If I’m questioning the thought, “This sink is disgusting,” a turnaround would be “This sink is beautiful.” But I miss the heart of this turnaround if my example is, “Yeah, it’s beautiful for someone with no standards.”
Moving from Negative to Positive
Turnarounds are about moving away from negativity, closed-mindedness, blame, and suffering, and moving towards positivity, open mindedness, self-responsibility and peace.
The principle of The Work of Byron Katie is simple: if it hurts in this direction, try moving in the opposite direction.
But the Mind Is Attached
It doesn’t always want to look in the opposite direction. It’s afraid it will lose control, be wrong, be humiliated, etc. Until the mind gets first-hand experience of how much peace can be experienced from looking at the turnarounds, it may resist—by either saying no to The Work completely, or by doing The Work in a tricky way.
One trick of the mind is to find examples for the turnaround that reinforce the original belief. These “examples” are not really examples of how the turnaround could be true, but are examples of how the original statement is true.
This is how the mind goes through the motions of doing The Work, but is not really doing The Work.
Here’s an Example
Original statement: he insulted me.
Turnaround: I insulted him.
Fake turnaround example: Because he deserved it.
This example reinforces the original belief that he insulted me. I’m not giving up anything here. I still hold fast to the belief that he insulted me and I’m using the turnaround to justify why it’s okay for me to insult him (because he insulted me first).
This is still 100% war. No peace comes from this example because I’m not really putting my weapons down. Peace only comes when I find my part and surrender. When I see that I also insulted him, I naturally start to drop my attack and start to see us more as equal human beings. That’s when my heart relaxes.
Here’s another Example
Original statement: I want him to shut up.
Turnaround: I don’t want him to shut up.
Fake turnaround example: I don’t want him to shut up because I want everyone to see what a jerk he is.
Again, I’m not giving up anything here. I’m right and he’s wrong. I still want him to shut up, but now I’m trying to shame him into it. My heart is still closed.
To find examples that open my heart, I have to look for how it really is okay that he doesn’t shut up, how it’s good for me, or for him, or how it’s not the end of the world if he doesn’t shut up. As I start finding the good of it, my heart naturally softens.
You Can Always Tell if You’re Getting Closer
If your turnaround examples touch your heart or bring sweet humility and acceptance, then they are moving you out of suffering. If they bring more stress, arrogance, and anger, then they are not really taking you out of suffering but are reinforcing the same belief system.
All I have to do is pay attention to the emotions inside as I find my turnaround examples. Are they bringing me peace or reinforcing my experience of stress? If I pay attention to this, I can navigate from darkness towards light in any situation.
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Have a great week,
“Humility is what happens when you’re caught and exposed to yourself, and you realize that you’re no one and you’ve been trying to be someone. You just die and die into the truth of that. You die into what you have done and who you have been, and it’s a very sweet thing; there’s no guilt or shame in it. You become totally vulnerable, like a little child. Defense and justification keep falling away, and you die into the brilliance of what is real.” Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy