During a workshop in Paris July 2015 Byron Katie (BK) worked with a participant (P) impacted by the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in January. The full recording of this session has been made available as an offering to the French people. Please share with anyone you think will find supportive.
P: My question is about the present moment.
BK: Which moment was that.
P: I am going to explain it to you. How can the work help us appreciate the moment, when someone is about to kill us. We've had some terrorism here in Paris last January. I imagine the journalists in their office and then the terrorists arrive in their office. They look at the terrorists straight in the eyes. How could they appreciate the present moment when they know it's the end of their life?
BK: Because they don't know. So it's simple when you don't know. If you have the thought "they are going to kill me" and you believe that thought what could be the last few moments of your life? They are lived in terror. And that's not right. Because you are disconnected with the gunmen. So, if you don't believe the thought and you look into the eyes of the gunmen and you are connected you don't miss the last few moments of your life. Who would you be without the thought looking into the gunmen's eyes? If you didn't believe the thought? Where is your compassion? How many of you would have wanted to kill someone or wished they weren't alive? How does it feel when you feel that way about someone? So if someone wants to kill me I understand. They are believing their thoughts. Off cause they want to kill me. What do I believe about them is my heaven or hell. It's how I kill me or save me.
P: What I am afraid of is that if I do the work is like condoning the terrorists to come and to kill people.
BK: Either way they come or they don't. when they come are you in peace when they don't come are you in peace. I don't condone it. I know what it is to suffer as a believer. So have you done a worksheet?
BK: I invite the terrorist in you to come join me. What did you write?
P: I am furious because of the terrorists because they spread violence in the world and destroy families.
BK: Terrorists spread violence in the world. Is it true?
BK: And can you absolutely know that it's true that it is the terrorists that spread violence in the world? Those terrorists that walked into the illustrator's office?
P: yes. In my situation I am sitting on my sofa and I am watching television and I am watching those terrorists coming out. They are saying violent things and I am saying to myself that we should kill them before they kill other people.
BK: Well, you weren't alone. "Those terrorists were spreading violence in the world." How do you react, what happens at home when you believe that thought? And you are watching them on television.
P: I want them to suffer, too, so that they can understand what they are doing is wrong. I am afraid. I feel like crying. I think of all the families. It could have happened to me. My father could have been there. If they come to kill me, it doesn't bother me, but I suffer more about other people they might kill.
BK: so, who would you be, close your eyes. you are watching television. they are arresting them. they are bringing them out of the building. Witness that without the thought "those terrorists spread violence in the world".
P: I would see two desperate people, who are trying to find happiness but are using the wrong way. but the pain is still there.
BK: That is how your mind moves out of inquiry. Stay within the parameters of inquiry. So let's turn it around. "those terrorists spread violence in the world." turn it around.
P: the terrorists spread love in the world.
BK: those terrorists spread love in the world. Get still in that. what do you think they are doing there? On vacation? how is it that those terrorists are trying to spread love in the world. I am not saying they are. I am just inviting you to consider.
P: It's got to do with the consequences of their acts. afterwards a lot of french people gathered together in love.
BK: hm, those terrorists. they are certainly bringing people together in love. In the name of love and peace.
P: they are trying to be kind in their own way, but...
BK: drop the but. it could be that they are trying to bring about love in their own way. slow your mind down. If they are trying to bring love about in the world why would they go in and shoot these people that are under all threat living what they believe to be right? these cartoonists.
P: I don't know at all, honestly
BK: So, how are you doing? those terrorists are bringing love to the world. Is that what you said? the opposite of violence. Anyone have an idea? Just say it out loud and I will repeat it so that everyone can hear it.
Audience: they answered the journalists that thought that they were going to get killed.
BK: Oh no, I wanted an example that those terrorists are bringing love to the world
Audience: by waking us up, by forcing, pushing things.
BK: who knows could be. forcing, pushing things - that sounds as if they have a lot in common so far
Audience: they are two extremes
BK: speak out loud without the microphone. who sees another example?
Audience: they think the journalists are doing evil.
BK: it could be they are trying to end violence in the world, their world. who knows?
Audience: they believe in their religion. and they believe that their religion would bring peace to the wold.
BK: And that religion was being threatened. their symbol of love being threatened. who knows? I can not know the mind of those violent terrorists. but I can question what I believe about the terrorist. open my mind and see what is there. in the name of love not denial. for me to deny your internal options is denial. I can think for myself when I am doing the work and allow wisdom to show me. wisdom from the heart. my own. so those terrorists are spreading violence in the world. can you see another turn-around?
P: I am spreading violence in the world. yes, that is true.
BK: yes, your world. When you believe your thoughts as you watch television. what you were believing causes violence in your world. it is not right or wrong. that is where violence is born. I cannot stop violence out there if I cannot stop it here. until then I am just one more violent person.
P: I feel so much hatred towards them as if they have cursed a spell on me.
BK: oh really.
P: I feel like going to the other end of the world and fight against them.
BK: oh, you are so violent. you are going to their culture, their land and spread violence in the world.
P: they are going to kill my family or you if I don't do anything. sometimes I think I will have done my work and I will be standing with dead corpses all around me.
BK: And then you say: I win. I am love. See how loving I am. you are beginning to understand the terrorist's mind. it looks like yours. lets have conversation, let's do more of this. let's look at statement two.
P: I want them to stop spreading this anger and be kind.
BK: You want them to stop spreading this anger and be kind. so, close your eyes. look at what you were looking at on television. they are being escorted out, they are captured. You want them to stop spreading this anger and be kind. is that true?
BK: they have already stopped. they are captured. very good. you are not asking them to do what they are doing already. good, you are not entirely crazy. So, close your eyes again. notice how you react when you believe that thought. I want them to stop spreading this anger and be kind. how do you react when your mind goes in the future and you see in your mind's eye terrorists coming to kill your family? You even see them killing your family. it's how the mind reacts when you believe your thoughts. it has got to be identified. it has got to have an image and a story to hypnotize you. and if you witness that image then the emotions of fear come. and then you see images of a past. you see your family so safe and then you see them slaughtered. Past. Future. As you sit there alone terrorizing yourself. all by yourself in their name. look at those terrorists on the television screen. Really, look at their eyes, their body language. Look at the people who have arrested them. without the thought I want them to stop spreading this anger and be kind. who would you be without the thought? look at this.
P: I am touched and I feel pain for them. I see that they are lost. That they want to be happy and they don't know how to go about it. they must have suffered in the past. and they wouldn't do this kind of thing if they hadn't suffered before.
BK: they suffered in the past the way you were suffering in the chair at home watching television. they believe their thoughts. this is the cause of all war. I want the terrorist to stop spreading this anger and be kind. turn it around.
P: I don't want the terrorists to stop spreading this anger and be kind.
BK: because in that moment they were not, it was you. it was all you. any questions? people want to live in the present. when your mind goes to the past they are guilty. when your mind goes to the future you are fearful. you cannot see what is in front of you. you see past and future. love is right here, right now. it is reality. reality is always kinder then the story. always and completely. if you have a knife and you are going to... you just saw the knife of the future.
P: I have a phobia of knifes.
BK: knifes never hurt you. you put a future on them and you hurt you. if someone comes at you with a knife. they say: "I am going to kill you." In this moment: are you okay? other what you are thinking and believing. Are you okay?
P: then it is just a little piece of metal.
BK: not yet. you don't even know what it is. someone is going to kill you with a knife. They say: "I am going to kill you with a knife." they are standing right here and here is the knife. so without what you are thinking and believing. am I okay?
BK: So, now the knife is closer. Right now the knife is just here. Other what I am thinking and believing. am I okay? You don't have to guess. Look at me.
BK: am I okay?
BK: am I okay? Other what you are thinking and believing.
P: you don't have the look.
BK: so again, am I okay. other then what you are thinking and believing?
BK: just feel it for a minute. you are not the one who has just been stabbed. You can't know what I am thinking and believing. the thing is: are you okay? other what you are thinking and believing.
P: I wouldn't like to see you dying.
BK: other what you are thinking and believing: am I okay
P: I don't have much of a choice, so yes.
BK: you have a lot of choice. you can notice if you are in fear or if you are free. you are free. I am the one who got stabbed.
P: If I am the one who does ist by accident.
BK: lets keep where we are. I want you to get this. we don't need another terrorist in the world. You do not know what you are capable of when you are in fear. fear is another word for terrorist. if someone stabs me with a knife, am I okay? in reality I am. am I okay? other what I am thinking and believing, I am okay. if the knife goes into me, I'm not going to scream. I want to know, if it hurts first. I am not crazy. I've heard it hurts. what do I know? I have never been stabbed like that. Even if it's in the same place. I have never been stabbed like that. if it hurts then I'll cry out or not. you never know whats gonna surface. even physical pain is a projection of mind. physical pain is a mental state of anticipating and remembering. let's slow down a minute. close your eyes. notice your mind. it is either anticipating or remembering.
P: I am anticipating.
BK: And remembering. every thought is remembered or anticipated. don't ever believe me test it for yourself. self realization. let's look at statement three.
P: the terrorists should take their guns and commit suicide.
BK: look at them, connect, you see them on television. they should take their guns and commit suicide. is it true? do they even have any guns?
BK: but when you are believing your thoughts you don't see that. you see them in the past and in the future. those terrorists should take their guns and commit suicide. how do you react when you believe that thought?
P: I feel I do not respect myself and I am being the monster rather then them.
BK: look at them. without your story. Do you see a monster. other than your images of past and future. do you see an enemy, a monster?
P: only two people who are desperate.
BK: two people being arrested. and as you look at them now you see desperation. that would be you in a state of compassion. love is a fearless state of mind. it never takes courage ever, just clarity. just be in touch with your inner wisdom. it shows you. what you see there you see here. what you see here you see there. terrorists should take their guns and commit suicide. I should ...
P: I should take a gun and commit suicide.
BK: Tell me about that. Have you ever considered something like that?
P: to commit suicide?
BK: Have you ever imagined yourself dead with a terrorist doing it? that gun is in your head. That is your gun. that terrorist that you see with a gun in your head, that is your head, your imagination. And you imagine: you are dead, your family dead. what is killing you? Nothing. you see those images in your head. can you take them out and go: how are you doing? Can you play with them and talk to them at night? they are not real. not any more than an image on a television screen. an image is an image. what is the opposite of should? terrorists should not...
P: They should not take out their guns and commit suicide.
BK: in that situation what does it mean to you? They should not take out their guns and commit suicide.
P: they are human beings. if they are alive it's a gift and it's not up to us to decide.
BK: minds decide and we don't do that great at it. a confused mind is a frightened mind and it makes terrible decisions. it says: „they killed let's kill." Terrorist, terrorist
P: that frightens me what I am able to do. I even get panic attacks. I am afraid to harm the people I love because I feel this anger.
BK: any time you are feeling angry you are in a future in your head. You are believing your thoughts. any time you are depressed you are in the past. you are believing your thoughts. if you want to be free just continue to watch television and do the work. life is television. That is your screen.
P: in fact we are watching a movie.
BK: the movie is not out there it is here. it creates that from here. if someone is going to kill you anyway do you want to miss the last few moments of your life? Experiencing peace or fear. where have you made the best decisions in your life? when your mind is fearful or clear? How many of you make better decisions when your mind is clear? so that is what we are doing here today. the things we believe. if they leave an enemy it is worth putting it on paper. It's not the terrorist's responsibility to bring me peace. that's my responsibility. we can do it at home alone or anywhere. statement four?
P: I want the terrorists to stay away from France.
BK: You want the terrorists to stay away from France. is that true? just notice it's a yes or no. that was major trauma for a long time. You want the terrorists to stay away from France. is it true?
BK: are you guessing?
BK: they are about to come running through the doors. there can be one in the room right now.
P: They are here now so I can not do anything about it.
BK: You can. If they are here, you can get connected. you love them as yourself if you are clear. Because they are who you believe them to be yourself. if you are frightened you meet a stranger. if you are awake you meet yourself. A much kinder self because you are aware of it. How do you react watching TV that day when you believe the thought I need the terrorists to stay away from France?
P: I want to stay at home, save. To stay in the dark as if I would not exist any longer.
BK: who would you be watching TV without the thought I need the terrorists to stay away from France?
P: I would go out on the street, joyfully. I would open up to other people.
BK: all those people, look a them. they look like terrorists? you might even say hello. how are you? you never have to run away. you are connected. So I need terrorists to stay away from France. turn it around. I need me...
P: I need me to stay away from France.
BK: What about I need me to stay away from terrorists. Terrorists in France in your head. You terrorized France in your head.
P: It doesn't need it. I shouldn't add to it. If I was happy and open I would make a big difference, I think. It's not easy but I am starting to understand.
BK: good. happy and open doesn't mean stupid. it's not lala land. A man put a gun in my stomach and told me "I'm going to kill you". as I looked into his eyes I didn't know if he believed it or not. what do I know about another person's mind. So I have no idea if he is going to shoot or not. so I am in touch with what is in front of me, his face, his eyes. so beautiful. he was staring at me. we were connected. I saw this guy and the clouds and the moon. It was a breeze kissing my cheek. and this beautiful man in front of me. Life. so, if that's so beautiful why would I skip to a future or a past? When it is beautiful here. then I began to experience compassion. he looked very worried. Apparently he didn't shoot. But who knows. In the world he didn't shoot. And I had a beautiful evening. And if he did shoot I wouldn't have missed the last few moments of my life. That would be crazy. fear is crazy. there is another one: terrorists need me to stay away from them. you are dangerous.
P: Yes, I can see this.
BK: I love your looking at the cause of all fear. let's look at statement five.
P: terrorists are... Now that we have done that I find it a little ridiculous.
BK: you are not condoning terrorism. you are ending terrorism in your own world. there is no greater example of peace than a fearless connected human being. so what did you write? terrorists are...
P: terrorists are violent, liars and aggressive.
BK: turn it around. In that moment I am...
P: ... violent, aggressive and manipulating.
BK: terrorists are violent, liars and aggressive. In that moment I am a terrorist. my head is violent, it's lying to me and it's aggressive. Let's look at statement six.
P: I don't ever want to feel fear again. Knowing an uncertain future. knowing that human beings are able to do the worst and the best. they ask normal people to become killers. it's not so clear. I wrote it so fast.
BK: you are asking a normal person to go kill. Yourself. sitting in front of the television you are ready to got to fight for France.
P: Not quite yet.
BK: it's not right or wrong. it's just the best we have going for the human race. We are like ancient people living in the old paradigm. where war is the best we can do. there is a much wiser way and that is self realization. I don't ever want to feel fear again. I am willing to...
P: I am ready to feel fear.
BK: I look forward to...
P: I look forward to an uncertain future.
BK: That's perfect because there isn't one. Unless you can prove it to me. show me a future. you can't. show me a past.
P: I could. No, I couldn't.
BK: there isn't one.
P: only what's in my head.
BK: It is an illusion and even that is gone now. do you hear my voice? what voice? get out of the past. thank you.
The end of terrorism. It's so convinient to want them to end terror. Can we end it in ourselves? we really want to know the truth. we want to end the terror in the world. there is no condoning or pointing the finger. there is just waking up to reality. if you are going to point the finger do it on paper. all war belongs on paper. all violence in your world belongs on paper. it ends with you or it doesn't end.