Friday, April 14, 2017

Forgiveness at Kripalu with Byron Katie - Day 5

I wrote down eighteen things that Byron Katie said.  I did this whenever something rang particularly true or insightful for me.  As I review this list back in my apartment and far from the wonderland that is Kripalu I find a few of them I want to share with you as I close this series of posts about this experience.
"Victims are violent people."
This is deeply, truly, insightful.  Sit with it a bit, I think you can find your own explanation (if one is needed).  Be mindful when relying upon those who believe a story of victimhood.
"It is not done until it is done, and until it's done it's a thing."
This would make an excellent song lyric.  What this goes to is self-doubt, that is, trying to decide if you still have work to do on something you believe.  Katie gives an example from her own life when she demonstrates the work.  She has been over and over and over and over and over this situation.  She really seems to have long forgiven the person involved when she discusses it in retrospect.

Yet, she told us that every time she uses it as an example, going back to her thoughts about this situation in her mind as she works the process, she learns something new about herself.  We all witnessed her having a new personal revelation about this situation during this event.

Her story concerns events in her life that happened decades ago, I am avoiding going into details here because she requests that public sharing of information about what happens during the events be minimal (a boundary I may have already strayed across in earlier essays, before I knew it was there, but oh well), but I did witness a genuinely new self-revelation on her part during her demonstrations of the work using this example.

So, it's still a thing for her, even after putting the situation through this process countless times.  It's not done.

You know when something is done.  Trust the quiet and gentle voice which tell will tell you so.
"I don't trust this mind, but I trust what comes up for me when I sit in silence."
This was a personal revelation for me.  I don't trust my mind, I don't actually have a lot of confidence in my opinion about most things.  I long ago recognized that I am pulled to believe something is true with far too little evidence that it is actually true.

I came to the event knowing that.  I didn't know what to do instead.  How do I find my wisdom if I can't trust what I think?  This quote is important guidance.

Ask an experienced meditator and they will probably confess that one of the unexpected benefits of meditation practice is that things will occur to you as you quiet your mind which otherwise aren't being heard over the monkey-mind chatter the rest of the day.  For me, these are most often things that I have forgotten about, or need to attend to.

Now I see that I don't necessarily need to be in a quiet room staring at a wall to access this well of wisdom within me.  As with most things, I just need to get out of my own way here, quiet my mind for a bit, and let things happen.  This is very helpful to me.
Student: "I love you!"
Katie: "I love that this is happening for you!"
The room erupted in laughter when she delivered this line, but it wasn't derisive or shaming laughter, and the student laughed heartily along with us.  It's a great response to this situation of having someone say these three words, which mean something different to everyone who uses them, when one can't genuinely reply the same (perhaps because the words mean something different) way.  I have found myself in this quandary from time to time.

She responding from a genuine and truthful place, that's the answer.  I don't what specific words I will use the next time I am faced with this quandary, but I do know how I will respond.

At the close of the time I spent working with Katie one-on-one, she said "It was really a privilege to do the work with you." She kissed my cheek and gently held me for a bit.  I felt loved in that moment, but I think if she told me the same three words she tells her grandchildren our exchange would not have felt as genuine.

I responded the same way. "It was a privilege working with you, thank you."  I felt as if I was the most important person in the room when she worked with me.  I don't mean I was high on some idea, we were strangers to each other.  I mean I had her attention, she was listening to me, she was thinking about what I said, and her responses were carefully considered,

When working with the entire group, there were several occasions when she seemed to not hear a question and instead talk about something else she had on her mind as a response.  In one case, even after several tries, she didn't really answer a question, and when she moved on she thanked the student for the patience shown to her.  It seemed to me that she understood she wasn't understanding and accepted that as the reality in that moment.

I understood what the student was really asking, and it was a question I had as well.  I think I wasn't the only person in the room who felt that way, because when the student described being confused by her answer the entire room erupted in laughter.  We were all confused!

Katie is beautifully human.  She doesn't always get it right.  I noticed that I trusted her a little more because of the way she was as she never heard this student's question.  Even when she missed something, she did it in a genuine and human fashion and I felt closer to her because of it.  That surprised me.  I'm taking that as a lesson for myself.

On this final day we did exercises specifically targeted at forgiveness, and she made very effective use of music during the session.  Very popular songs were used, you've heard them many times, so have I.  Beyond that, I have studied these songs as a singer and guitarist attempting to add them to my repertoire.    I know these songs, I have heard them over and over for decades.  They are chart-toppers, iconic cultural touchstones.

I never heard them the way I heard them today, and that was because of her timing and context for using them.  That surprised me.

I left this event a different man than the one who arrived for it.  Thank you for reading about my experience.