Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Who would you be without your story?

“I am confused and saddened by my family because they judge me.”

“So, parents should not judge their children. Is that true?” Katie, a 60-plus-years-old soft-and sweet spoken woman, asked Justin who had started “The Work”.

“Oh, Gosh.” Justin murmured as he realized he could not answer yes, despite the strong urge to prove himself right.

“Can you absolutely know that’s true?” Katie asked the second question.
Justin paused in incoherence and finally admitted in a low voice “No”.
“And the job of a parent, the job of everyone in this world is to judge. That’s our job. Everything is a judgement. Give me a thought that is not a judgement. It is a sky. That is a judgement. It is what we do. Parents should not judge their children. What is the reality? Do they?”

“That’s their job. How do you react when you think that thought? My parent is not supposed to judge me.” Katie continued her third question.
“It weakens me. I felt terrified.”

“How do you treat your parent when you think that thought? I want you to stop judging me and they do it.” Katie probed further on her third question when Justin was at loss of words.
“I rebel and become distance.”

“Honey, this is insanity. People should stop judging people. What planet do you think you are on?!” Katie dramatized on purpose. The audience laughed. “You come to planet earth, you judge. That’s it!”

Who would you be without this thought - I want my parents to stop judging me?” The fourth and final question from Katie.
“I will have inner peace.”

“So, honey, turn it around.” The final step in "The Work".
“I am confused and saddened because I judge me.” 
“There is another one.” Katie urged Justin.
“I am confused and saddened by me because I judge my family.”
A final revelation and Justin confessed softly but firmly “Yes”.
Katie continued with her explanation “I strike a deal with you. When you stop judging them, then go talk to them about judgement.”
"That’s true."

“When you stop doing what you want them to stop doing, let’s talk. Maybe a while. I stop judging that my parents should stop judging. Now, read the other one.” Katie instructed. 
Justin started on the second item in his list he had written down “I want my family to be who they are and not limit their love and attention….”
“They are who they are,” Katie interjected, “They limit their love and attention and they judge.”. Everyone in the audience seemed to be laughing by then. Justin laughed and affirmed “Okay.” He knew he was "defeated" in his judgement and his needs to be right, but he felt relieved and lighthearted. He began to grasp “The Work”.

Byron Katie is not a therapist, counselor or religious leader. Through her work, which she simply called “The Work” teach people to end emotional suffering. She instructs people to write down their troublesome thoughts and then start the 4 questions and turnaround process, like what she did with Justin.

And then you will gain the insight from Katie:
Reality is not going to wait for your permission. No, you lose.
Arguing with “what is” is like teaching a cat to bark. Hopeless.
I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn't believe them, I didn't suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always” 

And these are from her website:

Who would you be without your story?
The Work of Byron Katie is a way of identifying and questioning the thoughts that cause all the anger, fear, depression, addiction, and violence in the world. Experience the happiness of undoing those thoughts through The Work, and allow your mind to return to its true, awakened, peaceful, creative nature.

I am intrigued by Katie’s work after listening to her audio program. It is very therapeutic and enlightening. She also claimed “The Work” can help us to forgive 100%. 100% is a big achievement and a huge breakaway. So, I tried that. I am still not sure if it works that well. I probably need to do more work.

But I do find the turnaround powerful. For those who are angry with others  “I am angry because she is so selfish” turnaround into “I am angry because I am so selfish”. Aren't we all selfish? We are, in varying degrees. For those who experience unrequited love - “He/She should love me” become “I should love me”.  Welcome to the world! Nobody owes you anything, so nobody should do anything for you unless they really want it. It’s not your job to like me – it’s mine, as Katie put it.

And for answering the powerful question such as “Who would I be without my stories?” I need to define that as those limiting beliefs, those things about other people that I cannot change, and those critical and belittling voices.

My answer: I will be more carefree, confident, passionate, peaceful, positive, loving and enlightened.

Sounds good to me to discard my stories. Start with a clean state. Forgive 100%. Move forward, lighter and merrier.

So, who would you be without your story?

Image credited to http://www.everypathis.org/

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