Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it – it’s just easier if you do. If you have a problem, it can only be because of your unquestioned thinking. How do you react when you believe that the past should have been different? You scare yourself stuck, because what you resist persists. You get to keep your stressful world, a world that doesn’t exist except in your imagination; you get to stay in the nightmare. It hurts to oppose reality, because in opposing reality, you are opposing your very self.
When you know how to question your thoughts, there’s no resistance. You look forward to your worst nightmare, because it turns out to be nothing but an illusion, and the four questions of The Work provide you with the technology to go inside and realise that. You don’t have to grope in the dark to find your way to freedom. You can just sit down and give it to yourself, anything you want.
Nineteen years ago a doctor removed a large tumor from my face. I had found inquiry – inquiry had found me – so I didn’t have a problem with the tumor. On the contrary: I was happy to see it come, and I was happy to see it go. It was actually quite a sight, and before it was removed I loved being out there in public. People would look at it and pretend not to be looking, and that tickled me. Maybe a little girl would stare at it, then her parents would whisper to her and yank her away. Did they think they would hurt my feelings, or that I was some sort of freak? I didn’t feel like one. That tumor on my face was normal for me; it was reality. Sometimes I would catch someone looking at it, then he would look away, then after a while he would look again, then look away, look again, look away. And finally our eyes would meet, and we would both laugh. Because I saw the tumor without a story, eventually he could see it that way, too, and it was just funny.
Everything turns out to be a gift – that’s the point. Everything you saw as a handicap turns out to be the extreme opposite. But you can only know this by staying in your integrity, by going inside and finding out what your own truth is – not the world’s truth. And then it is all revealed to you. There isn’t anything you have to do. The only thing you’re responsible for is your own truth in the moment, and inquiry brings you to that.
~ Excerpts from A Thousand Names for Joy by Byron Katie ~