If you want freedom, Byron Katie says, write down your stressful thoughts. Self-inquiry depends on understanding exactly what your suffering is made of, Katie tells a man who teaches a class in journaling. Without that stable base, the ego wriggles out of direct examination. The Work begins with an inventory of stressful thoughts called a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet. Once the list is in place, one can examine the truth of your beliefs without being sidetracked into defense or justification. “You’re the one who wrote down these thoughts,” Katie says. “The ego can’t deny it.” Katie praises journaling as a kindred way of getting to the heart of one’s troubles. “What we see in journaling is thoughts such as ‘I want, I need, they should, I shouldn’t.’ It’s all there. The entire Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet will show up in journaling, so it’s a powerful way of taking the first step toward understanding.”
Byron Katie: Let’s begin with Nathan from Santa Barbara. Hi, Nathan. Nathan: Hi, Katie. Hi. How are you? I’m like everyone else. I’m as well as I can possibly be in this moment. Beautiful. Beautiful. Thank you. When we hear the expression: Who could ask for more? I mean, you can; it would be ridiculous. That’s great. This is a well as we can be in the moment. Yes. Thank you for all you do and thank you for those great reminders. That’s wonderful. Oh, you’re welcome. Some things are just obvious when our mind is clear enough to see. So, that’s what we’re doing here today. That’s what we’ve come for. Yes. So, sweetheart, read what you’ve written so we’re all caught up with you. Sure. Sure. My name is Nathan. I facilitate journal-writing workshops and I encourage people to do The Work. I would love to hear how you answer this question that I sometime get and could you please explain why it is that you encourage people to write down their thoughts on the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet before starting to do the questions and the rest of The Work. You also suggest writing other types of writing exercises, such as the list of proof for the beliefs that we hold. I love that one. I share that one as well. In your personal experience, Katie, and also in working with others, do you find that writing things down helps us to process the 4 questions more effectively, more accurately, more deeply and why do you think writing helps? OK. So, all of those, the answer is yes to all of those. To write it down, it’s like the ego cannot fool itself. It’s like: Yes, I believe that and I’m justified or it just notices its thoughts and it writes it down. That’s what it’s thinking and believing. So, then it can’t deny it. And that’s the ego’s favorite trick: to deny. Like if I think: “She doesn’t care about me.” Then I start to write it down, the ego will say, Oh, I don’t need to write it down. I know it’s not true. But when it’s stable, mind on paper; how do we stop the mind? We identify what’s in it. We write it down. There it is stopped and then it can be questions. So, we believe it, we write it down and then we face it. And the ego with all its power, it’s willing to take it on. But then when it begins to discover that’s it’s being tricked out of its life, you know, its identity. Uh-huh. Then it begins to take it over. Like: I don’t need to know that. I already know it’s not true like that. But those 4 questions, they’ll just hold the ego. They’ll just hold it. They’re not saying: Don’t believe it. They’re just a progression for the ego to follow and somehow it does, because really it’s looking for a home. Yeah. Yeah. So, there the mind is stopped and it’s really powerful. We can’t deny it. I think that’s the bottom line, Nathan. You know, we can deny it later, but as long as we’re sitting in inquiry there it is and we deal with it. Yes. Yes. It begins to let go. Also, your journaling, I love that you do that. I love it. Oh, thank you. You know, what we see in journaling is: I want. I need. They should. I shouldn’t have. And, I mean, it’s all there. Yeah. It’s from; the entire Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet will show up in journaling. So, it’s really powerful. It’s a beautiful way. Yes. Yeah. Thank you so much. That makes so much sense. I hadn’t considered that it’s a factor of not being able to deny what you had the thought of. Yeah. That thoughts are so fleeting and they move around so quickly. Yeah. But, yeah, capturing it so that you can face it … Yeah. … and the mind not being able to deny that it had that thought. That’s beautiful. Yeah. You know, people would sit with me, but they’d say, “She doesn’t love me anymore.” And I’d say: Is it true? Well, no. But “she really doesn’t care.” And it would just … And so it’s like, get that thing stable. Get that thing stable. Yeah. I’ve been in conversations with people who have thought that they could do The Work just in conversation. Like put the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet aside and just try to have the conservation and people will sometimes say: Well, I didn’t say that. That’s not exactly what I meant. And it just moves all over. It moves. So, there it is again. That’s it. Yeah. That’s it. Yeah. Good. Thank you so much. Also, Honey, sometimes I’ll work with people that all they want is conversation and that’s all they want. We do our best and sometimes they just need to go home with that. But it’s odd to sit with someone like you or me that wouldn’t argue with them. You know, we’re very good listeners when we have done a little Work ourselves. Yes. Yeah. When someone is talking and we’re quiet, because they’re just not open to inquiry yet, so we’re just listening because that’s all we’re left with. Uh-huh. Yeah. And we’re just listening and then they begin to hear themselves, because there is no one coming up against them. Ah. Ah. Thank you. So, silence is so important rather than convincing. That’s good. That’s a good reminder as well. So, no one does it wrong. And it there’s someone to do it wrong in this world, it would have to be me. So, that’s an excellent way to reference all the problems in the world. Thank you, Nathan. You bet. Thank you so much, Katie. I appreciate you. You’re welcome. Thank you for your Work.