Thursday, January 14, 2016

Harm is Nothing More than Belief

All harm in 2015 was nothing more or less than how you react when you believe your judgments. - Byron KatieByron Katie teaches that "Thoughts aren't the problem. Believing them is the problem."

The problem with this, to the Mind, not familiar with how magical The Work can be, may be great and aplenty.

The problem with this, to the Mind that sits in obeisance to all things Byron Katie, may be nil.

The problem with this, to me (who enjoys Inquiry for the stress alleviation of Mind and who loves Katie just for her mere being), is that it's an All/Nothing proposition with the assertion that Harm does not exist outside of Mind.

Here's a conversation I had with a friend recently, summarized:
My wife's usually drunk. She's having an affair with another guy. The kids want to know where their Mom is and why she acts funny when she's around. I'm miserable. My work is suffering. I have to pick the kids up from school when she's passed out and I never know when that's going to be. It must be because I'm a firefighter, I feel like it's my duty to save her. But I can't. I'm drowning here and can barely save myself.
Things I did not say:
  • "You'd quit suffering if you quit believing your thoughts."
  • "Your thoughts are causing you problems, not your drunk wife." 
  • "There is no harm here, only your belief about harm." 
But then Byron Katie says (on Twitter) as we rolled into 2016:
All harm in 2015 was nothing more or less than how you react when you believe your judgments.

It's Fine For Byron Katie to Say It the context of a Tweet. Or in the context of a Facebook post directed at a general audience. It's fine to say such a statement one is not speaking to another person who is suffering, at least in my paradigm.

But if one has not arrived at the Belief or Thought that "All harm in 2015 was nothing more or less than how you react when you believe your judgments," I can imagine how (currently living in suffering) this thought would make you feel. You'd probably feel how I felt when I first found the book, Loving What Is, and hurled it across the room.

It's Also Just Fine For You to Say It the context of a general Truth you have discovered. But notice that Byron Katie is not running around to people and kidnapping them with their suffering and forcing them to not suffer.

What she is doing is being a spokesperson for The Work and how The Work - when you're ready - is available to you.

Then, when you are ready for suffering to end, you can come into the Four Questions a la The Work and discover it for yourself.

So What Did I Tell My Friend? 

Just for the sake of making a point, the reason I did not proffer any of the above statements to him is due to compassion

I have been in that suffering. I have been in worse suffering than other people's irritating or harmful behaviors that lead me to not count on them. I have been victimized, abused, traumatized, and so forth - using any language - people would understand. Today I only use that language as it relates to my life story and to make it meaningfully more realistic for any listener.

But yes, compassion.

I basically told him I understood and then I shared some of my experiences with - not only being a former drunk-a-lot - but also my experience with other alcoholics in my life who wanted to stay drunk and of also trying to get them sober. I suggested Al-Anon and some literature (by way of the previous link)  and my Codie Recovery Facebook Page for support.


Why Did I Not Offer Him Byron Katie's The Work?

Oh for a million reasons. But off the top of my head, he didn't seem ready. This wasn't satsang but a talk between old classmates. Also, he not say, "Hey. I'd really love to quit suffering. Any ideas?"

There were Three Qualities I needed before approaching The Work as I first found it in Loving What Is. I am assuming that when people go (to the trouble to) see Katie in person, or begin the book, that they're already fulfilling at least one of these criteria.

The three criteria:
  1. H.onesty
  2. O.pen-Mindedness
  3. W.illingness
Don't make the assumption that when I bought the book that I was fulfilling a criteria. (I'd only bought it because my A.A. sponsor had received it as a gift and I was just curious. I had no idea that later down the line, I'd be reading it after another round of Samsara Dives to Hell. )

Role As Seed-Planter

And as is taken from my How to Help An Alcoholic Stop Drinking article, we are just the seed-planters in everything. And this means also using discernment in knowing when or how to speak or take an action. And because I have seen all sorts of people coming into Recovery from Another Person's Drinking, I also know that their Recovery can happen BEFORE getting down to maybe deeper issues within themselves. Or maybe they're just fine with stopping at a point. OR maybe they can un-suffer withOUT it.

There are many paths to undo Suffering and Illusion.

And like yoga, there are different types for every personality.


Harm does happen. 

To deny harm is only to be speaking as it relates to questioning Mind activity or stopping Mind activity. 

When I'm in savasana, for example, after a 250 calorie yoga burn, I will stop my Mind and get my heart-rate down to maybe 40 bpm and there I am. I'm on my mat with no stress, no problems in the Mind. This is the stopping of the Mind, or the Gap (I call it) when it happens on mini-levels daily.
Meantime, a young child next town over is getting molested for the first and not last time. Someone's cat of 12 years is getting burned alive by 3 neighborhood kids who are laughing at how it's running around aflame. Some religious extremists are about to walk into a restaurant and shoot some people to death. Innocent people are imprisoned due to a corrupt process. An alcoholic just killed himself because someone told them that anti-depressants just mask their real issues they need to 'work on.' I could write a tome of the harms that happen daily on this planet. 
The above...ARE harms (to my Mind). Not to my dog, Lucy, who's snoring beside me.

So to also say, "Harm is nothing more than believing your thoughts," yes.

But to live happily and usefully whole in this world I am going to believe my thoughts most of the time. I believe the thought I want to teach yoga tonight and imagine my disappointed class if I decided I didn't want to teach tonight and decided to stay home. THAT's the one that fills me with stress.

I have a Mind and I'm here to use it. But by questioning the stressful thoughts, the ones that fill me with anger, sadness, loss, victimization, stress, I've just freed up my Mind and my Body to regain the path of returning to happy, useful, wholeness.

May you have yours!

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