Whenever you react negatively to someone or some situation, the above principle teaches us to ask these questions:
"What am I telling myself about this person/situation?"
"What is the underlying belief?"(Remember our feelings always come from our thoughts, not the external situation.)
Once we've determined our misery-making belief, we apply Byron Katie's "Four Questions and Turn Arounds" process.
Byron Katie's "Four Questions and Turn Arounds" process powerfully illustrates how the world reflects our beliefs. You can visit Byron Katie's site: http://www.thework.com/index.asp
If you are not yet familiar with Byron Katie's four questions, they are as follows:
- Is it true?
- Do you absolutely know that it's true?
- How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
Turn it around.
But it's when we turn our thought/belief around to its' opposite that we see exactly how the situation is reflecting our thoughts.
Let's take an example.
Sue is upset because her children refuse to clean their rooms like she asked them to. She yells at them and then feels guilty. Often she ends up in tears not knowing what else to do.
In response to the question "What am I telling myself and believing about this situation?" She responds, "My children do not respect me, I must be a bad parent.
Sue's process goes something like this:
"My children do not respect me", Is it true? Yes, otherwise they would clean their room when I ask them to.
Do I absolutely know that my children do not respect me? No.
How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? I feel angry, ignored, helpless and ineffective as a parent.
Who would you be without the thought? I would probably be more patient, more loving, less angry, and more accepting towards them and myself.
Turn it around. "My children do not respect me" I do not respect my children. I do not respect myself.
Sue's children are simply a reflection, or a mirror of her own poor opinion of herself as a mother.
The source of our pain inevitably is found within our own minds. The world simply reflects it to us.
When we really understand that the world is our mirror, then even the things that we most resist are appreciated as the teachers they are meant to be.