“The Work is a simple yet powerful process of inquiry that teaches you to identify and question the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world.”
A large claim? Yes, indeed.
Today we introduce Byron Katie’s fourth question. This question offers us an opportunity to create new, more peaceful realities in our minds:
“Who would you be without the thought?”
Who Would You Be?
Using the thoughts we chose to examine in part 1, now ask – who would I be without the thought “my voice will never heal”?
In order to experience life without this pesky little bugger, sit quietly and imagine yourself standing in a room such as your kitchen. Byron Katie has people put themselves in a neutral, familiar environment and imagine how they would feel without their disturbing thought.
Whatever thought you are doing The Work on, use this question as a time to get quiet, and notice how your body and mind respond to the absence of the thought.
What You’ll Find
You may experience lightness. You may experience relief. You may smile. You may take a deeper breath. You may let out your breath. You may even have joy spark up in your heart.
My experience with this question is always a feeling of deep relief. It often feels like I’m suddenly on an island vacation! Breezy, warm, and light.
Letting go of the ego’s intense grip on “my story” gives a welcome reprieve from suffering. You see, we have a choice about which stories we tell in our minds. Until we experience this step, we may not realize the negative toll our thoughts have on our bodies and spirits.
This step offers us the experience of life without the thought. And trust me, it feels good.
Even a momentary reprieve from a toxic thought can be just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes I joke with students, “if you leave your worries outside my office, I promise you can have them back when you leave.”
The next portion of The Work is called the Turnaround. This is where we start replacing our old thoughts with opposite thoughts.
The Turnaround shows us how we project our subconscious fears and desires onto other people. It also allows us to reclaim our power by seeing where we truly feel hurt, and how we turn those hurt feelings into judgements. Judgements against our beautiful selves, and the beautiful people around us.
Stay tuned for “part 4: The Turnaround.”