We’re a slave to our thoughts.
And most of the time, they’re not true.
“This person doesn’t care about me. This person did this to me. I’m not worthy of love.”
Our thoughts create suffering.
So how can we stop believing them?
On today’s episode of The School of Greatness, I talk about the ego and how to investigate our thoughts with the creator of The Work: Byron Katie.
Byron Katie is a speaker and author who teaches a method of self-inquiry known as “The Work”. She is the founder of Byron Katie International, an organization that includes The School for the Work and Turnaround House. TIME describes her as “a spiritual innovator for the 21st century.”
Byron walks us through her four questions that help us investigate the stories we tell ourselves.
After listening to this episode, you can download the worksheet for free and work on investigating your own stories.
So get ready to learn how to live fearlessly on Episode 800.
Lewis: This is episode number 800 with Byron Katie. Welcome to the school of greatness my name is Lewis Howes, a former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today now let the class begin.
Byron Katie said, “The perfect world is created when the mind is free to see it.”
I am so excited about this episode. If you don’t know who Byron Katie is she is a best-selling author, speaker, and founder of a method of self-inquiry known as ‘the work.’ She had her own revelation in 1986 when she emerged from a deep depression with a determination to question her thoughts. The work is an embodiment of the wordless questioning that had woken up in her. She’s been on Oprah, Tony Robbins is a big fan and has incorporated her work into his own teachings. And over the past 21 years it has held millions of people around the world begin to free themselves from stress, frustration, anger, and sadness.
In this interview we talked about the ego its power and why it must be questioned. We talk about questioning the thoughts that cause your suffering, why? For Byron forgiveness is never necessary. What to do when you see something unjust in your life and how enlightenment is already within you. We also go through a little session where I do the work myself with Byron, and this is pretty eye-opening for me so let me know what you think about the process when I start to go through this and do the work myself.
I am very excited about this one to make sure to share with your friends, its episode 800 guys. So, if you’ve been here since episode 1 over 6 years ago if this is your first time here thank you so much for being here. It blows my mind that we’re at 800 episodes and we’ve got over 5,000 5 star reviews, so if you haven’t left a review yet please leave us a review over on Apple podcast or any podcast.
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If you haven’t got your tickets yet to the summit of greatness this is our annual event, this will be our 4th year. It’s in Columbus, Ohio September 5 through 7 we’ve got some of the biggest speaker in the world coming to open you up to help you unlock your greatness. It’s going to be a mind-blowing experience. Conscious achievers, dreams, and doers like yourself from around the world people come from so many different countries. Go to summitofgreatness.com and get your tickets now and the price is going up soon once we start to announce the speaker line up.
I’m super excited about this one as you’re listening please share with your friend lewishowes.com/800.Without further ado let me introduce you to the one the only Byron Katie.
Welcome everyone we’ve Byron Katie in the house. You’ve been doing the work 30 something years now?
Byron: 32 years.
Lewis: 32+ years. For those who don’t know your story and the work that you developed, you were just telling me it started with you being depressed 30+ years ago, losing your identity and trying to figure out what you’re going to do with your life.
Byron: Well that’s the. So, I was depressed for at least a decade and kind of raised 3 children and depressed and [?], that was not easy raising 3 children but one morning as I lay sleeping on the floor actually a bug crawled to my foot, and I was on the floor sleeping because I was so full of self-loathing I didn’t believe I even deserved the bed to sleep in. So that’s depressing, that’s nuts.
Lewis: So you’re on the floor, you had a bed but you’re just like ‘I’m deserving of 0 comfort.’
Byron: Exactly. Actually, I wasn’t sleeping with the cockroaches I was just on the floor and a cockroach would be the last thing I think I’d ever see there. So it wasn’t quite like that it just happened one crawl over my foot and I opened my eyes and in place of all that darkness there’s a joy that I am still experiencing today, it doesn’t change it is immovable, it’s a possibility to live without depression and that’s why I love sitting with you because it’s the possibility and where you’ve come from comfortable in it.
Byron: But I saw in that moment what is really important in what I’m doing here and I would say in the world is what I saw was how the world was created. I saw without identifications I wasn’t really seeing there was absolutely when the bug crawled over my foot I opened my eyes and then I saw there was a window and into the window there was a sky and there was like a roof and then there were walls and then there was, and I’m watching this and I saw just prior to believing it was a window. So, I literally believe my world into [?]. And then the way I used to say it was ‘without it identification and I begin to laugh.’ So, it’s like this body this object because I would still like mindless but it walked into a bathroom and looked in the mirror and I looked into the eyes in the mirror but really it was like it looked at these eyes and it was like maybe that was the moment that.
It’s like being on a dream and then coming back. But what I was left with is that I came back to the dream but you can never come back. So, it’s like living and I can talk out of one world but I can never be in the world and I hope this doesn’t sound too crazy for your audience ‘the way I can honestly say that doesn’t matter, everyone has a right to freedom, everyone has a right to understand how to find freedom.’ And so that’s what I’m doing here.
Lewis: So why do you think you’re so depressed in the first place?
Byron: I can answer that question honestly out of experience. Why was I suffering? I would be leaving my thoughts done.
Lewis: What were your thoughts?
Byron: No one cares about me, life is hopeless. My children don’t really care about me, no one really cares about me and on and on. And I learned that listening to the human race that there are no new stressful thoughts, and every language in the world they’re the same and we are still stumbling over the things that were chiseled into rocks and Gilgamesh is the oldest written story in some rocks. So, you know.
Lewis: What are the common thoughts that people believe in that are universal?
Byron: He doesn’t care about me or she doesn’t care about me or they don’t care about me or there’s something wrong with me.
Lewis: I’m broken.
Byron: I can’t do it, this is too hard. Other people are smarter than I am and other people are unhappier than I am.
Lewis: Why are we so conditioned to think those thoughts and then believe them?
Byron: Because I think, let’s say Steven is in the other room let’s say I think the thought he doesn’t care about me. So, I see an image of Stevens sitting in there in my head. In my mind, he’s sitting there and he doesn’t care about me. Now, that’s a part of it and then there is let’s say a situation wherein we are walking up here and he said something and I think he doesn’t care about me. So, now I’m seeing Steven in my mind of the past I’m seeing Steven out there in the future, when I walk out he’s going to give me the look which he never he does. So, I’m seeing the Steven this hurtful Steven of the past and I see this hurtful of the future and I’m just blowing this interview because I am here and here. And so now is that the question? Why are we bothered? Why do these thoughts bother us? It’s like being on the floor where I believed there was a window, I believed there was the wall and the ceiling and everything. I believed and you cannot see, you have to believe in something before you can see it.
Lewis: In your mind or in real life?
Byron: In your mind.
Lewis: You have to believe first before you can see it.
Byron: You have to believe it’s in a wall before you can know it’s in a wall. There was a moment you believed and that was the first time you ever saw a wall, you had to believe it before you could see it even though your parents could say the word wall but without mean. Okay, now what bothers us? Why does that bother us because believing that past, Steven of the past and Steven of the future that I was describing. So, now I’m sitting here [?], so I can’t sit here and be present with you. So, here’s the question I said earlier it was insane we were sitting, for me it would be insane to be out of now.
Lewis: To think about the future about what you’re excited about.
Byron: Yes, and I can think about it all I want and you know we don’t do thoughts on purpose so we’re not thinking on purpose. But why is it painful? This Steven of the past, this Steven of the future I’m watching a movie, now I have 3 Stevens.
Lewis: Past, present, and future.
Byron: So, not one of those is Steven its illusion. So, I cannot focus on this interview. The ego is extremely busy and it’s full time because it has got, like if you take the mind out you can’t take it out you can’t touch it you can’t make those Stevens real. So, I can question them, I can question what I’m believing about the one that appears to be Steven even though he doesn’t exist. Now, it can’t be this one because the mind is not an object, mind is not physical I can’t take him out and say see him. But I can talk about it and talk about it until you kind of see this.
Byron: In speaking out of integrity can be tricky that I may have felt the [?] mind. So, with that going on I’m crazy because I literally am here. I don’t know what you’re gonna say, I don’t know what we’re gonna do, I don’t need to bother because waking up from all that. I can see those images but there’s no substance in them. So, it doesn’t matter I can talk about the past and future all day long it’s just invalid, it’s not valid. You asked me earlier what is my favorite thing to do, who do I love the most? And it was literally being here with you because this is my world.
Lewis: Powerful. So how do we eliminate these thoughts or maybe we don’t eliminate them maybe we just ask different questions about them.
Byron: It wouldn’t be kind to eliminate the ego, you know the ego has the right to life it’s just not real. I don’t have to fight the wind. I see the ego as a willful child fighting for survival, and so I just let it play.
Lewis: How often does your ego play in your mind? Is it all the time?
Byron: The ego doesn’t rest but unconditional love you know love is the power. So, when you’re questioning what you are believing you are literally not challenging the ego but getting close to the ego and love being the power. You know I’m not fighting it, I want to be as close as I can possibly be to what, I mean it’s the unreal.
Lewis: It’s not real.
Byron: But anything with that kind of power that could create an entire identity has to be respected.
Lewis: So, it’s not gonna go away.
Byron: Yeah, it will in my case until I love it.
Lewis: So when the ego is coming up for you something happens in your life you feel betrayed or abandoned?
Byron: It’s been a lot of years.
Lewis: So you don’t feel these things anymore?
Byron: I can’t say that I won’t but so far so good.
Lewis: When you used to feel these things and you started doing the work to where it was like ‘I’m holding on to this thought that’s not real but feels real in my body because I’m tensing up.’ How did you start to move through that quicker?
Byron: So, let’s say one of my children said, “Mom you don’t care about me.” So, let’s take notes, she doesn’t care about you the work is meditation just be really still at the moment of time you were believing that you’re with her and she did something that prompted you to think ‘she doesn’t care about me.’ Okay, so do you see that situation in your mind? And I invite you all to find that and follow along with it. Now you were sitting in a couch on your living room and if you were in the car or just notice where you were in that situation and because that is the focus we’re going to anchor in. So, be there now so what did she say or do that lead you to believe that?
Lewis: Because she ignored me.
Byron: Now in that situation all you meditators out there what did you want? So, now be there now and you can see it you want her attention?
Byron: Now, the third one what advice would you offer her? She should or she shouldn’t get what you want.
Lewis: I’m just playing a game in my mind.
Byron: The invitation for me is, be there now, witness her. It can upset you if you don’t remember it.
Lewis: So go into that moment and that moment is the present? And then what advice would you give her in that moment or to get where you are now? Will this be the advice that you give like I’m 36 or like my 10-year-old advice?
Byron: If you are 10 be 10 and be there now 10 years old with that person just as they were.
Lewis: So speaking to her about the advice I would give her?
Byron: To get what you want which is for her not to ignore you. And it’ll be really helpful if you get useful advice that’s how to get what you want. That’s 3, now 4 to be happy in that situation so close your eyes and be there. What do you need from her to be happy? What do you need her to say or do or be for you to be happy?
Lewis: For me, it will just be a hug.
Byron: Now look at her state of mind is she open to that?
Lewis: Yeah. I felt like as I was experiencing it happening.
Byron: That’s how to do the work as though you are there.
Lewis: I was in the moment and she just leaned over and gave me a hug and it felt beautiful. That’s the work huh? It’s 4?
Byron: Yeah, it’s pure meditation to fill in these things. There’s only 2 more. 5 so meditating there.
Lewis: So seeing yourself experiencing the feeling of the action that you want to happen?
Byron: Let’s just see what happens. So meditating there and being there now, she’s ignoring you. What are your thoughts about her then?
Lewis: I wanted her attention she ignored me, what advice would I give to her that I wanted and that I needed her to hug me.
Byron: So, she’s ignoring me, so be there now and witness that, what were your thoughts about her then?
Lewis: She was overwhelmed, she was overworked, she was stressed, she was exhausted.
Byron: That’s what you were thinking then, as a 10-year-old?
Lewis: That’s what I’m thinking of now.
Byron: So go back then.
Lewis: I would say she is stressed, she doesn’t care and cares about yourself.
Byron: So she only cares about her own self. You can see why this is private work and you may be the most heroic. But you can see so far there are no new stressful thoughts. Every human being has this nothing we think is so secret, they’re universal.
So, 6 in that situation what is it you never want to experience again? What is it about her or that situation you never want to experience again?
Lewis: I never want to feel ignored and lonely and worthless.
Byron: You know when we’re angry we are childlike, it’s an immature state of mind. Anger is simply another word for fear. And when we’re angry we do childish things, we say and do things that are hurtful and then we feel guilt and guilt is the training ground for all the [?] that are going on. We cannot see another human being and throw these thoughts on them without suffering guilt.
Lewis: So how do we eliminate anger?
Byron: So let’s take a look. She’s ignoring you look closely and don’t change anything. Is she looking at you? Is she doing something else?
Lewis: She’s doing something else.
Byron: What is it if you don’t mind?
Lewis: She’s in the kitchen frantically cleaning and organizing and cooking.
Byron: And you’re in there? And she’s ignoring you is it true?
Lewis: In my mind it’s true.
Byron: And you can see because you are there. Okay, now notice how you react what happens when you think the thought, when you believe the thought she’s ignoring you. Notice the emotions first. How does it feel?
Lewis: Feels uncomfortable.
Byron: What do you see?
Lewis: I see. I feel ignored, I feel alone, I feel like I’m not smart or good enough or interesting enough to have someone look at me.
Byron: With your eyes close just listen to my words. You cannot feel that way without seeing images of what you just spoke to. Past and future images where you see like let’s say you see images where she doesn’t care about you and in the past where you were believing and then you see images of the future, even if it’s a nanosecond future you see images of she’s not going to give you the time of day in that situation. So you see the images, see the little boy standing there seeing her doing that busy making. Now, look at the images in your hand past, future and that is the cause of your depression. That is the cause of all your suffering in the moment. Now, this is what we’re going to do if we can prove that out, the 4th question. You’re that little boy who would you be without that story? Look at her without the thought she’s ignoring me just watch. And for those of you keeping up with this, this is where compassion has opportunity to kind shift into your life as an experience and those of you that maybe don’t even know what the word means.
Without your story attach into her what do you see?
Lewis: I see her dancing and singing.
Byron: Is that what she’s really doing?
Lewis: Well that’s the image I‘m creating.
Byron: No, see her then just as she was.
Lewis: I see her in really frantic distress, overworked only focus on herself and like out of control, emotionally out of control.
Byron: Do you feel the intimacy? I mean you feel connected?
Lewis: I don’t feel connected personally.
Byron: Can the little boy see that too?
Byron: That’s where it comes from. So, she’s ignoring me what’s the opposite? Try I’m ignoring.
Lewis: From the boy’s point of view?
Byron: From yours. I’m ignoring me.
Lewis: Not she is but I am.
Byron: These opposites are like you are in a shoe store, you found a pair of shoes you just really like really love them but you’ve got to make sure they fit. So you just got to try them on to make sure they fit. So we’re just trying on opposites, she’s ignoring me I’m ignoring her.
Lewis: I’m ignoring her.
Byron: So try that on. What part of her were you ignoring then?
Lewis: I think being compassionate to what she’s going through. I was ignoring when she was wanted to be present with me. When she was there for me I was ignoring her. I was pushing her away when she was trying to give me love.
Byron: That’s pretty stunning. She’s ignoring me, can you find another opposite? She’s not ignoring me try that one on.
Lewis: As like I’m not ignoring her? She’s not ignoring me?
Byron: See if you can try that on, just be there now. Did she turn to you? Did she say anything to you?
Lewis: Yeah, she turned and asked me a question.
Byron: Remember what she asked?
Lewis: How are you feeling? Is there anything you want to say? Would you like to play together? Would you like to spend some time doing something together?
Byron: So she’s ignoring me turned around and not ignoring me. She wasn’t ignoring you she was multitasking. Every mother isn’t quite so in touch. So, she was ignoring you in that situation is it true?
Byron: Clearly not. This is homework literally coming back homework. Our identities is formed we believe you know we look back to those moments that you’ve written on, we believe our thoughts then. And so when we think of that person that’s who they are in our world, who we try to forgive and we can there was nothing to forgive.
Lewis: I don’t need to forgive.
Byron: No she was there. A multitasking mother wanting to know how you feel. You were the one who ignored her. So this opens the door for you to go back and to share with her what a difficult 10-year old that you’re meeting today and make it right. We don’t say we’re gonna make it right we just do and she has something to say, it’s just effortless to listen because we really get. So is she the problem or what you were thinking and believing in that situation?
Lewis: What I was thinking and believing.
Byron: So that is how I’m able to live in the world and forgiveness is never necessary because in my world no one has done anything wrong in the first place. Now that is really widening this field and I don’t want to move too fast for those of you watching this, because there are a few just little doses at a time that are really gigantic, and also the next time when you think someone is ignoring you, you may be more present with it. And if someone is ignoring me I’ve been spared.
Lewis: Why is that?
Byron: Because that’s the way the universe works. I mean to be open is the give the gift, it’s giving without the slightest hesitation because you’re awake to yourself.
Lewis: And not being attached to that feeling.
Byron: Who said if we love them set them free, you know don’t be happy be with me. I mean what kind of set up.
Lewis: That’s not unconditional love.
Byron: That’s definitely not.
Lewis: So not to diminish my emotions or feelings or my situation, I was coming up with something that was resonating with me although I wouldn’t say it consume or controlled my life my mother is amazing.
Byron: That’s nothing to do with how the mind works. The most amazing mothers in the world are ‘ignore me’ because I don’t question what I’m believing I am disconnected with my mother and I wonder why. Let’s look at the want the second one. Look at her multitasking and look at her trying to connect with you. You want her attention, is it true? So, look now you are a little more enlightening because you can see her more clearly, her identity has shifted in your world and nothing can shift that back.
Lewis: For someone who might have a more not to compare cases, but someone who might have more extreme cases whereas maybe the mother left when they were 5 or gave them up for adoption or something more extreme happened.
Byron: This is like taking in a flashlight with you and you’re the power because the answer is within you, it is where enlightenment is and enlightenment is not something that someone can give you, it’s something that, you know the Buddha said that life is suffering you know just content in the world, I think we can all agree with that and this world the world of as we understand it to be. And then the second noble truth is there’s a cause to this suffering, you just set in [?] and it wasn’t your mother. She was your push and that’s a good thing.
So, then the 3rd noble truth is that it seems I got this on the floor and then Steven told me about the noble and the 3rd noble truth is there is a way to end suffering.
Lewis: How is that for you?
Byron: To question what I’m believing about you, me the world. If I’m not connected with you completely then I look to this because I cannot change you. So the 3rd noble truth is there is a way to [?], the 4th noble truth for me on the floor is known as to question the thoughts that I would think onto another human being or world until I love it, and anyone with an open mind can do this work.
Lewis: How often do you feel suffering?
Byron: I don’t I just really have to look at the question you know as. I’ve been on situations on to back that up.
Lewis: The fastest way to getting out of suffering is to answer the 4 questions?
Byron: I would suffer if I believe what I was thinking. The world can’t give me what I need and as a result, they give me everything I need because I am so connected, there’s nothing but that. If someone walks and slap me across the face like ‘wow, life’s good.’ I mean how long does it take? It’s over. But if I remember that nanosecond of that past then I suffer.
Lewis: There’s another parable story about like the 2 monks that one monk was helping a woman get over a puddle of water and put the woman on her back and carried her across the water so she shouldn’t get wet, and she complained about it and was angry at the monk. The other monk they’re walking around a couple of hours later fixated on focus on like ‘can you believe we’re so kind and generous and this woman was ungrateful.’ And the monk said to the other one “Well, I let her go 2 hours.” It’s exactly what you said holding on the thoughts which make us suffer.
Byron: But we have to because those images are so convincing.
Lewis: So powerful. How do we let go of something so convincing?
Byron: It wouldn’t matter like if someone killed my cat and I was upset, they killed my cat is it true? It’s obvious we all saw it. How do I react when I believe the thought? Hate, revenge the emotions anger and frustration and then guilt if I attack him.
Lewis: I feel momentary pleasure or ease of something but then the suffering [?]. When you retaliate with your words, actions it expands shame and guilt.
Byron: I see me in the past with my cat and I see. And then I see pictures of the future and he’s dead and there I am in the future without my cat. Who could witness a movie like that without being angry and going after the guy? And this is the cause of suffering past, future. This dream is waking dream world that’s the cause of my suffering now, so I’m going after him thinking I’m going to get some justice.
Lewis: It will end my suffering if I end his life.
Byron: So how do I react on the thought when he killed my cat? I see those, I go after him, I do what I do and experienced either frustration I can’t find him or I experienced guilt or both. And in the meantime, I’m telling you about this terrible man and you about this terrible man. So, now it’s a terrible world there are terrible people in the world you got to be careful they’ll kill your cat. So that is the believer that’s how believers live in the world and it is not fun.
Lewis: That’s why you’re on the floor with a cockroach all over you.
Byron: I was on the bottom unless I can what creates the world of suffering. So, I’m killing my cat and I don’t even know I think it’s him killing my cat, he is the one that man is the cause of my suffering, whether I get even or not that’s the cause of my suffering.
Lewis: So you reversed it by saying ‘I killed my cat?’
Byron: Well, look I’m taking my cat across the pond with me.
Lewis: The joy and everything.
Byron: Yeah, I see the joy of my cat and my cat’s dead. I’m responsible for my world.
Lewis: My feelings.
Byron: No one, well I can’t even have feelings other than joy like my true nature. I can’t have any feelings but that unless I’m attached this dream that’s going on. Now, this dream that’s going on is now a terrible a thing it shows me where I must leave and it’s the invitation to wake up or suffer.
Lewis: Let’s stay on the cat theme. I don’t know if you have a cat or not.
Byron: Have had.
Lewis: Let’s imagine you have a cat or a person that is like your person your animal is like a part of your family and someone does kill that person or cat or dog.
Byron: It’s the same thing.
Lewis: How would you approach that?
Byron: Let’s say someone killed that person or cat out of the experience if I believe that person believe I would kill too. Have you ever harm someone? Now, just get in touch with what you are thinking and believing just before you said or did that hurtful thing.
Byron: Now tell where you had no choice consider what you were thinking or believing? When did you consider what you were thinking or believing how could you not have set down what you did?
Lewis: Because I believe strongly the anger and frustration.
Byron: So did you have a choice?
Lewis: I mean yes but I felt like I didn’t. I believe so strongly in my thoughts that I had to react or say the thing or do the thing like that was justifying the thoughts and the feelings and the beliefs I had.
Byron: No one’s guilty other than believing our thoughts. We’re all innocent. We are asleep to our true nature.
Lewis: Our true nature is?
Byron: Connectedness and without division.
Lewis: So when someone kills a pet or a person in our life.
Byron: First I look at myself and thinking [?], I look around for my part and still didn’t mean kill.
Lewis: First take responsibility and ownership even if it’s unfair and unjust and your greatest joy is gone, take ownership and responsibility.
Byron: So I look at myself and before I go out and go after that human being and I mean they’re already gone anyway and I’m sitting here. So, what I’m thinking and believing about that human being belongs on paper exactly you dealt with it.
Lewis: The way who killed the cat or the person?
Byron: I judge that person. I write my judgements down. I write down what I’m thinking about the person.
Lewis: Who took the harmful action? What would you say if someone killed your cat?
Byron: Is it true? And how do you react go back and meditate in that how you reacted in the thought he killed your cat.
Lewis: It didn’t actually happened to me so I’m thinking what would it be like.
Byron: It really needs to be yours or you can do a worksheet on that person who is in such grief and you can be so connected that it’s just ‘oh my gosh’ when you’re a right mind the people around you. You know my short version is can do no wrong anyway we’re sleepwalkers and it’s up to our own self to wake us up. I had a kind of grace given that I [?] nothing more.
Lewis: You have grace for other people?
Byron: A kind of grace in my life and I see clearly Lewis that people, for example, you and you are in me, meaning you are who I believe you to be and you can never be more and can never be less in my life, and each of us can say the same. So, if I’m not connected with you to get connected I would do a worksheet on everything I think about you, fear about you and the way we lined it out earlier, and then I would sit in that and to sit in that is not to sit on you, to sit in that is to sit in what I’m believing about you because that’s who you are to me. So you are mine, you literally belong to me. So, you don’t have to be connected to me I am connected to you. So, then I sit and I question what I’m thinking and believing until I’m connected. You won’t change your patterns.
Byron: But the way I see you have completely shifted just the way you saw your mother in the kitchen. And that’s without [?], the slightest little rub can be like trivia. Its huge trivia will shift your life just to put it up 4 questions and turn around.
Lewis: When you see something on the world that you think is unjust or unfair or that you don’t like, whether it’s a political person saying something you don’t agree with or a friend or somebody that you’re not close with. Do you kind of do this in your mind now or it’s like?
Byron: I change it if I can.
Lewis: How do you change it?
Byron: It presents itself in the situation it’s completely clear. As sanity would have it we change what we can.
Lewis: So you change the story?
Byron: No, it would be like lowering your hand into fire and let’s say something hot and I might just reach over and say ‘look honey it’s hot.’
Lewis: You change it physically.
Byron: I change it but if I am in a story and you start to do that.
Lewis: It’s like look what I did for you.
Byron: Just the slightest little thing you know it’s the ego.
Lewis: Right, so how do we get rid of that where we just want?
Byron: It falls away.
Lewis: We don’t need that anymore?
Byron: Inquiry is a practice and I invite people to just sit in this stuff that’s free on byronkatie.com just to sit in it 10 minutes every morning and meditate and sit on incredible practices. When the mind comes in the disturbed that practice just to notice what you’re thinking and believing in the moment, just write it down and then come back to your usual meditation or just put that worksheet that we just did and just meditate and notice what arises and fill it in, because it is unfinished business if it causes disturbance within the meditative practice.
Lewis: My friend Jay Shetty who’s a former monk, he said to me “If you want to plant trees under which shade you don’t plan to sit” like you want to do things that can [?] a tree that you may not get the benefits from, you may not be able to sit or eat the fruit of the tree but you want to be planting trees all over the place and not trying to be like ‘well, that’s my tree.’ I think it’s so hard to.
Byron: Well, it’s such scarcity as though there’s no shade somewhere else and as though you have time to sit in the shade. It’s a dream and we can get become intoxicated with it.
Lewis: How do we tap into a more abundant mindset?
Byron: For me, in that situation, I would just see it and I would just walk up and say ‘does anyone here see a way that I can sit and enjoy the shade and wouldn’t put anyone else out?’ And if they say no, how clear is that? I just find shade somewhere else or find the sun.
Byron: And if the sun is beating down so hard and I’ve fallen to the ground and I just lay there you know it’s unbearable, the worst that can happen is what I’m thinking and believing.
Lewis: A lot of which I see right now and a lot of the content that does really well in the world online is around relationships. I think this world is about relationships, you know the relationships we have with other people and the relationship we have with ourselves and our thoughts. What do you feel like the biggest challenge people are facing with intimacy and commitment these days between partners?
Byron: I think just the thoughts that they are believing about their partners and its attachment. To believe is to attach to a thought.
Lewis: To an expectation or an attachment.
Byron: What I’m believing like he should, he promised he’d take out the garbage he should take out the garbage. In my mind, I see the garbage or I’m looking at it and then I see the past where I see would take it out. Now, am I giving the right man the look? In other words, am I punishing the right man? The one last night promised. So, I am punishing the wrong man.
Lewis: You’re punishing the one at the moment?
Byron: I’m punishing the one in my head thinking that’s Steven.
Lewis: How do we communicate effectively so that we’re not punishing the wrong man?
Byron: Steven, I notice the garbage is still here and you promised to take it out, I thought I’d remind you I really like it out. And then if he still doesn’t do it whose left?
Lewis: You can take responsibility and ownership.
Lewis: You can.
Byron: But to punish another human being for what I am thinking or believing that’s really crazy.
Lewis: And it hurts you probably too. So, we’re only creating more suffering for ourselves when we’re angry or punishing someone else.
Byron: To treat another human being in any way that is unkind in the long run is not just. We’re simply in a dream world like a daydream, awaking dream. At night when you’re dreaming let’s say it’s a nightmare, you want someone to wake you up. So, in the daytime when you’re in a dream it’s like [?] that’s a daymare, but we can wake ourselves up simply by doing what you began today.
Lewis: How do we eliminate? How do we allow fears of the future to consume our present moment?
Byron: The only way I know is to make love with the story and it’s to identify it, write it down and question it. I like to say judge that person writes it down and turn it around and have a good life.
Lewis: What are the 4 questions we talked about 6 things before?
Byron: That’s a way of lining up the thought in a story if you just do 1 there’s an underworld there to deal with, so I’d like to get the worksheet so you get the entire. The first question is it true?
Lewis: For example?
Byron: You mother ignored you.
Lewis: What if it’s a thought of the future? They’re gonna leave me or abandon me.
Byron: Same thing. The love of my life is going to leave me and is it true?
Lewis: So ask yourself the question and then write the answer.
Byron: And then the second one is can I really know that it’s true she’s going to leave me? And you already see an image in your head that she’s got suitcases.
Lewis: She’s happier with someone else.
Byron: So, that’s what happens and the third question is how do you react? What happens when you believe she’s going to leave you?
Lewis: How do you react in this moment or if it happens?
Byron: How do you react, let’s say it already happened or it’s happening or you’re afraid it’s gonna happen in the future.
Lewis: So you feel it?
Byron: You know its dream. So, when it is in your mind you’re watching that past future and you’re going to feel the emotions as you watch it as a dream.
Lewis: So you want to feel the feelings?
Byron: Absolutely, feelings have the right to life. It’s a beautiful thing and a courageous thing for some of us.
Lewis: So feel the fear or the scary or the mess.
Byron: And then look at the story it created on your head that created it because it doesn’t come, we’re not just stricken with feelings out of the clear blue. So, how do we deal with it that 4th noble truth? We question the thoughts we are believing. The 4th is who would you be without the thought?
Lewis: The original thought?
Byron: So be the little boy in the kitchen and we didn’t complete that work either. She’s ignoring me and I’m ignoring her. We talked about the 9-day school earlier and on the other side stand for just [?], a study on the last school and it’s radical what people are experiencing. All 6 of those on the other side of it you got the full story if you go all the way through, but there’s also one belief at a time worksheet on the website.
Lewis: I will go through all of them.
Byron: I was this depressed woman on the floor and all of sudden my home, the windows are open and the doors are open. It was just like people would invite me to come and I would just say my name as yes. I don’t want anyone to suffer the way I suffered and I know a little about you too and it’s not fun.
Byron: There’s a cause to that suffering and there’s a way out of it. An inquiry is one way and there are so many beautiful ways in the world and whatever works for someone that’s the way and this is if people get really, it is a way and if people get really stuck it’s always available.
Lewis: Absolutely byronkatie.com. What’s the biggest challenge you have to face in your personal life since you ended suffering for yourself?
Byron: The things that are difficult is to articulate this experience knowing it’s unnecessary to even speak.
Lewis: Articulate the work experience?
Byron: Yes, talking like this. I could say I haven’t spoken in 30 years and tell you the truth.
Lewis: How so?
Byron: Where’s my proof. I just spoke. All those images are coming from the past and you’re seeing the future and that’s your proof? I’m not saying that people have to go far with it, it’s just being present you know I see that if you ask me if I had breakfast I know how to say yes if it’s true in this world. I know the difference between the world and the truth.
Lewis: It’s not true because it’s an idea?
Byron: Well, I have no proof. I’m willing to say yes.
Lewis: That’s a memory right?
Byron: What is a memory other than seeing me having breakfast how can that be me now if this is me? How can that be me now if this is me? Again, be past, present, future me.
Lewis: There’s only me now.
Byron: If there is this is as close as it gets.
Lewis: What inspires you the most from all the work you’ve done, the lives you change and the people you supported over the years even though there’s no proof of that, what are you inspired the most?
Byron: The human race. Its beauty and innocent and also the infinite mind. The infinite mind you know you can do this, you could do this work and like no attachment whatsoever and it just continues to expand. That’s exciting and I have found my attention, I have found, but I’ve been to some places that are just real as now and I can honestly say that after us playing in. I’d have to believe what full feels like before, I mean.
Lewis: It’s imagery. The stories.
Byron: And it frees us up to live out. True nature being connected without prejudice to the human race and life now.
Lewis: Have you ever heard of a woman named Mary Baker Eddy?
Byron: I have. I had an aunt that was what.
Lewis: You remind me of the language you use I was raised in Christian Science. That’s why I grew up reading her books and her work and she’s a woman who found this religion Christian Science back in the 1800’s I guess and it spread all over the world. It spread based on the truth that she was sharing and the words you’re using. This is in her text and it’s all about the imagery I was taught being as a child.
Byron: Infinite to me it appears to go on and on even though it doesn’t.
Lewis: You should check out her book you would really love it.
Byron: She’s the one that.
Lewis: She was very sick for a long time and then she was like ‘how do I end this suffering?’ she started to really study her thoughts and this was back in the 1800s and heal herself and healed the world through her books and her message.
Byron: Healed the world within her.
Lewis: It’s funny because this is somewhere I was raised in and the more I hear someone like yourself and [?] and other people like this is stuff I was learning as a child but it seems so crazy in this religion to be saying a lot of these things and having these healing and having this imagery in my mind of going to these places that, and talking to people like you’re crazy. But now it’s more accessible these ideas.
Byron: Because it’s your background and you. That’s a beautiful gift. I didn’t have any religious training like that my mother sent us to these schools when we were little and sometimes so I got to experience it.
Lewis: But you tapped into the truth to yourself?
Byron: Yeah, I just don’t want people to suffer to that degree. You know I was in the hospital 3 years ago because my system started shutting down and evidently something and something I don’t know. 5 of the major organs they were all shutting down and I was so fascinated with it I just didn’t want to miss it. So, I just lay there experiencing it happily and I guess that is the science of mind. You know I certainly don’t want to talk about anything that’s not my experience but so I lay there and before I would give Steven an okay to take me to the hospital. So, he took me to emergency and they could not and that was more than a week they could not stop it and stop from just backing off, they were just shutting down.
Lewis: Your organs?
Byron: Yes. And my children would come and visit me and grandchildren would come and visit me and my family was not worried even though the doctor said I was dying and they had me sign a thing of do not resuscitate and then Steven, and I didn’t have a preference.
Lewis: Wow. So you were ready to go?
Byron: It was a don’t know for me. I don’t know how they began to fail and I don’t know if they want to come back, it’s like a tree you water it and give it sunshine it lives or dies. So, I just experienced it that way and I only live because I believe I do. That’s identification and then at some point, you stop believing that and you just don’t belong to any longer.
They were going to try one last thing and which was to wash my lungs out and that’s what I sign something before I went to that last-ditch effort.
Lewis: Could be over.
Byron: So, one of my sons went in and left the whole time change, no fear can stop no question there’s no downside once the mind is saying and sanity for me it’s the absence of suffering, and what I see is beautiful and there is nothing in this world that is not for all of us and that it’s absolutely a gift and there’s nothing. So, if I see a downside or a person or anything whatsoever I would question what I’m believing with an open mind, but I’m going to test it [?].
Lewis: That’s powerful. I have a couple of questions left for you before I ask, everyone can go to thework.com or byronkatie.com to get all these resources. You get a 9-day workshop.
Byron: 9-day school for The Work.
Lewis: So you want to learn more in life and support other people you’re gonna learn everything there.
Byron: We work on relationships and the body and fear and terror. It’s an incredible experience.
Lewis: Get all that information there. Are you on social media as well?
Byron: Yeah, I can’t resist. On Instagram, because I can work that and then. I’d say Byron Katie my office will [?] into Facebook and other.
Lewis: Is there any advice you have for me as. I usually don’t ask people for advice but I feel like.
Byron: Doing what you do, your mind is unlimited and there’s no into that kind of gift and the world can only fall into it because it’s so open it would just have to.
Lewis: Any words you have I’ll listen to.
Byron: Any time you come up against a wall just to identify what you’re thinking and believing in that situation and write it down and sit with your beautiful self.
Lewis: This question is called the 3 truths. Imagine this is your last day or 50 years from now. It’s your last day and you can choose the day you leave this world and you’ve done everything you want to do, you’ve achieved everything. But for whatever reason you got to take your work and the work with you, so no one has access to the information you’ve got to take it all, but you get to leave behind 3 things you know to be true about your life, the lessons you’ve learned. 3 truths that you would share with the people that would be your message to the world. What would you say are those 3 things that you would leave behind and share?
Byron: The people would understand that all problems imagined and that the universe is friendly and that it’s obvious to anyone with an open mind.
Lewis: Those are 3 powerful ones.
Byron: I like the question.
Lewis: I want to acknowledge you Byron for your presence. You have a unique presence from the moment you came in, from our conversations to this whole time of being present and living in peace and harmony and seeing pure love in the world. I think that’s very challenging for some who haven’t done the work on themselves or who have been awakened to what’s possible and the fact that you are continually showing up leading workshops and leading interviews and writing and serving humanity is for me so inspiring. So, I acknowledge you for everything that you do and coming back from the dead to continue to serve and heal so many people, I really appreciate it.
Byron: Well, I look forward to that as well.
Lewis: My final question is what is your definition of greatness?
Byron: Knowing oneself to know oneself.
Lewis: Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it.
There you have it, my friends, I hope you enjoyed The Work. Free yourself by doing the work let go of suffering by doing the work because enlightenment is within you, it’s just about asking yourself certain questions changing the way you think about the interpretation in your life. What has happened to you? What’s happening for you? And changing it around so it’s in your favor. You have so much potential within you of the enlightenment already within you. It’s time to set yourself free.
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We’ve a long way guys there is a lot of things happening in the world and a lot of things happening in your world. And the bigger the dream the bigger the challenges and adversities that could potentially arise, more people are to attack you as you grow and improve. More people want to see you fail you know family members, friends, outsiders, people are gonna comment people are gonna judge. You get to do the work every single day to help you overcome anything that is keeping you back, that’s holding you back from achieving your dreams and achieving that inner peace that you desire. Let go of the suffering and free yourself, enlightenment is within you.
And Byron Katie said, “The perfect world is created when the mind is free to see it.” See the perfect world in your mind. Let go of the things that don’t serve you and step into the life you’re born to live.
I love you all so very much you know what time it is, it’s time to go out there and do something great.