Shining World

Jivan Rethmeier
Coaching & Training

The Work -  Byron Katie 

Citaten Byron Katie


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Caring

THE POWER OF
LOVE

Who would you be in people's presence without the story that anyone should care about you, ever? You would be love itself. When you believe this myth that people should care, you lose caring about people and about yourself. Love can't come from "out there"; it can only come from inside you. The way that I know that is because it does.

I was once walking in the desert with a man who began to have a stroke. We sat down, and he said, "Oh, my God, I'm dying, do something." I just sat there beside him, loving him, looking into his eyes, knowing that we were miles from a phone or car. He said, "You don't even care, do you?" I said, "No." He was talking through one side of his mouth because the other side had become paralyzed, and when I said no, he started to laugh, and I did, too. And then his faculties returned. The stroke came to pass, not to stay. This is the power of love. I wouldn't leave him for a caring.

Centered in reality

DANGER HAPPENS ONLY IN THE
FUTURE AND THE
 FUTURE NEVER
COMES

If you're centered in reality, you can go where you wish without danger. It's not an act of courage. There's no risk involved, because danger happens only in the future, and the future can never come.

Nothing is ultimately real, so when people talk about violence, I notice the violence that they're using, right now, against reality. Why would you be afraid of reality? Reality is benign for those who can see clearly.

I am free to walk anywhere in the world, with anyone, at any time. I can't project danger. There are no limitations to where I go. I love going, because I love what I travel with. Sanity doesn't suffer, ever.

A clear mind is beautiful and sees only its own reflection. It bows in humility to itself; it falls at its own feet. It doesn't add anything or subtract anything; it simply knows the difference between what's real and what's not. And because of this, danger isn't a possibility.

A lover of what is looks forward to everything: life, death, disease, loss, earthquakes, bombs, anything the mind might be tempted to call "bad".  Life will bring us everything we need, to show us what we haven't undone yet. Nothing outside ourselves can make us suffer. Except for our unquestioned thoughts, every place is paradise.

Children

WHY WOULD I GIVE MY CHILDREN ADVICE WHEN I CAN'T
POSSIBLY KNOW WHAT'S BEST FOR THEM?

It's painful to think you know what's best for your children. It's hopeless. When you think that you need to protect them, you're teaching anxiety and dependence. But when you question your mind and learn how not to be mentally in your children's business, finally there's an example in the house: someone who knows how to live a happy life.

They notice that you have your act together and that you're happy, so they start to follow. You have taught them everything they know about anxiety and dependence, and now they begin to learn something else, something about what freedom looks like.

That's what happened with my children. They just don't see a lot of problems anymore, because in the presence of someone who doesn't have a problem, they can't hold on to one.

If your happiness depends on your children being happy, that makes them your hostages. I think I'll just skip them, and be happy from here. That's a lot saner. It's called unconditional love.

Why would I give my children advice when I can't possibly know what I want; if it brings them unhappiness, that's what I want, because they learn from that what I could never teach them. I celebrate the way of it, and they trust that, and I trust it. 

CHILD-ABUSE

We'll do anything for love. And we are confused - we say they did it to us. But we didn't run away. And if we did, we didn't run away again, and if we did, we didn’t run away after that. We didn't say no, some of us. We were too frightened, because we wanted something. First we wanted security, second comfort; and then, when we get  that all controlled, we wanted pleasure. And all pleasure is pain. Self-love is as good as it's ever going to get. but that's what the little boy or girl was up to. "I will do ANYTHING for love."

I often say, if I had a prayer, it would be this: "God spare me from the desire for love, approval, or appreciation. Amen".

WE'RE ALL FIVE-YEAR-OLDS - WE DON'T KNOW
HOW TO DO THIS THING CALLED LIFE - WE 'RE
JUST LEARNING HOW

IF YOU THINK YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO LOVE
YOUR CHILDREN YOU'RE IN
BIG TROUBLE

It just sets you up for shame and guilt. You're not supposed to love your children until you do. How do you react when you believe the thought that you're supposed to love them? Fear, depression, resentment, self-hatred. Maybe you feel like a freak, like there's something terribly wrong with you, some essential ingredient missing.

Who would you be without the belief that you're supposed to love your children right now? You'd be free to love them or not, and to be a very good parent, whatever you're feeling right now. Then you could find your love, you could hear them now, you could be with them now, and you wouldn't have to do anything or be  anything. Inquiry frees us from trying to be anything we're not.

MY CHILDREN SHOULD
BE HAPPY

They should be happy so that I can be happy? That doesn't sound like love to me. I think I'll  just skip them and be happy from here. It's a lot saner. It's called unconditional love.

TO WANT MY CHILDREN'S APPROVAL
WOULD BE TO RAPE
THEIR MINDS

What's true for me is that in no way do I want my children's approval. That would assume I don't have it anyway. To want their approval would be to rape their minds. It would be to direct their minds to me when their minds are directed to where they're supposed to be.

My job is to stay out of my children's business and to love them instead.

DO CHILDREN UNDERSTAND THE WORK?
ABSOLUTELY. THERE ARE
ONLY CONCEPTS

There are no adults, there are no children. Concepts are ageless. Here's what children say: "My father should understand me." "My friends should listen to me." "Mommy shouldn't fight with Daddy." "I want you to love me." By the time they're four or five, children believe exactly the same stressful thoughts that adults believe. There are no new concepts. Children are just as confused as adults.  

WHAT WE ALL WANT FROM OUR PARENTS: JUST SOMEONE
TO HEAR US AND UNDERSTAND

My children tell me what they want all the time. And I just hear them. What does that have to do with me? They're just expressing their wants. Those wants are their property. I have mine, and they have theirs.

When they give me their wants, can I just listen, without thinking it's about me? That's what we all want from our parents: just someone to hear us and understand. We may think we want other things, but that's what we really want.

BABIES AREN'T BORN INTO THE WORLD OF ILLUSION
UNTIL THEY ATTACH WORDS TO THINGS

When you're clear, it's great fun to observe that. I love being with my grandbabies, I love hearing what I teach them: "That's a tree." "That's a sky." "I love you." "You're Grandma's precious angel." All these lies, and I'm having a wonderful time telling them. If I'm creating problems for my grandchildren, they can question their stressful thoughts when they grow up. I am joy. I'm not going to censor any of it.

MY CHILDREN SOULD PICK UP
THEIR SOCKS

People often ask me if I had a religion before 1986, and I say yes - it was "My children should pick up their socks." This was my religion, and I was totally devoted to it, even though it never worked. Then one day, after The Work was alive in me, I realized that it simply wasn't true. The reality was that day after day, they left their socks on the floor, after all my years of preaching and nagging and punishing  them. 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.  

NO ONE HAS EVER
HEARD YOU

Here's how a child listens: you tell him something, and he puts his own interpretation on what you said. That's what he hears. No one has ever heard you.  

I'M A LISTENER - I GO INSIDE
AND UNDERSTAND

If one of my children were to say, "I hate you," I would say, "Let me be with that a minute. I understand - look how I treated you all  those years. I understand that. What can I do? What do you suggest?" If her or she said, "Screw you with your spiritual talk! I never want to see you again," I wouldn't say lovingly, "I understand."  I'm a listener. I go inside and understand. I don't have to share that understanding with them at that point. If I said, 'I love you," it would be like taking a knife and sticking it into their heart.  

 I LOVE YOU AND I DON'T KNOW
HOW TO DO IT

Your child says you're stupid. He could be right! I can go there. Who knows how to raise a child? All of us are pretty stupid about that. All he said is that you're stupid - why would you argue with that? Who would be stupid enough to argue with someone they love, if they had another way?

You could just say, "Sweetheart, what do you suggest? I do feel stupid. I love you and I don't know how to do it." That's the truth of it. We'd all act intelligently if we knew how. And that's the power of this Work - living the turnarounds, living the answers that we find here. You could go home and say to your son, "You've been telling me I'm stupid, and I found it. I was the last to know. And what I'm stupid about is that I don't know how to love you. I need your help. I want to hear you. "

YOU CAN'T DO IT WRONG
I PROMISE YOU THAT"

When my children ask me what they should do, I say, "I don't know, honey." Or, "here's what I did in a similar situation, and it worked for me. And you can always know that I'm here to listen and that I'm always going to love you, whatever decision you make. You'll know what to do. And also, sweetheart, you can't do it wrong. I promise you that." I finally learned to tell my children the truth.

WHO WOULD YOU BE WITHOUT THE
STORY "I WANT THEM TO
LOVE ME"

How do you treat your children when you want them to love you and they don't? Can you see any reason that isn't stressful to want them to love you, or to want anyone on this planet to love you?

If I have the thought that I want my children to love me, it isn't love. I want them to love whomever they love - I may as well, because that's what they do. I can't redirect it. I'm not a fool anymore. And people call that love, but I'm just a lover of what is. And I know the joy of loving, so I don't care how they direct it.

Who would you be without the story "I want them to love me"? To love your children is to love yourself. To love yourself it to love your children. The story "I want them to love me" just keeps you from the awareness of love.

CHILDREN SHOULD LOVE
THEIR PARENTS - IS
IT TRUE?

That concept didn't work for me, so I gave it up. If it hurts, I give it up. I live internally. I always have. It's just that now I notice. My children should love me? Not ever. I should love my children: let me live the theory, especially when they don't call. If I want to hear my daughter, I call her, I hear her voice. I do it for my sake; she has nothing to do with it. I call, I get my daughter-fix, I am nourished, I hang up. I love when I do that.

WHOSE BUSINESS ARE MY
CHILDREN? THEIR
BUSINESS!

When we're mentally out of our children's business, we have a shot at happiness, and so do they, because finally there's an example in the house.

How can you have rules and still stay out of your children's business? Drop the rules and find out! You'll find that your children, on their own, will live every rule you've ever taught them, and some of them you may not like. They are a perfect reflection of you. They turned out to be you.

Ultimately, you don't have any control over your children. You don't have any control over anything. When you think you should and you see that you don't, the effect is depression.

 IS IT TRUE THAT YOUR CHILDREN SHOULD
BE GRATEFUL THAT YOU WERE
SUCH A GOOD PARENT?

How do you treat them when they don't remember what a loving parent you've been? What do you say to them when they forget that you love them so unconditionally? How do you treat them when you want them to remember  and be grateful and they want nothing to do with it? Offended? Hurt? Are you beginning to understand why they're not that crazy about you sometimes?

This is our religion: "My children should be grateful." Turn it around: "I should be grateful that I was such good parent." And be with that. It doesn’t matter what the reason was; you were there when they were sick, you were there when they were well, you got them to school, you went to their performances, you read to them, you gave them birthday parties. It's not their job to be grateful, or even to remember. If you want a past, you keep it!  

WHO WOULD YOU BE IN THE PRESENCE OF YOUR CHILD
IF YOU DIDN'T BELIEVE THE THOUGHT THAT IN THE
PAST YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE HIT HER?

You think that guilt and shame are going to prevent you from hitting her again, but it's the opposite: you're using guilt and shame as weapons on yourself, you're causing internal violence to keep yourself from violence. It's internal violence to shame and blame yourself.

If you don't believe the thought that you shouldn't have hit her, you aren't living in internal violence. We're not talking about right and wrong here. With the thoughts that you were acting out of at the time, weren't you doing the best you could? How do you know you should have hit her? You did. How did it feel? Not good. That's how you know you violated yourself. When you hit her, you are hitting yourself. She really is God in human form, here to teach you that.

WHEN YOU'RE IN PRESENCE THERE'S NO STORY
AND YOU ARE ABUNDANCE

When you stay present with your children, that's where abundance is. And when you stay out of their business, that's where everything you deserve in life is. When you're in presence, there's no story, and you are abundance; everything you ever wanted is here in this moment, and you come to trust it. And you come to trust that space so often that you just eventually hang out as that, because there is nothing that can move you out of it, not even a perceived child or a perceived anything.

ASK YOUR CHILD TO READ HIS OR
HER WORKSHEET
TO YOU

Here's a very sweet way to communicate at home: just ask your child to read his or her worksheet to you. There's no right or wrong here; this is communication. And after every statement, just say "Thank you." Nothing more. Love is a listener. This is about receiving. There's nothing more powerful than just to receive your daughter or son now. That is the giving; there's nothing more precious.

Did you take in every one of the statements? Did you find where it was true? How many times did you want to defend yourself? What does your child's opinion have to do with you? This is the end of war, inside your child, and therefore inside you.

IT'S NOT OKAY FOR MET
TO YELL AT MY SON

I noticed that it's not okay for me to yell at my son. It has nothing to do with the world's morality. So if I were ever angry at him, I would judge him, write it down, ask four questions, turn it around, and notice that he's not my problem - I am my problem. My children really love that I have this Work!

I DON'T HAVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH MY CHILDREN
ANYMORE - I HAVE INTIMACY INSTEAD

TWO MEN TRYING TO CONNECT
NOT KNOWING ANOTHER WAY

One day a few years after I first found The Work inside me, my sons began to fight in our living room. I was sitting on the couch, very close to them. They were two grown men, in their twenties, and here they were on the floor wrestling and pummeling each other and yelling, "Mom, Mom, make him stop!" All I saw were two men trying to connect, not knowing another way.

I sat there just watching them, just loving them, and in that moment I didn't have the slightest thought of intervening. There was no doing, no trickery to it. And suddenly they noticed, and they stopped fighting. I loved that they found their own solution. That was the last time they ever fought.

YOUR CHILDREN ARE THERE TO
GIVE YOU YOUR FREEDOM

They are God disguised as your children, giving you everything you need. You have a great thing to work with. You have what I had to work with: my ex-husband, my mother, my children - and it was all me.

WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN - THERE'S NOTHING
WE CAN DO ABOUT THAT - SO
WE MAY AS WELL
SUCCUMB

And in that, they come to realize that they love us. There's nothing they can do about it, and they may as well succumb. I love that my grown children will still come into my arms, and that didn't happen until after 1986; it hadn't happened since they were young. Today it's the norm for them to come into my arms. We forget the age thing; we're just going for something else, the truth. It's nice to sit across from my children with no words, and be closer than close, closer than can be described.

TO GIVE MY SON BACK
HIMSELF - THAT'S LOVE

I can be with my son and say, "Sweetheart, I see your pain. What can I do? I love you. If you can see a role for me to take here, to help you in any way, I'll do it. I love you. I'm here." And then I can hold him. But fear can't end fear. My pain can't end his pain.

And if he says, "Oh no, Mom, you can't  help me. Go away," then I hear him. Good. How clear is that! So I go away. That leaves him to heal himself. He's with the master. I don't teach him that I'm the source of his happiness. That would be crazy. What would happen when I die? He'd lose the source of his happiness. To give him back himself - that's love.

Clarity

WHEN I AM CLEAR,
I SEE ONLY
BEAUTY

The world is as you perceive it to be. For me, clarity is a word for beauty. It's what I am. And when I'm clear, I see only beauty. Nothing else is possible. I am mind perceiving my thoughts, and everything unfolds from that, as if it were a new solar system pouring itself out in its delight.

If I'm not clear, then I'm going to project all my craziness out onto the world, AS the world, and I'll perceive a crazy world and think that it is the problem.

We've been working on the projected image for thousands of years and not on the projector. That's why life seems to be chaotic. It's chaos telling chaos how to live differently, and never noticing that it has always lived that way and that we have been going about it backward, absolutely backward.

So you don't drop your thoughts of chaos and suffering out there in the apparent world. You CAN'T drop them, because you didn't make them in the first place. But when you meet your thoughts with understanding, the world changes. It has to change, because the projector of the entire world is you. You're It!

Client

NOTICE WHEN YOU STRAY FROM
INQUIRY AND BEGIN TO
CROSSTALK

Remember that The Work works when you answer the questions deeply, slowly, and authentically. Your answers are the power of The Work. Defense, justification, and making assumptions are not answers. It is your job to let your partner know that you want The Work, not therapy, chit-chat, or advice. Be clear, fearless, and genuine.

Commitment

A COMMITMENT IS YOUR TRUTH AND
THERE'S NO HIGHER AND
NO LOWER

You are committing yourself to your own truth. "I love, honor, and obey you; and I may change my mind." That's as good as it gets. I'm married only to God - reality. That's where my commitment is, for better or for worse It can't be to a particular person. And my husband wouldn't want it any other way. so unless we marry the truth, there's no real marriage.

COMMITMENT IS A WONDERFUL PATH
IT HAPPENS ONE MOMENT
AT A TIME

A commitment is my truth in the moment. And if I want commitment, I'm going  to find it only inside myself right now. If I want someone else to be committed to me or if I want to be committed to someone else, it's hopeless, because it's personality committing to personality. And personalities don't love, they want something. When I commit to something, I follow it through, and I reserve the right to change my mind.

Commitment is a wonderful path. It happens one moment at a time. I promise in one moment, and then in another moment I may change my mind. I keep my word until I don't. and people tell me that in their experience I do keep my commitments. If someone says that I didn't, I say, "Isn't that interesting! I changed my mind, or really IT changed. I'm not doing it; it's doing me. I can see that you really believe that I should have kept my commitment. It changed. And, if we wait, it could change back." And it could. I'm not doing it.

Compassion

LOVE JOINS EVERYTHING… IT
DOESN’T EXCLUDE THE
MONSTER

If someone were knifed in front of me, what would compassion look like? I would do everything within my power to help, of course, but to think that this shouldn’t be happening would be to argue with reality. That’s  not efficient.

If I cared, I couldn’t be the intimacy that I am. A caring would move me away from the real, would separate me from the one who is stabbed and from the one with the knife, and I am everything. To exclude anything that appears in your universe is not love. Love joins with everything. It doesn’t exclude the monster. It doesn’t avoid the nightmare… it looks forward to it, because, like it or not, it may happen, if only in your mind. There’s no way that I would let caring interfere with what I experience as my very own self. It has to include every cell, every atom. It IS every cell and every atom. There is no "also.”

When something feels right, I do it; I live my life out of THAT caring. That’s how I contribute to life…. By picking up the trash on the sidewalk, by recycling, sitting with the homeless, sitting with the wealthy, helping people who are deeply confused question their thinking.  I love what is and how it changes through my hands and yours. It’s wonderful to be so available to change what I can, and for it to be effortless, always. 

CAN YOU BE THERE FOR ME WITHOUT
PUTTING YOUR SUFFERING
BETWEEN US?

Some people think that compassion means feeling another person’s pain. That’s nonsense. It’s not possible to feel another person’s pain. You imagine what you’d feel if you were in that person’s shoes, and you feel your own projection.

Who would you be without your story? Pain-free, happy, and totally available if someone needs you… a listener, a teacher in the house, a Buddha in the house, the one who lives it.

As long as you think there’s a you and a me, let’s get the bodies straight. What I love about separate bodies is that when you hurt, I don’t … it’s not my turn. And when I hurt, you don’t.

Can you be there for me without putting your own suffering between us? Your suffering can’t show me the way. Suffering can only teach suffering.

HOW CAN YOU WANT FOR OTHERS
WHAT YOU WON’T GIVE
TO YOURSELF?

What does compassion look like? At a funeral, just eat the cake. You don’t have to know what to do. It’s revealed to you. Someone comes into your arms, and the kind words speak themselves; you’re not doing it. Compassion isn’t a doing. Whether or not you’re suffering over their suffering, you’re standing or you’re sitting. But one way you’re comfortable, the other way you’re not.

You don’t have to feel bad to act kindly. On the contrary: the less you suffer, the kinder you naturally become. And if compassion means wanting others to be free of suffering, how can you want for others what you won’t give to yourself?

Concepts

EVERY STORY, PRIOR TO INVESTIGATION,
HIDES THE TRUTH FROM
VIEW

In many cases, the statement APPEARS to be true. Of course it does. Your concepts are based on a lifetime of beliefs upheld by uninvestigated evidence.

After I woke up to reality in 1986, I noticed many times how people, in conversations, the media, and books, made statements such as "There isn't enough understanding in the world",  "There's too much violence",  "We should love one another more". These were stories I used to believe, too. They seemed sensitive, kind, and caring, but as I heard them, I noticed that believing them caused a stress and concern that didn't feel peaceful inside me.

For instance, when I heard the story "People should be more loving",  the question would arise in me "Can I absolutely know that that's true? Can I really know for myself, within myself, that people should be more loving?  Even if the whole world tells me so, is it really true?" And to my amazement, when I listened within myself, I saw that the world is what it is… nothing more, nothing less. Where reality is concerned, there IS no "what should be".  There is only what is, just the way it is, right now. The truth is prior to every story. And every story, prior to investigation, hides the truth from view.

Now I could finally ask of every potentially uncomfortable story, "Can I absolutely know that it's true?" And the answer, like the question, was an experience: 'No'. I would stand rooted in that answer… solitary, peaceful, free.

How could 'no' be the right answer?  Everyone I knew, and all the books, said that the answer should be yes. But I came to see that the truth is itself and will not be dictated to by anyone. In the presence of that inner 'no', I came to see that the world is always as it should be, whether I opposed it or not. And I came to embrace reality with all my heart. I love the world, without any conditions. 

WE'RE NOT ATTACHED TO PEOPLE
WE'RE ATTACHED TO
CONCEPTS

As long as you believe any concept, you're going to impose it onto your husband, your wife, your lover, your children. Sooner or later, when you don't get what you want from them or when they threaten what you think you have, you're going to impose this concept onto them, until you meet it with some understanding. This is not a guess - this is what we do. We're not attached to people; we're attached to concepts.

Connection

YOU CAN'T NOT CONNECT
WITH THE OTHER

You think that because there are two separate bodies, as it appears, there are two separate minds. Without the stressful thoughts that separate us from one another, there is only one mind, and it's everywhere. Bodies can't be connected; you can only connect with your own mind, and it encompasses the other and all of us.

Connection can only be made from inside you. You can't connect with the other. There's no point in trying, because you're already connected. You can only connect with yourself and come to see how that connects you with the other.

EVERYTHING IS EQUAL - THERE IS NO
THIS SOUL OR THAT SOUL -
THERE'S ONLY ONE

That's the last story. There's only one. and not even that. It doesn't matter how you attempt to be disconnected, it's not a possibility. Any thought you believe is an attempt to break the connection. But it's only an attempt; it can 't be done. That's why it feels so uncomfortable.

Control

DON'T BE CAREFUL - YOU COULD HURT YOURSELF

Being present means living without control and always having your needs met. For people who are tired of the pain, nothing could be worse than trying to control what can't be controlled. If you want real control, drop the illusion of control. Let life live you. It does anyway. You're just telling the story about how it doesn't, and that's a story that can never be real.

You didn't make the rain or the sun or the moon. You have no control over your lungs or your heart or your vision or your breath. One minute you're fine and healthy, the next minute you're not. When you try to be safe, you live your life being very, very careful, and you may wind up having no life at all. Everything is nourishment. Don't be careful - you could hurt yourself.

WE'VE NEVER HAD CONTROL - WE SOMETIMES
ONLY HAVE THE ILLUSION
OF CONTROL

How do we respond to a world that seems out of control? The world seems that way because it IS out of control - the sun rises whether we want it to or not, the toaster breaks, someone cuts you off on your way to work. We've never had control. We have the ILLUSION of control when things go the way we think they should. And when they don't, we say we've lost control, and we long for some sort of enlightened state beyond all this, where we imagine we'll have control again. But what we really want is peace. We think that by having control or becoming "enlightened" (and no one knows what that means) we'll find peace.

Before I woke up to reality in 1986, I had a symbol for that: my children's socks. Every morning they would be on the floor, and every morning I would have the thought, "My children should pick up their socks".  It was my religion. You could say that my world was accelerating out of control - in my mind there were socks everywhere. And I would be filled with rage and depression because I believed that these socks didn't belong on the floor (even though, morning after morning, that's where they were) and that it was my children's job to pick them up (even though, morning after morning, they didn't). I use the symbol of socks, but you might find that for you the same thoughts apply to the environment or politics or money. We think that these things should be different than they are right now, and we suffer because we believe our thoughts.

THROUGH INQUIRY WE ENTER THE AREA
WHERE WE DO HAVE CONTROL:
OUR THINKING

Inquiry helps the suffering mind move out of its arguments with reality. It helps us move into alignment with constant change. After all, the change is happening anyway, whether we like it or not. Everything changes, it seems. But when we're attached to our thoughts about how that change should look, being out of control feels uncomfortable.

Through inquiry, we enter the area where we do have control: our thinking. We question our thoughts about the ways in which the world seems to have gone crazy, for example. And we come to see that the craziness was never in the world, but in us. The world is a projection of our own thinking.

When we understand our thinking we understand the world, and we come to love it. In that, there's peace. Who would I be without the thought that the world needs  improving? Happy where I am right now: the woman sitting on a chair in the sunlight. Pretty simple.

THE I-KNOW MIND MEANS
TAKING ON THE ROLE
OF GOD

Taking on the role of God means that we step into the identity of the wise one, the one who knows what should happen and so we try to control things out of this I-know mind.

YOU HAVE NO CONTROL - YOU'VE
NEVER HAD ANY; YOU
NEVER WILL

Just let it be. You may as well; it is. Everything moves in and out at its own time. You have no control. You've never had any; you never will. You only tell the story of what you think is happening. Do you think you cause movement? You don't. It just apparently is, but you tell the story of how you had something to do with it. "I moved my legs. I decided to walk." I don't think so. Inquire and see that it's just a story about what is. You know that you're going to move because everything is happening simultaneously. You tell the story before the movement, because you already are that.  IT moves, and you think that you did it. Then you tell the story of how you're going somewhere or how you're doing something. The only place you can play with is the story. That's the only game in town.

Criticism

IN THE ABSENCE OF DEFENSIVENESS,
GRATITUDE IS ALL
THAT'S LEFT

If a criticism hurts you, that means you're defending against it. Your body will let you know very clearly when you're feeling hurt or defensive. If you don't pay attention, the feeling rises and becomes anger and attack, in the form of defense or justification. It's not right or wrong; it just isn't intelligent. War is not intelligent. It doesn’t work.

If you're really interested in your own peace of mind, you'll become more and more aware of that sense of wanting to defend yourself against a criticism. And eventually you'll be fascinated to find the missing pieces of yourself that your critic is helpfully pointing out, and you'll ask him to tell you more, so that you can be enlightened even further.

Criticism is an immense gift for those who are interested in self-realization. For those who aren't, welcome to hell, welcome to being at war with your partner, your neighbors, your children, your boss.

When you open your arms to criticism, you are your own direct path to freedom, because you can't change us or what we think about you. You are your only way to stand with a friend as a friend, even when she perceives you as an enemy. And until you can be intimate with us however badly we think of you, your Work isn't done.

After you've done inquiry for a while, you can listen to any criticism without defense or justification, openly, delightedly. It's the end of trying to control what can't ever be controlled: other people's perception. The mind rests, and life becomes kinder, and then totally kind, even in the midst of apparent turmoil.

When you're aware of being a student, everyone in the world becomes your teacher. In the absence of defensiveness, gratitude is all that's left.

STRESS IS THE SIGNAL THAT IT'S
TIME TO QUESTION YOUR
OWN THINKING

If you really want to be free, criticism from others can be a gift. Feeling hurt by any criticism, feeling the slightest urge to defend yourself, means that there's something you don't accept and love about yourself. This is the very part of you that you want to hide. You want to be loved and understood, but not there. Hiding creates separation, from yourself as well as from others.

What's the worst thing anyone could say about you? That you are very aggressive? ARE you sometimes? Well then, they're right! So the worst thing that could happen is that they'd tell you the truth. Isn't that what you want?

When someone says, "You're aggressive!" you could say, "You know, I can see it that way too." And there's peace. Or you could say, "No, I'm not! You're the aggressive one!"… and you know where that leads.

No matter what anyone says to or about you, if you experience stress, then you are the one who's suffering in the moment. Stress is the signal that it's time to question your own thinking.

Criticism

MAKING FRIENDS WITH
CRITICISM

If you really want to be free, criticism from others can be a gift. Feeling hurt by any criticism, feeling the slightest urge to defend yourself, means that there's something you don't accept and love about yourself. This is the very part of you that you want to hide. You want to be loved and understood, but not there. And as we've seen, hiding creates separation, from yourself  as well as from others.

What's the worst thing anyone could say about you? That you are very aggressive? ARE you sometimes? Well then, they're right! So the worst thing that could happen is that they'd tell you the truth. isn't that what you want?

When someone says, "You're aggressive!" you could say, "You know, I can see it that way too." And there's peace. Or you could say, "No, I'm not! You're the aggressive one!"… and you know where that leads.

No matter what anyone says to or about you, if you experience stress, then you are the one who's suffering in the moment. Stress is the signal that it's time to question your own thinking.  

SEEING CRITICISM AS
A GIFT

When you no longer put your energy into seeking approval, you can open your arms to criticism and see it as a gift, instead of as something to disprove or defend against. Being honest and vulnerable ends the illusion of being manipulated or discovered in any way.

When you're genuinely humble, there's no way that criticism can hurt you; it becomes obvious, through your own experience, that it can only help you. This is how clarity takes on life as effective action, so that you are kind to others and kind to yourself.