May 01, 2007

Writer Without a Story: Some Things He Heard

I’ve been out of School for as much time as I was in it -- and are you still high, Richard? Well, when I’m tempted to answer No, I start laughing to myself.

And will he keep at it, will he make this Work his center of gravity for the rest of his life? Well, I did some this morning.

And what did I learn, finally? How will I be changed? I don’t know how I will be changed, and to say what I’ve learned would take much more than just an hour or two’s blogging time. So I’ll take advantage of the casualness and slapdashedness and forgivingness of this form and instead of reams of justified pages, throw some handfuls of confetti at you all.

Here are some things I heard Katie say during those days and evenings. No attempt to be systematic or complete. I’m choosing ones that strike me right now. Statements within quotation marks are verbatim from my instantaneous notes of Katie’s spoken words. Statements not in quotation marks are my paraphrases, as close as I can make them to the original, sometimes with my brief explanations.

A caveat: the following are merely ideas, comments. They are part of what made the School experience so powerful, along with the communion both silent and spoken. They are not The Work itself. The Work is done in solitude or with a partner, preferably on a sheet of paper. It is a confrontation with oneself.


The whole thing can be summed up as: Who would you be without…? Without your belief, your thought, your story.

What story are you running inside your head? Name it with a brief, basic, what Katie calls “first generation,” title. Give it a picture. Watch it fade out of the scene. Thank it for sharing its whole life with you.

“How could things be separate without names?” The things we’re naming don’t care -- or maybe they do, but they let us, they don’t mind.

“In the moment you believed you were (person’s name), you were born. You became a believer.”

“Without identification, mind cannot be anything. Mind has to identify with something to exist.… It has to attach as something to be, or it’s nothing.” Body is the reflection, effect, or voice of mind.

“Mind needs drama to stay identified as you. And mind is not you.”

All the things you notice about others are hallucinations, projections.

“Do you believe everything you think?”

Everyone has moments of clarity. Seize it. Find the thought that sends you away from it, and inquire into that.

“Where did you get that identity? From your parents or you? Never say anyone gave you anything. I gave it to me, so I have the power to question it, to get back to where I came from.… And I don’t have to lose this imaginary world -- it’s just not real.”

“I love your world, it’s a beautiful world, but do I believe it?”

“I’m a believer -- until I’m not.”

“Mind is not an enemy.…We’ve been fighting the enemy within, forever.” The goal is for all our thoughts to be our friends. No enemy within.

“If you want to see an alien, look in the mirror.”

“You don’t feel at home -- of course. You’re defending what cannot be defended -- and we kill over it.”

Einstein said that the only important question is, Is the universe friendly? “It is. No exceptions.” There is nothing that is not grace. Any thought that argues with the friendly universe is felt as stress.

The true nature of everything is not just kind, not just good, but amazingly, love. And that is the last story. Any thought that believes otherwise is signaled as a feeling -- all of which are names for fear.

“If you think it’s hell and you’re taking the cap off it, let it fly, be a volcano. It couldn’t be worse than what you’ve been living -- and if it is, let’s test it.”

“Have the courage not to be a big person.”

“It’s all remembered for you, you don’t have to be the rememberer, the knower.”

“You’re a teacher and there’s nothing you can do about it.” You have no choice: you teach what you believe and that’s what you leave after you. “That’s reincarnation.”

“Evil is a confused mind. Nothing worse than that has ever happened or will happen or could happen.”

“When our family dies we don’t like it because they’re the ones who know our stories.”

Feel hate and notice how the only thing happening was that you weren’t getting what you wanted. If you hate, who feels it? It’s not economical. Imagine that energy channeled into the opposite.

You cannot harm another human being in your opinion without self-hatred being the result. You don’t know you’re experiencing self-hatred because your mind is justifying it. And no justification can save you.

“No thought, no world.” Thought comes first, though we identify feeling first because it justifies thought.

Rage is an accumulation of thoughts. “Defense is the first act of war.”

“All problems are imagined and that’s very difficult to hear. I invite you not to believe me but to test it out.”

“If you died and went to hell, the worst that could happen would be that you believed your thoughts.”

“How loud does God have to get before I hear it?… Who needs God when you have your opinion?”

“You think you’re the thinker? Thoughts appear. It’s a happening.”

“No one’s attached to people and things. We get the one we want and then we don’t want them anymore.”

“It hurts not to care. Why do I care? Because it hurts not to.”

“We become nicer people when we don’t have the job of saving people.”

Thoughts of inadequacy are universal. We overcompensate to prove our adequacy, but we don’t believe it. Shadows underlie the things we think we are. But light drives out shadows. Inquiry (The Work) breaks the habitual pattern of seeking images to prove adequacy.

“’I don’t have a belief’ is the first belief.”

“No one has ever been in the wrong place.”

“When you are positive that life is so good it can’t possibly get better, it has to.”

“Enjoy your suffering. It may be the last suffering you ever experience.”

On giving: If you can give and not get found out, you begin to let ME out.

Making amends is not for masochism but for discovery.

“Authentic is the most natural thing to be.”

“The one who’s free is the teacher in the house. And the one who’s in pain is the teacher in the house. Freedom or pain: what are you teaching?”

“’The rapist scared me.’ Is that absolutely true? If you can’t question that, why are you here?”

“I have never met a mind that was not suicidal.”

“Make friends with the ordinary. Can you love it from here wherever you are?”

Open up to what is going on beyond what we believe is going on.

“No story, no world. Is ‘no world’ good? Well, that would be up to you. It’s nothing serious, I can promise you that.”

“Depression is the effect of believing our thoughts.”

Which is better, not to have a thought at all or to love every thought you think? “Let God play.… Loving our thoughts is letting God play.”

“If you love everything you think and there are no new stressful thoughts, what are you going to hear when we talk?… Love.”

“Keep it very simple and remember ultimately nothing is true.”

Answering the question, When the body dies, does the mind continue? “No, it’s all you.… Don’t even try to get it. Just bathe.… Don’t believe. Just open. Just open or not.”

We’re working toward God awareness, God realization.

When you notice a feeling, inquire: What story is my body reacting to? As you experience a feeling, list the prior thoughts. Notice how the mind attacks others and then begins to attack you, using pictures and concepts.

“Notice how busy [mind] is identifying as the one sitting. Notice how it’s only about that.”

“Before there are words you understand, there is no you.… It was my mother’s story and I believed it.”

“You believed, so you can unbelieve. Because the only thing that happened was that you believed.”

“A life of suffering is the life of a believer.”

“The true seeker gets very still.”

Definition of The Work: “It’s a way to identify and question the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world.”

Mind is cause, body is effect. “Body and pain are only symbols that take us into The Work.”

“’My body is aging’ – is that true?”

“Images are all you have of what’s not.”

Feelings are like a temple bell that says, you’re asleep! Wake up!

“We wonder why we’re tired. Our work doesn’t tire us, our thoughts exhaust us.”

“In my experience there is nothing more exciting than peace.… It’s so underrated. It’s got a bum rap.”

“’I am awake’ -- are you sure?… Do you have to take credit for everything? Is there no room left over for God?… What’s beautiful about creation is that it’s beautiful. If you were God…wouldn’t you want to see yourself?… If you wanted to make sure that you didn’t miss it, what would you be? Everything.”

“When you’re the only thing in the universe, it gets interesting.”


In the next post, what I, individually, got out of the School.