By Sunny Massad
SM: Do you drive?
BK: It’s like, they had to teach me not to drive on sidewalks cuz it was logical that if the traffic stopped you’d just go over here. So you have to learn everything all over again.
SM: Have you been reading the last 10 years?
BK: No. It’s not that I don’t, or wouldn’t, it’s, well, there’s no time. It’s, um, I say yes to everything, and a book doesn’t talk. If it came to me to read it, I’d just pick it up and do it.
SM: Was it instant or did it evolve that you actually began to understand in this way…
BK: I just have to honestly say people had to tell me that something was going on at all. And I saw it was their story. It didn’t change anything from here. I could just see that in their opinion, there was something different. And that still holds true these 13 years later. That I see absolutely no difference between you and I, except you, whoever you are, humans…insist that there’s something true.
SM: Why are people so afraid?
BK: Well, where would you be without your story?
SM: Many people may say, they think that what they’d be is dead.
BK: Well, that’s my experience.
SM: Although you are alive.
BK: According to you. Limited to your story.
SM: So if the story isn’t there…
SM: You would be nothing?
BK: That’s my experience.
SM: And do you know why the mind is afraid of becoming nothing?
BK: Well, it’s, it’s death. Actually, it is, it’s peace. And it longs for it.
SM: And yet, it’s terrified…or something’s terrified.
BK: Yes. Radical physical shifts. I went from over 200 pounds down to just, where my husband was just fearful, I was so thin, and it was just…an amazing phenomenon. And my tongue, if I ate any kind of animal product at all, my tongue would bleed. And that’s how I knew to eat vegetarian and not even dairy. And that’s shifted now and it doesn’t happen anymore. But it would just bleed and I would just have to hold a handkerchief on it. But then it would just move through.
I don’t know, if my joy were told, in a physical realm, it would blow the ceiling off of this place. So it just appears like this. But it’s always manic, yet joy filled. So, the phenomenon stopped at about three years and about seven it began to mature. It was pretty much maturing. And then that was a beginning. Just a beginning.
What it felt like was…the density was so great, that it couldn’t contain that lightness. That’s why I say, at no point can you say it’s done. And I haven’t even started. I mean I am a puppy. It’s infinite.
SM: Do you think that the changes that occurred in your behaviour would be the same changes that might inevitably occur in anyone’s behaviour?
BK: Yes, happiness. Doing whatever it is that’s good. This is its own happiness. And it knows how to live that way because that is what it is. And it spills over.
SM: What leads you to make this judgment?
SM: Is there anyone living or dead, whom you believe experiences or has experienced sustained transcendence?
BK: Everyone. But they say not.
SM: Are sustained transcendent experiences related to global change, world peace, or a larger significance than personal transformation?
BK: I am devoted to total world peace. I am the world. Of course I would have all the parts of me showing in that place within me for the party. I supply a way, a path home and they follow it or not. As it should be.
SM: Thank you.
BK: You’re welcome. If I were to ask anything, I would ask that you wrote nothing and that would be truer. And if you think it would serve, you could just write whatever you want.
By Byron Katie
Byron Katie’s husband, Stephen Mitchell, explains that early in their marriage he used to read to her from great spiritual teachers like Lao-Tzu and the Buddha. She called these people “his dead friends.” Katie would take in their words, sometimes nodding and saying “that's accurate.” But occasionally, to his surprise, she corrected their statements with one of her own.
He believed that she was speaking as the peer of these ancient sages, as somebody who has had the same experiences and can speak about enlightenment with equal authority. Eventually Stephen decided to read to her his translation of the Tao Te Ching, all 81 chapters, and write down her responses. Those responses became the raw material for this book.
This page was published on October 23, 2001 and last revised on May 16, 2017.