Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Awakened Love and Work via Forgiveness (as Fun and as Freedom)

Anyone out there think of forgiveness as “fun?” Probably not. It usually has this onerous feeling, something “good for you,” kind of like pulling spiritual teeth, something the Bible touts, and “good” people (who are often hard to stand being around) tout it, but it just seems like a drag.
And by the end of this section, you’ll have a bunch of ways that forgiveness might be considered fun for you, and even more ways that you’ll feel, in your guts and your heart and your body, that something very much like forgiveness brings great and almost immediate freedom.

And now, we’ll shift our approach.
This book is about love and sex and orgasm and happiness. This is yum stuff. And… all those require getting out of our ruts.

New pathway: How many of you out there wouldn’t mind being more happy?
Probably most.
So, that’s where we’ll head in this section, and come back to the forgiveness thing at the end.
And we’ll have fun and be smart by coming at happiness the wisest and most foolproof way: stopping being unhappy.

We are in a task that is at the center of what life is all about: how to end emotional suffering. And by the time this section is done, you’ll be able to “un-do” your emotional suffering … one thought at a time. Really “un-do” it. No positive thinking. No sweeping it under the rug.
Best of all, no being “good.”
You are going to be able to sweep away, one thought at a time, any and all of your unhappiness.

Is there anything in your past that is nagging away at you, helping you to be unhappy? The longer ago, the better for what I’m about to show you, because this is one of the strange adventures of human beings: we like to mull or gnaw over something long past and make ourselves unhappy.
It’s over.
It’s totally impossible to have that past be any different.
And we mull and gnaw and obsess and make ourselves unhappy wishing something should be different.

So here’s the game.
Think of someone who, as they say: “Done you wrong.”
It could have been a year ago. It could have been ten years ago. It could have been way, way back when you were a child at the mercy of one parent or both, be they of the deranged sort, or mean, or crazy, or whatever word you pick sort.

Here’s the way to make sure you know you are suffering; You can think of a specific instance.
It feels bad when you think of that.
And you have a “should” or a “shouldn’t” sentence about their behavior.

Like this: “My Dad shouldn’t have been so critical.” That’s seven words, and I suffered greatly for many years via those words.

Part of this game is to write it down. A short sentence that has a “should” or a “shouldn’t in it.”

This isn’t going to feel so great at first, and the goal is the elimination of suffering one thought at a time. And this one short sentence with the should or the shouldn’t is the thought we will un-do in this section.

Not fix.
Not positive think our way out of.
But un-do.

So write it down. Whether you like to or not, writing it down takes it out of the mind where we can obsess and go over and over.
Really do it.
Get a pencil and paper, or pen and paper, or pen and notebook, and write down a “so and so should/shouldn’t have….”

My sentence was, back in 1998, “LYNN ANN SHOULD LOVE ME MORE.” We’d been together for seven years. She had been my friend and lover for seven years, and we’d managed to find each other in Berkeley and drink coffee and discuss design. We found a mutual love of gardening. We got out of Berkeley to an idyllic cottage in the small beautiful town of Sonoma, in so-called wine country. We created a heavenly garden.
And we fought.
Fought like hell.
I’d go to the local bookstore for advice on couples and found one book that said if the one F, for “fighting” was happening more often than the other F, for “….ing,” then you were in bad shape.
We were in bad shape. Screaming. Throwing stuff. Arguing about our arguing.
Killing the beauty of the amazing gardens we’d created.
I’d even been writing in my journal wondering about whether I could “take” it for six months or a year more. I’d committed to that, I was going to tough it out. (Recall the “being good” disease).

And then she found Hank. They talked design and drank coffee. Hank and she didn’t fight, and fascinated each other.
If you ever want to get rid of someone, being jealous is a great way, and for some strange reason that more I nagged at her about what an idiot Hank was and how heartless she was to be liking him more and more, and why she should be spending more time with me (so we could fight more and I could nag her more), the less and less appealing she found me.
And the less appealing she found me, the more I nagged and the more she withdrew, until whoosh.
She was gone.
Not home.
Off with Hank. She took her cat and her car and her gardening tools and her body and her affection a mile or two away.
To Hank’s.
Knife to my heart.

This should have been a relief. No more fighting. Beautiful cottage with beautiful gardens and no more fighting.
And when I was present, and alone without fighting, I was even a little happy.
But then the thoughts would come in. She shouldn’t have been such a traitor. She shouldn’t have left me.
And this one, the statement that changed my life when I undid it.

So now, you’ve got your poison, and I had mine.

When we broke up I didn’t know the process I’m going to lead you through, and then a few months later I found it, and it changed my life and set me free to be present as often as I was willing to do “the work.”

And this “work,” is the work of Byron Katie, which is the stage name of a woman we all call Katie, and who had a rather wonderful and earthy path to become this discoverer of a route to end suffering that could have been applied Buddhism, or a method to get six months of therapy done in a couple of hours.
Her earthy path was not one of spiritual seeker. She’d done tons of therapy and it hadn’t worked.
She was an alcoholic and a rage-aholic, and obese and chain smoking and agoraphobic and depressed.
A mess.
But a mess with a deep, deep wish. That she die. Not that her body die, she had enough “something” not to want to hurt herself, but over and over, her mantra was “I want to die.”
Meaning her suffering.
She’s in Barstow, California, a desert town, not  (before her) considered a center of spiritual breakthrough.
She’s in a halfway house. On the floor since she doesn’t think she deserves to be on a bed.
And a cockroach crosses her ankle.

This is 1983. She’s 43 years old. For 43 years her religion, she’d said, was “you pick up your socks, or I’m going to be unhappy.”
The cockroach walks. Someone else’s dirty socks don’t matter any more.
Nothing matters but the wonder of life.
She gets her wish. She “dies” to all the beliefs she’s had about EVERYTHING. Her name, how she should be, how others should be, her identity, what life was about.
No thoughts.
No beliefs.
She has an “enlightenment” experience, whatever that is, which she simply calls, “a moment of clarity.”

She dies to her suffering, to believing or even having all these thoughts we torture ourselves with.
And what’s left when all that dies? Laughter. Joy, freedom, release and holy laughter.

She’s so free from beliefs that there is no more suffering.
She’s so free from beliefs that people have to tell her that her name is Katie. When she finally decides it will help other people if she uses a name instead of pointing at her body, she decides to tag on Byron, the name of a grandmother. So that’s her tag, Byron Katie.

And she discovers something amazing.
In the midst of all this bliss and clarity, the slightest complaining/ should/ shouldn’t thought sucks her back to the old suffering.

In her clarity she sees that the thoughts aren’t true. That the believing them causes the suffering.
She comes up with the method we’re all going to do now, to “un-do” the suffering even she can have, even though she’s “awake.”

Here’s her method:

That’s it.
The judging is to sidestep all that teaching about “judge not so you won’t be judged.
No one could do that for two thousand years.
So, first step is to admit. We are kind of rats, and love to judge others.
 And that’s okay. You’ll see it’s the quickest medicine to how to heal what most needs to be healed in us.


One judgment at a time.
One “should” or “shouldn’t” at a time.

Short and bitter:
“Dad shouldn’t have been so critical of me.” “Mom shouldn’t have hit me.” “My sister should be happier.” “So and so should appreciate me more.”

But just one.
WRITE IT DOWN. You know how suffering goes. You get a nagging thought in your noggin and you obsess and go over and over (and over and over)  the same damn thought.
As if it will change the world if you just think  and obsesses about it often enough.

Later in the book, we’ll discover a whole bunch of ways to move our bodies more slowly and with more awareness to create learning again as if we were a child again, and to create grace and ease and freedom from pain and an increase in coordination.
Slow down.
Add awareness.
Create learning.
This can change anything.

So slow down, with your sentence ( you’ll see, you’ve sentenced yourself) of suffering.
Slow it down, by writing it down.
Short. Less than ten words so you can start to see the bitter truth. “My father shouldn’t have been so critical,”  is seven words. With those words, I’d sentenced myself tor 20 or 30 years of misery before I discovered this method.

And for this section, my words are:
We’ll go through this process together and see what happens. This is inquiry. It’s asking questions and discovering inside what the real answer is.

It’s called the work.
Four parts.
Judge your …..
Write it down.
Ask four questions.
Turn it around.

So, you look at your statement as I looked at mine and let’s all ask the first question:
Is it true?”
We want to think our statement is “true,” but this is the first power of this work.
“Is it true” or is it just my opinion.
If I hold up a piece of paper in the air, and let go, will it drop
If I think it won’t drop, will that change anything?
So truth isn’t dependent on my opinion.

Is it true?
We can ask that so many times a day.
“That guy cut me off because he is a mean bastard?”  Is it true? What if he’s fighting with his wife, and this is his relief. What if he has to get to the bathroom. And even if he’s generally a jerk, “is it true?” that we should never have jerks in our world?

If I believe Donald Trump should disappear, is that a truth or my opinion.
I’d like to be true, but it’s my opinion, right?
Whatever I think, he’s sticking around.

So what “Is it true?” is really asking is: Is this true like gravity, or is this an opinion, no matter how firmly you believe your opinion.

So, “Is it true?” that Lynn Ann should have loved me more, or was that my opinion.
Dang. It was an opinion. So the answer is no.

Write down question #1 after your statement. #1: Is it true?  And then write yes, no, or I don’t know.

And now comes #2.
“ #2: Can I absolutely know this is true?,” which is an even more annoying question because the only way I can absolutely know something is true, is either with something like gravity, or by being God and knowing absolutely what another human being should and shouldn’t do.
I’m not God.
Damn. I can’t absolutely know that Lynn Ann should love me more.
“Can I absolutely know this is true that Lynn Ann should love me more?” Do I, like God, know what’s best for the universe and for my future, and I absolutely know that Lynn Ann should love me more.
No. No. No. I can’t

So that’s the first half of the four questions.

Throughout this book, you’ll be given “games” that lead to learning and transformation.
And what is “learning.”
Learning is noticing a difference that makes a difference. ( This will be key to everything we “learn” in this book and comes from my ten years training in the Feldenrkais Method® and the Anat Baniel Method, pathways to increased coordination and elimination of neck, back and shouder pain, and anti-aging via brain plasticity)

We’ve done the first two questions. (Judge your … Write it down…. Ask four questions… Turn it around).
The first two questions are all about this difference: what is the difference between a truth and an opinion/ a belief/ a thought/ a judgment.
They help us “wake up” to the tragic path of most humans, including ourselves, when we way too often confuse our thoughts with truth.
Believing our thoughts can be the severest form of human suffering.

Don’t believe me.
Do this “work” over and over on every “should” and “shouldn’t” in your life and see what happens.

And how did I learn this.
In 1996 I moved to the beautiful town of Sonoma, with the fight buddy, and F…ing friend Lynn Ann. After Lynn Ann had the temerity to live her own life and seek her own happiness, a friend of mine, Robert, with whom I drove down to my old digs of Berkeley to take an improve class, told me to check out Byron Katie.
At that time, Byron Katie was still living in Barstow, and still with the husband Paul, who was exasperated as all get out as his formerly alcoholic but easily pigeonholed wife become a world wide healer of great renown.
She came to Marin often for donation based weekends that hundreds attended.
I could see quickly that sometime she’d hit the Oprah level, and be much less accessible, so when the chance to take a two week “school” with her, half time in a hotel in LA and half time in Barstow, I jumped at it.
Later, her schools became nine days and I staffed one that was held in Joshua tree.
She ate lunch with us all, talked with us all, was a human that weirdly and delightful loved everyone and was always happy.
She also had end of the year New Years “juice fasts,” several of which I participated in.
I probably spent around sixty days with her, which is a lot less than some, but the work is the work is the work, and doesn’t need her, though she’s an amazing human.
What does the work need?


The distinction in the first two questions is truth vs opinion.

The distinction in question three and four is: attachment vs non-attachment, thought Katie didn’t know this is what she’s come up with.

Here’s question #3: How do you react when you hold onto and believe that thought/ statement/ belief/ opinion?
I have people go to a new chair to first feel and then write what happens when they hold on to the story.
So do it. Sit in another chair, and read your judgment and feel how you feel and then write it down.
When I believed that “Lynn Ann should love me more” I felt bitter and betrayed and weak and failure and hopeless. And angry. And sad.
This is the laundry list.
Lynn Ann wasn’t giving me this misery.
My holding on to my belief was giving me this yucky result.

And now, switch to another chair, and ask #4: Who or what are you without that thought?
So I was back in Sonoma. I hadn’t invented the changing chair thing, but it was radically clear, that without the thought, I could just be present and alive and free and breathing.
I was something like happy.
I was a lot like free.

And my addition with the two chairs is this:
Go back and forth between #3 where you believe the story and feel that
And then go to #4 where you don’t believe it, or don’t have those thoughts.
Back and forth.

One chair is you on the drug of your beliefs.
The other chair is you in the present, with no thoughts about that.

You don’t have to give up your suffering.
You don’t have to let go.
But the more you go back and forth, the more you’ll feel, in your gut and your heart, just what you are going to get when you go to the attachment place.

So here we begin to understand forgiveness as selfishness. Holding those angry and judging thoughts hurts.
Not having them begins to set you free for the rest of your life. We’ll explore how movement and awakened talk and great touch and great sex and writing goals toward what you really want and writing gratitudes toward what is going well in your life, can all give you tremendous ways of making the wonderful life and relationship you want. But first you have to be free.
This “work” is one way to be free.

Four questions:
#1: Is it true?
#2: Is it absolutely true?
#3: How do I react when I believe that thought/ story/ opinion?
#4: Who or what am I, without that thought/ story/ opinion?

And then…

This they talk about in the Bible: seeing the Mote in your own eye instead of the Speck in the other’s, which always seemed a bit weird, but there is a common praise out there in the world:
One finger pointing out ( in judgment) and three are pointing back.
You are selfish, oh, I am selfish.
You don’t appreciate enough, oh, I don’t appreciate enough.

There are two turn arounds:
The simple turning around of the pronouns. “You don’t listen to me enough” becomes “I don’t listen to you enough.”
“You don’t appreciate me enough” becomes “I don’t appreciate you enough”

And so with Lynn Ann, this was my breakthrough. Loosened up by the four questions and realizing that I was causing my own misery, I had a lightning bolt realization at the turn around:

She should love me more.
Turn around:
I should love her more.

First it was, yeah, yeah. And then it was Oh, My God. I do love her. And loving her more means being happy that she is happy with Hank.
Being happy that she is free from our fighting.
Being happy that she is living the life she wants.

Loving her more was about, her, and truly set me free.
No more unhappiness when I could be truly and completely loving of her happiness.

The second turn around is very medicinal for us all:
“You should appreciate me more,” becomes, “I should appreciate me more.”
“You shouldn’t criticize me,” becomes “I shouldn’t criticize me.”

No waiting around for others to do what we haven’t learned yet.

So, Lynn Ann should love me more became, I should love me more.
Which I could do when I wasn’t wasting my energy believing the thought, and when I was set free to love her and stop demanding that reality be different than it was.

So that is my story.
That’s what I did with one of my judgments.

How did you do with yours?

Remember : you don’t have to come up with any answers, but you are welcome to learn as much as you are ready to learn.

Did into the learning.
Notice the differences:
What is the difference between your story and truth?
What is the difference between believing your story and not believing it?
What is the difference between obsessing on how the other person “should” change and realizing: oh, damn, this is a change that I haven’t really figured out yet for myself.

It’s humbling and it’s fun and it’s certainly freeing to start to see how every flaw we can get so worked up about in others is usually glaringly present in ourselves.

And so we come to the end to the forgiveness section.
The goal isn’t forgiveness: it’s to stop suffering.
But judging our…
Writing it down.
Asking four questions.
Turning it around.

And when your suffering is ended you’ve done the same thing as forgiving, you’ve let go your demand that the past have been different, that “they” whatever they they were have been different.
You’ve let it go because chair #4 feels so much better than chair #3, and because the turn around has made you laugh about the work you still have left for yourself.

The old saying is: not being willing to forgive is like swallowing rat poison and hoping that the other person will die.
Chair three: feel what it feels like to swallow the rat poison.
Chair four: who or what are you without that poison in you.

Are you happier?

I hope so.
I was.
Much, much happier.

It’s worked for hundreds of thousands of people. You can find it at
It will work for you, especially if you take it as a journey of learning and discovery.
The motivation is a root one: to end suffering.
And the way to end suffering is not to push suffering away, but to get crystal clear about the causes of our suffering.
I could list them from what people learn doing the work.
I won’t.

You’ll love discovering how to set yourself free.

This is part of all our work with couples, the ending of all resentments.
You can do it on your own.
You can do it with help.
It’s a technology to end suffering that is simple. And it works.

If you do the work.

All you have to lose is some time and your suffering.
Is it worth it?
You decide.


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