I got a book for my birthday from my dad. The book is “I Need Your Love – Is That True?” by Byron Katie. Katie is a woman whose first book, “Loving What Is,” was a terrific and simple guide to living without too much new-ageyness or 12 steps or psychobabble, etc.
Look, I like self help stuff. I find it beneficial and I’m interested in spiritual stuff, so I read when I can. Katie is unique in that she really boils everything down to simple, honest self-discovery without a lot of complex processes.
What she mainly talks about are the stories we tell ourselves – the thoughts we live with on a daily basis that often serve to keep us blocked from reality in order to keep us in familiar territory. In some ways, it reminds me of how Morpheus explained the Matrix to Neo in the first film. He said that “the Matrix is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”
For Katie, the stories we tell oursleves are equal to the world being pulled over our eyes to blind us from reality.
Her new book takes approach and focuses on relationships. When reading in the opening of the book, there was a section that just struck me instantly. Here it is…
Suddenly you wake up in the middle of the night, glance at the clock and wish you were still asleep. A thought appears, “What’s going to happen to me? It’s a cold, uncaring universe. I don’t know what to do.” These thoughts were triggered by a mutual fund commercial you saw last night, but you don’t realize that. And the next ones come from a half-remembered motivational tape: “There are no guarantees in this world. Nothing’s going to happen for you unless you make it happen.” This thought provides a little boost, followed by a major deflation as you remember that self-reliance hasn’t worked all that well for you. “I need so much. I have so few resources to get it. My survival skills aren’t great and basically I’m faking it. I’m helpless and alone.” The next though brings some hope: “If I could just get more love from my family and friends, if just one person really adored me, if my boss really believed in me, then I wouldn’t be so anxious, and I could count on being supported.”
The though “Nothing supports me without my efforts” is just one fo the unquestioned and often unnoticed beliefs that set in motion the search for love and approval. Let’s pause for a moment and explore the opposite.
Do you know what supports your existence right now?
Just to scratch the surface of this, suppose you’ve eaten your breakfast, sat down in your favorite chair and picked up this book. Your neck and shoulders support your head. The bones and muscles of your chest support your breathing. Your chair supports your body. The floor supports your chair. The earth supports the building you live in. Various stars and planets hold the earth in its orbit. Outside your window a man walks down the street with his dog. Can you be sure that he isn’t playing a part in your support? He may work every day in a cubicle, filing papers for the power company that makes your lights come on.
Among the people you see on the street, and the countless hands and eyes working behind the scenes, can you be sure that there is anoyone who ISN’T supporting your existence? The same question applies to the generations of ancestors who preceeded you and to the various plants and animals that had something to do with your breakfast. How many unlikely coincidences allow you to be here!?
To explore this for a while, look around and see if there is anything you can say for sure DOESN’T play some role in supporting you. Now look again at the 3am thought “Nothing supports me without my efforts.” In this moment wouldn’t it be more true to say, “Everything supports me WITHOUT my efforts?” The proof is that here you are, sitting in your chair, doing nothing, being fully supported.
Everything supports you whether or not you even notice it, whether or not you think about it or understand it, whether you love it or hate it, whether you’re happy or sad, asleep or awake, motivated or unmotivated. It just supports you without asking for anything in return.
This concept is amazing to me. The idea that there are literally thousands of people out there constantly looking out for us and we don’t even realize it. That is pretty damn cool.
I highly recommend her stuff. She’s terrific.