One of the tools I regularly use to access the reality of God's unconditional love and acceptance is "The Work"by Byron Katie.
My dear friend and 'Thought Coach' Evelyn Schnier has been doing The Work with me for almost two years.
Evelyn taught me that our thoughts are like our children.
Our thoughts need our attention, love, acceptance, and guidance, because like children they will believe almost anything.
(Remember when your two year old was terrified of the bath because he thought he would fall down the drain?)
When we become aware of our stressful thoughts, we can hear, listen, accept, love, and guide them, just as we do with our children.
The first question to ask when doing The Work, is whether a stressful thought or belief is really true.
Is it one hundred percent true that I should have more money?
Is it one hundred percent true that my child should be neater?
Is it one hundred percent true that my mother should help me?
Is it one hundred percent true that my family should love me?
The answer is ultimately, "no" because If it really were true, than it would be the reality.
Our reality, in each present moment, is ultimately what is best for us right now.
This is the essence of emunah. Hashem gives me everything I need in each moment.
So, If I don't have something right now, that is proof that I don't need it.
The second question is, how do I feel and behave when I believe a stressful or negative thought; when I fight reality?
What kind of a person do I become?
The third question is, how do I feel and behave when I don't believe my negative thoughts? What kind of a person do I become, then?
The fourth question is, what would happen if I believed exactly the opposite of what I'm thinking? If I turn the thought around?
Could it be true that in this moment, I have enough money? I have food in the refrigerator. I have a roof over my head.
My child should not be neater, because he isn't. That is true enough.
My mother should not help me because she can't, but I can help myself, or maybe I can help my mother.
My family should not love me, because they can't, (or else they would!) I can love myself. Hashem loves me, and my husband, and my children, and my friends love me...
It sounds almost too simplistic, but The Work is profoundly deep, and has changed my life.
I'll give you two real life examples. The first one is easier, the second one is harder.
Yesterday I missed the bus to Yerushalayim and I knew I would be late for my appointment. At first, I gritted my teeth thinking, "shoot, I shouldn't have missed that bus! If only I had left five seconds sooner I would be on that bus now!" I felt miserable when I believed this. I felt stressed, and angry with myself and with the bus driver for not stopping when I ran toward the bus.
When I am suffering with negative feelings and I do the work, even though my reality doesn't change, my suffering disappears. I learned that suffering comes, not from my reality, but from believing my thoughts about my reality.
So I asked myself, is it really true that I should be on that bus? Is it 100% true? Is that what Hashem wants for me right now?
Well, obviously not, otherwise I would be on that bus.
I stop fighting reality, and I accept it, and deal with it. I accept that this particular bus, in this moment, is not the way I'm meant to get to my appointment.
And I start thinking...
Maybe I can find another way to try to get to my appointment on time?
Maybe I can grab a cab and catch that bus...
Or maybe I'll just wait for the next bus, and let them know I'm running late...
Or I'll call and postpone my appointment....
In the end I waited for the next bus and I let my appointment know I was running late.
I was relaxed and happy and free, because I knew and felt this truth:
I did not want, or plan to miss the bus.
And when something happens that I do not want or plan, then it is Hashem's business, not mine. My job is to stay in my business...
My business is to deal with my reality in each moment with love and acceptance.
And when I do that, each moment is perfect.
The harder example will be in my next post.