Episode 28: Why Do I Feel Guilty?
August 29, 2011

Living the Questions Podcast, Episode 28 (Why Do I Feel Guilty?)

Why do we experience episodes of guilt?  Which guilts that we carry around are most justified?  Which are least justified?

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“The Guest House” by Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent 
as a guide from beyond.

Byron Katie’s 4-step method, as seen on Carolyn Rubenstein’s A Beautiful Ripple Effect blog.

Four Questions – The Work of Byron Katie

Use the following four questions with the concept that you are investigating. When answering the questions, close your eyes, be still, and go deeply within as you contemplate each one. Inquiry stops working the moment you stop answering the questions.

Instructions: Write down your judgments about any stressful situation in your life, past present, or future. Then investigate the first statement about these judgments using the questions below. One by one, analyze each statement with the four questions below.

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

Now, turn the thought around.

To do the turnaround, rewrite your statement. First, write it as if it were written about you. Where you have written someone’s name, put yourself. Instead of “he” or “she”, put “I.” For example, “Paul doesn’t appreciate me” turns around to “I don’t appreciate Paul” and “I don’t appreciate myself.” Another type is a 180-degree turnaround to the extreme opposite: “Paul does appreciate me.”

  • Give at least three specific, genuine examples of how the turnaround is true in your life.
  • Can you find other turnarounds?
  • Give specific, genuine examples for each turnaround.

This exercise is not about blaming yourself or feeling guilty. It’s about discovering alternatives in your thinking that can bring you peace.

The Work takes practice, but there is no “perfect” way to do it. The goal is feel relief and a sense of empowerment. Visit Byron Katie’s site for videos, downloads, and other free resources to help you practice this powerful method.

Episode Cover Art:

Weird poem by vancanjay on stock.xchng.

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