By Byron Katie. First several pages of Chapter 14. Pg 159.
"The memory is eating at you. You wish you could let go of it. But it's not your business to let go of it, only to question your thoughts about it. If you question them deeply enough, they let go of you."
Katie: So sweetheart, let's hear what you've written.
Stan: I have to acknowledge that I'm very nervous.
Katie: Yes, well we have so many stories about what it means to sit here: "what will people think?" And some of us think, "Will I do it right?" These thoughts keep spinning in our minds. A feeling for me is like a sweet gift that says, "Maybe inquiry will help." So let's see what you have here.
Stan: This is from the past, so should I make it like it is the present?
Katie: No, just read it the way you wrote it. We don't care about time or space; we just write it down. Does the mind care? When we think of something that happened thirty years ago, forty years ago, it's like it's happening now. Sometimes we can even smell the smells. SO that's what this Work does--we go back.
Stan: Okay. I'm angry and saddened at my father because I never got to really know him. He never kept his word with me. The only times I got to be with him were when he took me to the bars and we played shuffleboard. He never listened to me, was patronizing, and sexually abused me when I was about eight years old.
Katie: I love that you are here for the real thing. You are one courageous man.
Stan: This is the first time I've acknowledged it in front of anyone.
Katie: Yes, you're amazing. You show us what we are--courage. Let's keep going. You've come to the right place, my friend.
Stan: He was drunk and abusive, took no interest in my life or the lives of my siblings. When he wasn't drunk, he wimped out with my mother and everyone. His drinking was the dominant cause of daily fights and disharmony in the home. And I miss him.
Katie: Yes, we are love, and there's just nothing we can do about it.
Stan: You want me to continue?
Katie: I do. Isn't that what the mind does? Here it comes, so we may as well.
Stan: I want my father to stop drinking, pay real attention to his other children and me, stand up to my mother, keep his word with me, take more interest in me and what my life is about, take better care of his health, demonstrate his love for me, and be less selfish.
Stan: My father should stop drinking, stop lying, should have more backbone, be more confident, stop smoking, talk and listen to me--really--be assertive when not drunk, encourage me to realize my dreams. Should I read the next statement?
Stan: I need my father to spend some real time with me, acknowledge me, demonstrate he really loves me, cares for me, supports me, help me dispel the confusion, be there for me for real instead of in the bars, to play shuffleboard, go hiking, play ball, and so on. My father is a drunkard, a selfish bastard, a loner, a wimp, totally inattentive to the rest of his family and to me. I don't ever want to accept his lies; I don't ever want to be sexually abused by him. I don't want to go to the bars in order to be with him; i don't want to have those daily fights that created such tension in the house.
Katie: Quite an exorcism, sweetheart.
Katie: (to the audience) I invite you all to go to the place where you relate to this in your life. And as we go through the inquiry, I invite you to go inside and give you your own freedom--don't wait for his. Find your own. (To Stan) So sweetheart, let's begin. Let's move to the should's, because they seem to get right to it. Read the first statement.
Stan: My father should stop drinking.
Katie: Is that true? And go back to...what age are you? Pick an age here where it's the most painful.
Stan: Eight, nine years old.
Katie: Okay. So, little boy. "Your father should stop drinking"--can you absolutely know that that's in his best interest or yours? Can you absolutely know that that's true?
Stan: No, I can't know that for sure. No.
Katie: Yes, we just can't know more than God. We can't know what is best for our path; all I can know about my path is I've had the perfect one for me. Little boy, what happens inside you when you believe the thought that he should stop drinking, and he hasn't?
Stan: I feel sick; it's painful.
Katie: And how do you treat him when you believe that lie? How do we know it's a lie that he's supposed to stop drinking? He drinks--that's it. That's what he does. A dog barks, a cat meows; he drinks.
How do you treat him when you believe the thought "It's supposed to be different, he's supposed to stop drinking"--and he doesn't stop; he comes in drunk?
Katie: So close your eyes, little boy.
Katie: Yes, keep going. How does it look? Get more specific.
Stan: I'm abusive to him.
Stan: I don't want anything to do with him. I curse at him.
Katie: Yes. Now how does it feel, little boy, inside you when you treat him that way?
Stan: Sick. Really sick.
Katie: Sick. Can you see a reason to drop the story "My father should stop drinking"? And I'm not asking you to drop it, little boy. I'm just asking if you can see a reason to.
Katie: Little boy, can you see one good reason to keep the story that does NOT make you sick--one good reason to keep the story "My father should stop drinking"?
Stan: I can't see any reason to keep the story. But I'm not sure it's going to go away just because I've decided I don't want to keep the story.
Katie: And that's what I love about this Work: it never asks you to drop it. It doesn't even imply that you should drop it. That's the power of investigation.
Stan: I mean, I'd like to drop it, but I doubt if it's--
Katie: ....Your business? It's not my business to drop a story. Mankind's been trying to do that for centuries. It doesn't work. So don't even go there. Letting go is an outdated concept.
Stan: It would be great if you could let go, but it's not...
Katie: It's not what we do. But investigation--self-realization, realizing for yourself what is true--dispels the illusion. So I've got this little secret, and everyone's welcome to it: I inquire. It's as simple as this: Can you see one reason, little boy, to keep the story "He's supposed to stop drinking," one good reason that's not painful inside you?
Stan: the only reason that I can come up with is that by keeping it fresh in my mind I can...no, no...I just keep getting angry. No, I can't see any reason.
Katie: Yes--not one good reason. I couldn't either. So, little boy, eight years old, who would you be without your story?
Stan: Who would I be?
Katie: Yes. How would you live in that house without your story? Who would you be without the story?
Stan: I really don't know.
Katie: Isn't that fascinating? That's been our entertainment, but only our whole life. We don't even know! I was a child at forty-three; I came to see that I didn't know anything. I had this Work. I didn't know how to live, and then I noticed I was being lived. I was like a child, a toddler. When we stay in the Work, we come to see we don't have to know anything. The whole world will give us everything we need.
"My father shouldn't drink"-- turn it around.
Stan: I must acknowledge that I've been in AA for eight years.
Katie: Oh good, angel.
Stan: I drank and did all the drugs I could get my hands on for a long time.
Stan: I destroyed my family.
Katie: isn't that FINE.
Stan: (laughing) I'm not sure that it was, but--
Katie: Well, honey, anything that brings us together--I'm for it.
Stan: (laughing) Yes, that's true. It got me here.
Katie: Yes. So, "my father shouldn't drink"-- turn it around.
Stan: I shouldn't drink.
Katie: Yes. YOU live it; that's for YOU to live, not him. There's another turnaround. "My father shouldn't drink"-- what's the opposite polarity?
Stan: I shouldn't drink.
Katie: Okay, and sometimes there are six of these turnarounds that are truer than what we wrote. "My father should..."
Stan: My father should drink.
Katie: Yes. Not give me three genuine examples of how that turnaround is true.
Stan: Because that's his way?
Katie: Yes--because it's what IS. I mean, what's the truth of it? Did he drink?
Katie: "He should drink"-- that's it. And a second example?
Stan: (pause) Because in the long run i can't know what's best for him. I can't know if or when he should stop drinking.
Katie: yes. What are you going to do, dictate to God? "Excuse me, God, he really should stop drinking right now. You're doing it wrong." Am I going to tell God how to run the show? Not likely. I don't even know how to run my own. Can you find a third example?
Stan: Well, if he keeps drinking, and I stop putting my "shoulds" onto him, maybe it could really change our relationship.
Katie: very good. Let's look at the next statement.
Stan: "He should stop lying."
Katie: "Father's shouldn't like"-- what's the reality of it? Let's start playing with a full deck. "Father's shouldn't lie--" what's the reality of it? Do they?
Stan: Well, my father did.
Katie: That's it. That's your experience. Do fathers lie? Yes. Welcome to reality. So what happens when you argue with reality? How did you treat him when you believed that lie, the lie that father's shouldn't lie?
Stan: I wasn't very kind.
Katie: And how did it feel when you were unkind?
Katie: Can you see a reason to drop this mythology, "Father's shouldn't lie?"
Katie: Can you see one stress-free reason to keep the story that anyone on this planet is not supposed to lie--news commentators, presidents, popes, children--one good reason to believe the story that WE'RE not supposed to lie?
Stan: It would be better if we didn't, but--
Katie: Can you really know that that's true?
Katie: I don't believe that anymore. How do I know it's in my best interest that people lie? They do. I need to get a clue here! Have you ever lied?
Katie: Well, there it is. Can you see one good reason to keep the story "People shouldn't lie" that is not stressful inside you?
Stan: I can't think of any.
Katie: boy, it's so fine to lose our self-righteousness. It's the first act of humility.
Stan: Yes. I'm pretty self-righteous. I mean, I have been.
Katie: I don't really get that from you--and that's just silly me. I just get a humble man. Who would you be without the story, little boy, that father's shouldn't lie?
Stan: a lot lighter, I think.
Katie: Turn it around.
Stan: I shouldn't lie.
Katie: That's it. It doesn't get any better than that. I work on me. That's a full time job; it's a life's work.
Stan: I shouldn't lie, and I DO lie.
Katie: Yes! I lie when I think my father shouldn't lie, for starters. You punished him when he lied, and it didn't work. It never taught him a thing.
Katie: So that's hopeless. So when I turn it around-- "I shouldn't lie"--I have an agreement with myself that not till I learn how not to lie myself will I try to teach the world not to lie. And I'm not there yet. This is a life's work. Let's look at the next statement...