Join Byron Katie on Zoom, Monday–Wednesday
Join »

From the Parlor: Ending War

Hi Katie,
I love The Work and have read your books. I was wondering: how does passive (and active) resistance fit into acceptance? Also, can we accept what is and focus and act on what we want to create in the future, or is that focus a form of resistance to what is?

As I understand and experience The Work, it leads us to accept what is or what was, to cease struggling against it, to stop arguing with it. It leads us to peace about what is or what was, because we come to a new understanding about what is or what was. For me, acceptance is about not resisting what is/what was but allowing it to be whatever it is or was, even as through the Work we come to new understandings about it. From that place, a “knowing” then arises about what to “do”—the example Katie shares is seeing litter on the ground, not arguing against it, not resisting it, just seeing litter and being moved to pick it up. I’m not sure how that works say, in regard to the war in Iraq and other types of issues:

So—how does that fit with, for example: What if, instead of going like sheep to slaughter during WWII, the Jews had committed mass suicide. Would it have been possible for them to accept “the Nazis are coming” and then resist by jumping into the sea (something Gandhi suggested in 1946) or killing the Nazis? I can accept that we are at war in Iraq. It is what is, and I even can see the side that says we should be at war in Iraq. Actually, I see both sides so clearly, I no longer am able to figure out what we actually “should” do—which leaves what we will do up to people who are not seeing both sides and/or have an opinion. I don’t think what we are doing, however, is working to bring peace, and thus am inclined to work for peace (though again I’m not clear whether that means bring the troops home now). If I am working for peace or to bring the troops home now, am I in resistance to what is (the war in Iraq)? I also can accept a turnaround that the Bush administration didn’t lie to us about Iraq and that we lied to ourselves about Iraq. Does that mean that we don’t seek to uncover the “truth” (the facts) about whether or not Bush lied? Or does it just mean that now I have seen this and am not resisting what was I can now choose whatever I am going to do next in response to that (with my new awareness) or not? Thank you.

Sincerely, B

Dearest B,

I do everything possible to end the war where I am internally, and the war around me ends immediately. Bigger things happen as a result of this—huge things. The troops in Iraq, just like all of us in the world (there is no them and us in this scenario), only have the power to do everything possible to end the war where they are. The way we end wars on this planet, our “defenses,” exactly mirror how we (the bad guy) start or create the war. This keeps us stuck and perpetually unevolved.

Let’s say, for example, a country has the thought to attack us and does attack us in order to put an end to “our” power, which they see as abusive, uncaring, and disrespectful. At this point we attack them for being abusive, uncaring, and disrespectful, and because both sides believe what they are thinking (and their thoughts are exactly the same on both sides), they are unwilling to negotiate. If we overpower them, we say that we have “won,” and we have used the same tactics and mindset that the other side used to start the war, the mindset that caused the attack. They were defending, that was the cause of their attack. We were defending, that was the cause of our attack. The ”enemy’s” mind is our own. If we believe that they shouldn’t have done it, then why can’t we see that we shouldn’t have done it? We are killing ourselves in our own belief system.

The death of our own and anyone’s son or daughter is a pretty obvious reality and yet we stay asleep. I say, “Stop errorism now!” It is internal war that must be ended if war is to end. Once the internal war ends, and therefore the external war ends, then armies will be armed with what they really want to be armed with, which is medicine, food, education, and good will and hearts that are allowed to do what they do best, armed with what is right and good. I invite all of you to find any justification for war that doesn’t mirror back the very same mindset of the “enemy.”

Thank you for the question, B, love.
xoxoxo, kt

Newsletter Sign-Up
  • Please enter the code.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.