Being Gay is Unnatural—Is It True?
While this video is longer than what I usually intend for my posts, it is an in-depth demonstration of Byron Katie’s work. “Inquiry”, as Byron calls it, focuses on any specific limiting belief we may have. In “Being Gay is Unnatural,” David is challenged to investigate his beliefs about his sexual orientation. All of his beliefs lead him to live an anorexic sexual and romantic life, a non-integrated life.
Misunderstanding homosexuality, being homophobic, condemning bisexuals or demeaning transsexuals is not only a prerogative of some straight people, political affiliations, religious groups or churches. Unfortunately, many gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people are very good at bearing these mantels as well. “Doing The Work”, as Byron Katie also refers to “Inquiry”, asks that we look at our judgments and the internalized countless “shoulds” we bestow on others and ourselves. “Doing The Work” shines a light on our unquestioned thoughts and assumptions—whatever they might be— and help keep them in perspective.
Because our brains our so plastic and permeable, especially in childhood, we end up living our lives with many unchallenged “shoulds” and beliefs, with most of them being in conflict with each other. When the essence of who we are is judged against, when we believe that these judgments are truer than our own truth, we loose touch with who we really are at our core. We dissociate.
… continued from the Newsletter:
The psychological mechanism of disowning what is true for us requires that we judge others for doing exactly what we won’t allow ourselves to do, or be. In other words, we project on the outside what we don’t want to, or can’t see on the inside. This feeds the nightmare of our internal conflicts and external wars. “Inquiry” is a powerful way to know our deeper truth and accept reality as it is. “Inquiry” allows us to stop living our lives from a set of contradictory and unquestioned beliefs, which ravage our hearts and souls, our bodies and minds. “Inquiry” sparks into action the process of self-actualization. It wakes us up to our true nature.
Unquestioned relative truths, even when they are shrouded as religious absolute truths coming directly from the voice of God, or political views that millions of people adopt, or family rules that sounded so absolutely right when we were children, prevent many people to think for themselves. Most importantly, it prevents them to trust their own reality, access their own wisdom and inner guidance. When we abide by external relative truths, which are dissonant with our internal experience, we are doomed to live a life that is not ours, to live out of alignment and authenticity with our true nature. However, when these unquestioned and internalized god-figures, political, social or parental constructs we have made in our mind are brought to the light of “Inquiry”, freedom from their enslavement becomes possible. Our internalized hell can transform into inner-peace.
Because David is willing to shine a light on his own beliefs about “being gay is unnatural”, AND to feel the internalized pain he has lived with since childhood—and compounded throughout his adult life—he can finally embark on living a brighter future; a future where he can honor the essence of his sexuality as natural for him. It’s a future where he can stop defending himself for being who he is, and let those who judge him do so, without having to defend himself and live according to their beliefs. They get to judge him—if in fact that is REALLY what they are doing—and he gets to be himself. At peace with his own nature, David can let himself be the loving and caring man he is; a man who also happens to be attracted to other men. Because he embraces himself and honors his own truth, he can embrace and love others as they are, without asking them to be any different. God knows this planet needs more compassion and love!
Inquiry is made of 4 Questions And A Turn Around!
Questions 1: Is it true?
When you hear an internal voice telling you: “You should…”, “If only they…”, “She has to…”, “Those people over there are wrong because…”, or, you hear a judgment in your own head or from someone else, ask yourself: Is this true? In many cases, the answer might be, “yes, it’s true”. “He said something mean to me.” “She did roll her eyes when I…” If the inquiry stops here, the bigger truth will never be found. The question will only serve to justify the initial “should” or judgment. And we too will remain in judgment and condemnation of what just happened. “We were mistreated, judged against, disrespected, etc.”
Question 2: Can You Absolutely Know That It is True?
Obviously the key word here is “absolutely”. This question helps evaluate the relative truth with a bigger, a more encompassing truth. In brief, there is the relative truth of our human experience and there is a bigger truth, which we will never totally understand. Case in point, none of us totally understand our place in the universe. After all, we live on a relatively small blue planet, which itself is part of bigger solar system; which itself is an integral part of the Milky Way Galaxy, made of a few hundred billions other solar systems. And our Milky Way Galaxy is only one out of hundred of billions of other galaxies. Such is the universe we currently know. A quite different universe, might we add, from the one our ancestors knew in the sixteenth hundred, when they thought the earth was the center of… the universe.
Back here on earth where relativity permeates our experience and relative truths keep on fighting for their right to be the ultimate truth. When we inquire more deeply and ask if we can absolutely know that it is true, we are encouraged to re-evaluate the meaning we have made out of our experience. If he says something mean, if she rolls her eyes at me, it is obviously because he doesn’t like me; she doesn’t approve of me; he thinks I’m stupid; and, she is contemptuous towards me. The questioning forces us to compare our limited reality to a bigger reality we can’t possibly know. “Maybe he is physically and emotionally stressed-out and exhausted and snapped; maybe she was not even paying attention when I spoke and was thinking about something else; maybe, maybe and maybe again! While our brain is wired to make meaning out of our experiences, we are not as good at making ACCURATE meaning as much as we like to believe we are.
Question 3: How Do You React When You Believe That Thought?
Taking responsibility for the effect our thoughts have on our life is empowering. It forces us to compare the effect our beliefs have when challenged with other, bigger and deeper truths. It allows us to see that what we take for granted—my belief is the ultimate truth—is not so. “How do you react when you believe that thought?” forces us to take responsibility for the consequences our beliefs have on our emotional, psychological and physiological life, and the people in our lives.
Question 4: Who Would You Be If You Could Not Even Think That Thought?
What a powerful question! It allows us to experience the relief of the constrictive effect our limiting beliefs have on our life. When we have the felt experience of whom we would be if we could not think a limiting thought, we begin, often for the first time in our life, the process of integrating a different way of living without the stress of our limiting beliefs.
The Turn Around: The turn around is a way to experience the opposite of what we believe. Since relative truths are just that—relative—the turn around allows us to embody the opposite relative truth we are fighting and judging against. Because our defense mechanisms are used to protect our relative and limited truths from more encompassing truths, we trap ourselves in smaller versions of ourselves. Considering as many “turn around” as possible for any specific situation stops us short in the “Them vs. Us” mindset. It also forces us to reintegrate parts of our humanity we have judged against. It is a very humbling process. The “turn around” allows us to begin a process of differentiation between our beliefs, and who we truly are at our core; individuals who are bigger and more encompassing than our belief systems.
For more information on Byron Katie’s work, and to see more examples of “The Work” in action, you can check: thework.com
C. Nathan Bergeron, LMFT, L.Ac. ©