In my last post, I asked you to select someone that you are upset or disappointed with and answer some questions about them. Now we are going to apply "Inquiry" using the Four Questions and Turnaround that Byron Katie writes about in her book, "Loving What Is." Her process is called "The Work" and it is a way for us to look at our thoughts differently and identify thoughts that may be causing our suffering.
If you haven't already written down the answers to the six questions, please take time to do that before you proceed. If you have, let's move on to the "Inquiry" questions.
Investigate the statements you have made in answer to the six questions using the following inquiry questions:
- Is it true?
- Can you absolutely know that it's true?
- How do you react when you think that thought?
- Who or what would you be without the thought?
I used this process to deal with my upset with the man who was in charge of packing our moving truck when we moved. This was my process:
I'm angry at George from Best Movers because he was not willing to pay for the damages his movers caused to our sofa by not using furniture covers.
- Is it true? Yes, it is true. George was not willing to pay for the damages that was caused by his not using furniture covers.
- Do I absolutely know for sure that his not using furniture covers was the cause of the damage? No.
- How do I react when I think the thought that George from Best Movers was not willing to pay for the damages and that it was his not using furniture covers that was the cause of the damage to our sofa? I feel upset, angry, and frustrated and as if my trust had been betrayed.
Katie would likely ask these follow-up questions at this point:
- Can you see a reason to drop the thought that George was not willing to pay for the damages to the sofa that were his fault for not using furniture covers? (And she would caution you not to try to drop the thought.) I can definitely see a reason to drop the thought.
- Can you find one stress-free reason to hold on to the thought? No.
- Who or what would I be without the thought? I would be less tense, angry and frustrated and more at peace with the situation believing that maybe it was an accident or something that was no one's fault.
It is at this point that she would ask you to come up with a "turnaround." This is a where you rewrite your statement as if it were about you.
My turnaround would be: I am angry at myself that I am not willing to pay for the damages to my sofa. I also came up with another turnaround that sounds right to me: I am angry at myself because I did not make sure that the movers used covers on our sofa.
This was an example of how I used "Inquiry" on the answers to the first of my six questions. I then used it on my answers to the other five. Take some time now and go through the process with all six of your questions and the statements you came up with.
Even if you can answer "true" and "absolutely true" to the first two statements, you will realize as you walk through the process that it is not worth holding on to a thought if it causes you suffering. And the turnaround helps us to see that sometimes we are really upset with ourselves more than the other person. Sometimes they are a "mirror" for us to see traits about ourselves that we hadn't previously acknowledged.
In my next post, we'll move on to using "The Work" on an underlying belief that may be affecting us in a negative way.