Week Two - - - Day Fourteen
Be keen on living life, loving life
Be open to Life loving you
and . . . ( you guessed it . . . ) NOW
Let’s get weird.
God is Life.
Life is a miracle.
We are all given this gift.
In the Bible, there is a nice phrase or two:
The Great commandments:
Love God with all your heart, mind and Soul.
And . . .
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Transformed and deepened
Love Life with all your heart, mind and Soul
Love your neighbor, no matter what a jerk they are
Love yourself, no matter what a jerk you are
And in the Bible, and they are very big on this in the Christian part, but the old Testament too:
God loves you.
Life loves you.
So here’s the work today.
Here’s the work for the rest of your life:
If it’s raining, love the rain.
If it’s cold/ hot/ perfect, love that.
If your spouse is wonderful today/ this hour, love that.
If your spouse is less than perfect/ awful today or this hour, love them anyway.
The work of Byron Katie is tomorrow.
It’s all about noticing the difference between when you demand that Reality be the way you want Reality (the small you, the conditioned you wants it. Actually, to put it bluntly: the selfish you)
What happens to your heart, mind and soul when you give up the “should” or “shouldn’t” about the other person, or whatever Reality you are demanding be different.
It’s letting go for the selfish sake, of being free of suffering.
This is a good selfishness.
We’ll go through the 4 questions.
We’ve already gone through the Turn Around.
Love Life with all your heart, mind and soul
BE ON THE LOOKOUT/ FEEL-OUT FOR LIFE LOVING YOU.
ESPECIALLY OTHER PEOPLE LOVING YOU.
Not all of them.
But a few here or there.
And so, what is the work/ game/ exercise today?
It’s the end of week two.
Time for a review.
And something delightful to do.
Touch and talk and walk up to love and now together Exercise/ Game:
Set aside 18 minutes.
Take 3 minute turns.
Take 3 minute turns tasing of one or all of these five topics:
Go slowly. No interrupting. No commenting on what the other said. Plenty of gratitude and appreciation and love and like for the other person, if you want. Plenty of we goals, as well as personal goals. Just no, my goal is that you stop being so crappy kind of criticism very thinly veiled.
A gift to you.
The present of being present.
Concentrating on touch and love and now.
Enjoy your day.
Week Three - - - Day Fifteen
Love is Letting Go
Freedom from Suffering is a Learnable Skill
Suffering is Optional
Tragic/ happy news: We are not God
The “Work of Byron Katie”
The news is bad: for two thousand years people have heard this message: Love Your Enemies.
And for two thousand years, people have overwhelmingly failed at this.
“Love Your Enemy.”
This was one of my two picks when Carol and I shared our favorite Bible verses as our one and a half hour “meeting” transformed into a twelve hour “non-date” that changed our lives.
By then we’d talked enough for me to know that some deeper version of Christianity was important to Carol, an ex-Catholic finding her way in the Christian world. And for her to know that I had a more mystical esoteric approach that still honored and found value in the Christian tradition. We were both pretty clear that the bias of the narrow minded that the ONLY path to God was through believing in Jesus was nonsense.
Spiritual vs religion is a big discussion. Have one with your friends and your partner, and people at your church.
And her Bible verse was: Be still and know I am God.
Which is Buddhism in the shortest possible form, except they don’t call it God, they call it the Ultimate, or Reality.
What matters for this chapter is that there is a way to Love Your Enemies, and so the central world of Christianity, and any real religion actually, can be done.
Well, a wonderful woman of much suffering, a decade of alcoholism and chain smoking and obesity and rage at her family had a “wake up” moment.
She had been asking for/ praying for “I want to die,” but she didn’t want to hurt her body.
She just wanted what anyone really wants who says or feels that “I want to die.”
She wanted her suffering to die.
And then, one day in 1983, when she was 46, and laying on the floor of a halfway house because she believed she wasn’t worthy of a bed, her suffering did die.
Story goes, a cockroach walked across her ankle and she “woke up” to realizing the world without any belief in her thoughts.
Without that belief, all her suffering couldn’t exist.
What was left: relief, laughter, freedom, joy.
She was free.
She no longer believed any of her thinking, and all the world became free.
And then one of the normal human thoughts might come, “My mother should have treated me better,” and her ecstasy would vanish and she’d plunge into normal suffering, which must have felt vastly worst, compared to the “enlightened” bliss and freedom she’d stumbled upon.
So she invented the four questions, to ask her thoughts.
Not to banish them, but to shine truth on them, and find out what they did to her, and what was their basis.
Here’s the four questions, explored in depth at http://thework.com.
Is it true?
Is it absolutely true?
How do I react and behave and live when I believe the thought/ story/ belief?
Who or what would I be without the thought? (This can be simply having a thought free mind, or taking the perspective/ identity of not believing the thought.)
The brilliance is all over the place.
The first two questions help us see that almost all the the thoughts behind our suffering are not truths. They are opinions, social norms, beliefs. A story about how reality should be.
The third question asks us to go deeper into the suffering we experience when we believe the thought. When we are attached, as it were, though Katie (as we call Byron Katie) doesn’t use Buddhist terminology.
She simply found something that worked simply.
The fourth questions has us explore the possibility of reality beyond the story, beyond the words about what’s happening, beyond our opinion.
How does that feel?
How is life over there?
And the coolest thing is that we aren’t requested to “drop the story,” to “drop the belief,” to “let it go.”
We try out what happens to us when we believe.
We try out what happens when we don’t.
We go back and forth and notice the difference.
From feeling this difference, which is, as we’ve discovered, what real learning is about, we come to chose without chosing (when we are ready) to live the life of freedom from suffering and peace.
Judge your neighbor
Write it down
Ask 4 questions
Turn it around
That’s the basis: You don’t pretend nothing is bothering you if something is. You go ahead and judge whoever is bothering you.
And write it down, so it’s clear and concise and in black and white.
Almost always a “should” or a “shouldn’t” comes with the painful belief.
Write it down.
Then ask the four questions and write down your answers.
ONCE UPON A TIME I NEEDED TO GET FREE OF MY ANGER AT MY FATHER.
The story/ thought/ belief was that MY FATHER SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN SO CRITICAL OF ME.
Writing it down, as I’ve said slows the mind of all the secondary stories of he did this and he didn’t do that. I distills the judge to nine words.
Later I’ll realize: so much suffering from believing nine little words.
Ask four questions:
1 - - - Is it true that MY FATHER SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN SO CRITICAL OF ME?
I might want to say yes, but true is like if I drop a pencil is it true that it will fall the the ground.
The pencil doesn’t care what I think.
The story about my father, much as others might agree, it’s my thinking and their thinking that makes it seem true.
But is it true like gravity is true?
2 - - Is it absolutely true that MY FATHER SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN SO CRITICAL OF ME?
Absolutely cleans up the wiggle zones. It means, that in terms of how the whole Universe has been set up and run, I absolutely should have been in that small percentage of people without critical fathers.
3 - - - How do I react and feel and live when I belief the story that MY FATHER SHOULDN’T HAVE BEEN SO CRITICAL OF ME?
This one’s important to write down the results, the “laundry list”
For me it was a big basket full: anger, hurt, feeling cheated, reacting to authority in certain predicable ways, harsh with him, sarcastic with him, avoidant of him. Not at all kind and happy, that’s for sure.
And after you do this a bunch it starts to sink in: troublesome fathers, mothers, mates, friends and so on aren’t causing my suffering. My believing my story about them is.
And how to see that more clearly.
Try out the difference - - -
4 - - - Who or what would I believe without this thought, or without believing this thought?
Free. Curious. In love with the man.
Free from being hooked into what he does.
Free to be me. His problems and tortures are his business.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT LOVING/ LIKING THE PERSON AT THEIR BEST.
It’s about recalling them at their worst, and realizing/ trying out/ exploring how it feels to be you if you don’t have a should/ shouldn’t / belief/ story/ thought filter about how they need to be or need to have been different.
Let’s do it:
Loving Your Enemy Practice:
Find someone who really bugs you.
Write down three should or shouldn’t statements about them.
One at a time ask the four questions.
Go slowly and really listen to your heart, not your head.
Is it true?
Is it absolutely true?
How do I react when I believe the thought is true?
Who or what would I be without the thought or without believing the thought is true?
Write down each question, and write down your answers.
Go back and forth several times between 3 and 4.
Don’t demand of yourself that you “let go,” or that you “give up the belief.”
And do pay big attention to the difference, the choice you now have.
They say the truth will set you free. Find out.