Today in yoga class I talked about creating some space for yourself. What this really means is finding some peace in between all the thoughts. We wish we can turn them off but we can’t. Thoughts just keep on coming whether we want them to or not. Our job then, to find some space, is to acknowledge them as they arrive and also challenge them when necessary. The first is an accepting gesture, it acknowledges that we don’t make up our thoughts, they are just part of us and come when they want. The second job, to challenge the stressful thoughts, is to look at the validity of them. This challenging can bring us some peace and space because when our thoughts are no longer true they leave us.
Byron Katie had discovered the benefit of challenging your thoughts in what she calls doing ‘The Work’.
The work states four things:
1) Is the thought we have true?
2) Are you sure it’s true?
3) How does this thought make you feel?
4) Where would you be without this thought?
Here is a working example of a stressful thought. “I’m too old to learn a new skill’
1) Is this true. Yes! we say, definitely. This is our answer of frustration.
2) Are you sure it’s true? Do you definitely know this, can you see into the future, are you the expert on learning? You may answer no and your long-held cherished thought might start to lose its grip on you.
3) How does this thought make you feel? It makes me feel frustrated, angry and like a failure. It reminds me of the other times I failed.
4) Where would you be without this thought? Just consider for a moment where you would be if you didn’t have this thought? You would probably be open to trying new ideas, be creative and spontaneous.
The last part of the work asks us to turn our original thought around.’It’s not too late for me to learn a new skill.’
How would you be with this opposite thought? Could this thought be true instead? By looking at the opposite of what you originally thought you can see new possibilities and your old thought will take a bow and leave you.
Practice for today: Do you have some nagging repetitive stressful belief about yourself or someone else? If you doubt some of your stressful thoughts they will release their grip on you. Take a few minutes out to do the work and see what happens.