Byron Katie - 'The Story of the ONE'
Interview by Iain McNay
Welcome to conscious.tv. My name is Iain McNay and today our guest is Byron Katie. Hi Katie,
Katie: Hello Ian.
Iain: Katie is really well known for The Work. She has written many books. I have a couple here. There is: ‘Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life’. And there is a workbook, called ‘The Work of Byron Katie’. There are many more so you can just check out what is available and what you feel drawn to.
There is a quote Katie I have picked out of one of your books, it is very short: ‘I am the one who knew nothing, one who awoke within the ancient wisdom.’ What does that mean to you now?
Katie: Well, what does it mean to me now? It sounds like I thought I knew something when it came out of my mouth. Ancient wisdom, I don’t think there is any ancient wisdom and through enquiry, you know… just to end every thought in a question mark, every assumption in a question mark… ancient wisdom can’t live very long. So it leaves the mind in that ‘don’t know place’ that is just so vast and open and teachable, and less of… ‘I know place’.
Iain: When you were quite young - from things I have read - you actually had some quite deep experiences. One time you were three years old and you were sitting on the curb and you felt that all you could see was all that existed.
Katie: Yes, and I would love to believe that every child, that every one that gets still enough, could identify that time. It was just being still and witnessing, knowing that if I can't see it then it doesn’t exist. And really, looking back at that, or from just right here right now, not knowing what anything is… basically without comparison, you have a happy life in every moment.
Iain: It is as if children do have this inherent wisdom within them and somehow as they get older and more conditioning creeps in, then that gets distorted. Doesn’t it?
Katie: Yes they become believers and the life of a believer is very difficult. Very confusing. Like some say it is black, some say it is white, some say up, some say down. Imagine for a child with a clean slate, how confusing that must be. You, don’t look down and say ‘up’; or people say you did it wrong and you don’t know what ‘wrong’ is, so now: ‘I am the one who…’ my identity develops out of that, ‘who am I?’ Well, ‘I am the one that does it wrong’. And all the: ‘I am the one that looks down’ and ‘the one that did it wrong’ and ‘Is that supposed to be up, or is it down?’ ‘Left, right’… you know, it is very confusing for the believer. We feel that we never get it right and we are fairly accurate in that. It is all a projection of mind and so, of course we are confused. We even think that there’s a ‘right’ way, and that way is always right. We believe about ‘the way’… that belief could use a little work. So that is what I do. I bring enquiry, the availability of enquiry to the world and it is good for some, but it certainly takes a lot of silence, a lot of stillness, a lot of contemplation to sit in a question such as: ‘Is it true?’ …after you have identified some assumption that is causing great disruption.
Iain: It is as if we have to go back in one way, to being the innocent child; we have to rediscover that because there is no way out. We have our growing up to do; we get all the human conditioning from our culture, from our parents. That is the way it is, isn’t it?
Katie: It certainly was that way for me, and then when enquiry found me I just went back to where I came from. It is just one assumption, one concept, one belief at a time and as identity fell away, I found the cause of and for, a lot of laughter. It is like I turned out to be the joke itself.
Iain: Just to take, briefly, your ‘story’, in sequence. You had a not particularly happy childhood and then you got married to your first husband. You obviously had somewhere inside you [something] that was a real strong drive in the world because you became, with your husband, very successful quite quickly and there is a quote that I have pulled out of one of the books, 'money gushed up like oil'. I am not saying that it is your quote, but someone said that about you. You became rich and powerful, you were actually living the American dream. But on the outside it was the American dream; on the inside you were hurting, weren’t you?
Katie: Yes, yes. And… if you had let’s say, financial security and it was not vastly wealthy, but when you live in a small town, it doesn’t take much to be wealthy because that is what you are comparing it to. So it wasn’t like major, major wealth; it was just comparative wealth. That is supposed to make you happy, but it doesn’t change what you are thinking and believing. So rich or poor, we are attached to what we are thinking and believing until that’s questioned. I don’t know another way of waking up to the dream world that we are living in, this world of suffering (other than enquiry, which I didn’t have access to at that time). A thought would happen, I would believe it and I was identified. And I would tell you, ‘That is true’ and then defend it and of course I discovered that defence is the first act of wars, so I was very confused. Very confused, I had a lot to learn.
Iain: But it is interesting that you had this drive. Not everybody has that and you had the drive to find, to complete and to discover. And that drive originally went on the outside because that is all you knew and that is what society is doing.
Katie: Yes, it’s as though I just knew what to do. It was clear. I just knew what to do, and now I know. There is a term I love, 'I am not the doer' and so what I was believing was interfering with what was actually going on. And today, more awake to what is really going on without the addition of my ‘story’... what an amazing apparent existence. What play this imagined world is. This world where there is absolutely no cause for suffering. No cause for pain. It is a beautiful world… to wake up to.
Iain: So you became very overweight, alcoholic, smoking, everything was going to the extreme. So something kind of had to give and it could have been….
Katie: Yes it’s like I played that one out.
Iain: Yeah, you did you…
Katie: That was my path and it was a radical path and… you know, I had dinner with Eckhart [Tolle] and Ken [Wilber] a few nights ago, and we were laughing and at one point he said, ‘Well, Katie’s way is very radical!’ …with a great smile on that sweet face of his.
Iain: But it was also total. I am trying to make this point because I know there are a lot of people that watch conscious.tv, who are lost in their own way. They are trying to find their way and there’s something about this totality which I loved about your story. As we said, you did it, you did it completely and then everything kind of crashed. You left your husband, lost some money, you made some more money and then you were so desperate you ended up in what in America is called a half-way-house (not a term we use in Europe). And there you didn’t even feel you were worthy to lie on bed.
Iain: So you were lying on the floor and then what happened? Just talk me through what happened.
Katie: Well, asleep on the floor I woke up one morning, you know I slept next to my bed because, again, I didn’t believe I was worthy of even that, but sleeping on the floor. I woke up just like we all do every morning. I woke up in two ways: I woke up from the sleep of the night, and I woke up into another world. And it was quite radical. Prior to that I believed that you had to die the physical body to escape this hell, as I perceived life to be. It wasn’t true. There is another way and for me it just turned out to be so simple. What I saw that was so valuable - what really matters in that experience - is that I saw in that moment that when I believed my thoughts I suffered. And when I didn’t believe my thought I didn’t suffer. I have come to see that this is true for every human being. All the darkness in that moment was gone. And I could see in that moment, in that unidentified 'I’ moment, I could see that the moment the mind hit, it had lost the ability to believe… it saw in the moment that the mind hit, that it had believed what it saw. So it was the ultimate creator of all and then this laughter… it is as though it just burst into life. And that was its first sound and so I have experience a lot of laughter since. And I can look so serious, but that laughter doesn’t move. It is just the most brilliant thing to say, to hear someone say for example that the sky is blue and I can laugh and say, 'Are you still believing that, or are you just being funny?' That silent humour is going on all the time… that laughter and… to have lost the ability to believe. And in that Grace of always being That. I am That, I am That, I am not… I am not…
Iain: It seems to me the breakthrough was (I am using your words at the time, from what I have read) when a cockroach goes over your foot and there is a recognition that comes from somewhere that all is One. Now I presume that didn't come from the mind, not directly from the mind.
Katie: Well there is nothing that does not come from the mind. No story, no world; and how else are we going to tell it? And so of course we do the best we can. But yes, as I lay on the floor actually a cockroach crawled over my foot and I opened my eyes and in place of all that darkness there was a joy and um… I have always had difficulty speaking of that. I think it is better lived.
Iain: What interests me, and it is something that I think I can personalize to a degree… I haven’t a cockroach [going over my foot] but it is like there is the realisation that everything is One. My language is more [about calling it] the Ground of Being rather than everything is One. Then the mind comes in, and when I say the mind I mean the conditioned human mind, and it creates the separation. So let's look at yours as symbolic rather than you personally, Katie. You are lying there, you have the cockroach, realization comes from nowhere. Everything is One and then the mind comes in and says well, that is a cockroach, that is my foot, this is my body and that in a way – and I think you identify this in The Work - that is the beginning of the disease. That is the beginning of the separation, moving away from the knowing that everything is One.
Iain: I am going to go on a little bit more on this [point] and then we will come much broader and much more onto The Work, but what I liked about your story was that you had to learn humanness; you had to learn to communicate. I wonder, did you remember any of this process or is it so far in the past now, how you were? It seems to me, [there was] a learning of a new way of being a human being.
Katie: Yes, because how do you identify when you don’t? How do you ‘Be’ when you are not? For example: maybe I would be walking and for an agoraphobic that is a lot. Years locked in my own world and bedroom and home, so to speak… very difficult to leave and very fearful. But within this experience, there is this apparent woman walking and maybe I would walk into someone’s house knowing that it was mine because no one had told me, ‘That is not what we do here’. And so I had this knowing, this understanding of no separation. So maybe I would sit down in their living room and the family would come by and say, ‘Hello, how are you?’ and [I would be] in the warmest friendliest world and then they would start figuring out that no one knew me in the family that I had in fact not been invited in by anyone that they could identify. And then they would begin to teach me, like: this our home… well that is separation. And then they would begin to teach me who they were: ‘Can we help you?’ ‘What can we do for you?’ ‘Would you like a glass of water?’ ‘What is your address?’ In these moments you learn you have an address and that you are in the wrong home. That is huge separation. But I did meet the friendly universe starting this time from a child because I had enquiry to show me the way. So in my original experience everything turned out not to be true and that hasn’t changed.
For example maybe I would find myself in a mall or in a market place, and I would be just sobbing with the miracle of it all… just this miracle and maybe I would sit down against the wall out of people’s way, and people would stop and say, ‘May I help you?’ The same thing again: it is the heart. ‘Would you like a tissue?’ ‘Can I help you, is there someone I could call?’ That is what we hold in common specifically: the heart. Then if someone says, ‘I am going to kill you’, isn’t that a blessing as well? Once you understand that you cannot die, you have to be born, you have to exist before you can die. There is a little confusion here on the planet, but there is nothing that enquiry can’t take care of, if the mind is open to enquiry. We’re going through some amazing experiences here on this planet (well I will just say it that way) and we could use a little enlightenment - a little enquiry. Fear is the opposite of our True Nature and for me, True Nature is basically: I love, I care, how can I help? I mean that is standard, the standard voice of the heart and when the heart and the mind are ‘same’ that is the end of the duality that you spoke of earlier. There is no longer duality; there is no apparent negative in that world. It cannot, it is meant to be humorous, nothing more than that. But that is once something is seen through. There is nly love.
Iain: Did your mind and the old conditioning try to get back at all? Because the way you are talking is not only your realisation of who you truly are, but also within that there is inherent trust. I am wondering, did the old doubt try to get back? Did the old doubting say, what I am doing maybe dangerous?
Katie: Through the world… for example, someone might say: ‘You are crazy, you are dangerous’ and that would excite me. It is like: ‘My goodness where am I crazy and where am I dangerous?’ And then you just get still and then through those images and concepts you are shown, you are shown. And if it’s not kind, it is dangerous. What I mean by that is, there is this movement towards what is not our nature. Other than that, what is dangerous? Nothing. But you feel it, everyone, everyone feels it, I mean that is what stress is, that is what anger is. That is what anything that would go against our nature: the heart, this caring heart… Anything that would argue with that kind of beauty is going to feel like stress and we have names for it like anger, hurt, sorrow, and resentment - anything like that, but those are just emotions to let us know: ‘Ah, don’t look out there to change the world, to be more comfortable; look here, look here [pointing to he heart]. Identify what you are believing and put it to the test. Put it through enquiry and then you may come out a little lighter, or possibly a lot lighter.’
Iain: So your doubt completely went, because a lot of this comes from doubt. Is that totally eliminated?
Katie: It is all eliminated through enquiry. Anybody, even a child can see that, when their mind is open to questioning.
Iain: I know - well, I say I know from what I have read, of The Work - you understood the importance of The Work because it was partly when you were in the half-way-house you did some healing to people, but you saw they reverted back because psychologically, mind wise they still had the same programming. And you saw The Work as a very important tool for them changing the mind.
Katie: Yes, to break the spell. If someone says: ‘Don’t believe this’. OK, OK, OK, I will try, try, try. I won’t believe it. So then, you have to go into denial not to believe it because you still believe it. Enquiry is the only thing I know to break the spell. We can see something very beautiful, but for the mind it won’t last long, to the unquestioned mind, it will tear it to shreds. It will do whatever it takes to keep his false identity - that is how it works. For me every thought is the Beloved. For me every thought is like a child that hasn’t been met with understanding, met by the heart yet. So, if someone says, ‘Something terrible is going to happen’, if you just put that through enquiry - that is a child’s mind that says, ‘If there is anything here that would harm…’ and that is a little radical as I have been told - that is a little radical - but not in my world, it is not radical at all. We could… look at us; we could use a little help with the mind. It seems to be a run away train and we only need look at the outside world and the wars in the world and the famine and the fear to know that somehow the mind could use a little help. Anyway with every apparent person in the world, if you put all of those bodies together - actually just drop the bodies - you have one mind. One schizophrenic mind so when there is one, let's say enlightened mind, it begins to shift everything. And there are a lot of wonderful minds as I see… something like your program, waking up to a little reality.
Iain: Is there something in you that has consciously maintained this vigilance of enquiry or is it such a natural automatic process now?
Katie: [the question] ‘Is it true?’ has just come alive. It's a part of mind. That mind says… let’s use that prior example that something terrible is going to happen and then, over here [referring to the opposite hand] there is complete wisdom. No one holds more than another, it is total it is complete. But it is the same mind. And then [touching the middle of her chest] the same centre is saying, ‘Is it true that something terrible is going to happen?’ And if that same mind asks, ‘Is it true?’ and then just waits, then this will penetrate it, enlighten it, wake it up. That is what is so important about stillness. Being still and listening and to contemplate on, ‘Is it true?’ is very powerful. It ends internal velcro and that is true attachment. Attachment falls away, mind is safe (to use your word) in releasing what it believed in that forth question: ‘Who would I be without it?’ [without that thought] you begin to notice that you are OK. And there is no moment that you have never been OK until finally you begin to understand that: not this, [touching her face and hands] there is nothing to protect here, nothing to secure, to make comfortable, or to move into a pleasurable situation.
Iain: You see I would challenge you there because I don’t know whether it is understanding, or by grace of God. It is as if on the level of working on the mind and working with your questions, yes, the layers get peeled away - automatically they fall away. And yes somehow there is a letting go that happens but, like when you woke up, most people when they really wake up to who they truly are, there is something quantum, it is like God 'smiled' for a moment. And you can do all this work and it improves your life, it takes away a lot of the automatic programmes, but something doesn’t necessarily happen automatically. Would you say I am being cynical there, or…?
Katie: No, No. It certainly seems that way. I see every mind as the enlightened mind and I see the mind very confused as it identifies, or tries to stay identified, as something that it is not. And it has to be completely vigilant. And again the only thing I know to break the spell is just to get still and identify what mind is believing in the moment and then put it through enquiry and then see what is left. There are millions of people in enquiry - as well as in this enquiry, these four questions - whose lives are shifting, and for me that is waking up to reality. The mind’s ability through enquiry eventually is (again to use your word) to trust that I am not this [touches her hand] and without this there is nothing to loose. There is just mind’s play. And that is a beautiful thing.
Iain: But you see, does it really work that way: that I am not this? Because again my experience is that actually this is serving completely differently. I can never say I am not this. Something happens when you realise that (in my words): ‘Ah, I am the ground of being. Not this’ [referring to his body]. And the ‘I’ becomes this narrow circle: someone’s in my life. That ‘I’ - people maybe call it the observer or witness - the observer and the witness is never going to let go because it can’t. Because it is the one it is trying to let go of. Somehow something happens and I am THIS [referred as the Ground of Being] which is completely different.
Katie: Yeah. I can see it but ‘I am THIS’ once it is questioned, you can’t have that either. You know, mind cannot exit as something because it is nothing. If you take all of the thoughts that have ever been thought and you put them in a big box in front of you and you look in there, there is nothing. The mind cannot ever be.
Iain: So the questions ultimately destroy the mind, or destroy the thinking, the irrational thinking process of the mind.
Katie: That would say that it is something, and once it can no longer believe it… For example, most people have had thoughts like these: ‘I want my body to be young and beautiful and healthy and flexible’ and you just feel that and they take it to the gym. Or, ‘I want my mind, my thinking my thoughts to be young and healthy and beautiful and flexible’, which would you choose? Everyone chooses the mind because if you were paralyzed from the head to the toe and you love everything, you think where is the problem? There isn’t one. So that is another way of saying I am not this. Someone says, ‘I am going to kill you’. I find it hilarious. What are they going to kill?
Iain: That happened to you. I was listening to a CD which is one of your [audio] books. Someone, I think held a gun to you, is that right?
Katie: Yes, he said he was going to kill me, and he pulled the hammer back and I looked into his eyes and I thought, you know I would want to kill me too if I believed what he believed; how could I not? So he is a believer, he is not guilty. I mean we can’t stop ourselves from believing what we believe. That is what enquiry is for, in time it enlightens the mind, or not, depending on how open the mind is, because even that is a state of Grace. But he said he was going to kill me. I though you know… he will, or he wont. I don’t know. In the meantime I could see the sky and the clouds and the moon.
Iain: Was your heart beat faster? Did anything happen at all?
Katie: No. You know, every thing is what it is. It is so entirely beautiful and I mean… what is going to die and if I am dead, how would I know it? There is nothing born to die. And my thought was, as I looked into his beautiful eyes, ‘He is so frightened’. He was frightening himself. He was about to - in his world - kill. And my thought was: ‘I hope he doesn’t do that to himself’, but that is not something that people can understand. So, I give him the gift of my silence and that is a gift to myself. I am THAT and THAT and THAT and THAT and not… and not… So he did not pull the trigger as far as I know. And if he did pull the trigger, where is the problem? You wait, it hurts or it doesn’t, for all you know it won’t. But say, he did pull the trigger, you just wait and if it doesn’t hurt you just go on; if it does hurt you notice, and you notice that even pain is a projection of mind. It doesn’t matter, yes it hurts, yes it hurts, that is honest, that is honest, and yet all pain is a projection of mind, so that-ever-noticing beauty unfolds.
Iain: You sound completely free.
K. How would I know? As far as I know, yes. And what do I know? What do I know? When I tell my children, in all truth and humour, you can’t have any pain, isn’t that a light hearted thing to be, or to not have?
Iain: Is doing the dishes still your meditation?
Katie: Yes, and everything is THAT. It is. Everything is THAT. It is picking up the trash, it is walking from here to there even if it is just one step.
Iain: One thing that you talked about, (I read a transcript that I thought was very useful) is how you say ‘no’. Because obviously you have to say ‘no’ sometimes to people. And yet it seems to me an automatic process that you know to say ‘no’, or you know to be available and say ‘yes’. Is it as simple as that?
Katie: Well it is, I only answer to one thing. So yes, it is as simple as that. I don’t contemplate: ‘What do they want me to say?’ They want me to say yes, or they wouldn’t really mind if I... there is none of that going on. I am answering to one thing. If someone said would you like to take a walk, number one, how would I know? I haven’t done the walk. You can’t know the future so I can’t answer honestly and, so every reason to, or not to do the walk, is just a play of the mind. So I answer out of THIS, if it is a ‘yes’, it is a yes to me, if it is a ‘no’, it is a yes to me - so I always win. I am always a yes to THIS, this centre that is worthy of integrity [referring to the heart].
Iain: And THIS is an alignment with the Whole.
Katie: With the Whole.
Iain: It is like you, like me, like everything is just a manifestation of the Whole.
Katie: I owe THAT. I owe THAT, I am THAT.
Iain: But to me they are different words. I owe that. ‘I am THAT’ I understand completely, but I owe that implies debt.
Katie: Well it can be heard that way, but another way of saying it is… just being true to oneself that is beyond the self.
Iain: OK, I understand that.
Katie: And why not?
Iain: How are your children now? Because I found very moving what I read in one of your books. It had a lot of detail about what happened after… let’s say your awakening, and then I think it was Rosanne, your daughter was saying she didn’t recognise you; you were a completely different person. She found it hard at first.
Katie: It was very difficult.
Iain: She thought you’d revert to the old, because you used to have these primal screams coming out. It was a rough old time for her.
Katie: Yeah, rough old time for them. For people witnessing this, this discussion, it was an angry mother. A very confused mother teaching my children what wasn’t, because, I, as a believer, believed that things out of my mouth were really true. Of course I have come to see that I didn’t believe them, that I really tried to believe that I believed them. Now, that it is not possible for me - as far as I know - to see anyone as a believer. I invite everyone to get still and test that. The mind is continually and always attempting to identify itself as - through believing - that identity that we are in, in the moment. So with my children it is still difficult. One of them especially still projects very heavily onto me, but has every right to, every right to… life of the believer. My job is to love. That is the simplest job in the world; it just comes down to that. That meets my nature, the nature of everything. Of these flowers and this glass, I mean we couldn’t count the blessings and the grace of this moment, this dream. The Work is enquiry, is about waking us up when there is a nightmare. And people say, but Katie you know it is still just a dream. Yeah, no dream, no world, no existence; but isn’t it wonderful we can still dream it?
Iain: If I personalise it, I would say that, that is why I asked you about diligence earlier. It is like when things are going badly then of course one enquires, it is pretty unintelligence not to enquire. But it is just as important to enquire when things are going well, because that is when you learn even more.
Katie: Yes, yes, and that can also shake one out of denial and denial is what holds unenlightenment, what holds sleepiness in place. So enquiry wakes us up to what we already know that we didn’t believe we knew. And in that, it can never be possible again. Because we have to believe it, before we can see it. Meaning anything… for the believer that is what brought them in. Let’s say, at three, or four years old, or two, or six, or seven years old, you know the first time a person believes, it is the moment of birth as identity. So maybe someone is calling ‘Iain, Iain’ and certainly not calling you, you are in your own world. And maybe at some moment you look around and everyone is saying ‘Iain, Iain’ and then maybe you, in that moment, believe that is who you are. Prior to that, no ‘Iain’ and in that moment, ‘Iain’. Identified mind -identified as a something, so really, our birth is here [touching her head, indicating mind]. And our death is here [same] and our joy and our fear and our everything, this is it; this is the creator of all without exception in my experience.
Iain: Do you still feel affinity with homeless people? I know at one point you thought you had to go out and spend time with homeless people. Is that still a special relationship?
Katie: Well, actually with all people.
Iain: I guess all people are homeless in one way till they know who they are.
Katie: That really feels right. It really feels right… for people to be able to walk into their homes and know who they are, or be out on the streets with people that your mind may separate yourself from… if you are not attached to what you believe about those people, then there is no separation. And you’re at home everywhere, with everyone and every situation without exception. And that is home.
Iain: Yes, there is a quote - I have pulled out quotes from some of your books - there is one here that I have just got my finger on: ‘There was only one story, the story of the One’. That is what you are saying, it is just one story and maybe there are a few tangents and a few different apparent endings, but it is one story.
Katie: Yes, the story of ‘I’. It doesn’t go far, it doesn’t accomplish much.
Iain: Virtually everybody is somehow so entangled with fear and anxiety. I think from memory you actually define fear as not getting what you want. Is that right? Is that how you define fear?
Katie: Fear you can really sum it up with: you are afraid you are going to loose what you have, what you have is threatened, or you are not going to get what you want. That implies that what we have, or don’t have… a simpler way of saying it is that I have everything I need in every moment, but that is too limited; I have more than I need in every moment. I have tested that one and I am very open to something different but in almost 30 years, no exception…
Iain: Yes, I think what really happens if we look a little bit more, that we are all trying to be happy that is a very basic need, to feel complete, to feel One and somehow we look to the outside [world] and think if I could have that, or more of that, or better relationship, I am going to be happy which translates in, I am going to be complete. And of course on the outside we are using up all the resources rather quickly and it has to come back to here and maybe we get what we want to some degree on the outside, but because it is a natural expression of our connection with Ground of Being rather than us wanting, as a separate individual. For me it is the thing of this fear to some extent, but it is the fear of not getting what I want and happiness. That is what it comes down to. I guess it is different for everybody.
Katie: Yes, this is certainly something to contemplate on, but I think that it would speak into the state of Grace (that you brought up earlier). In this moment now, it is impossible not to have everything we need and our mind would lead us to believe differently, but that has nothing to do with the state of Grace and reality. It is simply something the mind… something to identify and question. Other than that, it is a perfect world and I have really tested that. It is a friendly universe.
Iain: Yeah, it is interesting. In the last interview I had, it came up. I mentioned at the end that I have been very moved recently by some autobiographies I have read, of a couple of people on death row. They know they are going to die, they are living in pretty awful conditions, they are caged up and often the jailors are not very nice and they get rubbish food and yet unbelievably - maybe unbelievably is the wrong word - somehow they find peace in themselves.
Katie: Well, it is no decision. No fear. It is that point where they don’t have a choice. Their mind gets: ‘Oh there is no way out. The end’. So fear, it happens anytime you project the future, even a nano second ahead. So OK, I’m going to die, these bars have convinced this mind. It’s over. So it’s over, there is no decision, no fear; when the mind knows it is over… it rests. No identity to keep alive or that you can hold on to.
Iain: But they haven’t come from negativity. The process might originally have come from resignation and out of that it seems - and I haven’t met these people - but it seems there is an expansion there, there is an acceptance an expansion and as you say, it is accepting what is, now. And there is not even a process. There is not even accepting it is just… acceptance is there.
Katie: When the mind looses its ability to project, in other words to create the illusion of a future, it looses the ability to project. It is over! That is the end of fear and that space, it is huge, because mind is infinite source and it is free to meet itself with understanding that is unlimited, it is so beautiful. I would hope death row for everyone!
Iain: Well we are all on death row. It is a funny thing with the human mind, you kind of know you are going to die, but you don’t quite believe you are going to die.
Katie: And until then you think, what can I do to make this better?
Iain: That, in one way, is not a bad attitude. I think you talk about that and that the best way to deal with the fear of death is to really live. And if you really live, there is something positive that comes out of it.
Katie: Or ‘be lived’ I would say, just ‘be lived’ and ‘be lived’ and I am going to… move my hand. OK I did it, and then… do I have to take credit for everything? Without the story it is… amazing, no ‘I’.
Iain: So we have to finish this part in about 5 minutes and then we are going to have another short part where my colleague Eleonora Gilbert is going to actually run through some questions with you. Some issues in her life and let’s just end this part with just talking briefly about your four questions. Do you want to run through the four questions and how you see those?
Katie: Well for example you see the statement, ‘Something terrible is going to happen’ and the first question [to ask yourself is]: Is it true? The second question: Can you absolutely know that it is true? that something terrible is going to happen.
Iain: So whatever thought somebody has, they can apply the first two questions. They are very obvious, very simple.
Katie: Yes, The Work has a way to identify and then to question the thoughts that are the cause of all the suffering and confusion in the world. There are only four of them. The first one is: ‘Is it true?’ The second one: ‘Can you absolutely know that it is true?’ In this case the concept we have identified is that something terrible is going to happen. The third question: Notice how you react and what happens when you believe that part.’ This is where all your emotions have the opportunity to be noticed and contemplated and witnessed. How you react when you believe that thought. And then all the actions that are born out of that and how the mind works. How do you react? What happens when you think that thought? All of these are questions to meditate on. OK, forth question: ‘Who or what would you be without that thought?’ And then I like people to turn it around: ‘Something terrible is going to happen’, the opposite: ‘Something wonderful is going to happen’. Well it is not enough. So in the situation that you are considering, what is wonderful? And begin to identify ‘Something wonderful is going to happen’ and you consider other options. And that is the quantum healing you were speaking of before the interview and it is all over the place in this enquiry when you find these opposites; turn the concept around and contemplate what is true or truer.
Iain: And what you need to be, especially with the third question, is completely honest with yourself.
Katie: And still.
Iain: And you have to look into the nooks and crannies to see what is there.
Katie: Actually you don’t even have to look, just listen. And what meets that question will then enlighten you. That is how it works. So really The Work is nothing; it is like a portal in, then you just listen. ‘Something terrible is going to happen’. Is it true? Listen, be shown, and that power, that I-know-mind does not have an avenue to; that mind will enlighten you. So it is ask and wait. Be still.
Iain: Ask and wait and be still.
Katie: And know. Be known.
Iain: Do you spend much time each day being still?
Katie: Always still.
Iain: You are always still.
Katie: Always still.
Iain: So now you are still.
Katie: Now, I am still. Immovably so.
Iain: So you are rooted in stillness.
Katie: Everyone is.
Iain: But it gets covered up and they forget or they don’t know.
Katie: The believer, that is a life of a believer. It is an illusion.
Iain: Well that is a wonderful place to end, with the thought or the knowledge or even better, the knowing: everybody is rooted in stillness. Byron Katie, thank you very much.
Katie: Thank you Iain, wonderful to sit with you.
Iain: I enjoyed our conversation, our meeting.
Katie: I did as well.
Iain: And if viewers want to stay for another 10 - 15 minutes, there will be a separate little exercise with Eleonora, just showing a practical example of the four questions of The Work. I will just share again a couple of Byron Katie’s books, although there are many more, if you look on the internet. Thank you for watching conscious.tv and I hope we see you again soon, good bye.
Hello and welcome back to conscious.tv my name is Eleonora Gilbert and I have in the studio with me, Byron Katie. I am really excited about doing an experiment or rather have an experience of The Work that you do world wide. There is an issue that I would love to explore with you so, this is a great opportunity to do so.
There are certain situations whereby I feel… the deep belief that I have, even though on the one hand I know that it is absolutely not true, on the other hand there is this thought, that pops sometimes in my mind where: ‘I am not loveable’. And that really really, really hurts because I know it is not true and yet there are certain situations where that thought… like –oh! and I loose who I know myself to be.
Katie: You are believing. You believe that you are unlovable. That specific situation reinforces that. You know for me, those times are so precious because I can say on one hand, I know that I am loveable; I know it is not true. But life shows us what we believe and what we don’t believe so it is a confrontation with denial. Let’s say I am experiencing your situation and I am feeling unlovable, that shows me that what is really true is that I believe I am unlovable. And I am saying one thing to people and the truth is I don’t feel loveable. OK, so that is what is such a good news about that.
I have just been enlightened to what I believe and what I don’t believe. So now that we have identified it, we can get very still with this and contemplate: ‘Where is it that I am not awake to this yet?’ ‘Where is it that I am not enlightened yet?’ Where am I still asleep? OK so in that situation, that specific situation, (and I invite your viewers to find a situation of their own), so in that situation you are not loveable. That person is seeing you as unlovable.
Eleonora: Or is acting as if.
Katie: So ‘you’ are unlovable. That is what you are believing. You are unlovable. So in that situation, is it true?
Eleonora: In that situation – it certainly feels true, in that situation.
Katie: Now in enquiry - I talk about the old paradigm where people used logic and conversation. And we still have war on the planet. Like in the dinosaurs age. War with the self. War with the world. So then there is a new age, like enquiry that can take us into a whole other paradigm. So the answer to the first two questions – there are only four – the answer to the first two questions, you contemplate on until you are shown the answer, which is one syllable: ‘yes’ or ‘no’. So, any answer other than yes or no, is the old way.
Katie: Where once we had conversations, now try just saying yes or no, and notice how the mind will go crazy. It wants to go, ‘Yeah but’. It will dance and then just notice… be very gentle, just drop into stillness and be shown. So in that situation, (and if you are at home I invite you to close your eyes), in that situation where you were experiencing you are not loveable, is that true? Remember it is just one syllable, yes or no and this isn’t a trick question. Whatever it is for you. Just drop under that… and under that… be shown, and be still. Wait...
Eleonora: Am I unlovable?... No.
Katie: The answer, No. That authentic answer if it is yours - and some of you are answering Yes that is OK, then you would go to the second question. Can you absolutely know that it is true? - And we will skip that because your No will take us to question three. These questions are always free on The Work.com. - always free, never have to pay for it. It is there. So third question: notice how you react when you believe that thought, in that situation. Notice what happens so this gives you the opportunity to get in touch with your feelings, your emotions and any embarrassment or anything… in your shoulders or face, your facial expressions maybe… just go back and notice: how did you react in that situation when you believed that thought?
Eleonora: It feels devastating. It is as if I diminish, shrink… it feels extremely young, but mostly it is a pain, like a stab in the heart. It really feels devastating, it is almost like the end of the world – it feels that strong.
Katie: So now just kind of flow into this forth question: In that situation notice who you would be without the thought: I am unlovable.
Eleonora: Who would I be without the thought?...
Katie: Notice the difference.
Eleonora: The first thing that comes to mind is, I would have no excuses, like no more excuses. What does that mean to have no more excuses? To be small… no more excuses to fall into that small place, no more excuses to blame… to blame, to blame… Yes, to blame ‘other’, whatever that is, whoever that is. Yes.
Katie: So now let’s move to the ‘turnarounds’. You are unlovable. What is the opposite of that?
Katie: So you are loveable. In that situation give me an example of where you are lovable. Where were you actually loveable in that situation, at that time? That’s what I love about enquiry, it gives us the opportunity to go back and witness the thought we were believing, the concept we were believing, the assumption we were experiencing in ourselves as that identity. To see what was in that space. So, to go back… take another look. I am loveable. Witness that situation and give me an example of where in fact you were loveable.
Eleonora: Where I was loveable… in my kindness, in my generosity, in my helpfulness, in my presence, in my company… in just being.
Katie: And I have one, would you like to hear it?
Katie: In your innocence - of believing in the face of the real and authentic - how you could see yourself as anything other than that. That innocence that would believe the unreal that is really going on. In the face of all the proof… that innocence of believing what would oppose it.
Katie: We are all so innocent.
Eleonora: I forget about that.
Katie: Well that really puts light on it because you really were innocently believing that you were unlovable in the face of that person you just described in the example. So, in that situation you were unlovable: Is it true?
Eleonora: No. No.
Katie: So now when you think back to that situation (of that person you were with), it is entirely changed, in appreciation and compassion for oneself and a reality of who and what you really are, takes over - because you have been enlightened to yourself and to that situation, and to that other person. Rather than asleep to it.
Eleonora: Yes. The key for me was to really see, who would I be without that belief. And the attachment to blame as well. That was quite key for me to see that. Thank you.
Katie: Thank you.
Eleonora: Well thank you for joining us and thank you very much for watching conscious.tv. Goodbye.
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