“I’m stuck in a bottomless pit,” Julian tells Byron Katie, describing a years-long depression that makes him doubt whether he can even get out of bed. “That’s my story, too,” Katie says. “And there’s no one who can understand you if they haven’t been there. It’s horrible, horrible.” The way out, she says, was to isolate the thoughts that were causing the horror and then to question them. Katie helps him get started by using his story to fill out a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. With Katie’s help, Julian contemplates how it would be for him without the thought that he can’t get out of bed, and notices that he would have no problem. “I would just be lying in bed at peace,” he says.
Byron Katie: So, Julian, you there? Julian: Hi. Hi. Hi, Julian. Hi. So, welcome to Conversations. And, sweetheart, would you read the email you sent to me out loud, please? OK. “Hi Katie. I just wanted to reach out to you and thank you for The Work that you do. I'm reaching out to you in a time of despair. I have found myself stuck in a bottomless pit for the past year and a half, ever since my depression and anxiety got worse. I'm a college student completely lost and confused about what I want to do with my life. I have lost my sense of direction. The thoughts that seem to come up for me the most is, what is the point of any of this? Why should I go to school, or work, or live? These thoughts paralyze me on a daily basis and prevent me from even getting out of bed sometimes.” Yeah. “I just want to be able to get out of bed and move freely throughout the day with whatever decision I make.” Yeah. “I was hoping that you might be able to guide me through or help me identify one of these thoughts that seem to be the most prevalent in my daily life. Again the deepest gratitude to you and your team. With love, Julian.” Oh, thank you, Julian. Oh, honey, I don't know if you know it or not, but that is so my story. It's horrible. Yeah. It's horrible! And there's no one that can hear you or understand if they haven't been there, and they still don't know where you're at. Yeah. So, from the place that I lived, if you can call that living, it's like living in a tomb. Trapped. Trapped. So, here's what I did, because that's all I know to pass on. OK? You're familiar with the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet? Yes. OK. So, I'm going to read what I wrote. OK. OK. So. OK. So, I'll just read it. You say that the thoughts that come up for you the most are: “What is the point of any of this?” You know: life. Yes. And just to be where you are. Like, that's the point for me that I found. Just to be where I am. And it can be standing. It could be in bed, because I can't get up. It can be just to be where I am. That's the point. That is the point. If you're the least depressed person in the world, you're still sitting in bed in that moment. That's the point. OK. I see what you're saying. It's that same position, different mind. One's in touch with reality, one is not. What's the point of life? Too sit here, right now. Or to lie in bed, right here, right now. That's the point of life. You know, there's no great big secret to life. There is only a same mind or one that depresses; in other words, confused. So, that's what I mean when I say things like: I don't argue with reality. If I'm lying in bed and I have the thought, “I should get up” and then it's overwritten by, “I'm so depressed,” etc. etc. etc. How can I get up? They far outweigh the mind that just says, “Get up!” And then I notice I do or I don't, but I'm at peace either way. And peace is it. If you have the best college education in the world, if you realize all your ambition, you get it all there, you can still be depressed. Right. So, the idea of getting all that, of being successful, is, “Then I'll be happy.” But it just doesn't work that way, because with or without that success you're lying in bed. Or you're sitting in a chair somewhere. So, mind is the cause of all depression. Not your life. OK. So, you say that you … OK, cutting to the chase. You say … What I say is do inquiry on “you can't get out of bed.” So, you're lying in bed. Go to that moment. OK. Remember when you were there? Yeah. In that state of mind, “I can't get out of bed.” So, “You can't get out of bed.” Is it true? Yes. “You can't get out of bed.” Can you absolutely know that it's true that “you can't get out of bed?” No. And how do you react? What happens, that you lie in bed? How do you react? What happens when you believe the thought? Notice the images of past and future and the emotions that come with those movies. I feel kind of torn apart. I feel this, like, something like, welling up inside of me. Yeah. And I feel really constricted. Now notice lying in bed. Who would you be without the thought, “I can't get out of bed?” Who would you be without your story, lying in bed? I would just be lying in bed. Yeah. At peace. “I can't get out of bed.” Turn it around. What's the opposite? I can get out of bed. OK. So, just lie there in peace and make yourself stay in bed. You can't do it. What are you saying? “I can't get out of bed.” The opposite is: I can get out of bed. So now, don't get out of bed and just see what happens. Oh, OK. I see what you're saying. You're saying if I had the opposite of that, staying in, but I'm still lying in bed, how does that feel? Well, in my experience I did this: “I can't get out of bed.” Turnaround. “I can't get out of bed.” Turnaround. I can get out of bed. And I just waited and I was lifted. OK. I see what you're saying. It's like I'm not the doer. There was nothing I could do. So, go back. It's like you got out of bed sooner or later, but then you took the credit for it. I did it! But who would you be without the thought? I would just … Getting out of bed would just happen or not. There are 2 ways to be in bed and there are 2 ways to get out of bed. There are 2 ways to get to the toothbrush. OK. I see where you're … One's in peace and one is not. I think … OK. So, I think another thing that comes up for me a lot with The Work is identifying the thought. Well, you wrote it to me. You wrote several of them to me. OK. There were several of them. But I can't … For me, I can't … I didn't have to choose the thought. I just noticed what was in my head as I filled in the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet and those were the thoughts. So, if you write a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on a terrible future, because that's what you're worried about. So, you write a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on a terrible future and you write it like what you fear will happen. And you write it from the inside of that situation you fear, just as though it were happening. So, it takes a lot of stillness. It does. But it's nothing that you don't have, because you're just remembering what you were thinking as you, for example, as you were lying in bed. You just recalled the thoughts that … You look at the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet and as you look at statement number 1, you just get in touch with what's upsetting you. OK. OK. And then … So, for example, statement number 1 on the Worksheet would be, “I'm upset because I can't get out of bed.” And statement 2 might be … I didn't do it that way. What you fear will happen. And then … Write a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on a terrible future. One that you fear will happen. And then like a little bitty baby, watch as you live the turnarounds and support yourself. It's like being a toddler and starting all over again and you talk to yourself just like you were the sweetest, like you were your own just adorable little child. That kind of love is the power. I see what you're saying. Because when I've done The Work a lot, it's been like, it's like, “OK, you've got to write it down. Got to do it. Got to get it …” And none of that's true. I didn't have to write it down. You know, I just noticed that I wanted to know the truth. Life just could not be this terrible and I heard there were free; I don't know if I heard there were free people in the world or not. Maybe not, but I knew there had to be something other than this. Because there were people out there walking around with smiles on their faces And … I see what you're saying. … there had to be a way. So, “I'm depressed because … (maybe number 1) “I'm depressed because I don't know what to do with my life. I want a sense of direction.” These are your; this is your letter to me. “I want a sense of direction. I want to know the point of all this. I want to get out of bed. I shouldn't feel so terrible. I should feel better. I need to be successful. I need to know what to do with my life.” Is this familiar? These are not only your thoughts, but this is a filled-in Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet with your thoughts, that I did from your letter ahead of time. But those are turnarounded to the self, aren't they? No. They're what you … Yeah, but that's OK. They're not turnarounded to the self, they're just the thoughts you wrote to me. OK. And then, “I'm stuck in a bottomless pit.” I am … See that statement number 5 on the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet “I. I am. I am stuck in a bottomless pit. I am completely lost about what I want to do with my life.” And then statement 6 on the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet: “I don't ever want to be confused again.” Or, “I don't ever want to be depressed again.” And I feel like I've made complicated; that I've complicated the simplest thing. Just … So, I'll say it again. It's like statement 1: “I'm depressed, because I don't know what to do with my life.” That's statement number 1. Statement number 2: “I want a sense of direction. I want to know the point of all this. I want to get out of bed.” And we did “I want to get out of bed.” And it's huge. Just one inquiry is huge and you have all these thoughts that it just starts unraveling and unraveling. It's an amazing thing. And it's my life, sweetheart, my school; my education, is about the truth. Because it's more valuable than anything else and it's within our grasp. And it's our truth. It's not the world's truth. It's our own. Right. That's where the power lives, inside of you. So, for example, if you just wrote me your innermost thoughts every day and then questioned them, did The Work on them. That's what I did. I just wrote down my thoughts and questioned them. You could look back at your journals, if you've done any journaling and question it, one by one. OK. I'm going to try that. And you know we have some amazing Certified Facilitators out there. They'll work with you. They'll hold you. And also the helpline. And it's free and they don't ask “Who are you?” and “Where do you come from?” You just; they'll support you in filling in a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. And they'll walk you through it. OK. OK. OK. Thank you so much. Oh, you're so welcome. You know I don't … You know, it's like, if I try to put myself in your position I guess the best thing I can say to you from here is just follow the simple directions and they're on TheWork.com and just follow the simple directions. And if you can, get to the school for The Work, if there's anyway possible. And it's so powerful, because it's 9 days out of your life where you're just sitting in this. And then it just becomes automatic and you know how to deal with this and make sense of this and bring you peace. Yeah. I think that the only thing that I've had difficulty with, like, that has been hard for me is actually sitting down to do it. Yeah. Like the actual doing The Work. Well, that's why you can't get out of bed sometimes. You know, that's what it's for. You just keep a stack of Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets there by your bed. Yeah. Yeah. And I guess that's just another thought. It's like, Oh, this isn't going to work. and then, bam, I don't do it. Good catch. Good catch. Wow! OK. Very good catch. You caught it. I mean, a lot of thoughts come up like that. It's like, “Oh The Work won't work.” Or you know … You caught it! You're identifying them. And then that's the thought that prevents me from getting out of bed or actually doing The Work. Wow! OK. Well, I'm going to do The Work. And in the meantime, without the thought, there's something really beautiful going on. But you're in another world of past and future. You know, if you have a thought like, “I can't get out of bed,” the mind's job is to keep that like cement. Gives you every image and reason in the world why it's true. And the only thing to break that hypnotic trance, that I'm aware of is, like, a good old, Is it true? Just to catch it, just the way you did. It may not sound like: Is it true? But you caught it and you caught it and you caught it. Wow! I've had a lot of thoughts, like that where I've just, without investigating. Yeah. An uninvestigated life is not worth living; too painful. Thank you. Thank you, Julian. Fun to be with you. Good to laugh, huh? Yeah. Yeah. You know the mind is a joke and we're … You know, people, “Oh, I've got it! I got the joke.” I think we're getting it. Yeah. Thank you, precious. Thank you. Bye, bye. Bye.