Undoing the Mind's Lies
(Based on ideas, quotes and information in Byron Katie's book Loving What Is)
PURPOSE: to show the ways the mind can deceive us and what to do about it.
BENEFIT: less suffering and better relationships
Never Argue with a Woman
One morning, the husband returns the boat to their lakeside cottage after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out.
She motors out a short distance, anchors, puts her feet up, and begins to read her book. The peace and solitude are magnificent.
Along comes a Fish and Game Warden in his boat.. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, 'Good morning, Ma'am. What are you doing?'
'Reading a book,' she replies, (thinking, 'Isn't that obvious?')
'You're in a Restricted Fishing Area,' he informs her.
'I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading.
'Yes, but I see you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up.'
'If you do that, I'll have to charge you with s*xual assault,' says the woman.
'But I haven't even touched you,' says the Game Warden.
'That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment.'
'Have a nice day ma'am,' and he left.
MORAL: Never argue with a woman who reads.. It's likely she can also think.
We make up stories. Just like the Game Warden made up a story about the woman fishing, and she made up a story about him assaulting her, we make up stories and then we believe them.
We might think: Dotty didn’t speak to me today at the meeting. She must be mad at me about the dinner I didn’t invite her to. Well, I’ll fix that. When we meet again, I’ll ask everyone not to speak to her. That will show her.
Or: My neighbors are so annoying. They just sit around making up ways to disturb my peace. Running the lawn mower early on Sat., disturbing me on the only day I can sleep in. How dare they interfere in my life like that! I’ll blow all my leaves into their yard and give them something to mow!
Or the story that Byron Katie shares: “I walked into the ladies room at a restaurant near my home, a woman came out of the single stall. We smiled at each other, and , as I closed the door, she began to sing and wash her hands. ‘What a lovely voice!’ I thought. Then, as I heard her leave, I noticed that the toilet seat was dripping wet. ‘How could anyone be so rude!’ I thought. ‘And how did she manage to pee all over the seat? Was she standing on it?’ Then it came to me that she was a man- a transvestite, singing falsetto in the women’s restroom. It crossed my mind to go after her (him) and let him know what a mess he’d made. As I cleaned the toilet seat, I thought about everything I’d say to him. Then I flushed the toilet. The water shot up out of the bowl and flooded the seat. And I just stood there laughing.”
The challenge is that we forget or are not aware that we are making them up.
We live as if they are true. We get our hackles up because many of the stories we make up are filled with fear and blame and cause stress to us and to others.
Just look at the elections. People are making up negative things to say about the “other” candidates. Just look at the word candidates. They seem to be anything but candid. They seem to skirt the Truth or Embellish it.
As we do work with this book, Loving What Is by Byron Katie, my ideas about Truth are expanding.
I had no idea that my left brain was just making up stuff and telling me it was true!
Unity is about Living the Spiritual Life, Growing in Consciousness, Realizing that our Thoughts affect our emotions, and our actions and our health!
If our brain is just Making up “Stuff” and telling us that it is True, then that “Stuff”, those lies affecting our emotions and our actions and our health without us even knowing about it.
If our parents had lied to us, about reality, we would have been very affected.
If our children lied to us, they would have been majorly grounded.
If our friends lied to us, they would have been ceased to be trusted any longer.
However, what do we do if our brains lie to us?
What damage has been done to our lives by these lies?
AND How do we undo the damage that has been done?
Byron Katie says, “You’re either attaching to your thoughts or inquiring. There’s o other choice.”
We are in the midst of learning “The Work” of Byron Katie. This “WORK” is about growing conscious of the TRUTH of our Thoughts!
It may appear that Truth as used here is different than as used by Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of the Unity Movement.
Let’s look at Truth as traditionally used in Unity.
Truth--The Absolute; that which accords with God as divine principle; that which is, has been, and ever will be; that which eternally is. …Truth abides in fullness at the very core of man's being. As his consciousness (awareness) expands, he touches the everlasting Truth. What seems new is but the unveiling of that which always has been.
The basic principle of Truth is that the mind of each individual may be consciously unified with Divine Mind through the indwelling Christ. By affirming at-one-ment with God-Mind, we eventually realize that perfect mind which was in Christ Jesus. (The Revealing Word by Charles Fillmore)
Although Truth is at the very core of our being, is our very essence, many of us are not in touch with this Eternal Truth. Our minds our focused outwardly. We look to the external world for approval or control and our minds make up stories to get that approval or control or to punish those who seem not to give it. These stories are crazy making! Nevertheless, we believe them. We often take them as facts without even checking them out.
Let us look at what Charles Fillmore says about Thinking!
thinking--The formulating process of mind. It is a faculty of the ego, … It is active, zealous, impulsive, but not always wise. Its nature is to think, and think it will. If you are ignorant of your office--a prince in the house of David--and stand meekly by and let it think unsifted thoughts, your thinking faculty will prove an unruly servant.
The thinking faculty …is your creative center; in and through this one power you establish your consciousness--you build your world. Through the volition of this faculty, you can refuse to receive ideas from Christ, you can cut yourself away from the realm of original Truth, or from the illusionary universe in which you are forever unraveling tangled ends and chasing shadows.
Be no longer a slave to the thinking faculty; command it to be still and know.
In other words, we must train our higher self to stand guard over our mind. To look at the thoughts that are generated and judge then as true or false. The false ones must be thrown out or we are left “forever unraveling tangled ends and chasing shadows.” (Fillmore)
Jesus teaches us that we are to be like him. We are to go to our inner God essence and let that “Christ within” think and speak and do as directed.
John 8:28 So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. 29 And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him."
30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him. 31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."
33 They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, "You will be made free'?"
34 Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word. 38 I declare what I have seen in the Father's presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father."
The mind by itself leads us into crazy thinking, separation thinking, depression, and addictive behavior to numb the pain.
When we are guided by the sacred within us, when we experience the freedom that Truth brings. We no longer accept as truth everything our mind tells us. We no longer need to get into the business of others or the business of God. DECERNING THE TRUTH, SETS US FREE FROM OUR HABITS OF SUFFERING.
The mind, OUR MIND, thinks it can be the driver of our lives. But it does not have a driver’s license. It is like giving the keys to the family car to a three-year old. It does not have the ability to read the road signs or the map. It does not even know how to use the brake. It just wants to go go go and go fast! Accidents are the consequence. Accidents that hurt you and hurt others.
I started new classes at Claremont Lincoln University/ Claremont School of Theology this week. In one of them we are reading the book Markings by Dag Hammarskjold, Swedish “diplomat, economist, and author. The second Secretary-General of the United Nations, he served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961 en route to cease-fire negotiations. He is the only person to have been awarded a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize. Hammarskjöld remains the only U.N. Secretary-General to die in office. American President John F. Kennedy called Hammarskjöld “the greatest statesman of our century". (Wikipedia)
This very successful diplomat and peacemaker, writes honestly about his inner spiritual struggle.
“It had always been this way. Dependent like a child upon admiring affection, he had always taken uncritical friendship for granted, even with those who were indifferent or actually hostile. He had always acted upon this assumption—yet, in an unconscious effort to create friendships which perhaps did not exist, not without a certain compliance towards the interests of others, and at the same time, a fear of a collision with reality which might rend asunder his web of illusions.”
(Later) “Day by day, You suffer anguish, Anguish under the unspoken judgment which hangs over your life…”
It is easy to live in a web of illusions. The mind gives us illusions at every turn. And when we do not question their validity, we suffer anguish over the lies that hang in our mind.
What can we do?
Byron Katie has come up with a system of bringing to conscious awareness the upsets our minds create and putting them on a paper called the Judge Your Neighbor Worksheets.
She then has 4 questions that help us check to see if these thoughts are Truth or Fabrications.
And then she has us Turn them around.
Now we are going to let our EGOs have some fun. We are going to write about all our upsets and pettiness. We are going to let ourselves see the way we really think.
Although we have been taught not to judge, we do. But usually unconsciously.
Now we are bringing the reality of our thinking up to conscious awareness.
Our Ego loves to judge and will joyfully pour out its judgments “like a maniac.” Let's do it. Do not censor what you write. Give your Ego this chance it has been waiting for for years. A chance to be seen and heard. Be judgmental, harsh, childish, and petty. Let your feelings of sadness, anger, confusion or fear be seen. Point fingers, blame the ones you believe caused you pain. Write about people you can’t stand, who have done you wrong. (Paraphrased from Loving what Is by Byron Katie.)
Example from the book: (p 18) Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet
1. Who angers, confuses, saddens, or disappoints you, and why? What is it about them that you don’t like?
“I don’t like Paul because he doesn’t listen to me. I’m angry at Paul because he doesn’t appreciate me. I’m angry at Paul because he makes wakes me at midnight and doesn’t care about my health. I don’t like Paul because he argues with everything I say. I’m saddened by Paul because he is so angry.
2. How do you want them to change? What do you want them to do?
I want Paul to give me his full attention. I want Paul to love me completely. I want Paul to be considerate of my needs. I want Paul to agree with me. I want Paul to get more exercise.
3. What is it that they should or shouldn’t do, be think, or feel? What advice could you offer?
Paul shouldn’t watch so much television. Paul should stop smoking. Paul should tell me that he loves me. He shouldn’t ignore me. He shouldn’t criticize me in front of our children and friends.
4. Do you need anything from them? What do they need to do in order for you to be happy?
I need Paul to listen to me. I need Paul to listen to me. I need Paul to stop lying to me. I need Paul to share his feelings and be emotionally available. I need Paul to share his feelings and be emotionally available. I need Paul to be gentle and kind and patient.
5. What do you think of them? Make a list.
Paul is dishonest. Paul is reckless. Paul is childish. He thinks he doesn’t have to follow the rules. Paul is uncaring and unavailable. Paul is irresponsible.
6.. What is it that you don’t want to experience with that person again?
I don’t ever want or I refuse to live with Paul if he doesn’t change. I refuse to watch Paul ruin his health. I don’t ever want to argue with Paul again. I don’t ever want to be lied to by Pau again.
Byron uses 4 Questions to find the lies or stories that have not been checked out with reality.
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?
3. Turn it Around: Then turn it around (the concept you are questioning), and don't forget to find three genuine examples of each turnaround.
1. Is it true?
“Is it true that Paul doesn’t listen to me?”
Be still. If you really want to know the truth, the answer will rise to meet the question. Let the mind ask the question, and wait for the answer that surfaces.
2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?
Consider these questions: “Can I absolutely know that it’s true that Paul doesn’t listen to me? Can I ever really know when someone is listening or not? Am I sometimes listening even when I appear not to be.
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
How do you react when you think that Paul doesn’t listen to you? How do you treat him? Make a list. For example: “I give him ‘the look’. I interrupt him. I punish him by not paying attention to him. I start talking faster and louder, and I try to force him to listen.” Continue making your list as you go inside, and see how you treat yourself in that situation, and how that feels. “I shut down. I isolate myself. I eat and sleep a lot, and I watch television for days. I feel depressed and lonely.” Notice all the effects of thinking that thought “Paul doesn’t listen to me.”
4. Who would you be without the thought?
Now consider who you would be if you couldn’t think the thought “Paul doesn’t listen to me.” Close your eyes and imagine Paul not listening to you. Imagine you don’t have the thought that Paul doesn’t listen (or that he even should listen.) Take your time. Notice what is revealed to you. What do you see? How does that feel?
3. Turn it Around: The original statement “I don’t like Pau because he doesn’t listen to me,” when reversed, could become
a. “I don’t like myself because I don’t’ listen to Paul.” I that as true or truer for you? Are you listening to Paul when your’e thinking about him not listening to you? Continue to find other examples of how you don’t listen.
b. B. Another turnaround that could be as true or truer is “I don’t like myself because I don’t listen to myself.” When your’e mentally out o your business and thinking about what Paul should be doint, are you listening to yourself? Do you put your own life on hold when you believe that he should listen? Can you hear how you talk to Paul when you believe that he should listen?
After sitting with the turnarounds, you would continue with other statements written on your Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet.
Byron Katie says: “Everyone is a mirror image of yourself- your own thinking coming back at you.”
As you see your inner world reflected in the outer, you know you can change the inner and the outer will change.
Dag Hammarskjold put it this way: “The more faithfully you listen to the voice within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside. Is this the starting point of the road towards the union of your two dreams-- …to be allowed in clarity of mind to mirror life and in purity of heart to mold it?”
As you do this work in heightening your awareness, in sifting through your thoughts, you will become more aware of your True Spiritual Nature, Freer from suffering and Happier.