From skwigg's journal:
Ok, favorite thoughts and highlights so far from the book, "A Mind at Home with Itself" by Byron Katie.
I tested what happened when I didn’t respond to the thoughts of “I want,” “I need,” “I shouldn’t,” “I should.” I witnessed the world beyond those apparent requirements, and I found none of them to be true. None of those thoughts could stand up to inquiry.
This! I think Georgie once called it "shoulding all over yourself." Life is better when you don't.
Eventually, you find yourself ending every thought with a question mark, not with a period.
Haha! Yes! Is it true? "I need to lose weight." "I should eat less sugar." "I want abs." ALL LIES That's why they feel stressful. So when they pop up in my head it goes like, "I shouldn't eat so much bread?" with the question mark at the end. Then I'm like, "nah, never mind" because I know as soon as the thought forms that it's pure silliness, that I'd be better off without that thought, and that I can find a million examples that the opposite is also true.
In the dream-world, the world of suffering, the mind seems chaotic, and people think that it needs to be controlled. Some people would give anything to know how to control it. But the mind can never be controlled; it can only be questioned, loved, and met with understanding.
This too! Especially when I was having cravings and binge urges, or "self-sabotaging," (as if there is such a thing) I tried so, so hard to control my thoughts, or to eliminate them altogether. Good freaking luck! The thoughts will come, spontaneously, non-stop. It's what you do with them that matters. If you believe them, if you think you ARE them, they can send you into a stressful, self-destructive frenzy. If you're not taking them so seriously, they may make you smile or yawn.
If you have a thought, there’s a simultaneous feeling. And an uncomfortable feeling is like an alarm clock that says, “You’re caught in the dream.”
Ah, yes. When there's no separation, we just feel miserable and don't know why. If you can take a step back, you notice the thought that happens right before the feeling. It may be just a little microflicker but it's always there. If I feel edgy, angry, anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed, I'm entertaining a painful reality that I haven't questioned.
If you think you're enlightened, you'll love having your car towed away.
That made me laugh. It is easy to be all evolved and Zen-like when nothing is happening. It's harder in traffic, when in-laws are visiting, or when the dog throws up in your shoe.
If you don’t believe that anyone is really suffering, how can you experience empathy for them or take their problems seriously? The suffering that people describe to me necessarily comes from either an imagined past or an imagined future, since an identified mind is always remembering or anticipating what isn’t happening in reality. I realize that everyone is always okay; they’re always in a state of grace, whether they realize it or not. Empathy, the dictionary says, is the ability to understand the feelings of another person. To me this makes sense. I understand that when people are suffering, they are me, trapped in a painful past or anticipating a dangerous future, and I respect this, as I respect a child having a bad dream. To the dreamer it isn’t a dream. My job isn’t ever to wake the sufferers, but rather to see what I see and never override or disrespect their suffering, since it is very real to them. My job is to understand.
I love this explanation. When I first realized that nobody's painful stories were true, I had a bit of a problem. How on earth do you share this possibility without sounding like a total jerk? Or a delusional whackadoo? Katie makes it look easy.
But what about all the violence, inequality, and suffering in the world? Especially now. Shouldn't we all be outraged and horrified? Won't that help? Uh, nope, she says...
When you believe that such apparent horrors shouldn’t happen, even though they do happen, you suffer. So you’re adding one more person’s suffering to the world’s suffering, and for what purpose? Does your suffering help anyone who is being harmed? No. Does it motivate you to act for the common good? If you pay close attention, you’ll see that this too isn’t so. By questioning the belief that these things shouldn’t happen, you can end your own suffering about the suffering of others. And once you do, you’ll be able to notice that this makes you a kinder human being, someone who is motivated by love rather than outrage or sadness. The end of suffering in the world begins with the end of suffering in you.
Whoa. This one really hit me because I read it at around the same time I watched a video of her doing The Work (those four questions) with a woman who was suffering with the thought that the meat industry is violent. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t36ExIRv7rI At first I thought there was no way I was going to be able to sit through 90 minutes of her talking to a vegan about chicken suffering, but this was riveting because it's not about chickens and cows. It's about how do you respond to injustice in the world? By suffering yourself? With anger? With outrage? Does that really help? Or are you a more effective agent of change if you see the situation clearly rather than being blinded by painful emotions and the illusion of us/them? The video was riveting, and funny, as always.
You are who you believe you are. Other people are, for you, who you believe they are; they can be nothing more than that. If you realized that the mind is one, that everyone and everything is your own projection (including you), you would understand that it’s only yourself you’re ever dealing with.
Aaaaagh!! SPLAT! Do you see why it sometimes takes me three days to process one of these chapters? That's just one paragraph, a completely brain-bending paragraph. You can't ever truly know someone else, what they think, how they feel, why they are the way they are, what it's like to be them. Your whole experience of that person, or generic "others" is your own projection of what it must be like, what they must think. I would get myself into big trouble with this one, totally assuming that I knew others, knew who they were, what they should do, what they thought, especially of me! Super especially of me and my weight/eating/size/fitness, but all of that "fake news" as Katie hilariously calls it was coming from my own mind. I can only fix it by dealing with my thoughts, NOT my weight/eating/size/fitness, and certainly not with how others might perceive me in my crazy imagination.
Ok, that's probably enough for now! Let me know what you think, even if it takes three days to process. I totally get it! :-)