“Judge your neighbor, Write it down, ask four questions, turn it around.” – Byron Katie
It sounds so simple.
And it is. But it isn’t.
I’m not a facilitator of The Work, though one day I might be. Right now, I’m a practitioner and fan. I want to have an introductory post on the blog, a little about it, but the perfect place to go to learn what it is is TheWork.com. There are videos, great explanations, the Judge your Neighbor Worksheet, plus other helpful tools there.
But in future posts I’ll be sharing many of the stressful beliefs around writing that come up for me. Thoughts like:
- I should write more
- I should have written today
- I don’t have anything to say
- I don’t know what to write
- I’m not a real writer
- I can’t write poems
- I’m not artistic
And there are hundreds more where those came from. Because we think over 6,000 of thoughts a day.
And you can’t stop them. Well, not while living.
But you CAN question them.
You can snag a thought out of the ether of your mind – an especially prickly one with stingers and Velcro-like burrs – and pin it down (usually on paper) and ask it a few things.
Specifically, these 4 things:
- Is it true?
- Can I absolutely know it’s true?
- How do I react when I believe the thought?
- Who or what would I be without the thought?
After you ask, you have to listen. You have to get quiet and pay attention. You can’t assume you know the answer. You can’t tell yourself what you think you’re supposed to say. See how you’re back in ‘think?’ Assume, think – you stopped listening. Just like that. This requires moment by moment stillness.
The first thing you notice is how quiet the thought gets. It’s still got the burrs and stingers. They’re just not pricking you. Squeeze too much and it will, so just hold it loosely.
When you ask Is it true?, the answer is only yes or no. Not yes, because. Not no, but. Yes or no. For you right now.
‘Because’ and ‘but’ take us back into story and out of this moment.
Then ask, Can you absolutely know it’s true? Can you really, really know for certain it is really and truly true? This one is my favorite. It’s amazing how many things we think are true.
Next, watch yourself when you believe the thought. This is question #3, How do I react when I believe the thought?
Watch how you feel in your body. How you treat yourself. What you do to others. Do you get in other people’s business? Push them away? Punish yourself?
Then ask, Who would I be without the thought? Really see this. It’s hard. Often my first answer is I don’t know. Because when you truly believe the thought, that’s all you’ve experienced. You haven’t experienced anything but that thought.
But stay with it because this is where the opening can occur.
I usually say the opposite of how I feel when I believe it. If believing a thought, I feel stressed, then who I would be without it? I’d feel calm and unstressed. Sit with this sensation. If you’re unstressed in that situation, who would you be?
I like one of Katie’s questions she often asks at this point: Other than what you are thinking and believing, are you okay? If that’s too hard to answer, how about: Other than what you’re thinking and believing, are your hands okay? Your feet? Are you breathing?
Almost always, you’re okay. Other than what you’re thinking and believing.
Then you turn around the original statement. Here is where you find the reality that’s been there all along, but you were too swarmed by your thoughts to see it.
So, if my original thought was, I should have written more today – and I didn’t – the turnaround is I should not have written more today. Is this true? Yes, because it’s what happened. How do I know it should have happened? Because it did.
Welcome to reality, as Katie says.
Another turn around to try on: I should have written less today. Also, could be true. Maybe, maybe not, but what I see is that I could have written less and then I’m thankful for what I did write.
And thankfulness and acceptance of reality are way more peaceful places then the land of Should.
This way I let go of the stinging burr of judgment. I unpin the painful thought and it floats away.
I am in this moment here and now, that thought released, me fine with the reality of what is real. The past is over, and I don’t have to repeat it.
Katie has more questions and truths that dig deeper into the 4 questions. You really should watch her videos, especially the ones on YouTube of her sitting on stage with someone doing a worksheet. You see how it works by watching the process.
And if you’ve got a similar worksheet to the person with Katie, you’ll end up doing your own work alongside them.
The simplicity of this process combined with the focus on just one thought is powerful for finding and releasing stressful beliefs.
Think about it. Other than what you’re thinking and believing, are you okay?
Writing by StockSnap from Pixabay
Write by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay
Still life by Лариса Мозговая from Pixabay