I watched the Prison of the Mind video with Byron Katie Monday evening, and felt a great sadness coming up in seeing the suffering beliefs in stories brought about. I realized that this sadness was really for myself.
He shouldn’t have believed in stories.
- Yes (Seems true, would have been much easier for him without those beliefs.)
- No (Cannot know that is true.)
- Deep sadness, for all the suffering he went through in believing those thoughts. For all the mental suffering, and for possibly bringing himself into prison through it. Fear, for something similar happening to me. For being blinded by beliefs and doing something irreversibly stupid. Even greater sadness for humanity, for seeing this play itself out at a large scale.
- Clear. Free to appreciate his path, for seeing the beauty of it, and especially the beauty of the opening up – through inquiry into his beliefs. Sense of connection and intimacy with him, from recognizing the same in myself – both the suffering from beliefs, and the openings from inquiry into them.
- (a) He should have believed in stories. (Yes, that is as or more true, because it is what he did. Everything came together for that to happen, as it came together for him to inquiry into it later on. There is a great beauty in this.)(b) I shouldn’t have believed in stories. (Yes, that is true as well. It brought – and brings – suffering and confusion to my life.)
(c) I should have believed in stories. (Yes, true as well. For me too, it all came together for me to believe in those stories when and the way I did. It all played itself out beautifully.)
New statements for inquiry: It is much easier without beliefs. I can do something stupid.
I shouldn’t have believed in my stories.
- Yes (It seems true, because it would have been much easier without them.)
- No (Only an opinion. Cannot know it would have been easier or better, or even what is better.)
- What comes up when I believe that thought? Sadness for having believed in them, for all the suffering and confusion in it. Grief for choices made from this lack of clarity, and for loss of what could have been. Guilt for having inflicted this upon myself and others. Shame for the way I acted, and for not having seen this sooner.
What is the worst that can happen if I don’t have that belief?
I will be blind to the beliefs I still have. Or if I see them I won’t be motivated to inquire into them.
How do I treat others when I have that belief?
I experience shame, and don’t want others to see the confusion, the beliefs, the struggle, the loss. I want to hide and be invisible, or at least hide it and make it invisible – although I know I can’t.
What do I get out of it?
I get to be right. I get to appear remorseful and insightful and show my good intentions. I get to appear as – or at least as wanting to be – a good human being.
- OK with what is. At peace with having lived my beliefs, as I did – and still do. I may even appreciate how it all played out in my life. See the contributions from it.
- (a) I should have believed in my stories.Yes, this is as or more true. I did. I see that I only held onto them because I couldn’t do anything else. As soon as I inquire into beliefs, and see them clearly, they fall away – it is as dropping a piece of hot coal as soon as I notice I am holding onto it. When I hold onto them, it is only because I cannot do anything else right then – even if there is a great deal of suffering from it.
Can I find three benefits from having believed in these stories?
- Made for an interesting life. Movies are often more interesting due to the twists of fate, the struggles, the redemption and so on, not in spite of them – and I can see how it is similar with our lives.
- The insights that comes from it, and from inquiring into these beliefs, are more real to me from having lived it.
- It deepens my compassion and understanding for myself and others. It brings a different sense of connection and intimacy.
(b) My stories should believe in me.
Yes, that is also as or more true. If I believe in stories, it may as well be stories that believe in me!
New statements for inquiry: I can be a good or bad human being. If I don’t see beliefs as undesireable, I won’t be motivated to inquire into them.