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Byron Katie guides a 50 year old woman in doing The Work on a situation with her father that occurred when she was 17. This was recorded live during an At Home with Byron Katie event at the Center for The Work in Ojai, California.
“Something occurred with my father that shouldn’t have,” the woman says. “I left home and haven’t spoken to him until a month ago, when he apologized on the phone for everything before and after that moment. He says he doesn’t remember the moment I refer to.”
“‘He says he doesn’t remember’—is it true?” says Katie. “We’re going to meditate on that moment with your father on the phone. This keeps you in the situation so we can do our work. Can you absolutely know that it’s true that he said he doesn’t remember?”
“Yes,” says the woman.
“Now notice how you reacted when you believed the thought. Close your eyes and witness it; you don’t have to guess. This is how to answer these questions. So you’re on the phone. Get in touch with your physical tendencies—your face and your emotions. Were they high or low in your chest or belly? Witness how you reacted. I want you to get in touch with your emotions, because they are a signal that lets you know when your integrity is off, and that’s the cause of your suffering. It can never be the other person. What I’m thinking and believing is the cause of all, not some, my suffering, and The Work is a test of that. Witness how you react when you believe that thought.”
“My whole body is on fire with anger,” the woman says.
“Now witness how you talk to your father. That shift in attitude. How do you treat him when you believe the thought?”
“I’m no longer open, I’m not willing to be vulnerable with him. I shut down and immediately go into defense mode.”
“Who would you be without that thought, on the phone, listening to him as he says, ‘I don’t remember’? Everything was fine. Up to that point you were completely on board.”
“Wow!” the woman says. “Without the thought, I’m open and vulnerable…and it’s not a place I like to be with people I don’t fully trust.”
“But you’re still there now…”
“Yes,” says the woman.
They move to the turnarounds. The woman finds two: “I don’t remember what I did” and “I don’t remember what he did.”
They continue to question all the thoughts about that situation that she collected on her Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet, uncovering again and again her powerful vulnerability and openness.
Notice what they did, then notice what you believe about what they did. Which one is the cause of your suffering? —bk