After reading Byron Katie and listening to her do The Work, it seems she really does love ‘what is,’ since she always accepts ‘what is’ because to not accept ‘what is’ is to be at war with ‘what is’ and that leads to stress because it’s a war that can never be won.
Because what is, is.
But it’s true, yes? When I stop to think about what’s bugging me, what’s gotten me stressed as Katie would say, annoyed, nervous, worried, anxious (are these three the same thing?), irritated, furious, disappointed, embarrassed, jealous, sad, guilty, enraged, (and on and on can go this list of ‘negative’ emotions) there is always some THOUGHT behind the feeling. That thought has something to do with fighting or not liking or resisting or being stuck on what happened or didn’t happen, what someone (including me) said or didn’t say, did or didn’t do.
The Work is all about inquiring into the stressful feeling in order to uncover the stressful thought. And then to question it. That’s the key, the willingness to find, and then question, the stressful or upsetting thought. And then ask yourself, Is it true? And then, Can I absolutely be sure that it’s true?
There’s a lot about this that I love. But the thing I love most is the absence of judgment, namely, toward yourself. Thoughts pop into our mind all the time. Byron Katie says, we don’t even really think thoughts; thoughts think us. They appear, unbidden. We don’t ask for them. We often can’t control them. They appear–poof– and instantly we feel either good or bad, calmed or agitated. It’s not about thinking good thoughts or pushing away bad thoughts. It’s simply about noticing what thoughts are lurking behind our fears, and then questioning them.
Tony Attwood, and just about every other professional who works with Aspies, recommends Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), to help with anxiety and a host of issues related to being a social being in a body with all sorts of physical, emotional, and psychological needs and impulses in a social world with a bunch of other social beings. CBT sounds as if it could be very helpful, for those who are motivated and ready. The more I explore The Work, the more I see it as CBT through and through. It’s all about uncovering the underlying thoughts that often (always?) drive behavior.
Tito’s not quite ready for CBT but his aren’t the only thoughts in the household that could benefit from closer inspection. I am discovering that I have stressful thoughts all day long. Every time Tito is upset about something I don’t think is worth being upset about, I either dive into some knee-jerk annoyed/worried thought about his upset and how it might impact his day/week/month/life or I fall into some knee-jerk self-critical/worried thought about what I ought to have done differently that morning/previous day/previous week/month/year on and and on.
Some moments are more intense than others, obviously, but it’s there enough of the time to make me realize how much the questioning is needed. And even though it’s only been a couple of weeks since I started looking at this more closely, I’m beginning to experience how sweet the questioning, and the relief and freedom that comes from it, can be.