This year, I have experienced a few major breakthroughs about healing myself and becoming more aligned with my purpose. The first one was I finally started to forgive my abusive mom. You can read Being The Best of Me || Overcoming the Pain of Childhood Abuse and Neglect for how I have reached that point. Then I experienced another breakthrough during the Train the Trainer with Jack Canfield when I was in California. It was about how I have stopped the longing for my mom’s love and totally forgave her. You can read Being the Best of Me || The Healing Journey from an Abusive Childhood.
This Memorial Day Weekend, I experimented another breakthrough.
I was sitting in front of the lakefront room looking through the windows, it was dark and rainy, but still peaceful. That Friday I had spent about 4 hours driving to this weekend getaway place while I was crying the whole way down here. I was very confused, shocked and heart broken. My body was in paradise, but my heart was in deep sorrow suffering.
“As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there”—as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise.”― Byron Katie, Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
After I realized that I was lying on the floor while crying the next morning, I stopped and decided to do The Work. The Work refers as The Work by Byron Katie.
Everyone calls her Katie. Katie calls her process of self-inquiry “The Work.” In her book Loving What Is, it is available on Amazon and Audible. I had started to listen a second time through to get an even deeper understanding. She pointed out that all suffering is caused by believing our stressful thoughts. This, she says, puts people into painful positions that lead to suffering, as she recognized to be the case with herself. Through self-questioning, she describes how a different, less-known capacity of the mind can end this suffering.
Specifically. The Work is a way of identifying and questioning any stressful thought. It consists of four questions and a turnaround.
The four questions are:
- Is it true?
- Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
- How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
The next step of The Work, the turnaround, is a way of experiencing the opposite of the believed thought. For example, the thought “My husband should listen to me,” can be turned around to “I should listen to my husband,” “I should listen to myself,” and “My husband shouldn’t listen to me.”
Then one finds specific examples of how each turnaround might be true. And that newly found truth is the magic power to set us free!
I was sitting next to the window for hours that weekend writing down all my painful thoughts towards everyone in my life. Then I questioned them one by one. Some of the statements couldn’t even pass the first question. For example, I
Did you see? We are holding on to some thoughts or beliefs that are in fact not true to us at all. And we have all worked up and upset about that thought. How interesting! Let’s use the same example about my mom to continue the work. “How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?” I was angry, sad and feeling hopeless. “Who would you be without the thought?” I would be such a happier person who has so much love to give. It’s an eye
“My mom doesn’t love me”, can be 3 different ways to turnaround.
- My mom doesn’t love herself.
- I don’t love her.
- My mom does love me.
When I saw my original statement get turned around as the first one, I instantly started crying! That is so true! She never loved herself! Can you imagine someone who has spent the whole life suffering without the self-love? That is her! Then I cried
“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.”
― Byron Katie, Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
I have believed that I am the victim of child abuse from my mom for pretty much my whole life. Now after investigating my thoughts, I see the different sides of the story and I started to see a whole lot different truth. With The Work, I have cleaned up a lot of things in my head. When I noticed that I starting to have heavy breathe, when I sense the stress and anxiety, I write down what is bugging me and run through the 4 questions then do the turnaround. The truth often sets me free and all the painful emotions are gone, my suffering ends. I have noticed that I am at peace more and more often.
If I can teach you anything, it is to identify the stressful thoughts that you’re believing and to question them, to get still enough so that you can hear your own answers. Stress is the gift that alerts you to your asleepness. Feelings like anger or sadness exist only to alert you to the fact that you’re believing your own stories.― Byron Katie,
In deed, the reality is so much kinder than the stories that we tell ourselves.
Photo credit: Grace Liang
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