The final phrase that I use often goes WAY beyond what I can do justice explaining in this blog post. It is not that it is complex, its actually very simple but some times it is those kinds of things that can be difficult to get your mind around. 🙂 This is simply a brief introduction to a concept that I learned last year and has really shifted things in a big way in my life.
Phrase #3: Is it true?
“I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always.” — Byron Katie
The four questions of what Katie calls the Work are:
- Is it true?
- Can you absolutely know that its true?
- How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be with out that thought?
Turn the thought around. Then find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true for you in this situation.
The idea is that you chose a thought that is making you miserable in some way and take it through those 4 questions in order to examine that thought closer and see if you can find thoughts that are truer than that thought or challenge if that the original thought is really true.
Are you still with me? 🙂
In her book and on her website and podcast, you get to hear Katie walk through this process on about every imaginable thought. It is helpful to hear her walk through this and she does it so beautifully. I love when I run into thoughts that I didn’t even realize I needed to question.
I have used the Work on thoughts like:
- I should be thinner.
- My husband should pay more attention to me.
- That person should friggin’ get their life together.
- I can’t believe they haven’t responded to my email.
- Money is stressful.
- I am too depressed
- I am bored
- I can’t believe that person cut me off in traffic!
The list is endless. Literally every thought can be questioned. Of course, the focus on the thoughts that make you miserable so that you stop suffering so much in this one beautiful life. You could question thoughts that bring you peace and happiness but that is not suffering.
So “Is it true?” helps me to key in to questioning the thought I am having at the moment that is causing me some kind of stressful emotion. Some times I sit down and write out the whole process (very helpful!) but other times it simply is a reminder to me and I can zip through the work in my mind pretty quickly.
This concept took me months to internalize and wrap my brain around and I am still not sure I get it all the way. But I do know that I LOVE it. I know that it has helped me be different with myself in this world. When ever I have an emotion that makes me less than happy – sadness, anger, annoyance, martyr,judgement, depression, etc – I start with “Is that true?” Its not to say that any of those emotions are wrong or bad, they are just signals for me to question my thoughts and understand what I can learn.
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