.info/power_of_now_tolle/byron_katie_loving_what_is.htm

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Here’s a way to “Un-Do” Your Beliefs

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“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.

My mother became a believer, and then I became a believer. But when I was 43 years old, I began to think for myself, somehow, by fluke and by grace. And I thought, “Oh, my. I was so mistaken.” The world isn’t what I believed it to be. I am not what I believed me to be, and neither is anyone. So now I live in a state of grace, where I don’t have to know.

I realized that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but when I didn’t believe my thoughts, I didn’t suffer. And I’ve come to see that this is true for every human being.

So, the first two questions in The Work — “Is it true?” and “Can you absolutely know that it’s true?” — are what I saw when the thoughts appeared. No thoughts are true. They can’t be. I saw that with absolute clarity. The third question is “How do you react when you believe that thought?” Well, that was obvious: sadness, anger, despair. I saw that all these things are the effects of believing a thought that isn’t even true. Then I saw that there was no identity until the thoughts appeared, so the fourth question is “Who would you be without the thought?” Then what I call the turnaround, which is a way of experiencing the opposite of what you believe, occurred. I saw that for every thought, the opposite is just as true, or even truer. I realized that it was all upside down and backward — what was true, what was not true, what was the dream world, what was the real world.”
Excerpts from talks with The Work of Byron Katie

A Lover of Truth

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Who am I? I am all of it.Everything I see is a part of me. If I don’t like something, I can change it. I can change me.

Being Mindful

For an answer, go to the place where there is no thought and listen.
Who cares if you are enlightened forever? Can you get it in this moment, now?  ~ Byron Katie