Self Inquiry

Evolver
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Self Inquiry

Post by Evolver » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:50 am

Hey all, I remember first reading about Byron Katie on this forum, so I eventually decided to have a look at her work.

I read "Loving What Is" and really enjoyed it, just last week I started doing The Work (self inquriy) on myself on an almost-daily basis.

Tolle has been quoted as saying "Byron Katie's Work is a great blessing for our planet. The root cause of suffering is identification with our thoughts, the ‘stories' that are continuously running through our minds. The Work acts like a razor-sharp sword that cuts through that illusion and enables you to know for yourself the timeless essence of your being. Joy, peace, and love emanate from it as your natural state."

What I like about the work is that it feels like I am actively pursuing awakening where as with Tolle's practices it doesn't feel like I am doing much at all (nor making much progress). I don't want to get into the whole "practice vs non-practice" debate as we've discussed that in another thread. However, could Katie's work be considered as "shining the light of consciousness on our thoughts and emotions" (as Tolle might say)?

If that's the case, I am curious why Tolle didn't give a similar method for undoing/deconstructing beliefs? I know he says "be the observer of your thoughts and emotions and they will eliminate themselves" (not quoting directly here) but I find that quite difficult to do consistently.

Anyway, I have high hopes for Katie's work on myself, there certainly can't be anything wrong with becoming aware of all the beliefs you have and then working at proving them untruthful.

Can anyone here say that Katie's work has changed their lives? Did it take long before you started noticing a shift in your life?

I am committing to this practice for 6 months minimum and see if I notice much change about myself. If I don't notice much change by then, do you think I should give up on it?

Thanks for reading,

Darren.

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Re: Self Inquiry

Post by James » Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:33 am

Evolver
You are asking a good question. My experience with Katie's work is limited, I know it has helped many people. Tolle recommends it also. I do inquiry that I learned from Adyashanti and other satsang teachers. Ramana is regarded as the father of this type of inquiry, and Katie has just elaborated or expanded on it. Satsang inquiry has the same outcome as Byron Katie's work with less steps. But the extra steps might be what you need. I don't think you can go wrong learning it, I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Katie, and many happy students.

I think what Tolle is doing is similar to the satsang inquiry, but even more streamlined. In the most simple sense, inquiry is just opening your attention to something, looking within, checking something out, knowing thyself.

I'd like to hear some other comments on this important subject, especially from the moderators.

James
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

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Re: Self Inquiry

Post by heidi » Wed Apr 30, 2008 2:10 pm

I like how The Work deconstructs thoughts, and in that process, we disidentify with them. I like how the Truth shines through the Work. I should do it more often. :) Is that true?

Katie's work is very active and pragmatic - something the busy mind can wrap itself around while becoming unwrapped, :) And for people whose minds are causing them intense suffering, it is very good medicine.

Our member BillyPled uses the Work in his work, and I think he's our in-house expert on Katie. Maybe he'll pop in and share here. :)
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Re: Self Inquiry

Post by James » Wed Apr 30, 2008 3:51 pm

A couple more thoughts on this,
One teacher put inquiry this way: We are either feeling OK at the moment or NOT OK. When we are not OK we are avoiding what IS NOW. We are actually afraid of what is now. The inquiry is the process of going within, like the help wanted signs say, "inquire within". to see what it is we are telling ourself (the belief or the story) that makes us feel not ok. Inquiry can be done in meditation (meditative inquiry) or it can be done at any time, regardless of what we are doing, we can inquire or be aware of what we are aware of. Katie's phrase "Loving what is" says it well.

Enjoy the process
James
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

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Re: Self Inquiry

Post by kiki » Wed Apr 30, 2008 4:15 pm

Perhaps if Katie's "work" was already available for Tolle's investigation after his awakening he would have incorporated elements of it more directly into his teaching. But his investigation was limited to what was currently available to him at the time. I could see that Katie's work was more of a backdoor entry into awakening because its aim is not to go immediately to the core of Being but operates at the level of the mind, where people's "problems" exist, and from there they arrive at the sense of Being when the "work" works. It's my opinion that people who are drawn to Katie aren't necessarily being motivated by a spiritual yearning but discover later that "the work" is a profound spiritual exercise.

I think there is no telling what will be effective for anyone. For me the combination of Tolle and Ramana's self-inquiry has made the most impact, but that doesn't mean it will be the same for anyone else. Ramana's approach goes directly to the root of suffering, which appeals to me. Finding the illusory nature of ego immediately confronts the source of suffering, and combining that with ET's pointers makes for a practical and visceral way of discovering the ego isn't what you are.

The bottom line is find what resonates, and if you are especially bold examine the approach of "no approach". Not the "couch potato" approach of mindless indulgence and stupor, but the examination of how "doing" is maintained, and then letting that doing drop away. The idea of this has a built in paradox, but life wouldn't be as interesting without paradox.
"Miss Kelly, perhaps you'd like this flower. I seem to have misplaced my buttonhole ... Miss Kelly, you know, when you wear my flower you make it look beautiful." Elwood P. Dowd
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Re: Self Inquiry

Post by Sighclone » Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:12 pm

Darren -

Please keep us posted on your progress in 'the work'. Oprah will be reviving her "Soul Series" on Monday, May 12, which is the first Monday after the final ET webinar...I think it will be web-based. Byron Katie will be an early guest, along with Elizaneth Lesser (non-dualist for many years) and Zukov. My wife is interested in BK and 'the work' might be more practical for her.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Self Inquiry

Post by James » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:49 pm

Andy
This is something else I heard about Oprah and Katie, copied from another site, I believe it is up to date info.
James
___________________________
July 28, 2008
Katie and Oprah meet face-to-face in Chicago to talk about The Work.

Join Katie and Oprah as they discuss The Work and “Loving What Is.” This conversation will air on Oprah’s “Soul Series” radio program on Monday, July 28th, August 4th, and August 11th at 4am, 10am, 4pm and 10pm (all times Eastern). All are invited to tune into XM Satellite Radio’s “Oprah and Friends” channel (XM 156).

To subscribe to XM Radio and/or to sign up for a free 30-day trial, please visit http://www.xmradio.com/oprah and http://www.oprah.com/xm.
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Re: Self Inquiry

Post by innerhike » Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:11 pm

It does not matter what path or practice you choose.

"No-path" or "no-philosophy" is still a path/philosophy.

As long as the mind exists, it will categorize.

Until you are fully enlightened, perhaps it is okay to use the mind while realizing its limitations.

If something helps you, use it.

Don't worry about commiting to something for 6 months.

If you are commited to "not suffering", then the path/practice will present itself.

You are not in the business of following a path, you are in the business of LIVING LIFE and BEING YOUR HIGHEST and MOST EXPANSIVE self.

Byron Katie is unravelling people's egos through the most painful issues and assumptions that they have wrapped themselves into. Partial unravelling will lead to total unravelling. This is my hope and work each day.

We are all doing the same thing, no matter how different we think we are.

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Re: Self Inquiry

Post by Sighclone » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:47 pm

We are all doing the same thing, no matter how different we think we are.
Innerhike -

How true this is...and in a way, with our own language in this forum we are all pointing at the same thing...and exposing the same illusions....and sometimes I get mixed up as to who said what....and it doesn't matter at all....

Andy (I think...)
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

Evolver
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Re: Self Inquiry

Post by Evolver » Thu May 01, 2008 7:59 am

Thanks for your replies so far. Not many people have said that they've actually committed to this practice for a long period and it's helped them. Anyone had a long term commitment with "the work"?

I really do feel like this is the right way to go for me. In the small amount of time that I've been doing it, I've already uncovered a stack of beliefs that I wasn't really aware that I had. So you could say, I've increased my self-realization by now being conscious of these beliefs. I use inquiry to show that the belief is created by myself and not really true.

Another reason I am pointed in this direction is that I've just finished reading "Take Me to Truth - Undoing the Ego" by Nouk Sanchez and Tomas Vieira. Their book is based a fair bit on the teachings in ACIM which I have not read, but they also reference Byron Katie, Tolle and other gurus. Anyway, their basic formula for undoing the ego is P I Q (Presence, Inquiry, Quantum Forgiveness). So they basically say that you want to practice presence (eg. being in the now), practice inquiry for deconstructing beliefs and practice forgiveness in every day life (eg. not reacting to someone verbally attacking you).

So Byron Katies work seems like it could accelerate the elimination of limiting beliefs and co-exist with tolles teachings as well. I will keep at it anyway :)

Kiki, I have heard of Ramana but am not really familiar with their teachings. What's the difference between Ramana's self inquiry and BK?

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Re: Self Inquiry

Post by kiki » Thu May 01, 2008 12:59 pm

Kiki, I have heard of Ramana but am not really familiar with their teachings. What's the difference between Ramana's self inquiry and BK?
His teaching of self-inquiry is quite simple, ask yourself: "Who/what am I?" and then investigate. This question is designed to go right to the root of what you are. You begin by realizing what you aren't, every idea you have of "I", so that what is left can be noticed - consciousness. Once you can "see" that you are consciousness you use that question, "What am I?" when you discover you are caught up in ego again. Beliefs arise out of ego, so when a belief is encountered and you realize you are being conditioned by it you again ask, "What am I?" So the question is always turning attention 180 degrees away from content, mind/ego, and onto consciousness itself.
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Re: Self Inquiry

Post by James » Thu May 01, 2008 10:38 pm

Hi Evolver
You said:
Not many people have said that they've actually committed to this practice for a long period and it's helped them. Anyone had a long term commitment with "the work"?
I really do feel like this is the right way to go for me. In the small amount of time that I've been doing it, I've already uncovered a stack of beliefs that I wasn't really aware that I had.
Suppose no one here had done Katie's work, but you still felt inwardly drawn to do it? Which direction would you go? I would learn to trust the inner guide.

All true inquiry will bring you to the same place, find an approach that appeals to you. I would not be concerned about how long a commitment is needed, unless you feel guided from within to make it a 6 month program. Most of the people I know that have used inquiry such as Byron Katie's, use it to augment other spiritual teachings. Once they know how it is done they apply it as needed. By the way, in case you have not seen them, Katie's website and writings are filled with testimonials.

Have fun
James
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

Evolver
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Re: Self Inquiry

Post by Evolver » Fri May 02, 2008 2:09 am

Thanks for clarifying Kiki. I will keep Ramana in mind if I want to try a different method of inquiry.
Suppose no one here had done Katie's work, but you still felt inwardly drawn to do it? Which direction would you go? I would learn to trust the inner guide.

All true inquiry will bring you to the same place, find an approach that appeals to you. I would not be concerned about how long a commitment is needed, unless you feel guided from within to make it a 6 month program. Most of the people I know that have used inquiry such as Byron Katie's, use it to augment other spiritual teachings. Once they know how it is done they apply it as needed. By the way, in case you have not seen them, Katie's website and writings are filled with testimonials.
Yeah James, BK's work does feel right for me but I also have trouble trusting my "inner voice". I don't know if it's actually my inner voice guiding me or just ego in disguise.

The fact that I put a 6 month time frame on this is that if I feel like it is not helping me with my issues, then what is the point in continuing with it? Is 6 months a long enough period to see some results? I just can't continue on with practices if I see no noticeable changes within myself, I need evidence that it is working for me. Otherwise why waste time on it?

I know that there are plenty of testimonials out there with regards to BK's work, I was just thinking that maybe some people on this forum had some experience with it and could give me more insight.

For now, I think I will stick with that "formula" PIQ and practice Presence, Inquiry and Quantum forgiveness.

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Re: Self Inquiry

Post by James » Fri May 02, 2008 2:35 am

PIQ sounds good.

One way to learn to trust your inner guide is to follow it and see where it leads you. Usually you will know by the fruits of your experience, if it was coming from your inner source, rather than the mind. It is also important to be willing to make mistakes and learn from them, or else you will not know the difference. Start with little things, little decisions. It all begins with the inner stillness. Trusting can be a little frightening at first, because it is unfamiliar, and the ego/mind likes predictability.

If you make enlightenment into a goal, with a time table you will likely be chasing your tail. That can go on indefinitely. Sadly for many people it does. Experience the joy of the moment, and accept what is. That is the aim of inquiry, to experience what you are, without the story of the little me. This moment is as good as the next. You don't need 6 months time, to enjoy your self in the present moment.

Warm Regards
James
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

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Re: Self Inquiry

Post by BillyPLed » Fri May 16, 2008 3:00 am

Evolver wrote:Hey all, I remember first reading about Byron Katie on this forum, so I eventually decided to have a look at her work.

I read "Loving What Is" and really enjoyed it, just last week I started doing The Work (self inquriy) on myself on an almost-daily basis.

Tolle has been quoted as saying "Byron Katie's Work is a great blessing for our planet. The root cause of suffering is identification with our thoughts, the ‘stories' that are continuously running through our minds. The Work acts like a razor-sharp sword that cuts through that illusion and enables you to know for yourself the timeless essence of your being. Joy, peace, and love emanate from it as your natural state."

What I like about the work is that it feels like I am actively pursuing awakening where as with Tolle's practices it doesn't feel like I am doing much at all (nor making much progress). I don't want to get into the whole "practice vs non-practice" debate as we've discussed that in another thread. However, could Katie's work be considered as "shining the light of consciousness on our thoughts and emotions" (as Tolle might say)?

If that's the case, I am curious why Tolle didn't give a similar method for undoing/deconstructing beliefs? I know he says "be the observer of your thoughts and emotions and they will eliminate themselves" (not quoting directly here) but I find that quite difficult to do consistently.

Anyway, I have high hopes for Katie's work on myself, there certainly can't be anything wrong with becoming aware of all the beliefs you have and then working at proving them untruthful.

Can anyone here say that Katie's work has changed their lives? Did it take long before you started noticing a shift in your life?

I am committing to this practice for 6 months minimum and see if I notice much change about myself. If I don't notice much change by then, do you think I should give up on it?

Thanks for reading,

Darren.
Hi Darren,

I attended Katie's nine-day "School for The Work" in Oct. '06. I have been doing The Work as a personal practice and in my practice with clients (I am a therapist). I do not do The Work everyday. There are long stretches of time when I do not do it at all. However, I do feel that I have done The Work so much that it has started to "come alive" in me. I find that I do not believe my own thoughts as much as I use to. I find that I label others less. I find that I am a "lover of what is" much of the time.

I can certainly say that the School was a life-changing experience for me. We did The Work all day, every day, for nine days straight. I took so much away from that experience. One thing that I learned, as a facilitator, is to trust the questions. I notice that my tendency to "talk and explain" or give advice gets in the way of the other person's Work. When I simply ask the questions and "hold the space" the client is able to find their own way.

Recently I was facilitating The Work with a client who was using inquiry for the first time. Her responses to the question "Who would you be without that thought?" and her examples of her turnarounds were truly amazing. She could not believe that she was saying the words that were coming out of her mouth. She was blowing her own mind. She sounded like a wise sage. It amazes me the wisdom that these four questions uncover -- the wisdom that is already here.

I actually see The Work as a method that uses our conditioning as a way to wake up from conditioning. By directly facing our conditioned beliefs -- our knee-jerk reactions and petty thoughts -- and questioning them one by one, we are able to have a direct experience of our true nature -- who we are without our stories.

I have definitely noticed a change in "me" over the years as a result of The Work. I am more confident at the same time that I am humble. I am ruled less and less by my fears. I am more non-defensive and non-reactive. I have an inner peace that I am consciously aware of more often than I am not. For me the "results" were immediate and have deepened with more Work. I can not say that I have "arrived." I do not think in those terms anyway. I do not see "enlightenment" as an ever-lasting state. I agree with Katie when she talks about how we "enlighten ourselves" in each moment when we question our thoughts and discover what is really true for us. When I am believing my thoughts, without question, I am confused. When I question my thoughts, I see clearly and, I enlighten myself.

I do not see The Work as the "one and only way." Lately, I have been combining The Work with a meditation practice called Integrative Restoration (iRest) Yoga Nidra. I find that the combination allows me to deepen my experience (and my client's experiences) with The Work.

I would also remind you of something that Katie says all of the time. If we do The Work with any other motive other than a love for truth or peace then The Work will not work. If our motive is success in life or to prove that we are right and the other is wrong, our motives are not pure.

The Work is also not a self-improvement project because the self that we are does not need improving. The Work is about self-realization. We judge our neighbor, write it down, ask four questions and turn it around. We discover that the fastest route to self-realization is by questioning our judgements about others. I notice that "you" turned out to be "me." No separation. It is all a projection of mind.
Billy in Lousiana

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