Thoughts About Thoughts from Byron Katie

Question your thoughts to change your thinking.  So many of our thoughts are nonproductive and self defeating and often slide in unnoticed through our minds.  And then cause us needless suffering.  I ran across a quote of Byron Katie’s today and loved it so I started perusing her writings and found many gems for my own use.  I have known about her for a long time but hadn’t really read much of her work.  It parallels what I have learned from other teachers, just said a bit differently.  Below are some of these gems.

From Byron Katie’s teachings:

Question 1: Is it true?
This question can change your life. Be still and ask yourself if the thought you wrote down is true.

Question 2: Can you absolutely know it’s true?
This is another opportunity to open your mind and to go deeper into the unknown, to find the answers that live beneath what we think we know.

Question 3: How do you react—what happens—when you believe that thought?
With this question, you begin to notice internal cause and effect. You can see that when you believe the thought, there is a disturbance that can range from mild discomfort to fear or panic. What do you feel? How do you treat the person (or the situation) you’ve written about, how do you treat yourself, when you believe that thought? Make a list, and be specific.

Question 4: Who would you be without the thought?
Imagine yourself in the presence of that person (or in that situation), without believing the thought. How would your life be different if you didn’t have the ability to even think the stressful thought? How would you feel? Which do you prefer—life with or without the thought? Which feels kinder, more peaceful?  bk


“If a thought is hurtful, then it is untrue.”  This is something I have said often, in many variations. And what is even more important, if a thought hurts you, question it, and watch it let go of you. Ask yourself whether it is true or not, ask yourself how you react when you belie…ve it, and so on, and really listen. You can know that reality is good just as it is, because when you argue with it, you experience anxiety and frustration. Any thought that causes stress is an argument with reality. All such thoughts are variations on a theme: “Things should be different than they are.” “I want…,” “I need…,” “He should…,” “She shouldn’t…” “I don’t ever want to . . .,” “He is…,” “They are…” “It always hurts when you argue with what is kind, which is your true self, your own heart. When the mind matches the heart, there is a balance, there is no suffering, no confusion. Done. And we can always begin right now. Or not. It’s up to the “you” that mind believes you to be in the given moment, and that is all there is or isn’t.   bk


Pay close attention to the particular thoughts you use to deprive yourself of happiness. bk


A thought is harmless until we believe it. It’s not our thoughts but our attachment to our thoughts that causes suffering.


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