Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Byron Katie and the Feldenkrais Way

In the Work of Byron Katie, which we'll call BK work for now, you take your habit of suffering and apply the mind to undo the suffering that the mind is creating for itself.

In the Work of Wake Up Feldenkrais and the Feldenkrais Method we take our habits of constricting and disabling our abilities to move with ease and grace and we find options, that allow the brain to come to easier and more pleasant and efficient (which means less effort) ways of moving.

In the Gurdjieff work, Gurdjieff says the function of the intellectual center is to compare.

For anyone who's had rough times in life and looked at themselves a bit, it has become obvious that the comparing game is at the root of much if not all suffering: wanting to have as much money or sex appeal or youth or fame as so and so, wanting someone to not treat us this way but some other way, demanding that reality not be this but that.

In Feldenkrais, we use this ability of the mind to compare and click that in to learn: how does the right side compare to the left? How does it feel and work when we turn our head to the left and shoulder to the left, vs. how it feels and works when we turn our head to the left and our shoulders to the right. We compare our sensation and image of ourselves throughout a lesson. Each time we notice differences, we have given our brains and our Selves food to learn new and easier and more pleasant ways of being and moving and breathing and learning.

And the Katie work, as I've laid out many a time:

Judge your neighbor.
Write it down.
Ask four questions.
Turn it around.

So already, we are taking our suffering and doing something with it. We are judging and not hiding from our judging. We are writing down and slowing the mind to the actual accusatory words. We are asking four questions. We are turning it around.

And the four questions?
1) Is this thought true?

2) Can I absolutely know that this thought is true?

3) How do I react when I believe this thought is true? Or, how do I react when I attach to believing this thought is true?

4) Who would I be without attaching to believing this thought is true? .

Notice, that like Feldenkrais there is no: This is the Right Way vs. this is the Wrong way. It's comparing and discovering that set us free.

In the BK work, first two questions get us to compare our thought as if we considered it set in stone reality and if we realize it might or might not be true, i.e. that it is a belief arising in our mind, not in reality. If we believe gravity will pull a rock toward earth, we are in pretty safe grounds. But if we believe our spouse should be more friendly to us, this is a construct from our own (very human) mind, wanting a more pleasant world.

So the first two questions begin to undermine the Righteous certainty that is always part of our suffering. Is it true? Can I absolutely know it's true? These allow us to separate the thought out from the world, separate the world as we want it to be, from the world as it is.

And the third question, this is our brain on the belief. (Recall the TV commercial, years ago when I watched TV: this is your brain on drugs, this is your brain off drugs. Similarly, question three and four are: this is your brain /mind/self on the belief. This is your brain off.). We write a list of all the consequences of believing say, that so and so should like us more. Say: we feel sad and angry and hurt and weak and like attacking them, or ignoring them, or gossiping about them. This is how we are when we attach to the thought.

And then question four: who would we be without the thought? Again, no rule to give up the thought, just to try it out, what are we like without the belief, the attachment to the thought?

Thus our mind can compare and without forcing and effort, just like in a Feldenkrais lesson, the system naturally picks the more easy and less stressful pathway.

And to give ourselves a full upside down option, we do the turn around. Girlfriend should listen to me more, turns around to , I should listen to girlfriend more. Husband should be more considerate of me, turns around to I should be more considerate of husband.

What can we learn from that?

And how many Feldie lessons blossom when we do a movement in a way totally contradictory to the "natural" way? Moving head to the right and eyes to the left, we give the brain a chance to discover something, to rewire, to learn, and suddenly: our neck is softer and easier. We didn't "try" to soften our neck.

So, we don't "try" to be nicer to others in the BK work, but we begin to get way free when we realize: Hey, I'm thinking so and so should lay off the criticism and I'm criticizing them right and left, what's wrong with this picture.

So freedom by taking habits and running them through variations and options and new ways of feeling and seeing and understanding the world. What nice paths these two offer us.

And this,
always this:
in both these systems,
there is no outside teacher.
The ultimate authority is the learning
and realization that comes from within.

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