Recently on Twitter I posted a quote from Byron Katie which said, â€œI am a lover of what is, not because Iâ€™m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality.â€
This post prompted one of my friends to question the nature of this reality, which Byron Katie was referring to.Â
I sort of dodged the question by quoting Ms. Katie again, â€œWhatâ€™s true is always whatâ€™s happening, not the story about what should be happening.â€ I added that reality is â€œwhat is,â€ not what I wish it was or what I want it to be.
I also said I would write about the nature of reality, but I have not really been able to follow up on that promise. I find I am not able to write about reality because I am not clear about what it is. To me, the only thing that is real is that which cannot change.
Following this definition, my mind is not real because it changes all the time. My body is not real because I canâ€™t even slow down the rate that it changes. Everything in the physical form is unreal because it comes and goes.
I do not think, however, that Byron Katie was suggesting we solve the riddle about the nature of reality when she stated, â€œWhen you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time.â€
I feel fairly confident that she was speaking of a subjective concept of what is real and not inviting a theoretical inspection of quantum physics. As an example: 9-11 happened. Regardless of all the ideas, perceptions, and opinions about how and why the event occurred, the bottom line is that it did happen. The twin towers were taken down. That is the reality of the human experience in this dimension. All of the stories, people tell about the event, comprise the subjective reality. The fact that it happened is objective. In other words it is not really open for debate.
Earlier in my life, when I was a police officer, I learned very quickly that whenever an event happened all of the witnesses would have different stories, about what was real. When I would roll up on an accident scene, I would listen to many different versions of the circumstances which lead to the accident. It was my job to sort through all of those stories and find the truth, based on the physical evidence present. The reality of the accident was that two or more cars had collided; that fact could not be debated. Ideas about how and why that event happened were as varied as the observers.
The point is: Bryon Katieâ€™s advice to â€œLove what isâ€ does not depend on understanding the nature of reality at a quantum level. What her profound wisdom offers is a chance to live in peace by choosing not to resist â€œwhat is.â€
Life happens. Loved ones are going to leave their physical bodies. Friends are going to host diseases in their physical form. Until there is some profound discovery that can extend the lifespan of the physical form, indefinitely, this will continue to be our reality. The suffering and sadness that accompanies the loss of a loved one is created by the mind that judges the loss as unfair or as too painful to endure. Consider Byron Katieâ€™s thoughts about suffering: â€œYou move totally away from reality when you believe that there is a legitimate reason to suffer.â€
What happens in our lives is not the cause of our suffering. We suffer because we want things to be different from what they are. We suffer because we believe our thoughts. There is no need to debate the quantum â€œrealnessâ€ of what we are experiencing, because it is not at the quantum level where we feel the pain and misery. That is created in our human minds. What is â€œrealâ€ to this mind is the object it is reacting to and the reaction itself. Simply proving, at some unseen level, that the object of the reaction is not real, does not erase the pain created by the reaction. If anyone needs proof of this simply consider some time when you have become anxious about some event which, in fact, never occurred. Worry is a perfect example of this. We worry when someone is not home when they should have been. Depending on the intensity of the addiction to this worry, we can create all types of suffering, based entirely on something â€œmade up.â€
Bryon Katieâ€™s practice offers us freedom that is not available when we are owned by our thoughts. What is â€œrealâ€ is not as important as what is perceived to be real, when one is a slave to his/her thoughts. We cannot control our lives. What we can control is whether or not we believe our thoughts about what life brings. Listen to Bryon Katie again, â€œThe end of suffering happens in this very moment, whether you’re watching a terrorist attack or doing the dishes. And compassion begins at home. Because I don’t believe my thoughts, sadness can’t exist.â€
While I enjoy playing with imagining the nature of the holographic universe and find the discoveries of the quantum scientists fascinating, none of that wisdom eases the suffering I experience when a loved one dies, if I believe that the death is real. It is my belief that I have lost someone which creates the pain, not the actual death. My investment in â€œwhat that loss means to meâ€ is what perpetuates my suffering.
Consider these two statements from Albert Einstein, arguably one of the brightest minds in our recent human history:
- As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.
- Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
The true nature of reality may or may not ever be â€œknownâ€ to us. It is not necessary that we understand reality in order to benefit from Byron Katieâ€™s brilliant teaching. The belief that suffering is necessary is very similar to the belief that worrying is a part of being alive. Just because something is a human tendency does not make it necessary.
Having thoughts is not a problem. That is one of the many gifts we enjoy because we are human. I experience suffering because I believe my thoughts. By simply refusing to believe my thoughts, I open myself to the possibility of life without the pain of suffering. If you find you must believe in some thought, believe the quote in the picture at the start of this writing. Believing that the Universe is benevolent and is always assisting us offers great freedom.
I think ‘reality’ has to be a relative term. I get mightily annoyed when people try to tell me reality has to do with jobs and mortgages and traffic jams.
Clearly we delight in our sufferings, as evidenced by how much time we spend entertaining them, we enjoy the ‘woe is me’ feeling in a weirdly perverse way.
I like the Gurdjieffan approach of sacrificing your suffering, offering it up to the white hot light of consciousness, recognising that we are largely impotent in and of ourselves to solve many things. But I need to be reminded or remember to do this when I am indulging myself in useless wallowing.
If I entertain too many disastrous scenarios about imagined inevitabilities about my life, I am soon completely overwhelmed by them and have been rendered a quivering pile of sobbing misery on the floor–yeah, like that’s really gonna help. Yet it seems sometimes I need to be reduced to this to (duh) remember that this is all way too much for one mere mortal and then offering up my seemingly unresolveable sufferings to the Divine comes as a bloody huge relief (basically)and I can wipe my tears and move on.
Somebody of reknown said, you do not increase yourselves through worry. Knowing we humans, He said that for a very good reason
And as Maurice Nicoll said. You have the right not to be negative.
Thank you for your wise observations.
I think we develop addictions to what we want and we resist with other addictions (wallowing) when we do not get what we think we want, need, or deserve.
I love the idea of sacrificing our suffering to the white hot light of consciousness. In fact I can’t think of a better use for it.
We do have a right to live in joy, perpetually. Some say that without the pain and suffering we have no respect for the joyous experience. Personally, I think i have suffered enough in my 57 years and see it as serving no purpose now except to identify an area in my consciousness which still needs healing.
Life is such an amazing adventure. I am always looking at ways to live each moment in blissful remembrance of this truth. Learning that I exercise this right through the perpetual choices I make opened the door to my continuous joyful life. The moments I have where I discover area where I still need to heal are fewer and farther, in between, now and when I do discover one of these opportunities, my recovery time is quick. This awareness and this ability to choose creates for me a vastly different life experience than I knew in the first 40 years of my life. That is very exciting to me. It is something I want for every fellow human. So, I share, and have for years, all that life teaches me.
Thank you for taking the time to share your insights.
I truly appreciate you!
Â Â T’was me that tweeted re: Â “reality” & quantum physics…I read your great article here twice. Â
I still wonder… the reality of my “now” came into being due to my thoughts, beliefs, goals, subconscious feelings & many factors. Â All of which could change in a moment, and thus reshape my “outer” (& inner) reality entirely. Â
My thoughts about “reality” shaped my reality in the first place. Â
So, being a fascinated student of “spontaneous healings”, which inevitably connected me with “what is thought” & “form” & “time”–since all interact so much– led to quantum physics & epigenetic biology, as I discovered how “reality” is influenced by consciousness.
So, for example, when I hear “Don’t argue with what is”, or, “Reality is merely an illusion” (yes), or “life happens” (yes, tho by certain principles), I must say-then WHY accept “what is”? Â If “what is” is SO subject to reshaping based on thought and desire & belief? Â
I don’t argue with “what is”, I just decide whether or not I must change it. Â I know that it all came to be via “my” consciousness, like a waking dream, and instead of argue, I examine the subconscious templates of creation more thoroughly. Â Collective & individual, if there’s a difference.Â
Sure enough, on close inspection, it is clear that the outer “reality” has been shaped by many invisible subtle thoughts, forces, ‘out-picturings’ of Consciousness. Â
And yes, I DO suffer from “believing my thoughts”– unless I think otherwise! Â Or better yet, drop mind & identity altogether & dwell in Self.
“Acceptance” is good, but why accept as if all were fixed somehow & I need only be at peace with all that currently is.Â
Not that chasing after superficial changes which ego craves will suffice either.
Also, regarding the phemomena of “manifesting”—ie: various conditions in life, including yet not limited to work, health, relationship, obtaining needed items, events, synchronicities Â etc.– is this not all a RE-shaping of Â “what is”? Â Â Thus, “what is” is merely what SEEMS to be–not fixed or inevitable. Â
Which is where quantum physics comes in–to prove that Consciousness itSelf is behind it all.
So, to not believe thoughts and thereby not suffer, yes, I can see this much–since the thoughtts aren’t real. Â But neither is there any “real” reality “out there” to argue with in the first place. Â
I doubt Katie is addressing how “reality” came to be in the first place, though I appreciate much of what she says.
I haven’t read alot of her work, but know her life-story. Â So maybe I don’t get the spirit in which she suggests we not argue with what “is”.
To not be flung around by hopes, wishes and dreams & hating undesired circumstances, nor on an emotional rollercoaster of response to “positive” & “negative” (so-called) life-events, yes, to not be a slave in this way, that is most likely what she points to, as do all.
It’s been fun & enlightening to write you & attempt to discover more about much, by hearing your ‘takes’ on ‘it all’, and clarifying my thoughts here. Â
I love that you are even interested in dialogue about these ‘fine pts.’ since I find each ‘fine point’ worthy of deeper & deeper illumination/clarification.
It’s been nice ‘following’ you, and your earnest deep wisdom– thank you; and isn’t it exciting to be alive at this time when the very ground of “Reality” & the true sources of “happiness & peace” are being questioned! Â Resulting in many awakenings.
Thank You Trula for the initial question and for this thoughtful response.
Knowing that one has the ability to create whatever reality they choose would preclude settling for the reality that appears. The key to her teaching is not to allow what you see to disrupt your sense of peace. Allowing “what is” to defeat one emotionally, removes whatever power one may have to affect change. One example she gave was when a doctor told her she had cancer. She just laughed. Her lack of response, of course, created the opportunity for the doctor and his tests to be eventually proven to be incorrect.
I am sure she does not suggest settling for whatever comes. We are all conscious co-creators and are responsible for the world we see. I think of the serenity prayer and utilizing whatever power I am capable of mustering to change what is mine to change but at the same time not “reacting emotionally” to what is (or maybe more accurately what appears to be.)
When I read and re-read your writing I think we see things very nearly identically. I think we are stumbling over the concept of accepting “what is.” I hope I made myself a little clearer. The vast majority of humanity has no idea that the reality they see is one of their own making. I am absolutely convinced that the world we see is a mirror reflection of what we hold to be true. Very few people, except those in the new-thought community, would agree with this.
I share your idea that if I don’t like what’s showing up its up to me to change it. The key, of course, is not to get caught up in arguing with what is, which your articulated quite clearly that you agree with.
I am grateful for your presence in my timeline and here with your shared wisdom.
I totally agree that it is a most fabulous time to be alive when humanity is really starting to remember who and what we are.
I have been doing energy work for the last 16 years. In that time I have seen many things that I used to consider miraculous. Now I simply expect amazing things to happen, without any attachment to how that should look.
I would love to hear more about your life experiences as a student of spontaneous healing.
I feel quite blessed by your willingness to share your time and thoughts with me.
I stopped reading when I found out you were a police officer
That was 30 years ago and certainly was a part of my life’s teachings.
Blessings to you.
Yes. Life is an amazing adventure! Thanks, Elliott for these beautiful thoughts. You always make me smile. =)
Thank you for your kindness Karen.
I love and appreciate you!
Wherever your heart is, yours thoughts will follow.
In reality the duality of the ego is king.
Simply watch as a non-judgmental witness,
from a distance, his majestyâ€™s game.
Until your true self discovers who you really are and what reality is.
Youâ€™ll be truly grateful of and to everything!
Thank you Alfonso.
I appreciate your wisdom.
First, I loved learning you were once a police officer.
Second, In this subjective reality the trick seems to be chosing which ideas to act upon and which to acknowledge as they float on through.
Thanks for the note Zoe. It is great to hear from you.
I agree with you. Thoughts just are. What I do with the thoughts creates my experience.
I appreciate you.