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Author Byron Katie Shares Information On Turning Negative Thoughts Around

May 23, 2008
This interview is an excerpt from Kevin Gianni's The Healthiest Year of Your Life, which can be found at http://thehealthiestyearofyourlife.com. In this excerpt, Byron Katie shares on her moment of transformation and turning our negative thoughts and beliefs around.

The Healthiest Year of Your Life with Byron Katie, founder of The Work and author of three best selling books whose mission is to teach people how to end their own suffering.

Kevin: I want to talk to you about how you got to where you are now.

Byron: Excellent. So how I got here was I was extremely depressed. I didn't know how people got there, the there that we all want to be, but I knew that if I didn't know how to get out of that suffering, Kevin, I just thought you had to die to get out of that kind of suffering. For this I had no clue. I didn't have a religious background, nothing, no one and my self esteem was so low that I actually slept on the floor next to my bed.

Kevin: Huh.

Byron: And I didn't believe I even deserved that, to sleep on a bed. So, one morning as I lay sleeping, actually a cockroach crawled over my foot and woke me up and I opened my eyes and in place of all that darkness was a joy that I try to describe and I'm unable to, because it always falls short, but what I can tell you was the suffering was gone and it was so much better than anything I have ever experienced. In fact, it was really beyond experience . These thoughts hit my head just like they hit everyone. I was without thought. It was just that gap that Deepak talks about and all of a sudden all these thoughts just hit that gap and, Kevin, after seeing, you know, that moment without thought it was such an education that when the thoughts poured in I could no longer believe them. They were there. They were loud and clear and I began to laugh and laugh and laugh.

So I like to say I was born out of the laughter and it was long, long, long overdue and so to this day thoughts are my friends and I invite everyone to be a friend to thought, that thought is not an enemy. Our mind is not an enemy and I invite people to find out for themselves, to check it out for themselves and the way to do that is I offer people four questions, just four simple questions that you've put up against the concept.

For example, he doesn't care about me, or she doesn't care about me. It could be any concept, but if we look at that one the first four questions are: Is it true he doesn't care about me? Can you absolutely know that it's true? Third question, How do you react when you believe that? And that gives everyone the experience of noticing that all the feelings and everything they live out is in accordance with what they are believing and mind is cause and The Work - that's what I call it - The Work it shows that clearly. Then the fourth question, who would you be without that thought? In other words, don't drop the thought. Thoughts aren't enemies. Just simply, who would you be if you didn't believe that?

And then consider that and with meditation, all four questions and then I invite people to do the 180, the turnaround with it and turn it around. He does care about me and then get very still and notice all the feelings that surface around that. Just the idea of that, of confronting that, of looking at that and sometimes it takes a lot of courage to do the work, but it takes more courage not to. You begin to find examples of where he was kind. When the mind opens, it goes into a whole other polarity and there's no trickery here. It's the real thing, genuine. We don't have to come up with untrue positives on views. We don't have to be kind about it. It doesn't take away the others. That's not the point. It's just we're giving them a new view. Another turnaround is I don't care about him and define examples of that and then we feed them to make amends and if we've hurt them to find how can we make this right? Another turnaround, I don't care about me and my goodness, Kevin, when some of us look at that it's like oh, my goodness. How can I expect him to care about me when I don't care about me? No one would see me in the horrible way, the distorted way that I viewed me, but I didn't have The Work, so I had to continue to believe my thoughts about this wonderful, wonderful human being called Byron Katie, that I' ve come to respect.

Kevin: So, Katie, how did it develop? Did it come from that moment?

Byron: It came from that moment.

Kevin: Okay.

Byron: I would tell people, "Your thoughts aren't true, you're thoughts aren't true and they would look at me like "Oh, my gosh. She's crazy." But still people wanted to know this freedom. I was such a turnaround that my family didn't recognize me. My friends didn't recognize me . I was agoraphobic. It was very difficult for me to leave my house, even my bedroom more often than not. So here I am with my doors wide open, people traveling in from all over the world to see what this experience was about and so when their minds were open to it I would help them. They couldn't hear their own thoughts, so I would invite them to put their thoughts on paper and try to find, what I call, a judge of the world worksheet and they would write their thoughts down and because they were doing it themselves, they really got that these were the thoughts that I, myself am thinking. So when they wrote them down they had to own them when I questioned "Is it true?" Is it true the thing you believed all your life? Are you sure it's true? Do you believe everything your mommy told you?

Kevin: Wow.

Byron: Basically they do.

Kevin: Processing and evaluating your thoughts to some can be a scary thing. I think it is to me sometimes.

Byron: Oh, my goodness. You never know who you are without your thoughts, but what I can tell you, Kevin, from my experience and the experience of millions of people that are doing to work is they always come out as kinder human beings, more open, more prosperous, healthier and I went from this more than 200 pound woman that couldn't move to literally not fat. My heart rate -- the physical body has everything to do with what you believe in.

Kevin: Let's talk about that now. What do you think is the role between emotional health and your thoughts and physical pain, physical ailments, physical manifestation?

Byron: Well, when we believe our thoughts we suffer and when we question them we don't suffer. I have come to see that this is true for every human being. So any time we're confused and I've noticed the confusion is the only suffering and any time we're confused I invite people to put it on paper. Any time you're confused, you put it on paper and then just simply put it up against these four questions and the questions are always free on my website. You don't have to sign up for anything. You don't have to log in. There they are front and center and it tells you how to work them and it has everything to do with emotional health. It's like the third question: how do you react when you think the thought they don't like you? What happens? What happens, Kevin? When you got back to middle school or the yard when you were five or six years old or a teenager, what happens when you think the thought they don't like me?

Kevin: You kind of walk away or kind of put your head down.

Byron: You walk away and you kind of put your head down. Okay, that's how we react when we believe that thought. So that's emotional. So what happens, it doesn't end there. When you believe that thought the next time someone just looks at you in the classroom you think they're one of them and then you go home and your mom is really happy to see you, but your self-esteem is low and you think "How could she? No one does." I mean it begins to transfer our whole lives. It makes up our whole life and we have just looked at one stressful thought. "They don't like me." Now, who would you be on that same playground or whatever images you were picturing -- you see that little boy?

Kevin: Mm hmm.

Byron: Okay, look at the same exact situation. Who would you be without the thought the thought "They don't care about me?"

Kevin: So without that thought "They don't care about me," just, I guess playing with them.

Byron: You've got it. So what we're learning here, Kevin, from you, is that what we are believing dictates our emotional life and what we're believing in our emotional life dictates the world for the rest of our lives. It's like if you look at your life prior to believing they don't care about you, oh, what a happy little guy and then little kids don't have The Work and big kids don't all have it, but even if they turn that around "They don't care about me," turn it around, "I don't care about them." Look at me. I'm the one walking away. I'm the one that won't talk to them again, because I'm believing they don't care about me. I'm the one not caring about them, because of what I believe and they don't care about me turned around, I don't care about me. I'm costing me my life on the playground, if nothing else. I'm costing me my friends and associations and play time and our whole life and another turnaround is, "They do care about me." And then just get still and look at that little boy and see what he missed. It won't change your whole life today, because we are that little boy until we go back and take a look and get it squared away and we can do it from a chair. We can change our whole life from where we sit and he can go back and actually, you can see. They'll say "Come on, come on." You think "Oh, they don't really care about me. They're just trying to be nice." It's like as though we see them as liars, but if we go back, we can hear them calling and we don't have to imagine it, even though imagination is everything. We can go back to how we saw reality and we can hear the people we ignored, because we were so into believing the thought "They don't like me." So in a nutshell that's The Work and it is. People try to change their life and life isn't going to ever change. It doesn't change. We still have war on this planet. We haven't really advanced. There is only one way to change the world and that is to do the inner work and end the war with the self and then everything that is projected out of it, the entire world shifts when you do. That is how to change the world.
About the Author
To read the rest of this transcript as well as access The Healthiest Year of Life experts just like Byron Katie please click here! Kevin Gianni is an internationally recognized health advocate, author & film consultant. He has helped thousands of people take control of their own health naturally. For more information visit raw food diets and holistic nutrition
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