Beaker Finds Peace with Self-Inquiry. ~ Chantelle Jahara Pinto

Via elephant journal
on Sep 26, 2012
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Photo credit: David Goehring

A person can take any stressful situation and realize a higher truth within it.

Byron Katie developed a very simple system of self-inquiry to do so—it’s called The Work.

Practicing The Work regularly can seed transformation in one’s life.

It’s simple. Apply four questions to a statement of something that causes you stress, followed by what’s called a turn-around. It will reveal that the problem actually lies within our thoughts. Without our thoughts, there is no problem.

Begin with an issue that you may have about another person. (Katie calls it “judge thy neighbor”). Simply write down a judgment. Katie recommends being rather childish about it—just say the judgment in its crudest form and apply the four questions:

1. Is it true?

2. Can you absolutely know that this is true?

3. How do you react—what happens when you believe that thought?

4. Who would you be without that thought?

The answers to these questions lead to a turn-around. For that, find three genuine examples of how each turn-around of your original sentence is true for you.

Once you get the hang of it, you can start to write down your beliefs, not only about others, but about yourself and even the world around you.

I have never experienced a stressful feeling that wasn’t caused by attaching to an untrue thought. Behind every uncomfortable feeling, there is a thought that isn’t true for us. ~ Byron Katie

That’s a big statement. When I first learned of The Work, I tested it relentlessly. The system is too simple.

No matter what I threw at it, however, the surprising gift of peace arrived in the end.

Today, I visited Serenity Now, a peaceful nursing home for residents who possess a delicate nervous condition; special individuals who can not withstand the day to day trials of life. They live supported by highly qualified staff and surrounded by nature and a disproportionate number of rabbits.

Photo credit: Doris Antony

Among the many new faces I met today, I recognized a familiar one. A high-strung hand puppet with a shock of red hair: Beaker, the laboratory assistant from the Muppet Show. He was beginning one of his regular sessions of The Work. I asked Beaker if I could use his session to demonstrate to my readers how The Work always arrives at peace and higher realization.

Disclosure: Beaker speaks through an interpreter, as his language consists of various intonations of the word Mi. His interpreter helps us to understand what Beaker is trying to say.

Beaker: Dr. Bunsen Honeydew should have never used me as a guinea pig for all his experiments. It made me so nervous, that now when I see any bald puppet with no eyes and glasses, I begin to steam, and run in circles shouting, “Mi Mi Mi!”

Therapist: Let’s take your first sentence: Dr. Bunsen Honeydew should have never used me as a guinea pig for all his experiments. Ask the first question: Is it true? Should he have not used you for all his experiments?

Beaker: Right. He shouldn’t have. He made me so nervous that now I have to live here, surrounded by really nervous people and bunny rabbits. It’s quite stressful, really.

Therapist: So what if he didn’t use you; what would you have done otherwise? You told me earlier that you really wanted to be on the Muppet Show. Didn’t this help you to realize your dream?

And you became a celebrity! Wasn’t that another dream of yours? You ended up with your own show and sometimes you had wonderful surprises, like being the first hand puppet to test the wish machine. You were just a piece of unwanted, badly matched samples of pink felt before you met Dr. Honeydew. Didn’t he deliver you to your dreams?

Beaker: Yes, but I lost my mind! I was duplicated, shrunk, cloned, deflated, turned invisible and blown up!

Therapist: Can you absolutely know it’s true that Dr. Honeydew should have never used you as a guinea pig for his experiments?

Beaker: No, I can not absolutely know that it is true that Dr. Honeydew should have never brought me in, but all those experiments left me um, sensitive (feeling breathless). Mi Mi Mi!

Therapist: And with a beautiful, supported life in a controlled, picturesque environment—with bunny rabbits, no less! What an inadvertent gift. I see that you really copped a few on the chin there, but so much more has been given to you. So Beaker, how do you react or what happens when you believe the thought that Dr. Honeydew should have never used you as a guinea pig for his experiments?

Beaker: Mi Mi Mi! (Beaker begins to run around in circles. Smoke appears to be coming out of his hair. A Serenity Now nurse comes to assist him back to his seat.)

Therapist: That’s all right, Beaker, I can tell that this thought really makes you distressed. You don’t have to think about my question any more. Moving on to the final question: who would you be without the thought that Dr. Honeydew should have never used you as a guinea pig for his experiments?

Beaker: I would feel happier; grateful for my wild and crazy life as a wealthy hand puppet celebrity—I even time-traveled with a supermodel. It gave me a good life and fried nerves. I would feel calm, not stressed.

Therapist: I can see that, Beaker. Without that thought, you feel happy and grateful. Let’s do the turn-around. Can you think of a way to turn-around your original sentence?

Beaker: Yes. Ahem.

Dr. Honeydew should have used me as a guinea pig for his experiments.

I should have used me for Dr. Honeydew’s experiments.

I should have used Dr. Honeydew for my experiments.

Therapist: So, which sentence feels true or truer for you?

Beaker: The first one: Dr. Honeydew should have used me as a guinea pig. I remember being very excited about it in the beginning—before his nuclear experiments, that is. He helped me to realize my dreams.

Photo credit: Josh McConnell

Therapist: It is just your thoughts that create stress. Without the thought I can see you feel calm. Just like this bunny rabbit right here…look at the fwuffy bunny wabbit….

(Beaker looks with great suspicion at the rabbit that the therapist brought to his lap.)

Beaker: Mi… Mi…

The Work helps people transform their lives and end their suffering by changing their thoughts about themselves and the world around them.

There it is—I just quoted Oprah, but she said it so succinctly!

The Work always leads you back to who you really are. It hurts to believe you’re other than who you are, to live by any story other than happiness. ~ Byron Katie


Adapted from


Chantelle is an Australian living in Rio de Janeiro. She writes for her blog, Yoga Leaks. For the past two and a half decades, Chantelle has studied meditation, yoga, martial arts, dozens of healing modalities, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, as well as Tao, Buddhist and Hindu philosophy. She is a practicing Kriyaban, which is a yogi who practices Kriya yoga. Chantelle has worked with health retreats and spa destinations in their management, design and realization. She loves to create other-world or better-world experiences. Hence the concept of her blog, which explores a “better” nation in which we can all live for a few minutes each week. Chantelle has traveled extensively and worked in many idyllic locations around the world. Her passion is in the written word, vibrantly sharing her knowledge about endless facets of health and living.


Editor: Jamie Morgan


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