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Dave Asprey of the Bulletproof Executive, who has used The Work, takes a deep dive with Byron Katie into the process of clearing the mind.
“You experienced a 10-year spiral into depression,” Dave says. “What got you to this state?”
“I was believing my thoughts.” Katie says. “And I had no way out. My anger was aimed outward at other people; it was their fault. So the self-loathing and anger was all an effect of things I would say and do out of a mind that believed others were at fault. It was a debilitating, vicious cycle of judgment-guilt, judgment-guilt. I had agoraphobia. Most of the time, toward the end, I was unable to leave my bedroom—very painful. I do whatever I can now so that no one has to suffer at that level or any level, because there is a way out.”
“What actually happened?”
“I was asleep on the floor; I opened my eyes, and in that moment I saw how the mind worked. The shift in me was so radical that my family recognized my body, but otherwise had no idea who I was. I had shifted from a very confused and lost human being to someone who was at peace.”
“It seems like you just went to sleep and woke up with this mass of knowledge. How did that happen?”
“Well, I just saw how the mind worked. I saw that when I believed my thoughts I suffered, but that when I questioned them I didn’t suffer,” Katie says. “And it’s not as easy as it sounds. I still had this ego-personalty to deal with. It’s like there were two of me; there was this wisdom and understanding of the cause of suffering, and then the ego. I designed the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet and used it to capture all the crazy thoughts in my head. I would write them down and sit—the mind with the mind—and ask the four questions: 1. Is it true? 2.Can you absolutely know that it’s true? 3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? And this is when people’s blood pressure goes up. It’s when the heart begins to race. We experience the physical wear and tear on our bodies from the emotions that happen. And you see images of past and future. They’re not real. They’re like fake news. When we’re experiencing those emotions, we’re reacting to that movie in our mind. That’s the cause of all suffering. We have this movie running. The thoughts are the soundtrack we believe onto it. And 4. Who would you be without the thought? Who would I be without believing these past/future images? Just who am I just now? That’s how we drop into our true nature, and out of that, our choices radically shift, because now we’re sane. There’s no mind to argue and talk us out of what we know is right in our life. And then we turn the thought around to find opposites, to see if they are just as true as or truer than our original belief. We enlighten ourselves with possibilities we haven’t considered.”
“What’s a short description of what you do?” Dave says.
“Clear the mind,” Katie says.
“And when I use the four questions of The Work to clear my mind, it frees up a huge amount of energy to do things that matter. The Work is useful simply because it removes the drag on your life.” Dave says.
“In closing, I know that you’re in Ojai, and you have a nine-day in-person event where you teach people The Work. You have one coming up in March. If you want to know what’s going on with the thoughts in your head, Byron Katie’s work is powerful. There’s great value to sitting down and spending about a week with other people doing the same thing. Something happens differently than if you just sit down by yourself for a week doing this. Especially when you’re in the presence of a great teacher.”
Question anything that would limit you in life. —Byron Katie