Unconditional Prosperity Out of Four Questions of The Work of Byron Katie

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So how is it possible for four simple questions to turn around a life; to bring someone like me who was suffering a great deal on all kinds of levels to a place I call unconditional prosperity?

What do I mean when I say that? For me it’s the sense that:

There is enough, there always was enough, and there always will be enough. 

It’s when we don’t place conditions on life.

We don’t get to decide what’s best and worst for us, what’s really in the highest good for others, what’s going to work, what’s not going to work, even what’s a good outcome. I always say my clients know that there’s no such thing as a good or a bad outcome.

This sense of no-matter-what unconditional thriving came out of four questions and the ability to turn around the thinking that was making me believe there was anything LESS than thriving. . . . Now I put my focus purposely on whatever I’m placing outside this sphere of lovableness.

Sphere of Lovableness

Our minds tend to say: “That’s not loveable over there; that thing is bad; that’s not fair; that’s all wrong; I can’t believe she said that; that is not what I need right now; there’s that toxic person.”  Or, you focus on whatever you did that you now regret, whether it’s the judgment and blame of others, or that judgment of yourself and the resulting shame and regret and self-doubt — all of it — anything that creates that emotional charge in you, that makes you want things to be different than they are.

Yes, a healthy focus on what we don’t want can become a really good motivator; and over-focus on what we don’t want can create the very outcomes we are hoping to avoid.  But what I’m talking about is those moments when we’re actually fighting against life. It’s really helpful to go ahead and focus on the  story that is creating our suffering long enough to isolate the thinking that we’re believing in that moment.  We need to not just look away from those parts of us that feel they are in the presence of something scary or bad; we need to bring them up and give them a chance to see the errors in their own logic, so that thinking can truly let go and reveal a clear path back to peace.

For example, I’m realizing how differently things are going right now as I’ve been moving for quite some time, two or three years now, in the direction of trying to renovate my house. I’ve refused to replace my old, dilapidated roofs because I wanted to change the whole shape of the roof. I wanted to put a second story on that part of the house. I wanted to change a lot about the whole layout and the way this house works. I live in this beautiful waterfront spot that I’ve been able to hold on to despite the fact that I had so much angst around it when I was going through my divorce process.

Trusting the Process

I’m now moving in a direction with many stumbling blocks, far more unknowns, lots of no’s over time.  I share sometimes the process with my groups and my Mastermind, as I still don’t know where it will go or what the final outcome will be, but I’m not afraid of that, or all the uncertainties of being in business, or of health, or relationships….  In ALL areas, I finally have the tools to know how to trust the process.

I’m just putting one foot in front of the other. I believe it’s going to happen, and if it doesn’t, I’m trusting that too.

The latest piece is that I’m almost ready to close on a refinance. The last one actually fell through. It’s just that kind of thing where I won’t know it ain’t over till it’s over. And if it falls through again, I’m going to trust that too.

I know there will be the exact right thing, or that something better, for whatever reason, is supposed to happen. . .  is what is happening.  This is a radical departure from the fear-driven, controlling approach I used to take to life.

The Wheel of Self Love

So how did I get to that place of unconditional prosperity and thriving–and being able to go through this protracted process without anxiety, while just kind of plugging away at it, being curious about what’s going to show up next?

Well, I view the movie of my life through these four questions of The Work of Byron Katie that I’m about to teach you. And I have an approach to the Symmetry held in whatever upsets us, that seems to be very helpful to folks, even after decades of inner work.

I used to be a very “should have” person. I was also a “should” person. Because so many of us have been beating ourselves up like this, I’ve developed something called the Wheel of Self-Love.

When I put that together with The Work, I ended up with the No Matter What Way.

Right now, if I were to say “This refinance should be happening faster,”  “This remodel should have happened two years ago,”  “These roofs shouldn’t be so worn out, they shouldn’t be leaking, they shouldn’t be. . .,”  whatever the word is, I would have placed certain outcomes outside of the sphere of lovableness, so those are the very ones I would want to work on. I don’t want to ignore them or steamroll over them or affirm them away.  I want to reveal and reverse the faulty fear-driven logic behind them, so they fall away of their own accord since I can no longer believe that story.

How do I get there?  By naming the thoughts, we can then put them into this simple inquiry.  Let’s use another situation than my prosperity example.  Suppose your spouse is raising his or her voice in an argument, and you notice you have the thought,

“HE SHOULDN’T BE YELLING AT ME.”

Question One

“He shouldn’t be yelling at me.”

Is it true? Examine if it’s true he shouldn’t be yelling at you.

That’s question one. Answer with just a yes or a no.

Question Two

Can you absolutely know that–in this moment–he shouldn’t be yelling at you?  Notice how your mind says he shouldn’t be yelling at you — but he is yelling at you. Can you absolutely know he shouldn’t be? So just sit with that again: a yes or no, whatever you’re working with right now.

Question Three

Question three of The Work is:

How do I react? What happens when I believe that thought that he shouldn’t be yelling at me even as he is?

How do I feel? How do I react back to him?

What do I say? What do I do?

Whose business am I in?

What am I afraid would happen if I were able to actually drop that thought?

What’s keeping that thought in place?

Do I think without that thought that he shouldn’t be yelling at me, that he would just never stop yelling, or that I would be weak or rolling over?

Question Four

I can now see that thought is creating a lot of pain for me. Of course, we all think the pain comes from that person yelling at us, but when we do question four,

“Who would I be without that thought?”

something radical happens.  In this exact same situation you suddenly see, “Wow, I would see him over there yelling at me.”  “I would see a person who’s believing something really painful by believing that I’m the enemy, feeling really upset and emotionally charged and trying to convince me of something. I would feel a lot of compassion. I wouldn’t necessarily take it personally. I might really hear what he has to say. I might listen and see where he’s right about me, which puts us on the same page.”

That does not mean you need to stay in the presence of abuse either. If it works for you to stay and you can shift yourself and be in that place, fine; otherwise take care of these littlest parts of you. Take care of your physical body as well.

What we find when we turn that thought around is that “he should be yelling at me because he is.” This is radical. And that my pain comes from me yelling back even if it’s only in my head. Or maybe I’m screaming back in an engaged fight, but I’m still saying it’s all him.

So turning it around to the opposite is, “He should be yelling at me; he should be because of who he’s believing he should be, because of his upbringing — he should be because he is.”

Turning it around to the other is, ”I shouldn’t be yelling at him.” That’s what closes my heart. I shouldn’t be yelling at myself. How am I believing what he’s saying about me and being hard on myself?

So that’s the shortcut. That’s the short summary of my version of the work.

Finding the Symmetry in your Situation and Yourself

Another example of using this step-by-step process: you may know someone who should be paying you back. You can ask, “Is it true that it isn’t fair? Can I absolutely know it’s true that I need it to be this way?“ So you will start to see how this works.

Don’t think you need to get it all right now — but it’s a game changer.

We’re going to have a workshop where I get to take you through all of this. You’ll learn how to do it yourself and even learn how to hold someone else in it when they’re suffering. So hit the button below if you’re interested, and I’ll see you there.

CALL TO ACTION!: Questions, comments, or want to discuss a situation in your life? Schedule a free 45-minute Discovery call with me. I’d love to hear from you!

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Shawn Mahshie

Shawn Mahshie

Shawn Mahshie, CEO of the Center for Self-Solidarity, is an internationally published author and thought leader in the field of self-compassion. She offers practical, reliable steps for how to harness whatever hurts as an efficient and personalized portal to peace, teaching simple models that transform tenacious patterns of anxiety, guilt, regret, defensiveness, grief, and even depression into instant breakthroughs and sustained results. Also certified under Byron Katie, Shawn has spent the past 30 years researching and validating the Symmetry in relationships. She holds transformative online masterminds, as well as sold-out waterfront retreats at her home near Washington DC.

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Unconditional Prosperity Out of Four Questions of The Work of Byron Katie