Don’t Believe Your Thoughts: Freeing Our Minds, Part IV

Sep 09, 2021
Watercolor of a person with a rainbow splash streaming from their head in front of a photo of a galaxy.

 In this final installment of freeing ourselves from the unhelpful stories of our minds, we’ll explore the final step in Byron Katie’s process of Inquiry, which are the Turnarounds.  After we’ve identified and written down our stressful thoughts, as well as answered the 4 questions:

  1. Is it true? (Yes or no? If no, move to 3.)
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. How would you feel, who or what would you be, without the thought? 

We then turn that stressful thought around. We find at least 3 opposites of the initial thought, and examine if they may be as true or truer than the original thought.

For example:

“Robby is judging me.”

Turnarounds could be:

“Robby is not judging me,” (maybe Robby is just being Robby, not going out of their way to judge me.)

“I am judging Robby,” (I certainly am, when I assume Robby is judging me. How do I behave toward Robby when I believe the thought that they are judging me?)

And, “I am judging myself.” (What do I think about my own behavior? Is there a part of me that’s being judgmental of myself, and then attributing that to Robby?)

It may be hard to believe that the opposite of our thoughts are often true - but that’s precisely how the mind works!  In psychology, it’s called projection. We project our own thoughts - about ourselves, about others - onto other peoples’ consciousness!  Katie calls this “being in other peoples’ business.” There are 3 peoples’ business: my business, other peoples’ business, and God’s business.  The more we stay in our own business, the more happy and free we can be. 

The more we explore what our thoughts and beliefs about others reveal about ourselves, we can laugh with amused affection at the antics of our own minds, and get free of these stressful thoughts and beliefs that cause us suffering.

Check out Byron Katie’s work to learn more about freeing yourself from your stressful thoughts: her books Loving What Is and I Need Your Love - Is That True?, and her YouTube channel where she demonstrates the inquiry process with participants. May you be happy and free!

by Prajna Choudhury

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