And so, as we’ve seen, there’s a lot to this whole Byron Katie thing. Much more than at first meets the eye. But then again, isn’t that always the case? Everyone has complexities under there somewhere. Not just complexities; complexes. Mental constructs. Cities and cities of them.
Everyone has them. Even people who know that’s all they are–just constructs. Just mental cities, and some shoddy and poorly-planned, at that.
In my (very unauthorized) Byron Katie Metaphysics, I covered a lot of ground. Some of it I’ll get back to later. For now, I’ll focus on that essential, beautiful belief that I came to since losing Jane, namely, that God is all there is.
God is everything we see. We are all One. God is every molecule, every atom, the All. These were ideas that in the years following Jane’s death had become familiar to me. But Byron Katie has a better way of putting it. Listen to this–really hear it. She says, “God is reality.” Same idea, different words? Maybe. Why, then, do they hit me with such greater force?
Why does it feel like, Yikes. This–all this ugly stupid stuff around me? This is God?
Here, a few direct quotes that offer Katie’s perspective on reality.
“For me, the word God means ‘reality.’ Reality is God, because it rules.” —The Work of Byron Katie: An Introduction, Byron Katie
“You sometimes say, ‘God is everything, God is good.’ Isn’t that just one more belief? A: God, as I use that word, is another name for what is. I always know God’s intention: It’s exactly what is in every moment. I don’t have to question it anymore. I’m no longer meddling in God’s business. It’s simple. And from that basis, it’s clear that everything is perfect. The last truth—I call it the last judgment—is ‘God is everything, God is good.’ People who really understand this don’t need inquiry . . . Ultimately, of course, even this isn’t true.” —Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell
“Katie: Life is so simple: We walk; we sit; we lie horizontal. That’s about it. Everything else is a story about what’s going on while we’re doing it. Stan: It’s almost like the stories make my being real. [The audience applauds.] And without the story, I wouldn’t be real. Katie: And you’ve never been real. You know that. Stan: Yes. I’ve been at the forefront of the story. [He gives a low whistle.] Holy shit! [The audience laughs loudly.] Wow! My hairs are standing up. Is that significant? [More laughter.] Oh my God, that’s really true. Without my stories, there’s really nothing here.” —Who Would You Be Without Your Story?: Dialogues with Byron Katie, Byron Katie
“There is nothing that is true if you believe it; and nothing is true, believe it or not.” —Byron Katie
“The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want. If you want reality to be different than it is, you might as well try to teach a cat to bark. You can try and try, and in the end the cat will look up at you and say, “Meow.” Wanting reality to be different than it is is hopeless.“ —Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell
Pretty straightforward, right? God is reality. Only, wait: nothing is true or real. If anything is real, though, God definitely is. And if God is anything, God is reality.
Like I said: yikes.
Let’s just admit it: Katie’s thoughts on reality don’t make much sense. Still, she seems to be on to something. If God is anything, God is everything. There is a certain poetic truth there.
But what is everything? Is everything really everything? That’s the question I had when I first starting reading Byron Katie. Before that time, I understood that the trees were part of God. The people were. The mountains. Even beautiful buildings and other art. But Katie seems to imply that God is in situations, too–in anything that happens to us that we may deem either “bad” or “good.” (See the last quote.) In other words, that judgmental glance, that disappointment, that unfair comment, that anger. The crying baby, the sick child, the back pain. The friend that let me down, the husband that was mean. God isn’t just all that is–all the animals, vegetables and minerals. God is all reality–even the ideas.
Which is sometimes pretty cool to think about, and sometimes kinda sucks.