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Letter from a Soldier

Dear Katie,

My name is David. I am a 25 year old man who has been in search of tranquility, serenity, peace, and surrender for the past ten years. About six months ago I really started to work on myself spiritually, I’ve been trying to become a man that does not judge others and can express unconditional love. I have taken a deep interest in some spiritual teachers such as Ram Dass, Eckhart Tolle, and Thich Nhat Hanh. I understand that presence and surrender can be reached now, but it is still an ongoing challenge for me to create a no mind. There are many helpful tools that you have to offer and many circumstances you discuss that help people out in their everyday situations. I was wondering if you can discuss or post something on a podcast about individuals in the military that are currently deployed in a war zone. This is the circumstance that I am in at this moment. I try to find as much tranquility as possible from my present circumstance, but sometimes it becomes very difficult. I feel that I become very unconscious in a combat situation and my environment is not conducive for presence. I understand what I am asking is probably not going to happen, but its worth a shot. If you do read this email…..thank you. But if you are too busy, I completely understand. Thank you for your time.

Respectfully sent, David

Dearest David,

You can’t create a no-mind, a don’t-know mind; it already exists, and it doesn’t need to be created. In my experience, as we question our stressful thoughts, we begin to experience the no-mind, without effort. It ceases to be something we’re trying to do and begins to be experienced as a natural state of being.

Question any thoughts about the future that come to your mind. If the mind believes a stressful thought that is even thirty seconds in the future, it will naturally leave you out of the now, frightened, depressed and lonely. Here are some things you may sometimes feel in your situation. You can question any of them that seem relevant:

I’ll never get through this.

I don’t know what I’m doing here.

This is never going to end.

I can’t handle it.

I want to go home.

I’m going to die here.

It’s very important when you’re using the four questions to understand that the moment you stop answering the questions, The Work stops working; for example, as you’re answering, when you notice your mind wanting to defend or justify the concept that you’re questioning, with something like, “Yes, because” or “No, but.” Just allow the answers to the first two questions to be your own honest yes or no only, and even though you may be sure that your truth is “yes,” for example, allow the “no” equal rights, test it as well, against the first two questions and allow your answer to drop in, to fall into the depths of yourself. Give your answer time to live in you before you continue on to the next question. Allow your feelings fully in the third question, give them time to express themselves completely. Watch, witness, experience how you react when you believe that thought. Be still with the fourth question as well. Notice who you would be without that thought. Who would you be in life if you didn’t believe the thought that you are questioning? Also, when you’re doing the turnarounds, with each turnaround it’s important to find examples of how each turnaround is true in your life. The turnarounds are not meant to be “positive affirmations”; they have to be genuine and real, not manufactured as feel-good (even though some of them really shift your life to an authentic state of “feel-goodness”).

There is no internal or external war that cannot be worked through, if peace is your goal. The Work works for those whose minds are open to it, whatever the circumstances. I love that you do The Work for the love of truth, for the love of peace and no other motive.

Also, if you fill in Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets, there are people within the Institute for The Work of Byron Katie whose hearts’ desire it would be to facilitate you, at no charge, as a service to you as a soldier. (You can do this through Skype.) Freedom from fear is possible in a war zone, even on a battlefield. I love that you understand that the world, including war zones, is not the problem; what we’re believing about the world is the problem. Our beliefs create our internal war zone, and the end of suffering is possible, one belief at a time, for everyone whose mind is open to this inquiry, The Work.

I send you my love and gratitude for your life in this world, and anything that I can do to serve you, please return this email with your request.

In deepest gratitude,

Loving what is, and that would be you,

Byron Katie

Dear Katie,
I am forever grateful for your email. I really appreciate the fact that you took the time out of your busy schedule for me, it really means a lot! The questions that you mentioned all applied to me, especially the one that states “I’m going to die here.” The danger that I have been exposed to has brought up feelings of stress and anxiety. But I have never felt more compelled to be present and at peace, to share love and compassion with fellow service members, locals, and even the enemy. As we all know, war is a terrible unconscious act of humanity as a whole. My acceptance and surrender to this is becoming more apparent every day. Your teachings have really helped me find the tranquility that I have longed for. Thanks again.


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