“A thought is harmless unless we believe it.”
“Until you love death, you cannot love life. What you fear about death is what you fear about life.” ~ Byron Katie.
Spring – the jumping off time
of green buds and birds’ trill
of thriving and spreading
when souls vault with thrill
Summer – enlivened bustle
of limitless affection
of prime corporeality
when spirits rouge the complexion
Autumn – abated season
of settling gratitude
of tranquil sanctuary
when ego battles disquietude
Winter – gradual repose
of profound cogitation
of placid acceptance
when the form meets salvation
“There are only three things we do in life: We stand, we sit, we lie horizontal. Once we’ve found success, we’ll still be sitting somewhere, until we stand, and we’ll stand until we lie down or sit again. Success is a concept, an illusion.”
Byron Katie, Loving What Is
When I was a kid, we had all kinds of sayings:
Takes one to know one.
Whoever smelt it, dealt it.
Take a chill pill!
But one that stands out is: You’re just projecting! I don’t think we really understood what we were saying, but it usually left the Complainer speechless.
And with good reason.
When we complain about others, we are projecting. Byron Katie’s work includes as “turnaround.” When you find yourself grumbling about someone, she has you turn it around:
“Sheila should not operate out of fear.”
Turn it around.
“I should not operate out of fear.”
With inquiry, we find that we are projecting our own fears and inadequacies.
Byron Katie and Oprah were talking about the issue of saying “no” to others and feeling used. Oprah mentioned some family members who repeatedly have “used her” and asked for money. But Katie said, “Nobody can use you.”
Oprah was confused. Of course, people use each other all the time! And Katie said, “What happened? They asked for money and you gave it to them. And then you didn’t want to give them money anymore. You felt bad because you gave them money and went against yourself. You never wanted to give the money in the first place.” Oprah then expressed her concern about saying no. Katie suggested a “high-quality no.” They acted it out.
Oprah: “I want $100,000.”
Katie: “I know you do. But…no.”
Oprah: “But you have so much money! Just give me $100,000. I really want it.”
Katie: “Yes, I know. But I’m going to say no.”
Oprah admitted that she hasn’t always just said no. She’d say things like “I gave you money before and I told you I wouldn’t do it again…etc.”
A high-quality no is just a firm no. No need for defensiveness or a lecture or explanation. Just…no.
I thought I had Byron Katie’s philosophy on death mastered. Consider death differently. Let go of stressful thoughts. It’s egoic to want someone to still be alive if they died. No one dies “too soon.” Resisting reality only causes pain. Yes, I get that.
But then a very good friend passed away today and I can’t help but cry and feel the loss of his physical presence. Someone who gave so much of himself is now gone. How to reconcile this?
Tomorrow is a new day. His children and his wife will feel his absence. We all will. As Katie says, life is a recycling circuit. Nothing happens too soon. Everything happens “just right” and I must trust this is true, even though it doesn’t feel that way right now.