Suffering is optional

Byron Katie cured herself from a severe depression with a simple, but profound insight: “I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional.”

That’s the message that Byron Katie has been teaching ever since. She developed a method that she calls “The Work”. The Work centers around four core questions that call for deep self-inquiry and that can be applied to all challenging situations:

  1. Is it true?
  2. If yes, can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, if you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

Then turn the thought around. Find at least three specific, genuine, examples of how each turnaround is true for you in this situation.

We may not have control over many situations in our lives—that’s where most suffering comes from—however through inquiry we can enter an area where we do have control: our thinking.

Byron Katie: “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, 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.”

When you question what you believe, you eventually come to see you’re the enlightenment you’ve been seeking. Until you can love what is—everything, including the apparent violence and craziness—you’re separate from the world and you’ll see it as dangerous and frightening.

This is a description of an article that appeared in the March 2008 issue of The Intelligent Optimist. Members can read the full article here. Non-members can become a member here.

Solution News Source

Suffering is optional

Byron Katie cured herself from a severe depression with a simple, but profound insight: “I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional.”

That’s the message that Byron Katie has been teaching ever since. She developed a method that she calls “The Work”. The Work centers around four core questions that call for deep self-inquiry and that can be applied to all challenging situations:

  1. Is it true?
  2. If yes, can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, if you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

Then turn the thought around. Find at least three specific, genuine, examples of how each turnaround is true for you in this situation.

We may not have control over many situations in our lives—that’s where most suffering comes from—however through inquiry we can enter an area where we do have control: our thinking.

Byron Katie: “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, 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.”

When you question what you believe, you eventually come to see you’re the enlightenment you’ve been seeking. Until you can love what is—everything, including the apparent violence and craziness—you’re separate from the world and you’ll see it as dangerous and frightening.

This is a description of an article that appeared in the March 2008 issue of The Intelligent Optimist. Members can read the full article here. Non-members can become a member here.

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