Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday, Sept 29: Byron Katie, WakeUp Feldenkrais and Happiness


Is it okay to be happy?


Now that we’ve got that out of the way, what’s stopping us?

Well, habits mainly, habits of thinking certain ways, habits of reacting certain ways to the world when it does its inevitable thing of not being Just So to our tip top specifications, habits of being grumpy assholes.

Can I say that?


So, along comes Feldenkrais and says: discover the habit and create some variation and slow down and add a little awareness to the recipe and move a little here and a little there and don’t “try” so hard and add a lot of awareness to the works, and viola!, you have learning and possibilities.

And the possibilities are this: we can change. This is no small thing: we can be free of the old habits.

So let’s say we have unhappiness habits. A gal named Byron Katie, or Katie for to call her by name, had a wrecked life because she was beating her self up emotionally. Pow, pow, pow. Take that. You know how it is on bad days. Well, she had some bad years and then she woke up.

Is it okay to wake up?


She work up and realized her misery was not, as she’d thought, her husband’s failure to pick up his socks. Her misery was her internal commitment to believing that her husband should pick up his socks. Without these words, without this story, without this belief, she was just a woman looking at some socks on the floor. She realized that bending over and picking them up was a lot easier than suffering another ten years.

And she came up with a system of getting out of the suffering that our thinking take us to.

It goes like this:

Judge Your Neighbor.
Write it Down.
Ask 4 questions.
Turn it around.

Hmm. That seems a little too easy, and damned if it doesn’t “work,” in the way therapy might work after a number of years, or that a Buddhist practice might work. Anyway: the results are there. You do these things and you don’t have to suffer.

Why judge? Because that’s our habit. As in Feldenkrais: we experience the What Is of our habit as a good first awareness place, a reference for future improvement, a realization that we are in a habit that we might well not have known about.

Why write it down? To slow down the thinking. If we are all worked up about our mate’s behavior and we just go over and over it in our heads, then we just waste the day obsessing and suffering. Write it down, and we can slow down and see the story we are committed to, for example: so and so shouldn’t have said blah, blah to me.

Why ask four questions> To get to the possibilities for undoing and change. The questions are:

    1) Is it true?
    2) Can I absolutely know it’s true?
    3) How to I react (feel inside, act in the world, treat others) when I attach to believing that this thought is true?
    4) How or who or what would I be if I did not attach to believing that this thought was true?

Hmm. So that’s it? Well, and then the turn around, which is to take the belief and see if we might like to swallow our own medicine. So and so should be nice to me, turns around to I should be nice to so and so. My mate should listen better, turns around to I should listen better.

And all this: how is it like Feldenkrais?

Options, options, options.

We take a belief: “Mom shouldn’t have been so mean.”

We write it down and ask the first two questions, which puts it in a context: this is a belief, this isn’t the reality of the world. All Mom’s aren’t kind. This is the starting point: a habit of believing our Mom should have been one of the five good ones in the world.

Now the options:

With the belief.This is the usual option. With the belief how to we feel and act and react. This is question 3. We write a list: I feel sad, weak, a victim, terrible, small. Whatever. This is an option though, isn’t it: to believe the belief.

Option 2: Not to believe the story. Which is to say without the belief, who are we? Not to attach to the story. Not to have the thought. Who am I, with the Mom who did all the things that can be labeled “mean,” if I don’t have an attachment to a belief she should have been “better?”

And the final option: Turn it Around. What about this thought: I should have been, could have been less mean to Mom. Does that have any validity.

Okay. And how’s this all like Wakeup Feldenkrais?

Because WakeUp Feldenkrais is about waking up, and if we are a slave to all the feel sorry to ourselves emotions that come along, we can neither be free, nor happy, nor awake. We’ll just be spinning our wheels, wasting our time and life and breath and emotions in the same old suffering.

So, check out the Work of Byron Katie if you want, she’s over amongst all those other cool links.


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