Saturday, May 16, 2009

Applying Byron Katie's work to thoughts about anti-Semitism

To learn more about Byron Katie's method visit and her blog on . Both she and the More To Life Programme expose the freedom that is already there by questioning habitual and untrue thoughts. Of course there are many many people, north and south, east and west, who practice and live this approach to freedom. Eckart Tolle, Gangaji, Isaac Shapiro, Nisarghadattha Maharaj, Ramana Maharshi, William Blake, Walt Whitman, Brad Brown, and many many other hidden and revaled tzadikim (righteous) proclaim the same truth: nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so - so make it good.

All of Byron Katie's postings and work with people - even on apparently unrelated issues - are relevant, because in terms of 'deep' structures, no matter what the external triggers the thought patterns - the addictive, repetitive, unquestioned, unoticed and unseen patterns of thought - tend to be remarkably similar, even if the triggering issue looks different on the outside. And as Krishnamurti said "the seing is the doing" - seeing th patterns releases them, creates space in which to be - beautifully.

In particular check out her beautiful work in Israel in video postings such as
I'm afraid of war I
I'm afraid of war 2

Fear of a terrorist attack 1
Fear of a terrorist attack 2

and "No one can hurt me but me"

and in particular
Letter from Iran

especially her turnaround (i.e creative rephrasing) of the thought "I keep thinking they have been shot."

Byron writes:
Another turnaround: “I am shooting my brothers.” In your mind, aren’t you shooting them? And are you using their enemies to shoot them? What is the point of creating your brothers’ death (or 'your people's death, or your own death ed.)and using their “enemies” to do it with, in your mind, over and over, when you don’t really know what is happening or even what they are doing right here from where you are, right now? The reality is that they are alive, as far as you can know, until you learn otherwise. When you accept reality just as it is, right here, right now, there is nothing between you and reality that would cost you the ability to serve what you can serve and to change what you can from where you are, right here, right now. This is just one of the advantages of the fearless, loving mind wherever you are. (Does fear feel kind to you when you’re in it? Is that what you use to motivate you into action? Fear is limiting; test it yourself.) As it is, you are superimposing your thought onto reality.

To project your fears and experience them as real is often self-defeating and terrifying. Your blood pressure, your health, your energy, your right to the gift of real life is imagined away and replaced by unchecked imagination. Your physical health and the health of those around you are affected when you are lost in imagination as though it were real, swept away in the dream of what isn’t, right here, right now. Unquestioned thoughts are the root cause of all suffering and can be debilitating.

It is a wonderful thing to question one’s mind, to do The Work and wake up to, be transformed into, what has been referred to as “the peace of God,” “the peace that passeth all understanding,” and be left with “What can I do to help from here, right now?” The Work offers each of us the opportunity to wake up from the nightmare, to wake up into what is real. Thank you, dearest, and let me know what you hear of your brothers.

As it says in Tehilim (the psalms) - harpeyu vedeyu sheanochi Elokim - let go (become soft, be healed) and know that I am G?d

It may not ultimately be "my business" - and Byron advises to stay out of other's business - but when my mind gets to puzzling about things like the 88 year old white supremacists attack on the Holocaust Museum around June 9th, it asks, what are these resenters trying to fix? Obviously they blame 'the Jews' (and often black people) for all the world's ills, and in that sense they say they are wanting to fix these things, but what internally are they really trying to fix? What early failure that turned them into victims? Can it be understood psychodynamically? Was it a fundamental lack of compassionate parenting that is passed down in germanic cultures? Some fundamental abandonment that occurs early in infancy. or the kind of aggressions between father and son I saw sometimes in working class Afrikaners (I remember once at Warmbaths, now called Bela Bela, a father commenting on the largish size of his 6 or 7 year old child's penis, and flicking him with his towel....while the extended family of oupa and ouma and ma (leathery burnt brown skin and blue eyes) looked on and chortled)...

My ongoing "clearing" of my heavy thoughts around anti-Semitism - all responses and true thoughts welcome. Truths in red, unquestioned thoughts in black.

Who would I be without the thought "I / we need protection"?

Freer, more joyful, less unproductively suspicious of people's motives, less cynical

Their hatred scares me

My thoughts about them scare me
My (unexamined) fears (of death) scare me
My belief that I am inadequate and weak scares me
My belief that my inadequacy and weakness will be exposed via some anti-Semitic incident scares me
My lack of self belief and self trust scares me
I scare me
The power I invest them with scares me

I am not up to the task (the task is to be different from those who were gassed in the Holocaust)
I don't know what the task is, or if indeed there is a 'assignments' are usually my own creations

It is humiliating to be killed by someone who wants to kill you
If the malach hamavet (the messenger of death) brings the death decreed by the Holy One, blessed be She, then it will be sent by the messenger She deems appropriate - where is the humiliation in this??? Who decides what humiliates?.

anti- Semites bother me
my thoughts about anti-Semites bother me

Turnarounds (i.e. check to see if the opposite is true)

My hatred scares me
My strength and adequacy scares me, because if I am strong I can't excuse myself from the uncertainties of having to use that strength in the best way possible, without knowing - and ever being able to know - what the best course of action is. I might get it "wrong" - and that's a thought that scares me

To be killed may be a great liberation - as it says in Kohelet

Its OK to make yourself OK with the way things are - although you can never know how things are in the first place - is this a great mystery or what?

Its OK not to know what to do

Its OK to respect yourself no matter what happens, including how you affect others and how others affect you

People dump on us because we're weak...we're safe targets
Not all people 'dump' (meaning?) on us. I don't know the ultimate reasons why things are the way they are. Nor indeed, do I know how things ultimately are. I only 'know' very tiny slices of my stories about the way things are.

Jews are fundamentally weak
Who would I be without this thought? What does it give me (i.e. what's the payoff for keeping it running. And what's the cost? ) Was Mark Spitz weak when he won 6 golds at the Olympics? Was Rabbi Akiva weak when he chose matyrdom? Was Hanna Senesh or Eli Cohen weak? Was Sandy Kovacs weak? Was Moshe Dayan or Saul Bellow weak.

The Jews (we) always seem to attract irrational hatred
From who? Am I irrationally intereted in the irrational hatred "we" (I put anything in inverted commas that I have not yet fundamentally unpacked.)

Its inescapable
I'm escaping it right now, sitting in my lounge typing at my computer
whenever I'm not obsessing about it, I've escaped it

Do I obsess about dying by a Tsunami, airplane or car accident? What happens when death is delivered by someone who has chosen to hate their idea of me (not me - they have no idea who I am). Why is that different? Will the dying of the body be different? Or is it only the meaning I place upon it different? Then why do I choose this different meaning?

People are basically murderous and nasty
Many many people, fireman, passers by, volunteer workers, blood donors - and the list can be expanded billion fold - are noble and want to give.

A world in which such nastiness and meaness and implacable hatred exists is not worth living in

I am living in it
I don't know what the worth of anything is, but I want to live
There is much heroism, compassion and caring and nobility in the world, much giving as well as

Either there really is something wrong with us, or there is something wrong with the world.


There is something right with us, and something right with the world

We're flexible and adaptive
we can laugh at ourselves
I can laugh at myself

Things are unacceptable as they are
I can accept the way things are
I do accept things the way they are
Things are the way they are - and even while I'm making up a story about how they are, they've already changed and moved beyong my grasp (or grasping mind)
I don't know how things are - I'm too busy running after my false thoughts

Another turn around:

I want anti-Semitism

Three things that anti-Semitism gives me
a) It is a wake up call, and investigating it and how it lives in me is a gateway to reality
b) It helps me to establish what I am and what I am not

To be continued - hopefully.

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