Updated: Sep 8
Byron Katie has an amazing transformation story & a very powerful (& deceptively simple) technique for breaking the entrancement of unhealthy beliefs. I highly recommend reading her books - they're short, straightforward, & powerful.
Her theme is that life is internal: all of our suffering, joy, confusion, ecstasy, arise within us. It's our obsession with the mind - our clinging to false or misleading beliefs - that creates difficulties in our lives. As we soften our attachments to those beliefs, we soften suffering's attachment to us. We waste our time and confuse ourselves when we crusade through the world trying to eliminate problems. In fact, seeing something as a problem is a sign we are clinging to a false belief. Go within, do the work, and as we untangle the knotted misunderstandings within us, our natural goodness with shine through.
It's a radical message. No one else has ever hurt our feelings. No one else has ever caused us agony, annoyance, loathing. No situation in life has ever been bad, wrong, tragic, unacceptable. Those experiences of difficulty stem from our unwise reactions. And the unwise reactions stem from beliefs that are incorrect, i.e. beliefs that argue with reality. Her method is not to attack or ignore the beliefs. That's just another incorrect belief, that our false beliefs are problems! Recognize them as teachers - recognize everything as a teacher, she'd say - and then recognize the harm you cause yourself by blindly obeying the thought, rather than calmly inquiring into the thought's origins.
“As long as you think that the cause of your problem is 'out there'—as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise.”
“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.”
“My experience is that the teachers we need most are the people we're living with right now.”