By Byron Katie —
She holds nothing back from life; therefore she is ready for death.
How can anyone describe the indescribable, or bring into existence what is just a mirror image of reality? There are names for it: arm, leg, sun, moon, ground, salt, water, shirt, hair — names that can only reflect the unseeable, the unknowable. There are many names for what can never be named. When you oppose it, when you experience anything as separate or unacceptable, the result is suffering, and inquiry can bring you back to the peace you felt before you believed that thought. It can bring you back to the world prior to any problems. When there is no opposition, the colors no longer clash, music becomes beautiful again, no dance is out of step, and every word is poetry.
Reality is the always-stable, never-disappointing base of experience. When I look at what really is, I can’t find a me. As I have no identity, there’s no one to resist death. Death is everything that has ever been dreamed, including the dream of myself, so at every moment I die of what has been and am continually born as awareness in the moment, and I die of that, and am born of it again. The thought of death excites me. Everyone loves a good novel and looks forward to how it will end. It’s not personal. After the death of the body, what identification will mind take on? The dream is over, I was absolute perfection, I could not have had a better life. And whatever I am is born in this moment as everything good that has ever lived.
I know that there is never anything to lose, so it’s easy for me to hold nothing back from life. And because I give it everything I have, my life is complete in every moment. There is never anything undone. There is no moment in my life when I’m not complete.
When I see only what’s real, how can any experience be frustrating? Even when I apparently fail, even when I’m apparently defeated, there is a constant appreciation and joy going on inside me. How fascinating to see me baffled by technology, for example. I’m in an apartment in Amsterdam and have been on the road for almost three months, living in hotel rooms. Finally, an apartment, for six whole days in a row! It’s near the park, and it has a kitchen and a big living room overlooking a quiet square. And, heaven of heavens, a washing machine! It can’t get any better than this. Hmm.
With Fuchs’ dystrophy, sometimes I can see and sometimes I can’t, and it has been a few days now since I could see clearly. And I absolutely cannot read the dial on the washing machine. So I wait, thinking that maybe in a couple of hours my eyes will clear up. Later I notice, excitedly, that I can read the dial well enough to see words. Of course, the words are in Dutch. I call a Dutch friend, and she translates for me. I guess at what bin to put the soap in. Who needs fabric softener anyway? And, by the way, I hope this really is soap, and if it is, I hope it’s for washing machines. I was given a detailed lesson in how to run this machine yesterday, so I have an idea of what to do, but I’ve forgotten some essential instructions. Oh, well. I start the machine, and I’m thrilled. Clean clothes!
Three hours later, I take a peek. The machine is still going through cycles, and I have lost my vision again. Until the clothes spin and the correct cycle completes, the door on the washing machine won’t open. So now I’m turning the dial by sound, with my ear close to it, listening to the clicks, like a safecracker. After the cycle ends, the door still doesn’t open. I can’t see the dial, I can’t figure out the machine, I don’t know what more to do, I call Stephen in and he doesn’t know what to do, there’s a load of wet clothes in the washing machine, the door won’t open, I’m not sure if it was soap I put in or if it was in the right dispenser or if the wet clothes are even clean.
And I notice that I’m feeling calm-tickled actually, always watching mind and the way of it. There’s nothing wrong, everything is right. The thought that the machine should work or that the clothes should get clean never even occurs to me. I’m just watching where reality goes next. It’s fascinating. Is the goal to wash the clothes? Is the goal to wash the clothes in this machine? You never know. In another hour or two we may be headed for an adventure at the Laundromat up the street.
Then suddenly I remember that the landlord told me there’s a little quirk to the washing machine: you have to turn the dial to a certain place to complete the cycle before the door will open. I turn it, the door opens, and finally, after five hours, voil?! the laundry is done.
Byron Katie, founder of The Work, has one job: to teach people how to end their own suffering. As she guides people through the powerful process of inquiry called The Work, they find that their stressful beliefs-about life, other people, or themselves- radically shift and their lives are changed forever.
Based on Byron Katie’s direct experience of how suffering is created and ended, The Work is an astonishingly simple process, accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds, and requires nothing more than a pen and paper and an open mind.
Through this process, anyone can learn to trace unhappiness to its source and eliminate it there. Katie (as everyone calls her) not only shows us that all the problems in the world originate in our thinking: she gives us the tool to open our minds and set ourselves free.Tags: grief, hope