Byron Katie

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Doing The Work

In my interview with Byron Katie (which you should read before posting here), she mentioned:

Byron Katie Interview

By Jeff Walsh

Two years ago, I saw a notice for a book event by Byron Katie, whom I had never heard of prior to receiving that bookstore e-mail. I'm always game to hear new voices, and the name of her then-new book, "I Need Your Love -- Is That True?: How to Stop Seeking Love, Approval, and Appreciation and Start Finding Them Instead" was certainly intriguing. So, I showed up early for the lunchtime event in San Francisco's financial district. I grabbed a copy of her book, figuring I'd decide during the event if I were going to buy it and get it signed after she spoke.

The chairs slowly filled up, and people from the bookstore started passing out "Judge Your Neighbor" worksheets, in case we wanted to do "The Work" with Katie during the event. People around me whip out their pens and are all excited for the opportunity. "Are you going to do The Work," the man next to me asks. I told him I don't know what he's talking about. He smiles and says I'll know soon enough.

Finally, the place is standing room only and Byron Katie appears, except there seems to be some communal understanding that she is just "Katie" to everyone. Her presence is so at ease and embracing, my first impression was that whatever she uses to get to that place, sign me up.

Insights From A Thousand Names For Joy

By Byron Katie

The truth is that there's no such thing as enlightenment. No one is permanently enlightened; that would be the story of a future. There's only enlightenment in the moment. Do you believe a stressful thought? Then you're confused. Do you realize that the thought isn't true? Then you're enlightened to it. It's as simple as that.

All suffering is mental. It has nothing to do with the body or with a person's circumstances. You can be in great pain without any suffering at all. How do you know you're supposed to be in pain? Because that's what's happening. To live without a stressful story, to be a lover of what is, even in pain -- that's heaven. To be in pain and believe that you shouldn't be in pain -- that's hell.

When the mind is clear, life becomes very simple. I have the thought to stand up and do the dishes. I notice a sense of profound excitement as the body rises with this thought. How childlike it is as it moves to the kitchen, to the sink. I turn the handle, experience the water on my hands, pour some liquid soap onto a sponge. Amazing. It's not ever about doing the dishes, until I hold one and see it change from crusted or sticky to wet and soapy, to shiny, to dry, so that it can serve again. Everything changes. I never know what anything is going to be. Without believing any thought of a future, there's no way of knowing what is me and what is the plate, the soap, the water, the world of bubbles and shine.

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