Recently, I decided to meditate on a situation that happened 34 years ago, where I had so far failed to forgive a person who killed eight of my dogs.
I practiced the ancient Hawaiian healing art to erase and clean the memory by ceaselessly and silently chanting: I love you, Thank you, Please forgive me, (for the part I played in this situation), and I am sorry (for the part I played).
One day I received a gift. I wrote a note to Byron Katie International, asking what I needed to do to become certified in “The Work” of Byron Katie.
A few days later, I noticed I was placed on a “round robin” group of Byron Katie graduates of the 9 day intensive “the school.” The idea is that every month we pair up with a different graduate and do Inquiry with our designated partner.
I was excited by this opportunity! Even though I’m not a graduate of “the school,” I didn’t have time to be intimidated by that, because my partner and I arranged to do the process of Inquiry the next day.
I’ve seen You Tube videos of people who are in the middle of taking the life changing nine day course. They couldn’t find words to describe the experience they were having. They reminded me of people having a peak spiritual/religious experience, without drugs.
They looked like they had been to the mountain top: they appeared radiant, free, ecstatic.
I prepared for this opportunity by filling out the Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet, found in all of Byron Katie’s books, and on her websites and blog.
THE 4 QUESTION AND TURNAROUND
1) Is it true?
2) (If the answer is “yes”): Can you absolutely know that this is true?
3) How do you react when you think that thought?
4) Who would you be without that thought?
And turn it around.
I. I am still angry at my neighbor because he shot 8 of my dogs 34 years ago. His name is John Barley.
While I writing this out, I suddenly realized that I don’t know if John Barley was the person who shot my dogs.
I never saw who actually did these acts. It could have been a son, nephew or daughter, or his wife.
For 34 years, I assumed John Barley killed my dogs because all my friends who lived with me told me he was the one who did it.
But did he really do it?
I told my partner about this revelation the next day on the phone. We were 3500 miles and 3 hours removed, yet “the work” brought us together in a timeless orb of transformation.
I held a deep resentment towards a person for 34 years, going over and over the crime in my mind like an unending movie frame, creating a story, a drama, a scenario that everyone agrees who hears it: isn’t that terrible? How did you survive? He is a terrible person!
I am angry at my neighbor because he shot my dogs.
Is this true?
Well I am angry but he probably wasn’t the one who really shot the dogs.
Here the story, brought to the scrutiny of Inquiry, begins to unravel.
How do I react when I think the thought, that I am still angry at my neighbor for killing my eight dogs?
I feel constricted and judgmental, yet have a sense that I don’t want to carry this around anymore.
I am relieved that the light of Inquiry makes assumptions seem laughable and inconsequential.
Is there a stress free reason to keep this thought?
No, never is.
Who would I be without the thought, that I am still angry at my neighbor for killing my dogs?
I would be a person who sees that people commit atrocities, mass genocide, wage wars, and they kill dogs. From this perspective, I let it go.
Turn it around?
I am no longer angry (at whom ever did it) for killing my dogs.
I am not angry at my self for having this belief because I don’t need to beat myself up.
The dogs aren’t angry because they were killed. Dogs take death fully in stride. They live in the present moment.
They know how to love unconditionally.
So I choose to be more like my dogs!!!
My partner had an issue he needed to gain clarity on, so we did “the work” on it.
I am happy to report that my first try at doing this process went well.
My partner gained a level of insight he needed to make a major decision in his life.
When I take 100% responsibility for everything that has happened in my life, the old and tired assumptions fall away. They serve only one purpose: to stay stuck in a vibrational field of judgment and victim-hood.
The unexamined life is not worth living, said Henry David Thoreau.
Unexamined thoughts, assumptions and stories that hold you prisoner don’t hold the key to your happiness.
The life-line is available.
Find a way, and use it.