THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN ON
YOUR DEATHBED IS A BELIEF
No one knows what's good and what's bad. No one knows what death is. Maybe it's not a something; maybe it's not even a nothing. It's the pure unknown, and I love that. We imagine that death is a state of being or a state of nothingness, and we frighten ourselves with our own concepts. I'm a lover of what is: I love sickness and health, coming and going, life and death. I see life and death as equal. Reality is good; so death must be good, whatever it is, if it's anything at all.
DEATH IS THE LAST SMOKESCREEN
FOR THE FEAR OF LOVE
When the mind thinks of death, it looks at nothing and calls it something, to keep from experiencing what the mind really is. Until you know that death is equal to life, you'll always try to control what happens, and it's always going to hurt. There's no sadness without a story that opposes reality.
The fear of death is the last smokescreen for the fear of love. We think that we're afraid of the death of our body, though what we're really afraid of is the death of our identity. But through inquiry, as we understand that death is just a concept and that our identity is a concept too, we come to realize who we are. This is the end of fear.
IT TAKES A GREAT DEAL OF COURAGE TO
SEE THROUGH THE STORY OF A DEATH
Parents and relatives of children who have died are especially attached to their stories, for reasons that we all understand. Leaving our sadness behind, or even inquiring into it, may seem like a betrayal of our child.
Many of us aren't ready to see things another way yet, and that's as is should be. Who thinks that death is sad? Who thinks that a child shouldn't die? Who thinks that they know what death is? Who tries to teach God, in story after story, thought after thought? Is it you? I say, let's investigate, if you're up for it, and see if it's possible to end the war with reality.
MY MOTHER DIED…
SHE LEFT ME
"She left you"- is it true? Where does she live? In your mind. So you just stop and think, "What would Mom say to me?" And boy, will she say it! And she'll come into your mind, and say things you don't even ask for. You can open your mind to it and hear her and her wisdom, and open your heart to it, and allow her to live in you rather than push her away. Those images open your heart when you welcome them, and they'll crack your heart wide open.
I like to say, "Just allow love to kill you." It's an initiation, and there's nothing more powerful. And when there's no separation, she's with you always. Not in a sad way, but in a very wonderful way that leaves a sense of gratitude. And there are a lot of tears with that, too. But they're different tears. They're not all about you. They are, and it's different.
So "My mother left me" - turned around becomes: "I left my mother".
Your mother comes in, and you become sad because you don't really allow her in. Allow her to merge with you. Allow her to live in you. That way you're never alone.
LOSS IS JUST A
I was in the delivery room when my grandson Race was born. I loved him at first sight. Then I realized that he wasn't breathing. The doctor had a troubled look on his face and immediately started to do something with the baby. The nurses realized that the procedures weren't working, and you could see the panic begin to take over the room. Nothing they did was working - the baby wouldn't breathe.
At a certain moment, Roxann looked into my eyes, and I smiled. She later told me, "You know that smile you often have on your face? When I saw you look at me like that, a wave of peace came over me. And even though the baby wasn't breathing, it was okay with me." Soon afterward, breath entered my grandson and I heard him cry.
I love that my grandson didn't have to breathe for me to love him. Whose business was his breathing? Not mine. I wasn't going to miss one moment of him, whether he was breathing or not. I knew that even without a single breath, he had lived a full life. I love reality, not the way a fantasy would dictate, but just the way it is, right now.
PEOPLE CANNOT DIE
As we speak of your deceased beloved one, do you see him in your mind's eye? "He left you" - is it true? … No, He's right here in your mind. Now when you were in the kitchen and he was in the bathroom - where did he live?
You just imagined him in the bathroom. For all you know, he was in the backyard. But you imagine him, and he lives inside you. That's why people cannot die. When they're alive, they live in your head, and when they're dead - as we say - they live there too, inside you.
He is no more and no less than your imagination. No two people have ever met. You can be married sixteen years and NEVER know whom you're married to. And you wonder why we don't get along. Someone can say, "You don't know me at all," and you say, "Yes I do!" But he could be right when he says that to you.
So how do you react when you believe the thought "He left you" and he lives with you all day long, in your mind? Depressed, alone… ? While he's in your mind, which is where he was when he was in the backyard and you thought "He's in the bathroom" - I'm not alone.
Who would you be without the thought "He left me," when the images come? This so important, because it's the power of love. You're thinking "Ohhhh, he left me," as you see him in your mind.
The image of him comes, and you immediately go into sadness or bereavement or pictures of you living alone for the rest of your life, and all the good times you had, and what he did - as you stand there doing the dishes at the kitchen sink. It's not him leaving you that's so painful; it's the thoughts running through your mind.
So when that image comes, rather than go through all the stories, if you open your heart to the visit, then, - like me - you'll never have anyone who can leave you again. No one can divorce me; they don't have that power! I've got three husbands living right here in my mind, and they're all welcome. And each time one appears, I just experience this amazing gratitude and laughter. It's amazing how they tolerate it.
HOW CAN YOU DIE - WHO SAYS THAT
YOU WERE EVER BORN?
What is death? How can you die? Who says that you were ever born? There is only the life of an unquestioned thought. There is only mind, if anything. Live in the four questions for a while. That is where the world ends, until what's left comes back to explore the next concept. Do you continue after death? If you question your mind you see that what you really are is beyond life and death.
The worst thing that can happen on your deathbed is a belief. Nothing worse than that has ever happened, ever.
PEOPLE WHO KNOW THAT
THERE'S NO HOPE
There's no decision in death. People who know that there's no hope are free. The decision is out of their hands. It has always been that way, but some people have to die bodily to find out. No wonder they smile on their deathbeds. Dying is everything they were looking for in life. Their delusion of being in charge is over. When there's no choice, there's no fear. And in that, there is peace. They realize that they're home and that they've never left.
YOU'RE SUFFERING FROM THE BELIEF THAT
THAT LEG SHOULD LOOK
LIKE THIS ONE
I've sat with many people on their deathbeds, and after we do The Work, they always tell me that they're fine. I remember one very frightened woman who was dying of cancer. She had requested that I sit with her, so I came. I sat down beside her and said, "I don't see a problem." She said, "No? Well, I'll show you a problem!" and she pulled off the sheet. One of her legs was so swollen that it was at least twice the size of the other.
I looked and I looked, and I still couldn't find a problem. She said, "You must be blind! Look at this leg. Now look at the other one." And I said, "Oh, now I see the problem. You're suffering from the belief that that leg should look like this one. Who would you be without that thought?" And she got it. She began to laugh, and the fear just poured out through her laughter. She said that this was the happiest she'd ever been in her entire life.
I DON'T KNOW
HOW TO DIE
I once went to visit a woman who was dying in a hospice. When I walked in, she was napping, so I just sat by her bed until she opened her eyes. I took her hand, and we talked for a few minutes, and she said, "I'm so frightened. I don't know how to die." And I said, "Sweetheart, is that true?" She said, "Yes. I just don't know what to do." I said, " When I walked in, you were taking a nap. Do you know how to take a nap?" She said, "Of course." And I said, "You close your eyes every night, and you go to sleep.
People look forward to sleeping. That's all death is. That's as bad as it gets, except for your belief system that says there's something else."
She told me she believed in the after-death thing and said, "I won't know what to do when I get there." I said, "Can you really know that there's something to do?" She said, "I guess not."
I said, "There's nothing you have to know, and it's always all right. Everything you need is already there for you; you don't have to give it a thought. All you have to do is take a nap when you need to, and when you wake up, you'll know what to do."
I was describing life to her, of course, not death. Then we went into the second question of The Work: "Can you absolutely know that it's true that you don't know how to die?" She began to laugh and said that she preferred being with me to being with her story. What fun, having nowhere to go but where we really are now.
THE DEATH OF A CHILD
If we see the death of a child and feel turmoil inside, it's the story we're telling that causes us pain. This is obvious. If a child dies and no one tells us, we don't feel a thing. Somewhere a mother is crying at the loss of her child, and since we don't know that, we sit here having a wonderful time. How heartless of us!
THE QUESTIONED MIND IS
FREE TO TRAVEL
The questioned mind, because it's no longer seeking, is free to travel limitlessly. Thus it can never die. It understands that since it was never born, it has nothing to lose by allowing the unborn. It's infinite, because it has no desires for itself. It withholds nothing. It's unconditional, unceasing, fearless, tireless, without reservations. It has to give. That's its nature.
EVERYTHING SHE THOUGHT SHE'D HAD IN HIM
SHE COULD FIND IN HERSELF - THERE
WAS NO DIFFERENCE
I have a friend who, after doing inquiry sincerely for a number of years, came to understand that the world is a reflection of mind. She was married to a man who was the love of her life, and one day, while they were sitting on their couch, he had a heart attack and died in her arms. After the first shock and the tears, she began looking for grief, and there was none. For weeks she kept looking for grief, because her friends told her that grief was a necessary part of the healing process. And all she felt was a completeness: that there was nothing of him that she'd had while he was physically with her that she didn't have now.
She told me that every time a sad thought about him appeared, she would immediately ask, "Is it true?" and see the turnaround, which washed away the sadness and replaced it with what was truer.
"He was my best friend; I have no one to talk to now" became "I am my best friend; I have me to talk to now." "I'll miss his wisdom" became "I don't miss his wisdom"; there was no way she could miss it, because she WAS that wisdom.
Everything she thought she'd had in him she could find in herself; there was no difference. And because he turned out to be her, he couldn't die. Without the story of life and death, she said, there was just love. He was always with her.
DEATH IS AS GOOD
Until we know that death is as good as life, and that it always comes in its own sweet way, we're going to take on the role of God without the awareness of it, and it's always going to hurt. Whenever you mentally oppose what is, you're going to experience sadness and apparent separation. There's no sadness without a story. What is is. You ARE it. It's our beliefs about death that scare us to death.
I WAIT FOR THE EYES TO SHOW ME
DEATH AND NOTHING
My ninety-year-old mother is dying of pancreatic cancer. I'm taking care of her, cooking and cleaning for her, sleeping beside her, living in her apartment twenty-three hours a day (my husband takes me out for a walk every morning). It has been a month now. It's as if her breath is the pulse of my life. I bathe her, I wash her in the most personal places, I medicate her, and I feel such a sense of gratitude. That's me over there, dying of cancer, spending my last few days sleeping and watching TV and talking, medicated with the most marvelous painkilling drugs. I am amazed at the beauty and intricacies of her body, my body.
On the last day of her life, as I sit by her bedside, a shift takes place in her breathing, and I know: it's only a matter of minutes now. And then another shift takes place, and I know. Our eyes lock, and a few moments later she's gone. I look more deeply into the eyes that the mind has vacated, the mindless eyes, the eyes of the no-mind. I wait for a change to take place. I wait for the eyes to show me death, and nothing changes. She's as present as she ever was. I love my story about her. How else could she ever exist?
WE COULD SAY THAT
What I know about it is that when there's no escape, when you know that no one is coming to save you, beliefs stop. You just don't bother. So if you're lying on your deathbed and the doctor says it's all over for you and you believe him, all the confusion stops. There's no longer anything to lose. And in that sweet peace, there is only you. You are it, and that is presence.
NOTHING WAS EVER BORN BUT
A DREAM - NOTHING EVER
DIES BUT A DREAM
Reality is the always-stable, never-disappointing base of experience. When I look at what really is, I can't find a me. As I have no identity, there's no one to resist death. Death is everything that has ever been dreamed, including the dream of myself, so at every moment I die of what has been and am continually born as awareness in the moment, and I die of that, and am born of it again.
The thought of death excites me. Everyone loves a good novel and looks forward to how it will end. It's not personal. After the death of the body, what identification will mind take on? The dream is over, I was absolute perfection, I could not have had a better life. And whatever I am is born in this moment as everything good that has ever lived.
Nothing was ever born but a dream. Nothing ever dies but a dream.
OUR FAMILIES HOLD THE
STORY OF OUR
You know why we don't want our families to die? Because they hold the story of our past. Without them, we have to find a stranger, pretend to make friends with him, and tell him our story of the past so that when we're standing there with someone else to impress, we can turn and say, "Isn't that right?" To get him to hold up what is not true for us. When your family dies, there goes your history! It leaves you here, now.
DECISIONS MAKE THEMSELVES;
You can't make a decision. You can only experience a story about how you made it. Decisions make themselves; they're happenings; they come when the time is right.
I like to ask, "Are you breathing yourself?" No? well, maybe you're not thinking yourself or making decisions, either. Maybe reality doesn't move until it moves, like a breath, like the wind. and when you tell the story of how you're doing it, you keep yourself from the awareness that you are nature, flowing perfectly.
Who would you be without the story that you need to make a decision? if it's your integrity to make a decision, make it. And guess what? In five minutes, you might change your mind and call it "you" again.
I love how mind changes. I watch it and am steadfast in that delight. I love the sweet movement and flavor of mind changing. I move as it moves, without an atom of resistance. It shifts like the wind. I say yes, because there is no reason to say no, and I say no very easily, too.
No is as effortless as yes. I say whatever I know is true for me. It sometimes confuses people; they misunderstand, and they do what they need to do with it. And I am very clear that a no is as loving as a yes, because I am always saying yes to my integrity. A no is a yes, too, when It comes from integrity.
ALL MY DECISIONS ARE MADE FOR ME, JUST
AS THEY'RE ALL MADE FOR YOU
When you become a lover of what is, there are no more decisions to make. In my life, I just wait and watch. I know that the decision will be made in its own time, so I let go of when, where, and how.
I like to say I'm a woman with no future. When there are no decisions to make, there's no planned future. All my decisions are made for me, just as they're all made for you. When you mentally tell yourself the story that you have something to do with it, you're attaching to an underlying belief.
YOU THINK YOU NEED TO MAKE A DECISION?
You think you need to make a decision? You don't - not until it's made. Afterward you may notice that you didn't actually make the decision: It made itself, right on time, the moment you had all the necessary information. (How do you know you had the information you needed? Because the decision made itself.)
THERE ARE NO DECISIONS
TO BE MADE
When you become a lover of what is, there are not more decisions to make. In my life, I just wait and watch. I know that the decision will be made in its own time, so I let go of when, where, and how. I like to say I'm a woman with no future. When there are no decisions to make, there's no planned future. All my decisions are made for me, just as they're all made for you. When you mentally tell yourself the story that you have something to do with it, you're attaching to an underlying belief.
Example: you came all the way to visit me. How was that decision made? Maybe it just made itself. A moment ago, you moved your head like that. Did you make that decision? … You just moved your hand. Did you make that decision? … No! "You need to make decisions"… is that true? maybe things are just moving right along, without our help. Inquiry: I say, let's have peace now, within this apparent chaos. So, how do you react when you believe the thought "I need to make a decision", and the decision doesn't come? … You most probably will feel horrible! Which is a very interesting place to attempt to make a decision from. Form that place, we can't even decide to stop or go. That will tell you something. And when you're convinced that you did it, where's your proof? Give me a stress-free reason to keep the thought "I need to make a decision." … I'm not asking you to stop thinking that you make decisions. This Work has the gentleness of a flower opening to itself. Be gentle with your beautiful self. This Work is about the end of your suffering. We're just taking a look at possibilities here.
Question: Would it work as an experiment to try not to decide anything for a period of time? Answer: Well, you just made a decision, and it may change by itself. and then you can say "I" changed my mind.
DECISIONS ARE EASY. IT'S THE STORY YOU TELL
ABOUT THEM THAT ISN'T EASY.
I don't make decisions. I don't bother with them, because I know they'll be made for me right on time. My job is to be happy and wait. Decisions are easy. It's the story you tell about them that isn't easy. When you jump out of a plane and you pull the parachute cord and it doesn't open, you feel fear, because you have the next cord to pull. So you pull that one, and it doesn't open. And that's the last cord. Now there's no decision to make. When there's no decision, there's no fear, so just enjoy the trip! And that's my position - I'm a lover of what is. What is: no cord to pull. It's already happening. Free fall. I have nothing to do with it.
ANOTHER HUMAN BEING
You can't disappoint another human being. And another human being can't disappoint you. You believe the story of how your partner isn't giving you what you want, and you disappoint yourself. If you want something from your partner and he says no, that's reality. It leaves YOU. And you can always give it to yourself.
This is good news because it allows you to get what you want. If you don't have the other to help you, you have YOU to help you. If the other says no, it leaves you.
GOD, SPARE ME FROM THE DESIRE FOR LOVE, APPROVAL,
OR APPRECIATION. AMEN
I often say that if I had a prayer, it would be this. I don't have a prayer, of course, because I don't want anything but what I have.
I know the benevolence of life. Why would I pray for something different, which would always be less than what's coming?
GOD is another name for reality. It's complete, it's perfect, it fills me with the utmost joy. The thought of asking for what isn't never even arises.
But if I still believed my thoughts, I would pray for one thing first: to be spared from the desire for love. This desire causes nothing but confusion and misery. It shuts down the awareness of what you already have in reality. It's painful to seek what you can never have outside yourself. I say "can never have" because obviously you don't understand what you're seeking. If you understood it, the seeking would be over.
Because you think you know what love looks like, what it should or shouldn't be, it becomes invisible to you. It's the blind seeking what doesn't exist. You beg, you plead, you bend over backward and do all sorts of other emotional acrobatics in this unending search for happy endings. Only by seeking the truth within will you find the love you can never lose. And when you find it, your natural response is appreciation.
This would be my one prayer, because the answer to it brings the end of time and space. It brings the energy of pure unlimited mind, set free in all its power and goodness. When you stop seeking love, it leaves you with nothing to do; it leaves you with the experience of being 'done", in a doing that is beyond you. It's absolutely effortless. And a whole lot gets done in it, beyond what you think could ever have been accomplished.
WHEN I DON'T LOOK FOR APPROVAL OUTSIDE ME,
I REMAIN AS APPROVAL
When I don't look for approval outside me, I remain as approval. And through inquiry I have come to see that I want you to approve of what you approve of, because I love you. What you approve of is what I want.
That's love – it wouldn't change anything. It already has everything it wants. It already IS everything it wants, just the way it wants it.
TO THINK YOU KNOW SOMETHING IS TO
BELIEVE THE STORY OF A
PAST - IT’S INSANE
Every time you think you know something, it hurts, because in reality there’s nothing to know. You’re trying to hold on to something that doesn’t exist. There is nothing to know, and there is no one who wants to know it.
It’s so much easier to know that you don’t know. It’s kinder, as well. I love the don’t-know mind. When you know that you don’t know, you’re naturally open to reality and can let it take you wherever it wants to. You can drop your identity and be who you really are, the unlimited, the nameless. People call me “Katie”, but I don’t ever believe it.
Someone says, “I’ll be here at nine o’clock. ”No one can know what it’s like for someone with no future to watch a clock become nine. The event is so miraculous that there are no possible words for it.
It’s one minute past eight, then suddenly it’s two minutes past eight, according to a clock that is always pointing to now. And now it’s eight-thirty, and now, all at once, it’s nine, and the person shows up – just pops out of nowhere – from a past that doesn’t exist. I am in continual amazement at such happenings.
WHEN YOU FIND THE DON'T-KNOW
MIND, YOU HAVE FOUND
Tao Te Ching: "When they think that they know the answers, people are difficult to guide. When they know that they don't know, people can find their own way."
I don't try to educate people. Why would I do such a thing? My only job is to point you back to yourself. When you discover - inside yourself, behind everything you're thinking - the marvelous don't-know mind, you're home free. The don't-know mind is the mind that is totally open to anything life brings you. When you find it, you have found your way.
THE MATERIAL WORLD IS A
Mind rises into its projections and must eventually come back to itself, just as streams flow back to the sea. No matter how brilliant the mind, no matter how large the ego that takes credit for its actions, when it comes to see that it doesn't know anything, that it CAN'T know anything, it flows back to the origin and meets itself again in all humility.
THE DON'T KNOW MIND LEAVES
NOTHING BUT PEACE AND
JOY IN MY
My own experience is that I live in completeness, and that we all do. It's the peace I walk in. I don't know anything. I don't have to figure anything out. I gave up forty-three years of thinking that went nowhere, and now I can be in the don't -know mind. This leaves nothing but peace and joy in my life. It's the absolute fulfillment of watching everything unfold in front of me as me.
LIVING IN NONBELIEF
We are really alive when we live in nonbelief - open, waiting, trusting, and loving to do what appears in front of us now.
IT'S BEAUTIFUL TO BE A LEAF, TO BE BORN, TO FALL,
TO GIVE WAY TO THE NEXT, TO BECOME
FOOD FOR THE ROOTS
You don't grieve when the lawnmower cuts the grass. You don't look for the perfection in the grass dying, because it's visible to you. In fact, when the grass grows, you cut it. In the fall, you don't grieve because the leaves are falling and dying. You say, "Isn't it beautiful"
Well, we're the same way. There are seasons. We all fall sooner or later. It's all so beautiful. And our concepts, without investigation, keep us from knowing this.
It's beautiful to be a leaf, to be born, to fall, to give way to the next, to become food for the roots. It's life, always changing its form and always giving itself completely. We all do our part. No mistake.
Whatever happens, that's what's needed. There is no mistake in nature. Look how painful it is to have a story that won't embrace such beauty, such perfection. Lack of understanding is always painful.
WHY ARE YOU AFRAID OF DYING?
WHAT DO YOU THINK
Answer: just nothingness. Katie: Okay, so you're afraid of nothing? How can you be afraid of nothing? If there's nothingness, there's nothing to be afraid of!
"I'm afraid of nothing." So there's nothing to be afraid of in nothing. There's nothing! That's just a game the mind plays. What is it without its identity? The only way mind can live is as an identity. You know, if it didn't believe it was a you, it could just jump into this flower and say, "Oh! Life is really good from here. I love my color… I like hanging out with these guys." It would just adjust - mind adjusts to anything.
WHAT'S NOT OKAY
Until you experience death as a gift, your Work's not done. So if you're afraid of it, that shows you what to question next. There's nothing else to do; you're either believing these childish stories or you're questioning them - there's no other choice.
What's not okay about dying? You close your eyes every night and you go to sleep. People look forward to it; some people actually prefer that part. And that's as bad as it gets, except for your belief that says there's something else. Before a thought, there's no one, nothing - only peace that doesn't even recognize itself as peace.
IF YOU COME IN PEACE, FEARLESSLY, SHE LOOKS INTO
YOUR EYES AND SEES THAT WHATEVER IS
HAPPENING IS GOOD
When you're clear about death, you can be totally present with someone who's dying, and no matter what kind of pain she appears to be experiencing, it doesn't affect your happiness. You're free to just love her, to hold her and care for her, because it's your nature to do that. To come to that person in fear is to teach fear: she looks into your eyes and gets the message that she's in deep trouble. But if you come in peace, fearlessly, she looks into your eyes and sees that whatever is happening is good.
EVERYTHING YOU WANT
IS HERE IN THIS
Dying is just like living. It has its own way, and you can't control it. People think, "I want to be conscious when I die." That's hopeless. Even wanting to be conscious ten minutes from now is hopeless. You can only be conscious now. Everything you want is here in this moment.
MY MOTHER AND ME
RIGHT BACK TO
"When my mother was dying of pancreatic cancer, I lived in her bedroom and slept beside her for four weeks, until she died. I fed her and bathed her and dispensed her drugs, I cooked for her and cherished her. Her breath became my rhythm. We plucked our eyebrows and painted our nails, and we laughed and laughed. We talked about everything that was important to her, and we watched Oprah together. I never had a sweeter time with my mother. When people visited with their stories of how terrible it was that she was dying, I watched her become a cancer victim before my very eyes. She seemed to think it was expected of her. Everyone would be solemn and sad and hushed, until the moment the door closed behind the visitors, and my mother and I would go right back to normal - receiving, giving, crying, and laughing and laughing."
IS THAT THERE IS NO
A friend of mine was waiting for a revelation just before he died, saving his energy, trying to be completely conscious. Finally his eyes widened, he gasped, and he said, "Katie, we are larvae." Profound awareness on his deathbed.
I said, "Sweetheart, is that true?" And the laughter simply poured out of him. The revelation was that there WAS no revelation. Things are fine just as they are; only a concept can take that away from us. A few days later he died, with a smile on his face.
EGO IS EVERYTHING YOU
BELIEVE TO BE
The 'I' that believes… that is the ego. That 'you' that you believe to be… or think to be thinking, the one you believe is the thinker. That I… the false self.
THE EGO IS TERRIFIED
OF THE TRUTH
The ego is terrified of the truth. and the truth is that the ego doesn't exist.
WHEN WE AREN'T ATTACHED TO OUR
THINKING, THEN WHAT REALLY
Your ego has to terrify you all the time, so that you can investigate and come home to yourself in the body. This is what we're all here to live. When we aren't attached to our thinking, when all the why's, when's, and where's let go of us, then what really is becomes visible.
THE ILLUSION IS THE EGO
THINKING THAT IT'S
NO ONE CAN BE MY ENEMY UNTIL I
PERCEIVE HIM AS THREATENING
WHAT I BELIEVE
It’s not possible for something to be against you. There’s no such thing as an enemy; no person, no belief not even the ego is an enemy. It’s just a misunderstanding… we perceive something as an enemy, when all we need to do is be present with it. It’s just love arising in a form that we haven’t understood yet.
And questioning the mind allows beliefs to simply arise. The quiet mind realizes that no belief is true, it is immovable in that, so there’s no belief it can attach to. It’s comfortable with them all.
Your enemy is the teacher who shows you what you haven’t healed yet. Any place you defend is where you’re still suffering. There’s nothing out there that can oppose you. There is just fluid motion, like the wind. You attach a story to what you perceive, and that story is your suffering.
I am everything that I have ever called other people; they were me all along. Everything I ever called my enemy was me. Projection would have us see reality as a them and a me, but reality is much kinder. All enemies are your kind teachers, just waiting for you to realize it (and that doesn’t mean you have to invite them to dinner).
No one can be my enemy until I perceive him as threatening what I believe. If there’s anything I’m afraid of losing, I have created a world where enemies are possible, and in such a world there’s no way to understand that whatever I lose I am better off without.
Life becomes difficult when you are against anything. It’s painful to have an enemy. It’s the war with the self. Thoughts are friends, they’re a part of reality, and until you deeply see that not even thoughts are real, you’ll spend your whole life struggling against them.
YOUR PERCEIVED ENEMY IS THE
PROJECTION OF YOUR
An enemy is the friend you judge on paper in order to clearly see the hidden secrets within yourself. Your perceived enemy is the projection of your thinking. When you work with the projector through inquiry, your enemy becomes your friend.
A SO-CALLED ENEMY WILL POINT OUT
WHAT I WANT TO KNOW,BECAUSE
HE'S AWAKE TO ME
You know who our friends are? People who agree with us. Those are our friends. You say, "He's irresponsible and unkind." They say, "Oh, I know it, I know it. Isn't that awful? You must be so frustrated."
And if anyone argues with that, you have to convince them that he's irresponsible, even if you have to exaggerate. Because these are your friends - they have to agree. And people who don't agree become our enemies, and then we find another group that will agree with us about him, whoever it is.
And we do it in our family. We side against each other. We do it in our workplace, and we do it in our communities. There are "those people" - and then there's us. And we all agree.
But a so-called enemy will point out what I want to know, because he's awake to me. And what would happen if I listened? He could be right, after all. So when the mind is open to questioning, oh my goodness! There ceases to be an enemy in the world. You can't find one.
Someone says, "Katie, you're irresponsible!"… I'm supposed to say, "What do you mean, I'm irresponsible?! how dare you say that to me! I'm TOTALLY responsible!"… War, right?
But if I were just open and someone walked up to me and said, "Katie, you are irresponsible," I would say, "Okay, let me take that in. You could be right." And we could sit down and talk about it. And they could enlighten me to me, and I could learn. The mind loves to learn. But when it's in that negative polarity, it's so limited. We're only learning the stress that's been taught from the beginning.
THE ENEMY IS THE
When someone sympathizes with your anger or sadness, they're just supporting your insanity: "Yes, you're right, the federal government is cheating you. The world in unfair." And we call that a friend. A friend is just someone who agrees with you.
So bring me an enemy. enemies are very clear about what I haven't discovered yet. The enemy turns out to be the friend. Where do you go, whom do you go to, to get your concepts justified? And how long does it work before they disagree with you one way or the other? You are your own freedom.
BECOMING A KINDER
If there's someone who makes your blood boil, thank him. He's showing you what you need to know to become a kinder person. He's doing the best he can, and so are you.
WE DON’T NEED TO KNOW ABOUT
WE CAN’T KNOW
The only important thing to know is this: if a thought hurts, question it. Enlightenment is just a spiritual concept. It’s just one more thing to seek in a future that never comes. Even the highest truth is just one more concept to question.
If you think you’re enlightened, you’ll love having your car towed away. How do you react when your child is sick? How do you react when your teenager is lying to you, won’t admit it, and continues to argue that his unhappiness is your fault?
If you don’t love it yet, what thoughts are standing between you and peace of mind? Whatever these thoughts are, meditate on that moment in time and write them down on a worksheet, then question them one by one.
No stressful thought, no separation, can withstand the power of inquiry. All the enlightenment you’ll ever need is waiting for you to tap into it right now.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS
People think that they need to get “enlightened” in order to be free, and nobody knows what enlightenment is. Yes, it’s in the sacred texts, and yes, this guru or that lama says he has attained it, but that’s just a concept; it’s the story of a past. 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. And then the next thought comes, and maybe you’re enlightened to it as well, and maybe not.
IF ANYONE ASKS
“ARE YOU ENLIGHTENED?”
Katie: the only answer could be: “How would I know? I know freedom. I know the difference between what hurts and what doesn’t hurt, and that’s enough.”
Separation hurts. Any identity, no matter how enticing it may be – for example, bodhisattva, Buddha – understates the truth, since it adds a name to what is complete and nameless.
ALL NAMES CREATE
All names require an identity and lead us to assume that there are separate beings, and thus they point away from reality. And the name “enlightenment” leaves you with something to attain. It’s a word full of effort. It leaves you as the one who is seeking an authentic identification, and on the other end of it “I am the one who has found it” is just as limited as “I am the one who is seeking it.” No home, no home, home, homelessly home.
UNTIL YOU CAN LOVE WHAT IS
YOU'RE SEPARATE FROM
The apparent craziness of the world, like everything else, is a gift that we can use to set our minds free. Any stressful thought that you have about the planet, for example, shows you where you are stuck, where your energy is being exhausted in not fully meeting life as it is, without conditions. You can't free yourself by finding a so-called enlightened state outside your own mind. When you question what you believe, you eventually come to see that you are 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. I invite everyone to put these fearful thoughts on paper, question them, and set themselves free.
When mind is not at war with itself, there's no separation in it. I'm sixty-three years old and unlimited. If I had a name, it would be Service. If I had a name, it would be Gratitude.
You may find that you don't need to navigate a future at all - that what appears now is all you've got, and even this is always immediately gone. And when you've stopped making war with reality, you ARE what changes, totally without control. That state of constant change is creation without limits - efficient, free, and beautiful beyond description.
JUST ENLIGHTEN YOURSELF
TO THIS MOMENT
People talk about self-realization, and this is it! Can you just breath in and out happily? Who cares about enlightenment when you're happy right now? Just enlighten yourself to this moment. Can you just do that? And then, eventually, it all collapses. The mind merges with the heart and comes to see that it's not separate. It finds a home, and it rests in itself, as itself. Until the story is met with understanding, there is no peace.
Katie made a really simple discovery. She noticed that she had been believing her thoughts and terrifying herself half to death with them. Then she stopped believing her thoughts, and the world stopped at the same time. The inner conflict and fear dropped away. Straightaway, she felt deeply for others in the same plight and wanted to explain what she had seen.
This feeling of connection and love was the beginning of a method to help others. Here it is in her words:
I saw clearly, irrevocably, that everything was backward,
upside down from what I believed.
My thinking had opposed everything as it truly was
and reacted with stories of how
I thought it should be.
"My husband should be more honest."
"My children should respect me more."
Now I saw that instead of seeing what was happening,
I was placing conditions on what was happening…
as if I had the ability to dictate reality.
It was clear to me now that the truth
was the extreme opposite.
My husband should not be more honest…
because he wasn't.
My children shouldn't respect me more…
because they didn't.
Instantly I became a lover of reality:
I noticed that this felt more
natural, more peaceful.
AM I ENLIGHTENED?
People often ask me if I'm an enlightened being. I don't know anything about that. I'm just someone who knows the difference between THIS HURTS and THIS DOESN'T. I'm someone who only wants what is. Meeting as a friend each concept that arose turned out to be my freedom. That's where The Work begins and ends - in me.
The work says, "Love it all, exactly as it is." And it shows you how. Wisdom is simply knowing the difference between what hurts and what doesn't hurt. There's immense freedom in that. It doesn't mean you have to do the right thing. It just allows you to stop fooling yourself and to do what you do with some awareness. One way leads to suffering; the other way leads to peace.
INTRODUCTION - "WHO WOULD YOU BE WITHOUT
THE THOUGHT THAT YOUR HAPPINESS
DEPENDS ON SOMEONE ELSE"
This is the report of a woman who did the experiment "Who would you be without the thought that your happiness depends on someone else?
PLAYING THE PERFECT
I grew up with parents who seemed to want a certain kind of daughter: quiet, unassuming, talented but modest, respectful, smart but humble. I thought that in order to get their love and approval I needed to be that person.
It was a hard game to play, but I learned the rules well, and it looked like I was the good daughter they wanted. I learned that to get people to like me, I had to figure out what they wanted and pretend to be that person. This seemed to be very effective, especially once I started to attract the opposite sex.
One night, our plan was for me to go to his apartment for dinner and spend the night. He called that evening to say that he'd had an exhausting day at work. He wanted to call it an early night and go to bed, and he'd see me tomorrow. I felt furious and rejected, but I said, "No problem. I'm tired too." Then I got all dressed up and went out to a dance club with every intention of attracting some other guy to even the score.
THE TURNAROUNDS FOR "YOUR
HAPPINESS DEPENDS ON
But when I got to the club, I just sat there and began to question what had happened. "He rejected me." "He's playing games with me." I saw that I didn't really believe this. I realized that I was the one playing a game and that I didn't have to. I didn't have to win.
Relief flooded my whole body, and the music began to move right through me. I found myself leaping onto the dance floor alone, literally dancing for joy. I danced for hours, crying, sweating, and laughing.
This is the experience of love that I relived when I did the experiment. When I look inside myself, this is my experience of love. I can stop struggling. I can stop being scared. I can just be.
PLAYING THE PERFECT
From age fifteen to twenty-five, I managed to make many boys and men fall in love with "me". It was always dramatic and interesting, but I personally never felt very involved. Once I got his attention, I'd complain that he didn't love the real me, and I'd move on.
One man broke the pattern. He didn't respond to the probes I designed to find out what he wanted me to be; he didn't even seem to notice them. He just watched and listened to me. I knew he was falling for me, but I couldn't figure out his angle. I didn't know how to act or who to be.
When I burst into tears at a fancy restaurant, he took me out to the car and held me while I cried. He didn't even try to make me explain.