Saturday, October 30, 2010

9-Days Questioning My Persistent Stressful Thoughts

I just returned from the Byron Katie 9-day School for the Work. I’m not going to give The School away. It’s far more precious that you meet it directly yourself ... and in that school you truly meet your Self more convincingly than in any other experience I’ve ever had. I know that may sound hokey, but the reality is “You” encounter “You” by coming face to face with the exact thoughts you think that literally create the unique universe you’ve been living in for probably most of your life. And then you get to question those thoughts

Here’s how THE WORK .. works ... 4 questions and a “Turnaround”.

Stressful Thought: “Nobody loves me”

1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do you react when you believe the thought?
4. Who would you be WITHOUT the thought?
** The "Turnaround": “Nobody loves me” ... becomes “Somebody loves me” ... and find examples where that’s true.

Do that with any thought you use to support your world and that really just brings stress into your life:

“My soul mate shouldn’t leave me.”
“The world is a dangerous place.”
“My kids should listen to me.”
“My parents should mind their own business.”
"I should be sucking down cocktails on the beach and not stuck on traffic!!"

And those are the easy ones.

When I got home after 9-days of this process of questioning everything ... and I mean EVERYTHING .. most of it processing my thoughts about the 4-year relationship I have been painfully working to let go of the last few months ... well, the night I got home, I was feeling so open and raw ... I couldn’t hardly touch any email or anything “work”-related ... so I just did the laundry.

I put on some reflective music and suddenly found myself repeatedly overcome by waves of raw emotion so rich and full I couldn’t even name them; long held back tears pouring out from deep inside my newly exposed, raw heart, streamed down my nose and dripped onto the wood floor forming beautiful shiny clear drops beneath my downturned face.

This went on for an hour in waves. I hadn’t touched that raw, open space in years. It was just delicious.

You see, at this School you experience the actual PHYSICS of the awakening happening on this planet. We hear so much about “The Shift” that humanity is undergoing. We see people doing more yoga, caring more about the environment and holistic living, creating a billion dollar “self-help” spiritual marketplace ... but I imagine most of us are not constantly experiencing profound shifts directly, certainly not more than once in a rare while, and even those might be short lasted, leaving us desperately figuring out how to get “it” back!!!

But The Work is a direct, simple, avenue to seeing the world completely anew. People walk out of that class literally moving through different universes than when they went in.

As a new brother wrote in an email after the school:

“I walked the streets of my neighborhood, the same neighborhood I cursed not too long ago, and I see angels were I saw lost souls, I see beauty where I saw ugliness, see kind smiles where I saw unkindness. I am now actually seeing my people and my city as they really are, and who they really are - Me."

I won’t go into too much about what I saw others experience there. I will only say that I saw people who have been living inside of certain painful behaviors for their whole lives - just like you and me - experience in one moment an entirely new world of liberating possibilities open up the moment they saw their troubling behaviors for what they are: the products of thoughts in their minds, ingrained for whatever reasons at whatever age, reinforced by others believing the same thoughts; thoughts that in their deepest center, they don’t even believe!!! I watched people - experienced it myself - wake up from actual waking nightmares they took for granted to be simple truth.

At one stirring moment, my first good cry of the week, I heard the pained voice of my ex-girlfriend finally getting her message through to me through the voice of an older black woman who was sharing her angst towards men. My defenses were down, my heart open, and as this woman spoke, I finally heard what my ex had tried so desperately to communicate to me; so desperate she eventually took to throwing things and hitting me in her ultimately failed effort to get through. I no longer saw those behaviors as “abuse” (the victim story I had previously worn like a merit badge), but rather as just her most impassioned attempts to communicate with a man she so deeply wanted to share her intimate world with, but whose personal identity was so wrapped up in being “good” that he was too scared to let her unflattering "truth" in. A truth which could have even helped me heal all that wounded stuff that so desperately wanted to masquerade as "good." Well, I finally took in her truths. And she didn't even have to be there. Turned out she was right ... I can be arrogant, selfish, uncaring, deceitful, mean, judgmental, immature ... and on and on. I was so busy believing she was those things, I wouldn't consider that I, too, was all that and more.

I might have ended our 4-year relationship war much sooner had I only given up defending myself ... from reality.

This happened to my thoughts around money, god, happiness, the world, women, prejudice, and on and on. Insanity exposed. And it’s everywhere!! Until there’s nothing left but gratitude ... for breathing ... for every moment. For you, exactly as you show up. For the mystery we’re constantly, inextricably surrounded in and yet constantly deny and run from.

Here II Here has a new song coming out soon called “Promising For All”. One of the lyrics says: “We kill to ensure we don’t ever face the unknown, when that’s the only face we’ve ever known.”

Then, of course, the people that I met in the School ... well, an open heart falls in love with everyone. And in a room full of open hearts, it’s just the most delicious experience. I’ve never given or received so many truly warm, soulful embraces!!!

Ahhhhhh .... so much more unfolded last week, but I’ll leave it at that. It is for you to discover if called to it.

I am blessed to be working with Here II Here, as we have been keeping this conversation going in this way for years. Ash first introduced me to Byron Katie’s “The Work” 3 years ago. This school, as someone put it, is like pressing “Fast Forward” on the process of unlearning all your stressful thoughts that only get in the way of truly falling in love with the world around you, as it shows up, and everyone who walks through it, just as they are.

I love you.

This video below shows how soon we learn to wage war to defend our so-precious thoughts.


  1. Thank you for sharing Bryan. I love you. Bill

  2. Omg Bryan...
    I am (thumb) typing through tears...
    Don't think a blog has ever touched me on so many levels...
    I found that beautiful delicious place of bawling my eyes out on the floor again...tons of boogers and even a.few wailing sounds that sounded like they came from outside of me...that was three years ago and like you say...delicious...
    I "am" at times (yes...even very recently...) the woman who screams and hits to be heard...your finally hearing and understanding...has opened my eyes to the place my husband most probably stands...behind his heart understands him a bit more...
    ""An open heart falls in love with everyone" has just explained to me WHAT THE HEAVEN has happened inside of me! You know of my "journey" the last ten months...and for the last few I call everyone honey (can you believe at times I would even kind of sort of apologize with "sorry...I call everone honey" for fear of offending them? (how weird and programmed are we...?) And then of course...for months I've been throwing out "I love you's" left and right like confetti...
    I didn't do the very intense and amazing 9 days I know all about from reading and other testimonials...but thanks to your open and honest share... I understand Me and the last several months a bit more...
    This "open heart" loves you so much right now...and is in awe of your willingness to...Journey into the scariest place on Earth... The Depths of Ourselves... sent me that video a very long time ago thinking it was funny like the filmer? Broke my young...the "quieting" starts is what came to my mind...which then "can" lead to a most confusing emotional life...(excuse many typing...must have thumbs like Shrek...I'm really bad at it...) :)

  3. Hi Bryan,
    thanks for being you, you are beautiful.

  4. Hi Bryan....what joy to read your post. Thought of you often while you where in Your School :)
    Welcome to your new world ;) Madelin

  5. Bryan ~ Beautiful. I am so happy for you. Katie is a good teacher, friend guide....Love to you...Cindy

  6. Hi Bryan,

    Thank you for sharing this and for all your work to bring such beautiful music into our lives.
    I love the boys from their Unity on the Bay days.
    If you like Byron Katie you will soooo enjoy Brooke Castillo -

    She is one of my favorites.

    Peace and Love and lots of Joy,