Byron Katie says reality is kind.
Is it true? Is reality kind?
In a conventional sense, it is sometimes true, and sometimes not. It mainly depends on the situation, and is slightly moderated by how we see it. We can always find the silver lining.
With inquiry, it looks a little different. I find a richer and fuller set of stories, see the situation from more angles, and find the validity in each of these stories. This takes the edge off the initial “should”. I also find the genuine gifts in the situation. It allows me to not do something I would have done if reality aligned with my “should”, and new doors open. It also helps me notice my beliefs and find clarity around them, which may be worth more to me than life aligning with my initial “should”. Here, I find that the situation is neutral or better, and that life really is kind.
I can also explore it through the sense fields. Here, I find that my interpretation of the world happens within my own overlay of images, and I can notice it as it happens. It then becomes silly to attach to stories of an “I” here disliking something over there, since it is all happening only within my own world of images. Recognizing this as it happens, and the bottom falls out of any sense of substance or reality in these images. They may still be useful, and can be valuable guides for attention and action in the world, but they are just images. And what are those images made up of? As sensations, sounds, smell, taste, and sight, they happen from nowhere, insubstantial, a “no thing” that appears as something. It is something that gains substance only from an overlay of images saying it has substance and reality. Here too, reality is kind.
In one sense, it is not kind when these images are taken as real and substantial, and I scare and stress myself out through my own world of images. Why is it set up so I can suffer in that way? But in another sense, even that is kind. What seems substantial is really not, when I bring attention to it, and that includes the stress, suffering, and the separate “I” it is happening to. It may appear very real as it happens, and it is good to act with kindness and wisdom when we encounter that suffering in ourselves and others, but that too is insubstantial and fleeting. When I bring attention to it, guided by the sense fields, I see that it never really comes into existence the way it may appear to before I bring attention to it.
So reality is kind in those three ways. It is kind in a conventional way when things go my way (align with my shoulds). And it is somewhat kind even when things don’t, because there is always a silver lining, however small. When I explore my stressful beliefs, I find the genuine gifts in the situation for me, so reality is kind in that way. And when I explore it through the sense fields, I find that any stress and unease comes from my own world of images, when I take it as real and substantial. As soon as I recognize this world of images – which includes images of the situation, myself, and the relationships between the two – as images, the edge goes out of it. It becomes silly to hold onto any of it as real or substantial, even though I still make use of these images to navigate and function in the world.
- is reality kind?
- sometimes yes, sometimes no, depends on what happens and how see it
- conventional + inquiry
- richer, fuller story – see from more angles
- takes the edge of the initial “should”
- see the genuine gifts in it
- gifts in the situation – what I don’t need to do + new doors opening
- gifts in helping me notice beliefs, find clarity (which may be worth more than life aligning with my initial “should”
- big mind
- all the play of reality – inherently without any “I” to identify with anything
- only what is happening + a sense of an “I” associated with this human self