Posts Tagged ‘Byron Katie’

Words From Byron Katie That Will Make Your Day

Do you have a book that you keep near — one you can open to any random page and receive words of encouragement or wisdom? Maybe it’s a sacred text of some kind, maybe a contemporary book, or a book of poems.

For me right now, it’s “A Thousand Names For Joy” by Byron Katie. (She goes by Katie.)

I read the book from cover to cover a while ago and then set it aside for several months. I opened it again recently for some help.

A Thousand Names for Joy had an interesting beginning, by the way. Author Stephen Mitchell (Katie’s husband) tells that when he first met her, he was profoundly impressed by her openness of heart and her wisdom.

“She was a total innocent: she had read nothing, she knew nothing, about Buddhism or Taoism or any other spiritual tradition; she just had her own experience to refer to. The most wonderful insights would pop out of her mouth, sometimes straight from a sutra or an Upanishad, without any awareness on her part that anyone had ever said them before.”

Because Stephen is an expert in the Tao Te Ching (in 1986 he wrote 81 chapters about it) he began to read it to her and ask for her take on it. That’s how A Thousand Names for Joy began. He asked her questions and noted what she said.


It is one thing to read about being in harmony with the way things are, or even understand it to some extent, and it’s quite another to live it fully every day in every circumstance. Living it is the true test. I learned this (again) in a very deep way with Eric’s passing.

I have thought of myself as being somewhat (fumblingly, inconsistently) able to go with the flow, even in fairly difficult circumstance, or  — be acutely aware when I’m not. Both states are of equal importance to me, because being aware that I’m not in the flow, or not accepting what is, helps me as much as being in the flow.

One evening as I was heading for bed, I was especially aware and awake about being in a funk. I was aware that I was not in the flow. I was hurting, and I was down.  I was sad. And on top of that, I felt discouraged, weary and self-critical about being so sad.

I turned to A Thousand Names For Joy, closed my eyes, and asked for help. I asked to receive a message that would help my heart.

I don’t know your situations, your struggles, or your demons. I don’t know what sends you into a spin or what burdens you. I don’t know what worries you or sits heavy in the corners of your beautiful heart.

But I hope peace comes to you in a profound way when you read these words by Katie.


To make sense of the book quote I’m about to share with you, when Katie uses the word “inquiry” she specifically means The Work, which consists of four questions and what she calls a turnaround. A turnaround is a way of experiencing the opposite of what you believe. For more information visit The Work.  She offers everything to do “The Work” for free on her website.

The four questions used to inquire within about a stressful thought are:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

When you first encounter her questions, they may seem intellectual. But from my own experience, I began to understand the depth of the process and how they work  by watching videos of Katie using these questions with people who were in deep pain. When the questions were answered honestly, they revealed what couldn’t be seen when a person was up to his or her elbows in emotion.


What I’m sharing with you today is page 47-48 of A Thousand Names For Joy, #16 entry, which begins with this quote from the Tao Te Ching: “Immersed in the wonder of the Tao, you can deal with whatever life brings you, and when death comes, you are ready.”

The main text continues:

“You can’t empty your mind of thoughts. You might as well try to empty the ocean of its water. Thoughts just keep coming back, it seems. That’s the way of it.

But thoughts aren’t a problem if they’re met with understanding. Why would you even want to empty your mind, unless you’re at war with reality? I love my thoughts. And if I were ever to have a stressful thought, I know how to question it and give myself peace. Even the most stressful thought could come along, and I would just be amused. You can have ten thousand thoughts a minute and if you don’t believe them, your heart remains at peace.

The original stressful thought is the thought of an I. Before that thought, there was peace. A thought is born out of nothing and instantly goes back to where it came from. If you look before, between, and after your thoughts, you’ll see that there is only a vast openness. That’s the space of don’t-know. It’s who we really are. It’s the source of everything, it contains everything: life and death, beginning, middle and end.

Until we know that death is as good as life, and that it always comes at just the right time, we’re going to take on the role of God without the awareness of it, and it’s always going to hurt. Whenever you mentally expose what is, you’re going to experience sadness and apparent separation. There’s no sadness without a story. What is is. You are it.

I have a friend who, after doing inquiry sincerely for a number of years, came to understand that the world is a reflection of mind. She was married to a man who was the love of her life, and one day, while they were sitting on their couch, he had a heart attack and died in her arms. After the first shock and the tears, she began looking for grief, and there was none. For weeks she kept looking for grief, because her friends told her that grief was a necessary part of the healing process. And all she felt was a completeness: that there was nothing of him that she’d had while he was physically with her that she didn’t have now.

She told me that every time a sad thought about him appeared, she would immediately ask, “Is it true?” and see the turnaround, which washed away the sadness and replaced it with what was truer.

“He was my best friend; I have no one to talk to now” became “I am my best friend; I have me to talk to now.”

“I’ll miss his wisdom” became “I don’t miss his wisdom”; there was no way she could miss it, because she was that wisdom.

Everything she thought she’d had in him she could find in herself; there was no difference. And because he turned out to be her, he couldn’t die. Without the story of life and death, she said, there was just love. He was always with her.”

Thank you, Katie. I needed that.

I hope her words help you in some way.


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The Practice of Standing Still In A Storm



There is no peace to be had in the comings and goings of a storm of stressful thoughts.

Whether my storm involves chaos at work, differences with a partner, or the impact of current events, the result is the same: No personal peace.

When outer turmoil causes enough discomfort to guide me to the place within that doesn’t flicker or move about, that is a true gift.

Here, I find what is steady and unchanging. No thing or person is a threat, except to my beliefs. This knowing is a truth, and something I can rely on. As I sit, as I contemplate, as I meditate, gradually and as sure as the sun rises and sets, I become stillness. I rest as awareness.

In chaotic times, the meditation of self-inquiry is soothing balm and slows the mind. Peace can never be found by standing in the wind of the world and letting the wind take me wherever it is going. That will for sure be a bumpy ride.

What wind has you in a tizzy?

Maybe it’s time to find true center.


You don’t know how things are going to turn out. Don’t make premature decisions. The more quiet you are, the more you see things as they really are. When you see things as they are, your heart will be filled with gratitude and you will grow in wisdom.


It’s not possible for something to be against you. There’s no such thing as an enemy; no person, no belief, not even the ego is an enemy. It’s just a misunderstanding: we perceive something as an enemy, when all we need to do is be present with it. It’s just love arising in a form that we haven’t understood yet. And questioning the mind allows beliefs to simply arise. The quiet mind realizes that no belief is true, it is immovable in that, so there’s no belief it can attach to. It’s comfortable with them all.

Your enemy is the teacher who shows you what you haven’t healed yet. Any place you defend is where you’re still suffering. There’s nothing out there that can oppose you. There is just fluid motion, like the wind. You attach a story to what you perceive, and that story is your suffering. I am everything that I have ever called other people; they were me all along. Everything I ever called my enemy was me. Projection would have us see reality as a them and a me, but reality is much kinder. All enemies are your kind teacher, just waiting for you to realize it. (And that doesn’t mean you have to invite them to dinner.) No one can be my enemy until I perceive him as threatening what I believe.


There comes a time when we know or are mature enough to tell the truth of how miserable it is to shrink the heart down and then to try to keep out all the threats. At a certain, mysterious moment you are just willing to say, ‘Okay, I surrender. I give up. Let it all come in.’ In that moment, what a revelation of the capacity of your heart to include everything. Everything. All the pain of the world, all the pain of the past, all the pain to come, the necessary pain that is part of life, the unnecessary pain that is part of avoiding pain. All of it. All of it. Then your heart is not just your heart and it’s not the beautiful muscle of your body, or even your emotional heart. It is the core of the world. It is the universe itself. It is life itself, knowing itself as the capacity to hold all of life. That’s the possibility.

Finally something stops you in your tracks, and that something is revealed to be your own heart, calling you home.

In choosing to turn your attention to the choicelessness of purely being in this moment, you discover that same beingness to be pure love, pure grace, pure consciousness aware of itself. Not excluding you as a person and not excluding any other. Incomprehensively, simply, ALL.

Have a blessed week, everyone. Be kind. Find center. First, accept everything. Then move with clarity.



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Intimacy Is Everywhere

Hello Everyone,

Today, intimacy.

Love to you all,

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Friday Love: Bam! Gate Breaking, Anyone?

Good Friday, Everyone!

Today, I’m sharing a story about how I accidentally accomplished something on my bucket list. I ran through an exit gate while looking the other way. The hood of my car is scratched up, and one windshield wiper is a mess, but let’s have a good laugh about how we never expect what “getting what we want” includes!

Let me know if you relate…

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Enough with the Name-Calling

It seems to be a growing fad these days to call someone a narcissist, or declare they are toxic.
Political name-calling is similar—we assign politicians and voters to categories, and brush them off as if they are unintelligent, inferior, or even worthless.
By labeling others, we miss their humanity. We gloss over their struggle, their best effort at dealing with life. We dismiss them.
We do to them what we believe they are doing to others.
Look past a label, and in the soft light of day, there stands a person like you or like me, coping as best they can. At the end of the day, no friend, parent, or lover making conscious choices intends to be mean, or to ignore, or to embellish. There is always more to the story.
If we label others, then for sure we label ourselves. We trap ourselves into believing we are less than. Or not enough. Or we don’t give ourselves the time and forgiveness to work through our “stuff.” Maybe, if we stopped accusing others of narcissism, we could forgive ourselves for those moments when we were narrow-minded, inconsiderate, or afraid.
When it comes to labels, nobody wins.
So, my dear people, I suggest we peer a little deeper into ourselves to investigate a need to separate ourselves from others by tacking them with a label filled with disdain or scorn.
It is my wish that you view this video and take it to heart.
Much love,

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Terri Crosby

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