Exclusive interview with Byron Katie

In this issue, Byron Katie says that we should take reality as it is. But what about injustice? Are we supposed to sit back and let it happen? Byron Katie addresses these issues in our interview.

Ode Editors| March 2008 issue
In this issues article “Suffering is optional,” Byron Katie says that we should take reality as it is. But what about injustice? Are we supposed to sit back and let it happen?
Are you saying we should accept things as they are—even when there’s injustice —and stop arguing with reality?
Byron Katie: “Not at all. We can’t accept things as they are, as long as we believe that they should be different. We can try to think positively till we’re blue in the face, but beneath the thoughts we want to believe are the thoughts we are actually believing, thoughts such as ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘My husband should listen to me’ or ‘People shouldn’t suffer.’ When we question these stressful thoughts with the four questions and turnaround of The Work, we find our own truth. We begin to live in reality, not in our thoughts about reality. We begin to see that it’s possible to live without stress, anger, and sadness. And when we do, we become part of the solution, not part of the problem. Are you concerned about injustice? Where are you unjust in your own life? Take care of that first, by questioning your thoughts. The Work always leaves us kinder, happier human beings.”

Maybe The Work will leave me without stress, without problems. But isn’t that irresponsible? What if my 3-year-old child is starving? Won’t I see her from a position of no stress and think, “Well, that’s reality,” and just let her starve?
”Oh my! Sweetheart, love is kind; it doesn’t stand still and do nothing when it sees its own need. Do you really think that violent thoughts, such as the ones that come with problems, are necessary to feed a child? If your 3-year-old is starving, feed her, for your sake! How would it feel to provide for a starving child without stress or worry? Wouldn’t you be clearer about how and where to find the food that is available, and wouldn’t you feel elation and gratitude for it? Well, that’s how I live my life. I don’t need stress to do what I know to do; that’s not efficient, the way peace and sanity are. Love is action, and in my experience, reality is always kind.”
Some people feel empowered and feel a sense of well-being when they fight for what they think is right. Are they on the right path? Is their work giving them undue stress?
“I’ve heard people say that they cling to their painful thoughts because they’re afraid that without them they wouldn’t be activists for peace. ‘If I felt completely peaceful,’ they say, ‘why would I bother taking action at all?’ My answer is ‘Because that’s what love does.’ To think that we need sadness or outrage to motivate us to do what’s right is insane. As if the clearer and happier you get, the less kind you become. As if when someone finds freedom, she just sits around all day with drool running down her chin. My experience is the opposite. Love is action. It’s clear, it’s kind, it’s effortless, and it’s irresistible.
“If you have a problem with people or with the state of the world, I invite you to put your stressful thoughts on paper and question them, and to do it for the love of truth, not in order to save the world. Turn it around: Save your own world. Isn’t that why you want to save the world in the first place? So that you can be happy? Well, skip the middleman, and be happy from here! You’re it. You’re the one. In this turnaround you remain active, but there’s no fear in it, no internal war. So it ceases to be war trying to teach peace. War can’t teach peace. Only peace can.
“I don’t try to change the world—not ever. The world changes by itself, and I’m a part of that change. I’m absolutely, totally, a lover of what is. When people ask me for help, I say yes. We inquire, and they begin to end their suffering, and in that they begin to end the suffering of the world.
“I stand in my own truth and don’t presume to know what’s best for the planet. Knowing that the world is perfect doesn’t mean that you withdraw or stop doing what you know is right for you to do. If, for example, you’re concerned about the environment, please give us all the facts. Do a whole study of it, go to graduate school if you have to, help us out here. And if you talk to us clearly, without an agenda or any investment in the results, we can hear you, because you’re on our level. You’re not talking to us from a superior, I-know position. If you know that we’re all equal, that we’re all doing the best we can, you can be the most powerful activist on the planet.
“Love is the power. I know only one way to be an activist who can really penetrate the human race, and that is to give the facts, to tell your experience honestly, and to love without condition. You can’t convince the world of anything, even if it’s for the world’s own good, because eventually your righteousness will be seen through, and then you’re on a stage debating a corporate polluter, and you start pointing your finger in outrage. That’s what you’ve been hiding when you believe ‘I know what’s best for the planet.’
“When you attack a corporate official for destroying the atmosphere, however valid your information, do you think that he’ll be open to what you’re saying? You’re threatening him with your attitude, and the facts can get lost, because you’re coming from fear and righteous anger. All he’ll hear is that you think he’s doing it wrong, it’s his fault, and he’ll go into denial and resistance. But if you speak to him without stress, in total confidence that everything is just the way it should be in this very moment, you’ll be able to express yourself kindly, effectively, and with no fear about the future.
“Violence teaches only violence. Stress teaches stress. If you clean up your mental environment, we’ll clean up our physical one much more quickly. That’s how it works. And if you do that genuinely, without violence in your heart, without anger, without pointing at corporations as the enemy, then people begin to notice. We begin to listen and notice that change through peace is possible. It has to begin with one person. If you’re not the one, who is?”
Is your house now cluttered with socks?
“Not at all. One day in 1986, after The Work was alive in me, I realized that it simply wasn’t true that my children should pick up their socks. I saw that I was the one who should pick up the socks if I wanted them picked up. My children were perfectly happy with their socks on the floor. Who had the problem? It was me. It was my thoughts about the socks on the floor that had made my life difficult, not the socks themselves. And who had the solution? Again, me. I realized that I could be right, or I could be free. It took just a few moments for me to pick up the socks, without any thought of my children. And an amazing thing began to happen. I realized that I loved picking up their socks. It was for me, not for them. It stopped being a chore in that moment, and it became a pleasure to pick them up and see the uncluttered floor. Eventually, they noticed my pleasure and began to pick up their socks on their own, without my having to say anything. I have had 21 years of sock-free floors (and my children tell me that they have too).”
 

Solution News Source

Exclusive interview with Byron Katie

In this issue, Byron Katie says that we should take reality as it is. But what about injustice? Are we supposed to sit back and let it happen? Byron Katie addresses these issues in our interview.

Ode Editors| March 2008 issue
In this issues article “Suffering is optional,” Byron Katie says that we should take reality as it is. But what about injustice? Are we supposed to sit back and let it happen?
Are you saying we should accept things as they are—even when there’s injustice —and stop arguing with reality?
Byron Katie: “Not at all. We can’t accept things as they are, as long as we believe that they should be different. We can try to think positively till we’re blue in the face, but beneath the thoughts we want to believe are the thoughts we are actually believing, thoughts such as ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘My husband should listen to me’ or ‘People shouldn’t suffer.’ When we question these stressful thoughts with the four questions and turnaround of The Work, we find our own truth. We begin to live in reality, not in our thoughts about reality. We begin to see that it’s possible to live without stress, anger, and sadness. And when we do, we become part of the solution, not part of the problem. Are you concerned about injustice? Where are you unjust in your own life? Take care of that first, by questioning your thoughts. The Work always leaves us kinder, happier human beings.”

Maybe The Work will leave me without stress, without problems. But isn’t that irresponsible? What if my 3-year-old child is starving? Won’t I see her from a position of no stress and think, “Well, that’s reality,” and just let her starve?
”Oh my! Sweetheart, love is kind; it doesn’t stand still and do nothing when it sees its own need. Do you really think that violent thoughts, such as the ones that come with problems, are necessary to feed a child? If your 3-year-old is starving, feed her, for your sake! How would it feel to provide for a starving child without stress or worry? Wouldn’t you be clearer about how and where to find the food that is available, and wouldn’t you feel elation and gratitude for it? Well, that’s how I live my life. I don’t need stress to do what I know to do; that’s not efficient, the way peace and sanity are. Love is action, and in my experience, reality is always kind.”
Some people feel empowered and feel a sense of well-being when they fight for what they think is right. Are they on the right path? Is their work giving them undue stress?
“I’ve heard people say that they cling to their painful thoughts because they’re afraid that without them they wouldn’t be activists for peace. ‘If I felt completely peaceful,’ they say, ‘why would I bother taking action at all?’ My answer is ‘Because that’s what love does.’ To think that we need sadness or outrage to motivate us to do what’s right is insane. As if the clearer and happier you get, the less kind you become. As if when someone finds freedom, she just sits around all day with drool running down her chin. My experience is the opposite. Love is action. It’s clear, it’s kind, it’s effortless, and it’s irresistible.
“If you have a problem with people or with the state of the world, I invite you to put your stressful thoughts on paper and question them, and to do it for the love of truth, not in order to save the world. Turn it around: Save your own world. Isn’t that why you want to save the world in the first place? So that you can be happy? Well, skip the middleman, and be happy from here! You’re it. You’re the one. In this turnaround you remain active, but there’s no fear in it, no internal war. So it ceases to be war trying to teach peace. War can’t teach peace. Only peace can.
“I don’t try to change the world—not ever. The world changes by itself, and I’m a part of that change. I’m absolutely, totally, a lover of what is. When people ask me for help, I say yes. We inquire, and they begin to end their suffering, and in that they begin to end the suffering of the world.
“I stand in my own truth and don’t presume to know what’s best for the planet. Knowing that the world is perfect doesn’t mean that you withdraw or stop doing what you know is right for you to do. If, for example, you’re concerned about the environment, please give us all the facts. Do a whole study of it, go to graduate school if you have to, help us out here. And if you talk to us clearly, without an agenda or any investment in the results, we can hear you, because you’re on our level. You’re not talking to us from a superior, I-know position. If you know that we’re all equal, that we’re all doing the best we can, you can be the most powerful activist on the planet.
“Love is the power. I know only one way to be an activist who can really penetrate the human race, and that is to give the facts, to tell your experience honestly, and to love without condition. You can’t convince the world of anything, even if it’s for the world’s own good, because eventually your righteousness will be seen through, and then you’re on a stage debating a corporate polluter, and you start pointing your finger in outrage. That’s what you’ve been hiding when you believe ‘I know what’s best for the planet.’
“When you attack a corporate official for destroying the atmosphere, however valid your information, do you think that he’ll be open to what you’re saying? You’re threatening him with your attitude, and the facts can get lost, because you’re coming from fear and righteous anger. All he’ll hear is that you think he’s doing it wrong, it’s his fault, and he’ll go into denial and resistance. But if you speak to him without stress, in total confidence that everything is just the way it should be in this very moment, you’ll be able to express yourself kindly, effectively, and with no fear about the future.
“Violence teaches only violence. Stress teaches stress. If you clean up your mental environment, we’ll clean up our physical one much more quickly. That’s how it works. And if you do that genuinely, without violence in your heart, without anger, without pointing at corporations as the enemy, then people begin to notice. We begin to listen and notice that change through peace is possible. It has to begin with one person. If you’re not the one, who is?”
Is your house now cluttered with socks?
“Not at all. One day in 1986, after The Work was alive in me, I realized that it simply wasn’t true that my children should pick up their socks. I saw that I was the one who should pick up the socks if I wanted them picked up. My children were perfectly happy with their socks on the floor. Who had the problem? It was me. It was my thoughts about the socks on the floor that had made my life difficult, not the socks themselves. And who had the solution? Again, me. I realized that I could be right, or I could be free. It took just a few moments for me to pick up the socks, without any thought of my children. And an amazing thing began to happen. I realized that I loved picking up their socks. It was for me, not for them. It stopped being a chore in that moment, and it became a pleasure to pick them up and see the uncluttered floor. Eventually, they noticed my pleasure and began to pick up their socks on their own, without my having to say anything. I have had 21 years of sock-free floors (and my children tell me that they have too).”
 

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