Letter: Worrying About Iran

Dear Katie,

I am stressed about the situation in Iran. My brothers live there. They are out in the streets but we can’t get through to talk to them at all.

I keep thinking they have been shot.

Is it true? No.


I don’t want them to be hurting. The situation is not good at all.

I pray for the bravery of our Iranian students. But I also worry about my brothers.

How to stop worrying?


Dearest Sheila,

How to stop worrying? I invite you to all four questions and to consider any genuine examples discovered after each turnaround.

Question your stressful thought, “My brothers have been shot.”

Ask yourself:

1. Is it true? Yes or no?

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? Answer with either a yes or a no after you consider the question. Take your time. Notice that your mind tends to justify or defend what it is believing, and gently return to “Is it true? Can I really know that it’s true that they have been shot?”

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe the thought “My brothers have been shot”? Do you see images in your mind’s eye of them being shot? Do you see them bleeding on a sidewalk, maybe? Maybe you them dead in your mind’s eye? Are they really your brothers or are they images in your head? I am inviting you to notice. Are your emotions being produced as a result of your brothers being shot in reality, or are your emotions the result of what is appearing, now, only in your mind’s dream? I invite you to realize for yourself the difference between mind and reality, the differences between the images in your mind and the state of grace of reality, this moment now and its gifts.

4. Who would you be without that thought, “My brothers have been shot”? Free to notice the grace of this moment, right here, right now. Able to watch television or YouTube or Twitter without fear. Perhaps appreciating the courage and bravery of the students without feeling panic, learning from them as you watch their courage, a courage that is also within you any time you become aware that everything you fear about the future are things you cannot know. Perhaps speaking out clearly in the protests in your part of the world (for me “protest” means to offer up intelligent solutions and examples of why what you believe to be true is a wiser, kinder way of governing). Perhaps reaching out without fear to a friend or relative who is also worried.

Now consider turnarounds to the thought “My brothers have been shot.”

What are some alternatives? One turnaround would be “My brothers have not been shot.” Give yourself examples of why this turnaround might be true.

Another turnaround: “I am shooting my brothers.” In your mind, aren’t you shooting them? And are you using their enemies to shoot them? What is the point of creating your brothers’ death and using their “enemies” to do it with, in your mind, over and over, when you don’t really know what is happening or even what they are doing right here from where you are, right now? The reality is that they are alive, as far as you can know, until you learn otherwise. When you accept reality just as it is, right here, right now, there is nothing between you and reality that would cost you the ability to serve what you can serve and to change what you can from where you are, right here, right now. This is just one of the advantages of the fearless, loving mind wherever you are. (Does fear feel kind to you when you’re in it? Is that what you use to motivate you into action? Fear is limiting; test it yourself.) As it is, you are superimposing your thought onto reality. To project your fears and experience them as real is often self-defeating and terrifying. Your blood pressure, your health, your energy, your right to the gift of real life is imagined away and replaced by unchecked imagination. Your physical health and the health of those around you are affected when you are lost in imagination as though it were real, swept away in the dream of what isn’t, right here, right now. Unquestioned thoughts are the root cause of all suffering and can be debilitating. It is a wonderful thing to question one’s mind, to do The Work and wake up to, be transformed into, what has been referred to as “the peace of God,” “the peace that passeth all understanding,” and be left with “What can I do to help from here, right now?” The Work offers each of us the opportunity to wake up from the nightmare, to wake up into what is real. Thank you, dearest, and let me know what you hear of your brothers.

Also, please do The Work on this: “My brothers are hurting.”

And there is another turnaround that I challenge you to consider through examples: ”My brothers have shot someone else” or “My brothers are shooting someone else.” Be gentle with this one. Though it may sound like a horrific concept to consider, to Work this thought can bring great insight and much peace. Those of you who have brothers sisters or friends in your life that you worry about in this kind of situation, I invite you to Work the turnaround, “My brothers are hurting,” and to get back to Sheila with what you find to be true. Please feel free to use the One-Belief-at-a-Time Worksheets; they are also a free download on thework.com. I invite all of you interested in Working this concept the opportunity to type in your response on this blog in the “comments” section below.

In love as you are, waiting for you to wake up to you as I see you to be,



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