More wit and wisdom from Byron Katie, and a 21-day challenge to do The Work

Byron KatieThis weekend I got to experience the wonderful presence and work of Byron Katie again. I’ve lost track now of how many times I’ve seen her. I love The Work, her four questions and three turnarounds that you can apply to any thought you have that causes you to suffer.

This time my friend Glenda drove down from the Metroplex to attend with me, and I reconnected with several friends who also hold Katie’s work in high esteem. I remembered to bring my copy of her book Loving What Is: Four questions that can change your life. She signed it for me, and we chatted a bit about using The Work in trauma recovery. (She says it works well.)

Glenda bought her book for children, Tiger-Tiger, Is It True? Four questions to make you smile again, to use with her young grandson as well as an audiobook of Loving What Is and some cards.

My dear late Neuro-Linguistic Programming teacher Tom Best included The Work in his master practitioner training. Even though The Work is not NLP, it is very NLP-like in that it uses questions to induce profound shifts at the belief and identity neurological levels of experience. Tom thought very highly of it, and I cannot think of any other non-NLP techniques that made it into his practitioner and master practitioner trainings.

I’m feeling inspired to start a new 21-day challenge: 21 days because that’s how long it takes to develop a new habit, because I would like for The Work so become so ingrained that as soon as I even start thinking a thought that is less than loving, I can ask “Is that true? Nope! What happens when I believe the thought? Who am I without the thought?” and immediately shift my state.

When I discard painful thoughts, I always feel “returned to myself” with a sense of peace, pleasure, wonder, and expansion. Imagine: We could live from that state nearly all the time!

Katie is onto something of huge importance, in my opinion, with her distinctions between what’s my business, someone else’s business, and God’s business. If what I cannot control is either someone else’s business or God’s business, then what is my business? It is being present in my own life, attending to my own experience, knowing and doing what is right for me, letting go of all stories about how things “should” be.

For my challenge, I need to make 21 copies of her Judge Your Neighbor worksheet (available online if you would like to participate too — I invite all readers willing to do the inquiry of The Work to join me). I plan to blog about it occasionally.

Here are some of her memorable words from the weekend (and here’s a link to the last time I noted her wit and wisdom if you want even more inspiration):

In my world…

Are you being thought?

You can’t feel my pain and vice versa. It’s a projection. I’m the only one who can hurt me.

We’re all innocent.

I asked with the intention of really listening.

They will or they won’t mind you.

I want to know what’s real and what’s not.

Nothing has ever happened, except I believe it happened.

I love everything I think. I’m the best company I know.

Who needs God when you have your opinion?

The ego loves to play.

Apologize to yourself.

You said thank you, so I’m thanking me.

Smoking quit me as I became sane.

Live in your own business.

Prior to thought was pure awareness, joy, the unnamed.

Inequality is not possible when the mind is right.

We’re a human race. We need your help.

Would you hold me now?

I’m always asking what I want.

The mental produces the physical.

The rainbow-bridge, huayruro seeds, the long body, and the nagual: a tribute to Tom Best

Part of Monday’s reading from The American Book of the Dead by E.J. Gold, which I’m reading for my teacher Tom Best, who died this past week, is this:

If my attention is concentrated and clear, I will merge into the heart of the beloved, in a halo of light called the rainbow-bridge, and attain completion in the region known as Endowed-with-Glory.

The heart of the beloved here refers to an unveiled vision of reality. The clear light and the region known as Endowed-with-Glory are metaphors for the sea of the nagual, to my mind.

So much love, and such clear attention. He is still teaching me.

For the past few days, all the readings (and there are readings for 49 days after death) have mentioned the “rainbow bridge” or the “rainbow light.” When I realized that, I got GUS (god-universe-spirit) bumps because of the following story:

For many years, at the end of many of his trainings and workshops, Tom gave out “rainbow seeds” to his students. They are actually the seeds of the huayruro plant, from Peru. They are beautiful hard seeds of shiny red with a black spot. They are believed to bring powerful good luck and are often strung into necklaces and otherwise made into jewelry.

Tom’s instructions were to give these rainbow seeds away, and to give them to either a person or a place that signified excellence or devastation. In other words, a person or place of exceptional excellence, or a person or place in need of healing. (I am hearing his voice speak these words so clearly as I type, as I often do these days.)

I’ve dropped rainbow seeds in areas that have been ugly or devastated, and in spots so beautiful they took my breath away, and I’ve also given them to many people, for one or the other reason. I have also received one, which I mixed in with the others, and I don’t know which one it is now! I will give them all away.

I actually gave one to Tom once, when he was telling my master practitioner class about losing his beloved dog Dakota (whom I met when I first met Tom in the late 1990s), openly weeping as he spoke, sharing his sudden loss with us–and modeling how to let our emotions flow through us.

Tom gave these seeds out at numerous trainings every year all around the world, and the people he gave them to have also distributed them to people and places they’ve encountered. Tom called this “building rainbow bridges.”

We recipients now connect to each other on this planet, through him, the healed and the in-need-of-healing, the beautiful and devastated (because don’t we all–and this planet–have potential for both, and isn’t such a state always fluid?), and this bridge lives on even though he has transcended his earthly life, continuing its transformation in us. It’s almost as if he foresaw this happening.

Now that is wisdom, living through the long body. What a master.

Tom, you have been building rainbow bridges for years before passing. I realize I am doing these readings mostly for me (and with Bobbi Best when she is able to join me), because I don’t think you need my help at all in this transition.

My emotional body finds it hard to say goodbye, although I moved some heavy grief hucha up and out at ecstatic dance on Sunday. My spirit body feels Tom’s presence within and around me.

You were my teacher and also the teaching in how you lived your life. Mahalo for showing me that. You know how to move into the nagual. Love, just love, love, love, Tom.

(Thanks to my friend from Maui, Erich Wolf, for posting the photo of the huayruro seed above, to Istok Pavlovic, Catharine Stuart Lord, and Nikola Jovanovic for the photos and posters of Tom and his words of wisdom and how to save high-resolution versions, and to Luzia Helena Wittman for sharing the photo of the footprints in the sand–taken by Tom of his own footprints in Portugal–on the Facebook group The Grace of Tom Best. Mahalo, my friends.)

For more about Tom, I wrote a later post that you might also like to read: When the teacher is the teaching: Tom Best.