You don’t have to think that, Daddy!
You don’t have to think that
Questioner: “Is there any thought that’s true?”
Byron Katie: “For me, no, but that’s for you to find out for yourself”
I certainly wasn’t taught this in school. It was more like “Fill your mind with this information, then follow people who have more information in their head than you — and do what they say.”
This is how you become educated and therefore more valuable.
So how could none of what I spent years learning actually be true?
I don’t have to think that I look a bit unkept today or that my current posture is bad for my back. That's subjective, I can kind of accept that.
But what about the thought that must love my mother and father? That I must provide for my children? How deep is that?
Are they not true thoughts?
Byron Katie’s process she calls The Work is an ingeniously simple way of identifying a single thought and looking at it from a different perspective.
Most of the time I live through my thoughts but, in my case at least, most of this brain activity is just pretty aimless, jumping from one association to the next.
And yet, if I dig a little deeper, I see that the thoughts I believe, whether I'm aware of them or not, are running my life.
And thank goodness for most of them! I have a wonderful life.
But back when I found myself without an income but with a young family to support, there were thoughts like -
“I’m more of a burden than a help.
I can’t see a way out.
I’m basically unemployable.
Every day is awful.
I’m so ashamed.
I might as well stay in bed.
Maybe if I just take a step in front of this speeding car everyone would be better off.”
And while I chose not to pursue the more morbid thoughts, a lot of them felt very true for me.
So the power of “you don’t have to think that” / "you don't have to believe that thought" changed my life.
And I put it on a Post-It note in my office as a reminder for whenever I found myself in a negative thought spiral.
Our son Lucas, who was around six at the time, found it pretty useful too.
“Lucas”, I’d say, “you can’t have more juice – that’s too much sugar”
To which he'd reply: “You don’t have to think that daddy!”
If there’s anything you’d rather not be thinking, but are having trouble shaking off, get in touch, and let’s have a conversation.