Question Four of The Work of Byron Katie is “Who would you be without that thought?” Many of us have believed our stressful thoughts for so long, we have no idea of what it would look like to live without it.
Here are some ways to go more deeply into Question Four.
1. Travel back in time, mentally, to the way you were prior to the thought. It might be infancy, or early childhood. Or it might be as recent as last week.
Who were you, then?
How did you see yourself?
How did you treat yourself?
How did you treat others differently; particularly, if you are working with a Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet, how did you treat the person you are inquiring about?
2. Use your imagination.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." —Albert Einstein.
I love to use the imagination when I answer these questions, because it gives me a break from the "I know" mind...which is the mind that says "Yeah, but..." or, "It won't work," or "I've already tried that."
If you can imagine it, then you are it. How else would you know?
So...using the power of your imagination, which may provide an accurate picture is who we are without a story...
How would you treat people differently, in the same situation?
How would you live your life differently?
If you arrived from the planet Mongo and had no preconceived notions of live on earth, how would you view this person/situation?
How do you feel physically with the thought? How would your body feel without it? How did it feel prior to it?
3. Lose the label.
If you wish to be free of whatever is painful in your past, you may want to ask yourself this interesting question:
"If this person were not who you say she is, how would you feel about her now?"
An example: “My brother molested me when I was a child" could be a fact; and not something to condone, ever. And if you are with your family and continue to treat him today as someone who hurt, or hurts you, how does this serve you? Short of never visiting your family, what can you do?
If you did not see him, today, as your perpetrator, how would you react to him the way he is today, and the way you are today?
Your co-worker took credit for your hard work. Today, she is your supervisor. You choose to stay in your job because you like the work you're doing, the benefits, the paycheck, your job security. And, you resent her. Who would you be without this thought that she took credit for your work? If you were meeting her today for the first time, and she were not the thief you say she is, how would you feel about her now that she has the job you wanted?
©2008 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.