Shining World

Jivan Rethmeier
Coaching & Training

The Work -  Byron Katie 

Citaten Byron Katie


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Pain

EVERY PAIN IS PROJECTED…
IT’S ALWAYS ON ITS
WAY OUT

All suffering is mental. It has nothing to do with the body or with a person’s circumstances. You can be in great pain without any suffering at all. How do you know you’re supposed to be in pain? Because that’s what’s happening.

To live without a stressful story, to be a lover of what is, even in pain… that’s heaven. To be in pain and believe that you shouldn’t be in pain… that’s hell.

Pain is actually a friend. It’s nothing I want to get rid of, if I can’t. It’s a sweet visitor; it can stay as long as it wants to (and that doesn’t mean I won’t take a Tylenol).

Even pain is projected: it’s always on its way out. Can your body hurt when you’re not conscious? When you’re in pain and the phone rings and it’s the call you’ve been waiting for, you mentally focus on the phone call, and there’s no pain. If your thinking changes, the pain changes. 

I CAN'T FEEL YOUR
PAIN

If someone hits you and I believe that I "feel" it, I am projecting what that must feel like, and THAT is the pain I feel. I'm  remembering the time when someone hit me, and I feel my own story. In reality, there's no pain for me. There aren't two of us in pain; there's only one. Who would I be without my story? Pain-free, happy, and totally available if someone needs me.

I hear people say that compassion means feeling someone else's pain, as if that were even possible. And how are you most present, most available - when you're in pain or when you're clear and happy? When someone is hurting, why would they want you to be hurting too? Wouldn't they rather have you totally present and available?

HOW CAN YOU BE PRESENT FOR PEOPLE IF YOU
BELIEVE THAT YOU'RE FEELING THEIR PAIN

If a car runs over someone and you're in terror, projecting what it must feel like, you become paralyzed. But sometimes in a crisis like that, the mind loses its reference, it can't project anymore, you don't think, you just act, you run over and pick  up the car before you have time to feel or plan or think 'THIS ISN'T POSSIBLE'. It happens in a split second. Who would you be without your story? The car is up in the air.

EVEN PHYSICAL PAIN
ISN'T REAL

Physical pain is the story of a past, always leaving, never arriving. But people don't know that. My grandson Racey fell down once when he was three years old. He scraped his knee, and there was some blood, and he began to cry. And as he looked up at me, I said, "Sweetheart, are you remembering when you fell down and hurt yourself?" And immediately the crying stopped. That was it. He must have realized, for a moment, that pain is always in the past. The moment of pain is always gone. it's a remembering of what we think is true, and it projects what no longer exists. Mind you, I'm not saying that your pain isn't real for you. I know pain, and it hurts! That's why The Work is about the end of suffering.

If a car runs over your leg and you're lying in the street with story after story running through your mind, chances are that if you're new to The Work, you're not going to think, "I'm in pain - is it true? Can I absolutely know that it's true?" You're going to scream, "Get the morphine!" Then, later, when you're in a comfort zone, you can sit down with a pen and paper and do The Work. Give yourself the physical medicine and then the other kind of medicine. Eventually, you can lose your other leg, and you won't see a problem. if you think there's a problem, your Work isn't done.

PHYSICAL PAIN IS THERE TO
  WAKE US UP TO REALITY

Physical pain (like everything in life) is there to wake us up to reality. It is there to wake us up to our true identity, our true nature, freedom.

Even if (to your mind) your pain is constant, chronic, it is only the moment, now, that you are experiencing it. The pain you are experiencing now is something remembered, and therefore anticipated (by the mind). So in that moment without remembering and anticipation: where is the pain? How can it exist? It is a memory or a projection of the future.

When you understand the beautiful mind which is the creator of all, you begin to also understand the world the mind projects. So, in that physical pain, in the clarity that you slip into, eventually you cannot name it pain. It ceases to be true for you. And then a very odd thing happens: you don't know if it is pain or pleasure. And this not in the sense that “I am happy, happy, happy...” but in the sense that you cannot differentiate. It's like loving what is.

We all want to separate from pain. But it is a great teacher. It is not something to fear, it is something to understand. Until we understand the mind it appears that we suffer greatly. Having physical pain is a blessing as an ongoing, unrelenting thing in our life through which we can do our Work.

Paradise

ONLY YOU CAN KICK YOURSELF
OUT OF PARADISE

If you are Adam and you look to Eve for completion, you have just kicked yourself out of paradise. You could just experience your own nature, which is to love yourself, and therefore her, with no separation.

But if you want  something from her, if you think you need her love or approval, you suffer. There's only one way I can use you to complete me, and that is if I judge you, inquire, and turn it around.

Parents

YOU HAVE THE PERFECT
MOTHER

Here's what I've told my children: "You have the perfect mother. I'm responsible for all your problems, and you're responsible for the solutions."

MOTHERS ARE SUPPOSED TO LOVE THEIR
DAUGHTERS - IS THAT TRUE?

It's an old, old myth. It's as old as the dinosaurs. The way you can know it isn't true is that every time you believe it, you hurt. That's because it isn't your nature. When you believe it, you're in a lie.
You know how a mother bird pushes her chicks out of the nest? "You're out of here," she says. That's love. She doesn't say, "I love you: stay." She says, "I love you: fly." We can give you at least what a bird will give!

So how do you react every time you believe the lie that your mother should love you? Separation. Who would you be in your mother's presence if you didn't have the ability to think the thought that she should love you? At peace, a listener, just loving her the way she is. "

Your mother should love you"- turn it around. YOU should love you. It's YOUR job to love you. "I don't love myself, so you do it"- what's wrong with this picture? So YOU do it, and the way you do it is to stay present. Every time you do that, you fall in love with yourself, because you are the truth. Then, when your mother says something, all you hear is the sound of God, because God is everything, there isn't anything else. Until you can see your mother as God, your Work isn't done. Parents can't be the problem. The Work is about being 100 percent responsible. This is very good news. It means there are no parents to change. There is only investigation.

PARENTS ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO ATTACH TO
CHILDREN - IS THAT TRUE?

What's the reality of it? Do they? So is it true that parents aren't supposed to attach? It's not true. I call it a flat-out lie. I call it that so it can be heard. How do you treat your mother or father when you believe that they're not supposed to attach to you? You pull away and feel superior. Who would you be without this story? Close your eyes. Look at your mother attaching to you. Look at her face, look at her body. Look at her without your story. What do you see? A beautiful human being, someone you love with all your heart. And nothing has happened except that you're seeing what is. When you attach to a story, you lose the awareness of that love.

IF YOU WANT TO DO SOMETHING
WITHOUT THE KIDS YOU
CAN LEAVE THEM

If your husband doesn’t take care of the kids, does that mean that you don't get to do your own thing? Really? What stops you? How can anyone stop you from doing your own thing? If you want to do something without the kids, you can leave them. You can just leave them and go off and do what you want to do. But you don't.  You stay with them because you want something more than to leave. Your husband has nothing to do with it. You can leave anytime. Isn't that fine to know?

When you believe  that you can't do what you want because of him, you're lost in a dream. It's the dream "I'm stuck" that makes you stuck. No mother ever has to stay with her children. We just like to tell the story of how we have to, and in that story we end up beating them, hating our husbands, getting divorced, going nuts. Who would you be without this lie?  

YOU ARE THE MOTHER YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING
FOR - WHEN YOU FOCUS ON YOUR
MOTHER, YOU BECOME
MOTHERLESS

 

DO YOU EVEN CARE IF SHE LIVES -
EXCEPT THAT THAT MAKES
YOU HAPPY?

You want your mother not to get the cancer back again. What for? So she can be a mother to you? Is she supposed to stay alive for your sake? She can't even live or die, except for you. Interesting, isn't it?

Do you even care if she lives, except that that makes you happy? You think she likes living - what does that have to do with you? Nothing. Interesting, isn't it? You might go home and say, "Mom, I just discovered that I want you to stay alive so that I can be happy. And by the way, I love you."

CAN I DO WHAT I WANTED MY
PARENTS TO DO?

Can I give myself what I wanted my parents to give me? This is a life's work. Some of us don't know how. And we expect our parents to have known how. Everything you want them to give you, turn it around, and give it to yourself.

Life is good. I have myself, now. And then everything I want, I give you, too. And I feel such joy. I come to see that that is the gift I give myself. But until I gave it to myself, I couldn't give it to you. And to give it to you is to give it to my very own self.

YOU BE THE MOTHER YOU
ALWAYS WANTED

When my daughter, Roxann, attended her first workshop with me in 1993, there was a large group of therapists present. She was working on "the mother from hell" - which was how she had experienced me sometimes as she was growing up. She couldn't bear to look at me as she was doing her Work; it was hard for her even to hear the sound of  my voice. I was the root of her problem, she thought, and I was also her salvation; she had to ask the monster for help, which made her furious.

At a certain moment she became very passionate and got right in my face and said I should have mothered her differently. I said, "That's not my job. Mother yourself, honey. YOU be the mother you always wanted."

Later she told me that that was the greatest gift I ever gave her. It turned out to be her freedom. I know the privilege of mothering myself. It's hopeless to see it as anyone else's job.  

IF I HATE ME, I HATE MY MOTHER.
IF I LOVE ME,  I LOVE MY MOTHER

The bottom line is that your mother does love you - there's nothing she can do about that. Just don't expect her to be aware of it. Your mother loves you so much that she would withhold love so you can get this thing, this self-love thing. You can't love her until you do that. If I hate me, I hate my mother. If I love me, I love my mother. it's that simple.

Eventually, when a stressful concept appears, we're lit, we walk down the street like a thousand-watt lightbulb. A concept like "I need my mother to love me" comes in and we just laugh. We laugh because we're awake to that concept, and the next, and the next.  

MY MOTHER SHOULD LOVE ME - IS THAT TRUE?
TURN IT AROUND AND LIVE
IT YOURSELF

This is the death of a dream. Can you see one good reason to keep the story that ANYONE should love you, ever? Have you ever tried to love your perceived enemy? It's hopeless. Who would you be without this story that you mother should love you? You'd be you, without all that effort. Without the mask, the façade. It feels like freedom to me.

Wanting your mother to love you is like being in a straitjacket. It's like being a dog on the floor just crawling and begging, with your tongue hanging out: "Love me! Love me! I'll be good! I'll be good!". Make a list of everything you want her to do for you, then do it for yourself, and do it now. This is the real thing. You want it from her? Turn it around and live it yourself.  

CHILDREN ARE MUCH BETTER OFF
WITH THEIR MOTHER -
IS THAT TRUE?

If your wife dies, or if she leaves you and you have custody of your children, can you know that they won't be better off without their mother? This is a big one. "Children are much better off with their mothers"- is that true? This is the world's favorite religion, and can you absolutely know that it's true? I'm not saying that they aren't better off with her. This Work is an investigation, it's not about anything else, it's for you to go inside and find out.

I'm so greedy, I want it all, so I love, and I have it all. And any obstacle can only be a story. I investigate, and I am the experience of the awareness of love now - pure greed. When mothers don't remain with their children how do I know that it's for their children's highest good? They aren't there!

When mothers remain with their children, how do I know that THAT'S  for their children's highest good? There they are! Either that, or God is a sadist and the universe is chaos, and that is not my experience. That was my experience for forty-three years, but with this Work, I can only see perfect order. There is nothing terrible. Investigation is the way through to reality.  

YOUR PARENTS DON'T HAVE TO BE
ALIVE FOR YOU TO DO THE
WORK ON THEM

No one has to be alive for you to do The Work on them. They live in your mind. That's where you heal yourself. Those of you whose family is gone, it's perfect. And those of you who still have your family living, it's perfect. No mistake.  

YOUR PARENTS ARE YOUR PROJECTION -
NOTHING MORE

Until I can understand myself, I can't even hear my parents. They are just my story. People who do this Work come to know their parents for the first time, even though their parents have been dead for thirty years.  

MEDITATION ON A
DISAPPROVING PARENT

Close your eyes. Now see your father, for example, with that disapproving look on his face. Now see yourself on your favorite chair. Now see him as a little boy. Now open your arms and invite him onto your lap. Did he come? Now hold him, smell his little head, and his hair. Just experience him there. Now tell him what you would like to tell him. Tell him you love him, if that's true.

After you do this, you may have the most touching realizations. You may see that you care about your father the way you wanted him to care about you. It's the old turnaround trick: "I want him to love me" becomes "I want me to love him." We investigate the story, and the illusion is blown away. And it brings up the next story, so we can meet that one with understanding. And all the illusions start falling like dominoes.  

YOU'RE TRYING TO ARRANGE THE CHESSBOARD,
AND IT HAS ALRDADY BEEN DONE -
CHECKMATE!

If you think it was your parents who were out there, you're deluded. There was only God out there, disguised as your parents, giving you what you need. Every time you think you parents should be there for you, don't you experience pain? You miss the reality of it: they're not! Anytime you think they should be here when they're over there, you hurt, because the reality of it is that they should be where they are. You're trying to arrange the chessboard, and it has already been done! Checkmate!  

THERE'S ONLY ONE WAY TO HANDLE GOD
DISGUISED AS MOTHER: WITH
UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

Until you can see your mother as totally precious all the time, your Work isn't done. That's the beautiful thing about mothers: just in case you think you have it handled, we know what button to push.  

JOINING YOUR PARENTS
COMPLETELY

If you took your Worksheet to your mother or father and asked them just to be still all the way through and say "Thank you" after each statement, or if you just gave them each of the turnarounds to yourself, you would join them completely, because you can't say anything about yourself that they don't already know. On some level, they already know your greatest, darkest secret. It's no surprise.

Peace

PEACE IS WHO YOU ARE
WITHOUT A
STORY

The mind’s natural condition is peace. Then a thought enters, you believe it, and the peace seems to disappear. You notice the feeling of stress in the moment, and the feeling lets you know that you’re opposing what is by believing the thought; it tells you that you’re at war with reality. When you question the thought behind the feeling and realize that it isn’t true, you become present outside your story. Then the story falls away in the light of awareness, and only the awareness of what really is remains.

Peace is who you are without a story, until the next stressful story appears. Eventually, inquiry becomes alive in you as the natural, wordless response of awareness to the thoughts that arise. When there’s no story, no past or future, nothing to worry about, nothing to do, nowhere to go, no one to be, it’s all good.

PEACE IS OUR NATURAL
CONDITION

Only by believing an untrue thought is it possible to move from peace into emotions like sadness and anger. Without the pull of beliefs, the mind stays serenely in itself and is available for whatever comes along.

Who would you be in people’s presence without, for example, the story that anyone should care about you, ever? You would be love itself. When you believe the myth that people should care, you’re too needy to care about people or about yourself. The experience of love can’t come from anyone else; it can come only from inside you.

LOVE IS ACTION. IT’S CLEAR, IT’S KIND,
 IT’S EFFORTLESS, AND IT’S
IRRESISTIBLE

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.

A TEACHER OF FEAR CAN'T
BRING PEACE ON
EARTH

After the events of September 11, 2001, the media and our political leaders said that America had begun a war against terrorism and that everything had changed. When people came to do The work with me, I found that nothing had changed. People were frightening themselves with their uninvestigated thoughts, and after they found the terrorist inside them, they could return to their families, to their normal lives, in peace.

A teacher of fear can´t bring peace on earth. We have been trying to do it that way for thousands of years. The person who turns inner violence around, the person who finds peace inside and lives it, is the one who teaches what true peace is. We are waiting for just one teacher. You´re the one.  

UNTIL THERE'S PEACE WITHIN YOU,
THERE IS NO PEACE IN
THE WORLD

Because you are the world, you are the earth. The story of earth is all there is of earth and beyond. When you're in dreamless sleep at night, is there a world? Not until you open your eyes and say "I":  "I woke up," "I have to go to work," "I'm going to brush my teeth." Until "I" is born, there's no world.

When the I arises, welcome to the movie of who you think you are. Get the popcorn, there it comes! But if you investigate it, there's no attachment. It's just a great movie. And if you don't investigate, the I arises and it's body-identified, and you think it's real. That's pure fantasy. If you think you're that, you may want to inquire.  

THERE'S NOTHING MORE LIFE-GIVING
THAN INNER PEACE

Perfect world

A CLEAR MIND HEALS EVERYTHINHG THAT
NEEDS TO BE HEALED

The world is perfect. As you question your mind, this becomes more and more obvious. Mind changes, and as a result, the world changes. A clear mind heals everything that needs to be healed. It can never be fooled into believing that there is one speck out of order.

But some people take the insight that the world is perfect and make it into a concept, and then they conclude that there's no need to get  involved in politics or social action. that's separation.

If someone came to you and said, "I'm suffering. Please help me",  would you answer, "You're perfect just the way you are",  and turn away? Our heart naturally responds to people and animals in need.

Perfection

PERFECTION IS ANOTHER
NAME FOR
REALITY

The only way you can see anything as imperfect is if you believe a thought about it. "It's inadequate, it's ugly, it's unfair, it's flawed" - is that true? This chipped coffee cup on the table: how beautiful it is when you simply look at it, without any thought of what it should be. Or the homeless man shuffling ahead of you on the sidewalk, with long brown stains down the legs of his jeans. Or the wars and killings and bombings that you read about on the front page of the newspaper. When you see that reality is perfect just as it is, you can only stand in awe at the brilliant, unceasing, relentless way of it.

My legs are on the coffee table, crossed at the ankles. One person might think, 'How unladylike';  another might think, 'How comfortable'.  But with or without the thoughts, my legs are in the perfect position. And then I notice that they uncross, and then they cross again, as I watch the movie of life, frame by frame: perfection, perfection, perfection, perfection. There is no frame you could freeze and look at that wouldn't be  the way of its perfect self. Only the mind that believes what it thinks is capable of creating imperfection.

What could happen that wouldn't be good? My legs cross, they uncross, they stretch, they fold. Usually they're comfortable; sometimes they're so restless that they have to stand up and move. It's all good. Everything that happens is God's will. When you realize that, you're home free.

The insight that everything is God's will is not the end of the discussion for most people, but the beginning. Even devout people have trouble realizing that whatever happens is a good thing. They think that that's an oversimplification. But how can the simple truth be TOO simple? "God is everything, God is good"  isn't an idea; it's reality. You can know that it's true because anything that opposes it hurts. I call it the last story. Keep it and have a wonderful life. And if you want to go deeper, even that story isn't true.

THERE IS A PERFECTION BEYOND
WHAT THE UNQUESTIONED
MIND CAN KNOW

You can count on it to take you wherever you need to be, whenever you need to be there, and always exactly on time. When mind understands that it is just the reflection of the nameless intelligence that has created the whole apparent universe, it is filled with delight. It delights that it is everything, it delights that it is nothing, it delights that it is brilliantly kind and free of all identity.

Free to be its unlimited, unstoppable, unimaginable life, it dances in the light of its own understanding that nothing has ever happened, and that everything that has ever happened - everything that ever can happen - is good.

Personalities

PERSONALILTIES DON'T LOVE - THEY
WANT SOMETHING

Love doesn't seek anything. It's already complete. It doesn't want, doesn't need, has no SHOULDS (not even for the person's own good). So when I hear people say that they love someone and want to be loved in return, I know they're not talking about love. They're talking about something else.

YOU LOVE ME AND THAT
ISN'T PERSONAL

My love is MY business; it has nothing to do with you. You love me, and that isn't personal. You tell the story that I am this, or I am that, and you fall in love with your story. What do I have to do with it?
I am here for your perception, as if I had a choice. I am your story, no more and no less. You have never met me. No one has ever met anyone.

FOR THE PERSONALITY, LOVE IS
NOTHING MORE THAN
AGREEMENT

If I agree with you, you love me. And the minute I don't agree with you, the minute I question one of your sacred beliefs, I become your enemy; you divorce me in your mind.

Then you start looking for all the reasons why you're right, and you stay focused outside yourself. When you're focused outside and believe that your problem is caused by someone else, rather than by your attachment to the story you're believing in the moment, then you are your own victim, and the situation appears to be hopeless.

Physical pain

PHYSICAL PAIN ISN'T REAL; IT'S THE
STORY OF A PAST

Physical pain isn't real; it's the story of a past, always leaving, never arriving. But people don't know that. My grandson Racey fell down once when he was three years old. He scraped his knee, and there was some blood, and he began to cry. And as he looked up at me, I said, "Sweetheart, are you remembering when you fell down and hurt yourself?" And immediately, the crying stopped. That was it. He must have realized, for a moment, that pain is always in the past. The moment of pain is always gone. It's a remembering of what we think is true, and it projects what no longer exists.

Beware: I'm not saying that your pain isn't real for you. I know pain, and it hurts! That's why The Work is about the end of suffering.

If a car runs over your leg and you're lying in the street with story after story running through your mind, chances are that if you're new to The Work, you're not going to think, "I'm in pain - is it true? Can I absolutely know that it's true?" You're going to scream, "Get the morphine!" Then, later, when you're in a comfort zone, you can sit down with a pen and paper and do The Work. Give yourself the physical medicine and then the other kind of medicine. Eventually, you can lose your other leg, and you won't see a problem. if you think there's a problem, your Work isn't done.

Pleasure and Joy

PLEASURE IS AN ATTEMPT TO FILL
YOURSELF, JOY IS WHAT
YOU ARE

The balanced mind is always at ease. It isn’t for or against anything; it only wants what is. It’s at ease because there’s nothing it is opposed to. Nothing opposes it, nothing holds it back, it acts as creation unfolding in the moment, and its action is swift and free.

The balanced mind is not attached to pleasure, because it doesn’t need more than it has already. Usually pleasure is a subtle form of discomfort, because even as you’re enjoying sex or food, for example, you cling to your enjoyment; you want it to last, you want more of it, or you’re afraid of losing it even as it’s happening.

The difference between pleasure and joy? Ohhh… the distance is from here to the moon… from here to another galaxy! Pleasure is an attempt to fill yourself. Joy is what you are.

Once you understand yourself, you are the pleasure you were seeking: you are what you always wanted. Pleasure is a mirror image of what you already have before you look away from what really is.

When you stop seeking, the beauty concealed by the seeking becomes evident. What you wanted to find is what remains, beyond all stories.

When you no longer believe your thoughts, you experience pleasure with a feeling of gratitude and joy, because there’s no control in it. The taste of broccoli… what could be more enlightening than that?

Many spiritual paths take a stand against pleasure. But 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 part of reality, and until you deeply see that not even thoughts are real, you’ll spend your whole life struggling against them.

Possessions

GOD'S WILL FOR ME IS THAT I NOT OWN ANYTHING -
HOWEVER MANY POSSESSIONS
I APPARENTLY HAVE

So I love it when people come and steal all my things; that way, I can see if there's one little attachment left in me, one little place of entitlement. Because there is only one joy in life: undoing myself.

You can't let go of your possessions; it doesn't work like that. You investigate your beliefs about father or mother, for example, and something happens that's totally unrelated, and you experience freedom.

Thieves take everything you own and people are saying, "Oh, you poor thing, how terrible for you," and you don't feel terrible at all, you feel amused, you feel exhilarated, because you're awake to all the stressful thoughts that might arise. And you haven't done anything but let go of a belief.

Prayer

IF I HAD A
PRAYER

When you believe the thought that anyone should love you, that's where the pain begins. I often say, "If I had a prayer, it would be: God spare me from the desire for love, approval, or appreciation. Amen."

Preference

WHATEVER I'M DOING… THAT'S
MY PREFERENCE

Question:  I've heard that people who are free don't have any preferences, since they  see everything as perfect. Do you have preferences?

Answer:  I am a lover of what is, and that's what I always have. "It" has its own preferences: the sun in the morning and the moon at night. And I prefer to be with the person in front of me now. It appears that I always have a preference for the thing happening now.

As soon as someone starts asking questions, I'm there. He is my preference, and there's no one else. Then when I'm talking to another person, she's the one, and there's no one else. I discover my preferences by noticing what it is that I'm doing. Whatever I'm doing: That's my preference. How do I know? I'm doing it! Do I prefer vanilla over chocolate? I do, until I don't. I'll let you know as we place our order at Ben and Jerry's.

Presence

BEING PRESENT MEANS LIVING WITHOUT
CONTROL AND ALWAYS HAVING
YOUR NEEDS MET

Pretending

MAKING YOURSELF MORE
AGREEABLE

Winning people over by pretending to be interested in them is part of a bigger project: trying to become a more likeable person. How do you react when you believe the thought that you can find love and approval by making yourself more likeable?

If the person you are doesn't seem to be attracting enough interest, it seems natural to make some changes, to modify your appearance and your personality until you hit the right combination and become more appealing.

Most people begin with the physical, trying out dozens of variations of outfits, hairdos, makeup, diets, walks, and facial expressions. This progresses to figuring out when to smile, when to make eye contact, when to laugh, when to talk, when to keep quiet, and what opinions to have.

A built-in part of developing a personality that's designed to please is constantly watching for signs that you're succeeding. This can be a stressful way to live. Anxiously focusing on the other person, checking for approval or disapproval, leaves nobody at home in yourself, nobody noticing your thoughts or taking responsibility for your feelings. This cuts you off from the source of real contentment.

The outward focus also leaves unnoticed and unquestioned the inevitably painful thought that if you have to transform yourself to find love and approval, there must be something wrong with the way you are.

"I thought I had him convinced that I was intelligent, well-read, interesting, smart, even brilliant. I devoted our entire one-month relationship to this pursuit. He told me he didn't want to see me again! When I asked him why, he said that he was looking for someone less intense, someone more open, even someone simple, not so  smart. After I got over the blow to my pride, I realized that the real me could have been a perfect match. " 

DON'T BE SPIRITUAL
BE HONEST
INSTEAD

What is meant by this is that it's very painful to pretend yourself beyond your own evolution, to live a lie, any lie. When you act like a teacher, it's usually because you're afraid to be the student. I don't pretend to be fearless. I either am or I'm not. It's no secret to me.

MIMICKING FRIENDSHIP

When someone pretends to be interested in you, do you smile back and pretend to be flattered? Most people cheerily carry on with the playacting, and there's no problem unless you begin to think there's any real approval in this behavior. This isn't friendship - it MIMICS friendship to get people to do what someone wants. That kind of deception may sell insurance, but what happens when it enters the realms of friendship and your love life?  

DON'T PRETEND YOURSELF
BEYOND YOUR
EVOLUTION

Problems

IT'S NOT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A PROBLEM
WITHOUT BELIEVING A PRIOR
THOUGHT

You can’t have an up without a down. You can’t have a left without a right.  This is duality. If you have a problem, you must already have the solution. The question is, DO you really want the solution, or do you want to perpetuate the problem?

The solution is always there. The Work can help you find it. Write down the problem, question it, turn it around, and you have the solution. 

Every thought is already over. That’s grace. No thought: no problem. It’s not possible to have a problem without believing a prior thought. To notice this simple truth is the beginning of peace.

THERE ARE NO PHYSICAL PROBLEMS -
ONLY MENTAL ONES

Projection

WE’RE NOT ATTACHED TO PEOPLE… WE’RE
ATTACHED TO CONCEPTS
ABOUT PEOPLE

When you really go inside yourself, for the love of truth, and question even one stressful concept, the mind becomes a little saner, a little more open. And you begin to see that there is no objective world out there. It’s all projected. You’ve been living in your STORY of the world. We want to be wonderful, generous people, but when we don’t get our way, we turn into something else – in the name of goodness, of course.

When we work with mind, the projector, eventually we begin to live in a state of clarity and kindness. It’s possible to be kind all the time, not just when we get our way. This leaves us with a lot of energy to serve people.

As long as you believe any negative concept about one person, for example… “He’s selfish, “  “She’s arrogant,”  “He shouldn’t do this,”  “She should be that”… you’re going to project it onto everyone – your husband, your wife, your parents, your children. Sooner or later, when you don’t get what you want from them, or when they threaten your sacred beliefs, you’re going to impose that concept onto them, until you meet it with some understanding. This is not a guess. It’s what we do. We’re not attached to people; we’re attached to concepts about people.

When you truly love yourself, it’s not possible to project that other people don’t love you. I like to say, “When I walk into a room, I know that everyone in it loves me. I just don’t expect them to realize it yet.” This gets a big laugh from audiences. People are delighted at how easy it is to feel completely loved, and they see, if only for a moment, that it doesn’t depend on anyone outside.

LIVING A HAPPY DREAM

When people tell me, "But your happiness is all a projection," I say, "yes, and isn't it beautiful? I love living this happy dream. I'm having a wonderful time!"  If you lived in heaven, would you want it to end? It doesn't end. It can't. That is what's true for me, until it's not. If it should change, I always have inquiry. I answer the questions, the truth is realized within me, and the doing meets the undone, the something meets the nothing. In the balance of the two halves, I am free.

THE WORLD IS THE MIRROR
IMAGE OF YOUR MIND

You are my projection. This means that the world is your perception of it. Inside and outside always match - they are reflections of each other.

The world is the mirror image of your mind. If you experience chaos and confusion inside, your external world has to reflect that. You have to see what you believe, because you are the confused thinker looking out and seeing yourself.

You are the interpreter of everything, and if you're chaotic, what you hear and see has to be chaos. Even if Jesus, even if the Buddha, were standing in front of you, you would hear confused words, because confusion would be the listener. You would only hear what you thought he was saying, and you'd start arguing with him the first time your story was threatened.

As for my being your projection, how else could I be here? It's not as though I had a choice. I am the story of who you think I am, not who I really am. You see me as old, young, beautiful, ugly, honest, deceitful, caring, uncaring.

I am, for you, your uninvestigated story, your own myth. I understand that who you think I am is true for you. I once was innocent and gullible also, until I woke up to the way things really are. "It's a tree. It's a table. It's a chair." is it true? Have you stopped to ask yourself?

LONELINESS COMES FROM
AN HONEST PLACE

You've never reacted to someone else. You project meaning onto nothing. There's nothing separate out there. And you react to the meaning you've projected. Loneliness comes from an honest place … you're the only one here. There are no humans here. You're it. This world doesn't even exist. When you investigate your thoughts and stop believing your projections, you come to realize that. It's the end of the world. The end of a world that never existed anyway.  

WHAT THE WORK GIVES US IS A
WAY TO CHANGE THE
PROJECTOR

When you do The Work, you see who you are by seeing who you think other people are. Eventually you come to see that everything outside you is a reflection of your own thinking. You are the storyteller, the projector of all stories, and the world is the projected image of your thoughts.

Since the beginning of time, people have been trying to change the world so that they can be happy. This hasn't ever worked, because it approaches the problem backward.

What the Work gives us is a way to change the projector - mind - rather than the projected. It's like when there's a piece of lint on an projector's lens. We think there's a flaw on the screen and we try to change this person and that person, whomever the flaw appears to be on next. But it's futile to try to change the projected images. Once we realize where the lint is, we can clear the lens itself. This is the end of suffering, and the beginning of a little joy in paradise.