4 questions and a turnaround

Learning to use Byron Katie’s method of  four questions and a turnaround (by Abitiki)

These are some examples of doing ‘The Work’, beginning over a year ago. At the time I was becoming aware that I had the emotional maturity of a 2 year old, but didn’t know how to change that. Finding this work was a tipping point for me.


The focus here is on undoing the knots of stories and beliefs that kept on pulling me into reactivity and duality, and so kept on pulling me away from presence.
This is as it was written, working things out in ‘real time’…
Byron Katie’s ‘The Work’ is recommended by Eckhart Tolle, and can be found at www.thework.com

  • Weeding the garden of my mind – No.1
  • My ego shouldn’t be so active when I interact with others.
  • I don’t like that my ego cares so much about responses from others.
  • I want my ego to sit back, not to be there, not to care so much about what I say & how others take it (needy for approval).
  • I shouldn’t feel so needy/excited/scared when I talk with others.
  • I don’t ever want to seek egoic feeding again.
  • I don’t ever want to get so sucked in to other people’s energy that I’m caught up in unconsciousness again.

Is that true? Can I absolutely know that’s true? Hmmm.

How do I react when I believe the thought, ‘my ego shouldn’t go in seeking approval’ and it does? How do I feel? How do I treat myself?
I feel guilty, like I’m ‘doing it wrong’ because I don’t go in ‘conscious’.
I feel like ‘the monk with sweaty palms’; I can’t stay calm and peaceful.
I treat myself like I’m guilty, and have a secretive ‘naughty’ feeling, like I’m wrong.
I judge myself badly, harshly.
Who would I be without the thought, ‘my ego shouldn’t be so needy for approval’?
Someone who uses feelings to point to whether I’m acting unconsciously or not, so that I can go within if I need to, and get reconnected.

Turn it around: My ego should be so needy for approval.

Why is this as true as the original belief?
My ego should be so needy for approval, because feelings connected with that neediness are a wake up call for me to become more conscious.
Because then I don’t get ego about being ‘egoless’ in my mind, so I know I need to be watchful.
Needy/excited/scared shows me the way, shows me the places in me which I could meet with more stillness and presence.
I’m willing to feel needy/excited/scared again, because they’re teachers of truth.
I’m willing to get so into others’ energy that I’m unconscious again.
I look forward to becoming unconsciously ego-seeking again, because every time I notice that, I wake up more. I learn about my triggers.
I uncover more bullshit to strip away.

Weeding the garden of my mind – No. 2

I shouldn’t have blurted out my fears and pain and story in public.
Is that true? Yes, because it’s about the past, and the future, and may activate pain bodies in others. ( I notice I’ve now gone into defense and justification).
Can I absolutely know that I shouldn’t have talked about my fears and pain openly with others? No.
How does it feel when I believe that story, ‘I should not talk about my fears and pain’?
Sick. Terrible. Ashamed. Guilty. Wrong. Bad. Selfish. Energy-sucking.
Embarrassed, mostly. Sorry for the others.
And scared of punishment.
How would it feel to live my life without the story?
Like I just did what I did. Like it really doesn’t matter so much.
It’s passed. It’s past.
It feels like there’s no harm anywhere, without the story.
Can I see any stress-free reason to keep believing the story ‘I shouldn’t have talked about my fears and pain in public’? No.
Can I see any reason to let go of the story? Yes.
Turn it around: I should have talked about my fears and pain in public.
Because I did. It happened. No point minding what happens.
Because that’s what came up in me, and it seems like it needed to come out, when & where it did.
Because I learned that I could feel something deeply without hanging on to it for ages.
I experienced it like a child, got it out, felt it, got over it.
Now I feel cleaned out and empty again. Not bad. No lingering after effects.
It’s gone. I learned that it can happen that way.
‘Allow the pain or feeling to be there’…I thought that meant in a purely internal sense.
Surrender to it having been brought out. There is the fact of it.

Weeding the garden of my mind – No. 3

Her endless passive-aggressive judging is annoying me.
But it’s really my endless passive-aggressive judging (of her) that’s annoying me.
Her behaviour is wrong = my thinking is wrong.
She says whatever she says. That’s reality.
If I can’t accept that, why do I expect her to?
When I can do that myself, then I can take another look at her.
So, I need to look at my judging of her.
I shouldn’t judge her. Is that true?
Can I absolutely know I shouldn’t judge her?
How does it feel to believe the thought, ‘I shouldn’t judge her’, and yet I do?
Struggle = failure. Resistance = suffering.
How would it feel to let go of the story, ‘I shouldn’t judge her’?
I become able to just allow that to be there in me at this moment.
If I can notice how I’m not accepting what’s going on outside me, then I can accept that judgement is what I have inside me at this moment.
Turn it around: I should judge her until I don’t. Because that’s what I’m doing.
Turn it around again: I should judge myself.
If I can see it in me, if I can find it in myself, if I honestly ‘bring it home’, and I can see how I myself judge others, then I can understand how they can find judgement in themselves as well.
So do I need to judge her? She’s doing her business. What she says to anyone, about anyone, is her business.
How I react to that is my business.
And I can see how ridiculous it is, judging someone else for their judging!
There is no separation between us. We have so much in common!
I can see how I can’t help it right now.
So I can understand how she can’t help it.
I want her to be what I can’t be yet.
And when I drop into evaluating, I lose the moment.
Witness without labeling.
And peace returns.

Weeding the garden of my mind – No. 4

People shouldn’t complain.
Is that true? Well, they do…
How does it feel, when I believe the story, ‘people shouldn’t complain’, and yet they do?
How would it feel to live my life without the story, ‘people shouldn’t complain’?
I see that people just do complain.
Can I see any reason to keep the story? No.
Can I see any reason to let go of the story, ‘people shouldn’t complain’, when the reality is that they do? Yes. It’s insane to argue with reality, and it makes me suffer.
Turn it around: People should complain. Because on this planet, that’s what they do.
Turn it around again: My thoughts shouldn’t complain (about people complaining).
Because holding on to this kind of thinking causes me discomfort.
Because I have no real need to show anyone everywhere they’re wrong. That’s just what the ego wants. Maybe it’s me who is wrong. Maybe there’s more than one way to be right.
Maybe I could let go of any need to evaluate altogether.

Weeding the garden of my mind – No. 5

People shouldn’t judge.
I’d be happy if they kept their vicious, poisonous little opinions to themselves.
They’re weak, tiny, pathetic, insecure, horrible, destructive…and in need of a good slap. I never want to hear some pathetic arsehole’s superior, lofty pronouncements about me again.

People shouldn’t judge. Is it true? Yes.
Did it happen? Do they? Yes. But they should know it’s horrible, so they shouldn’t.
But they do. But this is about ‘should’, not ‘is’…(back into defense of the story).
People shouldn’t do what people do?
Can you absolutely know it’s true?
Well, they do, so it’s not true yet.
How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
I’m filled with rage. I want to scream. I feel sick with disgust.
Full of contempt for them because they need to do that.
How do I feel when I believe the story, ‘people shouldn’t judge’, and they (we!) do?
I feel paralysed. Exposed. Terrified, because I’m not perfect, so I’m a target for judgement, and there’s so much wrong with me, so I’ll be trapped in it and it will never stop.
And I can never get it right, how I am.No matter how basically okay I am, I can never get it right enough to escape the judging. It never ends. It’s relentless and I can’t escape, and I can’t survive it and I can’t avoid it unless I live in a cave, and so it makes me want to die. I get angry, then sad. Then very, very depressed.
Helpless. Because it never stops.
It’s like a firing squad that lasts a lifetime.
Does this belief bring peace, or stress into your life?
Ha! Well. Stress. No peace whatsoever.
From anorexia to suicide attempts, the fun never ends.
And I know about learned helplessness, and I know about the double-bind effect I was raised under, and I still carry this ridiculous belief. (And now I see I’ve moved out of inquiry and into defense).

Who would you be without the thought, ‘people shouldn’t judge’?
I don’t know. Someone who does what they do.
Someone who doesn’t think I have to flinch and brace myself in front of every single human on earth.
Maybe I could be open.
Open my energy instead of closing it like a fist of resistance, and maybe I’d become transparent to the judging and just let it pass right through me.
Any reason to keep the story?
No. It’s a lie, isn’t it? It’s crazy.
Any reason to let go of the story, ‘people shouldn’t judge’?
Yes. Because it doesn’t matter.

It’s not even ‘me’ they’re judging.

It’s their mind-created ‘story of me’.
It’s only my form, or their idea of who I am, who I ‘should’ be.
And that’s not me. None of that is me.
I am that I am.
This form is just one expression of consciousness.
I’ve had others. I’ll have others.
This…is not me.
Turn it around: People should judge.
Because they do. I don’t need to pick a fight with reality, I’ve got a life!
Because they’re innocent. They never learned the difference between discernment and judgement, so they judge, and think it shows they have discernment.
Because people suffer when they judge, and if people suffer enough, they’ll want to wake up from their trance.
Turn it around again: I shouldn’t judge.
I was judging them, for judging!
I shouldn’t judge, because it’s me acting superior and smug and fooling myself I have discernment.
Because I’ve been judging, and if I believe they have no right, then I have no right.
I do look at myself as well though. And right now, I see myself judging, so I’m the one being arrogant and horrible.
Because I judge others for judging, and so it means that I want them to do what I can’t do – stop judging. And if I think it’s so easy, I should do it.
Because I’m acting like a little God, arguing with God’s business, arguing with what is.
What people do is their business and God’s, not mine.
It is not my business, what others do.
And because I’m pissing on my moment, and I’m the one that suffers.
I’d be happy if I kept my vicious, poisonous little opinions to myself, for inquiry.
Because it is vicious and poisonous inside me, to believe the lie that ‘people shouldn’t judge’.
Other turnarounds: My thinking shouldn’t judge. I should judge my thinking.
If I believe their judgement, I have to believe their belief.
And all beliefs are lies. Because the truth doesn’t need believing. Truth just is.
So, when I’m judging, I’m a weak, whiny, pathetic, insecure, horrible, destructive (to myself) person who needs a good slap (or wake up call)!
I’m willing to hear some pathetic arsehole’s superior, lofty pronouncements about me again.
I’m willing to hear whatever story someone has made up inside their head about me.
I look forward to hearing whatever story someone has made up inside their head about me. Because I need a laugh as much as anyone.
What I learned: I still had some of my life’s primary issue caught up in this ball of energy locked up inside my mind…fear of being trapped in pain…control…letting go.
I believed that if I didn’t have the strength to be angry with others, they’d have power to control me. In my past, people would often back down if they got the ‘fight’ they wanted.
Universal beliefs?
I can control how others feel about me.
I thought/believed that if I’m angry enough and go into a towering rage, I can control how others feel about me…now where did I learn that particular gem?
There is NOTHING I can do about how others see me.
And what a shitty little tin-pot God I’d make if that were different!
So I have truly been spared.

Whose business am I in re how others see me?
How others choose to see me is their own business.
It has nothing to do with me. I’m completely helpless to change or influence that; it’s inside their head, mind-stuff. A story their mind made up about some idea they call ‘me’.

It’s not even me at all.
Nothing to defend.
Nothing.
Ah!

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6 Responses to 4 questions and a turnaround

  1. Michaela says:

    It’s not even me at all.
    Nothing to defend.
    Nothing.
    Ah!

    The best happy ending ever !

    Thank you Abi for sharing your experience. I have learned a lot from you.

  2. equiwolf says:

    What a gem–absolutely priceless, Abi. Thank you.

  3. Aralan says:

    Abi – once again your amazing strength and beauty shine through. You are such a gem. Thank you for sharing your heart and your wisdom. We all glow a little more brightly from reading your words

  4. Sheila says:

    do some more…………….. 🙂 xoxo

  5. abitiki says:

    LOL, Shiela, I have a year’s worth of journals on this stuff… ; – )

  6. l0vegarden says:

    Hi booful! Nicola here… reading your Work shifted a something – my heart chakra is going frickin’ crazy at the mo! Joyously, sensationally crazy!

    It’s rain rain raining … raining in my brain … reining in my brain? nah… sweet surrender is all …

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