With about three and a half months left until the end of the year I’m on track to reach my goal of reading sixty books in 2016. I’m at forty-eight. What has helped immeasurably has been the audio books I’ve counted towards the total. Whether they’ve been mine or borrowed from the library, they’ve made driving both pleasurable and productive.
The audio book that had the biggest impact on me is Byron Katie’s “Your Inner Awakening.” I listened to the six disks three times back to back. Even though I couldn’t do any of ?The Work? as I was driving, the impact of the author’s sweet voice telling her story and interacting with people in her courses had a profound effect on me. I felt a pervasive calm and insight. I felt empathy for people I was angry at or had been hurt by. I felt like I’d been given a gift.
Thirty years ago Katie found herself in the depths of despair. A sudden and profound insight led to The Work that has since helped hundreds of thousands of people. The simplicity of the process is definitely part of its appeal. No one needs years of therapy or thousands of dollars. Relief is close at hand and free for the asking.
Katie’s famous four questions transform lives. Begin by picking a concept that is troubling you. It can be the thought that you need more money or that your mother doesn’t love you or that your spouse never listens or that your kid is disrespectful. Or any of a thousand other beliefs causing you pain. To investigate the concept she suggests closing your eyes, being still, and witnessing what surfaces as you answer the questions.
The questions are:
1. Is it true? Yes or no. If It’s no, go to number 3. (My mother doesn’t love me.)
2. Can you absolutely know that It’s true? Yes or no.
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? (Sadness, pain, lost opportunity, et cetera)
4. Who would you be without the thought? (Happier, grateful, loving, et cetera)
Then do the turnaround. Turn your original statement around to the self, to the other, to the opposite and find three concrete examples of how each turnaround is true for you. (I don’t love me. I don’t love my mother. My mother does love me.)
don’t cheat. Despite the gushing I’ve done, the good vibes won’t ?stick? until I do the work in writing. Mentally answering the questions doesn’t cut it. Luckily, all the paperwork we need to do this is available as a free download on Katie’s website. I’ll be packing a wad of worksheets for my annual October retreat at Canmore. Until then I can glow in the knowledge that It’s possible to be happier, more peaceful if I’m willing to do the work. I just wish my combine had a CD player instead of a static-y radio for the hours of harvest that lay ahead, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.